Category Archives: Childhood

Pains and gains of childhood

Omnipotent and Ageless: Your Majesty the Baby

majesty-baby

“In the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us.”  — Rilke

Too often we imagine life as sort of a magic carpet ride taking us wherever we wish to go.  Perhaps we’re watching television and an ad hooks into some fantasy we have in our mind and convinces us the world is at our beck and call.   We are omnipotent again, just as we were in infancy – “Your Majesty the Baby!”

But what would such a “magical” life yield in terms of change and growth?  Why would we even bother to strive if we could have everything we want or crave?  We would be the same at age fifty as we were at thirty and fifteen and five months – “Your Majesty the Baby!”

We need change and for the most part a majority of us are able to welcome it, even if change means some difficult growing pains.  With a little guidance from the Universe, we can strive toward an abundance of goodness.  We are omnipotent, but we are not alone.  We are part of a human community, and we can be in touch with that Power which is beyond ourselves.  That is the real miracle!

 


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You Are In Integrity

“You are in integrity when the life you live is an authentic expression of who you are.” — Alan Cohen

 

Regaining Lost Pride and Lost Hope

“And nothing to look backward to with pride and nothing to look forward to with hope.” — Robert Frost

I am growing from, and getting over my sense of lost pride and lost hope. Often, my life seemed poisoned at the very source. I can’t remember a time of innocence, joy, or confidence in myself or in my relationships with others. I was sexually abused when I was a young child. I know the pain from that abuse and the stress associated with “keeping the secret” made me feel unsure of my boundaries and re framed my view of the future to one of anxiety and dread. But things are in fact beginning to change, as I change.

To go forward, I have had to admit to powerlessness. That has been hard for me to do. I must admit that I am powerless to undo the hurt and abuse in my past. And I have learned that I can’t “go it alone”. I have been alone way too long! I have my “new and improved” Self, the Universe, and my close friends to trust and confer with.

I am overcoming my past and turning toward the future with growing hope and trust. And then the present, like the New Year, becomes filled with promise. For those that know me well, also know that this “re framing” was difficult and can share with me the joy in my ability to change my way of thinking.


Hope a Poem by Mark Schmitz

Hope

Hope is not the closing of your eyes

to the difficulty, the risk,

or the failure.

It is a trust that –

if I fail now –

I shall not fail forever;

and if I am hurt,

I shall be healed.

It is a trust that

life is good,

love is powerful,

and the future is full of promise.

By Mark Schmitz



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What Makes Our Kids Distrustful and Angry?

 

“A child miseducated is a child lost.” – John F. Kennedy

So much money is spent on bombs and missiles and so little on education. With so many children in crowded classrooms and old buildings, with ill-trained and ill-paid teachers, it seems easier to destroy life than to nurture and strengthen it. I’ve thought a lot lately about what it was like for me as a child.

“Education” means leading out from … away from ignorance, defenselessness, anxiety and fear. In my childhood, I was educated in an environment which included neglect and abuse.

Childhood especially should be a time of growth and hope. When memories of childhood are tarnished, bitterness and resentment follow, and these in turn can lead to erratic or addictive behavior. I know what it was like to be pushed away, exploited, even seduced and abused. I hated it and it made me distrustful and angry.

Now that I’m on a path of personal growth and allowing more spirituality into my life, I feel the power of “education” as I learn to leave behind the ignorance, fear and pain of my childhood. I have come to feel the joy of nurturing myself and caring deeply for those around me. I want to be concerned with education as a way of overcoming ignorance, mistrust , isolation and fear.


The Innocence of Children

 

“Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.”  — Edna St. Vincent Millay

Children feel themselves all-powerful in an infinite world.  Nothing disappears, nothing passes away.  In our earliest days, our pleasures were limitless and timeless.  Reality was only an obstacle to gratification.

In our drama, we often remain fixed in a similar pleasure-oriented world.  We don’t like it when someone says “no” to us.  We sometimes try to manipulate reality to suit our own purposes. We may look upon others as objects of gratification.  In our fantasies, we often recreate the omnipotent, timeless world of childhood, where we are in total control.  Our pleasures know no boundaries.

We need to stay childlike and full of wonder, but at the same time, we must put away those childish fantasies.  We can be creative, without believing ourselves immortal or invincible.  We can return to the kingdom of our earliest days without playing the little tyrannical ruler.

Remember the uniqueness of our own childhood and leave behind its self-centeredness.  Love of others and love of life is the antidote to the narrow circle of our dysfunction.


Desire Realized is Sweet to the Soul

 

“Desire realized is sweet to the soul.”  — Proverbs 13:19

Christmas is approaching. I can recall as a child, every Christmas Eve coming home from church and running up to the Christmas tree, seeing presents – mounds of them, four huge stacks, one for each sibling, towering as high as the top of the tree itself. But even with that kind of excess, one can still experience a lifetime of deprivation. If we were deprived as children, we may still live with emptiness inside. Of what were we deprived; love, security, validation, acceptance, caring, or compassion?

I know that I like many others compensated by learning to bear the deprivation and survive. As an adult, I find myself still surviving. I settle; I don’t ask for things because I believe I don’t deserve anything. But making do with life’s crumbs has brought me to resentment, self-pity and feeling deprived. I remain a child, instead of becoming an emotionally healthy adult who feels competent and worthwhile.

I am learning where the balance is between wanting nothing and wanting everything. If I can continue to work on broadening my thinking to include such words as “plenty”, “fulfillment”, “pleasure”, and “satisfaction”, I know that only then will I start to believe there is enough of everything. It is then that I will become aware of the fullness of life around and within me. Living in the present helps me realize that I actually have everything I need in the moment.

This realization helps me feel worthwhile, competent – and even fulfilled. My prayer to the Universe today will be, “Please take away my fear of satisfaction and pleasure. Grant me an awareness of how good life is, whether it brings me what I expect.”


Needs That Have Gone Unmet

“No, this is not me; this is somebody else that suffers.

I could never face that, and all that has happened:

Let sackcloth and ashes enshroud it,

And see all the lamps are removed…

Night.”

Anna Akhmatova

I am a person with needs. We are all people with needs. None of us are different in this.  I suggest that we are not different when it comes to needs being met (or unmet) when we were younger. I am certain that for many of us, some of our important needs were not met when we were small children dependent upon a world of adults to care for us. Now we’re adults, and the feeling of neediness has for many of us, become a chasm within us. And to make things harder, the child within us still feels ashamed because of our needs.

I have learned that even though my closest friend tries each day to make sure that my needs are met, I must help myself. The same holds true for my consideration when I hear my “Voice from within” wonder, “Am I meeting his/her needs?” Unless we help ourselves, our pain and shame will turn into rage, which only empties us, and we cannot run on empty forever, in trying to hide our own true feelings.

Our needs are real, and we have nothing for which to be ashamed. Whether through reaching out to others or whatever tool we gain along our path of personal growth and development, turning to that force which we believe to be greater than our own Self, or trusting any of our other inner resources while in quiet solitude, we can meet our own needs. Each day, I make every effort to be gentle with my “neediness”.  We don’t have to be perfect after all, just real!

Boundaries: Where I Start and Where I End

lartificial-boundaries

“It is an old an ironic habit of human beings to run faster when we have lost our way.”  — Rollo May

Our boundaries are both inside and outside ourselves.  No one can set them for us; we can only set them.  For many of us, boundaries are often unfamiliar.  We may wonder, what are they?  How do we use them? Some of us may have come from families where, as children, our boundaries were disregarded; perhaps creating a pattern we continue to live out as adults.

Starting to set boundaries for ourselves takes time and lots of practice.  Because the experience is so unfamiliar, we may find ourselves vacillating between two extremes – holding back out fear of blurring our boundaries, or acting as if we have no boundaries at all.  But our willingness to set boundaries and stick with them brings a clearer sense of who we are.  We begin to learn where we start and end.  We start to learn the same about other people.  With boundaries comes a new sense of self-respect because they become our affirmations to ourselves that we are not objects to be trampled upon or used, but rather human beings, with dignity.

One way to create boundaries with people is to show priorities in our relationships.  In the past, out of loneliness or neediness, we may have talked to anyone, whether the person wanted to listen or not.  In this mixed-up world, we would find ourselves withholding our true feelings from people close to us, and spilling them instead on the cashier at the grocery store.

As we grow in self-esteem. Our relationships improve and we act in positive ways to meet our needs.  Then we have a better sense of who we are.  We make choices in our relationships and take responsibility for them. We learn to bear the pain of boundaries that are not respected and enjoy the peace from those that are.

We no longer need to give ourselves away in bits and pieces; we know now what it is like to be whole.  We can simultaneously have acquaintances, friends, co-workers, and even close, intimate relationships in our lives.  We can trust we will act appropriately and that our boundaries will keep us safe.

I Accept All My Relationships As They Are

I Accept All My Relationships As They Are Today.

I Will Give Them My Best.


“Only one who listens can speak.”  – Dag Hammarskjöld

Inevitably, there will always be times in our life when a relationship becomes difficult. Maybe it’s a friendship that has conflicts, a romantic relationship that suddenly, terrifyingly, starts to fall apart or family relationships, strained by years of unmet expectations, become cold and distant.

A shaky relationship can trigger one’s fear of abandonment. That’s when we feel torn between old, inappropriate interactions and any new tools for setting and maintaining healthy boundaries and one’s commitment to living life as one chooses. What choices are available?  Give up and run? Hang on, even though one may not want to? How honest should one be? What should be left unsaid, perhaps better shared with someone else? These are only some of the question we have to ask ourselves.

The wisdom gained through personal growth do nothing until one makes a choice, deciding the course of right action; what to do.  All things, including relationships, are on the Universe’s time continuum. Until – or when – we come to a decision, we can live each day going about our lives. All we can do is live each moment and give ourselves the love and nurturing we need until the difficulty finally comes to an end. The outcome may not be expected, but at last, with reality in our midst, we are ready to accept life and our relationships just as they are, now stronger to face our next challenge.