Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Power of Church

I have found a new church. Is it a good omen that this scares me half to death? (Aside: writers aren’t supposed to use such clich├ęs but I’ve journaled this phrase twice this morning. What does it mean? I’m not scared to a full death but “half to death.” I’m scared just enough for my ego to be moved (by fear) from psychological center-stage to the side. Now my habitual, unconscious habits and dynamics can overtake me in this vulnerable state, or, if I’m wise, I can yield to the brilliance of my Higher Self.)

But back to this church. It is a radically inclusive community but I’m still afraid I don’t belong. That I will be judged. This terror comes, not from the community itself, but from my own deep woundedness. But perhaps my terror of judgment is actually a projection of my own judgment of Christians and Christianity. Is that why I felt so comfortable (yet unfulfilled) with the Unitarians? We shared an anger towards right-wing Christianity. Have those feelings morphed in me to include all Christians? One of Jung’s many gifts to me has been his writings on the toxic nature of normative Christianity. The tragedy of our modern age is that so many of us (in the West) have become estranged from our mythological home (Christianity). It is an excruciating existential trauma.

But what I’m really exploring this morning is my own fear. Fear of judgment, fear of my own prophetic gifts. Fear of stepping into my own power. Fear of the power of the church to transform me. © Lewis-Barr 2009
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Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Nudge from my Higher Self?

What does it mean when I go unconscious (“unc” as hubby says) and “forget” something? We brought our car into the shop last night. Both Rick and I didn’t make the connection that I was working today and would need the car. My schedule is very flexible so there wasn’t a big problem but I wonder: what is my unconscious doing, or trying to tell me in this event? Just like lost car keys or paperwork, my ego couldn’t access the vital information even as Rick and I discussed our week. Instead of an “aha, I can’t bring in the car and go to work with it” moment, my ego “was kept” in the dark by another part of me. This caused me some inconvenience. Instead of a simple flow into work or staying home, I was disjointed, thinking I was going to work and then needing to regroup, make phone calls and stay home.

Is this all specifically symbolic or is my Greater Self just nudging my little self and saying, “You think you’re in the driver’s seat but you’re just a passenger that sometimes helps navigate the ship.

How do you understand these everyday hiccups and mishaps? © Lewis-Barr 2009
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Monday, March 16, 2009

Story of the "Cracked Pot."

I heard this lovely story over the weekend. It is a wonderful reminder that our flaws are often the source of our greatest gifts. If we can be honest with ourselves and accept our less than perfect traits, we may also come to realize that even our shortcomings can lead to beauty and distinction.

A water-bearer carries two large pots on a yoke across his shoulders up the hill from the river to his master's house each day. One has a crack and leaks half its water out each day before arriving at the house. The other pot is perfect and always delivers a full portion of water after the long walk from the river.

Finally, after years of arriving half-empty and feeling guilty, the cracked pot apologizes to the water-bearer. He is miserable and says, "I'm sorry that I couldn't accomplish what the perfect pot did."

The water-bearer says, "Why are you apologizing?"
"After all this time, I still only deliver half my load of water. I make more work for you because of my flaw."

The man smiled and told the pot. "Take note of all the lovely flowers growing on the side of the path where I carried you. The flowers grew so lovely because of the water you leaked. There are no flowers on the perfect pot's side."

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Waking Up

In my recent post, I wrote of the delay between the beginning of a feeling or thought and our conscious awareness of it. Ironically, I was about to have that “realization-emerges-from-the-darkness” experience myself.

I was in a foul mood last week. Unfortunately, my hubby Rick was also in a bad mood. This led to some testy moments. As the evening wore on, we both retreated with a journal and began to write (one more connection with last week’s post). We both began tracking back through our day, trying to determine what triggered us. I knew I was upset with my cousin. But why? I didn't know. My anger was hot but I couldn't tell you the why of it. Finally, unable to determine a trigger, I thought, “We just don't get along, that's that.” I let my anger cool and had a satisfying end of the evening with Rick.

The next morning, while walking Sophie (my “aha” moments usually happen when I'm walking or taking a shower), I “suddenly” realized that I was angry about an email from my cousin. My message to him expressed some sadness and he had responded with several jokes. Click. That was it! The insight snapped into place. I had felt ridiculed. Now, what to do about it?

But first, a few other thoughts. Without this insight, I had no responsible course of action. I was angry--but why? Without a why, I could only be angry. Second, in the paragraph above, I put suddenly in quotes because I wanted to show that another part of me had known all along. Only the “I” of me, my ego-self, was out of the loop and suddenly understood. The rest of me already knew--and was reacting.

Now, what to do. My choices: do nothing or say something. I decided to let my cousin know that I had been expressing sadness in the email (maybe he didn't know this) and I wasn't happy with his response. This was, at least, the beginning of our dialogue. I still felt a lack of trust between us (based on our history) but I could at least share my perceptions with him. He could examine his reactions (or not). A true reconciliation could develop (or not). In this moment, I’m simply grateful I realized the message of my feelings.
© Lewis-Barr 2009
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Friday, March 6, 2009

Research Says--Some Anger Good for You.

I’ve been writing about anger lately and was sent a terrific article on the subject. Confirmed my bias. Would I post it if it didn’t? Subtitled—“Repressing emotions leads to unhappiness, says Harvard psychologist,” you can read the entire article here.

The article says that while uncontrolled anger is never beneficial (for the giver or receiver), balanced expressions of anger can strengthen relationships, provide focus, and keep us healthier.

To live healthy, honest lives, we must find ways to acknowledge (even honor) all parts of ourselves. © Lewis-Barr 2009
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Monday, March 2, 2009

Healthy vs. Neurotic Suffering

I'm in the midst of a mid-life renaissance. After years of frantic feelings, dashed dreams, and mystifying mishaps from without and within, I finally feel "in flow." This does not mean that life is easy. I struggle against my fears every day. But I sense a difference between the old struggle and this one. My previous life was filled with a "flaying around." I was constantly striving to achieve against endless obstacles. Today, I still have goals but they seem given, not chosen. When I finally surrendered my cherished dreams (to win the Pulitzer or become a famous theatre director), I was reborn to a new life, without my Ego's agendas. Suddenly, instead of throwing myself against metaphorical brick walls, new doorways opened. I felt like a teenager, suddenly awash in thrilling challenges that tested my abilities.


Before, my mind obsessively circled my fears. Today, I still suffer from fear but now, instead of constant worrying, I step into the rapids and let both fear and excitement wash over me. Instead of trying to control the waves--I'm riding them. Now, each moment both lingers and rushes past filled with millions of fresh and intoxicating ideas. I feel pulled toward a mysterious destiny that I still don't understand-- but trust more and more. I find that the great Taoist sayings are true: more gets done when we surrender and let ourselves be carried by our unique Fate.
How do you deal with worry and fear?
© Lewis-Barr 2009
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