Friday, December 18, 2009

You are the Light of the World

A great piece from Tama of Awakening Artistry

Tama's Musings
(Please note that this is an edited version of an article I first wrote for last year's holiday season. It's slightly different in this form. I couldn't resist sending it out again. I believe it now more than ever!)

You are the Light of the World:
Taking your Pain into Promise

Since it's the holiday season, I wanted to write about "light."

The wisdom tradition of A Course in Miracles teaches us, "I am the light of the world. That is my only function. That is why I am here." When I first read that line part of me stood at attention as though its true name had been called through a fog and cobweb of centuries. The other part of me felt screwed.

At the time, I looked around at my life of half-written manifestos, unused yoga videos, and abrupt tectonic shifts of doubt and fear, and thought humanity could definitely benefit from a more reliable guide. But I have come to see that limitation is spirit calling my name. Limitation puts pins in my sofa and lumps in my pillow so that I do not fall asleep in my life. Limitation calls me to seek for strength, focus, achievement, and liberating powers I did not know I had. And, in the end, limitation gifts me with a one-of-a-kind credential in this world. It's because as I come to experience freedom in the midst of defeated circumstances, I become a hope and light to others.

We, who are questioning our lives and our abilities, are the light of the world. We will be a beacon of comfort, hope and direction to those who need us. We are in the soup, but it is healing broth. We are the ones who are learning to find joy and full expression in the midst of bruised conditions. Every spiritual tradition teaches us that freedom is not being liberated once the job comes through, the check comes in or the skinny jeans fit. Freedom is learning how to be at peace no matter what, no matter when.

Our world is changing. The old ways are falling apart. Some talk about being in a revolutionary evolution of consciousness. We are the ones. We are the ones who are discovering our sacred resources and responses and bringing them to the table. We are the ones who write poems or sing praises to the divine, even as the stock market crumbles. Our dark days and stumbles are our training grounds. We are learning how to recognize a magnitude that is never threatened or taken away. We are discovering the river of faith in the dryness of our desert. We are the ones. We may not get it right every single day or even for weeks on end, but we are the ones.

Your pain is your relentless guru. How do you gain instruction from the sting? How do you resist the urge to curse it, deny it, or lie down in a ball for a thousand years? How do you love yourself? How do you forgive yourself? How do you sit down right now and trust the perfection of where you are? This is the juncture of your freedom. This life is not about just sweeping the kitchen one more time, or sending in a resume. It's about feeding the wild blue bird in your heart on berries not of this world. It's about feeding the wild blue bird so that it flies free no matter what.

I do not wish you pain or suffering. But I know that pain will cause you to seek freedom and freedom will teach you who you are and why you're here. You are the light of the world, and you have love, talent, and healing to offer us. Because of the sand, the oyster yields the pearl. Peacocks grow their signature colorful feathers by eating thorns. "What is to give light, must endure burning," wrote Viktor Frankl, who taught about how he found liberation, through mental focus, in the harshest hours of living in a concentration camp. And Buddhist nun Pema Chodron says, "Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible be found in us." You are the light of the world. And it's pain that reminds you, like a ferocious drill sergeant, to abandon your useless definitions of security, and penetrate the limitless grace within you.

We may not have easy lives at this time. But it's not because we're failing, falling, or inadequate. It's because our souls demand healing more than coping, soaring more than just reaching cruising altitude. We are the teachers, healers, visionaries, social entrepreneurs and architects of the coming bright times. We are the sensitive ones, the canary in the mines. We have never truly been fit for this world. That's why we are the ones who will change it.

We will change it with our compassion. We will change it with our twigs of peace. We will change it by sitting in our dark corners until the pain passes and transmutes into new energy that can sustain the rest of our lives-- and we have a new stronghold to offer our brothers and sisters.

We will turn darkness into hope, as humanity has always done. We will prove that pain passes and leaves strong alchemy in its wake. We will run a new mile, inspire new actions, bring clean water to the needy, or paint images of wonder and faith. We will find our unique way to channel inexhaustible strength to hungry conditions. We will bring the new into the world by expanding our minds, communing with our creativity, and opening our boundless hearts. We are in the study halls now. Many of us are getting ready for our certifications.

We are the light of the world. We are the ones who have mercy for others. We are the ones who lend a hand. We are the ones who share a bit of writing, a dance, a reiki session, a vibrant expression filled with courage and forgiveness. We are the ones who question limitation and habits and demonstrate the raw and formidable power of love and alignment with our source. We are the ones who believe there is enough here to work with and we are about the business of working with it. Jesus walked on water. We may be doing something far more electrifying in these times. We are walking in this world.

* * *

In this coming year, and every year, I dream of a world where everyone's talents are cherished, honored, and put to use in the business of uplifting humanity. I thank each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart for all your faith and growth this year. And on a personal note, I am so very grateful for all your love and support. It's your emails, your sharing this work, your coming to workshops, and just knowing you're ‘out there' that keeps me siding with my own strength and light. I am so touched by all of you. I am so grateful that our Awakening Artistry family is growing in every way. I wish all of you a beautiful, holy holiday season filled with grace, authenticity, and love, and the birth of wild, new inspiration.

Love and blessings,


©Copyright 2009 Tama J. Kieves. All rights reserved.

Feel free to forward this copy to anyone you think might enjoy it. Please keep the entire message intact, including contact, logo, and copyright information. Thank you. This message is from Tama's monthly email newsletter

Training on Jan 25 in Phoenix on Using World Cafe and Open Space Technology

Click here for the flyer and registration form for our training on January 25 in Pheonix, AZ on using Open Space Technology and World Cafe.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Digital Story about Wholonomy Consulting

We are grateful to St. Luke's Health Initiatives (SLHI) for their trailblazing work in building healthy and resilient organizations and communities. On December 11, the SLHI Annual Conference is being held in Phoenix. As part of the day, 8 pioneers are being recognized for their work. We are so proud to be included. A digital story was made about the work of the pioneers. Click here
for a link to the 8 videos including the one about Wholonomy Consulting. Thanks to Jon and Sam for bringing these digital stories to life.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Photos from Training on Using World Cafe and Open Space Technology

Here are some photos from a recent training we gave on using World Cafe and Open Space Technology.

Notes from a World Cafe held on Nov 17

Sarah and I facilitated a World Cafe during the November 17, 2009 SLHI Consultants Community of Practice Retreat.

We've put this summary of the questions that were used (some were generated live by the group) and some of the highlights.

World Café held on November 17, 2009 at the Franciscan Renewal Center during the SLHI Sponsored Consultant’s Community of Practice Retreat.

Round 1 Question –

In your experience of building healthy and resilient organizations and communities, What are the essential elements of success?

1. Seeing the client as a hero!
2. Leaders who exhibit gratitude.
3. 3 categories – a. inspiration, vision, mission, b. commitment, c. functional/ action – cross pollinating, support
4. Don’t deny conflict – resolve it
5. Organizational alignment with sensitivity to context
6. Listening for convergance
7. Structure – good teams, work, measurable outcomes

Round 2 Questions

Half the tables discussed Question 1 –
How is the field of strengths based approaches to change and resiliency changing? How can we respond?

Highlights of Discussions:
- Technology is supporting organizations to do more w/less
- Call upon the federal government to integrate strengths based approaches into how resources are distributed
- ABCD is not new, but new sexy, non-partisan. Conversations/interactions now more authentic, curious, spiritual and move toward implementation.
- It is not a field, it is a philosophy. It is becoming more mainstream.

Half the tables discussed Question 2 –
What question if answered, could make the most difference in creating healthy and resilient communities in Arizona?

The Questions the groups came up with included:
- What can we do to get people to come together like our 50’s neighborhoods? (We are in this together)
- How do we define resilience in communities and find the glue to hold the community together based on principles of participation and sustainability?
- How do we adapt to make a difference in creating health and resilient communities?
- How do we motivate people to commit to and benefit from “new communities” i.e. schools, AB community, cyber?
- What Do We Want?

Round 3:

The tables that developed questions in Round 2 – left them for people to discuss in round 3 in half the tables.

Q.How do we adapt to make a difference in creating health and resilient communities?
Report Form:
Highlights: collaboration, innovations, new methods, diversity
Powerful Quotes: If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you’ve already got!
Recommendations: Think outside the box. Be open to Change.

Q.What can we do to get people to come together like our 50’s neighborhoods? (We are in this together)

Caring neighbors, felt safe, you know your neighbors
Poweful Quotes:
I wasn’t old enough to remember the 50’s
Encourage architecture that creates neighborhoods, front porches, parks, walking paths (safe), encourage block parties

Q.How do we motivate people to commit to and benefit from “new communities” i.e. schools, AB community, cyber?
Make it easy, identify gifts to benefit from
Define the community
Volunteers need to be appreciated
Find easy communication vehicles
Powerful Quotes:
Community is different. Could be schools, Art’s organizations, cyber
Take a different view of community, not just physical neighborhood
Identify activities or gifts that the community could benefit from
Make it easy!
Be grateful for all contributions
Develop easy communication vehicles

Q:What Do We Want?
Agreement on the need for ea individual to share values and what they want and why – before moving to identifying the issues and the problem to solve
Powerful Quotes:
What will inspire people to be involved?
Commitment will stem from creating and communication that is inclusive
World Café will be more powerful with a more diverse group with divergent points of view but focused on a common goal.

Q. How do we define resilience in communities and find the glue to hold the community together based on principles of participation and sustainability?
Remove “we” and “they”
Common vision
Foster commitment to vision (various means)
Make it a priority (how?)
Keep the momentum

The other half of the tables discussed the following question:

Q. How can we as a community of practice create an environment that enables each person to contribute our best, inspires us to keep learning and produces valued results?

Sharing, Supporting, Engagement, Outreach – new ppl and being welcoming
Value of giving, collaborate on purpose, for a purpose that serves the larger community – think more about giving than receiving… return, revive, HNK roots
Recognition we (HNK consultants) we’re all in this together
Small HNK community groups to discuss issues, ideas, a “wisdom group” and get connected
Establish a safe environment to share, respect of differences in opinion

Powerful Quotes:
Keep doing what we’re doing, more of it, and continue to evolve.
Utilize the HNK Water cooler, create wisdom circles, creating deeper meaning, makes a difference in our lives
Everyone in the room is equal as far as their input, perspectives, and ideas

Provide opportunities for new ppl to collaboration together.
More nutrients – massages, good food, fellowship, innovative ideas
Provide ongoing learning experiences and activities that lead to the results of creating a safe environment

Widening the Frame

We've been thinking about using a graphic to help talk about how strengths based approaches to change compare to traditional approaches. What do you think about this?

Let me know at or by posting a comment.

Happy Holidays 2009

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season from Cassandra and Sarah.

Dan Pink's Ted Talk on Intrinsic and External Motivation

This is a great explanation of what science knows about the limits of external motivators and the power of intrinsic motivators -- autonomy, mastery, and purpose.