Twenty-five years ago, I entered the Vocation, Education and Training (VET) sector as one of the first Quality Endorsed Registered Training Organisations (RTO) here in WA. It was (and still is) a competency-based model underpinned by this notion of lifelong learning.
I was quick to see the value of the words Lifelong Learning and secured them as both a business name (ABN) and an internet domain name – www.lifelonglearning.com.au
I’ve been able to successfully live the philosophy of lifelong learning as well as build a business, now in its 26th year. While there have been various iterations of the business model the philosophy has remained, always.
The here and now
I am sure when we all look back on events and activities that have brought us to the here and now, we often wonder at how it all came about. We even say things like, ‘I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.’ And indeed, that be true. Not by luck or chance however, by known (conscious) or unknown (not yet conscious) desire.
I am a true believer of these very powerful six words – “we become, what we think about.”
Henry Ford (1863 – 1947) said, “whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
Many of the founding mothers and fathers of the personal development and new thought space, carry this sentiment through their teaching and lessons. You can find it as far back as the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius who said “the happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts” through to the modern day field of neuro-sciences that proves repetitive thoughts form neural pathways, as neurons that fire together get wired together.”
Florence Scovel Shinn
My favourite in this genre is Florence Scovel Shinn (1871 – 1940) who, according to Wikipedia was an American artist and book illustrator that became a New Thought spiritual teacher and metaphysical writer in her middle years.
She has several books — The Game of Life and How to Play it (1925); Your word is your Wand (1928); The Secret door to Success (1940) and The Power of the Spoken Word (1945).
In The Game of Life book, she sets the scene by suggesting most of us see life as a battle but in actual fact, it’s not a battle it’s a game.
A game that can’t be played however without busting some long held (limiting) beliefs and acknowledging spiritual law and rules as set forth in the old and new testaments.
I should perhaps qualify here, that I was brought up in the Catholic faith, and often refer to myself (quite tongue in cheek) as a ‘recovering catholic.’ What I learned about religion and the bible is very different from what many of these ‘new thought’ teachers are saying. In fact, for many years I was unable to use the word ‘God’ as I rejected what I thought it stood for.
Happily, I am now comfortable with the use of the word and comfortable that God is within us, is the essence of each of us and that we are connected to something much greater than just us.
I like also that I can align this new way of thinking about God to the work of Self as proposed by the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (1875 -1961). I am a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) fan. The MBTI is a personality type tool created by mother daughter Myers and Briggs based on the work of Jung.
The Magic Within
I like to refer to Self or the inner God as my ‘Divine’ and the ‘magic within.’
I’ve heard it also referred to as source, inner being, infinite intelligence, infinite spirit, the universe, or the Divine. It’s useful to refer in a way that resonates with you.
I feel I have always known that there was something more. And because of this I have, over the years been exposed to different perspectives, writers, teachers and experiences that have enabled me to reach my own conclusions.
In fact, most of these teachers will say ‘don’t take my word for it, give it a try.’
I did, I have, I do always and yes, life is magical.
For me, the essence of Florence Shinn is taking the ‘religious dogma’ out of the bible and interpreting the teachings from a metaphysical perspective.
She is writing back in the early 1920’s yet her work builds on a body of work from those gone before her, and there is plenty more from those after her, now including me.
The Divine Design – of life.
In ‘The Game’ she talks about Perfect Self-Expression or Divine Design. She expresses this as a place that no-one else can fill, a thing that no-one else can do, that is destined for each of us. She says that often we don’t know what the Divine Design of our life is so she suggests we should make this demand:
“Infinite Spirit, open the way for the Divine Design of my life to manifest; let the genius within me now be released; let me see clearly the perfect plan.”
She says the perfect plan includes health, wealth, love and perfect self-expression. She says this is the square of life, which brings perfect happiness. The Dalai Lama says, “we are only on this earth to be happy.” So, aspiring to happy is a fabulous goal.
I relate ‘making the demand’, to re-calibrating our thoughts. That is, we often focus on what is not working as opposed to what we desire. This is one area, that you could try right now to experience the magic of hooking into your Divine. The demand is similar to an affirmation, which is simply a method for training yourself into reaching for better, more positive thoughts.
So, how does this relate to lifelong learning?
First, I love that my logo of L’s makes a square.
This wasn’t deliberate, but I love how I can mesh lifelong learning with the square of life.
It is only through being a lifelong learner that we create the life we truly desire. Learning is the resilience required to see a setback as an opportunity. That is, for everything we don’t want, we gain more clarity around what we do want.
Lifelong learning enables us to fully appreciate that life doesn’t come at us, we create it.
Would you like to explore this some more?
You may like the Spells for Wellness page on Facebook – @wellspells. These SPELLS are my contemporary take on affirmations and are very often inspired by the work of Florence.
Happy learning …