Friday, August 26, 2016

Ruby Slippers

Last month, I had the opportunity of a lifetime. I say that, but it was precisely what I want to do with my life on a regular basis. I was asked to facilitate and lead the Presbyterian Women's Retreat for Covenant Presbyterian Church. Not only was I asked to facilitate this retreat, I was given full creative license to bring to the group whatever I believed the Spirit was leading me to share. This elicits two words: Dream Job. 

I prayed about the content of this pending weekend for weeks and decided that what I am called to share is what the Lord is sharing with me all the time. Before I knew it, I was creative a retreat featuring the best of Waked Up. I called it "Ruby Slippers: Discovering your Spiritual Present through your Spiritual Past." This retreat would entail spending three days diving into the joys of our childhood's in order to remember how we were created to encounter the Divine on a daily basis.

I believe that whatever it is that you loved as a 7-year-old, whatever it is that you chose to spend your time doing that made you feel full and happy, is the purest form of how you experience joy today. Our inner 7-year-old knows better how we were called to love and experience abiding joy than our distracted adult selves. By tapping into the spaces of joy we experienced as children, then we can begin to reclaim those very same spaces in our adult lives. 

I have taught this theme before in terms of finding what you want to do for your life, i.e. your profession, but for this retreat, I wanted folks to REMEMBER how they connected to joy as a child. The hope being that the spaces where you connected to joy are actually the same spaces and practices that connected you to God. Additionally, I believe God made you to long for those sacred moments because this is where you meet him. These moments are actually prayers. 

During this weekend we revisited story-book characters from our cultural collective like "Little Women", "Matilda", "Bridge to Terabithia", "Peter Pan", "Harry Potter", and of course, "The Wizard of Oz". These characters and their stories became doors that opened us up to the nuances of being 7-years-old that we often block out and forget in adulthood. These memories propelled us to share our own character narratives based on the experiences of our specific childhoods. Through writing, drawing, creating a children's book, painting and just spending time in conversation, a transformation began happening in our eclectic group of women. It was like taking a deep breath and feeling that subtle energy begin to fill your body once more. Eyes became lighter and laugh's a little more twinkly.

There is a lot of power in telling your own story. By telling your story you are reclaiming a truth you believe about yourself and each time you tell it in new situations you are rediscovering something that you needed to know about who you are or who you want to be. By telling the stories of how we have experienced God or had encounters with the Divine, we were reclaiming spaces where we could meet God again and reminding ourselves of moments where we knew that the Divine was real and invested in our lives. 

There is magic available in the human experience of telling your story. In fact, the authors of our lives are the ones that truly have the authority over our very wills to live. This is why it is critical for us to reclaim authorship over our own narratives and become the people that the Divine created for us to grow into. It's almost like a spell how powerfully the truths of our living, breathing joys can be told by the 7-year-old versions of ourselves. Just claiming these memories will give them fuel to come into existence once more even without our intentional gestures in trying to bring them to life. This is the magic of story telling. Every story you hear and tell will become part of you and like an automaton, it will begin to shape your daily gestures in living. 

Ruby Slipper's was a powerfully fun, transformational delight of a weekend. I hope to have another opportunity to lead in this way or even lead this very same retreat material. For many, we spend a lot of time trying to manipulated and influence the world around us, but when we take a look within and claim the joys that God has designed for us and given to us, the changes we seek seem to just wash over the experiences around us. This is why it is worth taking a moment to look within. Jesus said, "Do this and remember me". We remember and then we become. My hope is that people will remember the precious ways that God has already designed for us to find Him, to connect to him, and in remembering we take action. 

We have had the power all along. We are wearing the ruby slippers. 

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