I am a Starfish Minister. I bestowed this label upon myself in conversation with a philosopher who was describing her “purpose in life” as a “systems changer”. When she finished the description, she then inquired about how I see myself as contributing to the evolution of humanity. It took a moment to allow flashes of my own routine activities before I could answer clearly. Then I heard myself confidently declare “I am a Starfish Minister.” For clarity, ministry, to me, means serving others.
We were both a bit taken aback by the words that erupted and the explanation that emerged. She wanted to know more. I thought, then, to tell her the story of the little girl who walked along a beach strewn with hundreds of stranded starfish. She was picking up one at a time and throwing each one into the sea. An older, but perhaps not wiser, gentleman commented to her, “You can’t save all of them!” To which she quickly responded, “Maybe not, but I can save this one!”
That, too, seemed to require explanation and elaboration as I certainly cannot pretend that I might “save” anyone. So, here goes the rest of the story: Starfish are known for their ability to regenerate amputated limbs (missing pieces) and are characterized by flexible arms attached to a central disc. The central disc is essential to regeneration. Similarly, to the sea stars, humans are known for their ability to regenerate nonphysical facets of themselves by reconnecting to Source energy which I understand to be LOVE Itself.
Now, to briefly summarize the remainder of what was revealed in the conversation: Over the years of personal healing through Twelve Steps and New Thought teachings, I have been privileged to first walk my talk and then to talk my walk by sharing my own journey through Codependency recovery (now called Co-addiction) toward Interdependent living.
This idea is well iterated In Stephen Covey’s book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It was first published in 1989 and has served many individuals and groups in the pursuit of personal practical healing. Covey offers a quote that summarizes why a small starfish ministry could be an important contribution to the evolution of humanity. He wisely said, “Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and he can feed himself for a lifetime.”
My version of that idea is to facilitate the healing process for others. I can only share what I have learned about the restoration of emotional, psychological and spiritual balance. An important fact in my healing journey came from a therapist who emphasized that the best thing we can ever do for those we love is our own inner work. So, for those who request my counsel and feel that they experience either “a hole in the soul” or “a missing piece of spirit”, I can offer my experience, strength, and hope. The process of completion and wholeness often takes a lifetime of commitment to self-healing. What better investment in the evolution of humanity?
Sometimes facilitating sacred healing involves listening deeply and totally without judgment to another human while giving full presence through an open heart and an open mind. We can recognize that humans are all flawed and wounded. Post-traumatic stress is now being widely acknowledged as part of the human condition. We have nearly all, for far too long, carried the emotional heaviness of poor life choices, dysfunctional relationships and/or unconscious habitual family patterns just to touch a few concerns. At other times healing work simply means asking open-ended questions that set the stage for self-inquiry and contemplation. Very often, though, it is easy enough to just ignite the innate creativity of another by suggesting one ask a “How can I………… question. And always it means that I must constantly do my own inner work so that I may be a loving vessel for Spirit to do its work through me. It is one of my greatest joys in life, to be available to extend a loving helping hand to a fellow human that may alleviate some degree of pain and suffering.
Shortly after the conversation with the philosopher, I received a small package. It contained the two nickel sized tokens and a note that read: LOVE IS THE FORCE THAT BRINGS JOY THROUGH PERPETUAL REGENERATION. Here’s wishing you the Perfect Joy of perpetual healing.
– Wanda Gail Campbell
Wanda has served thirty plus years as a healthcare professional. Currently, she serves as a Minister of Peace ordained by The Beloved Community. In July, 2007 she completed her PhD in Philosophy focused on Intercultural Peacemaking. For her own spiritual nourishment, she enjoys reading both contemporary and ancient spiritual writings.