Being A Victim

Being a Victim

The other day I was up at the chemotherapy ward. I had a pleasant conversation with a 61 year old man. 11 years ago, he was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis. In spite of being ill he had a great attitude. He had these words of wisdom:

“If you find yourself asking: Why me? Change the question to: Why not me?”

 

I chose to share this today because it’s a reminder of a few things:

 

1. We aren’t alone in our pain and suffering

2. We are all equal

3. The Universe is benevolent; or at least neutral

4. Anything can happen

5. Making the most of NOW is the best thing to do

 

Really, you are not a victim. If you are, then we all are.

A friend of mine who is a pastor often says, “But for the grace of God, there go I.” What does that mean? It means that despite what we want and despite all our efforts, we can end up in any situation – for better or for the worst.

I know I am speaking to a broad audience. I imagine some of you are, objectively, fairly healthy. On the other hand, I imagine that some of you are in constant pain. What do you have in common? Everything!

There will be times of life when you can be the helper, and there will come a time when you need the help.

Open your heart to this reality and may you be touched with compassion for yourself and others.

Advertisements

Is Your Heart Open?

I imagine that somewhere in, what I presume to be an infinite multiverse, someone is looking through the windows of what, to us, is a closed down Blockbuster Video, and asking, “Is Your Heart Open?”

There are many magical ways to talk about the heart.  There are many great analogies and metaphors that bring us closer in our understanding of the heart and that open us to compassion.  Yet, I’ll look to the left and then to my right, and the world is still not a safe place.  To be nurtured it feels like we have to rig the game (of life).  It is as though, if we play our cards right we just might “enslave” a few people to care for us.

And there are some of us who want to care for others.  We think of caring as intrinsic to our worldview.  And there are others of us who don’t really care too much about it — maybe our lives are fairly independent and we’ve had a good deal of success (and we don’t want anyone else taking it away) or maybe we’ve been hurt so badly that to think of caring is to relive traumatic nightmares.

There are philosophies of the individual and philosophies of the collective.  We might be shaped by culture — political ideologies, religion, the sciences.  We might live in a part of the world that doesn’t do “hugs” or a part that does so many hugs that they are meaningless.

If you are alive, you are on some sort of journey.  I dare play the existential prophetic game.  I am sure we each have a unique path but there is some significance to the crossing of our paths.  How will we greet each other?  To what degree would you help, care about, and identify with your fellow traveller?  How open is your heart?

One of the beautiful things about the heart, is that it’s not prone to stay in middle states — it beats or it doesn’t, in other words.  Similarly, if we open our heart to live in a compassionate way, to say compassionate things, and have compassionate intentions, that open-heartedness beams full and bright.

Someone might say that they wish they could open their heart, but they just can’t.  So long as your living (and maybe even after your dead), you make the choice for this moment.  Can you define the three phases of a breath?  Inhale.  Pause.  Exhale.  That is a moment.  And if you can bring your attention to those three aspects of a single moment, you are further than many in your ability to open your heart.

The open heart is supple.  It is delighted easily.  It can take a lot of disappointment.  It is a giving entity.  It is a forgiving entity.  It doesn’t worry about who gets the last cookie, but cares only that everyone has had something sweet.

The open heart is soft.  It breathes quietly; sometimes deeply, sometimes not.  It’s eyes are seeing but not judging.

The open heart connects to our roots and to the sky.  If there is healing, it comes as a lightning bolt to the tip of our fingers.  If there is equanimity it wells up and supports us like a hundred year old oak.

Sometimes we pass over our own hearts.  We think that we are too damaged.  Too busy.  Too broken.  Too old.  Too young.  Too “normal”.  Too neurotic.  We aren’t one of the beautiful, rich people.  We might not be a nobel laureate.  We haven’t campaigned against land mines or given very much to Green Peace these days.  We might be sick; disabled; addicted; depressed.

Are you hurting somewhere in there, my friend?  Come on out.  Let a tear fall.  You too have a worthy heart.  You have much to give and in the course of this journey there are blessings to be had.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost Arts Radio – Sharing!

Today, just a quickie!

 

I have discovered this awesome radio program through YouTube.  It’s called Lost Arts Radio and it’s hosted by a great fellow named Richard Sacks in the United States.

It’s a health program… but health on levels that aren’t superficial.  He has many prominent guests that come on the show.

If you like to be informed on the state of the world.

If you will challenge your fear of red pill reality.

If you will open your mind, but more importantly your heart.

Then, this might be a gold mine for you!  I have been listening to the archives, but the next show is Saturday morning at 11am EST / 8am PST and after that there’s another on Sunday.

So I’m sharing this with you:

 

 www.lostartsradio.com

 

Be well.  Be happy.  Be filled with loving kindness 😀

3 Lessons from Carl Rogers

carlrogers

 

A few weeks ago I went on a bender of complaining to my therapist that I needed more appointments, that I was feeling rushed through our sessions, and that I didn’t feel we were talking about the things I needed help with.  My therapist was kind enough not to react to my venting but waited to respond.  She said to me that a lot of the “resistance” I push back with is because I have been in therapy for years.  I am used to the way old school therapy works.  Today, the model that many mental health agencies used is “brief therapy”.  The goal is to sort you out and then get you out.  Personally, I don’t agree with this approach.  Yes, I can hear the arguments about becoming dependent on a therapist, but my curt reply is “look at the other things people become dependent on — and tell me what’s worse!”

I spent some time in school studying therapy and psychology.  And as I’ve mentioned, I’m also a consumer or client or patient (whichever works for you).  I am probably the sickest person I know (being hubristic) but there a few things from my studies which I think everyone can use.  Everything I’m going to tell you, I am pulling from Rogerian therapy, also known as Client Centered Therapy, or Person-Centered Therapy.  It’s a humanistic psychotherapy.  Humanists believe in capabilities of other humans.  I think…

Maybe you’d like to watch a video of Carl Rogers giving “Gloria” therapy.  I find it entertaining, but then again, I’m an oddity.

YouTube – Carl Rogers and Gloria

Here are 3 lessons we can learn from Carl Rogers and the therapy model he created.  I feel these things can benefit most people and their relationship with their self and their relationship with others.

LESSON ONE

#1  –  UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD68

Unconditional Positive Regard (UPR) is psychobabble that means accepting and respecting others as they are without judgment or evaluation.

How to do it:

  • Don’t compare yourself to others or others to others
  • Forgive yourself / others – you did your best at the time
  • Do something to know yourself – journal, blog, paint, stare into the mirror

 

 

LESSON TWO

#2 – VALUE YOUR RELATIONSHIPSgrandma-cookies

In a sense, even the most antisocial of us still need people.  Relationships are powerful forces for good and not so good.  Relationships define part of you and facilitate your growth or stagnation.

How to do it:

  • Identify the people in your life – friend, lover, mother, child, nurse, mailman, warden, etc. even Tom Hanks character had Wilson the volleyball on the deserted island
  • Be aware of the time you give others and yourself.  Are there parts of your day that are invested in tripe?  Could you be investing more in yourself or others?
  • Write an email, bake some cookies, don’t screen your calls, crochet a scarf, have a date night, go to a tupperware party, smile at strangers, spend an afternoon in the ‘self help’ section of Chapters

 

 

LESSON THREE

#3 – PRACTICE EMPATHYempathy

Empathy is to put yourself in the shoes of another.  It’s a manner of caring that brings us very close to understanding from another’s perspective.  A lot of people don’t want to be fixed, they want to be heard.

How to do it:

  • Listen, ask questions, seek clarification
  • Be a participant, be vulnerable, be genuine
  • Close your eyes and imagine someone; what do they see, what do they feel, what do they want?  What is their “point of need” where you can fit?

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this post.  It feels very basic and limited because well… this is a blog, not a textbook.  And yet, if you practice a few of the things I mentioned, especially in the ‘How To’ sections, you will find a deep experience and some beneficial insights.

 

hug

 

Hunger

So, in my world, it’s the end of month.  It is a time when the cupboards are barren and the bank account is a few cents above a dreaded negative balance.  This happens almost every month.  It sucks.  Part of me really feels that social assistance for persons who are disabled needs to really start taking income support seriously.

 

Donation_box

 

As one counsellor said to me, “It’s 2015 and you live in Canada.  You should not have to go hungry.”

But I do.  And from recent conversations, I’m not the only one.

I admit, I’m a bit of a nerd and love to get on Reddit and discuss economic ideas and such.  But really, that’s just entertainment.  When you feel hunger pain, the will to argue falls by the wayside.  I personally resort to sleeping through the hunger episodes until payday.

I realize, though, that I do live in Canada, and my experience of hunger is not comparable to other places on our planet.  And it’s been noted that there is more than enough food to feed the entire planet, but that greed and protectionism do not endorse such a radical idea as everyone going to bed properly nourished.

 

hungerstats

 

What are the basics in life?  Food, shelter, water, air, clothing… Maslow called these are deficiency needs.  Basically, our basic physiological needs must be met before we can purpose our higher needs and explore our self-actualizing potential.

The policymakers and the government accountants, not to mention the grocery chains, don’t seem to care to adequately address problems of hunger, problems of homelessness, problems of clean drinking water, problems of co2 emissions.

If I ever need to see a picture of such willful destruction and ignorance, I am reminded of the oil fields set ablaze during the Gulf War.

 

kuwait-29

 

Personally, I cannot feel okay about people going to bed with hunger pains.  It’s perhaps one of the issues I would align myself with.  I feel passionately that food and what we put into our bodies and the availability of it, should be a fundamental and prioritized right of all beings.

There is a quote from Gandhi that is carved into a rock in New Delhi.  It reads:

 

mahatmagandhi225

 

“Before you do anything.  Think of the poorest person you’ve ever met.  Ask yourself if what you are about to do will help them.  Then decide what to do.”

 

Tell me.  Is a world where no one hungers a possibility in our lifetime?

Centuries from now, will hunger pain seem like a laughable impossibility?