Archive for the ‘Healing’ Category

Making a Pearl

Saturday, January 7th, 2017

Most of us have had traumatic things happen to us. At the time of a trauma, we have a choice as to what the experience will become for us. Either we choose for this experience to become the thing that wounds us so mortally that it eventually kills us because we never get over it or we choose for it to become the grain of sand around which we produce a great pearl.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 221

Feedback Loop

Saturday, December 31st, 2016

The human brain must do three operations when confronted with a bad situation. The first is in the Toddler brain. When something bad happens — or seems like it might happen — the alarm sounds in the Toddler brain: fear, anger, shame, anguish. The alarm is usually triggered by external change (cues in the environment) or internal change — something felt, thought, recalled, or imagined. (Remember, the Toddler brain has only primitive reality-testing; toddlers confuse reality with what they feel, think, remember, and imagine.) The second operation is in the adult brain, where the alarm/signal is interpreted and the perceived bad thing assessed for threat and damage. The third and most important operation, improve (without making things worse), is in the more profound part of the Adult brain. Alas, those who have developed habits of retreating to the Toddler brain under stress tend to get stuck in a feedback loop of the first two operations. Instead of testing the alarm against reality, the interpretations and assessments by habit enhance it by justifying it. They never get to the Adult brain’s ability to improve.

— Steven Stosny, Soar Above, p. 123-124

All’s Grace

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

What if the busted and broken hearts could feel there’s a grace that holds us and calls us Beloved and says we belong and no brokenness ever has the power to break us away from being safe? What if we experienced the miracle of grace that can touch all our wounds?

I wanted to write it on walls and on the arms scarred with wounds, make it the refrain we sing in the face of the dark and broken places: No shame. No fear. No hiding. All’s grace. It’s always safe for the suffering here. You can struggle and you can wrestle and you can hurt and we will be here. Grace will meet you here; grace, perfect comfort, will always be served here.

— Anne Voskamp, The Broken Way, p. 20-21

How Do I Want to Feel?

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

When it comes to feelings, the best strategy is to validate them (briefly) but put your focus on how you want to feel. This approach is more future-oriented and less susceptible to the feedback loop of past mistakes. More important, it invokes Adult brain values.

“I feel resentful, but I want to feel kind.” With this subtle but crucial shift in focus, past experiences of feeling kind are loaded into implicit memory. I recognize that I really like myself better at those times, because kindness is part of my value system. I imagine myself doing things that will bring those feelings to life, such as wishing others happiness and well-being. I practice allowing myself to be concerned with the well-being of my loved ones. I practice behaviors that embody my concern for them.

— Steven Stosny, Soar Above, p. 106-107

Making Us Good

Friday, September 16th, 2016

As the love of him who is love transcends ours as the heavens are higher than the earth, so must God desire in his child infinitely more than the most conscientious and loving of mothers can desire in hers.

He would have his child rid of all discontentment, all fear, all grudging, all bitterness in word or thought, all measuring of his own with a different gauge than he would apply to another’s. He will have no curling of the lip, no indifference toward any person, no desire to excel over another. He will not have him receive the smallest service without gratitude, would not hear from him a tone to jar the heart of another, a word to make it ache.

From such, as from all other sins, Jesus was born to deliver us — not primarily, or by itself, from the punishment of any of them. When all are gone, when the sin nature which causes them has been put to death and his Spirit substituted inside the part of our hearts that rules our deeds, then the holy punishment will have departed also.

He came to make us good, and therein blessed children.

— George MacDonald, Hope of the Gospel “Salvation from Sin,” quoted in Discovering the Character of God, edited by Michael Phillips, p. 41

Wouldn’t Trade It

Saturday, September 3rd, 2016

My dear readers — what do you do with the fact that hundreds of thousands of the dearest and most valiant saints would tell you that even though they have passed through terrible affliction, their most precious and fervent prayers unanswered, they would not trade it for anything in the world? They would not trade it because of what they have learned of God, learned of love, learned of hope.

John Eldredge, Moving Mountains, p. 223

A Hero’s Journey

Sunday, August 28th, 2016

You may not have signed up for a hero’s journey, but the second you fell down, got your butt kicked, suffered a disappointment, screwed up, or felt your heart break, it started. It doesn’t matter whether we are ready for an emotional adventure — hurt happens. And it happens to every single one of us. Without exception. The only decision we get to make is what role we’ll play in our own lives: Do we want to write the story or do we want to hand that power over to someone else? Choosing to write our own story means getting uncomfortable; it’s choosing courage over comfort.

— Brené Brown, Rising Strong, p. 45

To Set Ourselves Free

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

The way I see it, we don’t forgive in order to be nice, to do what we should, to be good Christians, or even to be spiritual. We forgive so as to set ourselves free. Forgiveness helps us to see beyond our masks to who we truly are. It shows us that who we really are has nothing to do with what happened to us in the past.

— Robert Holden, Loveability, p. 182

Correction, Not Failure

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Emotions are part of a motivational system; they exist not to punish but to motivate behavior that will help. Negative emotions do not indicate that you’re bad; they tell you to do better. They’re correction messages, not failure messages.

— Steven Stosny, PhD, Soar Above, p. 40

Motivation, Not Punishment

Monday, July 11th, 2016

If you feel bad about anything at all and blame it on someone else, what can you then do to make yourself feel better?

Not a thing. The act of blame renders you powerless, which is the internal source of all the frustration, anger, and resentment that go with blame. More important, blame strips painful emotions of their primary function, which is to motivate corrective behavior. As we saw in the previous chapter, pain — physical and psychological — is part of an alarm network that evolved to keep you safe and well. The function of guilt, shame, and anxiety is not to punish you. Their primary function is to motivate behavior that heals, corrects, or improves.

For example, guilt is about violating your values; the motivation of guilt is to act according to your values. Acting according to your deeper values is the only thing that resolves guilt. Shame is about failure and inadequacy; the motivation is to reevaluate, reconceptualize, and redouble efforts to achieve success, or if the failure is in attachment, to be more loving or compassionate. Those are the only things that will resolve shame. Anxiety is a dread of something bad occurring that will exceed or deplete resources; the motivation is to learn more about what might happen and develop plans to cope with it. Blame, denial, and avoidance might give momentary relief of guilt, shame, and anxiety but will soon worsen them by blocking their natural motivations.

— Dr. Steven Stosny, Soar Above, p. 39