Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Fear: Facing the Unknown Alone

Megan, age 21 and an only child, returned from burying her parents in a double funeral. They had been killed when her father's small plane went down in turbulent weather. She felt devastated. No! Worse than that! Words were not adequate to describe her feelings. Her insides felt like they'd been hashed through a meat grinder. She could hardly breathe.

She still had their house—her childhood home—to clean out, and the estate to settle. No time for that now. She had to return to her new job tomorrow. She'd only worked there six weeks—since college graduation a couple of months ago.

What was she going to do?
How would she handle life?
She had always relied on her parents for advice.
Now she faced the unknown world alone.

This sweet client of mine faced a bleak situation. Tougher than most of us will have to confront. 

Megan went to work the next day, and each day thereafter. But she seemed to wilt during this period of intense grief, locking emotional self away during her job and daylight hours, and falling apart in grief after dark.

Megan felt frozen with fear. She just knew she would never be able to live a normal, healthy life.

During each therapy session, she cried out her sadness. On her own she journaled, wrote good-bye letters to her parents, and talked with uncles, aunts, and cousins for long hours on the phone.
She was determined to overcome her fear of never having a normal life. She had no idea what her future held. It was all an unknown.

I pointed out to her that she was already defeating her fear. She didn't believe me until we looked at the proactive things she had accomplished.
1.                  Continued to function at work.
2.                  Confronted her grief in therapy.
3.                  Wrote letters to her parents.
4.                  Talked with family members.

Slowly she began to connect with those around her. Her boss gave her a commendation for friendly service. She had attended her church meetings all along, but now she began to go to the socials for single adults and teach a children's Sunday school class.

One of her aunts suggested the two of them return to her parents home to make some decisions about cleaning out the house. 

That was a difficult weekend for Megan and sent her back into the despondent nights she had experienced before.

Debilitating fear enveloped Megan again. She was sure she would never get out of her negative situation.

We listed the latest things she had accomplished.
1.                  Befriended others at work.
2.                  Socialized at church.
3.                  Served young children.

She argued that she fell back into a slump after seeing her parents' home again. She was afraid she would never get out. I pointed out that she didn't remain 'down' nearly as long as she had before.

Confronting and working through fears is not an 'event.' It is a process—sometimes a life-long process.
Megan continued to rejoin life. Tiny steps at first—until she found a good friend and then a group of friends. She began to date and, several years later, is now happily married with children of her own.
Does she still fall into grief at times when she thinks of the loss of her parents? Yes. But she knows the way out. She can experience her sadness and then reclaim her life.

What are your fears?
Are you in the process of meeting them head on?
Or are you allowing them to control your life?
Begin today to face 


1.                  Find a friend, a mentor, or a therapist and discuss your problem.
2.                  Set a long-term goal.
3.                  Set some short-term goals to help you meet your long-term goal.
4.                  Notice your progress.
5.                  Change your vision of yourself. See yourself free of your burden.
6.                  Have your mentor help your look at the steps you have taken toward releasing your fear.
7.                  Get outside yourself to love others.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Harboring Resentment Destroys Self Esteem

Jane had self esteem problems. She felt empty inside—like a shell of a person.

She was an abuse survivor abandoned by her mother and raised by her father and step-mother. The words 'hate' and 'mother' were always used in the same sentence.

During the course of her therapy, Jane related enough of her childhood incidents of abuse, neglect, and battery so that she felt heard and validated. As she released her feelings, she began to let go of the negative energy toward her mother.

In following this path, she was surprised to find that she could remember happy times in her life.

She began to see good in herself. She wasn't perfect, but she was good enough.

“When we forgive and let go, not only does a huge weight drop off your shoulders, but the doorway to your own self-love opens.” — Louise L. Hay.

How did Jane accomplish this? 

·         *She acknowledged that she felt empty inside.
·        * She talked and  journaled enough of the abuse to give her a road map to healing.
·         *She understood the wounds in her mother.
·        * She felt compassion and forgave her mother.

Through this process she came upon some surprising results. As she released the negative energy inside herself, positive thoughts began to flow in.

·         *She felt compassion for herself and own wounds.
·        * She could see herself in a more positive light.
·        * She filled herself with happiness and love so she was no longer an empty vessel.
·         *She gave service to those around her, helping them find a more positive way.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Your Added Light

Jane struggled out of bed late in the morning - or was it early afternoon? She didn't know. She felt depressed. Nothing would go right today. She already knew it. After her coke, she looked out the window to see swans swimming on the river. That's pretty, she thought. She noticed a humming bird at her feeder. As she sat on her porch in the afternoon, she watched some girls playing a game of tag. She smiled and waved. Later a friend came to sit in the rocker next to her and told her how lonely she was. More bad news. She hated bad news. Jane tended her grandson for an hour. That night Jane flopped into bed after flicking off her electronics. Nothing good ever happens to me, she thought. Depression just plagues me.

Jane added light to the world in several ways, but she didn't even know it. Let's see how.

To love beauty is to see the light. Victor Hugo. 

She watched the swans caring for their young.  

Humming bird hovers around a feeder in the early morning and late evening hours.
God's creations are endlessly beautiful.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King Jr.

She smiled and waved at the girls.

She watched the children play a game.

She cared for someone.

Each one of us brings light into our lives every day.  Just like Jane did. Stop and look for your goodness.

Reflect on the light you added today and give thanks for your ability to do so. You will discover greater light inside every time. And so will Jane

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Prosperity: Vision

I am not what happened to me.
I am what I choose to become. Carl Jung

My husband and I are working with local members of our church in the Memphis, TN, projects. Everyone we've met is warm and friendly—always open to receive us. I feel very blessed to have the people of this culture welcome us into their fold for a few months. I've learned a lot about love from them.

Some in the community we are working with will leave these projects, get themselves off SSI, and begin to live their dream of becoming part of main stream America. Others are content to stay where they are and enjoy the life they have.

One young girl is unmarried, age 24, and has four children. She had a happy childhood with her grandmother; and then, because of family tragedy, ended up on the streets alone during her teen years. She is trying to put her life back together.

She spent Sunday afternoon at a family barbeque and left her purse on the couch while she ate. Someone stole the twenty dollars she had for gas. With no family support, she looks to those of her faith to help her.

She has begun to clean an office building. She is tired at night, but happy for the job and is looking toward the next step.We are helping her expand her vision and see what she can accomplish as she sets her course.

Carl Jung
Education is the next step she has chosen in enlarging her vision. She already has her high school diploma, so college is on the horizon. She wants to study business.

We hold class once a week with the members of our group. To expand their vision, we try to find people who have walked the path these people are on.

One sweet lady who lived in the projects began as a cleaning lady. She attended a two-year business school and now has a responsible job in the Fed Ex Corporation. She has a beautiful home in a lovely Memphis neighborhood.

Another young mother has completed the schooling for her LPN and works at an extended care facility.

A medical assistant just moved to Memphis with her two children. She was able to find a comparable job to the one she left. She came here because she was accepted in nursing school.

Helen Keller

How do all of us attain the prosperity we seek?

1.         Look into your heart and clarify your vision.
2.         Set long term goals. Write them.
3.         Set short term goals. Write them.
4.         Set daily goals. Write them.

5.         Find others who have walked the path. They will help us keep our vision strong.

We become what we think.

*Visualize yourself completing your goals.

*Prioritize your time so you complete your daily goals.

*Work, play, and enjoy life!

*You're on your way—headed down the path to your vision of prosperity.

Slowly, step by step, those who are willing can create the reality of their vision. What an blessing for us to watch the change and growth. Nothing is more exciting than watching people become their best.
We become what we think.