Saturday, October 31, 2009

It’s Dark Just Now… Finding Our Way Home

Growing up in my home town of Karratha holds some special memories. One of these is as a late-teen walking home early in the morning hours (i.e. 1 or 2 A.M.) by aid only of memory—the street lights were turned out, probably as I recall, about midnight. Finding my way home was a challenge, but I generally had no problem making it.

A very different scenario I find myself in these days is in my work. I’m called an “advisor,” but in all reality it’s often the organisation I work for advising me on the broad plan they require for safety.

My role is discerning what the real needs are (through trial and error, questioning and feedback, primarily) and then finding strategies for facilitating, coaching, coordinating and advising at the levels of planning and implementation. It’s a different “home” we’re seeking; home’s about an end in mind—a particular outcome. Broadly it’s keeping everyone safe and healthy.

Finding our way home is a spiritual concept at its heart. Like a fuel-laden passenger jet inbound with a critical operational problem, in turbulence, sleet, mist and rain, banking and searching for the appropriate runway—we too are seeking our way.

Life is a journey to be mastered. It’s not until we find ourselves on the way home, spiritually, that all the dots connect up for us. For some, that journey envelopes the whole lifespan. Others find it more easily.

What is equal for all is this concept of finding our way home, spiritually in the first instance, and then literally when all is said and done; in the final analysis!

And to think of the tragedy for those who never find their way home, spiritually and (or certainly) literally… it hardly bears thought it’s so horrible… yet, that is life!

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

The Wonder and Health of an Enquiring Mind

“An enquiring mind is the best defence against issues of attack on mental, and therefore emotional, wellness.”

Almost all of life starts and finishes in the mind. We’ll think this a little odd but the creative mind has the tidal wave power for us to break like a tsunami over our mental, emotional and spiritual futures and it perhaps leaves us never having to face that torrent of hopeless sadness again. (I say “never” very conditionally.)

The enquiring mind is set out of a paradigm for moment-by-moment, default learning. It’s a mental construct that blocks the negative out simply because it leaves no room for it to enter—most if not all space is prioritised for learning and growing.

The enquiring mind does this more and more, the more it is practiced. Like the rewiring (myelination[1]) of the brain, the brain is gradually being programmed (or reprogrammed) to thrive, not simply survive. This is precisely how new habits are formed, in many cases replacing old, inferior or bad ones.

Sure, we need to ‘save’ some part of our minds for dealing with the tougher things of life that cross our bows, and these will take priority even over the enquiring processes we’ve just talked about.

‘Maintaining’ mental processes come before ‘improving’ mental processes do. It’s just the pecking order of survival vs. thriving. The most important accompanying virtue in these cases is, of course, courage: courage to fight in truth; to endure the necessary journey in truth.

We must never underestimate the role of the enquiring “learning” mind in our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. It alone—the mindset—has the power of optimism and resilience that is life-giving and positive, leaving less room overall for the things of darkness.

Attack is often the best form of defence!

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

[1] “myelination.”, Retrieved 31 October 2009. It says myelination is the formation of the myelin sheath around a nerve fiber (US). My thoughts now: This myelin sheathed nerve fibre then becomes a ‘preferred’ neural pathway, and so the brain begins to ‘go a different route’ in its thinking.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Waiting to be “Discovered?”

Ever been to an event where a famous person gave a talk and afterwards you felt a funny sort of envious admiration for them? It’s a bittersweet sort of emotion, which leads us to identify something about ourselves—it is this:

Inside almost every human being is either an overt of covert desire to ‘make it big’ in this world. The truth is the odds of us actually cracking the big time in any of our chosen passions are probably 0.2 percent, if that. In some arenas it’s probably more like a mathematical impossibility.

So, what do we do with this? How do we resolve these facts in the mix of our desires to rise to the very top (or even mid) echelons of our selected fields?

1. Well, we could acknowledge that for all the fame and riches of reaching ‘the top’ there are a lot of down sides to that reality, like having very little private life. And when is enough ever enough, regarding success?

2. We could be realistic of our chances and opportunities and simply try our best; but somehow that’s not quite good enough to answer our dilemma. (We should realise, however, that when we “grow” our expectations in a way life can’t deliver, we will eventually be disappointed.)

There’s a commanding paradox involved in just doing what we love for the sheer delight of it; no strings attached. Even though we reject—at a level—that we’ll ever be a “superstar,” something funny happens.

We suddenly begin to ‘breathe’ and then we’re able to develop our chosen passions in ways that a stifling goals-driven approach might prevent. All of a sudden we can find ourselves with the best chance of ‘being discovered,’ as we discover ourselves!—and that’s perhaps, ironically, the richest form of “discovery” right there.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

To Tell or Be Told: THAT is the Question

Tertiary studies have not only been enlightening, personally, they’ve also opened my world up to the vastly, yet subtly, different methods that are used to help us demonstrate our knowledge, and therefore competence.

In secular university (“College” for the Americans) I found there was always a huge emphasis placed on referencing everything—no findings or conclusions were to be based from my own perceptions. (Mind you, I did study science.) This method, as I reflect, is the BE-TOLD method.

In seminary I found different emphases—enter the world of the more abstract. Referencing was critical, but the subtle shift came in the need to draw my own conclusions—to not do this meant lower marks. This is the TELL method. It really took me some time to get my head around asserting my own opinion, drawn of course and based on, the referenced material.

(A hairpin turn, sorry.) There is a point of concern here regarding how we best influence those people in our midsts—those we’re charged with leading.

From their viewpoint, do they tell or be told? Do we facilitate or instruct? Do we coach or lead?

Culturally, we’re rewarded for either or both methods of engaging with people, depending on the context we’re working from. Certainly Australian culture is shaped more toward the TELL method whereby constructs of ‘functioning’ management are loose and we achieve the best results with open communication and consultation—real authentic features of both. Workers otherwise resist ‘being told.’ Influence is the key.

Yet, it is my impression that it’s not like this in the US or in other places; say particularly Asia, India etc where people seek leadership to manage (and thereby, influence) via the BE-TOLD method. It’s okay for a workplace leader to assertively direct people in what to do and how to do it—it’s the default drive.

I suppose there’s not much more to it than simply understanding what style is appropriate—neither is inherently more right—but, given the situation and the people at hand it is for the person leading/influencing and the prevailing organisational culture to determine.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Facilitating Change: Engaging the Hearts and Minds

It’s an unending, perplexing struggle to which humanity has no real answer in the practical sense; only a plethora of theory that is occasionally found—by experience—to be in truth i.e. in this world, backed in science.

This struggle has ensured that there have been whole professions and entire scholarly demographics’ constructed as a means of answering this eternal dilemma—the struggle with the human condition as it meets the world—a world that chews us up and spits us out as quickly as it looks at us.

And it seems that we’re at least close to some plausible answer (to the ‘eternal dilemma’) when we begin to play with the notion that we human beings are extremely limited in many of our capacities, particularly our mental capacities.

You’ll already know we’re very imperfect—therefore, why would we unreasonably expect so much?—of ourselves; of others; of our employees, employers, family members, friends...

It is predicted by science (some might say it is therefore ‘fact’) that of the 1,850 bits of information our brains process every 1/18th of a second (yes, that’s 33,000 bits of ‘binary’ every second!) only 0.3 percent is consumed in, or available as, conscious thought.

(Mind you, do the math; that’s still a fair bit—that’s one hundred pieces of conscious information per second. Still, this shows how much is going on mentally at any given moment!)

As change agents and facilitators of enhancement for the global enterprise of goodness, we must bear in mind that it’s the hearts and minds we must engage; it never has and it never will be any different.

Given our conscious minds can only absorb and process so much, we’re best to focus on what’s really relevant—that which captures the attention.

Remember DIPI:

- Dangerous

- Important

- Pleasurable

- Interesting

Information containing the above formula, or attending to it, is much more likely to be heard.

The rest is screened out—of no use to the conscious brain; it slips, therefore, into the subconscious and then away into the ether! Recall the term, ‘In one ear, out the other?’

When we deal with the eternal dilemma of the frail, yet paradoxically powerful, human capacities and condition, we learn to keep things simple and to the point.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

Acknowledgment to Dr. Ali Dale of Sentis for information on DIPI and the processing speed of the brain.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Embracing the Terrible, Delicious, Ambiguous Unknown

“Life is known only by those who have found a way to be comfortable with change and the unknown.”

–Rachel Remen.

In a word: FAITH. A believer at least knows the theory of how they should approach life; whether they do that in deed or not is another question altogether.

As I drove along the roadway from work recently, I noticed before me pilot vehicles, police escorts and then two enormous low-loader articulated trucks; a payload of gigantic metal parts took up the immediate vista. Great! It was good at least that I was going in a different direction, so I afforded myself a look of wonder at the size of the operation.

What I didn’t expect was to be met further along by this moving world of metal; suddenly I find myself behind this convoy. Any thought I had of passing and going on my way at the speed I chose evaporated for the next twenty kilometres. I found myself, yet again, surrendering. There’s nothing more I could do. It was time to cool my heals.

Effective surrender is a key outcome of faith; a preponderance of acceptance. I was in the hands of others and just had to submit to the system before me.

This is a pretty easy example, notwithstanding the desire to become impatient and annoyed—of which anyone’s capable given a lack of self-control.

“Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious ambiguity.”

–Gilda Radner.

Whilst my traffic example is hardly worth a response of well-founded pity or sympathy it demonstrates how easily things change in our momentary lives. We never really know.

All we can do is continually train ourselves to more and more embrace the delicious ambiguities that arrive on our doorsteps, smile and get on with it.

Life’s like that. And it will never, ever change. Change is inevitable. The unknown stands before us right now. Looks tasty!

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

Alcohol and Other Drugs (A&OD) at Work – Myths and Realities

Alcohol and cannabis use has declined; as has general illicit drug use in the community, according to the latest research. But this same research indicates individual usages in tighter demographics of society[1] are on the increase. Some other surprising revelations were made by Professor Steve Allsop, Director of the National Drug Research Institute (Australia) at the Perth Work Safe Forum 2009.

Workplace Considerations

Drug Testing

Prof. Allsop didn’t seem to be an advocate of drug testing being that urine testing is now being found not as reliable a predictor for impairment as was once assumed; urine testing only confirms metabolites—that an employee has or hasn’t ‘used’ sometime in the measurable past.

Urine testing is also considered invasive. Other factors like large weight loss during the testing period can skew results, particularly regarding cannabinoids where fatty deposits are secreted in abnormally high volumes during these and other times.

Saliva testing was favoured because it predicts impairment better, but with the stated acknowledgement that cannabis use is not easily detected because it isn’t water soluble—only very recent use will be detected.

According to Prof. Allsop, “drug testing is not [the] magic bullet” some might think it is. In fact, there is “no strong evidence from controlled studies that drug testing reduces drug problems.”

A&OD Usage Patterns & Potential Workplace Impacts

Regular users of A&OD appear to present less cause for concern for employers and authorities as usage is managed more responsibly than say for the binge user—the concern for this demographic is the long term health consequences of prolonged use.

Workplace A&OD programs should therefore target binge usage toward intoxication, and secondarily, look to identify and support those A&OD dependents’ with Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and the like. Dependence, as we already know, tends—though not always—to show up in employees’ work performance.

Blending A&OD Strategies with Other Programs/Systems

A&OD strategies carry an obvious stigma. To de-stigmatise the proactive steps companies should take, the strategies can be melded covertly into other programs and systems to protect, and provide for, their success and also make them more naturally attractive for those who might partake in (and need) them.

Poorly designed and implemented, though well intended, strategies can actually make matters worse.

The “Golden Triangle” (in Understanding Drug Issues)

Holistic views on A&OD matters and issues are best facilitated via a tripartite view considering the individual (health, gender, age etc), the drug (e.g. pharmacology, amount, how often etc), and the environment (time, place etc).

Generally Interesting A&OD Myths (backed by Research)

1. MYTH: Cannabis grown these days is significantly higher in active THC than generations past and is therefore significantly more potent. FACT: There is evidence to suggest THC levels are higher but not always significantly higher. Growing methods may enhance potency.

2. MYTH: Illicit drug use is on the increase. FACT: Generally this is not so, except in the cases of ecstasy and amphetamine. Cannabis usage has declined markedly (38 percent drop) over a very short space of time. Those using drugs, however, are using more and more often, and this is the key societal concern presently (especially amongst young people; though interestingly fewer young people overall are using A&OD as compared with 15 years ago).

3. MYTH: All drink drivers are dangerous. FACT: Evidence suggests it’s not really the regular (“drip, drip”) drinker who’s most prone to cause mayhem on the roads. It is the younger driver who’s both inexperienced in driving and driving (and who mixes the two) that research suggests is the biggest concern.

INTERESTING FACT: Three in four males used to smoke tobacco. That figure is now less than 20 percent.

CONCLUDING NOTE: I’d have preferred to reference the quotes herein, however, Prof. Allsop’s paper is not yet available online and wasn’t included as part of the package from the Forum.

[1] Young people 20-29 years and the indigenous are most susceptible due to the prevalence of A&OD matter and issues in their respective environments.

The Power of the Second-hand Compliment – Kindness Personified

A long time ago, a colleague of mine related with me a story about his wife and one of her friends. Apparently they’d been comparing their lives and making small talk about what their preferences were regarding their respective husbands and what housework they encouraged them to do. (My friend was a bit of a dab hand around the kitchen and didn’t mind helping his wife out.)

It was out of this discussion that my colleague’s wife gently discovered that not all husbands are as amenable around the house as hers was. It was quite a nice revelation for the both of them.

He was naturally feeling pretty good about himself for being recognised for his overall good attitude and behaviour. In fact, so much so was he buoyed by this matter he began doing even more housework, offering kindnesses unusual for even him.

It was not until recently that I was given cause to re-reflect upon this powerful truth—people love receiving good, positive feedback about what they’re doing right.

The power of kindness begets kindness. It breeds. It multiplies and grows like seed spread over fertile ground.

The fact was this inadvertent compliment brought power to this relationship of my colleague’s and his wife; as he extended more kindnesses, she felt more loved, and she would in turn do things for him. In the sight of his peers this colleague of mine started feeling very happy—both of them were. She respected him because he loved her, not just in words, but most importantly in powerful actions.

These two suddenly had such a strong relationship that others began to ask why they were so happy—they’d almost forgotten about it themselves. But then they remembered. It was her inadvertent realisation relating to the second-hand compliment he’d received from her impressed friend. That’s what started it. Like a snowball rolling gradually but reliably down a chilly mountain their mutual kindnesses gathered pace and intensity toward a crescendo of love.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Managing Stress Is Like (Playing) A Game of Chess – What Are Our Options?

You arrive at a train station and have literally five minutes before your train leaves, but you have a problem; you’re busting ‘to go.’ You have the option right there before you. Go to the toilet and stress a little about the possibility of missing the train, or go straight to the platform, and wait for the train without risk of missing it, but endure a 40 minute trip busting ‘to go.’ What do you choose? (Perhaps it’s leave home five minutes earlier so you don’t have to stress?!)

Provided I have sufficient time I consider the stress of the first option far more alluring than the stress of option two. This simply underscores a fact that managing stress is a moment-by-moment issue of life.

My logic’s about stressing a little to risk missing the train, as compared with stressing a lot more by ‘holding on.’ Of course, then there’s the relief (and perhaps even mild exhilaration) of having risked and yet then still having made the train.

Life is like a game of chess—a jigsaw puzzle consisting of pieces that we’d call life actions and reactions to the events and situations before us. The rules of the game of life (like chess) are largely open to our choice and order—we order many of the things we do. We must inevitably choose to do what we do using our wisdom; a wisdom unique to us as individuals.

Of course, it’s inherent in the design for life—in this fallen world—that we’ll occasionally get it wrong, notwithstanding what we’d term ‘our very best efforts.’

There are options we make or take in planning our imminent moments and subsequent futures. Amongst these options is a commensurate or ancillary payload of stress, depending on the choice. And with this, managing and maintaining stress levels becomes a key life juggling act known to all.

An important “option” to leave you with perhaps... you board the train and then you’re “bombarded” with noise or some other irritating stimuli. What are the options; the options enshrined in wisdom?

Stress is a funny thing. It proves us both fickle and real, depending on the time and circumstance; the former avoidable, the latter, not.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Building Things and the Work It Takes

Where have all the entrepreneurs gone? All those creative souls making a megabuck or solving the world’s problems… oh, that’s right, they’re still here!—or should I say, we’re still here!

It almost seems fractional, but we’re all rather entrepreneurial. I asked my wife very casually, ‘What’s your definition of who’s an entrepreneur?’ and she said, seemingly without a nanosecond’s thought, ‘Have an idea and run with it.’

And that’s just it. We all have our ideas and we all tend to run with them, more or less. Some just have superior ideas, or they run further with them.

Of course, the secular world would have us think this is all about business and profit—this is not so in real terms. The broader reality is so much more fun and vibrant.

It’s about building things. “Things” is a large concept that looks ever so different depending on the situations, the people, the context, the environment.

There’s a world of possibility available—a much bigger realm than we’ll ever care to realise.

I recently had a reflection regarding how much work is involved in ‘building things.’ It’s truly astounding and many who’ve not travelled the extensively entrepreneurial path may not even be aware. It’s just staggering how many hoops must be jumped through—even on small endeavours.

To achieve a great thing takes a great amount of time and a great journey—nothing significant happens overnight.

And we’d do well to remember this as vessels of good ideas. We think of something amazing that we can do or be involved in and we feed that idea. We fertilise and water it, nurturing it healthily.

What are we building? What legacy are we leaving? What things of true magnitude do we perhaps baulk at, simply because it’s ‘too hard’ or because it’s ‘too much effort?’

Start, continue, resolve, fight, adapt, compromise, establish, grow, renew, commission, improve, finish—celebrate. And then, start again…

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

The Right of Spiritual “Quiet Enjoyment”

In Real Estate law, it’s recognised that Quiet Enjoyment means:

“A Covenant that promises that the grantee or tenant of an estate in real property will be able to possess the premises in peace, without disturbance by hostile claimants.”[1]

The principle asserted in legal terms is one of protecting the right of someone, a tenant, to entire peace with regard to the lawful use of the property. There is only one general condition—the activities must be lawful.

The spiritual perspective on this principle of common or civic law is not too dissimilar.

We share a common right to ‘enjoy quietly’ i.e. peaceably, our thoughts and meditations—our heart longings for a god of our choosing, come what may, and for the right to worship and serve that god according to whatever customs, traditions, sacraments and practices might be afforded that deity.

It’s a common sort of reasonable respect. And there’s something of a warning here for the would-be purveyor of spiritual things. We are all tempted to polarise toward our own beliefs and away from those that are markedly dissimilar.

And this principle is beyond religion for we all have beliefs about spirituality—we’re all spiritual beings, whether our spirituality is based in ‘the spiritual’ or the more material—it doesn’t matter. We all worship something(s).

We all have a right to quiet enjoyment of our chosen spirituality. And to continue that right we should be apt at recognising the importance of revering all others with equally fervent stances toward their beliefs, no matter how bizarre it seems to us.

And when we think we’re so pious to not draw inappropriate judgments of others’ religions and spiritual bents we ought to take a second look, for it’s our very human nature to compare, criticise and judge; especially foreigners. It’s an impious fact; all are prone.

Provided people enjoy their spirituality as a means of not hassling others—a.k.a. the ‘hostile claimant’—they have every right to do so with everyone’s unwavering blessing. For we, in our wanton derision of others, become the hostile claimant—and the thin end of the wedge is broached in a flash.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

When There’s Not Enough Room in “this Town” for the Both of Us!

Conflict. As Fozzie Bear said in The Muppet Movie (1979), it seems ‘we can’t live with [it] and we can’t live without [it].’ It’s an interminable thing that both marks us “human” and dogs us. Families, particularly, are plagued with this rogue phenomenon much more than they’d otherwise wish—trapped in co-existing, at times, in a home ‘not big enough’ for the amount of space that their combined number (and their respective egos) require.

So, how do we rationalise this hell-hole situation; the time of rampant loathing and the desire for dispersion. Well, it probably helps to know that if one person’s feeling alien to this team called the ‘family unit,’ others will be feeling similar, if not the same. After all, it’s not just about us, is it?

It’s funny that conflict is such a ‘necessary’ part of life when it need not be. Conflict for the large part could be jettisoned provided we have mature attitudes toward issues of conflict, adequate self-awareness and self-management, and time and space for those others involved—seeing their viewpoints, and not simply our own. Sounds a lot like emotional intelligence to me.

Conflict can only best be addressed when:

1. Both/all people party to the conflict are mature enough to process the stimuli that angers or upsets them;

2. Both/all parties enter the conflict emotion-free, ready to listen to the other party and learn. Stephen Covey said, ‘Seek first to understand, and then be understood.’

a. Genuine empathy mixed with managed and controlled emotions in those party to the dispute or issue goes a long way to quick, effective resolution.

3. People stop trying to sort the issue/s out if one or both/all begin getting upset; further harm, anger, resentment and hurt is inevitable if we try to solve disputes when clouded emotionally.

Conflict pretty much spells the death knell for peace if anger and negative emotions are not processed. And just how are they processed? Well, that’s a whole other topic deserving of scholarly books.

Remember that a vast number of conflicts in the life begin, and continue over, very small, trifling issues—issues that given a right, logical mind, and a more complete understanding, we’d almost laugh off. But, most of the time conflicts rise due to more insidious issues—driven, at times, deep from the subconscious mind, generating feelings buried deep within the heart.

Let’s commit to never sweating the small stuff—bear in mind, nearly everything in life is small stuff. And if it’s small stuff that’s pushing us over the edge, let’s ask ourselves if there’s a little more to it deeper down.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

When Our Expectations Fly All the Way Home

“We’re living wisely when our expectations are super-aligned with our possible realities, and consistently so.”

I’m often surprised (after the event) at how easily I get internally frustrated in little life situations. I might have several things to do at once, and then I get an innocently enough positioned query from someone who’s doing nothing wrong in interrupting me; yet I’m at times so innately tempted to blow them off. These are, in a sense, incompatible goals and they fly in the face of my often unthought-of, subconsciously laid expectations.

I’m a pretty simple creature, really, and you might relate because at source, we’re all pretty simple creatures. We’re easily put off and our unthought-of expectations often wreak havoc with our happiness—because we’re not aware of them, and because we’re not disciplined enough to conform them to our reality—the reality none of us can totally control.

Does life success and happiness get any more complicated, from an intrapersonal viewpoint, than aligning our expectations with reality? Think about it. When we’ve aligned our expectations to the probable or likely realities before us we’re more likely to be presented with outcomes fitted to our perceptions of those realities.

Expectations are never more importantly laid or explored than in our relationships—where unsaid expectations often reign, wrecking havoc, over our happiness and that of others’ too.

Hitting the targets of life instead of missing them is based in a deeper understanding of the forces at play—and this, from a process of reflection, awareness and consideration. It prepares in a way that also has room for variance in outcome.

Imagine if we simply took some five minute breaks each day to think about our expectations for the immediate future—that hour; the next; the day...

We’d almost certainly be more content and simultaneously have the tools and the where-with-all to embark peacefully upon life.

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.

“Here She Comes” – L’amore Miss Sarajevo!

Rarely are we ever so touched as when we listen to something that so effuses raw, unadulterated, spine-tingling love—the purest and the loveliest kind—the kind from heaven itself! And listening to operatic tenor, Luciano Pavarotti (d. 2007), sing his part in the U2/Passengers song, Miss Sarajevo, I contend I’m brought to the brink of wonder-filled tears.

But it’s not until I received a deciphered version of his lyric that I more completely understood the meaning he expresses through his emotively booming upper register.

Pavarotti’s lyric in English:

You say that the river

Finds the way to the sea

And like the river

You will come to me

Beyond the borders

And the dry lands

You say that like a river

Like a river...

The love will come

The love...

And I don’t know how to pray anymore

And in love I don’t know how to hope anymore

And for that love I don’t know how to wait anymore.

And the type of hopelessness known to Sarajevo’s people during that bleak time during the 1990s is portrayed here, as it was in Bill Carter’s documentary which inspired the song.

And the answer to all of this, spiritually at least, is when we reach the end of our tether, we finally reach an acceptance that we seem to have little choice about. When we’re cornered and all we can do is hope or lose hope, what are we going to do—a choice still beckons.

But if we take ourselves to that river, we see it merge with the sea; a means completed in an end. Yet, the dry lands endure. We know these resplendently parched dry lands of the soul exhume our lost, ailing love; when they compel their way through our weakly rebellious spirit’s and we no longer contend against “fate” we finally reach that sweet place.

And the most wonderful image is the revelation of looking back on this place from a delivered perspective; we look back upon our hopelessness and we celebrate that somehow we managed to remain ‘mustard seed faithful.’

Here we come!

© S. J. Wickham, 2009.