Monday, December 4, 2017

Getting Unstuck--Dealing with Difficult Emotions

We human being simply get stuck sometimes--running painful stories around and around until fear becomes the need to attack, until anger becomes hatred, until the one moment of discomfort becomes that itch that keeps us up all night. Or we slide into the near cousin of anger, a thing called depression. Our behaviors change, and grow more entrenched. We might "fake" the smile and kindness, we might run from the people who "cause us" to feel these moments of emotion, or we might find "gentle" ways to attack by saying things like "I'll pray for you" (and we know perfectly well we did not say it with good intentions). 

It's interesting when we sit with the stories, then let them go. Then keep sitting with the "hot" emotion until, slowly changing as all things do, we find at the root of all that those high-octane emotional states is often something like this: "I don't want to die alone under a bridge."  We come face to face with the tender, childlike, vulnerable part of our hearts--not our heads, mind you.  Our hearts.

Our culture does not teach us how to go from anger to that soft place.  In fact, I would argue that we actively teach the opposite.  We often encourage our children to "hate" the opposing team to gain a kind of energy, we listen avidly as a nation to countless hours of soap operas and TV dramas that trigger all our feeling of betrayal, fear, hatred and the like. We immerse ourselves in news (12 minutes a day of which is actual factual news by the way) or inflammatory "radio talk shows" that sell us painful and divisive messages with the price-tag of fear and artificial moral outrage.

And we grow so blind to the way time is passing.  Our time

When we are locked in the sleepless nights, the grasping at anyone to "share" our juicy anger, the plotting to do harm (and, sadly, when we carry those thoughts out), manipulating others to get on "our side", and other such behaviors that, in the end, keep us from feeling that soft spot, that gentle place, we somehow step out of the way Nature and the Mystery intended us to be.  We stop, we get crusty and brittle, and we begin to resemble inside and out the dry, gray rock instead of the dynamic stream that is our birthright. We lose the ability to not only nurture ourselves with the literally countless miracles around and within us--the soft fur of our animal companions, the cotton-candy sunrise of blues and pinks, the way the wind sings through pines, each tree finding a different note--we separate ourselves from the running living water of healthy community.

So how do we break these cycles?  Here are a couple of free You Tube programs from two of my all-time favorite teachers that just might help.  No, listening to this once and rerunning our habit energy may only give us a breather, a bandage.  Taking the teachings to heart, we may actually learn to not miss this one, precious life we have all been gifted with this holiday season--the one great present that will forever keep on giving. But only if we allow it.

Pema Chodron, a beloved Tibetan Buddhist nun, teaching a seminal work by Shantideva about dealing with difficult mind states:

Adyashanti, the delightful modern meditation teacher, answering a question about difficult emotions and "slipping" from more healthy behaviors:

Loving in the Gray Areas: A Poem

We walked the black and white dog
through sunlight,
through shadow.
brown fluff and pale bone of departed grouse,
hand in hand warm.
I nodded at the twin birch trees,
their bark
white paper, black linear sketches.
Data cards filled our pockets--images
of deer, coyote, raccoon,
captured on game cameras,
coy in the night, eyes gleaming.
Later, in the bedroom dark,
a super-moon's blue light
illumines fog at play in the open field,
ethereal dance of the weather changing.
I snuggle up to his back,
arm draped over him--
we know how to love well
in the gray areas.


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Forgiveness--It's the Christian Way and the World's Way

I became curious about what world faiths have to say about Christian forgiveness when a young woman of my acquaintance claimed she could not forgive her father for divorcing her mother because she was "a conservative Christian".  Now there are few things that will raise my eyebrow as much as using religion to justify personal stuck places or to marginalize another.  Did you know the meaning of the word "religion" itself means "to bind back"?  I'm doing continuing research and will add to this list as I find interesting quotes and Bible passages, and then will also add information from all the world faith traditions.  Because religion should never be a reason to stop the divine dance with God, with others, and with ourselves. And the great thinkers and scripture the world over agree.

Forgiveness in Christianity

Colossians 3:13 

13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Matthew 6:14-15
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Ephesians 4:31-32
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Micah 7:18-19
18 Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.

Mark 11:25 
25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Matthew 26:28
28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
Leviticus 19.18
“You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.”

“Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.”
~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back—in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.”
~Frederick Buechner

“Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.”
~Thomas à Kempis

“We must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.”
~Reinhold Niebuhr

“It is freeing to become aware that we do not have to be victims of our past and can learn new ways of responding. But there is a step beyond this recognition…It is the step of forgiveness. Forgiveness is love practiced among people who love poorly. It sets us free without wanting anything in return.”
~Henri J.M. Nouwen

“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
(Christianity. The Lord’s Prayer)

Boundaries and Bridges: A quick review of The Divine Dance by Richard Rohr

"Maybe this is the great death, this third space where I refuse to waste the rest of my years in either flight or fight.  Where I give up the search for someone to hate or to blame - myself or anybody else.  I'm going to somehow enter into solidarity with this pain. I'll  not allow myself to participate in other people's abandonment, betrayal, rejection or marginalization."  

Father Richard Rohr in The Divine Dance

At this time in my life, these words rang with a clarity and beauty I have seldom experienced in the written word. Richard's new book about the Trinity was not only historically interesting, it was concerned with what I feel is Christianity's greatest gift to the world: relationship. 

By relationship, I mean the word in all its dynamic elements--relationships between ourselves and others, ourselves and God, and even ourselves and our delicate blue ball of a world. And for Richard, this relational way of coming at the folks and environments around us requires flow, a give and take, a non-withholding, literally a dance. God, he finally summarizes, is all about diversity, about opening the table to the marginalized, rejected and betrayed. God never dominates or chooses sides or people. "God loves us not because we are good, but because God is good." This is theology that deserves to be more widely heard.

The work touched me personally because while it holds up relationship, Richard also points out, as in the quote above, the need for personal boundaries when "abandoned, betrayed, rejected or marginalized".  Walking firmly away from such relationships does not mean you can't forgive folks--it means you stop being the "battered wife", the "unfairly hated step-parent", the "victimized Other."  Once you make that choice to neither fight such relationships nor run away in any kind of FEAR, you enter a space that is full of possibility.  You move beyond hatred and blame for the person who is abusing/neglecting/rejecting you AND you move beyond the shame and guilt, depression and self-recrimination such people may bring up within you.  In other words, you gain freedom, and "the peace that passeth all understanding."  Even Jesus counseled his missionaries to "shake the dust off their feet" when people did not welcome them into their homes or actively tried to hurt them.  Wise advice.

I also believe in the dynamic of relationships, ebbs and flows, the door that is never really closed because if people cannot truly change, then what is the work all the great religions tout? My heart will always have room for the prodigal son, daughter, step-parent, parent-in-law or friend.  That way I remain open to flow and a willing partner in a dance of mutual respect. This is the message of the spinning, laughing, loving Trinity at its best.

Ameyn (May it be So!)

Thinking Christmas? Think Family Wild!

Our company, Family Wild, encourages family relationships based on hunting, fishing and outdoor/recycled arts. Create your own extended family clubs, earn certificates or brass-plate awards as you work through the exercises and discover the rich and ever-available beauty of the outdoors.  What children grow up learning to love and respect, they will protect.  Give the gift of nature and yourself to your child this year!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Comparative Religion Audio Books You Won't Want to Miss!

Here are the links to my comparative religion titles, ranging from deep inquires into the Gospel of Thomas to the perfect beginner books from my Easing Into Collection of work.  Soon to be released: Easing into the Gospel of Thomas, Easing into the Dhammapada, Easing into the Mahabharata and Easing into Patanjali's Yoga Sutras! 

The audio books feature narrators Jack Nolan, Rosemary Watson and Collene Curran

The Hidden Message of the Lost Gospel of Thomas: Exploring the Ancient Practice of Unitive Christianity | Kim Beyer

The Hidden Message of the Lost Gospel of Thomas

Easing into the Bhagavad Gita and Patanjali's Yoga Sutras | Kimberly Beyer-Nelson

Easing into the Bhagavad Gita and Patanjali's Yoga Sutras

Easing into the Bhagavad Gita | Kim Beyer

Easing into the Bhagavad Gita

Easing into Lao Tzu's Tao te Ching: The Easing Into Collection, Volume 6 |  MA,Kim Beyer

Easing into the Tao te Ching

Links to Lovely Poetry Audio Books

I invite you to explore these professionally read and produced audio-book versions of my poetry collections.  From finding the sacred in the daily to flights of mystical theology, you're sure to find a voice and a poem that touches your soul.

Read by Jack Nolan and Pegge Ashcroft

An Invitation to Openness: Poems for Individuals and Communities Seeking the Sacred in the Present Moment (with Rev. Sue Sutherland-Hanson)

An Invitation to Openness: Poems for Individuals and Communities Seeking the Sacred in the Present Moment | Sue Sutherland-Hanson,Kimberly Beyer-Nelson

At Matthew's Knee: a poetic commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Volume 1

At Matthew's Knee: A Poetic Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, Vol. 1 | Kimberly Beyer-Nelson

This Nurturing Awe:  Poems inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of God

This Nurturing Awe: Poems Inspired by the 99 Beautiful Names of God | Kimberly Beyer