Shifting Your Perspective — Center for Action and Contemplation

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Shifting Your Perspective

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The Alternative Orthodoxy offers a way to intentionally choose openness and release.

March 14th, 2022

When was the last time your worldview was challenged or changed? What happened to shift the story for you? Often these shifts can result in some powerfully transformative experiences. A shift in how we identify with or see my story and our story can transform how we live inside of The Story — how we act with coworkers, support our community, raise our children, and even how we see and experience God.

“We’re looking for the story that doesn’t necessarily change our minds, we’re actually looking for the story that confirms what’s in our minds.”

—Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis

Jacqui Lewis shares a “Poem for Lent” that invites openness to change; that we may go out in joy and be led back in peace.

A Flood of Blessings

The Alternative Orthodoxy invites us to be open to change even amid turmoil. When Living School alumnus Beryl Herbert found her home under nearly two feet of water, it was the first of many opportunities to shift her perspective and expand beyond my story.

A photograph of Beryl Hebert and Richard Rohr at an old in-person CONSPIRE conference.

“In facing each of these challenges, I made the intentional choice of gratitude for the blessings experienced, and of releasing what was not possible for me to change or control.”

—Beryl Hebert

Beryl writes, “On August 13, 2016, Baton Rouge and the surrounding area flooded, and our home took on 18 inches of water. We lost most of our furniture, many personal items, and three cars. We were displaced for three years before moving back.

“During these years, my husband Mike lost his job and I was let go from my DRE ministry. I had been involved in this ministry in some form since 1982. I was deeply hurt.

“In facing each of these challenges, I made the intentional choice of gratitude for the blessings experienced, and of releasing what was not possible for me to change or control.

“The outcomes I experienced were inner peace and deep joy in the midst of ongoing chaos, and receptiveness to the gentle, loving guidance of the Spirit. Different areas of ministry opened. I continued my spiritual formation/education in the areas of racism and white privilege through participation in Just Faith modules focused on justice and racial equity. This led to standing in solidarity with those on the margins of society through working with Together Louisiana to begin dismantling the structural racism built into our society.

“My contemplative practice has supported this ongoing process. Faithfulness to my practice, which involves centering prayer, music, embodiment practice, and connection to nature, has helped me to maintain my (not always perfect) balance between contemplation and action. It is the foundation for my stance and response to living in this beautiful, joyful, yet suffering world.”

Living Into New Ways of Thinking

Becoming unstuck from harmful ways of thinking requires we learn—and often relearn—how to see. That’s why Center for Action and Contemplation teacher and former evangelical pastor Brian McLaren believes we must learn to break down the walls of our biases.

In season one of his aptly named podcast, Learning How to See, Brian, joined by Jacqui Lewis and Richard Rohr, examines the nine kinds of biases that can keep us trapped in stories harmful to our relationships with ourselves, each other, and God.

Brian, Jacqui, and Fr. Richard examine the biases that we must break down to live grounded in God’s loving story.

Reflect With Us

What shifts in perspective have helped you to move beyond confines stories or biases? Which shifts were intentional and how did you respond to the ones, like Beryl, that were thrust upon you? Share your reflection with us.

We Conspire is a new monthly email from the Center for Action and Contemplation featuring wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Join spiritual seekers from around the world on a journey of transformation and discover your place in the Great Story Line that connects us all in the One Great Life. Sign up for the monthly email series and receive a free invitation to practice each month.

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