About Me

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I am a pastor and a clinical psychotherapist. My life's passion is defining healthiness from a human perspective and paralleling it to the holiness of God, divine perspective. Shifting perspectives creates a paradigm that is alongside of rather than over and against. The parakalein of God and the paradoxes of humanity are redefined. Humanity is all about winning and yet we are losing ground everywhere. Divinity is all about letting go of the desire to win and the fear of loss. The Divine embraces the world with loving care regardless of anything.

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Yon Kippor, Atunement, Atonement

Posted by Don Paine

I like many of you have friends who are Jewish for whom  this day is the holiest of days.  In celebration of, in respectfulness for, and in reflection of that day in Jewish history and in human history I offer these reflections:

Yon Kippor teaches all of us the import and importance of life and death, of suffering and serenity.  

It is a call and summon to a shift from offering questions to offering compassion and consolation. Yon Kippor invites all to tune into that sinfulness and emptying oneself from the burden of sinfulness into a sacred place:  to become one with the sinner and the sin, for healing and wholeness.  This is the focus of Yon Kippor:  healing and wholeness in adversity and suffering.

The suffering for sin which is universal invites all to enter a place of full compassion. Compassion releases all from the burden of suffering into the blessing in the presence of suffering. We see our own suffering and the suffering of all others as a call to the community of suffering and healing.  A part of me want to run from that suffering, run through it or to simply pause to embrace it.

With compassion the burden of our suffering is lifted while simultaneously our compassion is expanded to all who suffer lifting all of us.   In the moment of holiness, there is an at one with all.  In this "at one" moment for and with all we are invited to tune into our own suffering and then to turn with that compassion offering it to all.

The sacred place and space of unburdening and Blessing is the most holy of all acts on the most holy of all places on the most holy of all days.

The high priest enters the sacred place, on one sacred day, with the sacred purpose  of releasing all burdens and restoring blessings not for himself alone or for the Jews alone but for all people and all of God's creation for all time, all seasons, and all.

Yon Kippor is a day of calling all of us to the fellowship of human suffering, human hope, and human healing.  Tuned into the place of mercy and grace, atonement from the place and practice of sin and suffering, transported to the place of healing and wholeness.  The Yon Kippor is a day when death and suffering are embraced by and embrace the compassion and creativity of hope, healing, and wholeness.

A sacred day of sacred blessings for all.

H's of IFS

Posted by Don Paine

Honor everyone and everything in and around you
Honesty is your gift to yourself and everyone and everything around you
Humility is the courage to let go of agendas about anything or anyone

G's of IFS

Posted by Don Paine

Goodness is in everyone
Greatness is in the little things
Gentleness is what all parts need to experience

F's of IFS

Posted by Don Paine

Fearful parts are loved away
Faith is seeing, shifting perspectives to see more not less
Fearless parts are breathed in
Firefighter parts are released of their burdens

E's of IFS

Posted by Don Paine

The process of doing IFS is to ease your way to the hurt and wondered parts to ease their burden and to sometimes remove it for healing.

Enthusiasm of Hope to believe that newness can come
Enlightenment of Faith to see what no one else sees, beyond and above
Empowering of Love to transform all things into goodness even if not in themselves good
Embracing all things, all parts, and everyone in love and peace breathes love and peace into all

3 D's of IFS

Posted by Don Paine


The C's of IFS

Posted by Don Paine

The 7 C's of IFS are at the core of the model and at the core of all of us.  Overlaid and overwhelmed by parts that believe they need to do this or that these 7 C's are often not sensed inside while often offered to the outside world.

Calmness regardless of anything
Compassion regardless for everything
Courage regardless of fear of anything
Clarity in everything
Creativity from within
Curiosity about everything
Connections with everything and everyone

The A's of IFS

Posted by Don Paine

Ok, A comes before B so here are the A's of IFS.

I just returned from an intensive week of Internal Family Systems, a model of psychotherapy and a way of inviting peace and love into all relationships both internal and external.  It was an amazing week of emotional healing and spiritual growth.  Here is the A's of IFS.

Acceptance of welcoming of all parts
Affirmation of witnessing of all parts
Appreciation for wonder of all parts

all from the heart to the heart as that is what matters!

The B's of IFS

Posted by Don Paine

I just returned from an intensive week of Internal Family Systems, a model of psychotherapy and a way of inviting peace and love into all relationships both internal and external.  It was an amazing week of emotional healing and spiritual growth.  Here is the B's of IFS.

Burdens are reframed and lightened
Beliefs are reformatted and lifted up
Blessings are renewed and lived out


Posted by Don Paine

Forgiveness is internal and eternal.

I do not have to forgive anyone because I cannot but I do have to let go of the burden of unforgiveness and the belief that I "have to" or "can" forgive anyone. Then I can work on my "open heart" while simultaneously protecting my open heart form closing down or inviting more hurt, anger or shame.

I am forgiven, and forgiving of all my internal hurt, angry, and blaming parts.

Can you forgive you, for all the times that you let someone else's voice that has been put into you life overwhelm you and become burdened by that voice be it a shaming, blaming, judging, or score keeping?  Can you listen to a new voice of compassion and care that is the real you, caring for you?

All are Welcome and All are Cared for Center

Posted by Don Paine

UCC  "The United Church of Christ" meets IFS "Internal Family Systems"

Open and affirming is a key focus of the identity of the UCC
Open heart with affection and acceptance towards all parts are welcome is at the core of IFS

Affirming the right of all parts to be spoken and listened to within the sacred space of spaciousness

Scared parts become fearless parts in the Sacred space and place where all are welcome where nothing is overwhelming and all are cared for.

More Perfect Union

Posted by Don Paine

Wonder what the framers of the constitution were thinking when they penned these words, "in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, assure domestic tranquility" hmmm

We heard our President tell us that we have been endowed with certain inalienable rights.  I wonder why the founders did not include that we also were endowed with certain "unalterable responsibilities" or "inherent respectfulness"

Might the idea of a more perfect union refer to a community where the communal rights and responsibilities and the individual rights and responsibilities are respectfully in balance and harmony through perfect inner peace and perfect outer loving.

Perfect union then would be the balance and harmony of the system of personal and social responsibility, respectfulness, and rights.

the Politics of Polarities

Posted by Don Paine

I listened to the democrats adn the republicans and while I have opinions about the ingenuity and creativity of each the looming question of integrity is unanswered.  Who can I trust?

As the extremest posture and positioning fades in the toxic poison of campaign rhetoric, belief in one or the other is a choice and as such an act of faith.

Polarities exist in our world everywhere and in everything and with everyone.  In the medium of earth between the North and South pole where win those extreme places few live, there is warmth and life of many kinds.  Just north of the equator is the cradle of civilization.  That which holds civilization together is the ideas that as a community we can live and move with greater cooperation and collaboration with beneficence toward and from all.

So the line from former President Bill Clinton, "we can do more working together than on our own" resonates as a global and universal truth.  "Working together we can make a more perfect union"!

What stands in the way of your working together with people around you to make your world a better place?  Ask those parts that are in the way to step aside and make a way!  That is your choice.

Substitutional atonement with a twist

Posted by Don Paine

You have heard that Jesus died to appease the God of wrath.

This implies that God would do to himself what I deserve to be done to me which takes sacrificial courage as the way of love.  It also implies that this happens because of the wrath of God rather than because of the love of God that wants to lead us into living with "sacrificial loving".

I say Jesus died to please the God of love and to model for humanity the willingness to sacrifice (humility), the wonder of serenity (honor), and the witness of substance (honesty) that we might be transformed by the renewing of our being into the mindset in which we were created.  He took our place to bring us to his place of serenity, sacrifice, and substance. He took our place to transform us from living with and for our own agendas and self interest into living the way of true loving.  Love that is about all of us not just me is transformational loving.  The focus is not me being loved but about me loving and then I will be loved.  Substitutional atonement without transformational atonement is one dimensional love.  Cooperative and collaborative loving is multidimensional and promotes multi-versality, multiversity and multiplicity not duality or duplicity
Atonement attunes us to the essence of our creator: the presence and practice of internal peace and eternal love.  Jesus was and is our substitute not so we would not have to suffer but to teach us how to suffer (CS Lewis).  Jesus provided a model for us to walk in his ways, love in his way, and live in his way.

Violence under cover, a Wake up call

Posted by Don Paine

Several weeks ago a man bought a ticket to go to the movies in Colorado. After entering the theatre he went to the front row and sat down. A few minutes later he slipped out the front exit door. If anyone saw him they probably thought he forgot something in his car or just wanted to check that he had locked it.  No one observed anything suspicious.  When he tee entered he had a host of concealed weapons but in the dark theatre who could notice.

While the smell of wam popcorn filled the air cold anger was running in his veins.

As a shooting scene was going on in the movie, he rose up and began shooting   Camouflaged by the violence in the movie, real violence began to be the experience of those in the theatre.  At first those present thought the shooting was part of the movie until they saw people being hit.  it was a weird dimension of violence in the movie theatre becoming the opportunity and cover for a malicious act of violence in the theatre.  Who would have imagined.  Violence is at epidemic levels all over the world.  We continue to make movies that are violent, encourage violence and make violence seem unreal.  Violence is real and deadly as people in that theater discovered on that day.

Is this a wake up call?  will we heed it?

If asked about their role in the violence the movie makers would probably say, we were just making a movie!


Can we make violent movies without being honest with ourselves that we are inadvertently if not directly creating not just a cover but a condoning of that violence.

My best marathon finisher ever!

Posted by Don Paine

As I wrote my blog yesterday I was recalling the best marathon experience of my life or at least one of the best.

It was several years ago.  I was running the Quebec City Marathon/Marathon des Deux Rives which was on a hot day at the end of August.  The marathon corse was overwhelmingly beautiful scenic and serene, breath taking and breath giving all at once.  I was there to do a Worship Service with a local Catholic French Priest for all the runners.  It went splendidly.

I did not know it at the time but the greatest moment was yet ahead of me as walking the talk is more important that talking of the walk!

I had labored partly due to the heat and partly due to the fact that it was my third marathon that year.  I had had an injury to my foot that had me hobbling to the finish line.  I was committed to finishing.  The ambulance pick up vehicle was on my heals.  If you have ever done a marathon and were fighting for last place you know what that is like.

As I came down the stretch, the last 5 miles, I noticed a few runners in the distance ahead of me.  I decided to try to catch at least one of them.  This is my competitive part for sure.  I did catch and pass a man considerable older than me that was having more trouble than me.  As I approached a woman about to pass her, I began to think, "What am I doing?"  I had just ran by someone and barely grunted a keep going as I went by him.  Where was that loving compassionate God inside that I had in French and English talked about making a difference in the des Deux Marathon experience.  Halted and hallowed by mown preaching coming back to my ears.  I turned around and ran in the opposite direction of the finish line.  I ran back to the man I had passed five minutes ago.  The ambulance pick up vehicle that was now at his heals was looking at me like I was crazy.  Maybe a part of me was crazy but another part of me had decided that I needed to go back and run with this man across the finish line.
As I greeted him, he smiled and indicated that he was from Quebec and spoke very little English.  I spoke a little more french so stumbled through a pleasant conversation but the act was beyond words.
I was with him and he was with me.  Neither one would finish alone or last.  We would be last together so no one would be last.

What a message of hope and love filled me as I did this intentional actor kindness. It was my worst adn slowest marathon from one perspective. It was my best marathon ever from a another. It was not about me. It was not about finishing a marathon but my hurting parts and frustrated parts standing to the side so my part that could see it from another side could step up. It was not about me it was about the common bond between people different yet the same.  It was about finishing a marathon in the style of true faith.  It is not about who wins but about being with all who run so no one finished last.  It is an alongside moment.  A moment with anyone and everyone with an act of kindness that makes any day a  better day.

We crossed the finish line hands joined and arms and hearts high!  It was  a great moment.

After getting our medals we lost each other in the crowd and I went to the wading pool at the finish line where other runners we re soaking their tired feel.. I took my worn sneakers and sox off and follow their lead.  As I sat align the edge with my feet cooled and comforted by the water a man came up to me.  He looked younger than me.  He was dressed in nice shorts, sandals and a clean shirt, obviously not a runner. He leaned over and said,  "I want to thank you" Merci beaucoup! "You helped my father cross the finish line, and that was so nice he nor I will ever forget it.  It was so kind of you.  Please let me thank you."  I told him that it was me that this was my slowest and best marathon ever and I will not quickly forget it.  So than you.  He had already put his dad in the car to go home but he took the time to say "Merci".

It was my best marathon ever.

When was the last time you showed mercy or said merci?

C'EST MAGNIFIQUE! Quebec City Marathon/Marathon des Deux Rives

What ever you so you will reap, Boomerangs always boomerang!

Posted by Don Paine

I was out walking along a river walk in Spokane Washington.  It was an early Sunday morning and as is my custom I was up exploring a new area as a "fast walker".  I had noticed that River Walk and Gonzaga University which I had heard of but never visited.  I had checked with the hotel clerk who said it was about 6 miles out so a 12 mile walk.  I had in my mind coming back to the hotel with a Starbucks to surprise my wife.  We had been at my nephews wedding the day before so wanted to do this to affirm not just my heart for but my thoughtfulness toward my wife who loves "Starbucks, Iced Venti Chai".  So I had decided I hd to just enjoy the river walk as far as I got and let go of the desire to walk on the campus of Gonzaga!

As I walked a man named Brad came up from behind me as I was sending an email to family that had not been able to attend the wedding wit pictures etc.  Yes from my iPhone.  The man greeted me from behind saying he was impressed that I was moving right along while texting.  We began to chat and for the next hour walked and talked together.  It was his custom to walk every Sunday morning the river walk to Gonzaga and back which according to him (the tone who doe sit can be trusted better than the one who never has, i.e. the desk clerk at the hotel).  He confirmed it was a 6 mile loop, the exact distance I was looking to do.  We may never see each other again but we added to each others life and day as we walked and talked of many things.

thanks Brad!

What was really encouraging of me is that I had done this kind of things in walks and marathons in cities all over the world.  I had gone up to strangers and began a conversation that sometimes became an extended sharing of lives.

The acts of kindness had come back around to me and it made it feel twice as good, a kind of double the pleasure.

When was the last time you doubled the pleasure by a small act of kindness, of befriending a stranger, or of just being an agent of care?

Yes Debbie loved her chai!

Feeling Bad does No one any Good

Posted by Don Paine

I was with my wife's grand uncle on a "Grand Laker" canoe.  We were on the St Croix River in northern Maine.  Jack was paddling, Debbie was picture taking, and I was fly fishing.  We were all enjoying nature and each other in different ways.  It was all good!  God's gift to all of us.

He commented that he was "feeling bad" about something.  The following words came up from within me and out my mouth:  "feeling bad, does no one any good".

He smiled and I hope took it in.

What a good world it would be if we all saw and acted with goodness no matter what bad is done to us or what bad we feel inside.

What if from inside, we let goodness and kindness flow like a river.  Intentional acts of kindness is better than random acts of kindness for they intentionally sow goodness and kindness in the world.

Where can you sow kindness and goodness in your world today.