Archive for the ‘Healing’ Category

A Perfect Place

Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

Today, take time to realize that you are in a perfect place for the lessons that you are learning, for the healing that you are doing, and for the growth that you are ready to make at this point in your life.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 317

[Photo: Above Gundersweiler, Germany, July 1998]

Grievances Don’t Happen by Chance

Saturday, June 9th, 2018

I want to make clear beyond the shadow of a doubt that a grievance does not occur by chance. Just because we were mistreated does not mean we have to create a grievance. A grievance isn’t inevitable just because of a deep wound. A grievance forms when you react to painful situations in a specific way….

When we realize our role in the grievance process, we can then decide to play the central role in our healing. The most powerful way to heal is through forgiveness. When we forgive, we take something less personally, blame the person who hurt us less, and change our grievance story. Through learning the process of forgiveness, we can forgive anyone who has hurt us in any way.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 64

[Photo: Assateague Island, October 24, 2016]

Freedom in Forgiveness

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

The journey to release all grudges, to relinquish the quest for revenge, and to let go of the fantasy of what might have been is one of the most difficult spiritual challenges we’ll ever face. But I promise you, it is also the most rewarding. Because the other side of forgiveness is freedom.

There was a time when I believed the act of forgiveness meant accepting the offender, and by doing so, condoning the act. I didn’t understand that the true purpose of forgiveness is to stop allowing whatever that person did to affect how I live my life now.

— Oprah Winfrey, The Wisdom of Sundays, p. 112

[Photo: Burg Rheinstein, Germany, July 1997]

Relating to Ourselves with Lovingkindness

Monday, May 28th, 2018

Fortunately, when we relate to ourselves with lovingkindness, perfectionism naturally drops away. We may realize we’ll never sing an aria at the Met, but we can continue to love opera, follow our favorite singers, and perhaps join a local chorus. There’s no frustration, bitterness, or self-criticism in this kind of loving acceptance. It doesn’t mean we’re complacent, but rather we stop resisting the way things actually are. Wholehearted acceptance is a basic element of love, starting with love for ourselves, and a gateway to joy. Through the practices of lovingkindness and self-compassion, we can learn to love our flawed and imperfect selves. And in those moments of vulnerability, we open our hearts to connect with each other, as well. We are not perfect, but we are enough.

— Sharon Salzberg, Real Love, p. 71

[Photo: Zweibr├╝cken Rose Garden, Germany, June 2003]

The Message of Pain

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

When clients are referred to me because they’ve gotten stuck in the thorny aftermath of intimate betrayal, they are invariably preoccupied with why their partners did it to them — or worse, what they might have done to make their partners betray them. That breaks my heart. Not only does focus on the betrayer’s motivations distract from healing but speculation about a partner’s motives is utterly fruitless. We can never know why someone betrays an intimate bond.

For example, suppose you decide, as most of my clients do at some point, that your partner lied, cheated, or abused you because she was depressed, anxious, deluded, or stressed out, or because she drank too much, exercised too little, or experienced any of a multitude of possible contributing factors. The fact is, most people with those experiences do not betray their loved ones. At best, speculation about your partner’s motives may yield possible preconditions for the betrayal, but you’ll never accurately identify why your partner chose to betray you.

Rather than speculating about what might have caused your partner to inflict this pain, it is far more to your benefit to concentrate your attention on the internal message of the pain, which is to heal, repair, and improve.

— Steven Stosny, Living and Loving After Betrayal, p. 24

[Photo: Keukenhof, Holland, April 17, 2004]

Forgiveness Is a Choice.

Friday, May 11th, 2018

I begin where I always begin discussions of forgiveness: with my assertion that forgiveness is a choice. Neither you nor I have to forgive anyone who has hurt us. On the other hand, we can forgive all who have done us harm. The decision is ours to make. Forgiveness does not happen by accident. We have to make a decision to forgive. We will not forgive just because we think we should. Forgiveness cannot be forced. I have no intention to demand that you forgive, but I will show you how and then the choice is yours. To help you choose, let me show you why I believe forgiveness is in your best interest. This choice exists whether or not someone asks for forgiveness. Each of us can learn to land the planes endlessly circling on our radar screen. When we choose forgiveness we release our past to heal our present.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 63

[Photo: Burg Rheinstein, Germany, July 1997]

Positive Function of Pain

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

Emotional pain serves the same positive function as its physical counterpart. Feeling disregarded, guilty, devalued, or unlovable prompts you to raise self-regard, compensate for any bad behavior, increase your competence, and be more loving. If you do those things, or merely think about doing them, the pain subsides. If you don’t, it gets worse and worse until it goes numb. I’m not saying that you have to increase loving behavior toward the partner who betrayed you; that would be too risky in the early part of your recovery. To relieve the pain of feeling unlovable, try to be more loving toward your children or parents or friends, or anyone whom you can love with minimal risk.

If you want to exploit the motivational advantage of emotional pain, you cannot view painful memories as punishments inflicted by others or as self-punishments for past mistakes. They are not punishments to be avoided; they are motivations to heal, improve, repair, and grow.

— Steven Stosny, Living and Loving After Betrayal, p. 20-21

[Photo: Keukenhof, Holland, April 17, 2004]

Out of the Sin-Accounting Business

Friday, April 13th, 2018

I was stunned that Good Friday by this familiar but foreign story of Jesus’ last hours, and I realized that in Jesus, God had come to dwell with us and share our human story. Even the parts of our human story that are the most painful. God was not sitting in heaven looking down at Jesus’ life and death and cruelly allowing his son to suffer. God was not looking down on the cross. God was hanging from the cross. God had entered our pain and loss and death so deeply and took all of it into God’s own self so that we might know who God really is. Maybe the Good Friday story is about how God would rather die than be in our sin-accounting business anymore.

The passion reading ended, and suddenly I was aware that God isn’t feeling smug about the whole thing. God is not distant at the cross and God is not distant in the grief of the newly motherless at the hospital; but instead, God is there in the messy mascara-streaked middle of it, feeling as shitty as the rest of us. There simply is no knowable answer to the question of why there is suffering. But there is meaning. And for me that meaning ended up being related to Jesus — Emmanuel — which means “God with us.” We want to go to God for answers, but sometimes what we get is God’s presence.

— Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix, p. 86

[Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 12, 2015]

Embrace the Suffering

Friday, April 6th, 2018

You recognize the situation and help yourself not be overwhelmed by the negative feeling like fear or anxiety. You are still yourself. It’s like a mother: When the baby is crying, she picks up the baby and she holds the baby tenderly in her arms. Your pain, your anxiety is your baby. You have to take care of it. You have to go back to yourself, recognize the suffering in you, embrace the suffering, and you get relief.

— Thich Nhat Hanh, quoted in The Wisdom of Sundays, by Oprah Winfrey

Grace Making All Things New

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

Grace isn’t about God creating humans as flawed beings and then acting all hurt when we inevitably fail and then stepping in like the hero to grant us grace — like saying “Oh, it’s OK, I’ll be a good guy and forgive you.” It’s God saying, “I love the world too much to let your sin define you and be the final word. I am a God who makes all things new.”

— Nadia Bolz-Weber, Pastrix, p. 50