trust is truth turned inward

You can’t trust what you don’t know.

Most of us don’t know ourselves. We know what other people have told us about ourselves. We know what our families wanted from us. We know what society tells us to do. We know what our friends think about us.

But, most of us don’t know ourselves. And, you can’t trust what you don’t know.

Now, knowledge can be deceptive, so you shouldn’t believe everything you think you know. But, knowing yourself should be a pretty high life priority. You might lie to yourself about you. You probably do.

Here’s a popular lie many of us tell ourselves: I’m not a good person.

Can I tell you a secret?

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You don’t have to be a good person. Being a good person is overrated. I was a good person for most of my life and folks just abused me because they were messed up and saw my goodness as something to possess. They thought close proximity to MY goodness would make THEM better somehow. It would make them acceptable. They used my goodness as a reason to tell themselves it was okay that they weren’t doing things they should have been doing.

But, if they had known how amazing they were INHERENTLY, none of that would have happened.

Being a good person is a good way to get screwed over by other people.

Lots of people realize this and they tell you that’s why you shouldn’t become a good person. But, that’s not what I’m going for here. I simply adore being a good person. It’s a lot of fun.

Just because some (lots?) of us are messed up, doesn’t mean I have to hate being a good person. I’m just stating that being a good person is not automatic insulation against the crap of other people. Crap comes. But, what do you do with it?

That’s where being a good person comes in handy. Because I’m a good person, I tend to compost it. Manure is great for gardening and I’m growing a lot of food.

Thankfully, I’ve stockpiled a lifetime of crap, so you can keep yours to yourself. But, if you’re not a good person, THAT’S OKAY.

Just do good stuff.

If you tend to do messed up stuff, doing good stuff will make you feel inordinately good about yourself and then you might stop doing crappy stuff. (This is where a good therapist can help. Changing poor habits into decent habits takes a lot of support and since you tended to do messy stuff, you might not have a lot of supportive people around you.)

But, if you’re just a normal person, doing good stuff will make you feel good and you’ll enjoy the feeling, so you’ll keep doing it. You might need to overcome laziness and the emotional bloat that comes with being too self-congratulatory, but, in the end, you’ll keep doing good stuff and you’ll find that you like yourself more.

That’s when you know you’ve tapped into the secret of all good people: Doing good feels good.

Most good people are selfish. We supremely enjoy the chemical sensations we derive from doing good and being happy. So, we strive to create lives that look and feel good and happy. Anyone can do this. It’s not a big deal. Some of us have been socialized (programmed) to be this way and some of us got this way despite how we were socialized.

It just feels good. Most people keep doing what feels good.

In my case, I derive a lot of good feeling from being logical. It makes more logical sense to be a good person than otherwise. I like feeling good, I like the people around me to feel good. Win-win. I prefer win-win situations over every other kind. Who wouldn’t?

Well, we live in a society (I’m talking about America, in particular) that says win-lose situations are not only better, but they’re really the only kind. It’s like a tradition. We get off on win-lose dynamics and we go into situations hoping we win and the other party loses.

That’s, like, our entire thing as a nation.

And, it’s self-defeating. If, by chance, we are usually winning, the other party is usually losing… which is only going to bite us in the butt in the end. Most people don’t like losing. Including us. And, if they feel they are losing too often, they start to feel badly about themselves, which causes them to stop thinking rationally. Or maybe they become hyper-rational. Anything to win!

This is how we get ALL social ills, by the way.

Hurt people hurt people. It’s a human law. A more forgettable human law among messier folks is that hurt people also help people.

You can’t know ahead of time what folks are going to do with their hurt. So, the best, most reasonable idea is to provide as little hurt as possible.

Everyone’s not a witch. Everyone can’t just snap their fingers and turn bad into good. That level of magic is easy to get to, but not everyone feels capable of getting there. Many of us simply hurl around what’s been given to us, and when we’ve been given hurt, we throw hurt around.

And, doing so just makes us feel badly about ourselves.

And, that leads to mistrusting ourselves.

Because, bad people can’t be trusted, can they? And, if you cannot trust yourself, all your relationships with other people are circumspect.

Many people think they have problems with other people, but they really have problems with themselves.

All our relationships are founded in our relationships with ourselves. If my relationship with myself is full of deception, antipathy, and fear, then all my other relationships will reflect that.

Now, I’m not promising you wonderfully amazing relationships once you clean up your relationship with yourself. People are messy. Relationships are largely unpredictable (unless you’re dealing with someone with some pretty intense personality problems). What I am promising you is this:

When your relationship with yourself is good and loving and kind, messy relationships kinda fall by the wayside. They’re not as prevalent in your life. Messy people tend to stay away from you. When the folks who like you are going through messy things, they try to keep the mess off you. (If you value the relationships, don’t let them. Let them feel what it’s like to know someone is there for them no-matter-what.)

The thing about having a good relationship with yourself is that everything feels easier. It’s not as hard to resist the desire to save other people. It’s simpler to be honest with everyone and recognize that sometimes the most honest thing to do is to shut your trap.

Everything in life just feels better when you trust yourself.

So many of us grapple with self-doubt and self-recrimination. We haven’t earned our own trust.

Today, go out and do something that shocks even you. Do something that truly leaves you open for intense scrutiny and possible condemnation, but that you know in your heart that you need to do in order to be true to yourself. Go out and do something that proves to yourself that you are your own best friend.

At the end of the day, you are the one yammering along inside your head.

You are the one keeping yourself awake with all that mercenary thinking.

You are the one feeling that intense anxiety every second of your life.

You are the one lying to yourself and telling yourself things will get better in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

You are the one refusing to walk in faith.

What is faith? Simply believing in something larger than yourself. And, folks have a difficult time doing that when they don’t even believe in themselves, yet.

Be authentic. And, when you’re not being authentic, be honest about that. Know why. Remind yourself of your inherent worth and value and goodness.

Because here’s another secret:

We’re all good. Some of us just have an easier time remembering it every day.

Yeah, I actually believe that.

Even the person who has done the most horrible things to others is actually a good person. They just got hurt. And, rather than healing they chose to keep hurting.

It happens.

We’re all good. We’re not perfect, just good.

And, folks… that’s good enough. When we trust ourselves and know ourselves, we’re fine with being good.

people ain’t ****

Let’s start off with the poignant reminder that people are imperfect beings capable of committing heinous acts against one another.

Some of those heinous acts have been committed against me. Maybe some against you, too. And, that was NOT OKAY.

They had no right to do that. But they did it, anyway. So, now, I’m left holding a stinking pile of poop, probably covered in it, and no way to get clean. Really, really clean. As clean as I was before it happened.

FACT: I’m not perfect, either, and I’ve hurt folks, too.

I’m not about to discuss karma. You can berate yourself on your own time. I’m going to discuss acknowledgment.

I have had most of the people who claimed to love me hurt me in unforgivable ways. Maybe you have, too. I have the right to be angry with them for the rest of my life.

But, is that fair to me?

Let’s pretend for a second that I’m a saint. I’m suffering. I’m being martyred, maybe. And, because I’m being martyred, I have the right to be royally ticked off. I mean, you’re killing me and I did nothing truly wrong. I probably just told you something about yourself you didn’t want to hear. Maybe many, many times I told you the truth about yourself and rather than listening and doing better, you decided to shut me up. Permanently. Because you’re just that messed up, you’re just that far removed from the truth.

Is my righteous anger going to save my life?

Now, sometimes anger DOES save lives. But, right now, I’m already on the pyre. You’re about to set fire to me. Anger is going to do nothing to remove my body from this abysmal situation. Once again, you have decided that hurting me is a better choice than accepting me.

My anger will do nothing to change that.

So, should I be happy, then? If you wondered that in this moment, I’d like to point out that you’re more intelligent than that. That’s an immature question. It’s an emotion-based question rather than a logical one. I want you to get out of your feelings for a moment and get into your heart.

Oh. Did you think your heart is where your feelings reside? No, sorry, friend. Your heart is the most logical place in your consciousness. Your mind is where your feelings reside, because feelings are simply thoughts. Thoughts and beliefs and stuff we’ve decided to hold onto regardless of how reasonable or unreasonable they are.

So, jump into your heart space for a second. What’s there?

Some of us can’t do this right now and that’s okay. Come back later.

Those of us who can move forward, who can take the time to gaze (with our mind’s eye or whatever technique works for us) into our heart space, let’s do that. Take as much time as you need.

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So, what did you see?

Was it anger?

Was it fear?

Could you see anything, at all?

I’ve been gazing at my own heart space for a while, so I have forgotten what it feels like the first time you do this. These days, I see a blooming flower, all red and luscious. And, HUGE. When I first began, the flower wasn’t this big and didn’t take up so much room in my chest. Now, she’s ridiculously big. I can watch her open up whenever I want.

This is the truth of who we are.

We aren’t the messed up things folks did to us.

We aren’t the messed up feelings we carry around inside us.

We aren’t our anger.

Honestly, we are loving beings. The MOST loving beings! We are so full of love and compassion that it sometimes scares us because we haven’t quite learned to trust ourselves, yet.

That’s okay. We can work on that together. Learning to trust myself was the biggest Life Lesson of all, because all my life I had thought that I didn’t (or couldn’t) trust OTHER people. What I learned was that I don’t need to trust other people if I trust myself.

But, how do you do that?

you are now in hive mind

I’ve been doing this work a long, long time.

What work is that? you ask.

I’ve been doing the work of spiritual integration.

I call myself a transformation coach, because I am in the work of transformation. Not simple transformation, where one goes from one state to another. I think of the butterfly analogy so many of us love when I think of regular, old transformation. Look, the caterpillar became a butterfly! Yes, it did. But that’s not all that happened.

All that nasty stuff happening inside the chrysalis? That’s where I come in. I’m not interested in turning caterpillars into butterflies. That kind of transformation is not in my hands. But all the inside nastiness, the melting of the physical body, the complete loss of one’s former identity…that’s the stuff I can help with.

I think many people associate transmutation with transformation and the two don’t really have anything to do with one another. Transmutation is changing negative into positive. Transformation is understanding there is no negative or positive, only illusion/delusion and the waking up from it.

Ultimately, those who seek clarity will go through the process of transformation, with or without coaching support. Those who seek reality will transform. The butterfly analogy is quite unfair, really. Both the caterpillar and the butterfly already live in reality.

The other day, a friend shared a dream she had. I shared a similar dream I’d had the night before. I told her the dreams felt collective and wondered how many others had had a similar dream over those couple of days. She reached out to another friend and found out that friend had also had a similar dream.

As a dreamwalker, I know that dreams are not as personal as many of us like to believe. In my life, dreams often teach me. They tell me what’s going to happen in the future (often years ahead of time), they tell me what’s happening in the present (especially if there is conflict happening behind the scenes that I need to be mindful of ), and they give me insight into what humanity is processing as a whole.

Collectively, we are processing a lot of energetic turmoil. The times we are currently in remind me, energetically, of the 1960s. During that decade, people all around the world were waking up to how little power they had in the systems around them and they were demanding more. This was a world-wide phenomenon; a collective awakening.

Today, we are in the midst of another collective awakening and I will tell you why: we never finished the work from the 1960s. We became afraid, we became drug addicts, we became stagnant. But, the work is never over until it is. In transformation work, this is always true: you will keep getting presented with opportunities until you take them and keep doing your work. Doing anything halfway is fine. It can be part of your process. No one gets to judge your process.

But process means the work is not over.

A lot of leaders, especially spiritual leaders, will focus upon transmutation right now. They will encourage us to attempt to step out of the pain and into the glory. But, what about all the inner messiness that occurs in-between pain and glory? What about all the pain and sadness and anger and hopelessness and guilt and shame that needs to be part of the process? That feeds the process? If we just transmute it, we don’t integrate the lessons. We don’t actually do the work.

Your emotions are not simply “bad” feelings. Your emotions are teachers. They are neither bad nor good. They are information.

When you turn away from the information in your life, can you actually change anything?

I think the 60s are calling. Maybe we need to stop trying to “transmute that shit” and pick up the phone.

parenting teens without breaking down

Once upon a time, I gave birth to four humans within five years, one at a time. It was a ton of fun and I completely immersed myself  in my mothering role. I loved that no day was ever the same, as I am easily bored in this life. Parenting four, young children day-in and day-out rarely bored me and I spent the time doing a lot of healing from my own childhood.

I remember standing in my kitchen when the youngest of the four was around age one and thinking to myself I cannot wait until they are teenagers! I will have four teens at the same time! I can’t wait to see what they try to get away with and what they think they know! To say that parenting was my jam would be a gross understatement.

But, then, I actually had teenagers. Continue reading

what holds your talking stick?

A talking stick is sometimes utilized in community settings where different people will get a chance to speak. The understanding is that only the person holding the stick will speak; others will take the important opportunity to truly hear the speaker and respond at the appropriate time.

This is an old practice that has come to us from many, different directions. It is a way of keeping order amongst humans, who have a tendency to become disordered rather easily. Especially when someone says something they don’t want to hear.

One of the reasons I enjoy communicating through social media is that it operates like a talking stick. You cannot talk until I have had my say. There is a lot of potential for healing and clarity in social media, but it depends upon intention and use, does it not? A simple tool in the wrong hands will become a great weapon. Continue reading

momming with the Gospel

One of the reasons I enjoy reading Christian parenting books is because I love being a parent. Since 2005, I have read probably close to 100 books on parenting. I have read the insights of parenting coaches, other parents, grandparents. I have been a parenting coach, myself, and taught some classes in San Francisco when my youngest was a baby. Parenting is my passion.

More than just parenting diligently, I want to be able to have my children say I parented them well. Basically anyone can be a parent; not everyone is a good parent. My latest book on parenting, Gospel Centered Mom: The Freeing Truth About What Your Kids Really Need by Brooke McGlothlin, offered me a chance to read a parenting book that was more rooted in personal struggle than I’m used to. It was an interesting change.

Continue reading