I Am Beloved

I’ve been liebstered by the multitalented comic artist, blogger, critique and gamer and all around great quacking Duck.

The Duck of Indeed The Duck of Indeed has been a friend of ours this past year on FriendtoYourself.com and gives this honor, beloved, just when it seems love is just what I was thinking life was about.  How indeed can I or you connect with our own personal journey without love.  How do we find the strength to fight when we lack that for inspiration.  Fighting for self-care is improved upon with the development of our clarity that we are lovable and beloved.  Thank you Duck.  We will press on together.

The rules of the Liebster Blog award are that if you receive the award, not only do you have less than 200 followers, but is designed because someone believes that you should have more.  Isn’t Duck a sweetie?  That, and, you should link back to the blogger that nominated you (yours truly) and nominate five more blogs.  Let the nominees know of course that you nominated them.

(My friends, I have no idea how many blog subscribers you have! but, however many, you should have more!)

  1. The only Cin by Cindy Taylor  
  2. Clarbojahn’s Blog by Clar Bowman-Jahn
  3. The Water Witch’s Daughter On The Journey With SuziCate 
  4.  bridgesburning by Chris King
  5. Learning to be still  by Char48

Love Comes Out of Bad Because in Any Circumstance, Good or Bad, Love Comes

Victor Hugo-Bridge

Image via Wikipedia

Ten years ago, what were you doing in life.  Did you think you would be “here?”  Were you thinking past September 11?

My daughter asked me the other day what I meant when I said that good can come out of bad.  You know me.  I cocked my guns and started happily blazing.  Good coming out of bad has nothing to do with the badness of events.  It has everything to do with the goodness.  It has everything to do with what is stronger.  The love.  Love is stronger than anything.

Victor Hugo described La Esmerelda‘s beauty with this kind of quality around her peers.

As, however, they all possessed nearly the same degree of beauty, 

they fought with equal weapons, and each might cherish a hope of 

victory. The coming of the Bohemian suddenly destroyed this

equilibrium. Her beauty was so surpassing, that at the moment 

when she appeared at the entrance of the room, she seemed to shed 

over it a sort of light peculiar to herself. In this close 

apartment, over-shadowed by hangings and carvings, she appeared 

incomparably more beautiful and radiant than in the public place 

like a torch which is carried out of the broad day-light into 

the dark. In spite of themselves, the young ladies were dazzled. 

Each felt wounded, as it were, in her beauty.

Love, or call it goodness, has a victory to offer us.  In the presence of bad or not bad, Love is.  And because it is, the turning of bad into good happens.  In consequence to its goodness and nothing else.

...like a torch which is carried out of the broad 
day-light into the dark.

September 11, ten years ago, the streets of Boston were filled with parked cars.  The taxis were not going anywhere.  Their drivers were dazed, their radios blasting the news of smoke and buried bodies.  I was weeping with them and sat on the curb, cold with the early night, listening to their radios.  I don’t know why I didn’t go home to watch the news.  I wanted to be with these people I think.  The people.  We needed each other.  What could love bring out of this ten years later?  What would light do in this darkness?

I don’t know what your story is but I believe that Love is.  And because of what it is, in our darkness, good can come.  It has everything to do with what Love is and is all the more lovely because of the bad company.

Here is one mother’s story.  Please tell us yours.  Keep on.

Self-Care Tip – When bad is there, remember that Love is.

Let Love Come, Even When It Poops On You

There are not many people who can poop on me whom I will still want back.  Today, sitting at Olive Garden I noticed some brown on my white linen pants.  I thought, “Oh bummer, my soup spilled.”

Salad

Image by adactio via Flickr

The food was delicious.  I love their salad and minestroni soup.  Yum.  People say that the Olive Garden salad is the healthy food that really isn’t healthy and I believe them.  Especially because I always eat like it’s a challenge.  As if this may be the last salad I’ll get for weeks or perhaps I’m being filmed and about to get a prize for eating so much salad.

We were there with family, including my nieces and parents.  You may remember my youngest niece who was born premature and damaged, yet dominated the NICU at UCSD with her rapid developing health.  Remember how loopy I am over the perfect white and soft nape of her neck?  Well she is about one and a half years old now, weeble wobbles all over the place, and she loves me.  She really loves me.  I have thought that perhaps she may know something the rest of the bozos around are missing and I quietly congratulate her often.

Today, of course she wanted me.  We sat and snuggled and she gave me the ultimate compliment of letting me feed her.  After her third visit, and the fact that the brown spots on my pants kept reappearing, I finally let the truth sink in as well.  I had been pooped on.

After three babies of my own, anyone would think I should have known better, or perhaps been less repulsed.  But let me tell you thinkers.  I was so grossed out.  It was all of me not to lose my salad.

We all got cleaned up.  Mostly of course.  FYI – it’s not that easy to get poop out of linen in a public bathroom.  I was given lots of space by everyone thereafter.  Except from my niece.  Yes.  She was back.  And yes.  I wanted her.

Now, how to get a self-care nugget out of this?  Bring a change of clothes wherever you go and let love come.  Even when you get pooped on.

She Is Worth It, But Maybe Not Because Of What You Think

Woman in satin dress holding mirror

Image by George Eastman House via Flickr

She is worth it!

Have you said that? Half crazed from this-way-that-way behaviors, your battered psyche crawls out of the smoking heap from your most recent relationship collision. There are times when this is absurd to continue. But have you ever seen those people who crawl out smiling? Sure their eyes are rolling around on their face but they are smiling. That might be you too. And there’s a reason for it. However the reason may not be what you think.

She is worth it!

I’m not disputing “her” value in this admirable exchange that takes all your energy. But what I do dust off from the good “encounter” we just spoke of is that although she may be worth it, I propose that isn’t the reason you think it is. The reason is you.
You find pleasure in it because of what it does for you. You think you are worth it, and you are.

Even the Bible says,

We love because He loved me first. 1 John 4: 19

We love because of what it does for Me. God isn’t surprised by that or looking down His nose at our motivation. It sounds like He is actually embracing it – fully consented.
Remember when we talked about inevitable selfish motives, secondary gain and the absence of altruism in us? Is that an ugly thing about us? I don’t think so. It is what it is.

Now this does not evaporate the connection, the realness of the exchange between two, the value of the bond or its quality. See blog-post, Things Will Always Be About “Me.” It does nothing else but discuss the motivation. I believe understanding our motivation to remain in a relationship is important not to devalue it or value it differently, but to help us take care of our own selves.
She is worth it. That isn’t the question.

What can go wrong in our self-friendship when we think we are motivated by reasons outside of what is in it for Me? What do you think? I think it distracts us. It’s wasted energy and we don’t have enough to waste. Getting it right, puts energy into us. Getting it wrong, takes energy away.

Yesterday we talked about wanting to connect with someone who has character pathology. Any of us can say that this is hugely energy depleting at times. If we think we are doing this for any other reason than for ourselves, we will get “burned” much more often than we might if we understand that we choose, consented, freely and for ourselves. We will wear the victim-crown and die the death of worn out do-gooders who lived to do nothing really but bemoan their special suffering existence. See blog-post, Please Don’t Say “But.”

Self-Care Tip – Do things for yourself with self-knowledge.

What Must I Do To Be Happy?

Today, I can’t get my thoughts away from the frolic in temperament-land.

Teacher, what must I do to be happy? 

Who hasn’t asked this?  I remember Nicodemus who asked Jesus,

Teacher, what must I do to be saved? 

A Certified Fresh logo.

Image via Wikipedia

I bet he was wondering, too, about happiness.

I’m not equating happiness with salvation or morality.  I am saying this might have been a parcel of his question.  Happiness is an emotion per our language and cultural definition.  And we have enjoyed our path of discovery in seeing how emotions are tools we use to interpret the world around us.  They are not universal or constant between us.

After I read,

Individualism, a stronger predictor of well-being than wealth,

in R. Fischer, PhD’s Meta-Analysis of Well-Being, I followed my thoughts toward the Jungian Typology of Temperaments.  Remember our pasture and barn people?  The Jungian Typology of Temperaments is our playground where we have a wish-basket equipped with supplies to become any variation we might choose of what our design requests.  Read the article and you might follow a similar path of thought.  Or not.

In case you’re wondering, and per Dr. Q (who is a poor statistician so take this for what it’s worth,) a meta-analysis is a study of studies.  A meta-analysis brings together a number of studies that reflect a population of people and a methodology that is as objective as we can find.  We compare them and through the tools statistics and logic offer, we make a summary conclusion.

If you are familiar with the tomatometer on RottenTomatoes.com, you already have a sense of what a meta-analysis does.  (I love rottentomatoes.com.)  There is more power in the indexed findings of many studies than in just one study.  There is also more power in a fresh tomato than a rotten one.

Questions:

  1. Do you see happiness as something that reflects your condition of spirituality and/or your condition of brain health?  Why?
  2. What do you perceive brings you happiness?  Please tell me your story.

Grief Can Be Treasured At The Same Time That We Celebrate Life

Self-Care Tip #283 – Find the treasure in your grief while celebrating life.

Today is my daughter’s sixth birthday.  If ever there was a person who doubled the love she received, it is this chid.  She is all passion.  Yes, both ways, but that isn’t to judge.  Just, there is so little I can offer in words to describe her power of self.

They're asleep!

Image via Wikipedia

Tonight, we pushed two twin beds together so she and I could sleep beside each other.  Her sister slept nearby on another twin bed.  Her brother set his bed up in the closet.  (I know.)

If I wasn’t so tired, old and broke, I might be made vulnerable by times like this to having more kids.  Since that’s not going to change, these chubs are what we will stick with.  Happily.

My mind is turned toward God by this girl.  I somehow arrive in the moment praying when with her, perhaps for strength and patience or for humility and gratitude.  I learn from her.

Mommy, when I’m scared I talk to Jesus.

Often in times like this, I think of my niece, dead now six years, and how her parents and we wanted what was, what was stripped.  Still grieving and still living the life with us and in us, our braided thoughts and emotions easily lose their flow.

But today I have this clarity.  My niece is gone now six years and ten days.  Today my daughter is six years old.  Today I am sleeping with my three children.  Today I know that this is precious but this is not all we want.  We want what comes after our living years.  We want to let loose to Love the grief and the life; to untangle.  Not more.  Not less.  But we want.  We want what we have, now, although still in the unknown dimension of our forever.

In psychiatry, we are alert to grief that warps the ability to engage in life.  Grief that mars the connections of survivors.  Grief that becomes pathology, brain disease and a medical condition.  This grief disables and, for example, in the case of my daughter’s birthday today, would dissolve my ability to feel pleasure.

It is difficult to gain access to treatment as many of these survivors have ill opinions about medical care.  Such as; fearing medications will mute their connection with the deceased; mute their grief, or in other words, tribute/offering to the deceased; take away the personal punishment for surviving…

Questions:

  • What do you say to these weeping lives?  How can we de-stigmatize medical care for them?
  • How have you been able to treasure your grief and the life with you and in you?

Me! Where Emotions and Behaviors Come From

steps 15

Image by Erik - parked in Cairo these days via Flickr

We are doing a narrative series on understanding where emotions and behaviors come from:

  1. Emotions Are Contagious – Emotions shared
  2. Our own Emotional Junk – Emotions hidden
  3. Positive Emotions and Behaviors are Contagious Too 
  4. Our Conscious Self is Our Board and Paddle at Sea – Small conscious self and BIG unconscious self
  5. Biopsychosocial Model – Biological, Psychological, Social selves
  6. Me!  (Today’s Post)

What we have covered so far in our series is that we know emotions are contagious.  We know that if we take care of our own first, we might not be as “susceptible” to negative “contagion” in turn and perhaps, be more available to giving and receiving positive “emotion-contagion.”  Further, we hope that if we do this, we might be able to choose to be with people we love even if they don’t do their own self-care.  We can have that connection without personalizing what isn’t about us.  Sigh.  That is nice, isn’t it?  Then …out at sea (away from our narrative for a day,) we talked about the pleasure in engaging with what bits of biology are directly available to us and the relationship we maintain with the big expanse of our unconscious biology.  Yesterday we reviewed our biopsychosocial model as a tool for further understanding where our emotions and behaviors come from.

Self-Care Tip #272 – If you are ever unsure about where your emotions and behaviors are coming from, it is always safe and true enough to say, “Me.”

Where do emotions and behaviors come from?

Me.

For example:  Me <–> Emotions Shared <–> Me <–> Emotions Hidden <–> Me <–> small conscious self and BIG unconscious self <–> Me <–> Biological, Psychological, Social selves <–> Me… round and round, starting and ending and starting with Me.

Rob and Yesenia were both breathing hard.  Rob was pale and Yesenia flushed.  Where to start?  With Me.  This is what I shared with them both.

Put your spouse down and take three steps back!  Own your own self.  Take care of your own self.  In the process, you will be able to pick each other up again and share love.

Questions:  What are you holding, carrying, using to explain where your emotions and behaviors come from?  How have you been able to put those down and hold yourself?  Please tell me your story.