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I thought I knew it all

                   Then you were born.

You touched my soul to no end:

Your cries burrowed a well

Stirred my consciousness

Awakened humility

A collaboration of love and labor in its purest form.

I see my reflection in your brilliance and turbulence;

Shadows of the past to heal

Vital needs to nurture

Dreams to actualize

You have much to teach me,

I am ready to learn.

The sage’s way,
Tao is the way of water.

There must be water for life to be,
and it can flow wherever.

And water, being true to being water
is true to Tao.

Those on the Way of Tao, like water
need to accept where they find themselves;
and that may often be where water goes to the lowest places, and that is right.

Like a lake the heart must be calm and quiet
having great depth beneath it.

the sage rules with compassion,
and his word needs to be trusted.

the sage needs to know like water
how to flow around the blocks
and how to find the way through without violence.

Like water, the sage should wait
for the moment to ripen and be right:

water, you know, never fights

it flows around without harm.

The Tao Te Ching
by Lao Tzu

http://www.terebess.hu/english/tao/ramsay.html#Kap08

Thanks to my partner for buying the Tao Te Ching 12 years ago. I am grateful I never gave up trying to understand it because the writings are finally making sense on many levels of my life and playing out seamlessly. This only happens when I let go of attachment to things or expectations, and truly desire only goodness for our world and our people. I am honoured to share this world with you!
 

My son once asked me if I had a hero. My first answer was “yes, your Dad and my Dad”  but he retorted with, “No Dads.” I said OK, then Martin Luther King, Jr. He didn’t remember who he was so he got disinterested and moved onto playing (typical 6 yr old attention span). As I nursed and rocked my daughter to sleep, I thought of Dr. Bruce Perry as a hero too.  How well his research fit with my personal and professional experiences is what first called to me…

“The brain develops in response to the environment it’s in. I see these 13-year-old inner-city kids, and they’ve been exposed to beatings and shootings their whole lives, and all this other crap–and these kids are hostile, and doing gang signs, and don’t trust adults. I think their brains are perfect. They’ve adapted perfectly to their environment. It’s just that their environment hasn’t done right by them”…

After training with Dr. Bruce Perry, I read about a horrific act in his life which has truly inspired me:

“…his work firsthand knowledge of the power of a major emotional trauma…Friends and relatives had urged him [Bruce Perry] not to think about Arlis’s murder. Get right back in school, they told him. Get your mind off of it. ‘I don’t know if it was instinctual or what, but I didn’t feel that was what I should do. I had to get in control of what had happened, instead of having the event control me. When anyone is traumatized, they’ve got to make that transition away from being a victim. Something had happened that was completely out of my control. I had to get away from feeling that because unpredictable, uncontrollable things happen, I might as well not do anything.‘” Here is a link to an article that shares this story and some of his amazing insight on brain development, trauma, PTSD, veterans   and children: http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/child-abuse-on-the-brain/Content?oid=880031

Upon further reflection, I would also add my mother to my list yet I could fill a book about why. I will follow-up with my son about Martin Luther King Jr later as this is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of my son’s interest and to share real life example of peace and change.

“The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

I was relieved to read a CNN article that captured the iceberg of emotional pain and experiences that accumulates to such extreme endings. It is not one event that provokes us; it is a lifetime, even generations, of unmet needs, emotional violence and suppression of authentic self.  We cannot even learn new skills because we are too afraid to even admit that we have fault.

Click following link to read article, What if he were your kid? By Joshua Coleman http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/01/14/coleman.parents.arizona/index.html?hpt=T2

Personally, I think we all have fault and we are all responsible.

If you’d like to learn more about the evolution of violence and peace read the article, How Culture Shapes the Developing Brain and the Future of Humanity By James W. Prescott (Ph.D.) http://www.kindredcommunity.com/articles/how-culture-shapes-the-developing-brain-and-the-future-of-humanity/p/934

“The greatest terror a child can have is that he is not loved, and rejection is the hell he fears. I think everyone in the world to a large or small extent has felt rejection. And with rejection comes anger, and with anger some kind of crime in revenge for the rejection, and with the crime guilt — and there is the story of mankind.” John Steinbeck—East of Eden, 1952

“We are undoing a pattern that is not just our pattern. It’s the human pattern: we project onto the world a zillion possibilities of attaining resolution.”~ Pema Chödrön

Of course we want resolution. We want the story to finish. We love a Hollywood ending. But if we can drop the need for a tidy ending, the yearning to understand everything, for it all to make sense… that is freedom.

Every time I realize that I am repeating one of my old, unhealthy patterns, it hits me hard. Especially if I had thought, “This time, it’s different.” But it wasn’t different, it was exactly the same. And then I go through a little self-pity and negativity over perpetuating the pattern. (At the very least, that last phase keeps getting shorter and shorter…)

Even in this realization, there is progress. Identification of a pattern is step one. Choosing to take actions that will undo that pattern and develop a more empowering habit in its place is the second vital step.~Michelle Fajkus

Click this link to read full article, We can cultivate “an open state of mind that can relax with paradox and ambiguity.”

 http://www.elephantjournal.com/2010/12/how-to-stay-in-the-middle-way/

I frequently hear from people of all walks of life and ages:  I’ve tried that, it didn’t work.

 I have suffered from various traumas, depression and anxiety, and have dedicated my life to researching and applying healing interventions: I know it works…I have felt it work; I have seen it work time and time again.

I won’t lie, it is an extremely frustrating and enduring process to change habits and learn new skills. I think the struggle comes from our perception of trying and change as well as our ability to love ourselves through the resistance.

We complain about many valid things. However when it comes to the solution, we typically want the others (i.e. partner, friend, child, boss) to change. An unfortunate truth: You cannot change or control anyone. You can change your thoughts and behaviors which will in turn lead others to respond differently and change. But you must change first; fake it till you make it. I think too many marriages end, too many hearts break, and too many families disconnect because of this expectation or delusion of change.

We are humans…we are imperfect, we make mistakes. We can pretty much expect that we will mess up the first few times we try something new. We mess up even more when we are under stress. Most often the things we want to change are stressful, emotionally charged, and chaotic situations or relationships.  So even if you did try it once, twice or even ten times, I can guarantee you did something wrong. Like anything, you need to practice, practice, and practice…

I like the metaphor of learning to walk. Think about how many times a baby falls and hurts themselves trying their first steps. All the crying, cuts and bruises, they look silly and awkward as they learn. Do we ever tell babies to give up? Say it is OK. We will carry you everywhere. You can just use a wheel chair.  Of course not!!! We know walking is an awesome and liberating experience. We kiss all their booboos, pull out all the stops to encourage and support them in reaching their goal.

Trying new skills is awkward, scary, challenging and you will get hurt, but I guarantee that if you practice them (meaning you try it every time the situation occurs for at least 3 weeks or 20 consecutive times), your life will improve. The improvement is usually subtle; the outcome will most likely be different from what you expected; and you will discover something new to work on. This is progress, change, and growth.

And even with this awareness, I still resist and catch myself saying, It doesn’t work. I take a deep breath and gently nudge myself to try again.

Surprise…it works!  Cheers to unconditional love, deep breaths and baby steps.

 “Take your life in your hands and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame.” ~Erica Jong

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