My father drove a city bus for a living. I loved riding in the seat right behind him as we would go around and around the same blocks in our town of 40,000 in Southern Indiana. It was an adventure for a 5 year old little girl as I listened to the people who got on and off and my father talking and laughing, exchanging the few formula phrases that contained acknowledgement, comraderie, and support, the traffic of social exchange.
I began driving after retiring from teaching a few months ago. If anyone doubts that America can accommodate diversity, ride along with me for just one day.
My first fare was an African-American 30
Almost anyone who struggles with an eating disorder or really any addiction is familiar with how we can switch obsessions. If we are not drinking, we are eating. If we are not eating, we are smoking. If we are not working, we are drinking. On and on.
Spending is one of the favorite “go to” switches for those with eating disorders. In fact, some studies show that many seeking recovery from eating disorders have either alcoholism or sexual abuse in their childhood experiences. Because of this, poverty can be a stressor from growing up in an alcoholic family or, on the flip side, a family member may use gifts to secure illicit favors from their child victim. Compulsive spenders report feeling in power, getting a “high” as a stress relief, or needing to “escape” – all of which can be effects from feeling powerless as children. One woman said that, unlike gambling, at least she knew what she had spent the money on and had something to show for it.
Even when these are not factors, in our consumer based materialistic culture, money is probably one of the most misunderstood and emotionally charged experiences
Those of us who have problems with emotional eating know that food, dieting and weight obsessions are only symptoms of deeper pain, hurt and need.
We have turned to eating because we have never felt free enough or supported enough to be acceptable with admitting these needs. There are a hundred reasons for this, but the reality is that we all inherit stories or keep repeating stories of ourselves about growing up and our life experiences that are hard to face.
It is often said that connection is the antidote to addictions. While thinking about this, I realized that the primary connection is with ourselves. At some level the small overwhelmed person does not feel safe to live in the world without support,
I’ve been reviewing 3 basic tasks for spiritual development: honoring ourselves, discovering our expressions and sharing our expressions. Along that line, let’s revisit an idea of resolutions for the beginning of 2017.
Instead of twisting myself in knots out of a framework of faults, I wanted to set my path from a value-added mindset. So I began to think about what would enhance me this year. You may want to consider something similar for yourself.
I recently saw a post I thought was a good beginning. It recommended replacing every “I’m sorry” with “I appreciate.” Instead of “I’m sorry I was late” I can say “I appreciate your waiting.” “I’m sorry I can’t stay” with “I appreciate the time I’ve had with you.”
Another area I’d like to consider is limiting the inner critic. “To compare is to despair” is a
In the past two posts, we looked at the foundational necessity of Honoring Yourself in the pathway to spiritual growth. Without honoring our gift of embodied life, we are set at odds against ourselves, constantly battling our right to be and squandering the energy we have been so lavishly given by having a physical experience for our spiritual selves.
Likewise, the second step in our spiritual growth is to Discover our Expression. This is what we are uniquely suited to bring into the world. It provides a sense of satisfaction, a “rightness”, that assures us we are in the flow of our good and what we came here to do. It does not matter how small, how inexpensive, or how quiet our gifts may be, it they provide us with the “click” that signals the integration
In the previous post, we explored the foundational practice of honoring yourself.
Without this in place, our efforts often become disappointing because we are acting from a place of not knowing ourselves or looking on the outside for what can only be found within.
Honoring self allows us to be equals, not subservient to others nor creating resentments through “self will run riot”, as the 12 Step program says.
Discovering Your Expression, then, grows out of paying attention to our intuition, nudges, dreams and life experiences. This attention comes from honoring ourselves.
Our dreams or deep desires are there, I believe, from our beginning. They are linked to what is ours to do in the world, what will provide us with maximum satisfaction.
Discounting our dreams is a way of dishonoring ourselves. Often as children our dreams are in our play patterns. As we mature, we recognize that this was a type of dream language. What we enjoyed was a symbol containing the seed of what would fulfill us. It is not uncommon to forget what gave us satisfaction as children. So we have to rediscover it.
It doesn’t take much looking to see the correlation between children’s toytrucks in the sand and construction heavy equipment activities. The root satisfaction of being able to move objects or land is innate. In fact, many discoveries have come while the mind was relaxed at play, or in dreams.
Discovering our expression usually involves an integration of ideas. All life emerges from an integration of elements, so it is not surprising that our expression will involve putting elements together that we may not have in the past. For example, music and therapy, or technology and healing.
Our expression will create a “click” feeling when we discover it. We will sense that something has “come together” and is right for us. Often all that is necessary to discover it is to observe, journal, talk, or study an interest or group of interests that will not leave us alone.
Emerging careers now involve combining fields: biotechnology, educational management, scientific illustration, genetic engineering, and so on. But your field may not exist yet. It may be up to you to invent it by discovering your expression.
Your expression might not be something as large as a career, however. Part of not honoring ourselves is comparing our gifts to those of others and feeling like they are not as important. Your expression may appear small or similiar to others, but that doesn’t matter. It is yours to express and you will feel happy doing it no matter how small it seems. Your painted rock is unique among all other painted rocks, and it is important that you paint it, because it expresses your soul’s work. Monetary value is not a factor in measuring the worth of your expression, but many have discovered abundance pursuing theirs. As the saying goes, love what you do and you will never work a day in your life.
You may not create the next “pet rock” fad, but that does not mean your expression is insignificant. You must express it because it is yours. It is a reciprocal act: expressing it enriches the world and you are enriched by doing it.
Anywhere there is a gap or an unmet need is a clue to something needing to emerge or be expressed.
When we identify it, we can be sure to pursue it because it is our unique gift, both to ourselves and others.
Recently I realized that there is a disconnect between me and how I treat myself.
Something as small as the vegetables in the garden. Veggies are good for me, they’re free, but I’m not eating them. I’m too busy doing stuff for others.
The apples from my tree are so abundant that even my resident posse of squirrels and rabbits can’t handle them all. Have I eaten one today? Nope.
This lack of attention to self has a long and honored history in my life. In fact, it has been sort of a requirement in how I was raised.
And so I thought I would share with you a recent insight that I discovered during a welcomed moment of reflection. (No those aren’t real fish. They’re painted on the rock! Reflection showed me that too!)
There are only three
tasks we have to do in this life.
Yes only trois. 3