To the Secret Place

“When mind and soul agree, belief is born.” Abraham Heschel

God is not far from any of us. Everyone has an inner chamber into which he can retreat at will. It is a sanctuary free from the multitude of daily cares, free from human judgment, free from agitation, change and turmoil. It is a place where your senses rest, where you are regenerated and re-created. The longer one stays in the secret place, the better equipped to handle the public life of the ordinary.

Embrace the mystery of suffering. Compassion testifies to the presence of Christ within us. Develop compassion, not to master the suffering, but to enter into it. Through embracing the pain in true compassion, we are put in a position for our actions to correspond according to God’s love.

Repair love for people. In the secret place the love cycle is completed. One becomes aware that worth and value are gifts from God. Allow yourself to be nurtured by the mother heart of God to rediscover the power of love – from God to us, through us, back to God and spilling over to others. As gratefulness is directed toward God the human heart is filled with the ability to love generously – the loveable and the not so lovely.

Relive tension between “now” and “not yet”. Faith is looking forward to something that has not happened yet. Time spent in the secret place results in your being more collected, able to accomplish more, thinking deepens and you are able to be present – really present - wherever you are.

Rest without empirical evidence. Troubling questions such as “Why child abuse?” are quieted. God gave mankind the awesome gift of free will and he will not violate that gift, even when the exercise of it brings harm to the individual and others. God’s goodness made laws that He does not violate. God so believes in laws that he governs Himself. In the secret place these issues are understood and courage to be a change agent is garnered. The heart is called to intercession.

Our bodies store information for us. In quiet meditation the mind will reveal these secrets bringing healing and wisdom. We are born with a will to meaning. When the self is soothed, one can then become self-less. Once a need is met, it ceases to be a main focus and life runs smoothly. You find this in the secret place.

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How to Complain Effectively

In working with business I often mention the need to train employees in how to complain. I am met with protest: “No thanks. They complain enough as it is.” There is a difference in gripping and making a legitimate complaint. One exacerbates the problem, while the other finds solution.

Choose your battles. And don’t make everything a battle. It is to one’s credit to overlook small infractions, for “love covers a multitude of sins.”

Complain to the right person. Go through the proper channels. Ideally, the right person would be the one against whom you have the offense. The right person is one who can be a part of the solution.

Speak only from your point of view. Use “I” statements rather than generalities or blaming.

Check your attitude. Is the complaint legitimate or because of your bad mood?

Be specific and accurate. No generalities and exaggerations. No “You always” or “You never”. Take notes so you can speak with authority.

Be brief. Get to the point and do not beat around the bush.

Know your aim. What is the purpose of the complaint? What changes are you wanting? Are they reasonable? Are they doable? How much are you a part of the problem?

Be a problem solver. Is it fixable? If so, how so? What is your part? What is their part?

Leave emotions behind. Work through your frustrations before making the complaint. Be calm and cool. Take yourself out of the middle.

Be a good-finder. Find something favorable about the person or situation. How can it produce growth? How can the situation build character?

Put it in writing. It will help to clarify your thoughts to see how legitimate the complaint is, or how to arrange your words to be most effective. If you are not willing to put it in writing, then it is a gripe and not a true complaint.

Leave the final decision/action to a higher authority. Once the complaint has been lodged, the problem it is out of your hands. You can ask for change without demanding change.

Know when to let it go. Like acid will destroy the container in which it is held, so bitterness over unresolved issues will destroy you. There are two types of circumstances in life: Those I can change and those I cannot change. Know the difference.

If there is no solution, why complain? It just makes you look small, petty, controlling and difficult. Allow the unpleasant situation to develop enduring character qualities in you.

We welcome reprinting of articles in your newsletter or magazine, providing credit is given as follows: “This article was written by Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, www.monadunkin.blogspot.com or www.monadunkin.com.”


Speaking Up

"A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally.
Oliver Herford

The dictionary defines civility as the display of politeness and good manners, and is often interpreted as not hurting another’s feelings. Yet sometimes the most civil thing we can do is to hurt another’s feelings. The key is intention. Allow it to be a hurt that heals, not a hurt to wound.

Each adult make decisions for his own life. Each individual has the right to make her own choices, even bad ones. In our society there seems to be an invisible elephant in the room of “live and let live”. However, for the good of the whole, there are times when one may feel compelled to speak up. Whether or not the relationship remains in tack depends largely on the manner in which input is given. Speak gently and continue positive regard to the offender.

Speak up and then back off. Your point has been heard and will not be forgotten, even if not acted upon. No matter how delicately you voice your stance, it will be seen as judgment; and in reality, it is. You are judging your way to be right against your judgment of how she is handling her life.

Continue to speak only when invited to do so. Never argue. To repeatedly bring up the issue is to cross the line from giving input to forcing another to adhere to your dictates. You are within your human right to take a stand, but not to force the issue. Pressing your stance on another forces him to rationalize his behavior and doggedly hold on as proof that his choices are honorable.

Stand firmly, yet lovingly. Show compassion toward the offender without compromising your principles. Stand for rightness without being self-righteous. If necessary, refuse to participate in an activity, decline an invitation to an event or disassociate with rebel rousers; all the while holding the individual in high regard. It shows in your attitude.

Choose to not be offended by her harsh denouncements and do not justify your position. Without words being spoken, concern and judgment are shown in facial expressions – one is soft and the other is harsh.

Allow the individual to change. When one does not have to rigorously defend his stance he becomes more open to another view. Each of us believes what we believe until we believe something else. When the offender’s attitude softens, let it. Do not pounce with critical statements. An individual will never change until it becomes his decision.

Depending on the severity of the situation, there may be times for outside intervention. Being a peacemaker is not peace-at-all-costs. Sometimes peacemaking is stirring the waters for things to come to the surface to be skimmed off and settled. In dangerous situations, outside agents need to be involved; they are trained to be helpful and objective.

We welcome reprinting of articles in your newsletter or magazine, providing credit is given as follows: “This article was written by Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, www.monadunkin.blogspot.com or www.monadunkin.com.”


Health Issues: Factual and Actual

In a recent Upper Room devotional, the following plea was included: “God show me what to do to help You help me.”

I like that.

The problem in my life is not so much a lack of knowledge, as much as it is a lack of application. It is not not knowing, but not doing.

Dr. Mark DeHaven, founder of the GoodNEWS wellness program, compiled the following information.

Factual Causes of Death
Heart Disease
Lung Disease

Actual Causes of Death
Diet/Activity Patterns
Microbial Agents
Toxic Agents
Motor Vehicles
Sexual Behavior
Illicit Use of Drugs

The “Factual” cause of death is what is listed on the death certificate, whereas the “Actual” cause of death is lifestyle factors. Five of the nine actual causes are directly within our control. Here are some things I am doing to motivate me to be disciplined in the area of physical wellness.

Just do it. It’s Nike time! Exercise in the AM and I don’t dread it the rest of the day.

Some is better than none. A short walk is better than no walk. Stretching helps. A few bites can stave off the binge. Small portions are filling when eaten slowly.

Keep moving. I recently observed a teen maneuver his skate board up an incline merely by twisting his hips. This small action propelled him forward. I wondered if a little shake would stimulate my sluggish metabolism. So now I twist while brushing my teeth. And on other non-observable occasions.

It is not “to die for”. Since adopting this mantra it is becoming easier to say “No” to tempting treats, second helpings, chips and late night snacks.

Practice makes permanent. Practice makes perfect only when we are practicing correctly. Brushing my teeth is a habit. Just as a fuzzy mouth motivates me to use my toothbrush, I have heard, and look forward to, the day when lethargy will spur me into action.

Habits are changed through insight and commitment. How about we do it together.

We welcome reprinting of articles in your newsletter or magazine, providing credit is given as follows: “This article was written by Mona Dunkin, Motivational Speaker and Personal Success Coach, www.monadunkin.blogspot.com or www.monadunkin.com.”