Sometimes we find life, with it’s twists and turns, has us facing uncertainty. Many say that when one door closes another opens. My guest today, Ellen Depenport, wouldn’t disagree, but knows that for many it’s “Hell in the Hallway!” Care to listen to the show vs read the transcript…here’s the link.
Tired of traditional talk? People pontificating about this or that? The left or the right? Sometimes the truth is just off lost in the noise. Having learned life lessons the hard way, Chuck Gallagher, international speaker and author, cuts through the noise to share truth through transparency!
Nationally-known guests talk about what’s important to you – your life, your concerns and your success. So tune in, turn on to Straight Talk with Chuck Gallagher.
Now, here’s your host, Chuck Gallagher.
CHUCK: Wow, it is a great day on Straight Talk Radio. Hi, this is Chuck Gallagher and thanks for joining us on Transformation Talk Radio. If you’re a regular listener to our show, you know we’re here to discuss issues and ideas that can transform you life. And today, well, we’ve got a great show lined up for you.
I talk a lot about choices and consequences. In fact, every presentation I give starts with the statement that every choice has a consequence. Now, the challenge often arises when we’re thrust into situations that, well, require us to make choices that we really didn’t want to make, situations we didn’t consciously choose to be in. For example, when you find that you’ve lost your job due to downsizing, but you didn’t expect that or well, let’s go back to that. That’s obviously something that a lot of people can identify with over the past five to six years. Or, what is your spouse surprises you one day with the “I want a divorce” request, although a lot of people listening might say that it shouldn’t be a surprise if you hear that. Or what happens when you find that you just got diagnosed with cancer and had no symptoms or clue? I have to be transparent in the show and say at the age of 47, and I’m close now to 57, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It seemed to by quite by accident, with no symptoms or clue, but yet put me in a position where I had to make choices that certainly impacted my life.
So, life sometimes hurls at us opportunities to make those choices and if we make bad choices, well, the consequences will be less than desirable, although many might say there’s no such thing as bad choices. I don’t know, I know I’ve made some pretty poor choices in my life and the outcome, well, let’s put it this way, the outcome wasn’t fun. [phone rings] Having spent some time in federal prison, I can promise you, it wasn’t fun. And of course, here we are on the radio and there is the cell phone. Well, I’ve cut that off. But the opposite is also true. If you make a positive, empowering choice in life, you will find that the outcome can be awesome and I, too, have lived that.
I guess it’s safe to say here on Straight Talk Radio that I know a thing or two about choices and consequences, but my guest today is a master of choices and change, not only from a practical perspective but from a spiritual perspective as well. Ellen Debenport is the author of a book about spiritual laws called The Five Principles. Ellen is also a Unity minister previously in Dallas, Texas and now in Wimberley, Texas and the hill country outside of Austin where she says everyone in Texas wants to live. Ellen, I’ve been to that area and I tend to agree, it’s pretty doggone nice.
CHUCK: Now, I mean, Ellen, when I lived in Dallas and I have to say that she is the best mister I’ve ever had the privilege to be in the congregation of. Ellen is great and I’m honored to have her here on Straight Talk Radio, so, Ellen, welcome.
ELLEN: Wow, Chuck, thank you very much.
CHUCK: You know, facts are facts and I’ve had the privilege of being around a lot of places in the country, but walking into Unity of Dallas and when you took the stage and I listened to your luscious voice and you just brought this message that spoke to my heart and so many people have echoed that so it’s not like this is just coming from me. It really was a transformative experience and I have to admit what I’d like to replicate and haven’t been able to do that yet.
ELLEN: Aww, well, thank you very much! And I’m delighted to be here today, thanks for asking.
CHUCK: Well, it’s my privilege and pleasure. I know you have a new book that will be coming out soon, but I’d love to start our conversation about your journey from Dallas to Wimberley.
CHUCK: You were the senior minster at one of the most significant Unity churches in the country and yet felt a calling to move away. So can you share a little bit with the audience about what you felt and how you got that message?
ELLEN: Let me start with a song lyric. There’s a singer/songwriter named Karen Taylor Good who has a line in one of her songs that says, “Sometimes love’s not over. Sometimes it’s just complete,” and I have found that to be true about relationships and about jobs and the period of time in Dallas was just complete. The church was going really well, people were on good terms. There’s was nothing behind the scenes that made me want to resign. I just knew that I had done what I could do there and I had always said I wanted to be a church minster for a while and then I wanted to write and speak. I knew in 2007, October specifically of 2007, that it was time and because the church was in good shape and we had strong associate misters, I felt free to go. So that’s what I did. I took a year and wrote a book called The Five Principles and just about the time I was finishing that book and running a out of savings, I got a call from Unity of Wimberley. They were looking for a temporary minister so I came down here as the temporary minister and I’ve been here five years.
CHUCK:[chuckles] Well, sometimes whenever we make choices in life and take different paths in life, we don’t really know will end up, but I will say bravo for Wimberley. Yet at the same time, I think it’s really cool to hear sometimes things are complete. I’m almost willing to bet that too often we hang on to things for fear of what the future may hold instead of allowing complete to be complete.
ELLEN: Right. Yes.
CHUCK: Now, I remember, I came to Dallas in 2005 and you left in October of 2007 so I remember when you were in Dallas, we discussed the premise of the new book you’re working on now or completing called Hell in the Hallway, Light at the Door and it hit me after I moved from Dallas. I guess, when I moved away, that was when the great recession was preparing to hit and did, and for a lot of us there was a great deal of uncertainty and I guess the best way to say it is many of us were in the hallway and not sure if there would ever be light.
CHUCK: So how did that time impact you?
ELLEN: I sort of said it out, because 2008 was the year that I was writing and I had enough money to live on and I knew that other people around me were hurting a lot. Let’s talk about the hallway. It’s based on a quote that a lot of people have heard that when one door closes, another one opens, but it can be hell in the hallway. So the hallway is any period of uncertainty or transition and a lot them, as you said, are financial. When you’ve lost a job, when you’ve been downsized or had to downsize, that’s one type of hallway. You’re also in the hallway after someone you loved dies or after a divorce or any of those times of uncertainty. Retirement is another huge hallway for people. Kind of a double whammy hallway because there’s that period of time leading up to retirement when you know your life is going to change and then there’s that period of time after the retirement when you’re making all those adjustments. Those are both hallways.
CHUCK: So, hallway, fundamentally then, is any transition period from A to B when there is that period of uncertainty.
CHUCK: And I guess as a minster, you’ve listed several– But I have to say, I can’t imagine what it would be like to be a minister of a church because you know you have this, I’ll use the generic term, flock that you’re kind of responsible for.
CHUCK: And most of these folks, I guess, feel a certain natural privilege to share with you the challenges in the hallways that they’re in. I’ve got to ask, do you see any patterns?
ELLEN: Yes! I mean, people get in the hallway in some pretty basic ways; health, relationships and money are the three biggies.
CHUCK: Okay, health, relationships, money, okay, good.
ELLEN: In whatever form that takes. What I’ve learned though is that what they do in the hallway and how they get out of it, how they open the next door also has some themes and patterns and that’s what’s in the book. The book I’ve written is full of stories from people who have been through hallways and most of them are far enough down the road that they had some perspective and some self-awareness about what happened, what they went through and then how they got on with their lives.
CHUCK: Hm. Okay, so health, relationships and money are the triggers, I guess, that you’re talking about, that kind of get us in there and the patterns out. Let’s say for whatever reason, and we’ve got some time to really explore this, but let’s say for whatever reason that we’re in the midst of change.
CHUCK: We’re in this hallway, but that place between where one door closes and the other opens, but I guess the question is does it have to be hell in the hallway?
ELLEN:[laughs] No, a lot of people ask that. Of course it doesn’t have to be hell because we know that our thoughts determine our experience, but it’s also true that everybody goes through pain and loss in a lifetime and some days it feels like hell. Even though I am in a church in a way of thinking that emphasizes positivity, I don’t want to pretend that life doesn’t want to hurt sometimes because sometimes it does.
CHUCK: Okay, well, Gosh, I’m hearing music so that must mean we’re actually ending up the first segment. This is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio and it’s time for a break. Man, that was a quick first segment. I know if you’re listening to this show that you want to continue with us. Ellen Debenport is my guest and we’re talking about her new book, Hell in the Hallway, and you won’t want to miss our next segment, so stick with us and we’ll be back in a moment.[Commercial break]
CHUCK: Hi, this is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio and my guest today is Ellen Debenport. I have to share a brief personal note. Ellen was the senior minister at Unity of Dallas when my wife and I lived in the area back in 2005 to 2008 and I have to admit that not before or since have I felt so spiritually comforted in a church than what I felt under Ellen’s leadership in Dallas. Ellen, I am thrilled to have you on Straight Talk Radio so we can talk a lot about a lot of things, but one thing we’ve been discussing in our first segment and will continue with is your new book Hell in the Hallway. Let’s do it this way, it seems like the choices that we need to make or make are a function of what puts us in the hallway to begin with. Like divorce is different than death and that’s different than unethical or illegal choices. Hm, something I’m not particularly proud of but that I have experience in. So, how much of this hallway experience is, I’m not sure how to put this, things that just happen that we just have to deal with versus that are generated by the actual choices, whether conscious or subconscious that we make?
ELLEN: Wow, Chuck, that’s a huge metaphysical question.[Chuck laughs]
ELLEN: It depends on whether you believe that anything is an accident, that anything just happens. I kind of don’t think so. I think we are choosing all along, usually not consciously, I think there is a higher self or something divine that is drawing to us whatever we need to fulfill our deepest desires, which also may not be conscious. So, Chuck, let me stop and ask you here, because I think of this as a business radio show and I’m going to have to talk about spiritualities. Is that okay?
CHUCK: No, that’s absolutely fine. That’s not a problem at all.
ELLEN: If you bring a minister on the show, that’s what you’re going to get.
CHUCK: Hey, listen, I’m open for that. This is an hour of Chuck with Ellen, I’m thrilled.
CHUCK: This may be an interesting divergence here, but let’s take the premise that there are no accidents and everything happens according to what our higher self, however you define that, it happens according to plan. Don’t you find that a lot of people really are challenged with that whole concept?
ELLEN: Sure, and I don’t mean predestination. I don’t mean it’s all laid out, it’s going to happen no matter what we do. What I mean is trying to consider that it’s happening for you instead of to you, and for me that shifts the whole question. If something’s happening for me, like the loss of a job, for instance, okay, then how could this be a good thing? What good might come out of it? What might I learn from this that I needed to know before I continued with my career? If it’s happening for me, it helps me stay out of the why-me-how-could-this-happen mindset.
CHUCK: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense and you, of course, know my history and past and certainly I’m very transparent so I get people asking often when I’m doing an ethics presentation and walking in an orange jumpsuit and handcuffs, which really does kind of mystify an audience, but I get people who ask in the Q&A part, “If you had it to do it all over again, would you?” There’s a side of me that looks at them like they’re crazy and it’s like, “Well, no!” Experiencing time in federal prison was not a fun experience and it’s not something that I would want to replicate. But, yeah, I have to say, it was probably one of the best things that ever happened in my life and were it not for that, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to talk with people around the country and literally the world the way I do to talk about things that are a bit deeper than just the surface than years ago, that I was talking about, which was tax accounting, not that there’s anything wrong with that but it’s a technical subject, it’s not a deep subject. Talking about choices and consequences is a whole lot more fun and a whole lot more impactful to people in their lives.
ELLEN: And I hear exactly that from people who’ve been through major illness, people who’ve been thorough a loss. They thought they could just not survive and years down the road, like you, they’ll say, “You know, in a way it was the best thing that ever happened. I wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t gone through that, so that’s why I’m willing to consider it’s happening for me.”
CHUCK: I think that’s very powerful. It’s a wonderful way to look at it, it’s happening for me not to me, and that’s almost the difference between a victim or a victor mentality.
ELLEN: Yeah, I would say a victim or a volunteer.
CHUCK: Oh, interesting! A victim or a volunteer. Okay, cool. I can deal with that.[Ellen laughs]
CHUCK: All right, so let’s do this. Let’s say that someone’s in the hallway, for whatever reason. There has been a death, a divorce, a loss of a job, there has been some change. Let’s talk a little bit about how do you make it not hell?
ELLEN:[laughs] Great question! First of all, let me say a lot of people’s first reaction to the hallway is, “Well, it makes a difference how you got in there. If you’re a child, that’s not the same as losing a job,” and that’s true. At the human level the circumstances are different but I believe the spiritual work of the hallway is pretty much the same no matter what the outer circumstances. Does that make sense?
CHUCK: Yeah, it does.
ELLEN: So how do you make it not hell is– The pain is in the resistance so let the door close. Sometimes I stick my foot in a closing door and I pound on the door and I cry. It’s easy to think of yourself as a victim, especially at first. It’s easy to get stuck in blame. Blame the doctor, blame the boss, blame the judge, whoever you think had a hand in putting you in the hallway. It’s easy to blame yourself, self-incrimination. I should have known better, I should have seen this coming. Why didn’t I do this or that? That’s what creates hell in the hallway is that kind of thinking. So you have to let the door close and latch before you can turn around and move on and quit insisting that things should be different. There’s a famous quote from Helen Keller along these lines, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we don’t see the one that is opened for us.”
So, that’s the first one, let the door close, and then the second way to make it not hell is don’t torture yourself with questions. Instead of, “Why did this happen?” or even, “How did I create this?” the immediate question is, “What’s next?” Regardless whether you believe this is faith or an accident or something you created or attracted, it could turn out to be that great blessing for your life.
CHUCK: There are three things that you just said that really struck me. No. 1 is pain is in the resistance. To me that makes so much sense. I’m kind of a visual guy and this is a radio show, but I could so see that the door’s getting ready to close and you stick your foot and your hand in the door and as it’s closing, you’re just screaming. I remember as a kid getting my fingers slammed in the car door, it was like, “Oh, my Gosh.”
CHUCK: You just feel like, “This is terrible.” I can see the pain in the resistance. That makes sense. I can also letting see letting the door close. That also, to me, makes a lot of sense. I’m fascinated with the last one which is no questions because that strikes me from a human perspective is maybe the hardest one because how do you not ask questions so you can get your mind around why am I in a hallway in the first place?
ELLEN: Because it doesn’t matter why you’re in the hallway in the first place. You are there and your first job is to accept that you’re there. It’s hard, certainly it’s hard and it’s not so much no questions as the right questions. I think the first question is what do I do now? Okay, I’m in the hallway, what do I do now? You can analyze how you got there later and figure out whether it was something you attracted or created or something that just happened to you and you may decide that doesn’t matter anyway.
CHUCK: Hm, I like that. So, what now? In other words, fundamentally, it’s just surrender to it.
ELLEN: It’s surrender, I’m afraid. You have to acknowledge and accept where you are and it’s hard. It’s so easy to feel like a victim and very often your friends will gather around you and tell you what a victim you are, and how awful this is, and how it shouldn’t have happened to you, and you might see no possible purpose this could serve. It can be like a slap in the face or it can be like a slow dawning. “There’s no going back, he really did leave. Or, they really did lay me off.” But surrender doesn’t mean you are going to stay in this place for ever. It’s just the beginning of a journey through uncertainty to the next door.
CHUCK: And in the process of that, because it does strike me that there is time and process to that, it seems that since so much of what we do is driven by the subconscious, it’s hard to be consciously aware that I need to be present, I need to ask, “What now?” I need to ask the right questions so that I can move through it as opposed to becoming so immersed in the muck that I can’t even appreciate the process.
ELLEN: One of the things I most appreciate about the idea of the hallway is that it’s such a great visual for people and it lets you know this is temporary. Hallway is something you walk through. You’re going from one door to the next and so by definition, the hallway is a temporary passage. It’s just part of your life.
CHUCK: Wow, that is fairly profound. I need to sit back and think about it. You’re absolutely right because no one gathers and stays in the hallway. You go from point A to point B and that’s the passage through it. This is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio. My guest is Ellen Debenport. We have been talking about her new book, Hell in the Hallway. This is a fascinating discussion and it’s absolutely passing me by at the speed of light. We’re in our second segment, we’re going to be taking a break here for just a moment so stick with us here on Straight Talk Radio and we will be back to talk about okay, what do you do while you’re in the hallway? Stick with us on Straight Talk Radio.[Commercial break]
CHUCK: This is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio and my guest is Ellen Debenport. Ellen is a Unity minister. She is in Wimberley, Texas but I remember Ellen for the role that she played when I was in Dallas, Texas and I remember talking with Ellen about her new venture and a book entitled Hell in the Hallway, which she was working on then, and it just clicked. So, I’m honored today to have Ellen Debenport join me as a guest here on Straight Talk Radio where we’ve been talking about her new book soon to be released.
Ellen, we’ve been talking about this whole concept of what happens when change happens in life, whether it is change that has been brought about because of direct choices that we’ve made? I kind of differentiate it that way because in my life I made clear choices that might have been subconsciously driven but clear choices that ended me up in prison so that was a long hallway, it seemed like, or I’ve also had other, we’ll call it this way, we’ll call it choices that I didn’t intend, a prostate cancer, that may be subconscious but they doggone sure weren’t conscious on my part. Yet, that put me into a hallway position and we had to deal with, okay, so what happens, what now and where do we go? You talked a bit about surrender so let’s go the question then, so you’re in a hallway, you surrender. But what do you do while you’re there?
ELLEN: Okay, let me give you four things and I’ll try to talk fast.
CHUCK: No, no, take your time. It’s okay.
ELLEN: The first one is to feel your feelings. I know so many people who get the impression that in order to be spiritual, they have to transcend the human experience and kind of float through life and not really feel anything. That’s not the point! I think we came into human form in order to experience some of this, so feel your feelings. I heard recently, feelings just want to be felt and then they can move on. Don’t judge yourself for having the feelings that you have. “Oh, I shouldn’t be this angry. I shouldn’t hate that person.” If you feel that way, go ahead and feel that way. And don’t compare your pain to other people’s pain. They problems may seem bigger, but you are entitled to feel what you feel so that’s the first one, let yourself feel. This is all spiritual work, by the way.
CHUCK: By the way, before you go to second, let me just ask a quick question on that, okay?
CHUCK: And this may be the dumbest question you’ve had in a good while but do you find there is a difference between a male’s willingness to feel their feelings and a female’s willingness?
ELLEN: I would never generalize about males and females. Of course! I mean, of course.
CHUCK: Okay, so let’s assume that females would maybe more willing to feel, but does that put a female into the place of making it more difficult because they can become so immersed in the feelings and men’s difficulty because we barricade ourselves off from the feelings?
ELLEN: Right, and yes, taken to extremes, women will wallow and men will just get stoic.
CHUCK: Okay. Well, I didn’t meant o interrupt, let’s got to no. 2.
ELLEN: Well, let me say here, Brené Brown and her two books about vulnerability are great for this.
ELLEN: One is called The Gifts of Imperfection and one is called Daring Greatly and they’re about feeling what you feel and she had studied women for a long time before she studied men and learned really quickly that the one message men get is do not show weakness. So, yeah, they have a lot of trouble with feelings.
CHUCK: Yes, I will not argue that.
ELLEN: Okay, so the second thing is forgiveness. Nearly everyone in the hallway has somebody they could blame and anchor is a natural part of grief, and grief is what’s going on in the hallway. There’s been a loss when a door closed. However, we only have to forgive what we have judged to be wrong in the first place. Does that make sense?
CHUCK: Yeah, it does.
ELLEN: I’ve done whole sermons on that, but it’s only because you decided somebody was wrong or bad that you have to go back and forgive them for whatever it was.
ELLEN: And even more difficult to self-forgiveness but you may also have to forgive God. Some people really get angry with God in the hallway. And that’s okay, just don’t drag all this baggage with you through the next door. The hallway is a good place to work on forgiving and releasing.
The next common denominator in the hallway is prayer. Nearly everyone I’ve talked to about the hallway says they prayed and they were prayed for and they believe it had a tremendous power over them. So let me offer you two prayers for the hallway. One is reveal what needs to be revealed and heal what needs to be healed. And the other one is lead me where you need me and speak to me in ways I cannot possibly misunderstand.
CHUCK: Oh, wow.
ELLEN: Between those two prayers you’ll get everything you need to work on while you’re in the hallway and you’ll get some really clear guidance for opening the next door.
CHUCK: Ellen, before you go to the next item, would you restate the two prayers?
ELLEN: Sure. Reveal what needs to be revealed and heal what needs to be healed.
CHUCK: Wow, okay.
ELLEN: And the other one is lead me where you need me and speak to me in ways I cannot possible misunderstand.
CHUCK: Wow, that is profound. I have to say as I’m sitting here, listening to this and taking notes as we talk back and forth. I had to write them down so I didn’t miss them and I can’t wait to re-listen to this because I think those are two profound things, profound prayers that are incredible and I thank you so much for sharing that.
ELLEN: Well, they’re kind of dangerous. I mean, these really may be answers.[Chuck chuckles]
ELLEN: You’ll get a lot of stuff revealed and spoken to in ways you cannot misunderstand.[Chuck laughs]
ELLEN: Just prepare yourself.
CHUCK: Okay, that’s fair enough.
ELLEN: And the last thing that is common through the hallway process, and I didn’t know this until people told me, is to take responsibility. This is back to no victims, only volunteers. I think it’s a pro-active form of accepting that you’re in the hallway. And I don’t mean you are to blame for whatever happened. It just means you acknowledge where you are and you’re in charge of what happens now.
I particularly heard this from people who’ve been through major illness. Several people told me they could not start to get well until they took responsibility for it. One woman’s doctor said to her, “You have to make the decision to be well.” And another woman who had breast cancer told me she wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but she also wouldn’t trade the learning and the growth she had from it, and she had to decide to be conscious and present as she went through it and to take responsibility for her healing. So, it’s not just let go and let God. Surrender and acceptance are not the same as doing nothing. It’s co-creative. Your own divinity is called into play here and expressing spirit in and through your human form will be part of this hallway process.
CHUCK: Wow, I’m sitting here just kind of absorbing this. This is one of the more unique shows that I’ve had because this is wonderful for me. I appreciate that. Ellen, you say no victims, only volunteers, but so many people seem to find some, let’s see, I don’t know how to describe it but joy in being a victim.
CHUCK: I don’t get it. Maybe I’m looking at the word wrong but you say volunteers, I think victim or victor and I think it’s more fun to be victorious than it is to be victimized.
ELLEN: Yeah, I don’t disagree.
CHUCK: So, I guess I’m trying to search for where’s the joy in being a victim?
ELLEN: Oh! You get all kinds of sympathy and you’re not expected to do anything. You’re just going to be sad forever and some people really identify themselves with their stories and that will keep you stuck in the hallway. But the hallway can get kind of comfortable. You put in a carpet, air-conditioning and you’re just there for a long time.
CHUCK: Oh, my goodness. I haven’t thought about that. I have this image of somebody sitting in the hallway, it’s quite comfortable and because you’re a victim, everybody’s giving you sympathy, they’re bringing you food and they’re taking care of your needs and you’re sitting there thinking, “You know, this is not such a bad deal. I don’t have to do anything. Ha!”
CHUCK: Never thought of it that way. Okay, so hallway could be a busy place, but the subtitle of the book is But There’s Light at the Door, so how does someone get out of the hallway?
ELLEN: Well, it’s interesting because not everybody wants to. It can get really comfortable. Sometimes people feel guilty for moving on. This is especially after a death. I talked to one woman whose husband had died and there was a part of her that was saying, “If I start to laugh again and particularly if I start to date again, does it mean I’m just forgetting him? Does it mean that I’m writing off all the good years we had together?” That can keep you stuck for a while. Telling your story over and over can keep you stuck for a while. And I used to think you just had to wait in the hallway for God to open a door.
What I’ve learned is that the shift occurs first in consciousness. Now, this is based on my belief that thoughts have creative power and whatever you’re thinking will be reflected to you by the universe. So, you shift your consciousness by asking what do you want? Not what are you wishing for on the surface, but what are your deepest desires? And we don’t always know what that will look like, but we usually know how it will feel. So you don’t have to know all the specifics of what you want behind the next door but start thinking about how will it feel? What are your deepest desires for feelings? Do you want to feel at peace, for instance? Do you want exhilaration? Do you want freedom? Do you want to feel sexy and beautiful every day? I mean, you can have a whole list of these things, but once you know how you want it to feel, then the universe can start reflecting circumstances to you that bring that about.
CHUCK: I absolutely believe in what you’re saying and that thoughts have power and I think this has been a particularly powerful show up to this point. This is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio and this has been straight talk with Ellen Debentport about her book, Hell in the Hallway, and we’re going to continue after this short break and really wrap up this last segment with some profound questions and talk a little bit more so we can keep people focused on how do you find that ability to transition from one door closing and another opening? This is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio, stick with us.[Commercial break]
CHUCK: Hi, this is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio and thank you for tuning in and sticking with us. My guest today is Ellen Debenport. She is a Unity minister, a speaker and author, and we’ve been talking with Ellen about her thought leadership and especially the work with this new book she’s got entitled Hell in the Hallway, which I know was kind of percolating in thought whenever, Ellen, you and I were back together at Unity of Dallas.
CHUCK: I’m so excited to have you on the line. As I’m sitting here and thinking about all of the things that we’ve talked about and you said at the beginning that the premise behind The Hell in the Hallway is that statement when one door closes, another one opens but, as you put it, it can be hell in the hallway. I’ve got to admit something, I’ve got to admit my fault.
CHUCK: To me, it’s a challenge to find patience.[Ellen chuckles]
CHUCK: I’m a doer. Okay, something’s happened so what am I going to do now? And you talk about action or taking action but sometimes I wonder if I’m just not taking action for action’s sake because I’m unwilling to be present. What are your thoughts?
ELLEN: Oh, I’m so glad you brought that up.
CHUCK: Another one for [45:00] yourself. [chuckles]
ELLEN: Well, that’s what most people would say. “Surely you’ve got to take some action. What do I do?” Everything I’ve talked about so far is pretty much interior work; the forgiveness, the prayer, the shift in consciousness. You will take action and depending on your circumstances, you’ll take action sooner than later. If you’ve lost a job, you may need to start sending out resumes right away and you can still be working through this other hallway, spiritual work, in the meantime, but I would say be careful not to jump too soon because I’ve talked to so many people who got out of the hallway by taking the next job that came along or marrying the next person who came along and they kind of wished they had sat back and done a little more personal work first. So take action as you feel guided or inspired but not panicked and not desperate. Usually it just shows up as the next natural step. You won’t see the whole path lit up ahead of you.
CHUCK: Well, that makes sense and I have to say from personal experience, when my life crashed in 1990, that goes back a long time ago, but when that took place, I was all about trying to take action and I have to admit it was fascinating to look back because looking back, if I tried to control what was taking place, it fundamentally failed. The doors just never seemed to open and when I, I’m going to use your word, just surrendered to where I was, it was fascinating how quickly the right doors opened.
ELLEN: And you also have to be aware of what you want next. Chuck, you and I both knew a guy at the church in Dallas, I don’t know if you remember, who had lost his job in the corporate world and he was looking for another corporate job and he was really specific about how much money he wanted to make and where he wanted to work and no doors would open for him. Finally, he had admitted to himself and other people, he really wanted to be an actor and as soon as he got down to that deeper desire, the door started flying open for him and he’s still in the acting world today. So sometimes it’s about knowing what you really want. If doors are not opening for you, it may be that you’re knocking on the wrong ones.
CHUCK: Yeah, you know, Ellen, I have to say, that to me is a really powerful thing and I hope that folks that are listening to this kind of really connect the dots to that because that’s so true. We get in our heads, “Well, I’m this. I’m defined by I’m in the corporate world or I’m defined by the amount of money or I’m defined by X,” and I think both of us would agree if we’re not in alignment with our true internal core,the person that we truly are, it becomes hard for those to open whereas it becomes incredibly easy whenever you are truly aligned with yourself. The problem is, listen, I want to be first to admit, I’ve got this, it’s hard to sometimes know what that true essence is and, Gosh, I wish there was a way that you could just open a book and say, “Oh, that’s who you’re supposed to be.”
ELLEN: Yeah, right.
CHUCK: It would be a whole lot easier that way, but I don’t know that–
ELLEN: And other people will be happy to tell you who you’re supposed to be so one of the things I say in the book is ask for support, both human and divine, but be a little bit cautious about other people’s opinions and ideas for you because they’ll say things like, “Oh, you need to start dating again,” or, “Why don’t you get a job?” and you may know that’s not right for you right now. So you’re right, Chuck, you do have to stay tuned into yourself.
CHUCK: Yeah, tuned into yourself. Tuned into yourself is challenging but necessary.
CHUCK: I want to get out a couple of different things real quick. For the little bit of time we have left. I think everything that we’ve talked about is so encouraging and I can actually see doing another show like this because this is great, but you obviously don’t have to sit in the hallway and wait for something to happen. You’ve already said you do participate in the process.
CHUCK: Now, switch gears for a second, okay?
CHUCK: I often talk about ethics. To me, it’s really more about choices and consequences but if you have to pigeonhole and define it, it’s ethics so what do you see, you have an interesting perspective, what do you see on the landscape regarding ethical action, either in people’s personal lives or in business?
ELLEN: Say a little more about that first.
CHUCK: Okay. If you’re sitting there, you’ve been in Austin, you’ve been in Dallas, you have experience, you’ve been on Unity Radio. You’ve been in a place where you really get a chance to see a lot of what‘s taking place. Do you think that people are more ethical, less ethical? Is there a pattern that you see at all?
ELLEN: You know, I live in such a spiritual bubble that most of the people I know are ethical or at least as far as I know they are. I do think that a lapse in ethics is usually born of desperation more so than bad character. The economic crisis of the last few years, I would bet, has tempted a lot of people to cut corners, don’t you think?
ELLEN: Being in the hallway at that period of uncertainty is probably an excellent time to watch out for your own ethics because it might be tempting to get out of the hallway any way you can.
CHUCK: I think that’s very powerful, and you are right, most people as I see them are naturally ethical, but if need or temptation is strong enough, people will be tempted, that’s lack of a better word, but will be tempted to make choices that aren’t so good. Listen, we’ve got a short period of time, but you wrote an incredible blog entitled Turn on the Lights, which can be found, by the way, for our listeners at ellendebenport.com. Let me spell that: E-L-L-E-N-D-E-B-E-N-P-O-R-T.com. It’s quite powerful and it opens the door to an interesting perspective so in the next minute or so what can you talk about that might change people’s perspective to the power of positively or how we can positively change our world?
ELLEN:[sighs] It’s starts with the individual. It would seem that we need to band together in great groups and demand change but I don’t think so. I think it starts with an individual shift in consciousness and if enough of us do it, then the world will change. If enough of us become peaceful within ourselves, the world will become more peaceful.
CHUCK: That’s interesting and it’s, let me put it this way to the people that are listening because I know we have a short period of time left, got to ellendebenport.com, E-L-L-E-N-D-E-B-E-N-P-O-R-T.com, go to her site and look at the very last blog you wrote, I think it was April 12. Ellen, it was powerful to look at and to really look at things and put it in perspectives. The question, by the way, is, are we in another dark ages? So many people, in the midst of it, wouldn’t say there was anything dark about it. Yet, the way you ask questions really raises some significant questions and concerns so I was very impressed with that.
ELLEN: Thank you.
CHUCK: Let me also do this as we’re wrapping up. Let me encourage everyone to pick up a copy of Ellen’s book The Five Principles. You can buy it from amazon.com or pick it up in a bookstore near you or visit Ellen’s website, ellendebenport.com for more information. And if your organization is planning a powerful meeting that seeks a truly inspirational presenter, one that won standing ovations time after time, visit Ellen Debenport’s website. I’m sure she’ll welcome the opportunity to talk with you and, Ellen, thank you so much for joining me. It has been a true joy.
ELLEN: It’s been a lot of fun. Thank you, Chuck.
CHUCK: To all our listeners, join us next week for more of Straight Talk, transformational talk radio to live by. This is Chuck Gallagher and remember every choice has a consequence. Here’s to the power of positive choices.
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