Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Is My Life Falling Apart ~ Or Coming Together For the First Time?

At some point in our lives, we emerge out of the "non-critical naivete" stage, and begin to interact with "what is" more directly and honestly than we previously did. Envision turtles sticking their necks out of their shells ... ostriches pulling their heads out of the sand ... kangaroos emerging out of the pouch.

The beliefs and assumptions we inherited from our parents (and teachers and pastors) no longer suffice (second-hand truth is never meant to), and we long to know Truth (a Person, not a mere concept) for ourselves, experientially. We long to know who we really are, down under all the shoulds and rules. Some enter a midlife-crisis mode at this time, while others courageously move into more freedom ... it's really our choice. It always is, despite appearances to the contrary ("judge not by appearances").

It's just wretchedly painful, mid-process. Ain't no way 'round that reality..! Having our foundations shaken (even if those foundations are dysfunctional and burdensome), is unsettling, disconcerting. Defragmentation and deconstruction are painful. But as mothers know well, the pain of gestation, labor, transition, and pushing gives way to beautiful new life -- it's all SO worth it...!

I urge you, and I urge myself -- do not quit. Do not give in to the comfortable (yet stagnant) familiarity of the old stuff....! There are those who go through their entire life merely existing, and never really living. They will resist and resent your transformation (as you will threaten and frighten them), and will seek to suck you back into status quo. But liberation is worth the pain of inner-investigation.

Believe it or not, all of your answers, all that you need, is within you. Where else would God be...? He is nearer than breath, closer than hands and feet. He is not "up there, somewhere, out of reach, requiring our efforts." He is within, in our hearts (which we can now trust, as He is there). Who else do you think is shaking your dysfunctional foundations..? The "trick" is to learn to discern between the demanding (accusing/controlling/condemning/negating) voice of the ego, and the Voice of the Spirit. I've not yet read a better expose of that egoic voice, than in Eckhart Tolle's books (both "A New Earth," and "The Power of Now").

I'd also very much like to encourage the exploration of the books (& the videos) of Byron Katie ... she's a gifted teacher regarding how to question what we believe. The Work is a fabulous tool to discover who we really are. has access to both her videos and her books. This book, "Loving What Is" can truly change a life: (& I also devoured "Who Would You Be Without Your Story").

You can also find more of her videos (as she works with people) here:

While Katie doesn't call herself a Christian (a plus in my book!), she's certainly familiar with the Mind of Christ (as is often the case with those outside of Christianity, who nonetheless avail themselves of Christ's Truth).

One of the requirements of maturity is to move beyond concerned with what others think. No longer letting that rule us, to any degree, as such enslavement rob us us of our peace.

I would ask: Is it true that what others think matters?
Can you know for certain that it's true?
How do you react when you believe that thought, that what others think matters?
Who would you be without that thought? How would you think, feel, live?
Can you then think of a single stress-free reason to keep that thought?
And, can you turn that question around, and see if the turnaround could be as true, if not truer? (i.e., "what others think does not matter," or "what I think matters.").

If you watch a few of the videos, you may get to where you can do a worksheet on yourself, to question your own thinking (here's a link to a worksheet: and another one:

Eventually, we may come to realize that the self who is thinking (the ego), is not the *REAL* self at all ... just as the one who is dreaming, is not the real self(when you realize, in the dream, that you're dreaming... which one is the real you - the one dreaming, or the one observing the dreamer?). So it is with thinking ... we've just come to believe that our thoughts are really us, and are really true. But we do NOT have to believe everything we think ... we can question it, and discover what's really true.

As for others, I am coming to a place where I recognize that there are 3 types of "businesses":

- My business
- Your business
- God's business

Guess which one is the (only) one I'm to deal with..? Whenever I'm in your business, or God's business, I'm not minding my business, and I'm needlessly suffering.

It's not what happens to me that hurts me -- it's my THOUGHTS about what happens to me that hurts me.

For some, this may be a lot to take in ... for others, it may resonate with what they have already suspected to be true. I hope something here is helpful (as it has been for me). But each one is unique, and so if nothing resonates, feel free to discount...! God IS leading each one, and we WILL find our way...!

Shalom, Dena


graham old said...

Hey, Dena.

This is a great post. That said, I hope you don't mind if I express an alternative view on some of what you've said. However, it's not really the gist of your post that I struggle with, so feel free to delete this if you think it goes too far off-track.

I should start by saying that I have recommended Byron Katie to more people than I can remember. However, I'm also concerned that she is sometimes accepted a little too readily by people to whom her ideas (or the ideas she shares) are completely new.

I agree that the The Work is a fabulous tool, but not so much to discover who we really are, as much as to free us from the burden of false quests in the first place. Much of The Work (most of it?) is based on Albert Ellis' REBT. If you're interested in looking at that, you might enjoy reading his 'A Guide to Personal Happiness'.

Anyway, getting the point, I've never been comfortable with the three businesses you speak of. I *think* it's because of the anabaptist in me, that values community and appreciates others sticking their nose in my business. The trouble is, I get the point - and have myself experienced the release that comes from being in my own business. However, it's not all about that release, is it?

I suspect there may be a better way to frame it. Perhaps speaking of only being able to run one business, but often being invited to assist in someone else's business?

Oh, gotta go - the baby's waking...

Guess which one is the (only) one I'm to deal with..? Whenever I'm in your business, or God's business, I'm not minding my business, and I'm needlessly suffering.

Darcy said...

I have a girlfriend in Sweden whos family used the term "My business" when they were talking about their private body areas. Kinda makes a whole new meaning to, "Keep your nose out of my business" or "Mind your own business" or "It's none of your business". The last is particularly good to teach our children before marriage!

The thing you stated about all the answers being inside of us is both disturbing and awakening for me. My mind resists the notion that "I" have what I need but then you say that it is because God is in me and HE has the answers for me.

I often do think of Him being far away and distant. This is the crux of my relationship problems with him. It is not unlike how I've treated most of my friends through the years. Being that we are Military Brats that have moved quite a bit, it is easy to forget old friends once I was forced to move and make new friends. Kinda a survival mode. (SIDENOTE: Dad, if you are reading this I also loved being a Military Brat! This is NOT a "Look what Dad did to me" moment. Moving made me a person that is able to meet new people and make friends easily. I could list so many good things about how we grew up.)

The old friends are now distant and letters and phone calls will only do for a short time.

I don't know how to make God "feel" right here and now. I don't know how to stop thinking of him as being distant and far away and therefore someone that I am to leave behind - or worse, just ignore.

This is where I am right now.

dena said...

I'll answer these in order, so as not to show nepotism..! ;)

Graham, I wouldn't DREAM of deleting your message! This is the very sort of thing I would hope to foster -- a conversation, bringing in more than one POV.

I agree with you about community -- I've been in an intentional community for almost 3 years now ... and I was quite involved in prior fellowship groups, wherein accountability was a huge focus.

I'm more than willing to concede that my love of Byron Katie's Work is in how it's provided a necessary counter-balance to the extreme form of "accountability" (read: Shepherding Movement) that I was involved in ... having had NO voice, NO say, NO consideration for so long, this "pendulum swing" is just what I've needed, to bring in a more healthy perspective.

As with most swings, my goal is to find a balance ... but I've discovered that I can only do so (so far in my life) by experiencing the extremes ... perhaps to find the edges of the road (or the cliffs!), so that I can know whattheheck the "middle" looks like, LOL!

Reality is, there *are* indeed folks in my life to whom I listen, and welcome their input. However, my caveat is that there needs be a genuine relationship, and no *requirement* for blind obedience. I think the key word, which you used well, is "invite" -- YES! I can, and do, invite others to speak into my life. God, being in each of us, can speak through each of us. I'm to use the discernment the Spirit offers, within me, to determine whether the voice coming at me is that of God, or of the human's perspective (or, as is often the case, a mixture of each).

Obviously, as a blogger who dares to speak into others' lives (should they invite themselves to receive), I believe in this interaction, and the value of it.

Sometimes, I would dare to say, there is "our" business, as well.

Thanks Graham -- I *do* invite you to openly speak into my life! I want to learn, to be shown my blind spots by those to whom I'm connected!

Shalom, Dena

dena said...


Having grown up with you, having experienced the same sort of teachings and life-lessons as you, I can relate well to the dilemma you're describing.

I know it's hard. I know it sucks to go through. And ... you're right on time!

As for the "how" to make God feel more near, and not distant ... it's something more to realize, than to make happen. That would just be more mere conceptual thinking. The fact that you see this as your current reality, is HUGE. The fact that you desire for God to be as clse to you as He is, means that it's already happening. It comes through experiences ... which, sadly, we've too often been taught to fear. As if the Bible isn't full of folks having experiential encounters with the Living God...!

So, be on the lookout for how God wants to engage you, encounter you, giving you experiences of Him. They may come when you least expect it ... they may strike you as "mere emotionalism" (as if our God-given emotions were to be dismissed!) ... they may challenge you on many levels. When it happens, you'll know. Try to embrace it, rather than writing it off.

When you sense something "too good to be true," and are tempted to think, "Nah, that couldn't be God," try this on for size: "Why *wouldn't* that be God...?"

Let go (of what you think you know), and let God (show you what He has for you).

I love you!

Shalom, Dena