Category Archives: Inner Healing

Perfectly Imperfect

Standard

Photo on 2013-01-13 at 08.32 #2

“Wabi sabi nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished and nothing is perfect.” Robert R. Powell

Add an element of finding the mystery and magic in everyday life and it’s right up my alley, especially in my work as a counselor.

This Japanese art form seeks to honor and celebrate the beauty and perfection in what’s natural in pottery – drips, cracks, flaws and all. So, what if WE learned to prize the imperfections, cracks and mistakes in our own messy lives? Hmmmm.

On Vulnerability…Again

Standard

Vulnerable

This topic keeps drawing me back in over and over again so forgive me if I sound a bit redundant here. First of all let’s define vulnerability according to Webster.

vul·ner·a·ble adjective \ˈvəl-n(ə-)rə-bəl, ˈvəl-nər-bəl\

: capable of being physically or emotionally wounded

So why would we even allow ourselves to be vulnerable in the first place if it means opening ourselves up to possible pain?

I love this quote by Brene Brown

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”
― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

I think when we choose to protect ourselves at all costs and close ourselves off to others we keep ourselves locked up in a prison of false security. This spills out into all areas of our lives. We choose unhealthy, superficial even abusive relationships over healthy ones because a healthy relationship must be built on openness, honest communication and trust. So we then have two people that are closed off and basically going through the motions. I have experienced this in various friendships and romantic relationships in my life. It feels dry, empty, superficial.

There is something very fulfilling and genuine about two people willing to walk in this type of authenticity that says”I trust you with my heart” I give you permission to enter into this sacred place. It then becomes mutual and the trust is shared.

Sadly we all carry scars from past battles and the temptation is there to run when a familiar feeling comes up or a trigger from the past. But to stay with it and walk through it, healing comes and bonds strengthened.

Sadly there are few willing to go there. We much prefer our prison cells, there we know exactly what we are going to get.

“What happens when people open their hearts?”…
“They get better.”
― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

On Misty Mornings in the Mountains- I Stand

Standard

IMG_2476

I look out my bedroom window early each morning. The trees are barren, like skeletons standing tall, a season of death, life is nowhere to be found.

The trees stand guard like soldiers, unwavering, holding true to their purpose.

A foggy mist fills the hollar and the trees are barely visible.

Each morning is different. Each morning I draw open the blinds, not knowing what will be laid out before me.

I identify with the trees

I stand

When the howling winds blow I can hardly endure the pressure. I feel weak

I cannot go on anylonger

yet

I stand

The icy cold, unbearable at times, I long for warmth, for protection

Where are the leaves that clothe me in fairer times?

Naked, alone

I stand

The fog so sick I cannot see, I am confused, disoriented, lost

yet

I stand

Until one day the fog lifts, the cold departs and once again

I bloom!

Bursting forth with life, I am stronger!

Thank you wind for strengthening me
Thank you cold for deepening my roots
Thank you fog, for greater clarity

I stand

Wisdom and truth my companions

Forgive

Standard

“Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen

There comes a time where right or wrong no longer seems important. A place where pride is tossed aside, because it will eat you alive like a cancer, it needs a host.

Can I just love?

Can I love without expectation? I don’t have an answer to that question honestly.

Forgiveness is releasing another from your self defined obligations and says, I love and accept you for you, flaws and all.

Kindness, compassion and love make no sense to the cynical, hard hearted and bitter. Such people will view your kindness through their own distorted lens and project that on you.
But shine on! we are only responsible for our own behavior.

Some we love from a distance, others become a part of our inner circle, we invite them deep into our hearts.

I will start by forgiving, because I know for certain that there is freedom in forgiveness.

261138478362844107_DAyzKJsr_c

On feeling the pain

Standard

33546_127352137320572_100001373582584_138465_6507835_n

For the past two days I have ventured deep into a place i rarely allow myself to go. I am hurting, the pain is deep. Very, very deep. I feel as if part of me has died, part of me is missing. There is a void in my heart and it is a feeling I am very familiar with. These feeling have triggered old painful situations, situations that I need to process and deal with once and for all.

Love is painful because it creates the way for bliss.

Love is painful because it transforms. Love is mutation. Each transformation is going to be painful because the old has to be left for the new. The old is familiar, secure, safe, the new is absolutely unknown. You will be moving in an uncharted ocean. You cannot use your mind with the new’ with the old, the mind is skillful. The mind can function only with the old’ with the new, the mind is utterly useless.

Hence, fear arises, and leaving the old, comfortable, safe world, the world of convenience, pain arises. It is the same pain that the child feels when he comes out of the womb of the mother. It is the same pain that the bird feels when he comes out of the egg. It is the same pain that the bird will feel when he will try for the first time to be on the wing.

The fear of the unknown, and the security of the known, the insecurity of the unknown, the unpredictability of the unknown, makes one very much frightened.

And because the transformation is going to be from the self towards a state of no-self, agony is very deep. But you Cannot have ecstasy without going through agony. If the gold wants to be purified, it has to pass through fire.

Love is fire.

There is no covering up the pain this time, no easy solution or quick fix. I simply must face it.

I’ve tried to run back to those things that used to offer security, but they feel shallow, empty, fake.

I desire so much more and the only way to reach that new level of freedom is to feel the pain, trust the process and leap from the nest

Leave behind safety, security and fly.

This is not about anyone else, this is about me.

I was reminded of this quote by Osho. I believe this to be true and I am learning to trust the process.

I am learning to trust God with my life, every aspect.

“Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be its roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That’s its balance.”
― Osho

But, my God does it ever hurt.

On Pain and Grief

Standard

232076187017438756_QegHRAlh_c

If there’s one thing I truly understand on a very deep level it is the importance of allowing ourselves to grieve. To feel the pain and deeply grieve.

If you’ve read my story at all you know that I have suffered much loss in my life. An orphan for the first 4 months of my life, lack of bonding, of safety. Then the moment at age 5 when my adopted mother told me I was adopted . The deep feelings of rejection and abandonment overwhelmed me. No matter how much she tried to convince me that I was special, chosen, the only thing that I felt was not good enough, flawed, broken.

I was very close to my adopted mother. She radiated love. She was my safe place, my security.

Then at age 12 I lost her to cancer. Stomach cancer.

The pain was so intense that as a 12 year old I just did not know how to process it all. It was so completely overwhelming that I have huge memory lapses during that time period, from the ages of 12-18.

At 13 I was tossed out of the house. My poor father was deeply grieving as well and just did not know how to handle me with my suicide attempts, cutting, anger, rage and crazy behavior.

I learned to be street smart and tough. I also learned to cover my emotions with unhealthy things. I never really grieved, or even dared to face the strong onslaught of emotions.

I saw and experienced things during that time period that no child should ever see.

I remember always feeling like I had to numb the pain. I would search out different things as a form of self-medication.

Pain and grief, if ignored, if not dealt with will always come out sideways creating a continual cycle of dysfunction and destruction, not only affecting you, but affecting those around you

I finally began my deep healing journey about 5 years ago. I decided it was time to face some of the ghosts that had taken up residence inside of me. It has been a very intense, painful process at times. But I have become so much more self aware and truly have found many keys that have unlocked a few doors. I am finding myself experiencing a lot more joy and freedom these days even in the midst of painful circumstance. I can feel myself making progress as I walk along. I look back and realize I am not the mess of a person I used to be. I love myself.

We have three choices when faced with a painful situation. We can numb out and ignore the feelings and continue on, acting as if nothing has happened.

We can self medicate with drugs, alcohol, food, work, spending, any number of things.

Each of these choices work temporarily, but the problem here is the same patterns will continue to play out in our lives, creating the same painful results. And again, the pain, the grief will always come out sideways often times deeply hurting others in the process.

The third choice is to face the pain. Allow yourself to feel the depth of it. This is very difficult because usually all the old painful memories that have never been resolved will come flooding back in. But you see, it’s not about the break-up, or being fired, or feeling rejected by a friend or your crappy job, It’s about areas in our lives that have never been dealt with, that we have never allowed ourselves to heal from. Various circumstances act as triggers, taking us back to those painful times. Perceived rejection or lack of respect and appreciation at work can trigger old battles of never feeling good enough, smart enough, capable enough. here is usually a trauma attached. Feeling betrayed and rejected by someone through a break-up is painful, but the pain is magnified when in the past you have been rejected by those closest to you, abandoned or abused by someone you trusted. Oh, for two people to have this understanding in a relationship, to be willing to work through this stuff together to become healthy…a rare, but beautiful thing.

I used to be afraid to write such things, to be open and honest. Fear that I might scare people away. But really, do I want people in my life not willing to meet me where i’m at and walk with me? It’s a lot easier to go along pretending that everything is fine and gaining acceptance from certain people, then being raw and honest and trusting that the ones who are supposed to walk with you through this process will be there and the ones who cannot will leave. To trust the process. Scary as hell, but freeing….Deeply freeing.

There is a deep level of compassion that is birthed in pain. Pain, if we allow it can be a catalyst to a whole new level of lasting freedom.

The Walking Dead

Standard

It always amazes me how we as human beings will return to something familiar, whether its a relationship, behavior pattern or abuse as opposed to venturing out into the unknown.

We are walking around, many of us like actors in a big production taking on our roles, dying inside but convincing ourselves that we’re alive.

Like zombies we get through another day, dead, only appearing to be alive. Losing all sense of who we really are over time.

We take the ‘safe’ road and protect ourselves at all costs. Thick heavy walls around us.

Sad thing is, we usually keep the very things that are destroying us in those walls with us. Masqueraded as safety, down farther and farther we go until we have almost completely lost ourselves.

Time to wake up and realize it’s an illusion, time to start living.

Compassion birthed in pain..Restoration in Brokeness

Standard

I remember the day my adopted mother told me I was adopted.

From that day on, the pain cut deep. Who am I really? Who do I belong to? Is something wrong with me? Does anyone REALLY love me, want me? These are questions that still haunt on a regular basis.
I’ve entered into various unhealthy relationships, relationships where I was extremely co-dependent. I could love the person from an emotional distance. But, I could not receive love, so i entered into tough situations where the people on the other end had no ability to truly give love.I went into ‘rescue mode’ This was safe for me, there was a wall 25ft high around my heart.
When I came to know the Lord in 1988 after a near death experience my heat began to soften, yet the walls , the hardness still there, thick as ever.
Last year I made a decision that would test my faith, and place me in a position to truly trust God as daddy. Will He catch me? Will he hold me through this? Is He REALLY here?
Walking through divorce is truly like a death…the death of dreams and hopes for the fairytale life that every little girl dreams of. The pain cut deeps, the guilt and shame consuming at times, yet I was forced to face the ‘demons’ in my heart, and put myself in a position of total dependance on my father.
I am realizing that despite what many believers have to say, sanctification IS a process…The process of turning ashes into beauty, mourning into gladness…Purification, the removal of those things that hold us back from freedom is an EXTREMELY painful process, but one that every single believer in Jesus MUST walk through. Our options? Live dysfunctional lives, wear our religious masks and exhaust ourselves through sin management. Or face those giants even if that means risking your ‘pristine’ reputation.

Sin management seems a lot easier, we like our list of do’s and donts, its convenient, not nearly as messy for those around us, we become experts at hiding our sin from others and suffer in silence when those deep, painful roots continue to hurt us. And the pain and frustration always come out! Sadly hurting those closest to us.

To face those ‘giants’ pull out those deep roots, own our crap, acknowledge our weakness and inability to fix it, ohhhh man does it get messy! We reach, through the pain for something, anything to dull the pain…sometimes alcohol, sex , co-dependency, food, shopping…anything to cover our nakedness, thats where we need His grace. We will screw up in this process yet we walk on…walk on to deeper levels of freedom, to deeper revelation. What we DO is not who we are. He sees a perfect bride, yes the lover of our souls is with us through it all.

When Mary of Bethany broke that alabaster box and poured the precious oil over her lords feet, she broke all the rules along with that box. How dare she not follow the rules! Such disorderly conduct! Mary got it!
It is SO worth it! Compassion is birthed in pain, restoration in brokeness.

Ungodly Beliefs

Standard

A stony heart forms from many of our past experiences. One way in particular is through ‘ungodly beliefs’.

Ungodly Beliefs- All beliefs, decisions, attitudes, agreements, judgements, expectations, vows and oaths that do not agree with God (His word, character, His nature)

Godly Beliefs-All beliefs, decisions, attitudes, agreements, judgements, expectations, vows and oaths that DO agree with God, (His word, His nature His character.)

Ungodly beliefs are dangerous because they affect our perceptions, our decisions, and our actions. Everyone to some extent lives his/her life out of wrong beliefs, or lies. For those who have read my story it is easy to spot the ungodly beliefs or lies I chose to agree with.

“No one will ever take care of me, so I must take care of myself” this lead me into a lifestyle of addiction, self hatred, cutting, and sexual promiscuity. I was scared and insecure.

It was only when I started to replace these lies with the truth that I began to taste freedom.

A real Godly belief is reflected in our actions
A real Godly belief is rooted in our heart.
A real Godly belief stands firm in the face of challenge

Becoming transformed into the image of christ, sanctification is a process. By allowing God to remove these ungodly beliefs and replace them with truth, we are then able to begin walking in a place of confidence, into who he created us to be. We take on a renewed mind.

The ‘perfect’ ungodly belief- The “perfect” ungodly belief is one that appears to be absolutely true based on the facts of our experience, yet is absolutely false based on what God has to say

*No one loves me
*I am all alone
*I am defective
*God doesn’t love me

Most of us don’t even recognize the above ungodly beliefs in our lives. They are usually completely hidden from us! We then continue on living our lives based on lies. Most ungodly beliefs are a mixture of truth and error.

Most ungodly beliefs are formed through traumatic events in our childhoods, and younger years. Hurts are like an infected wound, and the ungodly belief like the pus coming from it. When similar events are repeated that trigger those original ungodly beliefs, we continue to reinforce the original lies within our minds.

So to sum it up, here’s the cycle

1. Our ungodly beliefs are formed out of hurtful experiences leading to…
2. Expectations arising from these beliefsThe expectations affect our….
3. Behavior, causing us also to influence the behavior of others, leading to….
4. Experiences in line with these behaviors, that confirm the Ungodly beliefs.

This traps the person into a steadily worsening spiral of death. The only way to escape this is to… Choose to make Gods truth our new belief
As we begin to seek the truth of who we are in Christ, how he loves us and dispel the lies we are lead into constructive behavior and good experiences. The same cycle that was killing us now begins to reinforce a new godly belief.

Hearts of Stone

Standard

Ezekiel 36:26-I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.


In order for us to have true relationship with others and with God, He must pierce or melt our hearts of stone. We are like medieval knights in armor, peering out through our helmets to slash and poke at one another, secretly wishing that the others would open up so we could really meet them.
A heart of stone is a false protection, a hiding place we believe will shield us from hurt, but which in fact makes us the loneliest people in the world. The body of christ is filled with people with hearts of stone, people who can love and serve others, but who can’t allow others to reach them. Healing is hard work! We need others around us who we trust, who we can enter into open honest dialogue with even if things get raw and ugly at times.

Inner vows go hand in hand with a stony heart. Although they are made early in life and are often forgotten, they act as directives, which control our responses to situations and people around us.

A stony heart is an automatic hidden defense mechanism, which keeps us from being vulnerable or “seen”. It is a hiding place, or a wall that we believe will protect us from hurt, but which really makes us lonely and miserable. The vows and the walls are usually hidden, formed in the first 6 years of life and forgotten. This is a learned behavior, as if programmed, these habits, patterns and structures function automatically.

These walls and stony hearts are formed out of our earliest experiences of frustration and dissatisfaction.

The absence or presence of love, laughter, and affection in the home will determine the hardness of the heart.

The condition is more often hidden in Christians. You will see a loving, caring, serving believer who can minister, but cannot be ministered to, or has trouble receiving from God.

The impact of the heart of stone on others….

In families, a person with a stony heart cannot receive love and intimacy. In relationships they tend to sabotage themselves and their partner by putting them down. In the body of Christ the person with a stony heart tends to drive wedges, create strife, and destroy unity.

The damage a stony heart causes the carrier….

The person with a stony heart can develop physical problems, build up of stress, breakdown of the immune system, as well as cancer.

They experience loneliness, isolation, and feelings of not being understood by others.
Leaders with stony hearts can’t hear rebuke. They usually have gaping holes in their armor; they can’t heed warnings, and are subject to temptations and delusion. They also suffer from burnout caused by anger.

We read in proverbs that there is safety in a multitude of counselors (Proverbs 24:6). Those with hearts of stone have trouble availing themselves of this protection.

Healing the heart of stone.

Recognizing the heart of stone can be difficult due to the desire to remain “unseen.” Ask God to help us understand how the stony heart was formed. This process can be slow, like peeling an onion.

Confess and repent of reactions to early experiences. Confess and repent for wounding loved ones and for self-destruction.

Forgive parents and or caretakers, as well as self and damage caused to others. Ask god to put the heart of stone to death on the cross and the heart of flesh to be given life.

I will talk a bit about inner vows on the next entry. A big part of the dysfunction we live out.