Vocational Development

In my work as a vocational rehabilitation counselor, I continue to see people suffering from the economic downturn and job loss. Not only because a medical condition became a disability and changed an individuals ability to their customary work, but from sheer lack of employers need to hire workers. I keep wondering where is this country heading. What does the future bring?

Messages from my spiritual life, which includes church and contemplative prayer, continue to draw me to the term vocation. This is the term used by the church to encourage young parishioners, both male and female, to pursue service to the Church as a Priest, Sister or religious service of some kind. In the catholic church these are life time commitments usually not for those who have a family to support and mortgage to pay.

The word vocational is also used as a career development term. A person’s vocation is their life’s work. The job they are meant to do in service to humanity. I believe each citizen of the world has a vocation to serve in some fashion. It might be in business, education, the trades, high finance or industrial/commercial function. I also believe that when a person’s true vocation is found it will provide the needed income and environment specifically tuned to the style and needs of the individual and will provide a fufilling life. One way to find this vocation is to take career interest inventories or other assessments that help identify careers that fit with the particular aptitudes of an individual. World of Work Inventory is one tool, others include the Harrington Oshea Inventory and Choices. These provide a structured series of questions that the participant answeres about them selves which help draw a logical conclusion. These tools are used in One Stop Career Centers, Adult Education Programs and Vocational Rehabilitation programs through out the country. However, I would suggest that if you do not know your self well, the results from these exercises will not be as acurate as one might like.

I believe we each need to take some time and be with our selves long enough to let go of the external “shoulds” and allow the internal true self to provide the career decision. Then the above assessment tools are used after this they will be wonderful. I have discovered that using a centering or contemplative process prior to the decision making will make the results much more long term and acurate.

So… learn the contemplative prayer. Connect with your Divine within. Then ask God what your vocation should be…. I guarantee it will provide you a future you never thought possible. Let go Let God… Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Winter is coming

Today was cloudy, rainy and had the beginnings of winter cold. No more T shirts or shorts, even to run out to the mailbox. Thanksgiving this year brought great joy to our family. Allison and I invited both sides of the family. My two brothers, their wives and kids, Allison’s Mom, her sister and brother-in-law and my nephew and three of Allison’s aunts. You know those wise wonderful Lebanese Aunts who have an opinion about almost everything and they are usually right. They always have such nice things to say. Our son Matt the chef cooked two turkeys that served 28 people a wonderful meal. We have alot to be thankful for.

Life, work and other important things

I recently started working part-time for a case management agency in addition to my full time job at Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with the Maine Bureau of Rehabilitation Services. This was necessary because of the 20 furlough days all state employees have been required to take without pay. Budget problems you know. I was happy to find some additional work, but unhappy that I will be working more than 50 hours a week to make ends meet. And now we learn that the state budget for 2010 will have a 200 million deficit. How many furlough days can they give us?

It’s funny though… I am not as upset as I might have been 10 years ago. I am actually grateful to be paying my bills and eating on a regular basis. There are many in America, and the world for that matter, who barely eat each day. I think we may have become a little arrogant in our demand for more and better when we should be grateful for what we have. I know I am.

Forgiveness and gratitude are the key perspectives that make this world bearable and in many situations enjoyable, this combined with the Love of family members and friends makes it a pretty great time to be alive. I look forward to solving the problems of the future as a civil servant and VR counselor

May God Bless you and your family.

Stephen in Maine

Faith will Set you Free

Even with the troubles in the world, I remain amazed how when I let the love of God into my daily tasks I feel light and relieved. Even in traffic or other worldly frustrations. But, what I am learning is that it is very selfish to stay in my ideal world. I then engage the people I work with and for and realize they are suffering and my heart is touched with the importance of sharing. All good things come to pass to those who believe. I am now sorting out my thoughts about the history of the church and the need for administrators (Bishops) to govern. I realize there was many mistakes made by individual priests and other faithful, but I have concluded that does not change the true source of creation. The truth is not based on a democritizaion of humanities ideas but of the perfect creation that is.

New Day

One of my first Internet publications in the mid 90’s was about the challenge of my eye injury and how I viewed religion and spirituality. I re-published these original stories on this blog. I think my feelings about religion and spirituality being a personal private affair is changing. How will anyone know how wonderful my faith has supported me over the years unless I tell them. I have begun my studies for the Subdiaconate formation process and have learned much about the early church around Antioch and Edesa. The arguments between faithful about the nature of Christ demonstrate that if the early believers kept their thoughts to them selves they would have never sorted out what they believed to be the truth about the Divine. Now, as I begin this journey to learn the teachings of the one first church and how the divisions were created over time I pray that I will see a possible unity among all the faithfull.

Wondering What it will be like to be thin.

I am down a few more pounds this week. Even with a birthday weekend. I really feel I have changed my eating habits. Oatmeal every day, salad or stirfry and fruit at lunch and a great dinner of a main meat lots of cooked or raw vegetables and plenty of water. I bought a jug that is equal to 8 glasses of Water. I finish the jug and then know I have had my minimum water. I am amazed at how good water tastes.

Shredded Triscuit

I bit into a Triscuit today and flashed on my Grandfather,
Fifty-five years ago when I was two.
At the farm house on County road in Doylestown, Bucks County, PA.
He ate shredded wheat biscuits every morning with whole milk and sugar.
He did not crunch them up like my Mom did,
He cut the biscuit, like a piece of cake, with the side of his spoon,
And scooped each milk dripping morsel into his mouth.
What a wonderful picture in my mind as I sat at my desk.
Another working day among many,
pleasantly sparked by the power of fond memories of days gone by.

My Weight Loss Journey

Today I am now back to my “normal” weight of 273 which has been my center for 5 years. I go up 5 lbs during holidays and other celebrations and down 3 lbs when I get conscious of my food consumption, but I can’t seem to break the 269 barrier. Been there twice in the last 8 months but could not sustain. By now you all are yawning and wondering who is this guy. You know that saying “too much information”?, well as a counselor I encourage my clients to tell all and I sometimes get into the same vein when I am communicating with others.

Food is such a temptation. Butter, sugar and bread, steak, and, and, and, and… my mouth is watering. How will I ever sustain counting points using the weight watcher point system? One day at at time. Thanks Bill W…. Wish me luck as this is the most important thing I have done in years. Take care of myself. Selfish you say? Naw…. that is the biggest barrier of getting healthy. Reaching the conclusiong that it is OK to take care of self. It is easy to focus on others, help others, serve others but to truly Love and take care of yourself? Seems sinful…. and it can be if your self care is focused on the wrong thing. We (I) sometimes take care of our(my) emotional self in a way that is contrary to our(my) physical health. Your(my) body is the temple of God. The place where we (I) house the creative source of our (my) life. The first cell we (I) became so many years ago now has grown and changed into the humans we (I) are(am) today. WOW…. And I want to kill my body with glutonny, drugs, smoking and other destructive forces? Thats slow suicide, unconscous maybe, but certainly suicide. But it makes me feel good. But it will eventually kill me. But we all die, and so on and so on and so on….

So the battle begins. I hope you are cheering for me, becaus I am cheering for you! May the creative force, that I call God, who has been revealed to me through Jesus, keep me on the path.

Lean Health Care Discussion

Recently I received an email communication from Helen Zak, Chief Operating Officer of Lean Institute http://www.lean.org/ in Cambridge Mass reminding me of the ongoing debate in Washington D.C. regarding Healthcare and how Six Sigma and other lean process analysis tools might be utilized to save money, increase efficiency with medical claims processing and ultimately make the quality of health care better. We have not heard much discussion about the wonderful lean work being done in the public sector, both in the healthcare setting and in government. In response to this apparent lack of awareness the Lean Enterprise Institute has collaborated with the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value to form a nonprofit partnership to make sure lean thinking is part of the current discussion and the future state of healthcare in United States. You can learn more by reviewing their statement of values at http://www.healthcarevalueleaders.org/partnership_announcement.pdf

This seemed very important news to share with the Continuous Improvement blog community, especially in these economic times. Certainly lean thinking and tool use is not a panacea for all the ills of government, healthcare and manufacturing, but in most cases incorporating this analysis in the planning process of each of these industries will increase product and service outcomes and assure the highest customer satisfaction. To completely ignore these effective process analysis tools in the health care discussion would be, dare I say, ridiculous.

Divine Connection