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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

 

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That’s Who I Used to Be

“Every forward step we take we leave some phantom of ourselves behind.”  –John Spalding

There are some people who knew all too well the person I was – before I started to focus on becoming a more emotionally healthy person through personal growth.  I know that a person can’t do the kind of work I have on myself and remain unchanged.  However, for whatever reason, these people cling to the toxic images in their minds of my former self.  I know that each day brings more depth to my spirituality, and with that comes change.

A friend of mine once shared with me that he begins each day by saying out loud, “O.K. God, surprise me!”  Although each day brings new challenge, the one thing it won’t bring is perfection.  I know that each day I can expect a mixed bag of experiences and all kinds of emotions to match.

If I begin to feel discouraged because of someone’s inability or refusal to see how different I have become, or even negative about life in general, I cultivate an attitude of gratitude by looking back at how far I have come.  I remind myself, its progress I’m looking for in myself, not perfection.  There’s always something to be grateful for, including the ability to be grateful!

Dispute Leads to Anger and Vindictiveness

 

“Only that action is just which does not harm either party to a dispute.” — Gandhi

Most of the disputes I have occur when I realize I have been lied to. I hate being lied to. I’m not stupid. I want to know that I’m dealing with people in “reality” rather than a fictitious world made up through lies. I find myself occasionally embroiled in a bitter dispute and feel determined at all costs to back a person into a corner to get them to admit to their lie, or to impose my solution to the dispute, even though I know it may cause the other person harm. I have come to know that I don’t really want a solution at all; I want revenge.

The wish to harm others may be derived from feeling that I have been hurt, perhaps as a child. I may be recalling feelings of being neglected, misunderstood, or even abused and assaulted. So to me, in my mind, the world owes me something and I intend to collect. I may even bear grudges and resentments against successful people, not because they have done me wrong, but merely because they are – successful.

I need to let my shame and sorrow out into the clear light of day. By opening myself up to others, I will surely find that together we can defuse my anger and want to hurt others. I can stand on equal footing with others and have no more need for resentment and rage.

I know that I am gradually getting rid of my secret shame that causes me to act out of anger and vindictiveness.

 

Survival – In These Times?

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“Mere survival is an affliction.  What is of interest is life, and the direction of that life.”  — Guy Fregault

I know people who, when you ask them how they are, will say automatically, “I’m surviving.”  They say it with a bright, brave smile, as though they’ve battled tremendous odds and come through, bloody but unbowed.  They seem to imply that life is a grim, unfair business.  But in reality, their lives seem easy and secure.

There are others I know with real problems – illness in the family, financial worries, job insecurity and more.  These people might greet you with a smile and bring to the simplest exchange an energy and liveliness that sends you away refreshed.  Such people have the gift of life and share it abundantly.  Like the ninety-seven-year-old woman with thirty-nine grandchildren who greets each one of them by name and has a story and a joke for every one of them.  She lives in their memory as a force of love and vitality.  Her immortality is there, in the love her family bears her.

Each day can bring as many joys as sorrows.  When we are patient and find the courage to invest the best of ourselves, we can truly live and not just survive.

The Five Rune Spread

Overview

1

Challenge

2

Action

3

Sacrifice

4

New Situation

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5

When consulting the Runes, situations will occasionally arise when one’s “need-to-know” goes beyond the authority of a single stone or the Three Rune Spread. The Five Rune Spread can help to identify the distinctive components of a situation that might otherwise overwhelm with its complexity.


Begin by clearly formulating the issue. Draw five Runes from the bag, one at a time, and place them one below the other. In descending order, the Runes stand for:

  1. Overview of the Situation
  2. Challenge
  3. Course of Action Called for
  4. Sacrifice
  5. New Situation Evolving

The Five Rune Spread is absolutely personal and specific. If five Runes are drawn from the bag and placed down on the field, the odds against drawing this particular spread are 607,614 to 1. If however, a Rune is drawn, written down, returned to the bag making the next selection from a full bag of Runes, the odds against drawing this particular spread are now 312,500,500 to 1.


The fourth position, “Sacrifice” is intended as recognition that life offers choices and options that are often mutually exclusive. The concept of sacrifice has, over time, come to be associated with pain and loss. The application of sacrifice in the Five Rune Spread refers to that which has peeled away, shed or discarded, as is called for in the Rune Othila. Othila portends the emergence of new wholeness. Originally a boding of two Latin words, sacrificium and facere, one of the core meanings of sacrifice is “surrender to God.”


A Sample Reading

From my Rune Journal I will again make reference to the successful business I owned with my ex-partner. I was the creative impulse of the idea, and the slogging hard work of getting the company on its feet. The company was “my baby.” When it came time to allow a competitor to acquire the company, the competitor wanted my participation, but not my partner’s. All my fears regarding loyalty, abandonment, the risk to the long-term relationship with my partner and his self-esteem were brought to the surface by this situation. I decided to do a Five Rune Spread which is the spread used above.


Perth, the Rune of Initiation as the overview of the situation, immediately shifted my focus away from both my relationship with my partner and the business. “Nothing external matters here, except as it shows you its inner reflection” – these words were key for me. I realized this was another crossroad on the path of self-change.


Uruz, the Rune of Strength Reversed, indicated the need to respond consciously to “the demands of such a creative time.” It was clear the correct decision would encourage my growth at all levels – corporate as well as personal.


Wunjo reversed speaks of the process of birth being long and arduous as well as the fears which arise for the safety of the child within. The Runes were reminding me that I was going through a test.


Nauthiz, the Rune of Constraint Reversed, in the Sacrifice position conveyed the great teacher in the guise of pain and limitation. I was able to more clearly see that it was time to take a new kind of responsibility for what I had created, to own and honor it and to do what was right for the company.


Dagaz, the Rune of Breakthrough addressed the New Situation Evolving. This Rune offers the assurance that, “because the timing is right, the outcome is assured, although not, from the present vantage point, predictable.” My partner went on to become a success with his considerable talent with a prescription drug company.

Don’t Judge Me by the Way I Look

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“Many brave men lived before Agamemnon, but all unwept and unknown, they sleep in endless night, for they had no poets to sound their praises.” – Horace

A person in one of my group therapy sessions once told this story.  “I was living in a city with a large population of homeless and poor.  Each day it was painful to notice the contrast between the beautifully dressed, seemingly self-confident people, and the poor who shared the streets with them.”

“One day I realized I could empathize with how those homeless people felt.  I’d lived my whole life feeling I didn’t belong, with no family I could turn to, and not knowing if I would survive another day in my misery.  The compassion I felt was a reminder to me not to form my opinions about people by how they look.  It doesn’t matter what people think they see in me, or anyone else.  Each one of us is wounded.  It’s just that some wounds are on the inside instead of the outside.”  Remember that we are all in this world together and for a purpose, no matter what the circumstances of our lives.