Archives for June 2010
Okay, so when you are raising kids you let them touch the hot oven so that they will never touch it again, once they get a burn. What if we treated love the same way? When we get burned, we never love again?
Insight never comes upon me because I wish it. And let’s face it, insight is not always pleasant. But at no time have I ever believed that insight has something to do with the full moon and the planets and the stars. Yet there always seems to be this dance that leads to insight: a particular paragraph in a book, a friend’s comment and even street signs can contribute to these light bulb moments. I mean insight and concepts have a life of their own and always seem to come upon me of their own free will.
Well, sometimes I like astrology and sometimes I don’t. I can go through years of complete indifference and then suddenly something about it fascinates me. So here it is: for the last six months I have been tracking this website (above) and it’s been interesting. And for June 26th, we have the following: Now we come to the full moon lunar eclipse of June 26. Falling in your solar fourth house, something important seems to be coming to critical mass that is related to your home, other property, or a family member, most likely a parent. When it does, it will be completely unexpected.
The eclipses are back, and they always come in pairs. The first one is due this month on June 26 in Capricorn, lighting your house of home and family, and next month on July 11 your career will be the focus. You will have a lot to think about, and you’ll have time to plan.
On and on she writes about the eclipses and I think, “what is the big deal?”. Well something very special happened to me today, that is the fruition of a lot of work and sweat on my part. I found out how truly free I am. As Doreen Virtue writes: “You are the only jail keeper that ever surfaces in your own life.” I’ve read these words a thousand times and today these words finally resonated in my soul.
I don’t know why I “got” this concept today of all days. It was a day of conflict and pain, a day of changing relationships and relationships changing. I was emotionally charged all day. But, thankfully, I got it. I can do and speak and travel as I wish. I am free, and if that freedom includes being with another that is good, if not, that can be good too. Nowhere and nohow do I need to compromise my needs, wants and desires on the the sacrificial altar of relationships. I can have relationships I choose in joy and happiness. Selfish, huh? Well I do believe I am getting closer to my goal…
And it’s really important to remember that.
My point about joy, is that we never wish to stop joy and so we dive fully into this experience with abandon – that is why joy occurs so quickly in comparison to pain. That does not mean that joy fully experienced eludes us. Indeed, if we are capable of “being here now” nothing could be further from the truth… Joy envelopes us, when the experience is available. The experience can only be fully available if we can be present in the moment, without the shadow of our pain lingering over us or with us.
Truly, that is the point about being here now, being fully present for whatever moment that comes upon us. It is a child-like state of being. Recently, my granddaughter had her awards ceremony for first graders. It was a highly anticipated occasion, as my granddaughter had worked all year to be the best. She had earned awards for good behavior and for good grades. The ceremony was to take place at 9:00 a.m. and you can imagine for a 7 year old, getting ready for the ceremony, waiting in line, sitting in the auditorium, waiting for the rest of the school and sitting in the auditorium – lots of feelings boiled to the surface. Like a cadre of highly trained and dedicated parents we swooped down on her en masse: her father, her mother, her grandmother and her uncle. She began weeping earnestly, so deep was her fear of being abandoned to the busy-ness of our lives. As she was comforted, her joy at our attention and presence overcame her. Happiness swept over her tear-stained face quickly, to replace all of the fear that had preceded it. Throughout the ceremony, she laughed and waved at us and giggled. Such is the power of being here now – all that is in the moment must be experienced so that the moment can fully develop into all that is joyful and beautiful about life. These moments can linger, all of them, where ever they come from, they carry us or thwart us in the next moment. It is our choice.
And as my granddaughter would say “trust me”: fully experiencing what is here now, being in the moment, no matter what the moment is offering to us, is a way of being – that fully enriches life now.
I’ve seen it alot, particularly in bureaucracies, and in my field of human service agencies where bureaucracy runs rampant. There is often a culture with entrenched staff of “job entitlement”. If you speak with these staff members you will quickly see that they have a sense that they have a “right” to their job. Much has been written about the foibles of management, little has been written about the tyranny of “entitled” staff. They are a group of people who are not accountable and they have lots of justification for it. They’ve been around “for years”. At one time, they may have even performed their job, but that time is long past.
Like a marriage that is grounded in co-dependence and ugly behavior, the supervisor of the entitled staff has long since resigned herself to the apathy that runs rampant in her department. Senior executives are too wound up in their own agenda to look into what is occurring at the line staff level. The next mistake is when the senior executive is making comments about what is wrong with “that department.” Any time a manager distances himself from his subordinates, s/he is making a perception mistake. Subordinates are only a mirror of the manager. Any department, no matter how far down the food chain they operate, reflects the attitudes and behavior of the CEO. There is no “that” department. There is no “those staff”, there is no “other” in management. When I hear that language in a management meeting, I know that the manager is distancing himself in order to avoid dealing with the poor performers.
When I see or hear a manager complaining about the performance of subordinates, I am immediately aware of their lack of insight into the real problem. Yet this is an attitude that encourages poor performance and the tyranny of the entitled. As the staff suffers through the indifference and distance of supervisors and executive staff, it is easy for line staff to justify low performance and so they do.
The price an organization pays is a huge one. This is why: the high performers will leave, they constitute the “revolving door” that HR complains about. When this is happening, then you know that the organization is completely upside down. The revolving door should be designed and utilized for poor performers only. An organization’s goal must always be to retain the high performers so that products get out the door in a high quality manner. When the “entitled” stay and there is a string of high performers rushing for the exit door, the organization needs to take note and look to the TOP. Consequences of ignoring the “tyranny of the entitled” are dire. In this lean and mean time, it is a mistake that cannot be made.
So if you work in a place like this, where the tyranny of low performance is killing off what is good and honest and bright: recall those quotes from the New York Times: “When 40 million people believe in a dumb idea, it’s still a dumb idea”, so if you are someone who believes in something honest and bright, stick to it “maybe your peers will get smart and drift your way.” And if you are a manager here, then you need to make changes before dire becomes done.
When I lose love, because I have lost a relationship, I am colder for it. I may not have wanted the relationship, I may not have enjoyed the relationship, but still it is cold without the love of the relationship to cover me. Love is like a constant companion, someone can be shouting at me and inside I will say to myself “my sister loves me, even if you do not”. So I keep my love around me and in my mind to blanket me with the warmth of being wanted, forgiven and regarded.
Throughout my precarious youth I kept my mother’s love like a shield against all hardship. I could feel her love – it lived and breathed within me and I thought I must be safe with myself in order to regard her love. Her death was the coldest and meanest of all. Like the manic winter of Virginia (as I have been nowhere else with snow) the cold bit into me deeply.
And so I feel about love and relationships that love is necessary, but not sufficient to keep a relationship alive. I may have to give up love to leave a relationship and that is the hardest task of all. I know that I will be cold and I remember the cold of my mother’s passing and it makes me frightened. But I also know that some relationships will not survive the bitterness of the world.
There is much dodging and dancing to keep the warmth of love around me and this is not the way that I wish to experience it. I wish to have in my relationship, the kind of love that my mother provided me with: A warm blanket that stays with me no matter what: A love that I never have to leave and that I do not have to fear. If you have this love it is easy to forget the cold, but I tell you that you should not, because love is a very powerful gift. It is a gift that you can keep forever, even if it is only in your memory.
True hurt, grief, pain and despair must be experienced in order to be released. Therapists and counselors understand this. Positive affirmations are positive support from self to self, to deal with the negative beliefs that come to be with painful experiences. A counselor / therapist uses their own positive regard for the client to support the client through the moment. The positive affirmations go home with the client and help to continue the support throughout the week.
This is why I say we must embrace positive affirmations. They are part of what we need to rebuild what is damaged by our resistance to our experience (pain and grief) and our concomitant inappropriate belief structures. Positive affirmations can put us back on the path to healing and loving ourselves and others.
So don’t talk trash about positive affirmations, of course they are not enough. Knowledgeable therapists and counselors have always known this. Positive affirmations are not trite tricks of the trade either. Positive affirmations can be tools that we apply to show support and love for ourself. When we are healing from a great hurt or grieving a loss, isn’t any source of support and love a good one? If that love and support comes from self, isn’t that even better?
So, geez, don’t put down positive affirmations, well – don’t put down anything. Positive affirmations can be indicators for self support and self love and what’s the harm in that?
True hurt must be experienced to be released. It is our unhinged coping mechanisms that keep us from experiencing our true experience. Why? Well, we all resist the pain of life, hoping for and always pursuing the happiness and the joy. Without the pain of life, happiness and joy eludes us, something to be forever chased that we cannot catch because we are unwilling to have our experience.
The fact of the matter is that once you are willing to HAVE your experience, what will bubble up, will bubble up – it is not within our control. This is what scares us. Many of us store our grief and sadness, hurt and rage for years. When we finally make the choice to experience ourselves, it can be overwhelming, as all of those feelings have festered “under our skin” into an infection that weakens us. As the hurts pile up, they become more entrenched and more powerful.
This process of storing our grief and sadness changes our thought process. We lose our child like openness and trade it for the defense mechanisms and protective belief structures that will interfere with our ability to experience our lives. It is almost an oxy-moronic thought process, because the truth is, that “What you resist; persists”. Hurt, despair and grief unattended to is still hurt, despair and grief. Only through our experience of them are we able to release them and through release, we can go on to the next emotion of our experience. Joy is always brief, because we are almost always willing to experience it; that is why it goes away. Any emotion experienced, moves on, any emotion that is stuck, serves as the plug which keeps us from experiencing anything, including the joy that is available to us.
So be here now, it may take some work to get here, but it is well worth the experience. Life brings us everything, including joy, love, connectedness and happiness. It is up to you to “have” it.