How To…

Stop living in fear
Without picking up anger…
Move to a third way.

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Sit with discomfort.
Open your heart and let life
Evolve. Change will come.

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So, it turns out that…

Self-protective walls
Make what’s on the other side
That much more scary.

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Erving Goffman Was Wrong

Was right. You don’t create your
Self. You uncover.

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You come into the world alone. If you’re lucky you’re greeted warmly. If not, you may come to learn that chaos and emptiness surround you. Maybe you float, terrifyingly and wordlessly untethered. Gradually, the words come, and you cobble together a personal reality in survival mode. You do whatever’s necessary to get through each day.

Untethered from birth, you long for the safety of being tethered — of being attached somewhere, somehow. But lacking that early experience of connection, you can’t recognize it when it touches you.

Being untethered, new, and without language is terrifying. Coping mechanisms are vital, and their machinery is very simple. Clocklike and relentless, self-protective withdrawal is one swing of the pendulum. The other inevitably involves attempts to earn loving connection.

And to be seeking connection as if your life depends on it means that you are mightily and absolutely tethered — locked into unhelpful and endless circularities. The machinery, once in place, doesn’t stop grinding away. It becomes who you are. The terror of being untethered leads to a self-inflicted chokehold.

So this has been the tether of my 69 years. The simple machine I cobbled together in the 1950’s has been in action for a long, long time. But the safety of being tethered isn’t a thing that’s necessary or that works for grown-ups. And learning this, whenever the lesson becomes clear, is a great gift!

It was so scary to be untethered and wordless that I never wanted to feel that terrible feeling again. I thought that what I sought was something I needed. Back then it was. But I surely don’t need that now.

Being untethered and taking my place on this earth is the path toward new life.

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That’s Right, Stop

The repetition
Compulsion plots a path that
I no longer choose.

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Stepping Into Something New

Some time ago I pulled an Angel Card and netted Forgiveness. Really? Must I? If you’re a reader of this blog, you’ll know that’s something I’ve struggled with.

But carrying resentment is a weight. And forgiveness isn’t about something being okay – it’s really about letting go. But letting go of what?

It’s blame, somehow. Blame coupled with the constantly accessible escapism of victim status.

My blaming my mother for the impact she had on me doesn’t really get me anywhere past stuck. I keep trying to get rid of the weight of it by attempting to force her to pick it up. But she obviously won’t (having been dead these many years). And in the absence of her taking its weight, I force myself to keep carrying it.

Forgiveness doesn’t deny the impact she had on me. In fact, I think it may make it easier to explore, because there’s nothing transactional going on. This isn’t a matter of mathematics and trying to balance an equation. No, it’s about feelings and choices and what’s mine and what isn’t. The impact she had on me is mine. Why or how she chose to do what she did – that’s hers and is entirely separate from me.

So, forgiveness is powerfully self-referenced and powerfully validating of my experience. In letting go of my tight grip on the past, something new actually becomes possible in the future. I untangle my heart.

When I forgive I choose to sever a certain kind of relationship that has kept me tied to experiences and emotions of my past for 65 + years. Forgiveness allows me to stop holding my history (and myself) out to my mother — such a sad offering! She was never someone who was going to own her stuff. And that actually doesn’t even matter. My task is to let go of any expectation I’d held. It ain’t gonna happen.

And now I see that my truth is my truth, and it isn’t necessary to cling to anger for that to be so. The reality of my felt experience is not undermined by forgiveness. In fact, forgiveness simply frees up time and energy so that I can explore even more and move into something new.

THAT is exciting!

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Ladder of Inference

If you have climbed to
The top then just stop. The slide
Is so very steep.

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Little Jordie, Thanks but…

I know you’re trying
To protect me but I don’t
Need that from you now.

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Here’s an Idea…

Take changes softly
Like dust filtered through sunlight
They land where they may.

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