Archive for the ‘Acceptance’ Category

Our Common Human Hospitality

Saturday, May 19th, 2018

Our common human hospitality longs to find room for those who are left out. It’s just who we are if allowed to foster something different, something more greatly resembling what God had in mind. Perhaps, together, we can teach each other how to bear the beams of love, persons becoming persons, right before our eyes. Returned to ourselves.

— Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart, p. xv

[Photo: Burg Dahn, Germany, July 1997]

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]

Valuable Lessons

Tuesday, May 1st, 2018

Though it may seem counterintuitive to our inner perfectionist, recognizing our mistakes as valuable lessons (not failures) helps to lay the groundwork for later success.

— Sharon Salzberg, Real Love, p. 68

[Photo: Meadowlark Gardens, Virginia, April 3, 2012]

Let Go of Grievances

Saturday, April 21st, 2018

Today, let go of any grievances that you have toward anyone. Bless them, and feel yourselves opening the door to receive once again. Feel all of the love that comes through this doorway, feel all of the abundance that is coming toward you.

— Chuck Spezzano, If It Hurts, It Isn’t Love, p. 308

[Photo: Riverbend Park, Virginia, April 20, 2018]

Attractions of Inspiration

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

We don’t need the roller coaster of negative attractions in order to grow! We can grow through inspiration instead.

Attractions of inspiration have a warmth and an easiness. In these relationships, our challenge is to accept and return our partner’s caring, not to win that caring. Our partners might challenge us to be better, but at bottom, they love us for who we are. Attractions of inspiration are fueled by the real sense of well-being that the relationship creates in us, not by the unrelenting itch for something that’s denied us. These attractions often unfold slowly. They get richer as time goes on. They may take lots of work — but such relationships allow the work of intimacy. They make us feel love, not desperation. These are the only relationships to build a life around, the only ones that deserve the gift of our most intimate self. And I promise you, they really are out there.

— Ken Page, Deeper Dating, p. 90

[Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 18, 2018]

Unenforceable Rules

Monday, April 16th, 2018

Often when trying to enforce unenforceable rules we write mental tickets to “punish” the one who has acted wrongly. Unfortunately, if our rule is unenforceable, the only person we end up hurting with our ticket is ourselves. We clog up our minds with these tickets. We become frustrated because things do not go the way we want. We become angry because something wrong is happening. We feel helpless because we cannot make things right.

I am convinced that when you try to enforce something over which you have no control, you create a problem for yourself. That problem gets in your way as you try to figure out what is the best thing to do. It is much harder to know what to do when you are angry, frustrated, and helpless. Making a good decision is tough when you are constantly writing tickets and there is no one to give them to….

We have as much chance of enforcing our unenforceable rules as of getting blood out of a stone. Think for a minute about why trying to do so makes our lives so hard. Have you ever tried to force someone to do something they did not want to do? How successful were you? Have you ever tried to get what you needed from a person who did not want to help? How successful was that? Have you ever demanded your spouse or partner be nicer to you? Were you successful? Have you ever gotten mad at yourself for making a mistake? Did getting mad help? Ever demanded your boss treat you better? Did this change your boss’s behavior? Each of these normal desires is an example of trying to enforce an unenforceable rule. Trying to change what cannot be changed or influence those who do not want to be influenced will meet with failure and cause us emotional distress.

— Dr. Fred Luskin, Forgive for Good, p. 49

[Photo: Duart Castle, Isle of Mull, Scotland, July 12, 2003]

Other People’s Needs

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

We think we know so well what other people need. Often enough we do. But before we can tell what we know, we must first, paradoxically, forget we ever knew it. We must enter the fire of a person’s living presence and accept the risk of spontaneous, unpremeditated relationship. Only in the midst of the free fall of real personal encounter may we discover, when we least expect it, the wisdom to confront a thorny problem.

Whenever possible, it is best to let others take the lead in correcting themselves. It is surprising how willing many are to do this if only they catch a whiff of genuine love. In this atmosphere, as often as not, the forbidden issue will actually be raised by the other person first, and suddenly we’re invited to give the counsel stored up within us. Alternatively, once we come to know and appreciate others, it may no longer seem so important to give them a piece of our mind!

— Mike Mason, Practicing the Presence of People, p. 155

[Photo: South Riding, Virginia, April 11, 2018]

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

Contentment

Sunday, March 25th, 2018

Verse for the day:

Saints and Sinners

Saturday, March 10th, 2018

Personally, I think knowing the difference between a racist and a saint is kind of important. But when Jesus again and again says things like the last shall be first, and the first shall be last, and the poor are blessed, and the rich are cursed, and that prostitutes make great dinner guests, it makes me wonder if our need for pure black-and-white categories is not true religion but maybe actually a sin. Knowing what category to place hemlock in might help us know whether it’s safe to drink, but knowing what category to place ourselves and others in does not help us know God in the way that the church so often has tried to convince us it does.

And anyway, it has been my experience that what makes us the saints of God is not our ability to be saintly but rather God’s ability to work through sinners. The title “saint” is always conferred, never earned. Or as the good Saint Paul puts it, “For it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). I have come to realize that all the saints I’ve known have been accidental ones – people who inadvertently stumbled into redemption like they were looking for something else at the time, people who have just a wee bit of a drinking problem and manage to get sober and help others to do the same, people who are as kind as they are hostile.

— Nadia Bolz-Weber, Accidental Saints, p. 7-8