Thursday, September 6, 2007

Emotional History and God’s Timing

I came across two short, but meaningful, writings a while ago when I first began seeking to find a way to deal with emotional loss in a relationship. I hope you will find the ideas as helpful as I did in my effort to reframe the references of my mind and heart. I apologize for not having the author information of "God's Timing." If any of you recognize it and can provide the information, I will add it. Thanks!

Now You See It, Now You Don’t

God leads me to still waters
That restore my spirit – Psalm 23

It doesn’t take very long for each of us to accumulate an emotional history. A child burns her hand on a stove and a fear of fire begins; in a tender moment, a hand is slapped and a fear of love begins. Our emotional associations and reflexes run deep. Often, the heart breathes beneath all our associations like a soft, sandy bottom waiting underwater.

Thus, to see ourselves clearly, we must try to still our associations till we are as transparent as a calm lake. When still enough and clear enough, others can also see through to our bottom. It makes love possible again. But paradoxically, when someone is moved to reach for us, their fingers stir things up, sending ripples everywhere, and we and they can often lose sight of what matters.

All this affirms the need to stay with our feelings long enough for the emotional associations—the ripples—to settle. No one can escape this. No matter how young or old you may be, no matter how innocent or experienced you are, if you’ve been awake and alive and in any kind of relationship that has in any way been real, your waters will stir, your emotions will ripple. It seems the only way we can truly know our own depth is to wait for our associations and reflexes to subside, till we are clear as a lake again. Only when what gets stirred up settles can we see ourselves and each other clearly.

Breathe slowly, and allow your agitations of heart to come and go with each breath.
Breathe steadily, and try to outwait your reflexes to be angry or anxious or envious or resentful.
Breathe evenly, and with each exhalation try to feel the depth of heart that waits below.

-- From “Book of Awakening” by Mark Nepo

God’s Timing

When the lip is cut, no matter how, the need to heal makes us chew slower, and drink to one side. It makes us speak only when we have something to say. These are not bad things.

When the mind is cut, by a truth too sharp to hold, it makes us bleed the things we cling to. If lucky, we bleed the things that no longer work.

When the self others have sealed us in is cut, it lets us escape with only what we were given at birth.

While there are terrible ways to be opened, there is no such thing as a bad opening. It’s all about God’s timing. Not open enough and we fester. Open too long and we become a wound.

If you speed up how a flower blooms, it appears to be escaping. If you slow down the way a crisis explodes what we know, it appears we are transforming.

Hard as it is to embrace, crises are flowers opening what we refuse to open by ourselves.
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Many thanks to a long-time friend who shared these insightful writings with me. How fortunate we are to have such friends. They walk with us free of judgment, filled with understanding, and supportive of the best within us that we may lose sight of in the rippled waters of our life.
-- Dan Perin

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