Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I've Learned and Still Learning

Still Learning

I've learned-that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.
I've learned- that it's taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.
I've learned- that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.
I've learned- that you can keep going long after you think you can't.
I've learned- that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.
I've learned- that either you control your attitude or it controls you.
I've learned- that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.
I've learned- that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.
I've learned- that money is a lousy way of keeping score.
I've learned- that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.
I've learned- that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down will be the ones to help you get back up.
I've learned- that sometimes when I'm angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn't give me the right to be cruel.
I've learned- that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.
I've learned- that just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.
I've learned- that no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.
I've learned- that it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.
I've learned- that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.
I've learned- that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.
I've learned- that just because two people argue, it doesn't mean they don't love each other. And just because they don't argue, it doesn't mean they do.
I've learned- that we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.
I've learned- that you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.
I've learned- that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.
I've learned- that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.
I've learned- that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.
I've learned- that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.
I've learned- that the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The 7R's of Life

The 7R's of Life: Rules, Roles, Relationships, Responsibilities, Respect, Resources and Returning Cycles.
1) Rules
Rules are a specific body(s) of information … sometimes described as guidelines … that we as a group choose to live by.  These guidelines serve as the foundation for governing our living together. These rules can outline very complex international issues … these issues can differ dramatically between various societies … everything from traffic laws, criminal laws and the comings and goings of the social services safety net … to educational systems and a myriad number of variations on a theme … falling under categories such as social custom or common law … codes of conduct etc. 
History and simple necessity are often the originators of most social and interpersonal rules. Community or social rules are the vehicles through which we can begin the task of fulfilling our needs … for food, shelter and clothing, … Maslow and his triangle … as well as set into motion a safety element or environment within the social structure where an individual may from the sanctity from within the construct of the created social zone begin to search out love and acceptance and move up the socialization triangle to higher orders of completion. 
These Chosen Rules can set our direction and define our responsibilities to ourselves and with those that we share the system with…

2) Roles

o   Roles relate to the many “jobs or masks” we wear within the family and our community. 
o   Roles are often determined according to our community or family needs. 
o   Please Note: just because it is what the family needs does not make it healthy.
o   The healthy roles we play provide us with our opportunities for learning and growth. 
o   Roles can be channels for expressing the truth about our needs and ourselves.  BUT…
o   The problem in the system seems to be that we were trained to be who we think we are. All this learning happened at a very early age. This training, often as not, contributes to the predetermination of the Roles we will adopt in our life and display in our community as we advance toward our adulthood.  It has a circular theme … what was learned in childhood is how we will be in Adulthood.
o   Our childhood training often demands that we give up true self. It is basically a defense strategy. We do this for the sake of the system and its survival … not ours necessarily.  We adapt a grab and run technique for our needs fulfillment.  This is referred to as narcissistic depravation
Thus we cannot nurture our lost self unless we leave home at least figuratively.  Some of us have to break ties altogether … literally. 
We leave home by giving up the role that our system demanded we be … for the good of the system …  the scripts and rigid unhealthy roles
These scripts defined us by what the system needed and not as us as an individual. 
This process of giving ourselves up for the greater need of the system denied us our authenticity, our sense of self and our sense of self-esteem.  Each of us adhered to these rigid roles out of our misplaced loyalty to the system we were born into.  The odd thing is that we got a sense of power and of being in control from doing this, but this entire process cost us dearly. To adhere to the rigid role(s) we had to give over our sense of uniqueness, our sense of self, and the essence of being … just to maintain membership in the system.
We were born to be ourselves.  Truer words were never spoken.
3) Relationships
Relationships deal with the nature and quality of our interactions … us with us and us with others … but first us with ourselves.
To form a relationship we must first be able to relate and understand how to set the relating process in motion. 
Our comprehension of how relationships work (or don’t) lay at the feet of our parents ... those persons who parented us, Mom’s relationship with herself and dad’s relationship with himself and their relationship with each other lays the ground work for our understanding of how relationships work or don’t work.  Once this is appreciated or imprinted or impressed on us it then plays like a message on a tape recorder … over and over again.  There are variances that are explained by personality and other outside influences but basically the parents and their interactions set us in motion on how we will conduct ourselves during our adult relationships. 
To get to the root of the problem it is essential to plumb the depths of our own psyche and our own past … to release those lost and buried hurts and pains … then to grieve the losses we experienced.
4) Responsibilities
Responsibilities in one sense refers to the level of maturity we have reached, or how we handle ourselves both privately and publicly, and more importantly how we handle getting our needs met … especially our dependency needs. 
Our inter play with other people, and the roles we choose to fill in the interacting process with them are simply expressions of our sense of our ability to fill our own needs through inter play with them. 
Often as not, responsibility appears to have something to do with providing inspiration or leadership to all who come into our spheres of influence.
M Scott Peck pointed out: Life is what happens to you while you are busy doing something else.   Assuming the working definition of responsibility is a commitment to being involved … you with your life … in a complete, full and healthy fashion … thus being able to fulfill the ways of satisfying your own needs … it helps to understand the difference between Wants and Needs.
This is an essential aspect.

5) Respect
This starts with an individual’s Sense of Self. That Sense of Self is a by-product of early child developmental experiences. 
Sense of Self/Self Assurance has its clearest defining qualities rooted directly in the time spent and how it was spent with the early care givers … those people who reflected how the child was viewed during the child’s first 30 to 60 months of life. 

It Is True That:

It is a necessity that we must first have respect for ourselves … it then follows naturally … that we will have respect for the rules we chose to live by … those we agree to … and conduct our living accordingly and build our social order around. 
On the other hand if we do not have this Sense of Self Respect instilled at a very early age then ... it is with great effort and difficulty that we will move through our lives (seemingly) constantly at odds with our surroundings
Respect is something that is purely experiential (subjective) … it can be obtained anytime … First we must know what we are looking for …  then … where to look for it.  12 Step programs are one of those places to look. Another is a properly laid out therapy program. The book Iron John asks the question “Where is the Key hidden”.
One of life’s conundrums: Sooner or later we get ourselves involved in attempting to make something happen in our lives that we view as very necessary. The problem with the attempt is that a necessary ingredient for making things happen is missing. We need to respect ourselves. If that is missing then our attempts are doomed to fail.  The necessary tools are missing. The business of recovery is the acquisition of those missing tools for life. Life is difficult; that much is true, but with tools of self respect and self esteem on hand, the job at hand will not be “an impossibility” any longer. 
The Basics of the concept is
People cannot respect themselves unless they know the truth about what happened to them.
For most of us, the truth of who we are is lost back in the early beginnings of our life. There were times and circumstances where we simply had to pretend to be someone else just to maintain our membership in our families of origin ... It is also very true that our every effort to maintain the family lie is a painful thing to do. The problem is, every time we build a (neurotic) defense strategy to protect us from a world that seems to want to destroy us, our defense strategy becomes more painful than the pain we were masking. Thus, if this is our only defense against our pain then we will build another neurotic structure … mask … false self … to protect us from the next level of our pain and that becomes a repeating pattern until we have no idea who we really are. Finding our lost self-respect is a prerequisite to healing.  Something a kin to Peter Pan recovering his lost shadow from Wendy’s drawer.  Now we have a place to look … and a direction to go in.
6) Resources
They are available to us on many levels.  Help will only help if you reach out for it.  It is necessary that you participate and utilize them … put them to work for you … it is your entitlement … they won’t work unless you work them.  I quote John Bradshaw from Healing the Shame that Binds You:
...methods have been adapted from the major schools of therapy.  Most all therapies attempt to make that which is covert and unconscious, overt and conscious. These techniques can only be mastered by practice.  You must do them, and reinforce them by doing them again.  They will work only if you work them.

Appreciating Compliance & Surrender

Compliance is motivated by guilt.  That is, I will make every effort to appear to be doing what I need to do while I resist doing the doing. Compliance is in fact an attempt to surrender without giving up control.  It is the attempt to appear to be doing the necessary without actually doing it.
An interesting fact that I had to learn the hard way was: denial and delusion can continue in spite of the acknowledgment of guilt.  Guilt can actually be a way to distract one from the real problem(s); feeling guilty about what I didn’t do ... is actually mood altering and we can be just as hooked on the guilt as we can on any other substance or actions.  Many of us need a fix of guilt periodically and will screw up in some major fashion just so that we can have a reason in the here & now that explains our feelings rather than the real reason that lay lost in our history.
Please Note: Compliance and guilt are ways that a codependent has hoodwinked many an unwary partner, spouse, parent, sibling, therapist or friend.
Some shame-based people tend to seek out and even embrace punishment.  Admitting guilt and paying for it enhances the denial of what they fear most deeply - quitting doing ...  fill in the blank. To have quit whatever it was ... fill in the blank ... then the individual would have to admit that his or her life was out of control ... thus by admitting that, they are exposed as a flawed and defective human being.  No one willingly wants to have their face ground down into their shame or pain … the conundrum of the whole thing is that the only way out of the compulsive/addictive shame cycle is to embrace the shame ... not ignore it or pretend it does not exist.

Surrender: is motivated by the acceptance of shame.  For a codependent, surrender is the first true act of freedom since beginning their recovery attempt.  It is best embodied in the following:

Talking about our problems, mapping out our family’s dysfunction is not the same as taking action.  Action means that I've let go of control and I'm willing to listen to someone else and do it his way, rather than my own way.
7) Returning Cycle
It is actually ... I suspect ... a universal law that helps maintain the balance of the universe. The truth of the matter is; most of us have never really noticed this phenomenon before.  We were all just too busy just trying to get from A to B. The process of returning cycles involves the process of giving and receiving. 
o   We get from life what we freely give.  But first we must give. The key word there is freely. Many of us have had to give and give and give ... but it was done under duress ... and chaos and duress becomes our way of things.
o   Or we reap what we sow; it is not always apparent ... but sooner or later it comes around. Sometimes it bites us ... and sometimes it seems to reward us ... but its’ necessity will always come around.
o   But then we have to give it back to life. We don’t own it ... its’ not ours ... it is something we got from life and it has its own place in The Greater Way of Things but it is not ours to own. We may think it is ours but ... we only get to use it for an undetermined period of time then we must give it back. There is no real choice in the matter ... that is simply how it works. But we are working within a time frame that is defined by eternity.
o   We must give back what we received ... that is a primary part of the law ... again but, this is where we do have a choice ... for the grace of being ourselves, we add just a little of our potential to it as it passes through our hands. It has our character and our talents now attached, then it passes back to the universe. Now it has just the tiniest bit more energy in it, it has our energy. Why do we do this? So we can find our sense of pride and self respect. So we can become a Co Creator with the Creator
Thus, a returning cycle is not a punishment, even though there are many times when it may seem so. In reality it is the restoration of creative energy within our own environment ... This can be at home ... in the office ... at a tea party ... at church ... anywhere where we notice that we actually have the ability to give, because it is always there ... the opportunity to give ... we just don’t notice. Where we don’t have to hide behind our false selves and masks; when we can just be who we were intended to be, that defines life’s purpose. The energy we give back is now enhanced by our effort rather than diluted by our resentment. We Now Have A Choice.  
Effort or Dilution
It was observed many years ago that if mankind lived according to the Principal of Returning Cycles many of the rules and laws of man’s world today would be unnecessary.