Thursday, October 31, 2013

Life as a Good Read

This morning I had a little conversation with Elena about the book she is reading. She's on page 240. This was her proud proclamation. It got me thinking. How in reading, we slowly and ploddingly make our way through a good book. There is usually no rushing, nor obsessively reading the same page over and over and over again. We don't generally re-read the book until we have finished it. We don't continually restart a chapter, or go back to page one. We don't skip entire chunks of the book. And, most importantly, we do not give up if we don't like the pain or success the character is undergoing in any one section. We keep by by day...bit by bit.

That is how the story unfolds. This is how our life by by day...bit by bit. This is how the story is meant to be told.

If we believe in Him, we can imagine God as the author of this book, our book, the book of our lives. He knows where the story is heading. He knows that the death of a major character leaving us reeling is only making room for a new, and potentially better, one to enter the setting. He knows that the two lovers who meet in the beginning of the book, at the complete wrong time will meet again at the right time in the end. Faith is required of the author of the book. We must have faith that there will be a satisfactory end. We must believe that all things, good and bad, revealed page by page are part of the whole. All are needed for the story.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I've Never Been Much of a Touch Person

My mom said that even as an infant, I shrugged from her touch and arched to be out of her arms and into the world on my own. My daughter is exactly the same way, despite the fact that she gives the best hugs, she moans and groans and complains about it. To the day, the only way to get her to hug me is to catch her unawares and just go for it. Apologize later I always say. But from the moment my arms encircle her, I can feel her softening. Her pull away lessens as she succombs to that which we all, touch, reassurance that we are soft and loveable.

So, when I watched this video today, it made me think.
 What I take from this: how amazing that spending five minutes touching can change your inner most feelings about a stranger...Touch is magic...and it just goes to show, that basic, reptilian brain responds immediately to touch.
NOT words. 

Or logic.
Or reason.
Or gameplaying. 
Or etiquette.
 It's all about touch and experience and that is the world in which our hearts live.

Monday, October 28, 2013

OK...This Here, THIS is Getting to the Meat of It

My gnawing hole theory, with much better advice as to how to fill it.

Makes me think of the Beatles song, "I'm fixing a hole where the rains gets in and starts my mind to wandering...."

And, oh yeah, selfies are not self-love...not even close.

The Real Cause of Inner Emptiness (And What to Do About It)

Posted: 06/02/11 09:16 AM ET

Do you often feel empty inside? Do you believe that others should be filling you up? Discover the real cause of inner emptiness and what to do about it.
If you feel empty, you are not alone in feeling this way.
Many people feel empty inside, and most people who feel empty have some deep, false beliefs regarding why they feel empty. Below are some of these false beliefs.
I feel empty because:
  • My partner is not giving me enough love and attention.
  • I don't have a partner.
  • I'm bored because my partner doesn't provide me with enough stimulation.
  • My work is unsatisfying.
  • I'm not successful enough.
  • I don't have enough money.
  • I have no one to play with on weekends.
  • Nothing excites me. Life is boring.
  • I don't get enough love, attention and approval from friends and relatives.
  • I don't get enough sex.
None of these situations is a real cause of inner emptiness.
What do you usually do to try to fill the inner emptiness? Do you try to fill up with:
  • Substances, such as food, sugar, alcohol, drugs or cigarettes?
  • Processes and activities, such as TV, Internet, sex, computer games, work, shopping, spending, gambling, telephone or email?
  • Attempting to get others' attention or approval with niceness, caretaking, over-talking, story-telling, anger or blame?
There are many substances, processes, behaviors and activities that people use addictively to try to fill the emptiness. These may work for the moment, but not for long. Soon, the emptiness is back and you are looking for someone or something to temporarily fill up the black hole.
The problem with all these behaviors is that they only address the symptom of inner emptiness -- not the cause.
The Cause Of Inner Emptiness
There is only one thing that truly fills the emptiness. Love. There is only one cause of inner emptiness: a lack of love.
But it is not a lack of someone else's love that causes your emptiness. Inner emptiness is caused by self-abandonment -- by not loving yourself.
Inner emptiness comes from a lack of connection with your spiritual source of love -- from not opening to the love-that-is-God and bringing that love to yourself through true thought and loving action in your own behalf.

When you abandon yourself by judging yourself, ignoring your feelings by staying in your head, numbing your feelings through substance and process addictions and making others responsible for your feelings and for loving you, you will feel empty. You are causing your own emptiness by your self-abandonment.
Your ego-wounded self is filled with false beliefs regarding who you are. Your wounded self may see you as inadequate, unlovable, not good enough, not important, selfish, bad, wrong. Your wounded self operates from core shame -- that you are intrinsically flawed.
These are programmed beliefs that have no basis in truth, but they may be running your life. When you believe that you are not good enough, then you turn to others and to addictions to try to feel okay -- to fill the emptiness that you are causing with your self-judgment/self-abandonment.
Filling Your Inner Emptiness: Learning To Love Yourself
The truth of who you are comes only from your personal source of spiritual guidance -- whatever that is for you. When you open to learning with a source of higher guidance about the truth of who you are, and about what is loving action toward yourself and others, you open to the love-that-is-God coming into your heart and filling your inner emptiness.
This occurs when you shift your attention -- from protecting against pain and avoiding responsibility for your feelings through your addictive and controlling behaviors -- to learning, with your higher guidance, about what is loving to yourself and others.
Today, choose the intent to learn with your higher guidance about truth and about loving yourself -- even if you don't believe that anything is there to answer you -- and see what happens. You might start to feel full of love inside!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

No Darkness at All

Today I am giving the children's message at's what I have prepared.
1 John 1:5

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.

Today, we are going to talk about what it means that God is light.

What is the biggest and most important light in our world? [the sun]

What do we get from the sun? [Hopefully responses include warmth, growth, light, energy, etc]

OK…all true…Now let’s try a little experiment revealing another property of light. Can I get a volunteer? 

[I then hold a flashlight and shine it on the volunteer’s back – if possible with a white wall behind the child to cast a shadow]

First I turn on the flashlight, tell them it is on and ask them if they can tell it’s on. – I make the point that God is always on…always shining on us, whether we know He is there or not. And in fact, just like the sun, he is stationary and reliable and predictable. But, we are given that light…for us, but we have to turn towards it to see it. 


Then I point out the shadow (or if there is not one cast, I talk about the concept and describe that sometimes we cast a shadow). I ask the kids, When we turn away from the light and stare away from it, what do we see? A dark spot. A shadow. Darkness created by ourselves. 

Everyone has times in their lives when they all of a sudden realize they are not basking in the light…they are staring into a darkness that they created by turning from God. So, what things can we do to remember to face the light of God? 

I'd like to end with something I think is amazing. Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf, still understood this concept of turning to the light...She couldn't even see and yet she penned this advice:

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.” 
 Helen Keller

So, God that is all light. 
God that is THE only light. 
Like our sun, You nurture us. 
You give us the energy that keeps us alive. 
You keep our bodies, minds and spirits facing You and basking in Your beautiful light. 
You keep us out of the shadows and darkness, Lord. 
Help us to know that Your light is always there to show us the way. 
And, like Helen Keller, help us to know that Your light is there even when cannot see it. 
You are always there, shining on us, lighting our way.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

That Old Common Denominatrix

Tonight, I told someone to look at what the common denominator is in their life around certain charged issues and repeating patterns. Examples from my own life...Do I always choose
unavailable people and then flogs and keens over the fact that the people they have chosen are unavailable? Does a person continually blame people for being untrustworthy? Do certain kinds of tragedies tend to befall a person over and over again? I say ask yourself what the common denominator in all those events or interactions is? Or more importantly, WHO is the common denominator? (in this case the number 5)

Over and over again we seem to be dealt the same hand, given the same chess board, that reduces to the same challenging end. Over and over and over we are tried to be taught. Eventually, do we give our forehead a good old V-8 thump and realize it is us? WE are the reason some pattern keeps repeating. WE are the problem. But, you know what? WE are also the solution. Break out of the pattern. Figure out what the common denominator is and solve for it. Learn. Acknowledge. Calculate. Find the answer.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

A How To...Related to this Morning's Blog

How to Build Self Esteem...

Aces High

High or low, with aces in some games, you get to choose. Why did I get blessed with a self-esteem that plays by this same rule? In a way, I have high self-esteem. I believe I am smart, creative, capable, not ugly, and have a very engaging personality. On the other hand, I have issues with acceptance. I feel like the world doesn't like me, want me, or care about me the way I passionately care about it and it's people. I am wondering how a person can really feel that they are an amazing, beautiful person, but still feel super inferior and insecure while surrounded by their peers (or in other situations)? Why is this self-esteem so capricious for me?

I believe myself to be a pretty good person most of the time. By certain angles, I'm pretty. (I know because I take selfies all the live long day). In some arenas and pursuits, I excel. I have a great brain and ability to think divergently. I am really tops in business. I am extrovertedly gifted, but socially awkward...which just means I am always really out there with my awkwardness (it sure would have been less damaging to be an awkward introvert). Or maybe I just can't read people all that well or they misread me all my life?
Maybe it's just a function of the "Stage Front Theory of Self" I wrote so long ago. Which is basically about the fact that we see the back sides of our stagefronts, while everyone else looks in from the audience. It's impossible, then, to truly know how we are perceived and even harder to unperceive the experience of knowing all the secrets backstage.

Is it related to just plain being weird? In other words, when you don't fit in ALL YOUR LIFE due to being eccentric, does it make a person just constantly question themselves? Maybe I am confusing "confidence" with "esteem?" Recently, a friend told me she isn't like all the other reindeer...Man oh man can I relate to that sentiment.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


I was thinking, and wrote about in my last blog about the main motivator of my life: engagement. This got me to thinking about how I seek out engagement and connection almost as if with blinders on. There is a spot on the horizon at which I try to stare. That spot is a place of success, personal success for me. I am not even sure of what goals reside there anymore, but I know that place is one where I am connected with the world, where I am engaged in creative exploits and doing something to keep myself active and out in nature and the world. The analogy of driving along a road is helpful to me. If I imagine my life as a road and that I am in a car (or on a bike) traveling towards a destination, I can put in place some very helpful psychological devices related to that analogy. 

Along the road, there are icy patches and challenges: addictions, frustrations, depressive periods, bad choices, short-sighted impulsive actions and the like. This means the path is never, ever smooth. But I am learning and have found that if I focus on where I need to be heading, but not to the exclusion of where I am today, I am best off. I also have found that there are guardrails that keep me on track. Becoming aware of the pitfalls and oil slicks along the path, I have had to build guardrails to help keep the car on the road.

The guardrails that work for me are physical, real things that take me out of the mental derailing.
1) Hike everyday, so I stay in nature and in shape and truly see the world around me.
2) Church so as to remember to practice spirituality and realize that the "road" of my life is there for me to travel.
3) Give up vices and addictions...or at least rein them in. When they start to cause me to skid to the edges of the road, it's time for this guardrail to kick in and help stop the fishtailing.
4) Practice journaling and creative writing.
5) Get sleep.
6) Clean up my space - house, car, yard, etc.
7) Read.

What are the guard rails that help keep you on track? 

Thank God for Mich Zeman....

It's interesting. Once, a long, long time ago in a city not so far away, I went to therapy. I had the most gifted therapist and he helped me to learn an awful lot of truths about me and the world and interpersonal relationships, etc. He taught me that in order for a relationship to continue, you need to make choices at the pivot points (or points of change) to change in ways that don't separate you. These points of change come routinely. We are like snakes shedding their skins. If we don't make choices that consider our partners, we might just drift apart.

He taught about "outsourcing" in a marriage. He said that so many marriages and relationships get bogged down in the mire of everyday chores. He pointed out that if something is important to one or both parties, but neither feels inspired or able to accomplish it, they should consider outsourcing it. He said, for example, getting a cleaning lady to remove the battlefield of keeping a clean house, can be a brilliant solution.

He taught me about codependency. Not to avoid it like the plague, but to embrace that relationships, by their very nature, are codependent. What good is a relationship when you do not need each other for anything? To depend on your partner for some things and augment each others' strengths, sets up a solid and strong union.

He helped me find my primary motivation in life: engagement. He even gave me that word specifically to describe it. He helped me come to realize that in order to feel fulfilled and happy, one has to know what makes them fulfilled and happy. How he was so brilliant to point out that "engagement" was my thing, I will never know.

I have spent much time on couches since then, but none have helped me even a fraction of the amount that his chintz covered, comfortable couch in Rowayton did! There were the therapists I could easily out think and manipulate (certainly not intentionally, but as a defense mechanism or to avoid discomforting self-analysis). There were counselors who were adequate at providing a forum for whining and release of emotions. There were those who frankly just weren't smart enough or quirky enough to "get" me. And, of course, there were my least favorite kinds of workers who relied on paper tools such as worksheets, list building and homework assignments. 

So, today, I thank God for Mich Zeman and for having a therapist like him. The conversations we had, the tears I shed and the frustrations I voiced are still, to this day serving me.