Saturday, November 10, 2007

Walls

Anger is a secondary emotion, a signal emotion. It is usually hiding the original emotion that is just too scary to access. When I am angry, I know that I am feeling incredibly vulnerable behind it. One process that I have been practicing when I am angry is to ask myself

What am I afraid of losing?

Now, walking in faith is such a very easy thing to say I want to do, like KB describes in his recently reposted post Faith and Fatalism. I have walked out the fatalism part very, very well. It's the faith part that I trip over.

It takes faith in Someone bigger to face the anger and truly know how destructive it has been.
It takes faith in Someone so loving to receive forgiveness for that anger.
It take faith to let go of that anger that shields my heart and trust that Someone is (not will be, not maybe will be) my Shield and Protector.
It takes faith to finally let the Source in my heart be one of absolute love instead of suspicion and fear.

From Meetings at the Edge by Stephen Levine:

Dr Levine was counseling a woman who had lost a husband and two sons to cancer. Her nine-year-old daughter was dying of lymphoma and this mother refused to address dying with her daughter, believing that she would die from the grief. Here is a part of what Dr Leine said to her:

"We spoke of resistance to life which filters every perception, which pushes away our connectedness with all that we love and leaves us feeling so isolated. And I encouraged her to just start to breathe in to her heart with whatever love might meant to her at that moment and to breathe it back out, to send it to her daughter. That her essential connectedness with her daughter would become apparent beyond the ancient barricades which had so often kept her separate from the moment."

This mother was able to do this in the last weeks of her daughter' life. She shared that "we talked at length about cancer and God. And I told her that I loved her in a way that even losing her could not diminish. I don't think that I have ever acknowledged my feelings to anyone so directly. It was terrible. It was wonderful."

Opening my heart to the truth of myself led to opening to forgiveness.

Another client refused to forgive her husband as they both faced potentially fatal illnesses.

"As the heart opens, sometimes the armoring and pain that has held life away become so distinct we think we may die from it, that our heart will burst; but it is in a manner of speaking, just contact with that place where you have been broken-hearted."

And what does our wonderful Jesus promise--
Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

He promises to restore us, to make us strong and steadfast and firm (1Peter 5:10).

With these promises and an assurance, I can "open to my anger in order to access my love."

"...we discussed what the qualities of anger in the mid are and how it closes the heart, how isolated we feel when anger i s a predominant experience and how frightening that experience can be. what self judgement it generates and what a feeling of aloneness it leaves us with. as We spoke of resentment and its investigation, tears mixed with vituperative resentment poured from her. But amidst her agitation there was a spark, the light of an opening heart shining through, of a sense of love that had probably accompanied her during much of her earlier life. Also, as she spoke, she could hear in her own words the power of anger to close the heart, to make everyone else 'an other,' to close her off from life.

"And so you know...that when we speak about 'opening the heart,' that doesn't quite get at it--the truth is that the heart is always there shining and we must just learn to 'open to it.'"

"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment." 1 John 4:18

Isn't about time to stop punishing?






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Thursday, November 8, 2007

God Shows Up at College

My B-MOD paper is due soon--

Do you remember Yoda, the syntaxically challenged little Jedi master from the Star Wars series? ( I always thought that anyone/thing that advanced should know how to speak correctly, but maybe he was way beyond that. He was still green, wrinkled, and had a funny voice. Within that context, I prefer Kermit the Frog.) Anyway, he was full of wise little sayings designed to confuse, piss off, and ultimately lead Luke to a Zen state of Jedi conciousness wherein he could move objects with his mind. Surely this would be useful when he wanted to find the remote and there weren’t any children around to find it for him. Just think about it and it will zoom out from under the couch cushions and into your hand! Same with beer from the fridge! But I digress….

Yoda’s foundational words of wisdom that skewered Luke’s ego (and hopefully taught that lesson that After School Specials and Very Special Episodes of Blossom had been trying to teach to pre-teens) was the adage “There is no try, only do.” Did Luke’s worldview shift when he heard that? Of course it did! All is possible! Nothing is impossible! Where is that remote? It can’t hide from my mind!

Yoda’s voice got stuck in my mind (or maybe it’s Kermit’s) but his words got tweaked a little to fit my worldview: “There is no try, only fail.”

Well, shit. There, I said it. What have I got to lose if you don’t allow cursing in a paper? It’s all over anyway.

There’s a song by the Arc Angels that addresses this mindset perfectly: Too Many Ways to Fall.

So I started there. How many times a day do hear that Yoda voice? Establishing a baseline was easy—he never shuts up! All day, every day, the smallest, most ordinary task is poisoned by the belief that I can’t even find ripe bananas at the grocery store and that's a reason to feel guilty. Now, how am I supposed to be a good mom and teach my girls to be strong and confident when every interaction and communication with them is tainted with my own guilt? I have pre-failed in situations that haven’t even happened yet!

Target Behavior:

I had to sit with this for a while and just watch my thoughts go by. They were ugly and thin, and I had enough of them. Ugly little Yoda, you’re going to get the ass-kicking of your life.

First, I identified the behaviors that grew out of this mindset: consequences: procrastination, refusal to invest in relationships, suspicion—okay, there are probably a lot more, but a girl can take only so much negativity!

So, bottom line, what do I want in place of the negativity? A positive self-image, an honest view of myself that mirrors the truth—that no one is perfect, shit happens, and that is OKAY

"There is no FAIL, only do.”

Every day, we listen to this song on the way to school, and anytime I need some reminding (which is often).

Every day, I want to walk in faith instead of fatalism


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Friday, November 2, 2007

Happy homecoming


Kaitlyn Wade, a 13-year-old cancer survivor who was critically injured when the vehicle she was riding in was hit by a suspected drunk driver May 18, got out of Cook Children's Medical Center after five months of recovery, on Thursday, November 1, 2007. . (Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Joyce Marshall)

I've been following this story since May--read the rest of it here.

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