Background information )
My work in the field of addiction has shown me that people need to understand that being "crazy" is not what makes you extra creative, but that being extra creative brings some risks that can definitely contribute to people's feeling crazy! As I said above, it's important to recognize and practice whatever is ours to do as an act of service, not ego. Ego is the voice that inflates, but it is also that cruel voice that says, "Who do you think you are?" When we are not engaged in what we love, when we are not offering our gifts, we become depressed and anxious - guilt-ridden, really. But the focus on service is important because if we are engaged in but overly-identified with our work, we suffer from a grandiosity built on the sands of self-judgment. For many of us, it's a toss-up as to which we fear more, grandiosity or depression, but to undertake the service of our gifts as a spiritual practice is the "middle way" between these two. I am interested in the "middle way" due to my study/practice of Buddhism. Besides the use of scripture to understand one's own individual psyche, it is also my belief that the New Testament story can be seen as metaphor for what happened in ancient western culture as Buddhism began to travel from East to West - hailed, villified, crucified, resurrected.
Metaphoric understanding of scripture, recovery from family illness of addiction, parenting, grief/resurrection, mindfulness, creativity, small town professional ethics in the culture of recovery, equanimity: the practice of compassion for others balanced by recognition of the dignity and right of every person to face their own suffering, as well as compassion for ourselves when we watch those we love choose suffering over freedom.
Dennis: Do you have any limitations on speaking engagements such as location?
Christine: Not as long as travel costs are covered and I have enough notice for scheduling!
Christie Bates, MA (formerly McKaskle)