“Twisted empty sugar sweet center”
A few nights ago I had a dream, from which I woke up and wrote “twisted empty sugar sweet center”. I don't remember the dream, but I have a feeling this phrase was associated with discovering a center that was full of promises but void of truth.
I find a twisted empty sugar sweet center in my life when I buy into my old story of the tragic hero. The mythology goes something like this: Life is difficult, and I'm working hard, but it's never enough to escape the challenges of life.
Perhaps it is the tragic hero who has a twisted empty sugar sweet center. My path to this center is one of seeing myself as a victim. My steps down the path are filled with over-eating, stuffing my emotions, ignoring my faith practices, distracting myself with media binges, and sleeping too much. I've realized recently that these steps also include pushing myself too hard, crash dieting, working out without balance, comparing myself to others, and not sleeping enough. Whether I'm running toward or away from victimhood, the tragic hero story can dominate my days.
Where is the twisted empty sugar sweet center in your life?
Agreements and Truth
I can be a stickler for agreements. Written agreements have brought clarity to confused expectations time and time again in my life. (Especially when work is involved.)
The gold here is that my tendency to form agreements helps to avoid conflict. The shadow here is that my tendency to form agreements comes partially from an unhealthy fear of conflict.
I recently had a contractor on my home blatantly violate our written agreement, so I had to fire him. I like the man. In my heart I didn't want to fire him. I wanted to give him a second chance, even though he had already had a few of those. The contract acted as my backbone, because I didn't have one to show him the door myself.
Funny how I wrote “I had to fire him”. Somehow the contract made the choice instead of me. Truth be told I chose to fire him, just like I chose to write the contract.
Even if somehow there were no contract, firing the contractor would have still been the right thing to do. His actions were out of line. Firing him was the best course of action for me to take.
Are you one, like I am, to hide in agreements instead of standing for your truth? Or are you one to hide in your truth instead of creating agreements?
Boundaries and Lines
Anger rises to protect me, because I am afraid.
A boundary has been violated and a line has been crossed.
My gut tells me that my life is at risk, but it is not.
My emotions say that everything will fall apart, but it won't.
Yet my fear and anger are correct.
A boundary has been violated and a line has been crossed.
How do you know when your boundaries and lines are serving you? When do they get in the way?
Around 8 years of age I got stung near my eye by a bee. When I started crying, my father discarded my pain and told me I was overreacting.
As a man I have been told many times and in many ways not to cry.
Today I cry when I'm sad. Sometimes I cry when I'm afraid and sometimes I even cry out of joy.
I cry because I am free. Each tear is a bound muscle releasing from stories that held it still.
How can you create more freedom for tears on your own face?
I try to live my best life, but I make mistakes.
I try to be mindful throughout my days, yet I catch myself distracted.
I try to take in all the beauty of this world, even though I can't possibly begin to perceive it all.
I try to love other people, and often I end up hurting their feelings.
I try to love God like God loves me, although I am far from capable of such a thing.
I try, and I fail, and I try.
Sitting with those I love
Sitting with those I love, I learn to trust that they love me.
I learn that it's safe.
Listening to those I love, I learn to see patterns that were hidden.
I learn to see what I don't because they do.
Opening to those I love, I learn of emotions beneath the surface.
I learn to feel.
Watching those I love, I learn to accept and care for my flaws.
I learn to grow.
Feeling that which belongs to those I love, I learn how connected we are.
I learn empathy.
Helping those I love, I learn how powerful I can be.
I learn to love.
Projecting onto those I love, I find shadow dancing with light.
I learn how to look in the mirror.
Sitting with those I love, I learn to trust that we share love.
I learn to live.
Reality and Context Stories
I use context stories to describe reality to myself. We all do.
In my recent journey of deepening my emotional self relationship, I found myself imagining a metaphor in which a scoop is holding and carrying my emotions. In my version of that context story, my scoop is growing larger and stronger so that it might carry more and more emotions.
But this context story, like all metaphors, is not an accurate representation of what is going on. It has undertones of emotions being heavy, needing to be carried, insatiable, etc.
I'm not sure how to improve this context story yet. And I know my new story will be as much of an improvement as it will be an imperfection. But I am choosing to set my intention on a new context story for my emotional journey.
Where are you telling yourself context stories with strong undertones? How might awareness of those undertones give you space to create a new story?
I generally hold certain values near to my heart and mind. The list sometimes shifts; but generally they are curiosity, love, faith, authenticity, and abundance.
I've learned over time that some values I hold because they are natural to my being, while others I hold because I'm afraid I might lose them, and others I hold because I feel they are lacking.
Here is where my values currently stand in that sense:
Curiosity – natural to me overall but I want more passion and energy behind it
Love – present with my immediate family, but I want more intimacy in my life
Faith – mine has never been stronger, in part due to recent life struggles
Authenticity – I believe this is an area of natural strength for me
Abundance – this is my newest, and least developed value
Abundance used to be important to me simply out of fear of its opposite, scarcity. But when I hold a value out of fear of its opposite I'm not holding much of anything but the fear itself.
Are any of your values rooted in fear?
Which values are most natural to you and which are growth areas?
Catching a Glance of My Shadow's Center
My shadow follows me, carrying a deep truth far from the edges.
The edges that define my shadow distract me from the interior.
I have spent years exploring my shadow, nearly all of them at the edges.
To date I have only caught a glance at shadow's center.
Constantly I have been pulled to the edges.
I have discovered cultural stories, familiar mythology, and personal wounds.
At these edges I have found more than enough to explain it all.
Yet I know there is more to my shadow that these edges.
I continue to explore, that I might better know myself.
I hope and pray that one day I will catch more than glance of my shadow's center.
...and I am afraid. Most of all when I won't admit it to myself.
Transition, Transformation, and Remodeling
For some time I have been awaiting a suitable metaphor in order to describe transition and transformation in life. I came across one today I quite like.
Transition brings with it the need to remodel my life, not unlike remodeling my home. Transformation occurs at the depth of the remodel.
A fresh coat of paint is always nice, but when I get down to the framing of the walls I find myself engaged in far deeper change.
Forces of transition, whether at the start of the remodel or in the middle of it, make it clear when more depth is required. The depth of the change, provoked by the transition, is the actual transformation.
I recently planned to repaint a room, and then upon closer inspection found a slight rot in the wood that requires me to replace portions of a doorframe. Similarly, in my life I planned to get a new job and upon closer inspection found that it is time for a deeper change to my professional approach.
It should be said that if I start by tearing down all the walls then I am likely to be rebuilding that which was perfectly suitable without replacement.
Where are you painting a wall that is rotted beneath? How might you welcome the forces of transition so as to more authentically transform?