Aug. 24th, 2010 09:11 am
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The way most of us are raised, receiving is considered a weakness.


Aug. 23rd, 2010 12:50 pm
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"You know, you can get a lot of good done in this world if you don't care who gets the credit."
letnja_kisha: (Default)
The willingness to win or lose moves us out of an adversarial relationship to life and into a powerful kind of openness. From such a position, we can make a greater commitment to life. Not only pleasant life, or comfortable life, or our idea of life, but all life.
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A patient once told me that he had tried to ignore his own suffering and the suffering of other people because he had wanted to be happy. Yet becoming numb to suffering will not make us happy. The part in us that feels suffering is the same as the part that feels joy.
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What we do to survive is often very different from what we may need to do in order to live.


Aug. 22nd, 2010 10:20 am
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At the heart of any real intimacy is a certain vulnerability. It is hard to trust someone with your vulnerability unless you can see in them a matching vulnerability and know that you will not be judged. In some basic way it is our imperfections and even our pain that draws others closer to us.
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Objectivity separates us from the life around us and within us.

If we fear loss enough, in the end the things we possess will come to possess us.


Aug. 21st, 2010 04:42 pm
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In avoiding all pain and seeking comfort at all cost, we may be left without intimacy or compassion; in rejecting change and risk we often cheat ourselves of the quest; in denying our suffering we may never know our strength or our greatness. Or even that the love we have been given can be trusted.
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We put labels on life all the time. "Right," "wrong," "success," "failure," "lucky," "unlucky," may be as limiting a way of seeing things as "diabetic," "epileptic," "manic-depressive," or even "invalid." Labeling sets up an expectation of life that is often so compelling we can no longer see things as they really are. This expectation often gives us a false sense of familiarity toward something that is really new and unprecedented. We are in relationship with our expectations and not with life itself.

Like a diagnosis, a label is an attempt to assert control and manage uncertainty. It may allow us the security and comfort of a mental closure and encourage us not to think about things again. But life never comes to a closure, life is a process, even mystery. Life is known only by those who have found a way to be comfortable with change and the unknown. Given the nature of life, there may be no security, but only adventure.


Aug. 21st, 2010 04:32 pm
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Few perfectionists can tell the difference between love and approval. Perfectionism is so widespread in this culture that we actually have had to invent another world for love. "Unconditional love," we say. Yet, all love is unconditional. Anything else is just approval.
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Judgment does not only take the form of criticism. Approval is also a form of judgment. When we approve of people, we sit in judgment of them as surely as when we criticize them.

It is not an either/or world. It is a real world.


Aug. 20th, 2010 09:48 pm
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The choice people have to make is never between slavery and freedom. We will always have to choose between slavery and the unknown.

The path

Aug. 20th, 2010 11:21 am
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Not knowing where you are going creates more than uncertainty; it fosters a sense of aliveness, an appreciation of the particulars around you. It wakes you up much in the same way that illness does.


Aug. 20th, 2010 11:20 am
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"We were sitting together in the kitchen drinking tea and talking, and I happened to look into her living room. She has one of these carpets that shows every footprint. It had been vacuumed so perfectly that every fiber was pointing in the same direction. At one time, this would have given me a deep sense of satisfaction. Now it just looked sad and lonely, untouched by life.. There is so much more to life than a perfectly clean kitchen floor.."

Life-threatening illness may shuffle our values like a deck of cards. Sometimes a card that has been on the bottom of the deck for most of our lives turns out to be the top card, the thing that really matters. Having watched people sort their cards and play their hands in the presence of death for many years, I would say that rarely is the top card perfection, or possessions, or even pride. Most often the top card is love.
letnja_kisha: (Default)
...some pain might be beyond the power of love to heal.
letnja_kisha: (Default)
A helping relationship may incur a sense of debt, but service, like healing, is mutual. Service is free from debt. The wholeness in me is as strengthened as the wholeness in you. Everyone involved is fortunate to have had the chance to participate. In helping, we may find a sense of satisfaction; in serving, we have an experience of gratitude.
Serving is also different from fixing. One of the pioneers of the Human Potential Movement, Abraham Maslow, said, "If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Seeing yourself as a fixer may cause you to see brokenness everywhere, to sit in judgment on life itself. When we fix others, we may not see their hidden wholeness or trust the integrity of the life in them. Fixers trust their own expertise. When we serve, we see the unborn wholeness in others; we collaborate with it and strengthen it. Others may then be able to see their wholeness for themselves for the first time.
Perhaps fixing is only a way to relate to things. Relating to another human being in this way is to deny and diminish in some profound and subtle way the power of the life in them and its mystery.
letnja_kisha: (Default)
...I have come to realize how much stress is caused by the sad fact that many of us believe in one way and live in quite another. Stress may be more a matter of personal integrity than time pressure, determined by the distance betwen our authentic values and how we live our lives.

Sometimes life's power shines through us, even when we do not notice. We become a blessing to others then, simply by being as we are.


Aug. 19th, 2010 12:59 pm
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There are only two kinds of people in this world - those who are alive and those who are afraid. She had smiled at me and said that many of the people she had met who were afraid were doctors.
Perhaps such fear is a natural outcome of the wish to be in control. A patient whose physician told him several years ago that he had three months to live told me in bewilderment that the doctor had seemes "satisfied" as he made that heart-stopping statement. "He seemed sorry to be telling me this but he seemed pleased that he had the information to give me, almost as pleased as if he had told me that he had the right drug to eradicate my cancer. He told me of my death with an air of authority as if it were he who had mastery over it. As if when he could not control my cancer, he could at least control the time of my death. I was angry for a long time, but I now think he was as out of control and vulnerable as I was. Too bad we could not have talked man to man on that level instead of reaching for a false certainty."
Perhaps the most basic skill of the physician is the ability to have comfort with uncertainty, to recognize with humility the uncertainty inherent in all situations, to be open to the ever-present possibility of the surprising, the mysterious, and even the holy, and to meet people there.


Aug. 18th, 2010 02:24 pm
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- Grieving may be one of the most fundamental of life skills. It is the way that the heart can heal from loss and go on to love again and grow wise.
letnja_kisha: (Default)
- It is as great a separation from God to take offense as to give offense.

- When does it get hard to forgive? At three? At seven? At fourteen? At thirty-five? How old does someone have to be before you forget that everyone is a child of God?


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