Tag Archives: freedom

Nosce te ipsum: Know Yourself

*Author’s note: Before I get started here, I would just like to say, I love it when you come to visit.  Yes, I mean you.  I would love to sit down and have a chat with you.  I would love to hear what you have to say on whatever I write about.  So, if you come by, why not leave me your calling card, or a nice little note that let’s me know you were here?  Frankly, it encourages me to keep doing what I’m doing.  In other words comments are welcome and encouraged here.  I generally leave a little question at the end as a prompt to get a discussion going.  You can answer it, or not, as you prefer.

I had a powerful experience on Saturday that got my juices flowing and the wheels spinning for my little bloggity once again.  The sucky experience that I am having is still sucky and I am still experiencing it.  But, I feel the need to talk about something that I feel is very foundational to overcoming emotional difficulties: knowing yourself.

In “The Matrix” Neo  goes to visit the Oracle to find out if he is “The One” (i.e. the savior of their world).  She points to her little sign in her kitchen (which says Temet Nosce, by the way.  This is just a variation of the phrase) above the doorway and explains to him rather bluntly that if  you are something, you just know it.  You don’t need to be convinced by your friends, you don’t need constant reassurance, you just know it.  I know that I am a good mother.  I know that I am an artist.  I know that I am gifted in counseling others.  I know that I am a Christian.  I don’t need other’s to affirm this, I just know.

I truly feel that I am meant to do this blog, and to write books.  But, one thing I have had a hard time convincing myself of is that I AM a writer.  As in, “this is my identity.”  As in, “Hi.  I’m Stephanie.  I’m a writer”  (Not that I would actually introduce myself that way.  But, I think  you get my point).  I feel a little surprised when people praise my work here on this blog.  Sometimes, I almost don’t believe them.  Silly, I know.

This is mostly because I find writing to be a difficult, sometimes agonizing, experience.    I’m not goo-goo eyed over writing like some authors.  It takes me twice as long as normal people to write anything of worth or significance.  I find it excruciating to get started most of the time.  I find it difficult to maintain my focus once I get going.  I feel guilt for spending 2.5 hours writing 600 words.  I have to manage my ADHD and other learning difficulties to finish my task.  In other words, I just don’t LOVE writing like I love doing other things.  I have asked myself more than once, “How can I BE a writer if I don’t LOVE it?”

This question has stopped me from moving forward in doing the things that I am meant to do.  I just couldn’t see myself doing the things I am meant to do because I couldn’t (or perhaps wouldn’t?) believe in my identity as an writer.

But Saturday changed all of that.  I met with about 4 other people.  2 of whom I have known a really long time, 1 I knew fairly well, and 1 I sort of knew a little.  We met together to encourage each other.  To help each other overcome the log jams stopping us from flowing in our gifts.  I spoke for a while about where I was on a few things, including the I’m-supposed-to write-books-but-can’t-get-started-because-I-don’t-believe-I-am-an-author problem.  The leader of our group (Rob Stoppard.  A great guy, you should check him out) said to me people get stopped up in doing what they are meant to do because they believe lies about themselves.    Lies like “I don’t love writing so how can I be a writer”, or “I am never going to change”, or “I can’t change”, or “I will always be (fill in the blank)“, or whatever you say about yourself.

The only way to combat this is to change your habit of lying to yourself, and start telling yourself the truth.  I think if you look deep in your heart you can find your gifts, your talents, and your identity.  It’s like a treasure box just waiting to be opened, and you hold the key to open that treasure box.  And, if you open it you have to decide what you believe about what’s inside.  You have to decide that the treasure is who you are, or not.  But sometimes, even we do this, we get lost on our way back.  Parts of the treasure get lost and never make it home.  Like me and this writing thing.

The group had me do an exercise that has forever changed my life.  They first asked me to look in the mirror and say out loud to myself, “I am a writer.”  I felt more than a little shy about doing this.  So, they offered themselves up to act as a sort of mirror.  I had to look people in the eye and say out loud, “I am a writer.”  They took it one step further and had me say, “I am a famous writer.”  And although it was a little difficult to look people in the eye and say these truths out  loud, I did just that several times.  I stated a few other things I have had a hard time believing lately as well.  As soon as I said these things, it’s like a spotlight was suddenly focused on my poor, lost treasures.  I could find them, and bring them home.  I could take them within my psyche and revel in the simple pleasure of knowing myself.  It was like being born again.

And now, I feel free to do what I am mean to do.  I believe that I am a writer.  That even I can be a famous writer.

And you are free to discover things about yourself you never knew.  You can go on a quest to find your treasure, to change your life into something better, to become who you are meant to be.

It’s your turn now…

Tell me something you know about yourself…

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Don’t poke that dragon with a stick. It’ll eat you. Or will it?

Didn’t your mother teach you NOT to poke a sleeping dragon?  That you should let sleeping dragons lie?

He looks too cute to be dangerous. Right?

Or was that dogs?

He’s definitely too cute to be dangerous.

Like all reptiles, dragons are great at sleeping.  You know, being cold-blooded and all.  Sleeping is an excellent way to conserve energy.  So, as you can imagine, something as big as a dragon needs lots of sleep.  Except when they don’t.  I mean, a dragon’s got to eat sometimes, right?

In case you’re not catching on to my little metaphor, the sleeping dragons (or dogs) that I am referring to is our emotional troubles.  Stuff from the past is like a sleeping dragon.  Some of us have lots and lots of dragons sleeping together in the dog-pile technique.  Others have one or two.  Either way, I personally, and sincerely believe that sleeping dragons are dangerous.  They can wake up at and wreak havoc on our emotional state, on our relationships, and our life anytime they want to.

Dragons are smart creatures.  They like to sleep in dark corners, letting us know they’re there, but never really fully engaging us.  They’re happy there in their comfy little corner.  Because of the shadows, we can’t really see what they’re doing.  But, believe you me, they are causing trouble.

Un-dealt with emotional problems come out various forms, and we often don’t even realize it.  Mostly because our reactions are normal…to us.  THEY run your life.  THEY decide how and when you behave and interact with your environment.  Like when my husband innocently says something that sets off an angry reaction in me.  Or, when a sudden, overwhelming fear of enclosed spaces keeps me from having fun.  Or, when I sling into a deep depression for no apparent reason.  Or, when I have (yet another) bout of anxiety at the prospect of meeting new people.  All of these reactions come from somewhere.   I learned them growing up.  All of these reactions can cause me problems as an adult.  They stunt my growth.  They keep me from fully engaging in life.  They harm my relationships.  And most importantly, they keep me back from being who I was meant to be.

If you decide to take control of the situation, you WILL have to face your dragons head on.  Sure, once you poke them and wake them up they are going to growl and stomp and threaten to eat you.  They might even throw a flame or two your way.

Remember this guy?

But, here’s the thing:  YOU are in control of the dragons.  YOU are the master of THEIR fate.  It’s not the other way around.  Because as Christopher Robin told Winnie the Pooh, “You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”  You hold the secret weapons that defeat the dragons.  You know their vulnerabilities.  You know where that soft spot is and can drive in your sword (or lance if you prefer).  If you do, you will truly be at peace.  You will never have to worry about what that dragon will do next.  You can get on with your life and live it to the fullest.

Pretty cool, huh?

So, I say, don’t let the sleeping dragons lie there forever.  Take up your sword, your spear, your counseling sessions and deliberately, and methodically, deal that dragon it’s death blow.

You’ll then be free from it’s grip.  Forever.

I promise.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Your turn, which weapon do you prefer?

Take a risk. Be free.

Today is Friday.  Every Friday, Lisa-Jo Baker (a.k.a The Gypsy Mama), hosts a writing party at her site.  She calls it a writing “flash mob.”  She gives us a one-word prompt.  We write about that word for five minutes straight.  Without editing.  Without backtracking.  Without worrying.  The only other rule is to and encourage other Five Minute Friday writers.  So here goes….

Today’s word is Risk

Go!

Every step a person can make towards a better day, a better week, a better life is worth the risk.  Risk will always be part of the equation to do something new.  I risk my perceived happiness.  I risk being uncomfortable.  I risk pain.  I risk embarrassment at my failures.  I risk losing people in my life.  But, the risk is worth it if it means that I will be free from the chains of my past.  Able to do the things I was meant to do.  Able to walk through life unfettered.  Able to genuinely smile and say “I’m doing okay”.  Able to move to the mountains I was meant to move.  Falling down when I take a risk is okay.  It’s part of the process.  It’s part of life.  It’s  not the end of the world.  It’s not the final sentence in the story.  It’s not death.  It’s just a moment in time.  It’s just a temporary setback.  It’s just a risk.

Stop!

See you on Monday!

For I am free…

Satan is a liar.  He  is the king of lies.  He twists words and ideas into something that I can easily believe that traps me and holds me captive.  Captive.  Like a person chained to a wall.  Lies like “Nobody’s listening, so why bother telling your story.”  Why bother telling  my story?  Lots of people know my story, so why keep hashing up the past?  That’s a good question.  A really good question.  Maybe I am just talking to myself to keep myself going and to keep pushing higher up the mountain.  Maybe it’s because I hope that someone, somewhere will hear my story, and that person will feel hope and will keep moving up higher themselves.

Funny thing about believing in Satan’s lies, they are an illusion, an illusion that keeps me trapped as long as I believe in them.  As we all know, an illusion is something that is not really there, our eyes (or hearts, or minds) are playing tricks on us because we buy into the illusion.  Oh yes, he can hold a mirror up to us and show us the ugliness that exists in our hearts and  minds.  He can push us into believing half-truths because he is a master of illusion.  We can believe that there is no way out of this darkness we have gotten ourselves into.

The truth be told, I hold the key to breaking the chains of the illusions.  That’s right, I have the key.  The key is Jesus.  He is the light that shines in dark places when we think we see something that isn’t there.  Satan would hold us mesmerized in the darkness that is full of illusions that cause fear in our hearts and in our  minds.  He would have us chained to the wall of half-truths.  He would have us be captives for the remainder of our days.  But Jesus, he ripped the veil that kept humanity separated from God when he died on that cross.  He broke through the barrier and defeated death.  He defeated Satan.  That’s right, Satan, the master of illusion and lies, is defeated.

When we grab hold of the light and undo the chains with our wonderful Jesus, we are free.  We are free to go around and share the light with others.  We are free to ignite the flames of passion for the true living God in our own hearts.  We are free to help Jesus beat back the darkness that surrounds people’s hearts.  We are free to become whom we were born to be.

I was born to tell my story so that other’s may see the glory of God in my life.  For I am free.

Monday Morning Meditations

Well, hello there blog.  Missed you last week.  I was constantly behind the eight ball and was constantly surprised by forgotten event after forgotten event.  Yeah, it was bad.  So, I just couldn’t find the time to sit down and put my thoughts here.  Oh, well.  Moving on.

Monday morning meditations are stream-of-consciousness writing with a one-word prompt (for as long as I like).  I was going to write about plenty, but I think I am going to write about control.  Control is a current theme in my life right now, particularly because I am in therapy (yet, again) and we are talking about how this plays out in my life.  And, I have a lot of feelings and thoughts on the subject.  So, here we go…

Control

People say that having control is an illusion.  I say that’s not true.  I have been controlled by other people many times in my life.  Anyone that has authority has control over other people.  A child is controlled by all of the adults in his life.  Adults tell a child where to go, what to do, how to do it, and punish any transgressions.  I don’t think this is a bad thing.  I think this is a good thing because a child needs to be guided in how to be a good citizen of the society they are born into.  It becomes a bad thing when control is used as a means to subvert and dominate for no other purpose than impose one’s will on the other person.  And this is no illusion.  A person that forces another person to do something bad or against their will has control of the other person.

My experiences as a child were of being controlled and forced to do things that I didn’t want to, or should, do.  By many people.  My mother continued to control me until I left home.  And, after I left home, she still had a hold over me until she died.  There was not a place I could go without looking over my shoulder in fear that she would show up and I would have to run and hide for face her.  Even as an adult, my mother controlled me with fear.  When she died, I felt so relieved.  I didn’t have to worry anymore.  The control was gone.  Trust me when I say that not feeling guilty about this is a struggle.

This feels like an awful shame to me.

But at least my fear of  being controlled explains why I behave like I do in certain situations.  And there has been plenty of that going on in my adult life.  He wants me to trust Him and to understand my choices.  There goes God again, working all things together for the good of me who love Him.  Healing can begin and I can look to God to help me understand what is really going on in a situation that feels like I’m being controlled by another person.  I can choose to submit myself to someone else’s authority, or not.  The “or not” part is freeing and puts the choice in my hands.  The best part of this is that I can look to God to help me understand my choices and walk into a situation with my eyes wide-open of my own free will.

It’s my choice now.

Chrysalis

Formed from my own skin, wrapped in my own desire.

What was me, is not me, anymore.

Me is different.

Wrapped tightly in my own desire.

I put myself in this darkness,

Wrapped myself in this pain.

I long to be free.

Pushing, shoving, hoping.

Looking for the light,

That must be there.

Chrysalis, set me free.

A scent, a sight, a sound.

Can it be?

The urge of freedom,

Stronger than my desire.

Pushing, shoving, straining to be free.

At last.

I can fly.