Journaling this morning I had a little epiphany about my general discomfort with ambiguity. ‘Where are we going? When will we get there? Why are we going? Who will be there? What will we do? What will or whose will, will be done to us? Beanie, t-shirt, jacket, snacks?’

I thought if I understood what God wanted from me, I could perform life correctly and he’d reward me with love, protection, mercy, grace, food and shelter. I’ve generally been too scared to ask for much more. Neither God nor ‘goodness’, ‘badness’ or self-neglect were the reasons I’ve been hurt, went hungry or spent a few nights in a hammock behind one of my jobs; those injuries were the result of people, myself included. People hurt me so I hurt me. Then I let hurt people hurt me cause I convinced myself it’s what god wanted because of the Ten Commandments and all divorced women are whores in the eyes of god according to Father Peter, so you run into a brick wall and think it’s love but it turns out to be more pain. Vicious cycle.

Despite my degrees, daily devotions and years of research on human behavior, I still try to control…many things. I still fear God and beg for clarity, a map, an answer, a whisp of a sign that I’m not completely lost and hopeless. I still fall into the trap of attempting to perform life correctly despite the fact that it’s yet to prevent reality from plowing through the sugar-glass window of my facade. And, he still finds ways to reveal his love.

Back in the day I used to make and distribute itineraries for family events in which I scheduled the event itself alongside the patterned behaviors of each person attending, including the Drama.

At three pm so and so will likely say such and such and approximately two people will burst into tears. At three fifteen pm the sibling debriefing will be held behind the Yodarolla*. A complimentary roll of toilet paper stolen from the motel bathroom will be provided.

This way, we knew what was coming and could adjust our sails and expectations accordingly. Not to brag, but I think this was a completely brilliant and often hilarious defense mechanism.

The problem with defense mechanisms is, it’s no way to live. Delayed gratification, dark humor and self-control have their place, but being so tightly wound, your clenched jaw is about to break either a Guinness World Record or a molar, is painful and exhausting.

At the end of the day, we’re all skin bags of stardust floating in a galaxy surrounded by massive balls of fire and cheese…which kinda makes me want fondue. It’s also terrifyingly miraculous! Why aren’t we all just staring at the sky and the ground and each other like: Holy bananas!!! Look at that! Look at this!! Look at YOU! Isn’t it AMAZING?! But instead we have jobs and pay taxes and iron pants. I don’t iron pants but lots of people do and it’s so sad.

Aside from seat belts, retinol, helmets, hairspray and hand sanitizer, we’re basically in control of nothing. The entire human experience is a series of random events controlled, in part, by two opposing conductors battling for possession of the precious pieces (that’s us) gently suspended to an orbital chess board.

I’m not sure that’s scientifically accurate but basically, life is a wild, unpredictable ride. I’m psyched! And, because of my overactive brain stem and fried nervous system, I also kind of hate it. I want to know! I want to eat all the damned apples and just know exactly what I need to do to live in absolute, energetic efficiency so as to mitigate and preferably avoid, any further, preventable, painful, costly, exhausting disasters.

However, we are not born in the pursuit of perfection, we are born in divine Providence. Which means, things will be messy but they’ll also be beautiful. We just need to find the off switch; as in turning off the catastrophizing darkness of endless worry and turning on the Light.

This morning’s ah-ha was helpful. Awareness helps. Ending the day walking through a gently manicured nature preserve also helps. Considerably. Plants and animals, numbered and named along guideposts, were allowed to roam wild within the safety of an established garden. I freshly realized that between the perimeters of heaven and earth, anything can happen.

xo

Be still and know

11 thoughts on “Still

  1. If you didn’t realize it, I’m often inspired by your posts. It helps me with my own inner dialog. I also realize that, in the past, I’ve clogged your posts with my responses. Sorry. If you’re inclined, I wrote a post called “Rather Than Clog Things Up.” As with anything, I have no idea if it makes sense.

    Peace!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love when you write It out: “However, we are not born in the pursuit of perfection, we are born in divine Providence. Which means, things will be messy but they’ll also be beautiful. We just need to find the off switch; as in turning off the catastrophizing darkness of endless worry and turning on the Light.” ~In all Her Wizardy. Keep shining sister of mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “I thought if I understood what God wanted from me, I could perform life correctly and he’d reward me with love, protection, mercy, grace, food and shelter. I’ve generally been too scared to ask for much more.”

    Sounds like the difference between the prosperity gospel, and some kind of survival gospel…you’re concerned with basics, not material riches… but the thing that struck me is that the performance/reward view of God is actually quintessentially American, or so it seems to me…certainly in America there seems to be this view that if you’re rich it means God likes you / your behaviour, and conversely, if you’re poor, you deserve to be… (which is actually not what was said in the Sermon on the Mount…)

    I wonder what it does to you to grow up in a culture like that and get it by osmosis, so to speak. You wouldn’t necessarily even be aware of it; kind of like the brainwash of a dysfunctional family which can take decades to untangle. What usually gets me personally is not thoughts, but feelings – that’s my trap, with dysfunction – thoughts are so much easier to sort than feelings, by rational examination etc. And I wonder if that view of God was one you felt, rather than thought, and if you’d been asked you’d have said, “Of course not, God’s love is unconditional, I don’t believe in the prosperity gospel etc”?

    Thoughtful post as usual and I’ve just picked up on this particular point because I’m curious! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Western culture is a false meritocracy. It’s proclaimed by those in power that any person willing to work hard enough can achieve ‘success’. The issue with systemic oppression is that the word success, as you touched on, actually equates with survival. The inhumanity of oppression ignores socioeconomic and neurobiological realities. People do not choose to struggle. Not do we choose to be victims of trauma.

      If one’s trauma leaves them dysregulated and they were born without the safety net of things like parents with resource$ the likelihood of getting out of poverty is between 4-17%.

      On the flip side, those who are ‘surviving’ chronically question their worth and live with often debilitating anxiety that they could lose it all. They too sense the danger of not being ‘perfect’ and therefore ‘worthy’ of basic needs like housing, food and healthcare. Thus perpetuating the social violence fueled by the ‘win at any cost’ mentality. It all boils down to survival.

      I love your phrase ‘survival gospel’ and in many ways, that’s the undertone of religious abuse and how it’s been used as a weapon of oppression. Keep the poor and the unfortunate under the thumb of shame so they’ll be dutiful service workers who are easy to exploit. The masses are then fed rhetoric about ‘heroes’ and ‘enemies’ which turn us into compliant cogs seeking crumb awards where civility, equality and morality should be.

      To your point about thoughts versus feelings- so good! I’ve been researching OCD more lately and had an ah-ha about the brain. I believe in manifesting but many mental health experts have cautioned against it because for those of us with intrusive thoughts, it can be terrifying to hear that our thoughts become our reality. I think, thoughts activated by fear (the brain stem) are not the thoughts responsible for manifesting as fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. Instead, manifesting may be the result of beliefs rooted in positive associations made between the limbic system and prefrontal cortex; really good feelings that promote a mind/body/spirit expression of our highest self. A belief versus a fear-based response of the nervous system. The part I’m wrestling with is when we believe we’re bad or wrong or broken as a result of trauma or, living in a society that doesn’t love us. Yes, God’s love is unconditional but society is all about conditions.

      ‘You must be this tall to ride this ride.’

      Like

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