Saturday, May 21, 2011

Living a Drama-free Life

Drama. In my work and daily dealings with people, I’m told they don’t like drama; and in the next breath, drama is created through their words and the charged emotional energy of upset, assumption, self-righteousness, self-defense, complaints, whining and anger. Drama is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a composition to tell a story usually involving conflicts and emotions through action and dialogue and typically designed for theatrical performance.” We all, myself included, can get caught up in the drama but it takes a great deal of self-awareness to know when one is on that “stage” and to know when to make an exit from that theatrical performance in life.

I know drama well, not just because I have two degrees in theater arts, but because I use to be a drama addict. I was the epitome of “victim” in which the world and everyone in it was against me. Life was full of angst, and I was emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted. When things got too quiet or were going too good, I’d stir up some drama. I’d find something wrong with someone, something to criticize or judge, or took offense to the slightest thing because I was bored(thus the addiction), and more importantly, in avoidance of looking at myself and my unhappiness. It wasn’t until I crashed and burned that I began a conscious effort of self-exploration and -awareness of my habitual patterns of behavior and emotional reaction in coping with life. I came to realize that I was my own worst enemy. With further support of counseling, life coaching and spiritual teachings, I began the healing work of past hurt and experiences. I owned my part in the responsibility of past dramas through my choices, actions and behavior, thus releasing the baggage of pride, victimization, hurt, grudges, anger, resentment, and the need to be right and better than everyone else in order to feel better about myself.

Drama fills an inner need to feel counted in this world, to feel alive, even in misery; it stems from insecurity, low self-esteem and a sense that we are not in control of our life. The problem is that it becomes such a way of life that we are completely oblivious to how we perpetuate it and show up in it; thus the lack of self-awareness. I saw a wonderful statement on a church billboard this morning that said, “It’s difficult to see the picture when you’re inside the frame.” It rings similar to the saying “You can’t see the forest for the trees” which means that each tree blocks a part of our vision until there are so many trees that you cannot see. Each drama that we add and proactively create and/or in which we participate represents a tree.

If we truly desire a drama-free life, we don’t engage in the emotional energy of the latest indiscretion by taking something personally, minor setbacks in a situation, or when something happens. We are human, and as humans we have emotion, so venting that emotion is important if it’s done in a healthy way. However, targeting that emotion towards another person or in a situation is not healthy or productive, but rather drama-inducing. Venting involves privately releasing one’s emotionally-charged thoughts and opinions. Once released, we let it go and forget about it, or deal with the situation for a resolution. If the issue lingers in one’s mind and heart, then there’s an invitation for deeper healing around some past baggage left unchecked. Additionally, it may be an invitation to have a voice, which includes having a productive dialogue to directly deal with the situation in order to move forward. Fuming, bitching about it, holding onto resentment and grudges, defending oneself in and around it, whining and rehashing the details through the retelling of one’s story to anyone who will listen serves only to feed the drama.

So yes, we all have our moments when we are pissed and upset. Let’s exhale that energy in a productive way. Call a friend; ask if you can vent, then let it fly. Upon completion, take a deep breath then begin self-inquiry: What about that set me off? What makes me feel a need to be defensive? Is this situation really bothering me, or is it something that happened in my past that I haven’t resolved and forgiven? Inquiry helps us shift energetic gears from “D” into “P”: drama into peace. If you ask questions before shooting off emotionally-charged bullets, fewer people, including yourself get hurt, and greater understanding and forgiveness occurs.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nurturing Our Fragile Ego

Life can be challenging. Things happen. And sometimes, things happen that trigger our old stuff, such as the upset of a past relationship that didn’t work out, the loss of a loved one, an incident at work, or another dark time in our past. These past experiences surface in invitation for healing. Unfortunately, we’ve learned to stuff those old feelings back down (thus the terminology “old stuff”), but doing so beckons future invitations for the old stuff to resurface, and usually, with greater intensity and often an emotionally crippling effect.

When dealing with old fears, anxieties and heartache, we must recognize that the part of us that makes us human, the Ego, is crying out and needing some attention, much like a child that’s feeling neglected by not getting its needs met. What the Ego wants is comforting, reassurance of security and safety, healing. It needs to know that it’s okay, that it’s not being ignored. But we stuff those icky feelings that surface, like parents telling little children, “Stop your crying! Buck up!” or “Get over it! Stop making it such a big deal," rather than heeding these cries of help from Ego.

When we nurture and love the tender Ego and all its neurosis, we are actually nurturing and loving ourselves. All too often we fall short in loving ourselves, choosing instead self-criticism for being emotional, judging ourselves for not being “over it”, weak and vulnerable. We re-stuff those emotions and profess to all who inquire, “I’m fine,” plowing forward steeled against the world in a new layer of protective walls.

I use to be that person. Since adolescence, I hid behind the many walls of protective layers of “I’m fine” until I learned that it was actually okay to have my feelings, to not be “fine” all the time, to feel emotion, and that it was normal and natural to do so. Thus began my journey of healing, releasing the intense feelings of old stale emotions I’d long stuffed inside with denial, food, television escapism, alcohol, boys, drama, victimization, and shopping. We all have addictions, legal and illegal, that help us avoid and stuff these emotions and shore up walls. Once the walls started coming down, it's gut wrenching and I felt exposed; but a healing process began, and the authentic me came out of the self-imposed prison (which I learned to build from a number of influencers in my life).

Once free, the human Ego feels naked, vulnerable and uncertain of how to “be” or “exist” in this new space, a similar experience when a ward of the prison system is released after years of living a very guarded life on the inside. Upon release, it’s a new world, and for Ego, it consists of learning to trust again, to not instantly recoil in fear at the slightest stumble as life happens. And as you and your Ego begin this new journey of greater self-awareness and understanding, your Ego may reactivate old fears to shift you into familiar patterns of coping, stuffing and hiding behind walls. During this fragile time, you must nurture the Ego as it and you undergo these changes; reassuring yourself and Ego, much like we reassure a frightened child that’s lost in a foreign place that all will be okay, it’s safe, and to choose courage as you move forward, despite the fear.

How we talk to ourselves is very important in this process; loving self-talk that affirms we are capable, we are loved, even if aren’t feeling it from the world. Taking time to support these growth opportunities honors Ego’s willingness to move from simply “dealing” into “healing.” Simple things such as a walk through a flower garden, a bubble bath, reading spiritually-motivating material, journaling, or meditation are but a few ways to help move along the bumpy road of churned up feelings. Once over the humps, celebrate the healing process and nurture Ego with positive affirmations, such as “Yea me, I am worthy of freedom from past hurts” and “God unconditionally loves me, and so I love myself!” Treat yourself with an in-home spa treatment, an evening with a special friend, or fresh cut flowers to celebrate. The key is that the nurturing of Self is healthy and not a flashback to old coping patterns.

Instead of resisting the gunk that arises as you move through life's challenges, give yourself permission to stop the merry-go-round of life, face the choppy waves of emotion to learn, grow, and heal. This is the place where wisdom is gleaned. Then honor yourself for easing the burden you carry from your past. This work of facing past heartache and darkness isn’t easy, it takes a great deal of courage; but with the right support, the right tools with which to process through it, it can be a liberating experience that brings greater joy, love and harmony into your life.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A Daughter’s Appreciation

Everywhere mothers’ will be revered and celebrated. This holiday is the second Mother's Day since my mom has been gone, and many of you will be missing your mom as I will be this weekend. I’m sharing this poem, which my dad found in a stack of cards my mom had tucked away, that I wrote for my mom for her last Mother’s Day 2009.

If you still have your mother, I encourage you to write your own poem that lets your mom really know how you feel, beyond the Hallmark card, beyond the flowers, beyond the dinner out, beyond the gift.

Happy Mother’s Day to you all, and for those who are missing your mother, know she’s listening from beyond. Just tell her what you want to say, how you feel, and she will hear it. Our moms are always with us in Spirit.

A Daughter’s Appreciation by Carolyn Ferber

Thank you for being my mom.

Thank you for letting me cry, then and now.

Thank you for comforting me, then and now.

Thank you for the clothing on my back, and the smacks on my backside.

Thank you for creating a comfortable home, and the blood, sweat and tears to do so.

Thank you for all the food you grew, canned, froze and cooked.

Thank you for your support, even when you didn’t agree with my choices.

Thank you for tolerating my adolescence and young adult years as I stretched my own wings to try them out.

Thank you for laughing at my jokes and laughing with me.

Thank you for the Easter baskets, the Santa Christmases, the Valentine’s, and the birthday celebrations.

Thank you for letting me play my music loud, and letting me be a slob in my bedroom.

Thank you for the health care, and the tender, loving care.

Thank you for teaching me independence and responsibility.

Thank you for letting me laugh the way I love to laugh.

Thank you for letting me be myself, even when it was frustrating or you didn’t understand.

Thank you for giving me life when I was unexpected.

Thank you for giving me a loving home.

Thank you for being my mom.

Happy Mother’s Day, mom – I love you!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Bin Laden & Ezekiel 33:11

I struggle with the celebration of Bin Laden's death.

I'm GRATEFUL his vindictive and terrorist influence is diminished. It was required for the higher good of humankind.

I'm PROUD of our armed forces for accomplishing the task to stand for liberty, justice, and peace on our behalf. We have a right to be proud of these men and women who serve to protect us.

But how are we any different than those of Bin Laden's following who "danced" in celebration of the thousands of deaths caused on 9/11 if we dance in celebration of Bin Laden and his family's deaths?

Are we truly better than Bin Laden and his camp if we go to the same level of lower vindictive "celebratory" vibration that he and his followers did upon the loss of our fellow patriots and loved ones?

I don't always understand these turns of events, the "how" or "why" they unfold, but I do know they are designed to teach us to show up better than those who we've deemed evil.

As my wise young nephew pointed out on Facebook: "Bin Laden's death definitely helps us to feel a little safer in this world, but the Bible says, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.' Ezekiel 33:11. I find it very hard to not be happy over his death, but God says otherwise..."

If we are celebrating the death of a wicked man, I would venture to say that we are being invited through this biblical quote to also not become that of the wicked, but rather in this instance to live and show up in a Higher vibration as God intended us to live.

God bless the USA.