Introduction to the Digging/Knowledge Category

Digging continues the process that clearing began, the preparation of the site to fulfill the calling.  We dig in to the project, and lay the foundation that the building needs.

It corresponds in the vision of The Golden Room to the long, painful descent down the ladder.  This is where the challenges begin, and where many people give up.  It is no longer theoretical.  We have to get our hands dirty.

Kenosis, the process of self-emptying, becomes more intense. Thomas Keating, the teacher of Centering Prayer, talks about “the unloading of the unconscious” that contemplatives go through as their meditation practice deepens.  We need to bring up the junk, the old rocks and roots that will get in the way of solid footings.  The great song for spiritual renewal, Psalm 51, prays, “Create in me a clean heart, O God.”  Digging works toward the wide open heart that we need in order for a new and right spirit to rise in us.

The EVOKE Life Planning “Knowledge” phase applies expertise to the Obstacles we find as we dig.  It researches what we need to create a strong foundation for our new life.  How can we move buried boulders, how can we work with immovable ledge or a high water table—what logistical groundwork or architectural design work do we need to do, whether financial or psychological or relational or some other form, in order to implement our Life Plan?

Still More Introduction: Finding Your Way Around This Website

This is the third in a series of essential introductions to this website. One explains its structural use of metaphors, and another describes the vision of the Golden Room that forms one of those metaphors.

This third introduction explains how to find your way around.

First, starting with the basics, there is a magnifying glass at the top of each page.  Click on it and you can search by words or phrases and find all the pages and posts where those words appear.

Second, there are “share” and “print” buttons at the bottom of each page, and you may make comments as well on any post.  (This website is just getting started, so any sharing you do is most appreciated!)

Third, click the three bars at the top of each page to find a drop-down menu. (To make the menu disappear, click the X in the upper right corner.)  You will find there a list of pages, categories and tags.  They should help you find the kinds of pieces that will interest you.  For instance, the menu allows you to click on “Life Planning” and find related posts, or if you want to read more about “Mindfulness” or “Saving the World,” you can click on those words in the Tag Cloud.

Some of the menu items are self-explanatory.  The “Welcome” page contains a brief welcome.  “Recent Posts” contains a string of posts that you can scroll down.  “Introduction” offers three orientations to the content and structure of the site, including this one.  “About” has information about the creator and author of this website, Thomas Cary Kinder.

The menu gives you the opportunity to “Follow” the website, receiving email notifications of new posts as they are published.  Below that you will see a list of the most recent several posts, and at the very bottom is a Tag Cloud—by clicking on the words or phrases in that jumble you can find all the posts that are related to that topic.  The bigger the Tag title, the more pieces you will find there.

The middle section of the content menu needs some explaining.  From “Calling/Exploration” to “Returning/Aloha” are category titles where almost all the posts get filed.   Click on the menu items with those names and you will find related pieces collected there.

The first word in each category heading refers to the building process, as in building a material cabin or a spiritual Golden Room (clearing, digging, building etc.).  See the Introduction about the use of metaphors for more explanation.

The second word in each category heading is taken from Life Planning as developed by the creative and practical genius of my brother George Kinder, with the added experience of hundreds of Registered Life Planners.  Exploration, Vision, Obstacles, Knowledge and Execution are the five steps in the EVOKE Life Planning Process.  Understanding and Aloha are two of the Seven Stages of Money Maturity.  Understanding is the central, pivotal stage that brings the possibility of living with freedom and integrity, and Aloha is the final, highest stage of fulfilling our callings with generous-hearted living.

It is easy to see where posts relating to the steps of EVOKE go, and Understanding and Aloha.  You can find posts related to the other five of the Seven Stages by clicking on their Tags in the Tag Cloud.

You can read a brief introduction to each of these categories by clicking on their title below to give you an idea of the kinds of pieces you will find there:

Calling/Exploration

Siting/Vision

Clearing/Obstacles

Digging/Knowledge

Building/Execution

Dwelling/Understanding

Returning/Aloha

What Is Waiting in Your Golden Room?

by Thomas Cary Kinder

What is waiting in your Golden Room?  A surprise, probably.

Often the EVOKE Life Planning process turns up surprises:

A successful business executive goes through EVOKE to help plan for retirement and uncovers an old secret dream to run a bait and tackle shop, and no one is more surprised than she is at the joy it brings her.

A man uses Life Planning to help plan the next phase of his career, which is to launch a nonprofit to address global poverty, only to discover that before he can undertake any major new enterprise he needs to reconcile with his father.  He is surprised to discover how much that pain is draining his vigor.  He sees how valuable his father’s wisdom and support could be as he confronts the obstacles it will take all his vigor to overcome.  It could delay his launch date, but there is no question he needs to do it.  The Life Planning focuses on how he will go about it, and sets aside exploring the nonprofit path for later.

The first time I went through the EVOKE process I was a pastor who had been overworking for years and was on the brink of total burnout.  My Life Planner was the Yoda of all Life Planners, but even he could not help me get through my exhaustion, bitterness and hopelessness to find the light in my heart’s core.  We flailed around in impenetrable shadow until finally I nearly screamed that I just wanted to run away to a cabin in the woods and have everyone leave me alone.

Surprise!  I am writing in that cabin now, where I have come to meditate and write and be rejuvenated many times a week for ten years, thanks to a sabbatical grant from the Louisville Institute and Lilly Endowment that enabled me to build it.

The forest around this cabin has been logged over the years, and there are stump sprouts–clumps of as many as five trees growing in a tight circle around where a tree was cut.  Other trees have fallen and rotted where they lay and a line of trees has sprouted up fed by the rot.

We come to a transition point in our lives and may envision the tree that will rise out of the old life, but other things may need to grow first.  Surprises may pop out of our Golden Room.  We look down and see not a sapling but a vigorous clump of mushrooms, and if that is what we find, that is what we need to do, trusting that either we will discover our greatest fulfillment in this unexpected direction or that this is what the universe or Spirit needs of us now, and it will lead to something else.

The EVOKE Life Planning process calls the light we find in our Golden Room a Torch.  Continue reading