My name is Art. I am a Faith Consultant, Teacher and Coach. I help men and women exercise their faith like personal trainers help them exercise their bodies. Just as a person may consult a personal trainer to design a personalized workout routine, you may want to engage my services to help you exercise your faith more effectively now while you also develop more strength and stamina in your faith. Both physical exercise and faith exercise help reduce stress and increase vitality. If you are experiencing stress overload or increased fatigue, you’ll benefit from learning to exercise your faith more effectively and efficiently. Your faith in yourself, in others and in a power greater than yourself makes a huge difference when you exercise it properly – in healthy, meaningful ways. Stress overloads and life crises can become opportunities to grow in faith when you face them by faith. Plus exercising faith permits you to lift heavier life burdens in challenging times.
Faith Coaching is a relatively new term but not a new concept. It embodies established principles drawn from all paths of faith. No matter what your path of faith may be – or whether you’ve never had one or seek a new one – I will help you to tap into the renewing energy of faith if you’d like to revisit your past practices or visit and explore new ones. If you feel no hope in going back to an old path, allow yourself to explore new ones. There are many elegant ways to exercise faith. Among them you will find the one best suited to you. With my help, you will feel the benefits of custom-tailoring your faith to your own heart’s desires and current life circumstances. In the final analysis, faith is an affair of the heart by which our self-confidence is infused with new vitality, our minds find greater peace and our awareness of wisdom grows. Give yourself a new lease on life by exploring faith’s options and finding the one that’s right for you. Brushing up on past practices or pioneering in the realm of faith will enliven your life and bring you relief. A well-groomed, well-toned faith is a priceless treasure.
To encourage mature teens and adults to be authentic, wholeheartedly satisfied men and women who develop their creative ideas and talents fully throughout their lives with an abiding sense of personal confidence, authenticity and integrity, I offer to be available in the role of a seasoned veteran of life with whom you can talk heart to heart as you explore your own ideas, feelings and faith in regard to any topic concerning which you are trying to make a wise decision. I will help you make sound decisions for yourself and in collaboration with others that are in your best interests and make your life more rewarding, enriching and enjoyable. I’ll encourage you not to become bored with life and help you overcome boredom if it arises! I’ll help you overcome discouragement and confusion when they arise too, as they naturally will as you pursue your fondest hopes and dreams or contend with overwhelming stress and anxiety.
The decisions we talk about can be about anything that matters to you – about education (schools, majors, finances, etc.), temporary or permanent employment, careers, where to live, relationships, use of leisure time, overcoming challenges you are facing, health issues, love, liberty or anything that you want to understand better and feel more confident in deciding. We can consider any of life’s issues from the concrete to the abstract. Whatever matters to you will matter to us! You’ll not need to be alone as you think things through unless you want to be.
Please be aware of this: I won’t impose upon your privacy if you prefer not talk with me about something. I won’t tell you what to do and I don’t claim to know everything. If you can benefit from other people’s expertise, I’ll help you find those people and make good use of their services. My help is general in nature with a focus on faith’s role in all aspects of life. It is not a substitute for professional services from experts in their fields. If you need an expert in healthcare, counseling, addictions recovery, law, financial aid, budgeting or any other matter of special knowledge, we’ll work together to find the person(s) best suited to serve you.
Deciding whom to trust for help and what to do is your responsibility, power and privilege. My role is to help you discover within yourself your own power to make good decisions and help you to exercise that power as both your privilege and your responsibility as a member of a free society. As you grow in confidence in your own capacity to make responsible decisions as a free man or woman, you’ll have less and less need to consult with me. In essence, my approach is to teach you about making wise decisions and coach you as you practice making them. I will be your tutor in the art of decision-making and the exercise of your faith to guide and strengthen you. As you master the art of making wise, faith-based decisions, you will cultivate your own disciplined mind and honored heart and learn how to nurture your mind and heart as your own integrated, internal consulting team to help you to live wisely all your life. It is wise to discpline yourself to hear and heed your own inner voice of guidance and feel compassion and understanding for yourself, even when it seems that few others understand or have compassion for you. The Higher Power or God I’ve come to know and rely upon is equally available for you to rely upon too. Wisdom flows into hearts that are open to divine guidance.
As your personalized faith consultant and decision-making coach, my role is to give you my attention, listen closely and provide feedback that will help you learn to see more clearly the options you have available and select among them with greater confidence that you are caring for your own best interests as well as the best interests of others. Caring for your best interests is the same as having faith in yourself as a valued person and loving yourself from that perspective, just as caring for the best interests of others means you are loving them and having faith in their value. To help you to care about yourself and others in a balanced way, I will serve like a mirror serves you when you want to create a personal style that suits you. The mirror does not tell you what style to choose. It merely reflects back what you are showing it from a perspective you cannot provide for yourself.
That’s what I do for you. I share with you a perspective you may not be able to see for yourself and allow you to gain the benefit of my experiences, insights and understandings about life, learning, love, laughter and liberty. The Five “L’s” are important to creating a life worth living. Socrates said that an unexamined life is not worth living. So, as you examine your own life in talking with me, give yourself credit for already taking a wise step towards the life you want to enjoy – a life that is indeed worth living! The most important decision you can ever make is to be honest and gain confidence in being yourself. “To be or not to be” yourself is truly the key question. I’ll help you answer it with increasing confidence, “Yes, I want to be me!” No matter what challenges life may have brought your way, you will face them best as you learn how to be your most authentic self under all circumstances. You may be amazed at what you discover within yourself that’s waiting to be nurtured into greater expression.
My Bias – The Perspective I Bring to My Role
I have a bias. I am in favor of your enjoying freedom responsibly as a deeply satisfied, happy and productive person who lives according to a bold vision for life as your heart desires it, not only for yourself but for others too. If I help you at all, it will be to help you savor being authentic and true to yourself in all the decisions you make regardless of the opinions of others who may prefer that you feel ashamed or guilty as their way of controlling you. I will help you exercise your will power (or volitional power) to serve your best interests while you also take into account the interests of others about whom you care.
In the final analysis, my goal is for you to experience abundant love and to thrive as a creative person who has gifts to nurture that are unique to you and vital to the world’s well-being. My vision is that you are here on earth to contribute to humanity’s welfare, not only to enjoy being you but to also enjoy serving others as a beautiful, caring and courageous person who has already begun your journey as a helpful person and would like the company of others like yourself for the rest of your life.
As you move into and through your adult years, you deserve to feel supported and encouraged by others who welcome your presence and your ideas wholeheartedly. That is the nature of “intimacy,” the natural life challenge that young adults face as they move beyond their families of origin to find their way in the larger world. Expanding your horizons and trying new things can be scary and exciting at the same time. If you want to nevertheless be safe, healthy and free while you explore, then that’s what my presence in your life is for. Many adults neglect to learn the value of honest intimacy and wise exploration and later seek to learn about it when another approach does not work well – usually because it leaves them feeling isolated and alone when they honestly admit how they truly feel. That’s OK, too. It’s never too late or too early to gain wisdom about life and learn to exercise it faithfully.
To whatever extent your may feel that your vision for your future is not as clear as you would prefer, one of our tasks together will be to help you clarify your vision for a life you desire, one that reflects your passions and motivates you highly. At this point, you may not know what you are passionate about and may even find it strange that I ask you what you want out of life. That’s OK. It’s perfectly fine to start wherever you are and move forward together. Just be honest with me. Honesty will set you free to discover all that you do not currently know but want to know.
My Commitment to Your Welfare
I appreciate opportunities to listen to and encourage adults of all ages who want to help make this world a better place for all of us. If that’s your orientation to life, I want to help you feel supported in your quest for your best opportunities to discover and unpack your vision for your life, even if you don’t yet know what it may be. Whether you are moving beyond adolescence into adulthood, new to experiencing life as a young adult, passing through a stage of crisis later in life or wanting to explore your options to prevent stagnation — at whatever age you may be — I can help you move beyond confusion to gradually increasing clarity. What matters most is what your heart is telling you. Into open hearts wisdom freely flows. Our conversations will help you to open your heart and trust that you know how to listen to and heed the wisdom it shares with you. As you exercise your capacity to listen, your faith in yourself, in others and in a power greater than yourself will grow.
One aspect of healthy living that you’ll learn from me by practicing it with me is that meaningful relationships of all kinds are based on three principles: “Trust, feel and talk about things that matter to you.” (If you want to learn more about this topic, read It Will Never Happen to Me by Claudia Black. The second edition of her book is best. I’ll be glad to talk with you about that book and the points it covers, too. I can loan you a copy if you like.) I will also help you learn to use tools of wholeness (Wholeness Archetype – Universal Human Nature Blueprint) and emotional health (Healthy Emotions Map) that have proven useful to me. Both of these tools help you to better understand how to nurture your own development in all of your potential facets and open your heart and mind to receive guidance from within by listening to your inner voice more attentively.
Evolving Through Life Experiences
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I will meet you there.”
For me, the field that the poet Rumi wrote about is the field of our dreams where we evolve past trying to build up our egos by making others feel like losers as well as past trying to accept and be content with being a loser as we avoid hurting others in our efforts to “win.” It’s a field where cooperation and mutual appreciation matter more than competition and disregard of other people’s humanity as I climb over them on my way to the top of some pile of performers and achievers. I do expect myself to perform tasks and roles with excellence and to achieve my goals, but I don’t want to do so by putting others down or climbing rudely over them as they try their best to perform and achieve with excellence too.
Rumi’s field is also the field of unconditional love, acceptance and solidarity with one another, where we set aside the ego’s harshly critical, dishearteningly judgmental perspective that assigns us to somewhere on various scales of “winners” and “losers” by a variety of dehumanizing criteria – a heartless process that separates us into isolated beings love can no longer reach, embrace and flow through and among. The ego twists us into pretzels as we try to meet everyone else’s expectations, please them at any cost and forget the value of being honest and genuine. In the field beyond ego, we can relax, unwind and be straightforward even if by sexual orientation we are not straight! There neither shame nor pride define us as ego would have them do.
In the field of sharing life beyond ego’s restrictive definitions, we can connect heart to heart and gratefully put down roots in the soil of unconditional love as the natural environment in which humans thrive. Love fosters humanity’s sustainability and enhances our capacity to evolve to yet higher levels of consciousness and wisdom. I seek now to join with others to build this field of our dreams for all of us to enjoy as we play ball together and rebuild humanity as a single, harmoniously functioning entity within the natural world where we abide as graceful stewards and trustees.
I sometimes use the photo I took of two bees investigating the same flower together as an image of the investigation of life I like to share with others who are trying to “be” true to themselves and appreciate beauty, justice and liberty as I do.
My Belief Orientation
I believe that wisdom teaches us to discern the meaning of human differences while not using those differences to judge others as superior or inferior in some way that means I cannot relate to them or they cannot relate to me as equals in God’s favor. Although I am a follower of Jesus, I am not the typical Christian whose understanding of Jesus may come mostly from the Bible and place great weight upon interpretations of that sacred text that others have passed down from generation to generation through filters of human prejudices and political motivations (ego’s perspective). I live as if the Spirit of Truth lives within my heart and yours and guides all of us as we learn to listen to it. By God’s grace, I am learning to allow my life to evolve according to God’s divine design. I believe that the Spirit of Truth and Love abides in all of us naturally — and that each and every one of us has the capacity to listen to it if we develop the disciplines needed to listen. I’ve found a book called A Course In Miracles especially helpful to my understanding of how life works. I’ve found many other books helpful too and would be pleased to share with you my small library of readings about many paths of faith if you desire. My services as a faith consultant and coach will help you to develop your own deeper insights and understandings into the Mystery of Life that await anyone who explores Truth and Love diligently. I have written more about my beliefs in a post entitled My Belief Orientation.
Assistance from Other Service Providers
Please keep in mind that my coaching does not substitute for the assistance you may need from other service providers. To learn to get to know and express yourself with greater confidence, you may need help from one or more counselors, educators in fields of knowledge that interest you, artists who are mastering creative fields that inspire you – or some other forms of encouragement to learn whatever you want to learn and gain the relief from distress you seek. I will help you to link up with such additional resources as you desire. I am not qualified to be all of these resources for you, but I can help connect you to those you seek based on your needs and desires. That’s one of my roles – a facilitator of people-to-people connections and a builder of networks that serve as the web of life within which we all help each other enjoy life more and be more fully satisfied as contributors to our loved ones and our larger communities.
As you emerge beyond the connections you had earlier in life, you are naturally looking for new connections while hoping to remain faithful to earlier ones that still matter to you. Life is about learning to stretch and grow beyond the bee hive in which we were born and to explore life flower by flower in search of the nectar that will nourish us and the pollen we can bring back to the community to nourish it as well. As we move about through life, we are also helping the flowers to interconnect, create new seeds and populate the world with their beauty and nourishing fruits and nuts!
My Emphasis on Healthy Emotions
All unshared emotions, even unshared joy and especially unshared confusion, are painful because we are created to share life heart to heart, not keep ourselves isolated from one another as if we are independent islands without natural connections. I subscribe to a declaration of interdependence beyond independence. I honor our capacity to grow developmentally independent as mature individuals (even at an early age) and yet also move forward together in interdependence, as the healthy alternative to artificial and futile efforts at the pretense of self-reliance. Healthy interdependence is both fun and functional, the best alternative to living in a funk and communicating, acting and relating dysfunctionally. In healthy interdependence, we celebrate our naturally unique individuality while also appreciating and encouraging each other to share divine love that welcomes and nurtures each and all of us to become all we are capable of being.
On this web site, as my Heartbook of Healing Wisdom , I share more about my ideas about personal wholeness, authenticity and sharing love within our relationships as an antidote to ego’s promotion of violence within our relationships. I welcome your feedback. Feel free to talk with me about any of these materials. Feel free also to talk with me about anything that matters to you from time to time. You may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© Art Nicol 2014