Monday, February 27, 2012

If Only We Could See

We are at a place of conjunction of spirit and an anniversary point of fate, reason and lack of understanding.
Sept 11th is one decade since our world became lost in the egocentric desires of philosophies that are diametrically opposed.
Here is the problem ... Everyone works for God ... but most have no spiritual connection. Most are of the opinion that they are deeply spiritually connected and their form of spiritual connection is all there is.
Now it follows that: if I don’t have a way to talk about my deep seated emptiness ... then I will act it out in some form ... I will act it out ... I will act it in ... or ... I will transfer my pain and what I believe are its causes onto something or someone else and then attack them for it; hence the crusades, Hitler’s Germany and every other bit of silliness that was acted out in the name of God by men who had ulterior motives hedged in grandiosity.
If only we could see what we are really up against ... rather then what it appears to be ... God is not a Muslim, nor a Catholic and the list goes on and on ... God is not anyone of them, but all of them are an extension of God.
There is not one of us who are more special than anyone else. The actual evidence of me being special in God’s eye is that I am here having this experience in the first place.
If only we could settle with this thought as being truth, just image how the world would change.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Family Systems Approaches

Family systems approaches, including those advocated by treatment centers attempt to unearth and catalogue the unspoken rules that govern dysfunctional families. That is when various family members have to learn to adapt and change their life style to avoid the acting out of the prime stressor; some of the most common adaptations fall under three basic categories:
·       Don't talk,
·       Don't trust,
·       Don't feel.  
These rules basically layout all the prohibitions about speaking out honestly about the problem and/or one's feelings within the system.  Understanding that acceptance is a necessary need and if one is to be accepted in the family or system then these unspoken rules must be obeyed. The oddity is if you don’t follow these rules you are seen as a deviant by the other system members and treated accordingly.
There are hundreds of variations on a theme of roles that can develop as subgroups under those umbrella categories:
Caretaker, The Bully, People-Pleaser, Workaholic, Martyr, Perfectionist, Tap Dancer, Lost Child, Enabler, Gad Fly, The Clown, The Scapegoat, The Rebel, The Good Guy/Nice Guy, The Parent, The Hero, The Mediator, The Charmer, The Victim, The Offender, The Addict, The Healer, The Organizer, The Prophet, The Queen Bee and The Odd duck Role. 
This is the short list. 
These roles are all self-defeating behaviors that are greatly exaggerated and complicated by a pathological relationship to anyone who fills the role of prime stressor within the system ... These roles will, over all diminish our capacity to initiate and or be able to participate in loving relationships.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Taxi Cab Driver's Story

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living.  It was a cowboy’s life, a life for someone who wanted no boss.  What I didn't realize was that it was also a ministry.  Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a moving confessional.   Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and told me about their lives.  I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, and made me laugh and weep.
But none touched me more than a woman I picked up late one August night. I was responding to a call from a small brick four plex in a quiet part of town.  I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partiers, or someone who had just had a fight with a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at some factory for the industrial part of town.
When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.  Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, and then drive away. But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation.  Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door.  This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.  So I walked to the door and knocked. "Just a minute," answered a frail, elderly voice.  I could hear something being dragged across the floor.  After a long pause, the door opened.  A small woman in her 80s stood before me.  She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.
By her side was a small nylon suitcase.  The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years.  All the furniture was covered with sheets.
There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
"Would you carry my bag out to the car?" she said.  I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.  She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.  She kept thanking me for my kindness.
"It's nothing," I told her.  "I just try to treat my passengers the way
I would want my mother treated,"
"Oh, you're such a good boy," she said.
When we got in the cab, she gave me and address, then  asked, "Could you drive through downtown?"
"It's not the shortest way," I answered quickly.
"Oh, I don't mind," she said.  "I'm in no hurry.  I'm on my way to a hospice."
I looked in the rearview mirror.  Her eyes were glistening.
"I don't have any family left," she continued.  "The doctor says I don't have very long."
I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.  "What route would you like me to take?" I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city.  She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.  We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds.  She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.
Sometimes she'd ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired.  Let's go now."
We drove in silence to the address she had given me.  It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico.  Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up.  They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door.  The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.
"Nothing," I said.
"You have to make a living," she answered.
"There are other passengers," I responded.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.  She held onto me tightly.
"You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said.  "Thank you."
I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light.  Behind me, a door shut.  It was the sound of the closing of a life. This moved me so much that I thought I would share it with you all.
I didn't pick up any more passengers that shift.  I drove aimlessly, lost in thought.  For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk.  What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?  What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don't think that I have done anything more important in my life.  We're conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments.  But great moments often catch us unaware beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.
People May Not Remember Exactly What You Did, Or 
What You Said ... 
They Will Always Remember 
How You Made Them Feel.