You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2011.

What’s the part of your heart that you manifested in me?

What were your thoughts and words that created my flesh?

Which shiny facet of you am I to reflect?

What’s the dream of yours that I am to be?

What part of yourself were you hoping to display when you knit me together in the womb?

Merge my heart with the part of your heart that is me.

Let me be the part of you I was created to be.

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Are overachievers just trying to prove to themselves and others that they are worthy of love, life, and value in this world by their achievements? Is being an overachiever a gift from God that allows a person to push beyond limits and adversity in order to gain success in this world? I believe that it is a combination of both.

Growing up and then into adulthood I was always an overachiever. I was self motivated and self disciplined, and I always pushed myself beyond normal limits. For example no one ever had to tell me to do my homework. No one ever checked my backpack or my work at home. No one pushed me to sign up for the most advanced classes offered. I just did it on my own.

I studied in my room for hours at a time. I had other students calling me for help in Chemistry and Trigonometry and English. I even decided on my own to get special permission to take Chemistry and Physics at the same time my junior year of high school so that I would have more time in my schedule to take even higher level advanced placement classes my senior year.

When I started college my Freshman year I did not have to take Freshman English and I started out the semester taking Calculus instead of Algebra like most people because of all the work that I had done in high school. I did all of this just to “see if I could do it.” I pushed myself. I was a perfectionist.

I also pushed myself in dancing, athletics and in basically anything that I did. I would not wonder if my body could do something or not. I would just make my body do it no matter how painful it was.

I was constantly proving to myself and the world that I could do anything that I set my mind to do, that I was as intelligent as anyone, and that I had great skills.

I believe that this is a God-given gift. There is a reason that I am hard-wired to be this way. I am a limit pusher. I am a person created to break out of the box and reach beyond what the world may tell me that I can or cannot do, and that is a gift. I can use that to do something great for the world.

However I also believe that this gift can also be used to feed a deep down longing to feel worthy and valuable. I believe that for other over achievers and for myself this drive to do more and more than is expected or even believed possible can come from a deep inner feeling of unworthiness.

We have to continuously prove our worth by showing that we can be successful and that we can do more than others believe that we can do.

I remember having thoughts like “I may be tiny and I may be a girl, but I can beat this guy in a race and I can score higher than him on the Calculus exam.” And I would do it.

That is competitiveness that comes from feeling that others underestimated me and my potential. I do not know where these messages came from. Somewhere I got the message deep down that I was not seen as valuable or good enough in this world. For some reason subconsciously I felt unworthy. It was never a thought in the forefront of my mind. I never thought, “I have to prove my worth because I feel unworthy.” My actions were just showing that I carried this belief. And many times it was tied up in my being female.

There seems to be at the core of many people and especially at the core of girls and women around the world that we are not as good. We are not as valuable, as capable, as intelligent, etc, and I spent much of my life pushing myself to prove that wrong over and over.

And I did.

I do not want to lose the gift of being a person who can push beyond limits. That is at the core of who I am, but somehow I do want to lose the deep core belief that I am never good enough. I want to help other over achievers to see that we are worthy of love, respect, value, and everything good in life even if we never achieve another thing in life.

I am especially passionate about this for women because it is such a rampant disease among women world wide…..the disease of feeling “less than” no matter how much we achieve and how confidently we portray ourselves.

Girls are constantly getting subtle and sometimes blatant messages from our culture, other cultures, and even our own homes that we are at least a little lower on the totem pole than boys. Sometimes the message is more severe in that we are downright second or third class citizens or that we are property in a way or that we need men to guide us and direct us in the world.

I remember being in high school and being floored when I heard my good girl friends saying that they would trust a man gynecologist more than a woman even though I pointed out that a woman should know more about women’s issues than men. They said that men were smarter. And one of these girls had the highest GPA in our class! When I asked her to explain this to me she said that it was just because the boys were not trying! These kind and highly intelligent girls really believed these negative things about themselves! My blood boiled, and it still does as I see evidence of these negative self images in girls and women everywhere…..even in myself as I constantly feel the need to prove myself and my worth.

We are constantly bombarded with these negative images and ideas of ourselves from both men and women, and frankly, it hurts.

I have come to the understanding in life that when I am passionate about an issue so much that my blood boils then it means that I have a purpose surrounding that issue. There is something that God created me to do and hard-wired me to do to address this issue because I am extremely passionate about it. I do not know yet exactly how it is to play out, but I do know that it begins with me learning and truly believing in my deepest self that I am worthy, valuable, lovable and as good as anyone in this world male or female.

As I do the hard work to come to that truth within myself  I will then be able to spread it to others more effectively, and that is an exciting prospect. I will use my God-given gift of limit pushing to push beyond these horrible lies about female unworthiness and to spread the truth of who we really are.

Feelings of compassion are probably no strangers to most loving people, but I can still remember the exact moment when I came to the realization that compassion is profoundly painful. Sometimes true moments of compassion can be so unbearable that I think that many of us close our hearts just a little bit in order to bear it.

All of us being human have probably experienced compassion many times throughout our lives. I can think of many times that I have felt compassion for my fellow humans or even an animal. We have all felt that ache in our hearts when we see people suffering. That ache becomes stronger and harder to bear when it is a loved one such as our child, a sibling, a parent, a spouse, or a good friend.

Sometimes it is easier to work really hard at cheering the person up, to try to solve their problem, or to try to change the subject and stop thinking about it than to allow ourselves to really feel the gravity of the pain that they are suffering.

I have found though that when we do allow ourselves to experience compassion in its fullness we connect to something more true and more real in our hearts. We learn something instantly in that moment about ourselves and about humanity. When we allow ourselves to actually feel someone else’s pain even for a moment we connect to the truth about their soul and our own. We connect to our very connectedness.

This is very different from feeling sympathy. I am talking about having a moment of actually experiencing someone else’s pain in its entirety, and this is not easy or fun to do.

I remember a time when I was about 17, and my mother had recently found out that my step father had been having an affair. She had decided to try to work out the marriage which did not work out in the end, but she was trying. Things were very uncertain during this time. Our lives were shaken.

My step father had been the source of extreme misery for our family. He was abusive, highly critical, negative, oppressive and wallowed in his own misery. He was messed up, broken, full of self-hatred, angry, bitter, and sick in many ways. And he took it all out on us.

But he had been the step father that I lived with the majority of my childhood. I lived with him from the time that I was 4 until I was about 18, and there were some good moments. There were some times that we laughed together, and there were a few moments that he surprised me with gestures of love, true affection, or kindness. This is a very confusing thing for a child. There is love for and even from an abusive parent in some strange way.

Well my mother told me that she was trying to work out her marriage with him, and she asked me to be kind to him (which was a strange thing for her to say I think.) Since I always tried to help my mother in any way that I could and had spent my life doing things to try to show her the love that I subconsciously saw that she never received from her husband…. like buying her tons of Christmas gifts, defending her in arguments with him, making sure she was okay, watching her back…etc….I got on board with her for this too.

I don’t know why I felt compelled to do this, but I got my step father a sweet card, and I wrote a pages long heart-felt letter to him. I do not even remember what it said, but it was something from a part of myself that is more loving than any other part of me because remember….he had abused and hurt me and my dearest loved ones repetitively. I left the letter for him to find.

I did not stick around to watch him read it, but later I heard him closed up in the bathroom sobbing loudly and uncontrollably. He was wailing, and I had NEVER heard this from him in my life.

At that moment I felt his pain in my heart in a way that I had never felt before. I felt his brokeness and all of the pain that caused him to treat us the way that he did. I felt his humanity, and I actually felt connected to him in a true way for the first and last time. The pain that I felt coming from his true self into my heart was one of the most unbearable feelings I have ever felt, and I could not even sit with it for very long. I had to consciously close my heart a little bit to it after a few minutes because it was so horribly painful.

It was in that moment when I felt true indescribable heartbreaking compassion for my abuser that I realized what compassion really is and the gravity of it.

I have never forgotten that moment because of the impact that it had on me and the immense lesson that I learned in that brief moment. Since then I have understood the reality of compassion in its truest form and the reality of its heavy burden. I have seen how I and others have to close ourselves from the fullness of it at times in order to protect ourselves from the extreme heaviness of it. I have realized that many times we mistake sympathy for compassion and that they are very different.

I have also realized that when we have the courage to keep our hearts open even for a brief moment to compassion in its entirety even with and especially with those who hurt us and perpetrate against us we learn lessons about the human spirit that we would never completely understand any other way.

I have been awakened to the fact that compassion is not about butterflies and rainbows like we sometimes like to think. It is hard. It hurts. It involves suffering, and it teaches us more about the purest and greatest form of love than most other things can teach us. And it is worth it.

I have found that in order to experience the freedom that we all long for whether we realize it or not we have to come face to face with our fears and walk right through them. We have to face our demons so to speak. We have to look at those demons straight in the eyes and growl.

That is the reason that fear is so paralyzing. Sometimes we will do anything to avoid facing our fears. Fear holds us back from our highest potential and our highest joy. Sometimes we are even afraid of our highest potential so we continuously sabotage ourselves out of…fear.

Fear is a force in this world. It is almost the opposite of love. “There is no fear in love.” It tries to oppose us at every point of growth. It binds us so that we cannot be free.

When we limit ourselves it is usually out of fear. Sometimes we would rather remain miserable than face our fears in order to be free.

Fear has been an enormous part of my life. I feared for my life on a regular basis as a child. When I grew up I had different fears. I even feared adulthood. I remember collapsing on my mother’s bedroom floor one night when I was about 20 and saying, “I don’t want to grow up. I am not ready. I cannot stop being sad.”

I still carry way too much fear….much of my own…but much of it is shared family fear. I have realized in my adulthood that I carry the fears of my father and mother. I also share the fears of my siblings. I am carrying generational fear.

And it has bound me and paralyzed me and made me miserable in many ways. I see it all around me in my family.

I always said that I would be the one to break free not only for myself  but for my entire family. Why did I say that? I must have had a period of fearlessness, which I have had from time to time, when I announced that mission to myself and God.

That is scary! I am not that strong. But I know that there is a greater strength that I can draw from because I have drawn from it before.

And I have to get free. I long for freedom like a caged bird! That is the reason that I am Grounded Angel. I am meant to fly and soar freely, but I am broken and bound to this earth.

So slowly ….slowly…only as I can handle it… I am facing my fears. I have done it before. I can do it again.  I have done it so many times actually that I am tired. Sometimes I feel there is no fight left in me, but I am going to find my fighting spirit again.

And I am going to surrender to a power greater than myself which is also frightening! But I am! I just have to keep telling myself that I am.

I will face these dark demons that are woven all through out the roots of my family like thick diseased vines. I will face them, and they will break. I will be free. I have to be free. There is no other way to live.

I think I can. …I think I can. ….I think I can.

As I travel in time revisiting the past and glimpsing into the future in order to live better in the present there is certain music that bubbles up just like the memories do. There is some melodic poetry that speaks truth about the souls of some people. The people who connect with this music all share some kind of bond because of the lives that we have lived and the ways that our souls were created. It is like you just get it or you don’t, and if you do then you know that you have an instant connection with one another. I suddenly remembered these two songs at about midnight after spending a wonderful evening with some of my siblings and my mom, daughter and niece.

I used to listen to the Indigo Girls with my friends at summer camp of all places. It is funny because it was church camp, and the Indigo Girls are lesbians! Ha! That was not what it was about for us though. Camp was some of the best times in my life as a child. I went every summer all the way through high school and even met one of the great loves of my life there.

Camp was a safe place for me. I remember feeling safe even at night in the dorm on my bunk bed as I shared a room with about 14 other girls. There were no locks on the doors. We just had screened doors actually, but when the horror movie thoughts would run through my mind I would just think, “No! I am safe here. This is Honey Creek, and God is here. Nothing bad can happen here.”

We were surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Honey Creek….. big trees with spanish moss hanging from them….. porch swings, hammocks, and decks in various natural hideaways dispersed around the grounds….. a little chapel with one wall totally made of glass that faced the water……sounds of laughter, singing, and music…..a piece of heaven….My dream was to get married there. If God could be felt anywhere it was there, and one of my friends came with my mom to pick me up one year and said, ” I see why you love this place. I could feel it as soon as we drove in.”

We sang a lot to acoustic guitars. We went to chapel every morning and right before bed, and we were incredibly free at high school camp. We were even allowed to smoke cigarettes there because back then the law allowed smoking for 17 year olds! I know that’s kind of crazy! The place was a beautiful oxymoron…freedom at church camp….imagine that! But feeling safe, free, and surrounded by loving peers was truly like a vacation from life for me. It was a refuge like no other. I always grieved heavily when it was over. It never lasted long enough.

Well we used to listen to a lot of music there, and as I said the Indigo Girls were a favorite. I guess it is because of the raw acoustic beauty of the truth that they sing about. There were two songs that especially stood out to me and resonated with me in my teen years. I suddenly remembered those songs tonight around midnight after not hearing them or thinking of them for years. As I listen to them again they still resonate with me and actually bring tears to my eyes. Yes….there is a little bit of hippy in the music, but I would be lying if I said that there was not a little bit of hippy in me. Tee hee….There is something about my life in the words of these songs. There is something about me in them.

So I will share them with you for another musical interlude of melodic poetry. I believe that the music speaks for itself. It carries me back in time to my childhood, and it speaks to me again in the present. So here are the two songs….a brief look into my soul.

Prince of Darkness  ~ Don’t let the title scare you 😉

Kid Fears ~

When I was younger I ran from the mundane. I actually rebelled against the idea of just surviving life….just getting up and going to work to pay the bills then coming home. I lived simply in a shack with literally  four rooms total and no hallway…just four adjoining rooms in the ghetto. I drove an old car that was already paid off, and I still do that out of necessity. I did not tie myself down with marriage or children. Most of my 20’s I lived outside of the limits and expectations of society. I was spontaneous. I traveled. I played a lot! I spent much of my time at the beach. I stayed up all night and saw many sunrises as well as sunsets. I got really in tune with nature. I had many encounters with dolphins, and it was almost as if I could call them in, and they would come. There was something magical about that time. I worked jobs and went to school somewhere in there, but that was not even my priority.

I always used to say, “I watched my parents live their lives going to work and coming home doing things that they really didn’t even care much about just to get by, and they did not seem happy. I will not do that!”

Like most people in their 20’s I was very idealistic. I was very positive, and I just knew that I could change the world.

Towards the end of my 20’s life slowly began to lasso me in and tie me down. And by our 30’s my husband and I somehow got sucked into the machine, and we ended up working and coming home too tired to do anything else. We just had to do what we had to do to pay our bills, and we had to be “responsible” like society demands. We succumbed to the very thing that we had been running from and refusing to conform to for so long. It seemed like we didn’t really have a choice.

Why do so many of us as adults just end up in this daily grind. It is like we just fall asleep, and life becomes this routine of working, paying bills, taking care of business, and doing the “right” thing so that we can “get by.” Sure, we have some fun in there sometimes. We have some laughs and some good times. We do some great things for others, but most of the time many of us seem to be just sleep walking through life in this daily grind. It seems like we escape it for a moment only to get sucked right back into the black hole of surviving life in a sleepy haze of “have to’s.”

I fought it tooth and nail, and it still happened to me! There is something not right about this.

I need to wake up again. I crave a richer more exotic experience in this life. This life is so short, but on this physical plane it seems like we are so slowed down. It is as if our spirits have to slow their vibrations way down in order to remain with our heavy physical bodies so life just seems heavy at times.

That rebelliousness against conforming to the mundane machine is still flickering inside me. There has got to be a better way to live. The more we have the heavier we get and the more we get tied to the ground.

I do not think that I was made to be tied to the ground. I feel like I was made to fly because there is a restlessness inside me that just keeps whispering, “This is not all there is. There is more.”

As I align myself with the flow of God and get more in harmony with God’s song I feel the weight of this more. I feel the need to throw off more and more of the heaviness that keeps me bound to what is “expected” of me as an adult. I do not want being responsible to become my new bondage. Yes….I want to be responsible but not bound by it.

I want to wake up now. I want to be awake and alive now. I do not want to sleep through this short life only to wake up when I die and say, “Oh my word! I missed the whole thing, and it’s already over!”

God…..move me. Open my heart. Fill me up, and wake me up to the beauty and the fullness of life that is here now. Pour your light into me. Lighten me, and lift me up on the wind of your breath. Let me fly again.

As a very small child I had horrible nightmares. I remember a few vivid nightmares even as far back as my babyhood. As long as I can remember I was flooded with intense fear that escalated as night fell. I never slept. I would stay up all night and keep watch because I always had this feeling that someone was coming at any moment to brutally murder me in some gruesome way.

I am not talking about being afraid of the dark. I was afraid of something heinous happening, and I would not let myself sleep because I wanted to be ready to run or fight when this horrible event occurred. I always had an instinct inside me that said, “I will not be an easy target!” I was a little girl when this began….as young as four or five or younger.

I did not know why I had such horrible fear and such gory obsessive thoughts. When asked what I was afraid of  I would always say, “I don’t know.” But I was terrified, and my sleeplessness began in early childhood. I remember telling my mom when I was around nine years old that I just could not take it anymore….that the fear and the sleeplessness was too much for me to handle….that it was ruining my life. It seemed as if no one could or would help me though.

I still have a sleep disorder. My body is well-trained to be awake at night. I no longer have the graphic thoughts that scare me, but I just do not sleep well or sometimes at all.

I have no idea where a tiny girl would get such graphic thoughts of being  violently brutalized. I never watched horror movies. I still do not watch them. They are not good for my soul, and I do not get any joy from being frightened in that way. I do not need a horror movie to add excitement or suspense to my life. I have had enough of that.

Somehow in my subconscious I just had a horrible feeling that there was a predator in my midst and that my life was going to end in some gruesome way.

And I have a waking memory that haunts me sometimes.

I was probably about 5 years old and my sister was about 9. We were sitting at the breakfast table in the kitchen, and my step-father was cooking omelets before school. I don’t think that my mother was home because we had just moved to another town when she married my step father, and she was still working an hour and a half away in our previous town. She was not there in the mornings, and she came home at night.

My older sister was sitting at the table across from me sobbing hysterically. She was yelling, “I want my dad!” through her sobs and her attempts to catch her breath. She was inconsolable, but actually no one was trying to console her at all.

I was very little, and I just remember staring helplessly at her across the table. My step father was banging around at the stove.

I just remember being frozen, staring, feeling helpless and hopeless. And I remember my sister not having a child’s tantrum but sobbing desperately, uncontrollably, helplessly…..hopelessly. And no one was there to comfort either of us.

My step father was getting more and more annoyed as the banging around the stove became more intense.

He walked up and dropped an omelet on my plate. I looked at it. I picked around at it with one hand while my head rested on my other hand. I listened to my sister’s cries and screams. My stomach turned. I got up and threw my food in the trash.

Suddenly to my dismay my step father stomped up to my sister and yelled, “Now look what you have done! You have ruined your sister’s breakfast!.”

I remember being shocked. I remember thinking, “No!”

I remember thinking, “How did I just get roped into being on his side. She did not ruin my breakfast. That is not what I was saying. Something ruined my breakfast, but it was not her!”

As a tiny five-year old girl I never said a word. I remained silent. I guess I went to kindergarten shortly after that.

I still do not know exactly what happened with my sister. I do not know what  happened to trigger her desperate cries although I have some good ideas. I cannot remember if this was an isolated incident or a regular occurrence. I know that this is a piece of a puzzle for me though because in spite of all that I blocked out for some reason this dark memory has remained with me and comes to my mind sometimes. It is like a dark shadow coming up behind me and tapping me on the shoulder and whispering in my ear, “remember.”

I believe that deep inside a part of me knew that something heinous was going on and that there was a predator in my midst. I never felt totally safe. I just cannot remember details often, and in my baby mind there was a horror movie constantly playing. I could not understand or make sense of or accept what was happening. All I knew was that there was something nightmarish going on, and I was terrified for my life.