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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

MY Fine Line Between Criticism and Critique

I've recently spent another fabulous weekend being immersed in the goodness that is FOTS. Being among my fellow classmates, mentors, and amazing instructors inspires me like nothing else. I am so very grateful to be attending that particular school, which I consider to be the BEST of the BEST for anyone interested in spiritual healing and spiritual mediumship.

We were blessed to be instructed for part of the weekend again by Rev. Barbara Sanson. This is the second time our first-year class was able to soak up all the incredible information that she has to share. Rev. Barbara has been, among other many other things, THE chairperson of Lily Dale's Healing Temple for the last 19 years. She has also been the President of the Mediums League (please see NSAC - Lily Dale) for the last 11 years, as well as an ongoing registered Medium in Lily Dale. Add to this her DELIGHTFUL personality, full of love, wit, and wisdom. I just love her to pieces and admire/respect her greatly.

This time 'round Rev. Barbara taught us more of the 'fine points' regarding doing spiritual readings for clients. What strikes me is how there's no one way to do readings and that all the mediums we have been taught by have their own techniques and personal beliefs that inform them on how to proceed with readings. And the cool thing is that we've been taught by nothing but excellent mediums, even tho' they may differ on the 'fine points.' What we're reminded to do at school is to "take the best and leave the rest"...good advice, indeed...for what works for one person may not be correct for another. That said, I file away in the microfiche that is my brain (now THAT dates me, eh?!) ALL of the excellent advice and consider all the many techniques I'm learning as tools in my toolbox, to be pulled out and used as needed.

One particular incident got me pondering deeply about something that I've been struggling with for much of my life, namely the difference between criticism and critique. Let me explain... For the first time, two of us in class were asked to come up in front of the entire class, with one of the two giving a reading to the other. We've, of course, given MANY readings to each other, but never in front of the whole group. Yikes! Now I'm not afraid of speaking in front of groups and I'm quite comfortable with all of my classmates...BUT...this was a daunting proposition, in part because Rev. Barbara...who I've already admitted that I admire and respect greatly...was literally right next to me as I gave the reading to my classmate. Double Yikes! No, make that Triple Yikes!

Well, I'm not sure what I was nudged by Spirit to give to my classmate (let's call her 'the client'). I rarely remember what comes out of my mouth when I read, even right afterward. However, I always trust that Spirit will have me say what is for the client's best and highest good, and I know Spirit won't leave me hanging. But apparently, as told to me by another classmate, I was literally shaking as I spoke, tho' I didn't even realize this. That is not typical of me to "shake" at all, but totally understandable given the daunting circumstance I found myself in. Well anyways, to make a long story short, apparently I gave the same message in three different ways. I wasn't surprised by this, because I do remember that I didn't 'read' that the client got it the first time 'round. As a teacher in the fiber arts over the years, I've often had to explain something in more than one way. Rev. Barbara gently and kindly explained that she felt my client DID get the message, which was an excellent critique. Also, Rev. Barbara could 'read' me enough to know that critique can easily be misconstrued for criticism, where I'm concerned. Wise Rev. Barbara.

You see, I'm an extremely sensitive soul. As a kid, when I'd get criticized by ANYONE, most particularly by my Ma, I felt it waaayyyyyyy deep and it cut like a knife. So all through the years, it was hard for me to handle criticism in any way, shape, or form. And let's face it, even when someone is attempting nothing more than a critique, they're not always doing so in the gentlest of ways. It's not like the vast majority of humans have been instructed in the finer points of dishing out constructive critique. I KNOW that I have a personal fine line separating criticism from critique. I also know that it's my job to discern the difference between the two, so that the hairs on my back don't stand up in alarm and defense when someone is only attempting to instruct me or relay their own opinion via critique. Not least not for me.

So that said, I knew that Rev. Barbara was there to help and make me a better spiritual medium. I thought over long and hard what she had said and, let's face it, it's good advice not to waste my time "flogging the proverbial dead horse" if I know I've gotten across the point the first time around. I looked up this expression of "flogging/beating a dead horse" on Wikipedia and found: an idiom that means a particular request or line of conversation is already foreclosed or otherwise resolved, and any attempt to continue it is futile; or that to continue in any endeavor (physical, mental, etc.) is a waste of time as the outcome is already decided. Good advice, indeed! Not easy to follow, but worthwhile to work on.

There was much more that we learned at school this past weekend. All excellent. School at FOTS is and continues to be a life changing experience for me. What a blessing!


  1. Hi Jenny,

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. It reminded me that we always learn from others truths and insights we would never learn on our own.

    Love ravenstar xoxoxo

  2. Hi ravenstar! Thank you so much for reading this post and commenting in your always thoughtful way.