Is there a truth… Jan. 11, 2017

As I reflect on the commonalities in the lives of Jesus,  Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the Dali Lama and so many others, I’m wondering if in our own personal efforts to do good, the truth of the matter is that we will be rejected, misunderstood or something worse for the effort toward kindness, human compassion and the good efforts we offer.

We never will succeed at right if we expect unconditional receptivity, understanding and a genuflecting appreciation for what we offer to ourselves and others.  Maybe this is why so many spiritual writings refer to just living the good without expectations, fruit or reward.  If we only did good for its fruits, we would live in discouragement.  We even tire of loving ourselves because it doesn’t seem to “do” any good!  We give up the effort so easily.

For those who have realized good is given for its own sake, without expecting any return, they live their good freely with determination, self-authenticity and a tenacity not dependent on the opinion or reaction of others.  Is this the Good of God working then; to give without expectation or need of a return?

I then question if I have accepted and appreciated without question all God has given me?  Of course not, for what God gives and how God gives, I find, is not of my conditioned world experience of determining what is and what is not ‘acceptable’ to me.  Sobering reality!  (I think I’ll give up whining and complaining for Lent this year.)  The ‘Yuk!’ does have a great purpose for my life and my soul and in turn, for others.

Maybe because of this hidden paradox of loving for the sheer need of love to love, I’ve found nothing changes in my life until I unconditionally (which means accepting without understanding) receive it believing in its good potential.  I’m coming to understand this process as the experience of the grace of God’s works in my life.

I refer to these difficult conditions or situations as ‘psychological hairballs’ as they are difficult to accept, or integrate, or digest into what I want and don’t want.   I remember though, that as in nature, psychological hairballs (depression, anxiety, unemployment, relationship problems, loss, disabilities, brokenness, etc.) do have a way of spiritually resolving; it’s a process, it takes time PLUS effort and a little sweet dose of patience and hope in the Creator of the way of it all helps.

Forms of prayer have been my process for coughing up unwanted material matter finding they didn’t matter at all in the large scheme of the way things work.  They were the tool, the way, the impetus for change, and surprisingly, for getting what I really wanted, but didn’t know I wanted because I was too caught up in how I thought things should be.

As usual, I was in left field.

The ‘ping-pong’ of ‘psychological hairballs’…Jan. 7, 2017

Sometimes we can’t find a satisfying compensation for inner pain.  In discomfort, first we choose the easily accessible; work, security, relationships, sex, shopping, power, image, status, etc.  Eventually we discover that what’s of the earth is found to be inadequate, unsatisfactory.  So, while we are caught in the human endeavor to avoid suffering and find the antidote of pleasure, eventually we realize its futility as a game never won.

I find the inner Ping-Pong game when I’m bouncing in thoughts between, ‘I don’t want this or that’ and, ‘If only I…’ or, ‘I wish…’   These thoughts are the language of loss.  What’s one to do?

Number one is awareness of the mind’s pattern.

Second, to begin to identify when it is operating.

Thirdly, to decide what I’ll do to stop the Ping-Pong ball of emotional reaction to just about everything.

I also found the basic ‘voice’ of the Ping-Pong pattern is ‘I want…’ under every ‘I don’t want…’

I realize our pattern as the two players being No Suffering and Constant Pleasure. It is a great help to calm the confusion of a wining-less yo-yo game of the uninhibited mind through simple awareness.

My childhood left me with an inner, nearly ceaseless cry from deep within my soul and heart, ‘I want…’  Going into daily prayer and meditation has surfaced self-realization of what’s within.  What an adventure of discovery of what I didn’t want to see, but learned to love it.  My Greatest Discovery is that Something Higher than everything helped me lift above them; I am lifted from an immature marriage.  I am lifted from depression and anxiety, from workaholism, from loneliness.  Maybe the greatest lifting was from not knowing patterns of the mind, to living receptive to That which is above all patterns and other ‘wants.’

Yet, the human dilemma being what it is, even in a relationship with my Higher Power, the game continues into another realm of wanting this and that, not from the earth, but from what is Eternal.  Eventual peace shall be when I’m so secure in That relationship that there need be no thought for, ‘I want…’  All shall have been satisfied in my trusting receptivity to all that is, for What lifts me, is above all else.

What if simply the realization of the pattern between suffering and the insatiable pleasure reveals the same pattern purpose; we can rise above all through relationships?  Without understanding we feel caught in a sense of a going nowhere pattern.  Instead of living unconsciously, let’s consciously lift it all to understand the same pattern as The Big Squeeze;  Everything squeezes us into The Above All Else – being loved.

 

 

I’ve left home… Jan. 2, 2017

Today, 14 years ago, I began to do life differently, though admittedly, absolutely clueless.  That day of January second, I had no idea what the message, “You must do life differently” meant, but that was the message rhythmically directing me after my last crisis when hospitalized.  I would never again fall to such despair and hopelessness.  I would have many opportunities in the following years to surrender again and again, but never from such deep darkness.   While I couldn’t pray, Grace found me and prompted me to do so.  Grace continued to open the path of what it meant to “do life differently”.   I needed only to be open to it on a daily basis.

I’ve only recently possibly discovered what that means when I recently discovered, at the age of 68.5, that I never really  left home.  My childhood environments created a loss of security and much inner trauma.  Years of depression were leaning me towards taking care of, expressing and mourning the consequences of the environment in my adult years.  Going within through meditation discovers just what’s in there that I thought I was experiencing alone.  “Doing” life differently meant a daily tenacious going within, but the difference was not just moving from only exterior living to interior living, but more so going within finds one is not at all alone.  In fact, one is guided to within and what is found there is intimately guided, layer by layer.

I was surprised after Christmas that a bit of an anxiety attack presented.  I’ve learned not to avoid these things, but to welcome them; what are you telling me that I don’t know that I need to know and to address?  A number of right ordered events happened, one being Netflex “Happy” documentary which explained 50% of our “happiness set point” is genetic, 10% money, image and status and 40% is of the intrinsic values of relationships, personal growth and helping in our community.  Eureka!  I was so unaware that I had interpreted the home and school environment values as not 10%, but actually 110%!  No wonder life was such a burden!  I was investing 100% of my time, thought and effort in only an ‘a.c.o.a.’ (addiction, compulsion, obsessive attachment) to what needs only be 10% of happiness.

I had a dream too that it was actually my Grand-mother Nora that left me well supplied with riches for my future, not the folks. She prayed daily.  I had successfully been practicing her rich investments and was finding freedom from all life-robbing issues and fears.

Also, I read where we can unconsciously so live life from the past that we aren’t actually living within the day – and that is intrinsically where happiness lives.  I suddenly got it that I never really left home in trying to live life’s 10% as the 100% I perceived as what’s most important.  So, I packed a very small satchel and walked out the front door of my home of origin.  I was clear as water neither resembling mother, or dad or unforgiving religion.

Now to discover what small and simple things were packed in that very small satchel.

What prevails…? Dec. 26, 2016

What prevails upon us to seek something more?  Pain?  Confusion?  Restlessness?  Darkness? Loss?  Crisis?  Desire?  Boredom?  Consciousness?  Conscience?  Sharing with others what we’ve learned?  New gifts recognized?  Guilt?What moves anything forward, especially those who recognize in and of themselves they do not have the drive to thrive – but do anyway?  What is That?

Today is my 14th year anniversary from hospitalization for complete despair.  In my quiet time this morning, I reflected:

What has caused me to persevere when I had given up?  What caused me to commit to daily prayer when I couldn’t pray?  What caused me to endure when I had absolutely no tolerance for pain?  What caused me to be determined when I had completely given up?  What caused me to pursue when I had no desire or motivation?

What created peace from absolute chaos and hope from absolute despair?  What created companionship from the void or love from the incomprehensible?  What caused life when I preferred and desired otherwise?  What turned vulnerability into a relief from fear of it?

No name satisfies me this morning as Something seems quite beyond a name seems to fill the universe.  I hope my gratitude fills the same space.  As to a name,   maybe ‘Life-Giving Spirit’ fits this morning because I remember vividly when I had no spirit of my own with which to live.  No desire.  No will.  No courage or hope.

Some things remains; the inability to see into the future, an emptiness, a lack of control of it all, maybe even a realization of an inability to manage on my own completely.  The difference is that the emptiness is no longer dark, but light; it is no longer fearful, but of a confident hope.  I expect the continuation of grace for life and living, but I’ll add no expectations of what that will entail.  I think I’ll be ready.  The experience of grace gives a confidence to the moment.

I expect all tomorrows yet to come would also be graced with provision, perseverance, commitment, endurance, pursuance, peace, hope and companionship.  Emptiness (no need to control) feels full of possibility.  I’m the same person essentially, but how I perceive myself, my God and my world is all different;  I no longer see myself, human nature, vulnerability and imperfection as anything except something of value God uses for good.

I used to think I wanted to be otherwise than what I was; now I see I just need to be Other wise.

My husband an I talk about how even with recovery we are the same; only our attitudes are different. (There was definitely room for improvement.)  We also say, “Despite ourselves, Something is happening.”  We are content with That.

The will to live… Dec. 22, 2016

This is only for the eyes of those who are experiencing “the holidays” anywhere on the continuum of blues to black (depression).  Beginning with fall as the sun changes its axis and there’s less light, then transgressing into the expectations of “the holidays” move many people into questioning, “How do I get through the holidays?”  Or comments such as, “I hate the holidays!”  There’s a segment of the population who feel pushed to be and feel what they are not.

Even faith communities seem to not address the “winter” people in the pews.  Oh, we “winter people” do try to balance our gloom with the real meaning of the religious season, but we don’t quite succeed.   The “winter” people are the people who just don’t feel it.  It’s sad.  The sad part is that we so want to experience the optimism and joy of the season as so many in our communities.  We just can’t quite bridge the gap.  Then we feel worse; guilty, sad, short-changed.

Hey, we don’t want to be around ourselves and others don’t really want to be around us – maybe.  It’s almost impossible to know what it’s like to live in that gloom space unless you’ve been there.   Just today I ran into a person from my past who is really a sweet and loving person, but today she was saying, “I just don’t want to be around people who are down, or negative, or sad. I want to be around happy people, people with good energy.”

A few thoughts:

Is there some aspect of the sacred season wherein we desire to really look into the eyes of a person and truly see if their eyes are clear and bright or flat and without sparkle?  Can we be more aware of the “winter people” and add a little care?

Could it be the Lord was born into darkness because those that live there might be more in need of a God to attends to them?

Are we missing the whole of life if we only think of the season of Advent’s sweetness without remembering the Easter vinegar?  The gift is the whole.  The gap that doesn’t work is living in the partial choice of all is sweet.   There’s no place for those who live in an otherwise space.

If we walk daily attentive and committed to the grounding of our being in the Constancy of Being, are we less affected by the seasons that come and go, that rise and fall in affect, that separate those who only want to live the sweet from others who only taste the vinegar?

I encourage each to stay within the quiet place within as the preferred space regardless of the season.

I read once that’s it’s good to live life like you and God are the only one’s on the planet.  The thought is grounding.  Eventually, from That, one begins to ease out into the flow – but with a new sense of life having received first.

Then we desire to live The Other Voice.

Then we desire to live The Other Spirit.

Then we desire to live The Other Good.

..and we come back seeing clearly and with deep, deep compassion the “winter people”, even when it’s very, very dark.

 

So Simple, Yet Hard To Grasp: Dec. 18, 2016

Yesterday my husband off-handedly threw out the question, “What is intimacy in God’s terms?”  It dropped us into silence.

I had to sit with that for awhile.  Throughout my journey out of clinical depression and anxiety, I would answer this morning, ‘The One who attended to me in my suffering.’

Having lived with the excruciatingly indescribable anguish and desolation of spirit-soul from depression and a fear that leaves one waiting for the ‘shoe of doom’ to drop at any moment, I would encourage you as we close the year, to remember that every moment is a moment given to start over, to stick with the process connected to your Something Higher, to persevere in your hopelessness.

I saw hope defined as “confident expectancy” of which those in depression have none to little.  I think Compassion moved me to “look up”, though, and to pray for help when I was unable to pray.  I call her Grace and she has become all the goodness I needed to be there, to believe in.  It took awhile, but now it is so.

That something can change, that something can come of your suffering is not about you, but that your heart and soul lifts to the potential of Something More that cares when nothing on earth seems to help.  (I truly experienced life as so overwhelming that I came to the realization that really nothing on or of the earth can save me from my situation, from myself.  But Something More actually did!)

Since hospitalization my mornings have consisted daily of spiritual reading, reflection, maybe some prayer and journaling and sitting in quiet. (Many know it as the 11th Step of a 12 Step program and others as Centering Prayer)

I share with you a couple little inspiring thoughts I read this morning:

But still

like air

I’ll rise.  Maya

And for those raised on the Holy Spirit, a new definition: “uncreated Grace”. (found in a commentary by Fr. Richard Rohr)  I can certainly resonate with That.  Peace.  Finally peace.

 

 

 

My 2016 Greatest Discoveries cont’d

The Greatest Achievement: realization that one can transcend

The Greatest Mourning: that one has not loved their God with their whole self; body, mind, heart and soul

The Greatest Decision: to love one’s God with one’s whole self

The Greatest Intention: to comfort others who also mourn

The Greatest Humility: that God came into his own creature trusting – Incarnation

The Greatest Pattern: through processing life one is consumed by love

The Greatest Vulnerability: that one is unable to care for one’s own well-being. We are Dependent

The Greatest Trauma: that one believes one suffers alone, that it is never ending, that it has no purpose

The Greatest Hope: one is accompanied and cared for by Compassion

The Greatest Benevolence: God intends all for good

The Greatest Help: God

The Greatest Prayer: Help!

The Greatest Peace: accepting all as it is believing in its potential for good

The Greatest Mystery: that we come to understand

The Greatest Measure: that which can’t be measured

The Greatest Joy: participating in life through the Source of all life

The Greatest Light: to live through one’s own transparency with no disguise or falsehood

The Greatest Grief: that I am not (this or that, sufficient, etc.)

The Greatest Paradox: that I am not, yet immeasurably Loved and Cared for

Have a Blessed Holiday and Deep Peace Into 2017

One need not leave this world to find the peace they seek.

from Sharon

A special thank-you to my sponsor Nancy who has been there in and through and with… Peace.