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Archive for the ‘Stuffing’ Category

Is It Okay To Be Really Angry?

Angry Birds Plush Toy

I’ve been following along with the documentary show on OWN called “Finding Sarah” – about Fergie – the Duchess of York.  She is on a quest to find out why she has turned out the way she has – and why she seems to be helpless to spin out of control and make wrong decisions in her life – resulting in years of destructive behavior including a failed marriage and loss of several careers to reinvent herself.  In this last episode after meeting with trusted friends and experts such as Dr. Phil – she traveled to Arizona to meet with a guru and nature healer.  He was native American – with long braids – a very serene and gracious person who asked her to talk about the things that troubled her.  As she poured out her story to him – he said things very similar to what Dr. Phil had already told her – with a unique spin.  “What you do not acknowledge – you cannot change”.  He used 2 pound rocks to represent all the different aspects of the dark side of her personality – Anger, Rage, Bitterness, Frustration, Jealousy, etc.  He asked her if she had ever felt RAGE?  She told him it wouldn’t have been acceptable to do that – or to even be ANGRY.   Having been in a very controlled environment – that would never have been allowed – even as a child.  And there were some things in her that were buried so deep – and to touch them was very scary.

Then he told her to pick them up – and pack them around on her back while they took a little journey.  He said, “you carry them around now anyway – you might as well take them to know how heavy they are”.  So she did as she was told – and they were heavy.  Once they drove to their destination and walked in the desert for a bit – they came a place where she was instructed to take off the rocks and then he demonstrated for her what he wanted her to do to release these from her life.

He stood facing a canyon that echoed back and yelled, “WHYYYYYYYYY?”  Using his whole body to really take his time – from standing upright to going down on his knees.  Then he did it again – took his time – again yelling, “WHYYYYYYYYYYYY”? And letting it echo back.  He told her – you are doing this for youYou need to release it.  There is no answer.

She was reluctant of course – to look foolish.  But she wanted to comply.  When she tried to do it – it was difficult – especially when the subject of abandonment from her mother came up – and touching that emotion was so painful she couldn’t allow herself to even cry or become angry.  So again – he demonstrated and feel to his knees and sobbed like a baby.  She watched him – fascinated that someone could be so in touch with their feelings – and could release them and not hold on to the darker things.  And though she could not do what he wanted – by watching him – it touched something inside of her – and he knew it would be a long journey of healing for her.

As I watched this “teacher” and “nature healer” speak to her – helping her discover who she is and why she is still so lost – I was reminded of how God works with us.  We all carry around those heavy rocks too – but since no once can see them – we learn to hide and stuff – adjust to the weight of them.  And I realized that I am not so much different from Sarah – I suppress things – stuff them – control my environment so everyone including me is comfortable.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a moment of RAGE in my life.  I’ve been angry – but mostly my anger goes right to sadness – and I am afraid to touch it too much.

I remember pouring out my heart to God in a situation I had about 2 1/2 years ago – and it was scary going to that rage and anger – and sobbing seemed a more comfortable place for me – so that’s where I went.  Even though I know that God can handle my questions, my rage, my anger and my ugliness – it was still difficult to admit it – even to Him.

The dark emotions that each of us have – can be destructive – if inflicted on another – but I also learned that they are important to deal with and release – with just myself and God.  He can handle them.  He made these emotions.  And He can help release something in me – so that I don’t harm and inflict someone I love.

When was the last time you were really angry about something – and allowed yourself to touch that emotion – so that you could deal with it?  When was the last time you let God see that in you?  Is that okay for you?  Do you see it as a sign of weakness – or lack of control?  When is it wrong to be angry?

God Bless

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Fighting Fair

Erma Bombeck

Image by Ujwala Prabhu via Flickr

Greg and I had an interesting verbal “sparring match” this morning.  It is very healthy to have these – as I have in recent years, discovered – and yet it is still somewhat foreign soil to venture in to the murky dark abyss of this type of “healthy exchange”.  We are still pretty new to resolving our differences this way.  Even after all the years we’ve been married.  It’s easier to say nothing than to deal with some things.

We’ve been reading one of Erma Bombeck’s hilarious books on relationships and in one chapter she writes about a very humorous exchange between she and her husband where she asks him, ‘Linda and Joe have meaningful conversations – why don’t we have any meaningful conversations’?  To which they both agreed, finally that surface conversations were safer in the long run.

Sometimes meaningful conversations between men and women are at crossed purposes and it seems easier to keep it simple.    I mean, since a man is NOT a woman – by any stretch of the imagination – it is difficult to get him to THINK like one.  I believe a meaningful conversation for my husband or any other guy friend of mine would be full of facts and information – sparring about this and that – displaying and ‘peacocking’ ambitions and accomplishments – news issues or politics – or for the Christian man – a debate on scripture or strategy on church leadership and such.

But women would rather talk about how they feel about issues – relationships and don’t care so much about the facts and figures.  And if it’s a news-worthy topic – it’s usually how people feel that are being affected – world events that talk about people and not just strategy and politics for strategy and politic’s sake.  Arguing or debating is not high on our list of ‘fun things’ to do.

Don’t get me wrong – I love a good sparring match – when it’s fun and harmless – debating about this or that – when it’s done right with no personal ‘shots’ or humiliating comments from the other party – and I can usually hold my own with any man on many topics – but it is difficult finding the balance in the sparring – when it’s your husband.

For some strange reason – over time, at least for us – we know how to do the “dance” of our relationship.  The things and words that push all of our buttons – and then have a hard time knowing how to defuse a situation after it IS into more than just a “healthy discussion”.  We know it’s important to not accuse and say things like, “YOU always says this” or “YOU make me feel lousy about myself when you do or say that” – instead we know to say, “I feel like bad when you say this” or “I am not liking what I think you are meaning by that” but alas.  Often times a discussion can turn south WAY before the intentions for saying the right thing is properly communicated.

I have learned how to have healthy and “meaningful conversations” with my husband out of necessity and out of survival – but sometimes we are not always successful – and occasionally – even we blow it.

Today I did not “stuff” my feelings as I would have done in years gone by – I spoke it right out!  It was a pretty stupid meaningless thing – nothing earth-shaking at all.  But it did have repercussions – as any discussion like this will.  And in frustration I heard myself saying these words, “Why can’t you be more like a WOMAN”?  Yeah right.  Really clever.  The problem is this:  Greg is my best friend – and he’s clearly NOT a woman.   He is a man.  He is also my husband.  So many problems with this arrangement – so much potential ammunition to want to KILL HIM at times – because he is A DUMB GUY!!

And so our dance continues.  I am learning to speak out when things bother me (this is so NOT like me in the past) and he is learning to dial it back a pinch when he has that incredible little imp that sits on his shoulder.  The Brat.  It’s not perfect – but it’s a life-long journey that we call marriage.

I suppose this is what they call “fighting fair” – having a healthy and meaningful exchange of words – really listening to what the other person is saying – learning what to say and what NOT to say to diffuse a situation and most of all – to remember to show a lot of love a grace when personal ego and pride are affected.  When your husband is a man and also your best friend – it’s worth the dance.

God Bless

Authenticity Or Tact? What Do You Value?

Greg and I were driving down the road the other day and we were discussing something and all of a sudden he blurted out, “This would make an excellent topic for your blog – a poll on what our society values – Authenticity Or Tact!”

To be honest – I value Authenticity.  No longer one who “stuffs” things and hides behind a smiling veneer – I want things to be told just how they are.  The old “Tell It Like It Is” – rings true to me and burns through my heart and soul.  But I also realize that with ‘telling it like it is’ – there is a personal cost.  And I also realize that Authenticity is subjective at best.

We are a society that is fast becoming desensitized to any and all forms of good manners, chivalry, being the bigger person, kindness, scruples and yes, tact.  I read about it online – through blog posts, facebook and twitter updates and I see and experience it in person – those who will not look me in the eye and say, “good morning” – or “how are you today” – or anything at all.

A few months ago I was in a Starbucks with my husband and was getting cream for my coffee and there was a man in his late twenties or early thirties standing at the bar.  I spoke a greeting to him – I’m very friendly and outgoing and usually always speak first – that was no surprise that I had to do so with him.  What surprised and even shocked me was this:  there was no response from him at all.  None.  Nada.  He did not even look at me.  Bad manners you say?  Poor breeding?  No tact?  Yes.  Sadly – all of these.   Was he being real?  Authentic?  True to himself?  Probably.  What I saw – is probably who he really is.  And no – he was not hard of hearing – he was able to talk and listen on his phone just fine.

Since I am a member of this society – and even belong to a generation that values manners and tact – to me that is rude and unacceptable.

But I am also torn.  I love to hear about people – how they really are.  No fluff – no pretense – no hiding behind a smile.  “How are you?  GREAT just GREAT!”  Doesn’t cut it anymore.  Now I know you can’t just ‘spill your guts’ to everyone and there’s a time and place for everything – but sometimes it makes me want to scream when people act like everything is okay – and their world is falling apart.

We have known people over the years – friends in fact, who seemed to have it all together and then one day – their household and relationship blew up!  No one knew about it – until after it was too late.

What does this say about us as a society?  As a Christian community?  As individuals?  It tells me this:  We do not give permission for people to be really real with us.  We hold them at an arm’s length to protect ourselves.  We think, ‘I have too much on my own plate – to deal with their junk’ – and it is felt and understood by those people that we push away.  What does “bearing each others burdens” really mean?  It means:  Listening.  It means: Praying.  It means: Getting involved.

Authenticity comes with a price tag.

Tact requires censoring yourself.

Authenticity says:  I will share my information with you even if it hurts.

Tact says:  I will not hurt you.

What do you value?  What do you think our society values?  How do we have the best of both worlds?  How can I stay true to myself and still love and value you – even if we disagree?

Something to thing about.

God Bless

Apple Pie For Breakfast?

A slice of homemade Thanksgiving pumpkin pie s...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m not much of a ‘sweet tooth’ – but I DO have some things I REALLY like and these can tempt me like no other.

1. Caramel Chocolate Bar from Harry & David.  It’s the best thing I”ve ever had.  Ever.

2.  Homemade pumpkin pie.  It has to be homemade.  I’m a snob.

3. White Chocolate Mocha’s or Americano’s from Starbucks.  Again, I am a snob.

4. Chocolate Peanut Butter ice cream from Baskin and Robbins.

5. Nanaimo Bars.

 

Yesterday Greg and I were on a ‘date’ for lunch in downtown Renton – and walked next door to a local Starbucks.  I ordered my coffee and was patiently waiting for it at the pick-up station – when I heard Greg laughing and engaged in some ‘fun’ banter with another male customer over by the pastries.  Naturally I didn’t want to miss out on ANY fun (life is so serious – when there’s fun and laughing I am drawn to it).  So I walked over and found that they had been joking about which pastry was the most ‘healthy‘.  It was hilarious – as NONE of those are very healthy – even the ones that say ‘low-fat’ yeah right.  We gave our opinions and he said ‘Well I figure I better eat something healthy – I’ve been eating apple pie for breakfast since Thanksgiving‘.

We all had a good laugh – it was great – a total stranger talking about food and pie and Thanksgiving and beyond.  I told him that he should consider that apple pie is actually pretty healthy – if you think about it – it has fruit in it after all.  And I told him – if you’re feeling too guilty about the sugar content then you could just have one of those ‘sugar free’ drinks with it – that should cancel out all the calories from the pie.  He thanked me and said that make total sense to him – with a wink and a grin.  So fun!

There’s only one pie I would even consider having for breakfast – pumpkin.  Homemade.  Enough said.  Oh and you can leave the whip cream off.  I mean – it is breakfast after all.

Have an awesome day as you struggle to eat all the leftover ‘sweets’ and pie from Thanksgiving.  You have to get into shape for the other things that are coming at you this month – so take it slow.  Baby steps toward Christmas eating.  You can do it!   Jillian Michaels work-out anyone?  Ugh.

 

God Bless

Living In Truth

Family Ties title scene from the third season

Image via Wikipedia

Watched an episode of ‘Family Ties‘ tonight.  We loved that  80’s series when we were a young married couple – and so now we own it on DVD.  It’s still just as fresh and funny to us as it was 25 years ago – great writing.

Tonight the episode was more serious – dealing with a delicate subject about ‘feelings’ and mostly about ‘telling the truth’ about those feelings.  It  was strangely familiar and brought up much dialogue for Greg and me. It was a little like looking into a mirror.  A mirror that I’m not sure I wanted to look in.

I love how in a sitcom – things can be worked out in about 23 minutes – every episode has a problem and a conclusion and all is worked out and everyone feels good about it – problem solved for another day.  This episode was no exception.  It took a very complicated problem and simplified it – and had the people responding correctly to the problem – at the end of the show.   Wouldn’t it be great if real life was as simple – and people responded to things as nicely?

Real life has people coming and going in and out of your life – responding correctly or sometimes incorrectly to stress, hurt, disappointment and setbacks.  We don’t have any control over these things – I know I sometimes wish – Okay – ALL THE TIME I wish I had control over this fact.  But the truth is – that I don’t.  And even years later after some of these events that have taken place in my life – I still have to remind myself of this.  I have no control.  Just over myself.

It’s okay to react – it’s even okay to TOTALLY LOSE it when situations and things come at us.  But the tragedy is when we allow ourselves to stay there – bound up in that reaction – inflicting more pain on ourselves and those around us.  Fear is the motivator behind this – and fear can drive a HUGE wedge of misunderstanding and complications.

There is freedom in truth. It means I don’t have to create so much energy reinventing my version of the truth.  There is no fear in truth.  It is simple and straight forward.  It means freedom.  Freedom from myself – freedom from the lie I am trying so desperately hard to hang onto and make others believe.  It means I can once again join the human race – instead of hiding behind that lie.  I am not afraid – looking over my shoulder all the time – wondering who is going to catch on to my deceit.  And even though it hurts me – and even can damage my reputation – it is still better to live in truth.

I had someone tell me the truth one time when I was going through a really bad time.  She told me what I had always suspected but no one else would tell me – because they were afraid.  She didn’t know me – was a neutral party sent to me to help me sort some things out.  She really heard me and allowed me to express what I needed.  She told me that people don’t tell you the truth because they are afraid.  Afraid of reaction to the truth – and afraid that in speaking the truth  – it will somehow change perspective on things and even give a wrong message of permission. And even change feelings.  But it didn’t – and she knew that it wouldn’t.  Truth will set you free. Truth will validate.  Truth will allow you your dignity and tell you that you aren’t crazy.  It will open up a whole new world in your mind and bring life and closure in the heart for whatever has gone wrong.

We need to speak more ‘truth’ – to each other in love – and to ourselves.  I pray that someone will speak only the truth to you today – and that you will be honest with someone else that needs to hear it.  That you will live peaceably with all men and be settled in your own heart and mind – that you did everything you could to live in truth.

God Bless

There’s An Elephant In The Room

Who is This? I remember the cartoon, but not h...

Image by Medusa's Lover via Flickr

There’s an elephant in the room.   No one talks about it.  No one dares.

We avoid

We run and hide

We joke

We tell stories

We change the subject

and still….

There’s an elephant in the room

This poor ignored elephant – one that used to be rather small – but because everybody refuses to acknowledge her presence –  she has become  rather LARGE!  You see – she has an inferiority complex. A Big one.  And she drowns her sorrow and disappointment in eating anything she can get her hands on.  And because people would rather walk around her – even tiptoe lightly – she has to try to stay invisible in the center of the room – and not trip anybody up.  Oh she has tried to get everyone’s attention at times.   She even tries different colors to wear so she’ll stick out more and be noticed.  I’ve even seen her painting her toe nails red – and then waving her hands and feet wildly in the air – but to no avail.  She even waved and winked at me one time too – I’m sure of it.  I just shook my head and smiled.  I mean – really – what else could I do?  She’s an elephant.

Poor, poor elephant.

I’m waiting for the day – when someone can’t take it anymore and jumps up and says, “Hey!!!  There’s a LARGE elephant in here!  Do you see her?”  But until that day….

We avoid

We run and hide

We tell jokes

We tell stories

and….

We change the subject.

No one likes an elephant – especially a LARGE one with brightly colored clothes and painted red toenails, Right?  This elephant could change everything forever.  And no one will speak up.  No one will take the risk. Better to ignore and pretend….

There’s an elephant in the room

Releasing The ‘Control Freak’ Inside

It starts when we’re babies – it is a very small world.  We have needs and our cry can upset the whole house and have everyone running to find the thing that will silence our cries – fill the need – change the diaper – ANYTHING!   We learn at a young age that we are indeed the center of the universe – and everyone will cater to my every whim.  We find our ‘control freak’.

Unfortunately as we grow – we find out that we are not the center of the universe – but we still try to ‘have our own way’ by exerting our will – exercising our ‘control freak’ – and often times dealing with the consequences from Mom and Dad.

After we’re grown we carefully cultivate our ‘control freak’ –  that selfish part of us that feels the need to manipulate our circumstances and the people in it – especially if we feel threatened – or not safe – we feel the need to exercise our right to be heard – all in the name of  Christian love.   All in the name of ‘self protection’.

The ‘control freak’ in me may not look the same as yours.  I’ve never been classified as a ‘typical’ controlling personality – quite the opposite in fact.  But it’s still in there.  It’s in all of us.  It’s called self. And I have a great deal of it – and so do you.

As life goes on and things happen to ‘rock my world’ – the ‘self’ part of me goes into protective mode.  Each time I am ‘jabbed’ or ‘hurt’ I want to lash out uncontrollably.  I want to redirect my control – order my own steps – manipulate my circumstances to move around the hurt and pain.  But I have learned to control that beast that is inside me – I’ve learned to hold him down.  I have learned self-control over my ‘control freak’.

And with eyes tightly shut and my grasp on my iron will firmly situated – I proceed through life – quietly controlling what lies beneath.

I am so carefully controlled that I won’t realize the ‘control freak’ inside of me is really there – until something happens to rock my world – or someone comes along to challenge me.  And then I realize I have my fingers tightly grasped around the ‘safe place’ deep down inside.  With each incident in life – I push down hard against my ‘carefully guarded’ heart – so that no one sees what is really there – and what I’m really capable of  thinking, doing or saying.

I want my way.  I want to control my life.  I want to feel accepted.  I want to be safe, happy and loved.  I want – I need –  me, me, ME!!!!

This is such a learned and ‘safe’ approach to life – that soon I feel justified and even self-righteous for feeling this way.  Aren’t I supposed to be safe and happy?  Loved and accepted?  Of course.  But what if God is asking me to step away from my ‘controlled’ environment and tight grasp on the ‘freak’ inside – and do something where I will feel I have no control? What if something happens to me and I have absolutely no way of resolving the situation? What if I  have to do something really scary – and let go of my firm grasp of my ‘world’ and everything in it?  What if He asks me to open my eyes – and release my ‘control freak’ to Him?

I’ve been asked to do this – not once but several times.  There are no easy answers for life’s big mysteries involving friends and family.  I do not have control over my circumstances.  Oh – I can close my eyes again and try to hang on for dear life – while things swirl around me and hope and pray that I will not be affected – but in reality my trying to grasp whatever control I may think I have – will be stripped from me in the end and I will be left in a big heap on the floor trying to figure out, what happened?

When I release the ‘control freak’ inside of me – to God – He has a way of handling my stress – way better than I can.  He does not want us to carry any of the control.  He gently whispers to me, “let it go“.   And though it is a scary prospect – I know I must do as He asks me.  But does God really know how to handle my situation?   I mean can God really do it the right way?  The way I want Him to?  What if He doesn’t?  What then?  Can I trust Him?  Can I completely let it go?  I mean – completely take my fingers off and just – let go?

Sometimes I think I understand.  Sometimes I think I even come close to really ‘getting it’ – and then it will happen again.  Another hurt, another jab – and –  Whammo – I’m back in that hole of self-protection – trying to figure out a way to have a great ‘come back’ – to lash out and explain myself – to try to figure it out on my own. My default setting.  My much learned – and carefully protected human response to pain and confusion.

And then the gentle words of Jesus come to me:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”   Matthew 11: 28-30

Is your load heavy today?  Are you carrying around the ‘control’ in your life?  Do you self protect – even to the point where you are unafraid to give the control over to God –  ever?  Afraid He won’t do something the way you want Him to?  Afraid He will ask you to ‘release’ something in your life you don’t want to?

I want to encourage you to release the ‘control freak’  inside – take Him at His word – He can handle it – He will do it right.  His way is the best way.  It will be all right. Trust Him.

Go ahead.  Let go.  Release your ‘control freak’ today.

God Bless

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