DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a part of the leadership team at my church, and I feel like we are not communicating within each department as well as we should. Recently, there was a situation where a department head was in the hospital for about two weeks. We all assumed that he went on vacation to celebrate his wedding anniversary. That was not the case; however, we heard the news of his hospitalization secondhand. We should have known about this situation earlier so we could have visited him. Information is not being disseminated properly, and this can create problems in the future. If you can offer some advice on this situation, it would be greatly appreciated. -- Come Together, New York City
DEAR COME TOGETHER: I trust that you apologized to the church leader who was in the hospital for not visiting him earlier. Closing the loop, especially when you have not handled something well, is critical to cultivating good relationships.
It is also important to establish systems of communication. At many churches there are specific departments that handle alerting the head pastor and congregation about what's happening in the church community -- from acknowledging and praying for the infirm to celebrating successes. Similarly, it is wise for the leadership team to divide up responsibilities so that each key area of the church is covered. If you have weekly meetings where you provide updates, you can stay abreast of everything.
I wonder, too, who is in charge of the whole church. When the main pastor or church head is well-organized, it provides a structure for the rest to follow, and it is easier to keep the lines of communication open. Someone needs to inspire and motivate the group to share pertinent facts in a timely manner. If the top leader is not doing that right now, perhaps someone who knows how to implement such a system can make suggestions to him about how to upgrade the way in which you all interact.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I want to thank you for mentioning yoga as a way to fall asleep. I live and teach yoga in Mississippi, where many people don't know about yoga and are not familiar with what a well-trained teacher can offer to improve well-being beyond the exercise part. Thanks for planting the seed. -- Yogi Seeking Students, Ridgeland, Miss.
DEAR YOGI SEEKING STUDENTS: I have been practicing yoga for more than 20 years. For those who do not know, not only can you reap amazing physical benefits, but you reap spiritual benefits as well. The word "yoga" means "to unite" in Sanskrit. The Eastern foundational meaning of yoga is for the mind, the body and the spirit to be in alignment with one another. When that happens, the benefits one can receive are profound. They include peacefulness, grounding and focus. When you feel at ease in your own skin, it becomes easier to accept others for who they are.