Motion Can Move Us Forward Or Leave Us Stuck – a Two-part Interview with Pastor Steven Blair

203 Motion GW

Two-part interview with Reverend Steven Blair, Pastor of Congregational Care and Live Forward Ministry, Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, KS, reflecting on original painting entitled “Motion”

Pastor Blair: ”There are obvious dimensions and versions of motion, and repeated motion, but it’s not necessarily motion that is ‘forward’. For a person who is stationery, perhaps just laying down, there is motion involved. It could just be a breath, or the motion of gravity pulling the person down. There is still motion happening even though the person isn’t initiating the motion. So motion is always happening, is always pulling at us; we are not just still.

In our “Live Forward” program, when we talk about a “hurt cycle” and a “habit cycle”, it all begins with what we call “hurt-based beliefs”. The hurt-based belief is when the person believes they are somehow less than the person next to them, and the hurt-based belief can be because of something bad that happened or something good that didn’t happen. And if that hurt-based belief is their starting point, they end up basing all decisions off that, going from a hurt-based belief to impaired thinking. Not feeling ‘good enough’, their next thought is, ‘well I need to be perfect to get love’, or ‘I need to put up walls to protect myself’, or ‘I need to numb these pains’. And after impaired thinking, which exists in both the hurt and habit cycles, the motion leads to ruminating, where your mind chews on the same idea over and over and over again. There is a physiological reason why it does this; the brain releases dopamine that tells you “you’re right!”. That’s one of the reasons why people listen to 24-hour news stations they already agree with, because the person that’s on TV who’s an expert says an idea, and if you agree with it, you’re thinking “Hey, that person is smart. That means I’m smart”, and the brain applauds it.

The hurt now causes you to pull away from others or get passive aggressive or get aggressive. For example, if you feel like this person over here is a jerk and you keep thinking about how much of a jerk they are, your brain releases dopamine and says – “Yea, they are a jerk”.

On the other end of this hurt cycle is a feeling of anguish, of “Oh, no, I gave into it”, and then all this motion leads to small living, and life just gets smaller and smaller, and then all life is about this one thing that has happened to them. I had somebody who was a big Royals fan but couldn’t enjoy the Royals World Series victory because at the same time they’re going through drama with their marriage. So their life becomes so small they couldn’t enjoy anything else. When it comes to cycles and motion that keep going around and around in circles, if there’s no progress, there is motion that is actually the absence of progress, or if you want to use the example of a wheel turning around, the motion actually keeps the wheel stuck in the mud deeper and deeper.

So you have motion, but it’s now destructive motion. When it comes to recovery, or let me say it this way, when it comes to addiction, you can be doing the same thing over and over again and your feet are moving, but you are actually paving the way for negative actions to be easier the next time.

Then the “habit cycle” begins, and you have the impaired thinking, and moments of ‘maybe’, where you start flirting around with the idea that maybe I can get away with it, maybe it won’t hurt me this time, maybe it’s not a big deal. And flirting around with ideas leads to giving into the temptation, again with the release of dopamine in the brain, followed by anguish and then on the other end of that habit cycle, life becomes unmanageable.”

(Please join us next week for a hope-filled message in the continuation of our interview with Pastor Blair in Part-two entitled: “The Starting Point of True Motion!”)

Pictured above: “Motion” as a Limited Edition Giclee Wrap. View the Gallery at




  1. John Williams

    The analysis of Pastor Blair is thought-provoking in that he sees motion even when there is no motion for most viewers–gravity, breathing. When applied to thought and character movement can be forward or backward. I think people need to ask if they are in the hurt-cycle or the forward cycle or in the habit cycle. Having these expressions helps us to discern our condition and be realistic. The movement of the ducks is serene. They are moving in formation; they are aware of each other. What we can say is that there is no hurt or destructive cycle at work with the ducks. Stop drinking, stop taking drugs, do your homework are commands. They are less useful than seeing the overall movement of a person’s life.
    Thank you.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts. It is most interesting to recognize that the three geese are in a formation, aware of each other AND serene. Whether they are riding the ripples or creating ripples, it is not, as you say, in a hurtful or destructive way. There seems to be a coherence that is natural and therefore beautiful. I am intrigued by your last sentence and would welcome more dialogue!

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