“What we don’t know supports what we do know.” — Bill Moyers
One way we show respect for ourselves and others is by respecting whatever life brings us. What prevented that in the past was our preoccupation with everything that prevented us from having our own way. Now, we live lives on a different rhythm: one of letting go. It is that rhythm to which we must pay attention.
At times letting go feels like doing nothing, and doing nothing feels like standing still. But letting go is not the same as standing still. It is active, not passive. Letting go focuses our attention on life in the present, living it fully, moment by moment, and not in a fantasy future that seems to promise the outcome we crave.
It has been said that the light of God’s love is so bright that it seems as darkness to us. When we feel we’re living in darkness, we may be living in the all-encompassing light of God’s love.and compassion for our struggle. We can trust the daily evidence of that love and know we are safe.
“Life delights in life.” — William Blake
How do we connect with other people? Do we rely on conflict, suffering, manipulation, gossip or one-up-man ship? Do we create relationships that can be controlled safely and then call that “reality?”
Real connection requires two people, both wanting to be in the relationship, to approach each other as equals. A good relationship brings us happiness, growth and a satisfying feeling of closeness. We can be ourselves, without adjusting our beliefs or behavior to please the other person or to keep up the relationship. The moment we abandon our equality, we have a power struggle, not a relationship.
Previously, the only connections we made were between us and a hunger and an appetite that was never filled. Once we began our process of personal growth we began to enjoy the real connections with people; the true joy that comes with giving and receiving.
“There is luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel no one else has a right to blame us.” — Oscar Wilde
Just as we don’t have the right to judge someone else, we don’t have the right to judge ourselves. Our unhealthy script in the past was that when we did something we felt ashamed of, we judged ourselves guilty. All too often, we then punished ourselves. Was that behavior an expression of our shame and sadness because of our defects? Punishing ourselves won’t stop our unhealthy behaviors; loving ourselves will.
We are grateful that our growth in our emotional health has taught us the difference between guilt and shame. Guilt lets us feel remorse and sadness when our actions violate our values. Guilt helps us know when we’ve acted badly; shame tells us we are bad. Guilt gives us a way back to ourselves through making amends; shame leaves us hopeless. To give in to shame and self-hatred only harms us and intensifies the power of our unhealthy behaviors. There is a better way, and that’s to learn to love us.
- Guilt’s end. (charioteers.org)
- Pain and Suffering (psychologytoday.com)
- Guilt Be Gone! (companionsoflyme.wordpress.com)
“A friend is a gift you give yourself.” — Robert Louis Stevenson
More. Some of us have come to believe that more means better. But there are some things where less is more, and one of them is a close friendship. The truth is, we don’t have many special friends, and that is exactly what makes them special.
Between such friends, there is a bond of understanding, honesty, acceptance and love that is valued even more over time. Trusted friends offer us the opportunity to learn to be intimate and to let ourselves be known as we truly are, time and time again. From that mutual sharing, we receive what we need. We can take certain risks, secure in the knowledge that the friendship will endure the test. With our special friends, we don’t have to worry about being perfect because we’re loved for who we are; the way we are. These friendships possess an innate freedom.
Special friendships can be platonic or romantic. It doesn’t matter. Through good times and bad, we begin to sense a divine triangle of growth and love between ourselves, our special friends and our connection with the Universe.
To my close friends, Trish, Andrea, Scott, Kevin and Gregg, “Thank you for accepting “me” as me. The five of you were the special friendships I had in my mind when writing this blog.”
- On Friendship (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- The Gift of Friends (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Her ‘other’ best friend (psychologytoday.com)
“God delays, but doesn’t forget.” — Spanish Proverb
Each month, I find it more difficult to meet my expenses until the end of the month, on my fixed income. As each month’s end grows closer and I find myself without enough funds for essentials like food and medications, I find myself sinking into a dark hole of depression and anxiety. I worry that I’ll become severely ill, as happened last year, spending months in the hospital. In today’s still lingering economic downturn, it’s frustrating for anyone who has lost a job or met financial setbacks. Those of us facing financial difficulty suddenly feel curtailed, with the rhythm of our lives changed in a way we never anticipated. But the Universe slows us down for a reason.
There can be gifts in adversity. They can give us some much-needed time alone, time to think. Being alone gives us the chance to find ourselves in a new way. We may be surprised to find some previously unknown inner resources. A period of waiting through adversity can also turn us to our Higher Power, God, or the Universe when the solace we need is beyond the capacity of people to give.
It’s challenging to be able to do nothing when the world tells us that we must take action. When action isn’t possible, accepting the circumstances of our lives enables us to experience the value of being, and not doing.
- Prayer and the Spiritual Journey (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Suicidal Thoughts: Strength to Continue and Endure (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Feeling is the Inner Life (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
“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!
- The Priceless Gift of Personal Growth (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- “A Letting Go” for the Holidays (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Damn Heels Hurt! When In Pain, Who Knows Best Where it Hurts? (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- S.T.A.R. A Tool to Choose Healthy Alternatives (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- For All This We Can Be Grateful and Joyful (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
“Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation. The other eight are unimportant.” — Henry Miller
Henry Valentine Miller (December 26, 1891 –– June 7, 1980) was an American novelist and painter. He was known for breaking with existing literary forms, developing a new sort of novel made up of autobiography, social criticism, philosophical reflection, surrealist free association and mysticism, one that is distinct always about and expressive of the real-life Henry Miller, and yet is also fictional. His works of this kind are Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn and Black Spring. Henry Miller also was known to write travel memoirs and essays of literary criticism and analysis.
It is good and healthy to laugh about sex – as long as the laughter is on the side of life. Sex, after all, is part of the life force, and if it is surrounded by caring and honesty, it leads to a joyous intensification of our relationship with others and with the world. Then sex, like laughter, integrates.
Too often, laughing about sex betrays uneasiness, shame, disgust, and the want to hurt. We talk about “dirty jokes” and consign sex to the bathroom. We split off sex from other feelings and surround it with taboos and rituals and mockery. Viewed in this way, sex isolates us.
We need to learn to talk about our sexuality in a proud and affirmative way. Talking and laughing in a group, or with a friend, or with a loved one, is one of the steps we take to bring sex into the open to take its place as part of the diversity of life. Own your sexuality. Talk about it without shame and claim it a vital part of life.
- Setting Healthy Boundaries (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Exploring Healthy Sexuality (christophersmark.wordpress.com)
- Let’s not talk about sex (guardian.co.uk)
“That guy on Facebook is being a total ass to me today.”
“What the fuck is her problem? Did you see how that woman just looked at me?”
“That is so fucked up! What’s wrong with this world?”
— Mark on a bad day.
“Bitch, bitch, bitch. That’s all you seem to be doing today” my friend Scott said to me; after listening to me spew negativity for a bulk of one morning together. His words got my attention. Why would I blame the world, when it’s me that is out of sorts?
Life after all, is neutral. It is our moods and attitudes that affect our view of things and the responses we receive. If we are seeing life through the dark glasses of downheartedness, then we can’t blame the world for seeing grim.
I know that when I’m at ease with myself and feel at home in my life, other people seem friendly and serene. A smile begets a smile; the simplest greeting elicits a friendly response. And when I’m considerate to a neighbor or friend; it sets good deeds in motion. Kindness is contagious. I really do believe that it is kindness and love that make the world a brighter, better place.
- Bitch Bitch Bitch (sporeflections.wordpress.com)
- My Resolution for 2011: Stop Blaming the Internet (themillions.com)
- The Bitch Slap: 6 Things That Are Bullshit (redheadwriting.com)