Spirituality & Personal Growth
The College for Bishops Leadership Institute was established to provide educational resources for new bishops as well as trending informational resources for all bishops. Spirituality & Personal Growth focuses on specific resources such as:
New items are added monthly. To comment on current items or suggest additional topics and/or resources, please use the feedback form at the bottom of this page.
Emotional Health & Well Being
Many of us tend to do just about anything to avoid conversation or even eye contact with strangers. And smartphones make it easier than ever to do that. A recent study found that phones can keep us from even exchanging brief smiles with people we meet in public places. But a body of research has shown that we might just be short-changing our own happiness by ignoring opportunities to connect with the people around us.
People ask “How do I get started?” but the real question usually is “How do I get started when I don’t have any idea what to make?” And the answer resides in the first law of thermodynamics: An object at rest tends to stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. In other words, to get started you need to become the outside force which starts the mental and physical ball rolling. You need to overcome the inertia of inaction and indecision and begin developing some creative momentum.
7 in 10 Americans hope to die at home. But half die in nursing homes and hospitals, and more than a tenth are cruelly shuttled from one to other in their final three days. Pain is a major barrier to a peaceful death, and nearly half of dying Americans suﬀer from uncontrolled pain. Here are some suggestions about how to get the best from our imperfect health care system and how to prepare for a good end of life.
In 1983, in what would become one of the show's most famous episodes, broadcast on Thanksgiving Day, when show executives knew grown-ups would be home watching with their kids, Big Bird learned that Mister Hooper, who ran Sesame's corner store and lovingly made his birdseed milkshakes, had died. This was a master class on how to talk with children about death and here are a few takeaway suggestions.
There is a key problem with how we talk about depression, anxiety and other forms of suﬀering: we don’t consider context. We act like human distress can be assessed solely on a checklist that can be separated out from our lives and labelled as brain diseases. If we started to take people’s actual lives into account when we treat depression and anxiety, it would require an entire system overhaul. When you have a person with extreme human distress, we need to stop treating the symptoms. The symptoms are a messenger of a deeper problem. Let’s get to the deeper problem.
Faith leaders manage personal and professional communications, social media accounts, and a constant barrage of information and dings. How can you create a personal digital sabbath or rule of life, and digital boundaries so as to NOT burn yourself out? Hear the stories of Rev. Keith Anderson and Andrea Rosenberg McKellar from VTS’s Building Faith and learn about how they went from digitally overwhelmed to working on their streamlined online lives.
As we ponder the first-world scope of our possessions, I wonder, as Christians, should we even own property? After all, in the early church, believers held everything in common, and the Hutterites and other Anabaptist groups have set admirable examples of how to live with few material belongings. What sort of relationship should today’s Christian maintain with material possessions? See also the following TED Talk on possessions:
The process of making lists slows us down, helps us name what we truly want, educates our desires, and calms our anxieties. Obviously, the powerful lists above differ from grocery lists or to-do lists, helpful as these are for daily living. Lists that take us into mindfulness require us to notice things we would otherwise overlook. The secret of a good list is locating a candid category that engages a curious mind.
We all know the ancient Greek story of Sisyphus who revolted against the gods and was punished as a consequence. He was sentenced to push a boulder up a hill, just to see it roll down again, and keep doing so forever and ever and ever. How do we make sense of life in those moments when our ideas about the world suddenly don’t work anymore, when every daily routine — going to work and back — and all our efforts seem pointless and misdirected?
We are all storytellers — all engaged, as the anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson puts it, in an “act of creation” of the “composition of our lives.” Yet unlike most stories we’ve heard, our lives don’t follow a predefined arc. Our identities and experiences are constantly shifting, and storytelling is how we make sense of it. By taking the disparate pieces of our lives and placing them together into a narrative, we create a unified whole that allows us to understand our lives as coherent — and coherence, psychologists say, is a key source of meaning.
In navigation, dead reckoning is how you calculate your location. It involved knowing where you’ve been and how you got there—speed, route, and wind conditions. It’s the same with life: we can’t chart a new course until we find out where we are, how we cam to that point, and where we want to go. When you reckon with emotion, you change your narrative. You have to acknowledge your feelings and get curious about the story behind them. Then you can challenge your confabulations and get to the truth.
Research has documented that outstanding leaders take time to reflect. Their success depends on the ability to access their unique perspective and bring it to their decisions and sense-making every day. Extraordinary leadership is rooted in several capabilities: seeing before others see, understanding before others understand, and acting before others act. A leader’s unique perspective is an important source of creativity and competitive advantage. But the reality is that most of us live such fast-paced, frenzied lives that we fail to leave time to actually listen to ourselves