By: Diane Feen Contributing Writer
Liz Sterling must agree with Socrates when he said that an unexamined life is not worth living.
Because Sterling is the high priestess of self-examination and human enlightenment.
Her class at the Levis JCC Sandler Center in Boca is the hub of shared wisdom about topics such as friendship, compassion, positive thinking, new beginnings, mind management and a host of other compelling topics.
The goal of this weekly gathering is to see life from a heightened awareness of self with friendship and camaraderie as the essential by-products. The group is made up of women who have declared war on the simplicity of sameness. Their goal is growth with Sterling as their gracious host and harmonizer. “There is no cross talk here, we have a strong sense of community, care and recognition of the preciousness of life.”
The profound wisdom that flies though the air around the large oval table is the center of gravity for those who want to see above the mundane and experience the marvelous.
The group keeps expanding because as human beings we were designed for self-improvement and intimate connections. And those qualities are at the core of The Wisdom Circle. Sterling, who is clearly in charge, is simply the clear conduit of conversation and lifts a veil over the illusion of reality that we all perceive differently.
As a life-long seeker and student of some of the greatest minds on the spiritual plane (Jean Houston for one), Sterling is perfectly suited for this intimate, yet reality-based camaraderie that fosters open discussions about personal matters. But it’s not just conversation, its shared wisdom designed to help each individual rise above the human condition of sorrow or disappointment and bask in healing and heart-centered comfort from the group.
“The words that people share are like butterflies. My job is to grasp them gently and hold them in my hands and let people see and feel what they look like. I help the group see what they believe in. Once they become aware, then they can change or make new choices,” said Sterling, who has interviewed some of the most famous spiritual leaders of our time for “Happy Herald” and her own radio show InnerViews.
Sterling is also the author of a book “Behind the Scenes Celebrity Interviews & Inspiring Life Lessons.” It is these lessons that Sterling has imbibed and so eloquently shares at the perfect moment in each discussion. At a recent group with Rabbi Akiva Mann (the Spiritual Director of the Institute of Jewish Knowledge and Learning) there was music and shared wisdom about being open to all sides of a belief or conflict. “It’s important to create a vessel of silence so we can gain deeper insights,” he said. Alida Shapiro studied the Rabbi’s words for a moment and said, “When there is a conflict in my life I look inside myself and see what part I played in the matter?”
Though the group shares their thoughts and queries about personal matters, Sterling is always there to shed a little more light among the sepia tones of existence. Her comments are wise beyond her years – yet so profound in the underlying convergence of meaning.
“Each time you get out of your comfort zone you’re going to experience a delightful cocktail of stress, fear, anxiety, pain, and doubt. So, when you start to feel your heart pounding, palms getting sweaty and your mouth drying up, choose to see these moments as the gifts they truly are — opportunities to step into your full potential!”
Moments like that are typical Sterling. She rarely misses a beat when it’s her turn to take a thought or feeling and shake it joyfully into the ethereal side swipe of earthly existence. Her background is varied and bounces between spiritual counselor to motivational speaker with writer and interviewer as the filling to a spiritual sandwich. She has a Master’s Degree in counseling and has interviewed over 2,000 authors, celebrities, scientists, politicians and artists.
But it is more than education that creates the framework for the Wisdom Circle. It is a heightened awareness of all that enters the sphere of earthly convergence – be it conflict, love, self-care or aging gracefully. “I think of myself as a facilitator bringing to light deeper issues. I stir up questions and ideas so we can live below the surface. This circle is a safe haven to be vulnerable.”
Like the modern-day sage that she is Sterling often opens a class with statements like this one – “Change is inevitable – Suffering is optional” or “Though Shalt not ‘should’ on thyself or others.” And of course, the essential teaching: “If you are enslaved by your mind, you are not following your heart. Bless and honor what is happening to you – give out light and that’s what you will attract.”
If the earth school is one of great magnitude – then Sterling is one of our greatest teachers.
The Wisdom Circle is held Wednesday mornings from 10:30 a.m. to noon. During season there is a monthly “Lunch with Liz” at the Delray Public Library. For more information, email email@example.com or call 561-809-8255