Archive for September, 2008

How Do You Decide?

I got a B in Ethics during my graduate studies, the only B I earned (yes, the rest were A’s, what else?). I took it in my last semester when my brain was a crusty mass of charred marshmallow. It was a useless course that did not prepare me for the dangerous ground of psychological jurisprudence I was soon to encounter as a therapist. 

But there was this one thing. It was a question, asked at the beginning of the semester by one of my professors. This question has stayed with me ever since, and I often drag it out with my clients when they’re facing tough decisions. The question is this: 

How do you decide what you decide?

I remember it so distinctly because the professor who asked it suffered from Cerebral Palsy. She had a difficult time enunciating her words. Thus the question – how do you decide what you decide? – came out with a kind of painful deliberation, as if the question was so important she made sure she took the time to speak each word as clearly as possible.

How     do you      decide       what       you    decide?  

It’s an ontological question, aimed at the foundation of our being. I hope to spend some time on this question in the next several posts. Meanwhile, ask it of yourself, and, if you want, give us an answer.

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Long (too long) Gone

My apologies. I’ve been gone too long. 

When I started this blog I determined to write in the midst of struggles and journeys and transformations. To be honest and authentic, and maybe even a little raw. 

Yeah, well.

It would be easier in some ways if my struggles were a little more tangible than they’ve been. You know, writing through a pregnancy, an illness, a new job, or a new hobby. But honestly, my journey is mostly in my head, and sometimes I’m a little chagrined by what’s there. Sometimes I think my midlife experience is an addiction to angst. Sometimes I think I’m on the brink of greatness, and we’ll all be happy that I documented it – whatever it is. Who really knows, after all?

I wonder where the line between vulnerable transparency and over-dramatic tmi gets drawn, in the world of blogging. Some bloggers merely elude to some deep and difficult tumult going on inside, leaving me frustrated and confused, and ultimately not trusted to know the particulars. I hate that. On the other hand, some bloggers are merely emotional exhibitionists, providing fodder for the emotional voyeurs among us.

I’t’s hard to find what’s just right, especially when your children are regular readers, or when your clients may stop by for a read. You never know.

So I’ve been thinking a lot. Still deconstructing. I just came up for air to say hey.

And to give you a sneak peek at the temporary website for my coaching business, Resonance: Your Life, In Tune. Take a look and tell me what you think.

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For someone so sure she’s made for joy, I’ve certainly been in a rotten mood lately. I can’t seem to shake a mood of agitation, frustration, and downright anger, ever since Sarah Palin came on the scene a few weeks ago. I keep chiding myself for being so reactive, so activated by something as petty as politics, but thanks to this article, I feel much better. If you’re interested in some of my thoughts about Palin, check out my other blog here.

Which leads me to the next thing I know for sure: I am some kind of tuning fork for some kind of vibe.

Whether it’s cosmic reality, the unseen spiritual realm, or the collective unconscious, I sense things from time to time that are beyond me. The political shadow that Chopra writes about in Huffington Press, is part of what’s been bothering me. There are deeper, more primal forces being released in this campaign, reflecting a crucial time in the history of our society, that are floating around in the air somehow, and I sense them way before I can identify them. Knowing this helps my mood significantly. Vague as it may seem, I resonate with something out there

Back in April at a Newfield Network weekend, we did an exercise designed to demonstrate how connected we human beings are to each other. Simply moving around the room, looking into someone’s eyes and saying, “I am you,” and receiving the same in return, generated a sense of that reality. By the time the exercise concluded, I felt a tangible resonance in the room, almost a hum, or a harmonic vibration – I kid you not. I felt this sensation in my body, heard it in my mind, and felt it in my heart for the next 12 hours.

If you’ve ever played around with a tuning fork and an acoustic sound board, like a guitar, you’ll know what I’m referring to. My husband used to use a tuning fork for his guitar. After the instrument was in tune, he would pluck a string and then put the tuning fork on the sound box of the guitar, and, without striking the tuning fork, it would begin to sing along with the vibration of the string. That’s what I felt like in that room in April – I was resonating with something that had come into tune, and I literally felt the vibration for the next 12 hours.

I’m not sure how to explain this, or what to conclude from it, but it’s just something I know for sure.

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The first thing I know for sure is that I am made to run on joy. 

Those who know me in real life probably wouldn’t say joy, first thing, when they think of me. They might say I’m mellow, or wise, or safe, or deep, insightful, articulate, or smart. These are good things all, and I can say, flat-out and matter-of-fact, they’re true. But these are ways of being I’ve cultivated because living on joy was too good to be true. Living in joy has not been my experience. Joy, in my home growing up, was a bit dangerous. So I became something else instead. 

This trick of hiding your true nature and becoming something else instead is a psychological/developmental trick I call protecting the precious. When a an aspect of a child’s essence is so precious, and so at risk on a daily basis, a child will often hide it away and become something hardier instead. It’s a brilliant, if tragic, coping strategy, brilliant because it preserves a remnant of the precious to be reconstituted later.

Joyful, playful, creative being is my precious.

Three experiences that tell me I’m sure about this joy thing:

1. A yoga instructor I practiced under once told me he had misunderstood my personality at first. He said he used to think I was a very calm person. But after observing me for several months, he said he now believed my true nature is joyful. He said, “your true nature is joyful, but you make yourself calm. This makes your body very sad.” My body has been sad for decades!

2. A new member of the church I used to pastor thought my name was Joyce, and called me Joyce whenever he saw me. When I protested, he said I must have been Joyce in a former life. Another member then piped in, “in that case, you’d be Rejoice (re-Joyce),” and according to this man, I’ve been Rejoice ever since. I wonder if he even remembers my real name. Whenever he calls me Rejoice, I suspect it’s God trying to get through to me that it’s time to quit protecting the precious.

3. People often complement me on my laugh. I’ve had complete strangers tell me I have a beautiful laugh. My friend Judi will call me out of the blue and make me laugh, just so she can hear the sound. Something about that kind of built-in, body-generated mechanism tells me there’s something to this joy thing.

Joy is my highest value.

Joy is the juice of the universe.

This is something I know for sure.

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Other Questions

In coming present to my potential list of things I know for sure, I’ve discovered that, on the way, I need to make a couple of other lists:

1. Things I know, but don’t know I know. Sometimes they need to come out my mouth before I know that I know them. 

2. Things I don’t want to know that I know. Things I’m afraid to face, or have been denying in one form or another for much too long.

3. Things I forget I know. 

hmmm…this could get real personal, real fast.

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Knowing For Sure

(News update: One little SOS to WordPress, and they restored my blog. Oops, they said, sorry. I don’t get what happened, and they didn’t explain, but at least I’m back up. I’m desperately relieved.)

Knowing For Sure

Lately I’ve been giving some good advice to people and it goes like this: make a list of things you know for sure, then hang on to them until the shaking stops. Once you’ve stopped shaking, something solid has formed in your soul. Build on this.

There are many ways to know, but we discount three fourths of them. Head, heart, intuition, body – these are all valid ways of knowing. Spiritual knowing is under the category of intuition. Emotional knowing is under the category of heart. The body knows many things as well – elemental things, essential things. We would do well to listen better than we do.

We get in trouble when we dismiss whole domains of knowing, in favor of what we know with our heads, when we limit ourselves to holding onto only those things we can explain, to the satisfaction of those who only value what’s rational. This is how we betray ourselves, do damage to our essential equipment for living. We give away our authority, and live as slaves to the knowings of others. 

You know that you know something for sure when it resonates from head to toe: head, heart, gut (intuition), and feet (body). Get your knower in tune, and it rings true, all the way through. Get enough of these resonating strings together, and pretty soon you know what kind of instrument you are. Once you know what kind of instrument you are, you can know what kind of music you’re made to play – and what you’re not.

Lately I’ve been thinking it’s time to take my own advice. If it’s not too personal, I hope to share some of these things in the days to come.

Now that I’m back.

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