Avoiding Transformation...

This article is part of a series on scapegoating by Franciscian, Richard Rohr. It seems we always find some way to avoid the transformation of our pain. There’s the common way of fight. Fighters are looking for the evildoer, the sinner, the unjust one, the oppressor, the bad person “over there.” He or she “righteously” attacks, hates, or even kills the wrong-doer, while feeling heroic for doing so (see John 16:2). We are all tempted to project our problem on someone or something else rather than dealing with it in ourselves. The zealot—and we’ve all been one at different times—is actually relieved by having someone to hate, because it takes away our inner shame and anxiety and provides a false sense of innocence. As long as the evil is “over there” and we can keep our focus on changing or expelling someone else (as the contaminating element), then we feel at peace. But this is not the peace of Christ, which “the world cannot give” (see John 14:27). Playing the victim is another way to deal with pain indirectly. You blame someone else, and your pain becomes your personal ticket to power because it gives you a false sense of moral superiority and outrage. You don’t have to grow up, let go, forgive, or surrender—you just have to accuse someone else of being worse than you are. And sadly, that becomes your very fragile identity, which always needs more reinforcement. The other common way to avoid the path of transformation is the way of flight or denial. It can take many forms. Those with the instinct to flee will often deny or ignore pain by naively dividing the world up through purity codes and worthiness systems. They keep the problem on the level of...

Independence

As The United States celebrates its Independence Day, I thought it fitting to consider various forms of dependency. Dependence is defined as the state of needing something or someone else. Like it or not, we are dependent on each other for all kinds of things. We need acceptance, love and affection from others because we are social beings. A newborn child left alone without touch will die. We are dependent on each other to follow socially accepted behavior like stopping at red lights and contributing to common things like roads and schools. In relationships, we are dependent on each other to be there to share the workload, make a meaningful contribution and live up to our commitments. Healthy dependence is a really, really positive thing. Independence is freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others. When the 13 American colonies were no longer satisfied with British rule (and taxation without representation), they sought a divorce. It’s not unlike the recent decision by Britain to pull out of the European Union to preserve its sovereignty. It’s not unlike states in human development. Two that come to mind are the terrible twos. I think the twos are called terrible because children seek independence from their parents and other caretakers because they are coming into their own. They are clumsy and awkward, but they are determined to get around! Unfortunately, they don’t yet recognize the limits of social and character boundaries, so tend to severely test those around them. The other significant stage of finding independence IS, of course, during the teenage years. Children are transitioning to adulthood with changing bodies, increased responsibilities and fewer apron strings. Yet their raging hormones and lack of fully developed prefrontal cortexes (decision-making that fully grasps consequences)...

Mama Knows Best

“Some people come into your life for a lifetime and some come for a season; you have to know which is which. And you always gonna mess up when you mix up those seasonal people with lifetime expectations.” So says Tyler Perry’s mama character, Medea, in this clip from one of his stage plays. Staying in character for this entire 5-minute clip, mama Media gives some of the most sound advice on relationships you will hear...

035: Finishing Well Sep06

035: Finishing Well

http://media.blubrry.com/gcoyl/p/media.medeor.co/gcoyl/35-Finishing_Well_-_9_5_15.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 46:43 — 42.8MB)A powerful story of love, end of life issues, dealing with aging parents, doing the right thing, taking risks, perspectives, letting go and finishing well. Jack and Stacia Woloshun talk about walking through the final year with Sally Woloshun, Jack’s mom (and guest on Get Control podcast #24: Timeless Wisdom). It may not be for everyone, but is especially for those who may be walking by someone with a diminishing...

Nagasaki

It dropped from the sky just three days after the other one. The first was an atom bomb, the equivalent of 15 thousand tons of TNT that exploded above Hiroshima, Japan. The second was a plutonium bomb that fell on less than 200 miles away on Nagasaki. Never in the history of humankind had a single weapon—two it seems—created such mass and catastrophic devastation. About half the population of these two cities died instantly as their bodies evaporated into nothing or their flesh was ripped or burned off. In the weeks and months that followed, others died from their burns, radiation sickness, malnutrition and other injuries. And for years, other victims, and their offspring, suffered a variety of cancers and birth defects. By any account, it was horrible. We will not discuss the justifications here; people all over the world can justify what they do to fellow humans in the name of whatever they are preserving or fighting for. As we remember these events 70 years later, perhaps we can take away some lessons. I heard on a news report this week that the Japanese people are not bitter. Hmmmmm, not bitter? How could this be? Then I heard the name of the memorial at Hiroshima is not called a war memorial, it’s called a peace memorial. Wow. I don’t recall ever seeing a peace memorial in America, or anywhere else for that matter. In fact, if you Google “peace memorial,” the first several hits you see are for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Compare this to the attack on the twin towers in New York on 9/11/2001. Americans were incensed that they would a) be attacked on their home soil, and b) innocent civilians would be the target of the attack. Home soil...

Not my Monkey

All of us have them…friends and acquaintances that seem to thrive on drama and poor choices. It seems like every time you talk with them, something crazy is happening in their life. I (Jeannette) had a friend whose’ doctor actually told him he was addicted to adrenalin! It’s easy to get sucked into the drama. One of my normally levelheaded friends called to tell me a recent acquaintance-romance had taken a business trip to Europe. While gone, he had apparently been robbed, needed her to send money to get home. She had already sent him quite a bit of money, but still asked how she could help. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt this guy was a fake and ripping her off; but her heart was too involved and she could not see the (obvious) red flags. It was gut wrenching for me to see her being strung along I even lost sleep over it. What do you do in a situation like that? If you have an ounce of compassion you want to intervene. If the person is a good friend or a relative, I want to help them; I want to rescue them and get them out of their latest quandary. I tend to think that if I can just talk reasonably with them, they will be able to see their way out of their predicament. I want to make it right! Or maybe it’s not high drama; maybe it’s just a difficult decision that needs to be made, or a sticky situation that needs to be resolved. Part of getting control of your own life is recognizing what you CAN control and what you CAN’T! The reality is that everyone has their life to live; most of the time people...

Finding Fault

“…the disciples were finding fault with each other because they had forgotten to bring bread.”* Jesus’ followers were crossing a large lake when they realized they had no lunch. So they started pointing fingers to assign blame. No matter they had just witnessed Jesus multiply a few fish and loaves to feed thousands. There is nothing noble about finding fault in others. In fact, it’s likely the most common thing we do as humans. Of course there are faults in others! Da! We all have areas we can’t see—thoughts and actions we are blind to. (See article Know Thyself) So there’s nothing special about our ability to see them in others. There are faults in us too, for which we either feel guilty, choose to ignore or simply justify. But finding fault is a barrier to experiencing successful relationships. We want connections with others. We need those connections. And yet, as Richard Rohr points out, “Humans make hard and impossible the very things we most want.”** We are driven by a need to criticize others. As Rohr wrote, we seem to have a need to fear and to hate. Oh, if we would just let things go more often. We all have stuff to be anxious about. But where do we focus that anxiousness? Do we get a twisted sense of happiness by finding fault in others? Do you return the hate, dysfunction and shit that is thrown your way (or that you perceive, even if it’s not actually there)? Rohr continued: “Conscious love is the totally enlightened, and often entirely nonsensical way out of this universal pattern. Love has to be worked toward, received, and enjoyed, first of all, by facing our preference for fear and hate. But remember, we gather around the...

Letting Go

One of the ironies in getting control of your life is the need to let go of some things. Getting control of your life is not about becoming a control freak. People who have the need to order their world so much they must control others, are hard to be around. They fret or get angry when they don’t get their way. Their lives are so out of control, they feel a false sense of power by controlling others and trying to control situations. The exercise is usually fruitless at best, and devastating at worst. Emotional and physical abuse are extreme examples of trying to be in control. I’m reminded of a strategy once used to catch monkeys. Poachers would drill holes into a hollowed-out coconut hull and place an enticing bit of food inside. They would then chain the coconut to a tree. A monkey would smell the treat and put its hand inside to retrieve it. With the fist holding the food, there was no getting out. The monkey was trapped. All the monkey had to do to free itself was let go of the food to relax their hand. It was that impossible, yet that simple. We are like that. We think we will remain in control if we hang on tightly. But sometimes letting go is what will free us up. Franciscan Priest, Richard Rohr, thinks we have three primary areas for which we need to let go: Success The need to be right Power Getting comfortable with a degree of uncertainty is a sign of healt and maturity. We can’t know everything. We can’t predict how others will respond or act. We can’t even count on what the weather will do. Rohr explained the three in a recent devotional: “There...