It goes in both directions

caged

Say hypothetically that you or I achieved full health, that fount of youth that our heroes pursued on their lonely journeys, persons of La Manche. Say we, like Tuck Everlasting, or the marvelous “Lucy,” as performed by Scarlett Johansson and written/directed by Luc Besson, became well. Became every bit of our potential.  Say Fortune caught us finally in her gauzy fingers and we no longer were bound by the helix of genetic vulnerability, so much as to say that we are no longer a broken fly, indeed, in a web of inevitable need for salvation.  Would God who is and who is personal be friendly to me?  Or would God who no longer sensed “need” in Her subjects lose interest and wander off into the forest of other brokenness?
That’s a pathological relationship when its function is fueled by brokenness, thinking the brokenness allows for connection and Love.

How bout Me, then?  Would we forget about the One who had tended our hurts, a gentle Giver, like a child moving from one wrapped present under the Christmas tree to another.  Would God serve no purpose in our self-care?  In fact, would there be self-care any more?  Maybe in this hypothetical scene of the perfect human, we would lose connection.  Perhaps we would become like the girl in Hawthorne’s fantastic short story, The Birthmark, who without our imperfections would die, unable to breathe the air.  Unable to receive Love without our flaws.

No.  You and I are more than this.  We are not loved by a God who keeps us in misery for the sake of Her throne, for the purpose of saving us from sickness and suffering.  We are not sought out in a personal intimacy that is, in its own design, sick.

God isn’t afraid of perfection.  Our connection to God who is and who is personal is not threatened by our healthy selves.

Salvation goes in both directions – up and down, when we are doing well and when we are unwell, to our perfect as well as our imperfect selves.

Self-Care Tip:  Let us feel very good to include God who is and who is personal, when confidence lifts.  It won’t jinx Me or my connection to God to value oneself.  Keep on.

Question:  When do you want to connect with God?  Does staying connected with God improve your self-care, even when feeling great?  Have you thought that there is value in connection with God when doing well or poorly?  Is it either-or in any way?  Please tell us your story.

“I’m Making You My Business!”

“I’m Making You My Business!”

It is pervasive.barriers

We talk about salvation as if it is an event, a diploma, a point in time, something with a frame and boundaries and a rejection of everything else about us.  Salvation is not this.  Salvation is pervasive.

Same with carrying your cross, going out into the world, and so forth.  Salvation and all these life axioms are in the divorce we are suffering, the depression, the trouble with sleep, the courage we demonstrate going into public, the fear we succumb to, the freedom we give up to anxiety – this is all about salvation.  This is what going into the world means.  It’s not one or the other.

When we say, the world will fall away, it is saying that there are no dividers any more.  If you’ve ever heard the term, the best way to get rid of an enemy is to make her a friend, this is the same idea.  God who is and who is personal takes away the dividers and makes us Her business.

God who is and who is personal is important for self care because She is all about Me.

Self-care tip:  Let the barriers go and accept the presence of Love.

Question:  Does God improve your self care?  Do you see dividers between your personal stuff and what is, who is, God?  How does that serve you, Me?

Keep on people of courage!

There is no self-care without Love

grieving

Reggie showed up without his wife.

The wife was a short woman.  She had some practices that usually increased the space she occupied – the smell of tobacco, the size in her chair, the volume she laughed with, her large wiry curly bouffant, and her hope-filled aura. 
“Where’s your wife Reggie?” 

Reggie had sat down with his usual socially acceptable moderate expression. 

It was common for his wife to accompany him to my clinic and if she wasn’t there, it was only for purposes of work.  She prioritized him, it was clear.  However, her work was inconsistent, money was always tight, and she would most often have to travel when the opportunities arose.  Being a temp in nursing was like that.  Reggie was so proud of her and looked at her in that mix-matched role that any relationship between one person and another always is.  In Reggie’s case, sometimes she was his parent, lover, friend, enemy, caregiver, and now, what?

If you’ve been reading this blog for long, you know I love the concept of Time.  I fantasize a little about separating Time from space and yes, at some moments, think I am all that. (Wink.)  When I asked Reggie, “Where’s your wife?” I might have done it, though not pleasantly.  Something happened there that was inter-dimensional.  Because he was transformed.  His face didn’t melt or droop.  There wasn’t a process to it.  Rather he was sitting like a normal Reggie and then he was wasn’t.  Between normal and transformed, to me, reality changed.  The between was a crack that was a different reality.  A black space without Time.

Reggie cried,

“She left me. She left me.  I begged her not to, and she did.”

Reggie’s wife had done something personal.  She went and died. 

Even when Reggie stopped crying, he looked bewildered, raw and like the faucet was going to poor a lot more.  We did get to start talking a bit about how much his wife loved him.  We speculated about the love remaining after she died. 

“I wish I knew!  I wish I knew she was somewhere good and I wish I knew if she could see me.…” 

Reggie wished he could remain connected to the love. 

During our treatment together for over a decade, Reggie complied with our medical treatment in the context of that love.  Reggie honored his wife by taking care of himself.  He even lifted up his illnesses like an offering to her.  I was struck with the concern of what kind of treatment compliance Reggie would shift to if he thought he was living without love.  I was concerned that he would not value himself, including the respect he was able to show his illness without the company of his wife’s value and respect

The way that we honor those we love and those who love us, is by honoring our own selves.

It is intuitive in our nature to believe that we can’t live without love.  Where does love go when we die? 

This brings us to another premise in, “God and self-care,”  – there is no self-care without Love.

The argument psychiatry has with the concept of Love is that sensing it, knowing it, perceiving it, is all a part of our modular brain, therefore no more than grey matter.  Thus implied that it is diminished. 

Question:  Does it diminish Love for you, knowing that our perception of Love is as mapped out as that, even able to be man-handled, turned on or off by neuronal signals? 

Please tell us your thoughts.  Keep on.

Self-care Tip:  Find Love for self-care.

Don’t Save God

saving God

A danger I don’t want to be confused by here is the temptation to save God.  I recognize I have dabbled there.  But, I am not saving God.  The agenda here is not to prove or disprove, to champion Her, or to drag any of us through the cutting edge of knowledge on dark matter. 

How much I get out of having God in psychiatry is all about me.  It’s good for me, my psyche and my self care.  I like who I am through the eyes of God, who is and who is personal.  I like what it does to me and my relationships.  This is how I see God in my life – home, biology, work, disaster, accident, gardening. 

She cannot be quantified.  If you can imagine it, God may be that and more. 

If I were a plumber, than God would be in plumbing for me.  It just so turns out that I am professionally, a psychiatrist.

Most people whom I’ve heard speak about God don’t have much that I want.  God did not employ them, from my perspective, any more than He did to me in mine.  Or the opposite is just as true.  She did.

Rob the pastor needs to do what is best for Rob. Instead, I hear Rob turfing off the disappointments in his life on God. 

Why do I do it, bring God into my self-care?  Because I want to.  Embracing that there is more knowledge than there is now in humanity, is part of Her and my relationship.

Question:  What do you want?  Why do you include or disclude God from your self-care?  Please speak!  It’s healthy for you.  It’s healthy for me.  Keep on.

Self-care Tip:  Don’t save God.  Start with Me.

God Exists and God is Personal

God and me

As there are so many views on what “God” means, and because that’s not what we want to debate here, we have a useful premise. 

God exists.  God is personal. 

Nor is our purpose to worry over the function of religion, to roll between index and thumb the business relationship between us and God, nor to tidy up the religious wars between our nations. 

The purpose here is to discuss how to be a better friend to Me, in the context of the premise, God is and God is personal to Me. 

If God is, then He is personal.  Otherwise, there is no point to God, as far as you and I are concerned.

Question:  How do we treat ourselves well in the context that God is personal to Me?  If God exists and isn’t personal, what is the point of Him?  How does working under the premise that God is and God is personal improve the way you care for yourself?  Please speak out.  We need you.

Self-care Tip:  Accept that God is and is personal to you and keep on.

The Modular Brain Doesn’t Need God?

I’ve been a little scared of losing God most of my professional education and practice life.  Everyone knows that no one can make it through psychiatry and still believe in God.  And those that do make it through psychiatry and still believe in God, don’t get it. Or so the opinion goes.

When I started medicine, I thought I’d most likely go into psychiatry.  I read my Bible every day. I was crushed by landslides of information I had to learn. With the equivalent of dirt in my hair, broken bones, and blood, I participated in prayer groups and Bible studies. I had to sleep eight hours a night.  If I didn’t, I couldn’t lay down knowledge and I couldn’t cope.  You may be one of those lucky persons who only need four to six hours of sleep at night to be human.  This an advantage equivalent to getting a silver silk parachute airdrop of food, medicine, and weapons in the Hunger Games.  I graduated from medical school and still had God.

Psychiatry residency opened up and I got closer to the the lions den.

What I found is that if you believe in God you are distrusted by colleagues.  If you believe in God you are distrusted by Christians because you’re a psychiatrist. And by Scientologists.

Innocents seem to be fine when they enter into psychiatry residency.  Then they come out totally changed. It disappoints Dad. Surrounded by cerebralists.  It changes the plans sponsors have made for the psychiatrists.  The psychiatrist doesn’t get invited to speak at church. The sponsors think they must have let him or her down.  And the sponsors thought the psychiatrists let them down.

Psychiatry is very high risk to the psychiatrist.  Why is it harder for them to keep God? It’s just generally not taught to utilize God in remedial processes with broken people. “And yet that is what God does best,” says my orthopedic buddy.  He says, “Psychiatry breaks down interpersonal relationships rather than include the spiritual. Unless the psychiatrist feels very comfortable with the healing and revitalizing powers of God, they don’t use it for themselves in practice.”  Is there a God-desensitization process built into their education.?

When studying where emotions and behaviors come from, God can’t be scaled.  There is no way to measure God.

We delve into human behaviors and emotions so intimately in psychiatry.  Once you realize that those things we used to moralize our life parameters with, once we realize that a perception of God is that “easily explained,” we don’t know what or who God is if not that.  Psychiatry deals with the mind and spirit and not the musculoskeletal world.  They are are right in the middle of breakdowns in that field where good bones and joints don’t make the difference.  They are right there where good behaviors and emotions are valued,  and explained in terms of grey matter.  Psychiatrist come to understand that everything is modular in the brain.  At that point, there is no need for God anymore.

Why do people lose God?  Parents blame themselves.  “I’ll never forgive myself.”  They know what they’ve lost.

Remember that song by Sting, “I hope the Russians love their children too“?  God v the Modular Brain might become a war.

My next book is going to be about God and psychiatry.  Wish me luck.  Recommendations, opinions, (no crude gestures,) and silver silk parachutes airdropped are all welcome.  Don’t hate me.  Keep on.

Fatal Game of Playing Chicken

Stubborn in a game of chicken, who will win?

“The principle of the game is that while each player prefers not to yield to the other, the worst possible outcome occurs when both players do not yield.”

chicken race

As said by one avid chicken-owner at the UK World Championship Hen Races, “Listen birdbrain, you either perform for me, or perform for Colonel Sanders.”

Sometimes it is like that between the idea of, everything starts and ends with Me, that we hold here at FriendtoYourself.com and others who say, Love God first.

So, in the spirit of hoping, and “racing well,” let’s discuss.

If we could Love another first, that would just be great.  But we can’t.  (Hear the whine? 🙂  I suppose I have made those sounds before.)  We can’t.  I think that is the curse of Adam and Eve.  We can’t love anyone truly more than ourselves.  It always comes back to me.  We can be thankful for Jesus saving those Garden-of-Edeners, and the rest of us from that lonely circle.  Jesus inserted Himself into our round and round so first, we are never alone, and second, we have Love that is bigger than any catastrophe we think we were born into or happened upon along the way.

When I was a young-in, I studied at Rosario Beach.  We took samples from the ocean and did funky things to them and finally were tested and passed the class.  In this process we studied insertion genes.  These are awesome in their changing power.  This is how mutations happen in nature as well as how we now do genetic engineering.

insertion gene

None of us, like lined up chromosomes, can insert into ourselves the ability to start or end anywhere but with Me.  But, just like the stupidity of working out before you go to the gym, we do not wait for that to be inserted into Me before we pursue Love.   Love inserts in.  Until then, the Love part is foreign to Me.  It is a mystery.  Our life journey of beginning and ending with Me is changed from the one we started with.

Like weaving in magic into the common circle that everything starts and ends with Me,…  But we are not magicians.  I am no magician, although I have watched, “Now You See Me,” 🙂 and I understand that even magicians do not believe what they do is magic.

We have often said and heard others say, “Don’t love Me first, Love God first.”   We are not worth much to our neighbor though if we do not like Me.

So basically any time on our personal life journey, we might have enough insight to perceive the Loving of another more than Me, think Magic.  Someone did you an insert.  Now, even though your circle will still end with Me, your Me is changed and connected to Love.

It is a bummer that so many of us, with inherent self-recrimination, tell ourselves and others to, “Love God first,” when we might as well demand that we do our own gene engineering with Magic.  If and/or when we do love another first, by definition, that is not about Me.

“We love, because He first loved Me.”  ‘Member?  1Jo 4:19

We can, however, enter ourselves in for the insertion.  If we do not put our name in, it is harder to get called I would think.

Self-Care Tip:  Believe in Magic to treat yourself and others kinder, with less self-recrimination, and with more hope.

Questions:  I’m still growing on this.  What do you think?