Monthly Archives: November 2013

FINDING LOVE IN YOUR FEAR

Have you ever found yourself loving something or someone so much you killed the joy you would have had had you not held on so tightly? Have you ever been so scared or afraid of something or someone that you found yourself backed into a corner that left few if no options open and then wondered why you felt like the life was sucked out of you? Have you ever wondered why other people seem to live a life of fullness that seems so unreachable to you? I think if we are honest we all have experienced these things and may still be experiencing them.

True love has an ability above the natural, human sense of our understanding and it comes from an experience you have within yourself. Does it matter what method got you there? No. Is there more ways than one to awaken to this? Yes. Once you start with that Love, then you can begin to see how it minimizes or vanishes negative reactions, thoughts, and beliefs. (That is material for another chapter all by itself.) When your reactions, thoughts and beliefs are under the care and leadership of that Love, the blocks and millstones around your neck that make life seem like a very unpleasant experience day after day after day, will start changing for the better. You see things differently, maybe not at first, but it comes at its own pace with each individual. Soon you can switch you viewpoint before you react or pass judgments, or become despondent or upset which can lead to more damage. So, it’s like damage control before it happens.

OUR FEARS: We fear losing a person we love through accidents, deaths, disease, or because they separated from us for some reason – through disagreements, misunderstandings, distance in miles, or because one grew and the other person did not. We fear losing control of our emotions, other people’s emotions, or of losing control over the things that are beyond our ability to do anything about. We fear we will “fail” in our jobs, in our relationships, and we fear we may make the “wrong” decisions. We fear about our physical presentation, that we may not be handsome or pretty enough, tall enough, smart enough or the right weight according to standards that may or may not be our own. We fear we may lack in enough goods, or necessities or we may fear not keeping up with what we think we should have because everyone else has these. We may fear becoming old or sick and death is something we know will come but are never ready for it seems.

REACTIONS TO FEAR: With fear comes comes things like emotional pain, sadness, being overwhelmed, nervousness, anxiety, anger and depression. Physical reactions are pain, illness, rashes, and other disabilities. Then comes anything we can grab onto that we think will make all that go away. We push the emotions down, we run away from facing what we need to face and we fail to take appropriate actions. Some of us turn to drugs, to alcohol, to smoking, to getting into new and often worse relationships, we try to live vicariously through our children and cause them problems, we eat too much, we over spend or gamble, we drive recklessly or we pick up some other dangerous, self-destructive behavior or habit or increase the ones we already have including hoarding in order to do anything but face and work through the pain.

THE APPLICATION OF THE FIX: Sometimes one of the easiest fixes is to remove yourself from a relationship that is causing pain for one or both parties (and it will be both parties in the end) if couples therapy, other therapy, negotiations, counseling, and any other attempts to make peace, make love and not war, and to open up honest and loving dialog does not work. Sometimes you need healing and this can be done through many tools: therapy, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), breath work, reading all the self-help books on your particular subject, workshops that are geared to healing, treating yourself to massage, learning meditation, yoga, ti chi, and starting or expanding spiritual practices are just some examples. When the student is ready the teacher/method/book/person/ tool that is needed will appear. In my earlier days of healing, one of the things I did was to enter college to learn psychology and my desire was to become a therapist, a healer to others but I also knew that I needed to heal myself and to continue that road to healing if I were to ever hope be a help to anyone else. Some of the books that I became aware of and picked up along the way was a few different books about adult children of alcoholics and this was just one area I learned about that started me on my way to understanding myself a whole lot better so that I might be more able to heal. Why I felt as I felt or reacted the way I did to certain things became ah-ha moments for me. I did a paper on the subject and eventually started an Adult Children of Alcoholics group in the community in which I was doing my practicum. Each person has to research what tools might be available to them and make use of them. We do the work but sometimes we need the help of professionals or those in the business of helping or teaching us about some of the modalities that will benefit us. We now have a new branch of helpers called life coaches who incorporate different methods of help depending upon their field of education, their experiences, and where they learned what they use in their practice.

In any case, the beginning of having a better life, of healing of things you don’t even know that ail you, is to know yourself, to face what is bothering you, to pay attention to what is going on in your head, and to have a strong desire to make your life the beautiful experience you want it to be, that you know somehow it should be, and one which the Creator intended it to be.  Your desire for this has to be bigger than your fear or doubts that keep you where you are.

As you progress, you will find that Love will begin to bring this fullness into your life. You will find that love inside of you that is Divine, that really is all that is, will change how you see yourself, others, circumstances and events. It will not guarantee freedom from anything you fear but rather will give you power over these things and will see you through the rough patches of life. The bumps and pits will no longer be impediments or impossible to handle, It will put the straight in your crooked, the light in your dark and peace in your turmoil. You will have found Love in the midst of Fear.

LOVE, FORGIVENESS AND GIVING THANKS

We are often thankful for the people in our lives who are kind and loving and we give thanks for their being in our lives whether it is for a moment, for years, or for a lifetime. What about those whose presence for a moment, for years, or a lifetime who have not been loving or kind or who kept getting into trouble and looking for us to bail them out? What about those who have betrayed you in some way? What about those who mistreated you, even abused you? What about those who have done things or said things that are totally contrary to your beliefs or ideas of how one should be, what one should or should not do, or should or should not say? What about those who may have snubbed you or left you out of the loop? Can you be thankful for them?

In my lifetime and yours, we will have people come into our “space” and we will experience pain, sadness, and sometimes anger. Maybe later we will feel regretful in some way or another because of what went on in the encounter. But it is when we begin to see that we are who we are and we don’t know why people say or do the things they do. We don’t know their story – not the entirety of it and what triggered off or is triggering off their reactions and decisions.

We really don’t have to know but sometimes it helps to know and understand better why someone might be the presentation of them that they are at any given moment. What we can do, however, is as quickly as possible reflect upon our own reactions to these people. Why are WE having this feeling or reaction to them? Because if we don’t understand what makes us tick, how can we possibly understand that other people are driven by things, just the way we are driven by different things, to behave or respond to events and challenges they way they are?

Do you just stand by when someone is going off like a time bomb or stay in situations that are not healthy? No. Should society allow others to continue to harm others when they are convicted of doing harm? None of us want that but can you find that Love inside of you that sees through what they have done while at the same time knowing that you or society can not tolerate the actions of this person? Can you REALLY know that but for some divine grace you could be that person or worse? Can you hold both of those ideas of the spirit and the flesh? It is possible but no matter how much you may want to do this, there will be times when you find it very hard indeed to do so. Some of you may not even want to learn to do so and that is okay but the consequences of that choice will not allow you to have the higher level of joy, peace, and love that you could be experiencing, Not that this is not present in your life, but you will not be able to experience it quite as well. It is like being in fog. You can see but not very well.

When the desire to be more than you are, to experience that awesome place or state of being, overcomes your personal and society human indoctrination you will truly give thanks for everyone and everything that has appeared and will appear in your life.

JUST OLLIE AND ME AND BLOGGING MAKES THREE

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This blog I have started is a preview of the book I am creating based upon the material I gather from my blogs.  I will keep everyone informed when it has become the finished product, that is, the book I am longing to birth.  So if you like my blog, please stay tuned for the finished product.  Please let me know what you like so far and what you would like to have addressed or explored further.  Be a co-creator with me by giving me your feed back, suggestions, and comments.  Thank you so much. 

Brenda Andradzki Elliott, MSW

MYSTICS AND LOVE

People in Georgia and other pockets of traditional and fundamental churches often want to know what church you go to and they mean “What are your beliefs” or “Are you a Christian?” and the tail on that donkey is “Are you saved?” It makes me think now this Sunday morning just what am I in the categories of religious beliefs. I think I am now, at this point in life, a Mystical Christian and yet I would like to drop the word Christian because if often conjures up ideas that others have about that word. To say I am a mystic, well maybe that comes closer to describing my Spiritual orientation. I have been through the “fires” and learning experiences of traditional churches and “new thought” churches as well.

First I was raised in a Baptist church got in touch with “Jesus” there. Later I was drawn to the Catholic church but years later realized that it was the mystical core that I was drawn to. The solid pillars upon which that church stands are those who have trod the mystical way. Though little is said about those pillars in the church itself and no one much delves into the mystics of the church nor are encouraged to, it is the glue that has held that structure together even as it may creak and crack. Being the quiet rebel that I am, I did delve into all of that. Soon after that I found that the church structure was like a worn out garment that was too small for me. Ah, but the mystics of that church and the mystics of other persuasions were unspoiled and unsoiled by the structure and called to me in a voice so familiar.

As I now think back to when I decided to join the Third Order of Discalced Carmelites years ago, which is a secular order of the Order that St. Teresa of Avila belonged to, it was the mystical side of Christianity or Catholicism that I was drawn to. I still have the Scapular that I received when I joined the Order. I don’t do the Office nor follow The Rule of St. Albert but at heart I am a mystic.

In our world of names and categories, we get our label gun out and proceed to stick them on everything and everybody. I guess as humans we just can’t help it. After all, we have to have something to hold onto or we think we will float off into unfamiliar territory and that scares us. For some it is extremely important to add to that label, “Okay” or “Not Okay”. What follows is more duality and more separation between us.

The mystics are the ones who experience things that others cannot comprehend with Western thought. The mystical way is too abstract, to nebulous, too unexplainable. The mind can’t wrap itself around it so the Western mind puts into place that which can be comprehended better, is more tangible and makes more sense to the intellect like rules and a n attitude of the right and only way to God or Spirit.  I do not condemn these, I just say that I cannot personally abide in such a narrow and small space.

What has this to do with love? Actually it has a lot to do with it. No matter whether you take the more traditional way or the mystical path your job is to find or awaken to Spirit and the Love that is always there for you to rejoice in and to share with others. The unconditional love you seek is alive and well. We see moments during a disaster when people put aside their prejudices and work together side by side to rebuild and out of those ashes the Phoenix arises. But after things are back to normal, that time when we loved unconditionally, is forgotten.

When you love and accept others and accept your perceived flaws and theirs and when you put aside your needs, ideas, and beliefs, LOVE steps in and sweeps you into the world of mystics.

LOVE WANTED APPLY WITHIN

A baby is born and the little soul leaves a place of pure and absolute love, takes on a body, and comes into a strange world where he or she is either welcomed and loved or thrown to the lions.  There are many shades of welcomed and loved and many shades of thrown to the lions.  Welcomed and loved can be anything from over indulgence to smothering to controlling mode which is designed to mold the child into the parent’s own image or so the parent may life his or her own life vicariously through the child.   So, being loved and welcomed can have it’s darker side.  Being thrown to the lions can be total disinterest to neglect to horrendous abuse.  So what could possibly be the “good” side of  this you ask.  Unless the child makes the decision to break that chain and to find what he or she desperately wants to find or know about or to receive which is love, then I am afraid the life story of that child will have a long and very unsatisfactory outcome.

It is a well-documented fact that children tend to survive and thrive the best when there is at least one someone in their life who gives them love, affection, attention, and welcomes them.   Babies don’t know anything but love but soon forget once their socialization and induction into the human race begins and that is when pure love, absolute love, gets clouded over by the coats of social paint that is applied to .  There is one saving grace however, and that is that no matter how many coats of social paint is applied there remains at the seat of that soul, pure and absolute being – pure and absolute love.  One may go to his or her grave never to experience that LOVE within or they may experience it but have no idea where to go from there because they are still carrying the scars and paint that seem to add to the confusion.

People reach for other people, medications, drugs, alcohol, or some other soon to be addiction like spending or gambling or sex.  These may offer some relief and make the person feel good for a while but it never lasts.  They must go get another “fix” or add another one on top of the first one.  They could end up with many if nothing in their life changes.  Even a religion or philosophy can provide some relief and bring some joy to that believer.  Not all things people reach for to find that love, joy, and peace is bad or wrong in itself but if used for a substitute for the real thing or as an escape, it can only take one so far.

Though this is your personal journey from the crib to the grave, there are helpers who come to you in all forms and in all situations that you may use to guide you, to help you find what feels like is missing in your life.  Sometimes it takes different people, different situations, and different things at different stages of your coming out party.  So keep your eyes and heart open at all times because you never know what form in which help may appear.

The first order of business, whether or not you believe this is true, is to go within yourself.  Learn to pray without words.  Invite LOVE to make itself known.  Meditation is another form in which to find the inner door to your true self again which can lead you to that very love within that you seek.    There have been many books written on this subject and many workshops out there if you need help with this.   Some call this Love Within by names such as Holy Spirit, God, Allah, Great Spirit, The Universe, and so on.  Whatever you may call it, you will know when you have reconnected with IT and you will know when you are consciously awakened by IT.

Love is what you seek.  Love comes to you in many forms but until you experience this Presence within yourself you are likely to miss it in all its forms.  In fact, once you have experienced it, it will enhance all of your relationships, all of your experiences, and everything you think, believe, or do in your life.

Love is wanted.  Just apply within.

Facing the truth about something and yet keeping your “sunny side up” is a juggling act that is well worth the learning. I can’t say I have gotten there yet but I am working on it. For example, next month I have a birthday coming up. I love birthdays, don’t get me wrong and I appreciate the fact that I am still around on planet earth to celebrate another one. I am thankful for that because I still have a lot of living to do. I don’t mean just breathing in and out but gathering as many more people into my heart and life as I can; going places; doing things; having new experiences – in other words, not just watching the “cruise ship” leave the harbor but be on it. 

On the other hand, I look at my skin and my face and I see a woman past her physical prime. I used to turn heads when I was younger. Wolf whistles were not uncommon. I saw the appreciation in the eyes of men who looked my way. I grew up being taught that a woman is nothing if she doesn’t look good and draw the admiring eyes of the opposite sex. That is so ingrained in me (my human side) that letting go of being attractive in that sense calls for me to look at myself differently and to be satisfied with that. It is a time for me to remind myself that I have a beauty within that surpasses any physical beauty I could ever have had. But more importantly it is time I dropped this unimportant and ridiculous belief I have because it dampens my enjoyment of life a bit more than it should. Some women never have this particular problem I seem to have but trust me, there is something else they are in need of dumping. I don’t mean to leave men out. They have there own set of ideals as men.

As I age i find that there are a lot of physical, emotional, and idealistic clutter in my life. The more I let go of these, the better off I am. There should be some sort of ritual that one can go through that celebrates the shedding of things that belong to past chapters of one’s life and celebrates the different but good that is yet to come. I think I will get to work on that.

SANTA’S BAG: It’s in the bag

There are stories told about how Santa Clause’s bag is magical, that the bag never empties. If he (or even you) should reach into the bag there is always a gift in some size, shape, or form to be pulled from it in a never-ending supply. And what is more, whatever form the gift takes, it is just right for the one who is to receive it. How it is that the bag never empties? How is it that it seems so magical? A child doesn’t really ask how this is possible but rather somehow just expects, knows, believes that this is so.

As adults we like to hear the different Christmas stories that are written for us to read. Some take the form of movies, animated movies and plays for us to watch. We like the mystery and the magic and for a while we suspend our serious and duty-filled life for a much happier world full of wonder and joy and most of all, love.

They say that Christmastime is the most magical time of year. For some that includes the story of Jesus’ birth, for others that may not be the main point at all but even these people are aware of taking this time out for mending or making new relationships, of giving of their time, talents, or money for the benefit of others. You also have the category of people who are so lost, so lonely, so mixed up in addictions or tragedies and those who are unable at this time to sustain a decent life for themselves and so they have little energy to give to the festivities and enjoyment of Christmastime or anytime for that matter.

The real magic of Christmas exists all the days of your life. It happens once you have left behind the more tangible, dogmatic, intellectual side of your religious idealizations and step into the mystical side of where the laws and rules point to but do not necessarily get you there. Every religious or dogmatic structure has at its core the mystics who found their way to the Interior Castle, to the Kingdom within, to the remembrance of God, to connect or become aware of experiencing their very BEING, their Source within. This connection, re-connection, this knowing, this experience can only be described by those who have been there, as the most profound, expansive, all-encompassing, love that is beyond description.

Like Santa’s bag it is deep and boundless and endless. It contains many forms of the gift of love – parental love; love that friends have, a child’s love for the parent; sexual love; unselfish love; the love one has for music or other art; the delight one takes in conversation with a like-minded person; the joy of giving or receiving; new sights, new sounds, new experiences; a long-awaited dream come true; accomplishing a goal or crossing off an item on one’s bucket list; a hug to let you know you are special to someone. The list is endless of the forms that original Love takes. If you do not get caught up in the form so much that you do not experience or understand the love at its core – that formless source of all good – then whatever form you pull out of the bag will be mystical and magical. It is always there, that

indefinable Love but our awareness of it or our having had an experience of it leaves a little something lacking in the other forms of it that we pull out of the bag. The mystical, magical, Source wants to illuminate your way, to give you the true gifts of peace, joy, and unending surprise. Reach into the bag deeper than you ever have before. You do not have to give up anything accept the doubts that hold you back, the dogmas that threaten you, or the fear of not having something more solid to hold onto. Open up and receive the mystical magic that is yours for the asking and yours for the taking.