Tuesday, January 17, 2017

On A Shelf









I put My grief On a shelf
In the Back of my heart
in Saran Wrap bundles
so I can feel safe after thirty years of grief

Of course I am not

Nothing is Strong Enough To
Hold it back

for very long

Sunday, January 8, 2017

poem #12





My child died
of drugs,
trying to
expand
her
consciousness.

Dealing with her
death
has
expanded mine
far, far
beyond
&
has
made  reality

possible.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Seven Basic Feelings   SAD

The seven basic feelings are;
Mad
Sad
Glad
Hurt
Afraid
Shame
Hope

Whenever I state these, people always ask me, well, what about love?  I answer that love is the core of everything.  It is called many things, but feeling connected to others and ourselves is our basic humanness.  The other seven are ancillary and help us negotiate the basic problems of love. 

Love is the most basic need of all.  To feel welcomed, valued, honored and accepted (to name a few) is what every one of us hopes to achieve.

Each feeling has its accompanying need and consequence if not met.

So I am going to take each feeling and expand on it a bit in hopes that people can begin to articulate what they are feeling a little better.  That helps a lot in relationships

It always amuses me that if you ask a an what he feels, he will tell you what he thinks and obversely, if you ask a woman what she thinks, she will likely tell you what she thinks.  The integrating of thinking and feelings creates the outcomes we all desire.  Putting who you are back on what you do.

The next feeling on the list is SAD.  Sad is also a very basic emotion, so basic that we have to stop little boys from crying as soon as possible, at least before they start kindergarten.   Girls get a pass for being “Tomboys” until about adolescence, then they have to become young ladies.   Hopefully that is changing for males.

There is so much to be said about grief that it is hard to know where to start, given that I have experienced grief as the great heal and simultaneously the most profound change agent available.  As the Bobby “Blue” Bland song goes, “You’ve Got to Hurt Before You Heal” because when humans lose something they value it changes us.

Grief requires comfort and expression.  If those two needs aren’t met people become cynical and, often, bitter.   This usually leads to distancing and further isolation.    If, on the other hand, they are met, healing, recovery and building a new life are possible, even likely.

Part of what makes grief so difficult and tricky is that it is easy to disconnect feelings from the cause.  Nothing turns hostile quicker than unexpressed grief.  Grief goes on longer then we expect or have the patience for because rebuilding after a major loss is slow, hard work.


I remember about five years after my daughters’ death I decided that that was enough grieving on my part, so I didn’t go to the cemetery or do any of my usual honoring of her life that year.  Imagine my surprise when I started hearing from my husband (not her father) “what is wrong with you, you are snappy and hostile in ways we Morrie & David, (my stepson) don’t deserve.  I was very surprised; I didn’t think anything was wrong.  In fact I was proud of myself for my decision.  It took a couple of days to realize that my decision to not honor her and myself was the “cause” of my hostility.    That disconnect happens so fast.  I have learned that I don’t have to do much anymore, just acknowledge the important anniversary dates, then I can move on.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Seven Basic Feelings



The seven basic feelings are;
Mad
Sad
Glad
Hurt
Afraid
Shame
Hope

Whenever I state these, people always ask me, well, what about love?  I answer that love is the core of everything.  It is called many things, but feeling connected to others and ourselves is our most basic humanness.  The other seven are ancillary and help us negotiate the basic issues surrounding love.  

Love,feeling connected,  is the most basic need of all.  To feel welcomed, valued, honored and accepted (to name a few) is what every one of us hopes to achieve.

Each feeling has its accompanying need and consequence if not met.

So I am going to take each feeling and expand on it a bit in hopes that people can begin to articulate what they are feeling a little better.  That helps a lot in relationships

It always amuses me that if you ask a man what he feels, he will tell you what he thinks and obversely, if you ask a woman what she feels, she will likely tell you what she thinks.  The integrating of thinking and feelings creates the outcomes we all desire.  Putting who you are back on what you do. 

Starting with MAD; Mad needs a target, if that need is not met it becomes rage, passivity/hostility.  If it is met anger becomes assertiveness, and the ability to act on one’s own behalf.



Anger is a natural emotional response to disappointment.  When anger is shut down through intimidation or intellectual co-opting, the unnatural and abnormal response of passivity and/or hostility are created and reinforced

                                       When a discrepancy exists between
                                      Between what I have and what I wan

                                       I should experience and express anger
             
                                 Not expressing anger, leads to;                                                     
  

                  Withdrawal/Passivity .............  ....................................Blame/Hostility                                                                                               
(I don’t care “                                                                                                 “You people screwed
“It doesn’t matter”                                                                                                  me again”






If I can express anger, that leads to;

Assertiveness, which leads to
(the ability to act on one’s own behalf)

Access/Examine/Strategize/Plan, which leads to
(the practical expression of self worth)

Results
(the natural outcome of being able
to express your anger)



Tuesday, December 6, 2016

A Walk Alone

But grief is a walk alone
Others can be there, and listen.  But you will walk
alone down your own path. at your own pace. with
your sheared-off pain, your raw wounds, your
denial, anger, ane bitter loss.  You'll cone to your
own peace, hopefully ...but it will be on your own,
         in your own time

Cathy Lamb
Out of the Ashes

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Two Levels of Human Life


I am always amazed when I witness a couple arguing the same issue they have been for all their married life.  How can this be, that two adults who raised kids together, ran households and businesses, etc. can’t come to a resolution about something as simple as “What’s for dinner?”   How can that get so gnarly so fast?

There are lots of reasons for that state of affairs, mostly it’s old stuff, but for this post I want to focus on one aspect.  It is usually the case that one partner is “rational” and measured “while the other is “emotional” and erratic.  We tend to chalk it up to the difference between the sexes.  It often looks that way.  I have come to believe that it is more about the differences in the levels of human interactions.

There are two levels in each of us; there is the thinking/doing side and the feeling/being side.  Each aspect plays an important role in the trinity of success, which is; a feeling processed through the intellect and then translated into behavior.   Unfortunately we have so emphasized the thinking/doing side that the feeling/being side has basically been consigned to the dustbin in most of our lives.

The thinking/doing side is about all the things we accomplish and get done.  The feeling/being side is about our hopes and dreams, our values, our feelings, our self-esteem, namely all those invisible, intangible, immeasurable parts that, in fact do measure our happiness and well-being. 

As we grow up, most of us got all our accolades and kudos from what we do, like grades, sports, and music or just for being “good”, while our internal lives are ignored or disregarded as a nuisance.  So by the time we are teenagers we have become human doings, as opposed to human beings. 

In the example above, the couple keeps trying to solve their feeling issues by thinking it through.  That often works for a little while, but soon enough, they will be right back to the ten-year-old arguments.  So it would be a good thing for them to begin “thinking” about their “being” parts.  Perhaps drag them out of the dustbin and feel what this is really about. 

This internal divide is a result of all the decisions we made growing up, to be safe from scolding and shame and discomfort.   It is a matter of discovering what those decisions were and making new ones from the adult that eases those old patterns. 


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Foundation


From birth to death any human is inundated with information, input, stimuli, internal goings on and all sorts of chaos.  For the infant and growing up child it is their job to sort all that out and make sense of the world.  As they grow things happen around them that force a conclusion about their world and a subsequent decision on how to handle that conclusion. 

Unfortunately all the decisions we made at three and seven and twelve and all the years in between are as operational today as they were the day they made them.  So we end up in the absurd position of having a three year old in charge of our lives, because we haven’t made any new or different decision, these decisions are very difficult to access for two reasons. 

First they were often made before we had much language or the ability to conceptualize, second they were survival tactics and strategies for us as children.  Literally our survival was at stake. The strategies and tactics defended a child so the overwhelming pain of their emotions wouldn’t kill them.  These decisions are actually implemented over time, through trial and error -what is less painful then that action-and what fits a particular child’s way of being in this world.

Let me give an example;  Let's say a three year old witnesses a parent hurting a sibling and in the indignation only a three year only can muster, intervenes in the abuse.  Assuming, that, of course, the parent will do what is right.  Instead the abuse gets turned on this child.  So what happens internally to this child the next day, and the next and the next?  And for years, watching the abuse go on.  If she intervenes she gets hurt, and if she doesn’t she has to endure a sibling getting hurt.  So how does the child learn to handle that impossible ethical dilemma?


This small example sets the stage for how to unravel our inexplicable responses/behaviors to certain events that puzzle us and we haven’t a clue how to undo.