Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fabulous! Brene Brown on Vulnerability and so much more.

Someone shared this with me a couple of months ago and I didn't watch the whole thing because it was 20 minutes long and evidently I wasn't ready to listen. It was shared with me again today by someone else and I am enamored. This is good stuff. It gets to the heart of so much of the inner work that I am doing. Watch it when you are ready.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Why all the Anger?

The kids are out of school so I have not had many cohesive thoughts this week, the ones I've had are intertwined with the Disney channel and requests to get out of the house. There is one idea I have been wrapping my brain around again and again and it is, what is this anger that keeps popping up?

When I am not with my mother in law, I have many anger feelings directed towards her, which then makes me feel guilty. She's dying for gosh sakes and has been for close to two years. Being one of only two active participants in the same house overseeing her care week after week has been quite the journey.  I have watched her lose weight bit by excruciating bit to uncover bones, as well as writhe in pain, suffer with anxiety, lose the ability to dial, and then answer a phone as well as work a television remote. And she found fault with the phone and the tv week after week. She has lost the ability to walk, speak coherently which she is aware of, to stand, and now to eat on her own. This is a lot of loss and I have no control over it. Maybe that is some of the anger. Watching someone die is the ultimate loss of control and this is between her will which is very strong and God. She is fighting tooth and nail to live while what I see is such a massive loss of quality of life.

I struggle because for the last few years I have been cultivating a new relationship with how I experience feelings when they arise, especially those that are uncomfortable. Now, I want to be curious about them, not scared and panicked as I have been but lovingly acknowledge them and allow them through instead of blocking them, and pushing them down, and then stuffing myself with food. But these anger feelings keep coming up again and again?

It finally dawned on me that I'm not mad at her for what I think I am. Anger is the ego blocking our need to work on an issue within ourselves.  After I visit with her, and the armor that I have to put on to do so comes down, I grieve. While she is still alive through this prolonged terminal illness, I have lost all of the person she was. There are no characteristics left of who she once was. She is somewhere between living and the great mystery. She doesn't look like the same person. There is no warmth, no smile, no conversation. She cannot express her fierce love for my offspring. We can't laugh or joke anymore and all of this has disappeared over time and now in the last weeks, communication has diminished to me guessing what she is trying to say. She use to come to our house often on the weekends and spend the night. She was our clutch babysitter. She sat on the floor and played with the girls and engaged with them actively. She crawled into the crib when Riley was young. She went on vacations with us. She even did my laundry and dishes and enjoyed doing so!!! And she was an ally, we talked about important issues in my life and did so by agreeing to disagree if need be.  I needed to learn how to agree to disagree.  This was huge for me. I, the people pleaser, with what felt like no voice growing up, could have a conversation with appropriate boundaries. And now week after week, I see that person disappearing.

I now know that perhaps the anger is she is leaving us.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Iyanla Vanzant

"You can accept or reject the way you are treated by other people, but until you heal the wounds of your past, you will continue to bleed. You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex, but eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life. You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories, and make peace with them." Iyanla Vanzant

A Partner to Dance With

This is from Richard Rohr's daily email and it really spoke to me. These are the kinds of thoughts I have that I cannot express (yet) in the beautiful way he does, yet I can aspire to because If there is no aspiration, there is no moving forward.

For me, prayer is no longer to ask for things that I what I want or because I am "supposed to" because someone is watching over me and judging, it has been morphing into what he so aptly names an interior journey. He writes it so beautifully. And I love at the end that he describes that we have a dancing partner with God. Now that is a vision that I can hold onto and move forward with. No fear, just love.

“Everything exposed to the light itself becomes light,” says
Ephesians 5:13. In prayer, we merely keep returning the divine gaze and we become its reflection, almost in spite of ourselves (2 Corinthians 3:18). The word “prayer” has often been trivialized by making it into a way of getting what we want. But I use “prayer” as the umbrella word for any interior journeys or practices that allow you to experience faith, hope, and love within yourself. It is not a technique for getting things, a pious exercise that somehow makes God happy, or a requirement for entry into heaven. It is much more like practicing heaven now.

Such prayer, such seeing, takes away your anxiety for figuring it all out fully for yourself, or needing to be right about your formulations. At this point, God becomes more a verb than a noun, more a process than a conclusion, more an experience than a dogma, more a personal relationship than an idea. There is Someone dancing with you, and you are not afraid of making mistakes.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Being in the Right Place at the Right Time

Yesterday in my car I caught a short blip on Oprah's Soul Series with Elizabeth Lesser. These are moments that I have been experiencing quite often lately when I know I was supposed to hear just that message from the universe. In this case, two authors, one a neuroscientist, the other a therapist describe how God changes your brain. Newberg, MD and Waldman conducted scientific studies, and tested brainwaves of all kinds of people with all kinds of beliefs. I was riding along la ti da and bam, this is what I hear: They described how fundamentalist beliefs which can give you comfort also make your overall outlook more angry, fearful and judgmental. But those who contemplate a loving God rather than a punitive God, have less anxiety, depression and increase their feelings of security, compassion and love.

Wow! It was so very specific to my listening ears! Scientific evidence of the feelings that I have had over the last 2-3 years but never put together in this concise way and my ears tingled as they spoke specifically about fundamentalist beliefs.

At a retreat a few years back, I met with a minister and we discussed that I needed to change how I viewed God because he felt out "there" and I have been intentionally working towards this. Even further, I had to work up the courage to make the appointment to sit with the pastor in the first place. I had not felt worthy of taking up her time. If I heard someone say that to me about themselves now, it would make me sad. I know I have come a long way and yet I aldo know I hope to continue the unlearning for years to come.

For years now, I have had to move past my exposure to God being presented as THE judge, that I needed to be saved from hell (and a walk down a church aisle could do that trick in an instant!), as well as talk of the devil, armageddon, etc. And I even grew up Methodist which could be one step away from Unitarianism, but it was a tiny church and there was much intermingling with a tiny Baptist church. As time passes, I have become more open, less judgmental and feel so much more secure with my own beliefs. But it all began with the first recognition that what I heard in the past did not sit well with me and that there was another way. If I had had more esteem I probably would have walked away from the church for good but I was too scared I would go straight to hell. Now I will spend the rest of my life embracing love over fear. That is what really works for me now.

I don't have time to read every book that interests me because there are so many, thus when I catch a little nugget of information like this that pertains so particularly to me, I am so thankful and in awe, that I heard exactly what I needed to hear especially when I didn't even know I needed to hear it. I am open to hearing from all sources now to heal myself. Namaste.