Monday, October 5, 2015

New colors

New background picture: peaceful green texture. Because we're all like, peace out, man. Just chillin', y'know?

Today sucked, but I'm just not going to worry about it.  I'm handing off the worry quickly to the Lord these days, it's more important to just keep going AND feel alright about it. I tried, I can't fix anything more than I fixed, if that's not enough someone will let me know with red ink on a memo fairly soon. No point in getting upset about anything.



Look closer

It's a paperweight. Thick glass, you put a photo or little memento inside and glue the back on and you're memory is secure and contained. Because it's convex, it also acts as a little magnifier, the better to see your beloved by.

Even as I was ripping out the ragged, dirty photos of us kids that Mother had carefully cut out and pasted together under the glass, I heard myself speaking out loud the truth that no one wants to hear. If your children leave and do their very best to never come back, there's something wrong.

And it's probably you.

I can't count the number of times I've heard the excuse that the children went bad and no one has any idea why they left, goodness knows the parent did everything they could, the children were just selfish and got in with the wrong people. There's something about the human heart that wants to go home to mom and dad no matter how old you get. If you can find an excuse, you'll go, or call, or write, or keep in touch somehow.  If the children aren't, then there was something rancid or cruel going on in their formative years and the adult children aren't obliged to go back and pretend it never was. Usually, everyone else takes up that delusion for them.

Earlier this afternoon I was reading an article about how male pastors abuse their spiritual authority by commenting on their women parishioners' prettiness. Sounds harmless, doesn't it? The author tried to look at every angle by which the pastors' could be justified in the behaviour, but when it comes down to the pastor's role in the life of a believer, there is no place for crossing that line into thinking and acting according to the fallen world. Physical beauty is fleeting and has no inherent reward in God's kingdom, not to mention that no woman apart from the one at his own house is his wife and he has no business qualifying his behaviour towards any woman anywhere due to how pretty she is. 

It's manipulative, demeaning, deceptive within the Body of Christ, and wrong.

The women commenters to the article understood the problem, some of the men did, but quite a few of the men defended the behaviour to the uttermost. They didn't want to have to stop looking at women for the purpose of seeing if she met their standards of  "pretty," and they didn't want the family dynamic within the church to change so much that they would have to see the stake they have in keeping women constrained to those standards. It gives them pleasure and power, and they aren't going to give that up, their life in Christ be damned.

There remains the saving power of Christ, but it can come with the tears of a man rescued after he has set his own house on fire. It's a dreadful end for a lifetime of work.

One more thing -
I was listening to an album of scripture memory songs this week, it's just nice to sing the Word, and the Word only, without extra commentary, especially songs you first learned decades ago. James 1:5-6 came up, this time I heard it from the scripture instead of the endless sermons I've heard about it.

"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind."

Trust [faith] in the wisdom God gives you in response to your request. Don't do a double take [doubt] and try to trust your own or the world's wisdom, too; it makes you unstable, you can't have two minds on the subject and get anywhere. Go with God's wisdom, there's plenty of it to get you all the way thru and He will never scold you for asking. 

(Most sermons accuse you of not having enough faith in God to get the wisdom, but faith isn't the subject here, wisdom is. Remember, God never reproaches you for being ignorant, don't let anyone else accuse you either.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Nothing but "happy mistakes"

Thanks, Bob Ross. Forty years later, I finally buy some paints and paper and spend an hour on the porch playing with colors and shapes. I haven't any drawing skill, but watercolors are very forgiving. I just kept going and one thing turned into another thing and I really have no idea what this is, but it was Very relaxing making it and a great first thing in the morning to do. I think I'll make some more mistakes tonight!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Are you sure you're sure?

Someone somewhere else asked if a true narcissist (her mother) could be a Christian, after all, the narc is all about himself and Very cruel. This is the encouragement I gave her in response. It applies to NPDs and all those with mental disorders and mental illnesses.

Narcissism, even within the parameters of the personality disorder, exists on a continuum. Some people are more, some are less. But really, it isn't a straight line scale, it's a landscape of selfishness. Some people cross the border regularly for visits, some people hoist the flag and buy penthouse apartments in the capital city.

By the time I learned about NPD, my mother was very much on the decline physically, so I had to get help from friends who also knew my opinion about her being NPD. My friends are still astonished that I am confident she was genuinely a Christian, they just couldn't find any evidence other than the religious forms she had always used as a cover.

The key thing to remember about Christianity is that the root of it is not in the mind, it is in the person's spirit, and we neither save ourselves nor keep ourselves in a state of righteousness with God by our prayers or good works. Being made right with God is something we give ourselves in trust to Jesus to do FOR us. That is our faith - we are trusting Jesus to reconcile us to God AND keep us from being such stupid jackasses as to walk away from that reconciliation.

Lots of people stop right there. They recognize the truth of the gospel that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, they sincerely believe it and acknowledge Jesus as their savior, they never stop believing that is true - and then they carry on the rest of their lives trying to live out of their reasoning faculties. Believing happens in the heart, reasoning comes out of your head.

NPD is an entrenched mental disorder. It begins as a form of self defense and grows over time to become an aggressive, pernicious, hideous thing. I heard someone call mental illness "cancer of the mind" once, and it might be a fair analogy. It makes the personality deformed and ugly, but it's key to remember that "personality" is just the part of a person that we see acting outwardly. The innermost part of a person we never see, only that person and God knows what goes on in there.

It only takes faith the size of a mustard seed for God to change someone completely from the inside out. How many have waited until the last moment to throw down the rebel flag and surrender, yet we have no problem believing they are saved? How many sit in church because it's full of "nice" people, yet never do believe that whole "blood shed at Calvary" rigmarole?

If your Mom says she saved, go with that in your prayers. Hold her words up to God with your whole heart and entrust Him to make her words true and sure. It's His problem and He can bloody well come up with the solution. If He is God, then He can live up to it for your mother. (I'll tell you a big secret about that kind of prayer - He ain't scared of it and He likes to save people right where they are.)

You will have to keep your own head outside of the neat little boxes psychology and religion want to stuff people in. Categories of mental illness and most sermons are ratiocinations of the mind, and faith in God always comes from your spirit. I recommend C.S. Lewis as a trusted ally - The Screwtape Letters, Mere Christianity, The Great Divorce, and the whole of the Narnia books.

Lewis had an understanding of people in the grip of addiction and mental illness, and hard won experience in being a faithful friend to both. I think both of those things light up his writing. " is not easy to throw off in half an hour an enchantment which has made one a slave for ten years."


Monday, August 17, 2015

I messed up

I thought I was all past it and there was no trouble anymore, so I let myself get sentimental about some of Mother's things that turned up unexpectedly. I went so far as to hang something off my rear view mirror in the car to remind me, along with a few other things I was doing all alone that I shouldn't have been alone for. The Lord told me almost two years ago that I should never go back to her house by myself, but I did. 

Because I'm so much stronger now. Right? 


Damn that C-PTSD comes sneaking right back up and before I know what I'm doing I'm using old coping techniques and can't tell which way is north and what year it is.  Facebook doesn't help at all with that new "memories" app throwing ALL that stuff back at me day after day. 

I hate this shit.  I really do.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Private conversations

Looks dry and dusty and ever so technical, doesn't it? I think it probably doesn't look much different to most people than my bookcases full of topical studies and Bible reference books.

I was listening to an old teaching on praying in the spirit a few minutes ago and the thought occurred to me that, although I'm hearing some really great and useful things that I hadn't heard before, it's someone teaching from the inside of their experience with God. Trying to explain it or share it with most people would be really useless, because most people either have little or no experience with Him. He's an Idea, or afar off, or a particle physics discovery yet to be made.

I think it's just human nature to try to study all about God before we actually commit ourselves to Him, and we Fer Shure [!] try to read all the commentaries on speaking in other tongues before we do that whole baptism in the Holy Ghost thing. I have some good news for you, though - all that in depth study is completely useless without God Himself teaching you. You'll never know a thing about God unless He shows it to you.

I realized not long ago that the reason my relationship with my mother did not ruin my relationship with God was that she was not in the relationship. I "got saved" as a little girl of about six or seven. We kids sat on the back row in church while Mother sang in the choir. We were disciplined enough to hold ourselves together back there, and what fidgeting we did couldn't distract too many people, but she could still keep an eye on us.

Since the sermons were a bit dull to my ears, I used to go looking thru the pew Bible for the words in red, because I knew that was Jesus talking. Generally, you can find some good action stories that way, quite a few miracles, and a bit of talking about things that had plain words but just didn't seem to fit as a story. I lucked up [Ha!] on the gospel of John, and he just quotes Jesus talking for the longest time, pages and pages, especially in the time right before his death.

I really didn't understand all the things Jesus was talking about, but I knew I could trust him, so I just kept reading. Finally I came up on John, Chapter 17, and for the first time I could read an entire conversation Jesus had with the Father! I mean all of it, not some little synopsis, but him going on and on - it was just like being there! Oh, I wanted to listen to every little scrap of it, I wanted to really know what those two talked about in private.

And it's in there. It was like sitting at the table in their house while they talked about the most important things in Jesus' mission here on Earth. Jesus is giving a status report, going over how things have gone and what he has left to do, almost like a top secret intelligence briefing or something. I'm still amazed God had John remember and put it in his gospel, I mean, who lets that kind of stuff get printed up and put out for even little kids to see???

Anyway, I got down to verses 20 thru 23:
"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who believe in Me through their word;  that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 
 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:  I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me."

I had found my way in. Jesus himself was asking the Father to bring  me to the table, it wasn't just for The Twelve, "but also for those who believe in Me through their word, that they all may be one."  The official plan wasn't that I could be just one of the disciples, but "be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us."

I was completely entranced with Jesus' repeated insistence on "I in them, and You in Me, that they may be made perfect in one."

I wanted that. I wanted up close, side by side, free, unhindered access to God that no one could interfere with or obstruct. Somehow I knew I was being offered that deal and I needed to accept the deal or not, no guarantees that I would ever be offered the deal again. So, one day soon after, outside playing around by myself, I agreed to it, crossed the line never to go back, all in and no getting out for life.

If you aren't sure you like God, or definitely don't like Him at all, don't sweat it, you've probably been reading technical manuals and listening to 57th hand stories about Him.  You'll never like Him much that way. Jesus came as the Passover lamb, he walked around letting himself be seen and examined for who and what he was before he was accepted as a sacrifice. Look Jesus over for yourself, see if what he said and what he did was beautiful and worthy and if he is the kind of man who you can trust with your life.

You'll never figure God out for yourself, let Jesus show you. There's a place at the table set for you.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Trust from the inside

This is a little beat up print I saw in a local antique store but left behind. I noticed it on two different occasions, but rather than go with what my insides were telling me,

 "Ooh, look, there it is again! You should ask what they'll take for it, it won't hurt to ask!" 

 I tried to be all logical and responsible, 

"The frame is dinged to bits, you don't need another country scene, it's just a waste of money and you've spent too much this month already, you'll never hang it anywhere..." 

and I walked away from it. I still think about that print and now I really wish I had it, dinged to bits and all. It would be perfect here now in happy company with a bunch of other dinged up old prints I've found and love and the texture of the house wouldn't be right without anymore.

Pia Mellody talks about about codependents having an "external locus of control." I used to think that was letting other people tell you what to do and I'm not generally a rollover kind of girl, so I've just brushed it off.  I'm beginning to think it's more of a second guessing of your own instincts and looking for rational exterior validation, be it in the form of running your idea past someone else first or just reusing a checklist of criteria taught to you at some point as a model of critical thinking. Having a checklist is good when you are very young, engaged in fighting an addiction, or when you are first starting on a new trade or program, but after awhile, I'm thinking your own instincts have to take first priority. There is actually safety in trusting yourself over trying to fit into someone else's example.

About a year or so ago I read Grandchildren of Alcoholics: Another Generation of Co-Dependency and was shocked at how much I identified with it. I haven't any stories to tell about a drunken grandparent, but I have reason to believe at least one of them was an alcoholic, and possibly more of the great-grandparents. Yesterday I listened to most of Adult Children of Alcoholics after seeing this checklist online. 

1. Adult children of alcoholics guess at what normal behavior is.

That's an external locus of control. We're looking around to see what it is we're supposed to be thinking and doing, because things weren't predictable or reliable at home and we never really know what we're "supposed" to be doing to make life come out "right."

It's very nerve wracking at first trusting one's own instincts ALL the time, or quitting as a habit trying to fix the world and just go about doing what one wants to do, to be fully occupied with one's own interests and business and not worrying anymore about anyone else (to include the whole world.) I mean, there's really big S#!$ going on out there! And fixing it isn't my problem right now and God is okay with that.

That's a really big internal transition to make. If you are still running around thinking God is holding you accountable for everyone else, then you know what I mean.

The way I "stepped over the log" to make that transition comes out of an online conversation a couple of days ago. Someone was conflating God's nature and image with physicality, so I ended up giving a long winded explanation. (I don't always, but sometimes I do. ;D )

"...the image of God is not in our physical bodies, God is outside of creation. When the Word of God became flesh, he had to get it the same way you and I did, thru our mothers. God is Spirit (John 4:24), all the attributes we know of Him describe His wisdom, power, grace, justice, etc., and none of them speak of his sexuality, genome, IQ, health or height, for He has none of those attributes, they are all physical. (Funny to think of Him as not having an IQ, but that speaks to the content and quickness of the mind, and His thoughts are nothing like ours - He knows everything, always has.)"

As I thought more about the mind of God the next day, knowing everything and always having known it, the nature of His thoughts being perfectly within Him for all eternity, I began to imagine His way of knowing Himself - from within, without change or challenge, without fault and perfectly contained - I felt in my imagination His power residing perfectly within Himself, incomprehensible power at rest. (Here's the funny bit.) The feeling I got was like the sound of a warp engine drive in a starship. Power to bend the universe contained in a vessel. That safe, yet powerful feeling is what it is to contain and trust yourself as you move thru your life.

Maybe you've always been that way, good for you. Maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about, can't help you anymore than this today. Maybe you've got some things to think about, yay for you. Maybe you want to read the rest of what I wrote and quoted above, go here. It's late, I've got to meet a guy to see the new Terminator movie, they say it's good.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Short bursts

I don't want to post everything as a blog post, so I'm going to try using the FB link feature on Kindle to make comments on books I'm reading there. Also may try using Facebook on the fly when I find some things worth sharing. It's all public on my Facebook page, no friends or groups. Click on link to the right ---->

(Yes, I'm aware there are no readers here, why should there be readers there. Whatever.)

It's Mother's Day

It's Mother's Day. Somehow I'm able to simultaneously forget that and know it at the same time. My mother loved this movie, she loved and identified with Mary Tyler Moore, she thought this movie perfectly expressed her own frustration at how my sister's death upset her and changed everything in the family, she thought the mother in this movie was the quiet martyr trying to hold everything together, she never saw the mother was tearing her own house down around their heads.

I saw this movie one time in the theater, I think we all went together. The strain of impending horror and unspoken truth was more than I could ever do twice, although I think she watched it whenever it came on. It is a brilliant movie, I don't know if I'll blow a month depressed and confused trying to get over all the flood of memories by watching it again

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Looking things over - the past few years, what I wanted, what I asked for. Seems like Norah has more than a few songs on that sound track, so here's one more on a spring night, waiting for the light of a spring morning.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

I'm a terrible cook,

not because I have no tastebuds, but because I have not nearly enough experience, and I forget one meal to the next time I cook that meal. So I'm writing things down and printing them out in a great big office sized notebook. With Christmas on the cover. 

I had a bit of involuntary Internet down time a couple weeks ago and realized I've got so many recipes pinned or loaded into my recipe program, but if the electronics fail, I'm toast. So, I'm going old school with the ones I've tried and will use again. I've set my notebook up with labeled dividers, slid the printed pages into clear sleeves (really cheap to do now), and fixed a nail and a clip to hang one from the cabinet while I cook. Totally Pinterest worthy and works great. 

The ADD issue comes in when I try to coordinate a whole bunch of recipes to come together at the same meal. I had to scramble eggs three times to have hot ones at the same time everything else was finished this morning, so... I'm making a schedule of what to fix in what order for next time I do this - like a recipe! 

I really do need that kind of specificity, but it can't be someone else's order, it has to be mine, because if I don't understand it, I can't make it work. And if I don't write it down today, I'll forget by tomorrow. Maybe I could write recipes for getting myself properly packed and out the door on time for a road trip? I don't think I'm ready for daily life recipes, those just turn into endless to-do lists aimed at perfection, and I have no shot at that. I'd just like to enjoy my time off without the stress and failures that are my usual fare. 

Even so, breakfast did get made and I decided to pull out an old favorite and make it a full brunch. I can't remember where I got the recipe, but it makes some very tasty scones. Don't forget to wash the orange with dishwashing soap and a sponge before you zest it, produce is coated with wax for shelf life. 

Cranberry Orange Scones

Yield: 8


- 2 C flour
- 1  T. sugar
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1/2  t. salt
- 1/4 C butter
- 1/2 C heavy cream
- 1 egg
- 1 C sweetened dried cranberries
- 2  t. orange zest
- 1-2 T. sugar


1. Preheat oven to 425. Grease a cookie sheet

2. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Cut butter or margarine into dry ingredients until butter is size of small peas using a pastry blender or fork. Add remaining ingredients, mixing just until dry ingredients are moist. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and gather into a ball. Pat into a circle about 9 inches across and 3/4 inch thick; cut into 8 wedges. Place on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with sugar.

3. Bake 12 minutes or until golden brown. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The kettle is singing

"You can do all I couldn't now its up to you.  For both of us, now it's up to you."

When I first I referenced this song here, I didn't really think much of the prologue phrases, it seemed a bit grand or presumptuous. Five months later and perhaps a little growth, a little healing, and I hear something more. I still very much believe my sister was there in spirit with me, singing with me, reconciling and speaking a blessing over me, and the sweet, unasked for generosity of the LORD in granting such a grace causes the tears to roll down my face even now. Sometimes I put the song on especially when I'm working in the kitchen first thing in the morning. That's what I was doing at the time and it's something of a memory that she and I now share together, no matter how far apart our present circumstances. What is more now is that I feel a bit of prodding that "you can do all I couldn't do, now it's up to you."

Let me show you a couple of people from Humans of New York, a photographer who has an amazing gift to get people he's only just met in New York, most often out in public places, to open up a little window into the most vulnerable areas of their lives and then share just a flash of it on his site and on Facebook.

One fellow had this to say: "I have a very clear memory from just a few weeks after I was born. I was lying in a basket and people were making funny faces at me—like they do to children. And I remember thinking in my head: ‘What stupid creatures.’ Only I didn’t know how to express those thoughts until I got older.” 

Another lady related this account: "When I was six years old, I had a vision where I saw everything that was going to happen in my life. Jesus showed me that my life was going to be very tough, but if I stuck with him, and prayed, and cried when I needed to, and ate lots of chocolate, I'd be OK."
"Where were you when you had this vision?"
"At the feet of my foster mother. She was kicking me in the stomach."

 I have this little memory here: "I've always remembered that incident, even tho the photograph did not reappear for about 15 years. I remember it from the inside looking out of my eyes, thinking my thoughts, working my little ice cream plan. I remember being irritated that Mother was interrupting my plan by calling attention to it, I was trying to keep it on the down low, just let that ice cream cruise right over into my mouth. I remember her going to get the camera and returning with it, giggling about how cute I was to Dad. I remember thinking, "I'm going to be burdened with her until she dies."

 As I said before, the thought turned out to be true, and perhaps my concern about that thought kept me fighting to be as kind and generous as I could find to be, lest the thought turn into an unbearable resentment and I betray my Friend's trust.

But now...

So much can change in those two words, can't it?

But now, I'm free to do all or anything neither my sister or I could do when we were bound in the chains wrapped around us as children. Obviously, as this whiny little blog often points out, the progress out of old habits goes slow, but this morning I heard my sister's challenge to courage and responsibility. She never could break free, but I've managed to outlive the terror and now I can do so many things she never had the chance to do, if  I will step up and do it for the both of us.

"It's a winding road when you're in the lost and found."

 Zac Brown's Colder Weather doesn't only describe the typical co-dependent's experience or ideal of love, it describes our experience with so much of our lives. We want, we are afraid we can't have, we get tough and run away, then we come back endlessly around again because after all the emotions play out we know there are relationships and experiences in life that make the rest of it worth living, that make us who we really are underneath everything else our circumstances demand us to be.

He said I wanna see you again
But I'm stuck in colder weather
Maybe tomorrow will be better
Can I call you then."

"When I close my eyes I see you
No matter where I am
I can smell your perfume through these whispering pines
I'm with your ghost again
It's a shame about the weather
I know soon we'll be together
And I can't wait 'til then
I can't wait 'til then."


Always winter but never Christmas, always waiting for the good times that never come, frozen with indecision before the effort is ever truly made. It isn't my mother who is the witch in Narnia, it's shame and fear. But I've come a very long way, in time and knowledge and experience, and I see signs that Aslan is on the move in me. It's one thing to see Him moving for other people, or even on the evening news, but it is a frightening thing indeed to watch Him move me, almost like a chess piece on a board, move after move, in a strategy that I don't grasp. He is both patient and implacable. He waits, He does not move, then I am moved.

I think I forget that both the children who received the dagger and arrows and a sword of war from Father Christmas were the same children the night before who had never heard of Aslan or their place in the story being told. We think we are who we used to be and forget we are who we've become, and can't comprehend at all that we have nowhere to go but the battle ahead. Enchanted sleeping is useless now, better to wake up and deal with it all in the relentless daylight.  It isn't safe at all, but it is good.

I wish I were more like Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. Perhaps they should be my patron saints, that I might become more practical, earnest, and relentless in living.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015


I hate dealing with this shame crap. You have to keep going back to it and uncovering more shit and then you feel like crap but the only way out is to go thru it all and then you have to deal with things about yourself that are true but you just never did because really no one ever wants to deal with some bits but because you are all so special in your codependency/C-PTSD stuff that you get to face up with things and be all honest with yourself and shit damn fuck shitdamnfuck SHIT DAMN FUUUUUUUCCCKKKKK!

That is all. Have a nice day.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Shame, money, art, journaling

Just this minute found this article on how shame triggers impulse spending and debt, and the ways she is dealing with both.  I swing ever between don't buy anything and small impulse purchases that have added up to quite a bit. The kitchen renovation was the buy I made to bring my mother into my home, there HAD to be a plus side somewhere in the bargain, but that always sets off a whole house spruce up. 


There. Public safety first, you know.

As I was saying, my way of running up debt is to make small, on really good sale, purchases on my credit card, then pay for it later.


You know.

So I found this woman's article not only helpful to bring out the shame element at play, but her lead photograph above is from her journal, which she apparently does in an art journal mix. I've always admired art journals, but being such a wordy girl I haven't really understood an approach to bring art into it. The only ones I've seen before are by super talented real artists who could draw - and I'll never walk thru that room - or perhaps super organised scrapbooker types, but I haven't the OCD for that either. The closest I ever came was a couple of journals that I decorated the covers with stickers as I progressed thru the pages

This picture above I could do. Sometimes I map out words and understandings and revelations in like manner on super sized post-its that can be hung on the wall. I like to have it up at eye level, I can add to it as I pace or pray, and it helps my vision to be able stand afar off and look the whole thing over. Perhaps I could transfer those word maps into simple drawings like this one. It would elicit forms and colours out of me, and in the way the word maps often uncover connections I hadn't known were there, perhaps adding simple visual contexts for the words to inhabit will reveal what I haven't seen before. 

You know, the hardest thing about ADD and C-PTSD is I am constantly moving in response to impulses inside of me that I can't feel or have forgotten. I'm constantly churning in complete surprise to things I can't see, yet those things keep popping up!  

My brain behaves like it is its own secret garden. There are mazes of little gates that I've locked behind me to keep the fears and losses contained, yet the weeds keep blooming. I keep sneezing and fighting off the sinus infections, and the little weed seeds keep jumping the walls to ruin every precious new planting with their trash. Maybe drawing out the lay of the land as I discover it will help me open it up to the Great Architect's eye so He can do something with it. I so want flowers and bowers and fruit trees and maybe even candlelight suppers that I can hardly stand it.

 Because flowers:

Happy St. Patrick's Day. 
May God open the gates and drive all the serpents from our gardens.

p.s., you really should click on "suppers" above. Hyacinth is a real hoot! :D

Friday, March 6, 2015

Drops in the pudding

While I spend way too much time on Facebook, it does yield up treasure that I might not have found otherwise, to wit, Brené Brown.  I didn't find her thru her FB page, but thru this little video someone shared about empathy:

I thought it was beautiful and went looking for more, and after about ten more videos thought her work was something I needed to contemplate awhile. And after about two more days thought I needed to order some of her books, which I did after a couple more days.

Why mention the gaps? You see, in between all the video watching and contemplating, if the material is on target for me and is effecting some change in my soul, it makes me feel ill. I get thick headed, a wee bit nauseous in some back corner of my frame that isn't quite my gut or even my heart, just somewhere behind me in that place I can never see with my own eyes. It reminds me of that Dr. Who episode where Donna Noble has that alien thing attached to her back that she can't see, but others sometimes do.

I'm sure therapists have some name for the process, but all I know is I just have to hold steady and not move from where I am for a bit, may be hours, may be days, just until I've got a new equilibrium and the truth is settled into me and the old lie disabled and resigned to the process of extraction. Some old lies I've clung to for a very long time indeed, since I was a little girl for a few of them. I noticed one the other day that if I give it up, I'll end up changing all sorts of habitual behaviors - if I remain conscious of it and persist in removing it. I can see why people defend a belief based on a falsehood, I'm really going to miss the grief that leads to mac n'cheese with chocolate chasers night. The pain is real, but the balm that makes it bearable is really, Really tasty!

At the core of Brené Brown's work and research is shame and vulnerability. The good news is that exploring the nature of shame and learning how to handle vulnerability leads to creativity and Much better friends and friendships. I've heard more than a few explanations of shame, but they were chiefly definitional and no speaker ever wanted to explore or accept the nature of the beast. Most people, like me, just want to pass the multiple choice questions about shame at the end of the lecture and bounce right on to the good stuff about life without shame. Of course, anyone who is afraid of shame is still living in it, probably covering it up with a lot of pompous chatter, and quite possibly trying to transfer their own to anyone vulnerable enough to take it off them. (h/t Pia Mellody)

To my surprise, the way Brené Brown is explaining shame is making the subject tangible and plainly visible to me for the first time. It's ugly, but I'd like to go on and get a grasp on it and do something about it. She promises we only have to walk around the edges of the shame "swamp," not wallow in it, so with a good torch by night and the promise of a much brighter day at the finish, I'm going in. 

These two videos touch on the key points in her work that I would recommend to others. 

Key spot for me in this one was the difference between "fitting in" and "belonging," especially in our family of origin, located at 5:05 to 9:10 mark.

The second is a short video of her speaking to a group, entitled "Shame is a Self-Worth Injury." I had never, ever considered shame an "injury" before, especially since I first learned about shame from sermons. I had tried to learn about it theologically, but it isn't a religious concept, it's a psychological/medical trauma - and if you understand that, then Jesus our Healer starts to make actual sense. Don't worry, Brené doesn't talk about religious cures at all, she's a therapist, let her do her therapy thing, it's good:

About the blog post title? I'll explain it later, gotta run now.