When I walked into Damascus Road Community Church one Sunday morning, I was greeted with a few of my fellow members dressed in first century garb with a basket full of stones. They said, "You have to get stoned at church today," and we all picked a rock to bring into the sanctuary. With all the news about Colorado, legalization and everything, I kiddingly thought, "Oh wow. I know we are fairly progressive as a church, but this is interesting!"
The message was part of a series about encounters with Jesus, and this particular one was the adulteress caught and being accused and sentenced to be stoned to death. As some of you may know, Jesus basically said he who casts the last stone is free from sin, and of course none of us are free from mistakes and holding grudges and hurts.
The bottom line, or Monday morning application, was for us all to think about the stones we are holding, the judgments we are keeping, the stories that we continue to replay that makes us angry, lonely and hurt. They keep us holding on to that stone so we can cast it upon another to release our anger, to get back at those hurts, to perpetuate how we were wronged in the past. Instead – Drop the Rock. Let go of the past, release that negative space and free up your energy for something more important. Loving our neighbor, helping the poor, setting goals, motivating others, finding our passion, using our talents for good.
This rock theme intrigues me and found rocks symbolizing setting goals and time management. I found this great You Tube video demonstrating the pickle jar theory of big rock time management that you may want to look at. It resonates with me!
How can I apply "Drop the Rock" to my clients. That is a theme in many of my coaching conversations. A negative experience, or story, that is keeping my client from reaching their potential, seeing other options, seeing more choices of how they show up and make meaning in the world.
I started thinking about what can we do with our rocks that would be for good, and a cairn came to mind. Last summer, as I walked the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, ME for the 100th time, I noticed for the elaborate cairns adorning the rocky coast. The Scottish say "kayrne." And roll the 'r' in on the way they can. Kern is also acceptable. This definition helped me to discern what I'd like to do with the rocks I symbolically carry.
Wiki states (so it must be true), that "a cairn is a man-made pile (or stack) of stones. The word cairn comes from the Scottish Gaelic: càrn (plural càirn). Cairns are found all over the world in uplands, on moorland, on mountaintops, near waterways and on sea cliffs, and also in barren desert and tundra areas. They vary in size from small stone markers to entire artificial hills, and in complexity from loose, conical rock piles to delicately balanced sculptures and elaborate feats of megalithic engineering. Cairns may be painted or otherwise decorated, whether for increased visibility or for religious reasons.
In modern times, cairns are often erected as landmarks, a use they have had since ancient times. Since prehistory, they have also been built as sepulchral monuments, or used for defensive, hunting, ceremonial, astronomical and other purposes."
Such cairns adorn places along the Appalachian Trail and Acadia National Park as examples, and when used for their intended purpose, are useful and beautiful. In my research, I learned of a controversial phenomenon called "epidemic cairns."
Structures are randomly constructed as artwork, and many perceive them as graffiti. They confuse the hiker/biker, and compromise the natural landscape. Local residents are upset, and are educating others about "Leave No Trace." LNT is a code of ethics to keep the landscape the way you find it. Learn more here.
With that said, I want to redefine my rocks and memorialize a landmark, a step through my own history. A metaphoric milestone, to notice, honor, capture and move through it. A cairn, of sorts, that is meant for the traveler, to assist in guiding their path.
Drop the Rock: what's the rock you are carrying, and how is it serving you?