Rick Underwood

Dear all,

As I write these words, I am sitting on my deck enjoying the beautiful weather and feeling guilty or shameful or whatever word you want to put on it.  As you know, from a prior post, I choose to pull back on my PRN work as a chaplain. I was scheduled to be on site right now making rounds and trying to provide support to those who are working so hard to treat this awful virus.  For the sake of complete transparency, let me say that I was a colleague of Laura’s.  I know first hand what a wonderful job she and the other chaplains there are doing.  But, I know that with several chaplains out, the load is even more challenging.  It doesn’t seem enough to say, I am sending prayers and positive energy your way.  I so miss rounding and listening and talking with some of my favorite heros there.

With that said, I would like to share from one of my favorite leadership books titled “Resonate Leadership by Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee.  And  I am quoting fromt he front cover of the book.  “The authors marshal decades of multi-disciplinary research and hands on consulting work to provide a practical framework for how leaders can create and sustain resonate leadership with their teams, relationships, and their organizations. They argue that today’s leaders face unprecedented challenges that result from a vicious cycle of stress and sacrifice, with little or no recovery time to build on”.  (Sound familiar) (And this was written way before this current crisis.)  Furthermore, I know the processes suggested are as much needed with nurses, doctors, chaplains, etc. as well.  “Throughout the book, they illustrate the ways that three key elements – mindfulness, hope and compassion – are essential to enabling renewal and sustaining resonance.”

Certainly, these three elements have been illustrated here in many practical ways.  I would suggest that mindfulness occurs as we utilize all of our emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, self-management of emotions, and social awareness.  It is doing what I have heard that each of you have or are doing. It is a matter of connecting authentically with them, listening deeply to them, to the point that we can read and understand others subtle messages, EVEN THEIR UNFORMED HOPES.  As spiritual caregivers or coaches we can help others reflect, practice, dream, release, and rely on supportive relationships.

Hope is something we are all familiar with from our religious and spiritual traditions, right?  But let me add a bit to that from this little book.  “Hope acts as a magnet – an “attractor” in the terminology of complexity theory. Like other positive emotions such as excitement, amusement, elation, and happiness, hope has a positive impact on our brains and homones.”  In my own words, dreaming and hoping is a way we join with the Universal Love to see good things happening.

You have shared incidents when you have been compassionate toward others. Compassion is simply empathy and caring in action.  The book is full of exercises that those who experience the vicious cycle of sacrifice and stress.

I used two scripture passages today from the lectionary for my Facebook live meditation: Ezekiel 37 and John 11,  In both stories there were at least four elements; great loss, grieving and worrying about when help would come; the arrival of the Breath of the Spirit and the Spirits use of those standing around to help.

May you who still serve on the front lines feel the moving of the Breath of God as you help bring back hope and life to what feels like a valley of dry bones.

Rick @ Oates