Sunday, June 10, 2012

Whose Life Are You Living?: Part 2

Sunday Service Discussion Notes for June 10, 2012

Sunday June 10th we concluded our discussion on Whose Life Are You Living? The summary for Part 1 of this discussion may be found here.

We asked the question, "How do we know when listening to others is better for you than what you want?" Lara, our facilitator for this discussion, shared a thought from author and Jungian Analyst James Hollis: One of the questions we need to ask ourselves when we consider whether we are being authentic, and whose advice we need to heed to achieve this end is "Does this experience make you larger or smaller?" We agreed that it can sometimes be very difficult to tell whether it is best to listen to ourselves or to take the advice of others in a given situation. There may be times when we are not fully self-aware, or possibly in denial of the reality of a situation, and our inner voice may not be giving us helpful direction.

The Gifts of Imperfection is a book by author BrenĂ© Brown, in which she offers guidance on the daily practice of letting go of who we think we should be and seeing what we are. She writes, “Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection to wake up in the morning and think, No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.  It’s going to bed at night thinking,Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn’t change the truth that I am also brave and worthy of love and belonging.”

The question was raised: How important is it for you to be right? A story was shared about a person who was involved in a car accident, and the insurance company decided that this person was at fault. This person's friends are encouraging her to take the other driver to court over the issue, to prove that the insurance company and the other driver are in the wrong. She is now faced with choosing to go through the rigmarole of the legal system, which she would like to avoid, in order to vindicate herself, or to simply let the matter go and get on with her life, with the written records indicating that she was in the wrong, even though she does not feel that this is the case. She is asking herself, "Do you want to be right, or happy? Is right feeling good or is it doing good for yourself?"

We wanted to know what is the big question to ask ourselves to know if we are living an authentic life and is it good for us. The first thing we might ask is, "Does it feel good to me?" This prompted one participant to note that it can sometimes be a challenge to know whether "feeling good" is enough to justify a behavior. The example of substance abuse was given - certain actions may feel good to us, but in reality, they may not be beneficial in the long run. How do we know the difference, especially when we are sometimes too close to the situation to be objective. This dilemma gave birth to the next question we can ask, "Is it good for me?" Perhaps if we are able to discern if various actions and behaviors are good for us overall, we can begin to tell the difference between pursuits that feel good, and pursuits that also are good. We decided that if we can answer 'yes' for both of those questions, then we believe we are on the right track.

We finally asked the question "How often do we live our lives outside of our comfort zone?" and decided that this opened up a range of other questions on the matter of comfort and discomfort in our lives, which will be our topic for the next two weeks (June 17th and 24th).

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