Thursday, May 14, 2009

How's That Working For You...?

The definition of insanity is "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." It seems to me that at some point, we take an accounting of our lives, inquire into what's really working, what's not (or what's no longer working), and why ... and then seek a different perspective ... this is part of maturing -- of growing up.

As children, many (most? all?) of us learned coping skills to deal with things we could not handle ... pain beyond our comprehension, confusion, abuse, neglect (even benign neglect) ... the foibles of fallible parents, doing the best they could, with what they had (because of what they endured as children), and yet inevitably falling short of the unconditional love and complete acceptance that we were created to *need*.

These coping skills did the trick, and served us well during those early years of childhood, and even into early adulthood. We survived -- here we are, against all odds. It worked. And yet, as we mature, as we come to have our perspectives enlarged and deepened, those very coping skills can get in the way of our functioning at a higher, deeper, truer level.

For instance, self-protection may have enabled us to get through emotional, sexual, or spiritual abuse ... and yet now, it may be backfiring, preventing us from experiencing intimacy with a spouse, our children, God, or ourselves.

Denial may have allowed us to survive the unthinkable ... and yet now, it may be keeping us locked in a fantasy life, unable to engage the world around us.

Suppression of pain may have helped us to endure horrendous atrocities ... and yet, now, it may also keep us from feeling a full spectrum of emotion, flatlining even our experience of joy.

There comes a time when what once served us, now squelches us ... there comes a time to reclaim our full selves, to put aside the tools that once served us well but have since expired, and to begin to learn how to live the FULL life we were meant to have.

This will not come easily, nor without pain ... but this is the pain of honesty, of transparency, of living authentically. And this pain, we will soon discover, is the flip-side of JOY, for it is the labor that gives birth to joy...! We will learn, to our utter astonishment and delight, that we cannot have the latter without the former. We appreciate the morning because of the context of the night ... we appreciate the spring because of the context of the winter ... we appreciate joy because of the context of pain.

One of my favorite sayings is "we turn to God when our foundations are crumbling, only to discover that it's God who's shaking them..."

Sometimes, as our life is finally coming together, it feels like everything's falling apart. We need, and can have, eyes to see.

One way to do this is to not resist whatever comes to us ... to choose to be grateful, to choose to see it as a gift-in-disguise ... to "judge not by appearances", for we can choose that all things are good, no matter what we perceive initially. Gratitude, thanking God for *whatever is* makes space for Him to work ... to challenge our perspective, to invite us to step outside of our preconceived notions, and to be willing to see a "familiar" thing a new way.

I'm discovering that my perception changes my experience ... this fits with both science (quantum physics) and with my intuitive hunch.

May He show us what's of Him, and what's not, in our own thinking ... may we be willing to let go of the latter, so that we can see (& experience) the former.

Shalom, Dena

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