the OUUC spark
March 23, 2023
Being the Person We Want to Be: Our Commitment to Ourselves - Rev. Sara Lewis
This year we are running our Coming of Age program for youth (look for their worship service on June 4th) and, as always, I am getting just as much out of the discussions and learnings we are having as I am putting in to them. The idea of Coming of Age is to create a supportive container for each youth to learn more about themself, their own beliefs and values, and about this faith community of Unitarian Universalism and OUUC, and how the two- self and community - are in dynamic relationship with each other. The big questions are acute for these young people, but they’re still real for all of us adults as well. Who are we? What do we find most true and meaningful? What do we value? And how shall we live?
This month’s workshop topic in Coming of Age was Ethics and Decision Making. How do we decide what to do and how to be in this world? Sometimes this kind of learning becomes a sort of logic problem, of calculating impact or some other rational rule to follow. But here’s the kicker - it turns out that most people don’t always make rational decisions! In fact, we aren’t just automatically the people we mean to be, when we set down our best (or rational) intentions. Our decision making is a blend of several other factors and much of it may be unexamined or unconscious for us. Check out this little video we found and showed in the workshop:
Which means that for us to truly be the people we set out to be, to be the people that our values and commitments call us to be, we need to know ourselves and practice deep work with all of that under-the-surface decision making stuff. What are the quick shortcuts and biases you have learned? What are your socialized norms? Your family history? Your own history, including your trauma history? What are your tendencies? All of these aspects of you will shape your thinking and your behavior, and hence your decision making.
Uh oh, you might think - but I’m a mess! How can I be the change I want to see in the world (to paraphrase Gandhi as countless bumper stickers have done) if I have to rely on my less-rational self?
Good news for us all, from both many spiritual and religious traditions and now also backed up by science - your actions will reshape who you are. Huge amounts of our way of being are habits, and habits can be changed. If we want to be an anti-racist person, we can consistently confront our own internalized biases and reshape ourselves in the process. If we want to be a generous person, we can engage in practices of generosity and build those muscles and impulses in ourselves. We actually can be the change we want to see in the world, by engaging in the long steady process of changing ourselves (also known as growth and transformation!).
So what is our commitment? What do we decide? I think it is to keep making the commitment, to keep making the decision, again, and again, and again, and again …. One choice after another forming us into the person we want to be, doing what we want to do, and building the world we want to live in. It may be a long and slow process, but we’re here for that journey, together.
OUUC Member's Art in Olympia
Olympia is becoming more beautiful, one geometric mural at a time. OUUC member John Tafejian has been donating his time and talent to add color to our city. Check out his murals by going on the "official" driving tour (download below). John has murals at 9 sites and may be adding more in the future, so stay tuned. Finally, for a little background from past local coverage, see the 2021 interview with John in The Olympian.
Thank you, John, for your art and generosity, inspiring all of us to create and give.
Communications Staff Update
OUUC member and Tech wizard, Teresa Madsen, has agreed to step into the Communications Specialist role in addition to her Tech Coordinator job. We are grateful for Teresa’s willingness to serve, her skills, and her ability to learn. If you have ongoing projects with or requests made of Andrea that you are awaiting follow-up on, please reach out to Teresa at CommunicationsSpecialist@ouuc.org. A new email will help Teresa know what needs attention.
Thank you for welcoming Teresa to this new role and for your understanding during the transition. - Rev. Mary
Tiny Little News Show
SAVE THE DATE: Labyrinth Comes to OUUC!
As we move into the season of Spring, Easter and Passover, Mary Ellen Johnson, long-time labyrinth facilitator, will bring her labyrinth to the OUUC sanctuary to help us mark these holy days.
All ages are welcome to an open labyrinth walk on Friday, March 31 from 4:00 - 7:00 pm.
Everyone is invited to a workshop titled “Labyrinth 202 – Further Along the Journey” on Saturday, April 1 from 9:30 am - 12:00 pm. No experience with a labyrinth is required, everyone welcome.