Monday, June 1, 2015

What is Your Ultimate Goal? Part I

Perhaps it’s my background and experience in interscholastic and intercollegiate athletics. During each workout and each practice we set individual and team goals. Whether it was to run faster, throw farther and more accurately, or increase our repetitions, we had something to aim for so that the ultimate goal of winning the next competition could have the greatest possibility of becoming a reality.

Maybe it’s my education and experience as a teacher. Preparing for each class, I set goals, which I strove to attain by meeting specific measurable objectives.

Then later in my career as an administrator, one of the goals my first year was to have a reduction in the written disciplinary referrals sent to my office by no less than 25%. Through a team approach with the gifted teachers with whom I worked, we not only met, we exceeded our expectations by reducing referrals by a whopping 50%. That’s unheard of! But we did it by agreeing on the end result, jointly developing a plan, then ensuring implementation of the plan.  We let nothing sway us in achieving our goal.

As I was listening to a TED Talk ( on NPR, entitled Champions, I found myself thinking back to those above experiences. You can’t hit the target without knowing where to aim, and you can’t reach your destination without mapping out a plan of your journey.

But, even more to the point today, I couldn’t help but draw analogies from the Talks to my study of A Course in Miracles. My Course teacher, Patti Fields ( asked this question of the participants at our most recent retreat on the Holy Instant: “What are your intentions/your goal when practicing the teachings?”

It got me to thinking whether I had been as vigilant in my Course studies as I had been in other practical applications of achieving success.

In the Ted Talks/NPR series, each of the speakers spoke of successes, obstacles and setbacks. The highlight of their presentations focused on overcoming unbelievable challenges to reach their ultimate goal.

Diana Nyad, the long distance swimmer faced, among other things, life threatening jelly fish stings that compromised her respiratory system and made her feel as though her entire body were on fire.  Yet, in her fifth attempt she succeeded…at 64 years of age…to swim 110 miles from Cuba to Key West. And without a shark cage.

While listening to Diana being interviewed on NPR, which included excerpts from her TED Talk, she made the following statements about pursing her goal: “I asked myself, ‘Do you have it?’”  And, “I’m going to go to the nth degree…(to achieve my goal)?” She said, “My mantra during my training and during my swim was, Find a way.

As I relate Diana Nyad’s story of goal setting, perseverance, determination and belief to my study of the Course, I ask myself some interesting but very important questions about realizing my goal: Forgiving my brothers and sisters of what I perceive as their sins, which will help me to remember that we are all One with God.

1.     Do I have it? 
  • The perseverance to stick with my study? 
  • The determination to forgive my brothers and sisters as well as myself?
  • The belief that I truly am One with God, and one with my brothers and sisters?

2.     Am I going to the nth degree to reach my goal?

  • What are the choices that I make at every turn, every day?
  • Do I choose loving thoughts over judgmental conclusions? 
  • Do I have a laser-like focus on Heaven, which I can experience at every NOW moment?
  • Do I put my goals forefront in my mind and let nothing, but nothing dissuade me from attaining them?

3.      Will I find a way? 
  •  Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford were determined to find another way. Will I find my way through the Course so that I may realize my goal?

Inspired by, God is the only goal I have today. W-256
A Course in Miracles, Second Edition
Foundation for Inner Peace, 1996.

Bottom photo by Barbara Franco Adams (c)2012

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