That Which Does Not Kill Us, Makes Us Stronger

arnie-920x584[1]A quote attributed to the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche.  It was also used in the movie “Conan The Barbarian” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, released May 14, 1982.  In the movie, Conan’s family is killed when he is a child.  He grows up, training to be a warrior so he can then ultimately avenge his family.

Sometimes the best revenge is just setting yourself free from those who have harmed you, but ultimately it is to become stronger from the experience.

I was recently discussing a situation that had happened a number of years ago.  It had to do with extremely disrespectful behavior from a distant family member.  In short, their behavior towards me was to snub and ignore me at every possible opportunity.  At the time, I wasn’t really in the emotional space to blatantly tell her to “f*ck off”, although she really deserved that.  I harbored the resentment and suffered through it.  Time passed and I have since been able to tell my story, have the situations acknowledged and gained defense on my behalf.  Her punishment, if you will, has been to lose favor and attention.  Something that pisses her off more than anything.  I refuse to have any contact with her, and she is not allowed in my home, and this is respected by my sweetie.  We can’t cut her off completely, due to the complicated family dynamics, but she doesn’t get her Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving either.

I never did anything to deserve this treatment, which is acknowledged and defended by my sweetie.  If anything, I was kind and thoughtful of her from the very beginning, even when she acted anything but.  She’s rude and mean and that’s that.  And yes, I’m still pretty pissed at her for her actions.

What I have come to realize is that I can be thankful for the way she acted.  Because of her, I am stronger.  The various encounters taught me that I do not have to be someone’s stomping ground.  My feelings, my very self are important and I MATTER.  I don’t get to be beat up by anyone any more.  I picked up the sword of Conan to avenge myself.  A sword doesn’t need to be used to hack someone’s head off.  I sword says “I am protecting myself.  I am strong and powerful, but I am a peaceful warrior until I am harmed.  Then you will suffer my wrath.”  (Again, without the severing of heads, although that can be done metaphorically.)  

Even though we are spiritual beings, it is important to remember some truths.  Looking for the good in everyone does not mean you should be blind to their faults or allow them to misuse your kindness.  Some people are just inherently mean and you don’t have to suffer them.  Protecting yourself and being assertive is a spiritual practice.  Saying No to peoples’ demands and bad behavior is honoring yourself.  If you don’t honor yourself first, you cannot honor someone else.  You cannot fix people.  When you stand your ground, people will learn to respect you even if they don’t like you.

And, whatever doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger.

For What It’s Worth

vw-camper-336606_1920“There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down”

Buffalo Springfield, Atco Records, December 23, 1966

The 1960s were a time of great happenings and much turbulence.  Not much different than what we are experiencing in today’s times.  During the 60s, we witnessed these events:

The Vietnam War
John F. Kennedy elected president and assassinated
The Cold War
Bay of Pigs
Cuban Missile Crisis
Senator Robert Kennedy assassinated
Richard Nixon elected president and later impeached
The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr
The Charles Manson cult murders
The violence at the Altamont Free Concert
Protests, protests and more protests
And yet,

We put a man on the Moon
Johnson establishes Medicare
The Beatles invade American music
The rise of the Hippie culture
The Summer of Love
The Woodstock Festival
Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have A Dream” speech; wins Nobel Prize
Civil Rights Act
Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress
The birth of the birth control pill
The first airing of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas”
Daylight Savings Time enacted

So much crazy and so much good.  Think of the fabulous music that came out of this turbulence and the impact it still has on us today.  No to mention all the other major events.

It is difficult not to freak out when life is just downright nuts.  We fear for our safety and survival.  We fear for our children.  We fear for our health.  We fear for our money and our property.

We fear for our very lives.

But when we fear, we let the Dark take over and bring even more things to fear.  During these times, we must go deep within our soul and promise to care for our self.  We must draw upon our inner well of courage and determination.  We must look to Spirit and ask that the Universe bring about peace.  We must continually give gratitude for all the good we have, because it is only when we are grateful do we bring more into our lives to be grateful for.

“There’s something happening here”, and it’s drawing everyone together, making the commitment to build a better, more peaceful life for all.  For those of us who have lived through the 60s, we know things get better.

And for all those on Veterans Day, thank you for your service.

You Gotta Have Faith

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Photo: Pixabay – Jills

A great song by George Michaels, who looked hot in the video, but not the subject of this post.  Faith could be that one friend who always sticks by you no matter what and knows all your little secrets and silliness.  The kind of friend everyone should have.  But the faith I am referring to is what lies deep within your heart.  The knowingness that all will be taken care of in the best possible way.

Faith says that no matter what sh*tstorm is blowing through your life, you will get through it and there will be a bright light on the other side.  Faith is knowing that the Universe has your back and will deliver what is best for you.

Faith is accepting that the Universe really does know what is best for you, even it if might not what you would like.  Maybe that romantic partner that you would like to be a permanent partner, but doesn’t work out.  You wanted them because they were decent, fun and responsible.  You thought you had found The One.  When they left you adrift, you couldn’t understand why the Universe took them away.  Take another look and search your heart.  Was there something about them that you didn’t really like, but chose to overlook?  Maybe they drank too much, or spent money like water.  You thought you could handle that.  Remember, the Universe has your back.  Do you really think that person would have exited your life if they weren’t the very best for you? 

Have Faith, because someone better is on the way to you.

It’s the same thing with any other thing in your life that is difficult.  The Universe will find a way to get it out of your life if it isn’t in your highest good.  That crappy job.  The friend who always mooches.  Cramped living conditions.  If you let go and have faith, something better will show up in your life.

Now, you can fight every step of the way.  You can stay in any of those situations, but they will get worse until you wonder why you are putting up with the sh*t.  Let it GO.  When you release the kung-fu grip you have on a something bad you open yourself up to better possibilities.  Listen to your heart and take the steps to make a change.  Allow yourself to roll through the uncertainty and turmoil of the change, and the Universe will steer you to a better path.

You just gotta have a little Faith.

Mega-Madness

lottery-146318_1280Are you the lucky person holding the billion dollar lottery ticket?  If so, your life is about to change in ways you might not have imagined when you decide to use your car payment to buy tickets.  At least that will be paid off.  Or will you just trade it in for a top-of-the-line Maybach?  Probably for one for every day of the week.

I’m not so certain winning that amount of money is such a good idea.  Maybe the home that you love and have lived in for a long time will have to go.  Unscrupulous people will camp out on your lawn.  You might have to hire security to guard your home and follow you around.  Your spouse might leave you, taking half the money (not that they aren’t entitled).  Maybe the happiness that you have been experiencing in your life will suddenly turn into worry and fear.  If the government can’t manage a billion dollars, how can you?

Some people are good at managing money; I hope you are one of them.

A billion dollars can make a difference in many lives.  South Carolina was recently affected by the hurricanes and is in the process of recovering and rebuilding.  Maybe the winner will provide some community support, not saying that they should give away all or any of their winnings.  But what do you really do with that much money?  Many banks have an insurance cap of $250,000.  Think of how many bank accounts you would need to shelter those dollars, and the corresponding number of passwords you would have to remember.  I can barely remember the few I have.  It’s still hurricane season, so that trip to the Cayman Islands might have to wait.

I wish you well, whoever or whoevers you are.

Me, I don’t play the big lotteries.  Too much responsibility and disruption.  Winning the lottery for me would be to lessen my responsibilities so I play the smaller state version.  Then I can pay off my house and be able to pay people for services that make my life easier.  I just want the freedom to determine what my day is like, and not be on someone else’s time clock.  To  have fun and enjoy life.  To create and follow my passions.  That doesn’t take a mega amount of money.

Maybe just some minor-madness.

Me Who?

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I hesitated to write this article for fear that it would come across as a political and/or hate-filled rant, so I decided to address it from my own experience.

 

I, too, am a victim of sexual molestation.

 

The first time was when I was 13, and the second at age 16.  Both times were perpetrated by a family member (not the same one).  The first event was more profound and many of the details are as clear in my mind today as they were at 13.  Do the math, I’m 58 now.  Trauma imprints details indelibly on the brain.  Why do you think it is called Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder?

I don’t remember all the details, just specific ones.  I don’t remember the exact day or time.  It was a hot, sunny summer afternoon.  I specifically remember the where, the who, the jeans I was wearing and exactly what occurred.  And I remember the secondary event that followed the next day.  I remember feeling that I was mature enough (at 13?!) to handle the situation and that I could stop it.  Some bizarre part of my brain felt sophisticated.  I even remember asking the perp if he had done this to his younger sisters.  Yes, really.  I don’t remember his answer, nor do I really want to speculate.  I’m not the judge of that.

The emotional whirlwind that came after has followed me to this day, even as I write these words.  Initially, there was a mind-numbing sickness due to some books he showed me of perverted acts.  Shame, fear and even guilt that I had somehow caused this.  Ridiculous as I was 13 and he was an adult.  Now I know that as Person in a Position of Trust and could have put him in jail.  I couldn’t tell anyone; my family life wasn’t very supportive.  At some point, I mentioned it to my grandmother without really telling her anything and her reaction was something like “I don’t want to hear this.”  So I lived with the shame and fear until sometime in my forties, when I decided that I needed to make changes in my life.

Sexual molestation creates life-long damage.  My sexuality suffered.  I experienced difficult relationships with men that played out from deviant behavior to smothering.  When I finally acknowledged my pain and did the healing work, I was able to enter into a relationship with a man who helped me find my sexuality in a normal, natural and loving way.  My sweetie is a good man.

There are hundreds of thousands of women AND men like me, who are ashamed and afraid to speak out.  Many have and I hope many more will.  Imagine the global healing, and hopefully change this will create.  The trauma will always be with you, but doing the healing and therapy work brings acceptance within.  You must do the grieving.  You must forgive yourself for being in the situation and not being able to do anything about it.  Shame is very much about self-hatred; you didn’t take care of yourself.  Only then can you put the trauma in a neutral place.

Why do people perpetrate sexual molestation on others?  I don’t know.  There are plenty of theories.  Family conditioning, societal pressure, having been a victim and on and on.  How about “because I LIKE it”?  There are mean and predatory people in this world, who are not necessarily socio- or psychopaths.  When they are confronted, they deny or throw a tantrum like a spoiled child who got their toy taken away.  It takes an enormous amount of self-will not to get outrageously angry when I see antics like this.  The urge is strong to want to give them a swat on the a$$ like a tantrum-throwing child deserves.

However, I do believe in karma.

I was probably in my thirties when I heard through the family grapevine that the perp had an industrial accident.  Something hit him in the groin hard enough to blow out a testicle.  Feeling vindicated, I gave thanks that day and I really think that was what started me down the road to healing.

Karma can be a real bitch when she’s been wronged.  Allow her to help you heal.

Rest and Digest

brunch-788499_1920Or not eating while you are stressed.  I’ve been reading a book “The Microbiome Diet” by Raphael Kellman, MD  (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2014) and it is about getting your gut healthy to boost your immune system and lose weight.  Very helpful and a good read.

There is a section in the book that talks about eating while you are stressed and that your body says “we are at war and need to hold onto every last drop of food ‘cause starvation’s coming!”  (statement, mine)  I agree, because what do we so often do when we’re in squirrel-chasing mode but shovel in food.  Usually crap that makes you feel horrible in the middle of the night when your body gets around to deciding whether or not to digest it.

Stress can be blamed for everything.  Sort of like a younger sibling.  Only meaner.  And with red hair.

So you gotta stop, unwind yourself from the electronic device, breathe deep and then sit down to dinner.  Without the television or device.  When was the last time you actually sat down to dinner and had a conversation with the people in your house?  Try it sometime, they have interesting things to say and there will be happy tummies on the way.  Keep doing that and you might not have a group cold virus ruling your house this winter.

I’ve been yapping a lot lately about how busy I have been.  Got some of those outdoor chores done, and I just finished a big project at work.  So I finally have a slow day, and I don’t know what to do with myself.  Hah!  See what happens when you are a stress-activated junkie and you don’t get your fix.  Ya just get more anxious.  So I made myself relax and enjoy the peaceful day.  When I sat down to lunch, after my walk, I did it with the idea of enjoying my food.  It wasn’t the greatest choice of food, but I took the time to savor and chew slowly.  It seemed to taste better and my tummy isn’t protesting.

Digesting isn’t just limited to eating.  Accepting new ideas, behaviors, situations, or whatever also need to be digested.  If you allow yourself to relax, you’ll clear your mind to accept or have the wisdom to make changes.

And then you’ll have more time to relax and have dinner with those strangers that live in your house.

Droid-ful

p1135496_e_v8_ab[1]Are you one of those people (like me) who continuously feel responsible for everyone and everything?  It gets to be exhausting, not to mention it just pisses you off when other people blissfully let you do their work.  You get on this endless treadmill of work-work-work and you never seem to have any time for yourself.  But you do have time by yourself, you are on that treadmill alone.  How do you get off?

Maybe you don’t really want to.

You have the power, after all.  You are calling the shots, and yes, it is controlling and enabling.    But none of this really makes you a terrible person.  There are often deep-seated reasons for your actions.

Behind control lives fear.  You have fear and anxiety of what might happen if you don’t keep control.  You like, no Need, your environment to be a certain way.  People who have experienced trauma, especially childhood trauma, often use control as a coping mechanism to avoid repeating the trauma.  If you do things to make your environment safe, or take on other people’s responsibilities to keep you safe, then somehow this translates to not repeating the event or issue.

But you will never feel safe until you give up control to the Universe to guide the outcome.

Another aspect of controlling actions is energetic sensitivity.  Maybe you perform the duties of others just to avoid being around them.  You know, that crabby complaining-about-everything person you have to work with.  You’ll do anything to keep them away.  Or the flip side, an under-performer who is a really awesome person and you don’t want them to get fired.  Neither of which serves them or you.  You are just an energetic sponge.

How do you protect yourself from this stuff?

First of all, you must let people be responsible for their own stuff.  How will they ever learn to be self-sufficient and thoughtful of others if you continue to interfere with their life lessons?  You are here for your own, why heap their pile on top?  Stop enabling and suffer through the outcome.  The reality is that it is never as bad as you imagined.  Sometimes those people really pull through and just surprise the hell out of you.

Secondly, deal with the trauma.  You will never heal if you don’t.

Anxiety is just obsessing over an unknown future.  You could get hit by a truck tomorrow and it will be all over and look what you missed out on.  If you focus on the now and doing whatever you need to do in the now, the future will become the now.  Practice grounding.  Grounding into the Earth keeps you connected in the now.  Create an energetic boundary.  Imagine yourself completely surrounded by an egg-shaped light.  It should be about three feet outside your body.  Imagine that it is impenetrable except for only love-based energy, which flows in and out.  Know that you are safe and secure inside this light.  This is great protection for the energy sensitive.

And know without a doubt, if you ask, the Universe will keep you safe and give you red-flag warnings of action steps that keep you safe.  The Universe will also provide you with the best possible outcome for your highest good.

Me, I’m thinking of getting a droid.  Sort of a clone of myself.  I’m going to program it with all the nonsensical, enabling, controlling behaviors that rule my inner world.  Then I’m going to lie down on the sofa, take a nap, and dream up ways to make my world lesson free.

Your Body, Your Choice

 

clothes-2029337_1280If you follow my blog, you know that I write about emotional issues and beliefs, many of which are from personal experience.  I pose challenging questions in the hopes that you think about them and make changes so you can live your best life.  I wish that for everyone and that is what we are here for.

This time, I am asking you to challenge your beliefs.  It is a very controversial subject, but one that is near-and-dear to me both personally and professionally.

It is the choice of when to have or not have a baby.

Babies are very precious.  They bring much needed light and life to the world and teach us that humans are amazing.  Because they are so precious, they deserve to be born into a family that is ready and able to give them the love and care they need to thrive.

Human beings are biologically wired to have sex, which can lead to procreation.  Males are wired to have it quickly and often.  Females take their time to choose the best mate.  Increasing the vitality of the herd, so to speak.  The human component of this is a loving family.

Biology rules, in spite of our denial of it.  The moment we start producing hormones, the urge to mate begins.  I’m sure that the global impact of media and entertainment can stimulate this somewhat prematurely, but nothing stops biology.  Certainly not denial.  It is important to acknowledge this.  Acknowledge what might be happening.  That preteen, supposedly studying with a friend in their bedroom while you are snoozing during the evening news.  The college student, far away from home for the first time, is lonely and goes to a party with friends.  The adult, emotionally battered from a neglected childhood, equating love with sex.  And the list goes on.

The biggest gift you can give your child is teaching them the facts of biology and how to respect and honor their body.  Their body, their choice.  Teach them that No is a complete sentence.  Teach them to respect someone else’s no and move on.  Teach them to protect their body from disease or unintended pregnancy.  Teach them to honor someone else’s decision to protect their body.  Your child is precious.

The argument is that a baby is a gift from Spirit.  Well, absolutely.  No argument there.

I truly believe that Spirit created human bodies with unconditional love.  We are placed upon Earth with Free Will choice in order to experience life and grow our spirit.  The ultimate goal is to live our best life, give and receive love, and find our way back to Spirit.  If all of this is true, and Spirit gifted us with Free Will Choice, doesn’t that mean we get to decide when to have, or not have, a baby?  Isn’t honoring your body a Thank You to Spirit for its creation?

If instead we believe that this is entirely up to Spirit, why would Spirit allow a baby to be born into an abusive home with possibly fatal consequences?  If we exercised our free will choice, then isn’t that like protecting the baby prior to its conception?

Babies are precious.

This subject has deep personal meaning to me.  If my birth parents had the resources to protect their bodies, I wouldn’t be here.  I am okay with that.  I may have, instead, been born into a loving home and not had to spend most of my life struggling to resolve the emotional damage from my present life.  My mother was a teenager when I was born.  She missed graduation and all the other fun things of teenage and young adult life.  Her boyfriend, my father, was older – an adult – and chose not to give up his lifestyle for family life.  I held little interest for him since I wasn’t a boy.  Three lives have been impacted by not having a choice.  Well, I suppose I wouldn’t be trying to help others if I hadn’t had that experience.

Professionally, I am at the front lines of the consequences of unintended pregnancies.  I work for a government social services agency.  Thankfully, I handle money and not directly interact with clients – it would break my heart.  Each month, we experience these results.  Each year it costs more and we receive less funding to provide services.  We treat sexually transmitted infections, dispense planning methods, do cervical cancer screenings, process paternity tests, accept child support payments, authorize public assistance payments to families who can’t afford to feed their growing family and much more.  The numbers keep growing and the costs go up.  We rescue babies and children from homes where the parents struggle with substance abuse, have mental health issues, incur sexual abuse, bring violence into the home that may result in a fatality.  There are too many children in foster homes.  These homes are expensive.  Some of these children never return to their birth family.  Some of them may get adopted by a loving family, but even then, a few are returned to foster care because the new family cannot cope with the severe emotional and behavioral issues of the children.  It tears at my heart to see these numbers growing.  When and where does it stop!!!

Denial will not stop it.  Celibacy will not stop it.  Incarceration will not stop it.

It stops where it begins.  Your Body, Your Choice.

Honor and respect your body by making the choice.  Honor and thank Spirit for your body by making the choice.  But most of all, honor the babies and children by letting them be born to someone who is ready and capable of loving and caring for them.

Because. . .babies are precious.

 

For Kathy B: It is not how many you reach, but reaching the one who gets the message.  For each one who does, the energy will radiate out and multiply.  Many Blessings.