Thursday, October 29, 2009
There are people who carry way more than they should in this world. They carry the burdens of their children, their spouses, their bosses, foreign countries, alien life forms, and angels in heavenly places. There are some who even carry the burdens of God, and just how arrogant is that, if I might ask? And, yes, I can ask, as I will admit I was once one of those people. I still have moments when I am drawn into the black hole vacuum of some needy person who is carrying too much weight and needs a partner to shoulder it, a hero to come from the heavens and take away their pain. Somehow these types of people can convince us that we are capable of taking away all their pain, and it's just so flattering to believe that. I soon find myself thinking, "Well, if he/she thinks I can solve all these problems, then maybe I can! I can and I will!" I haven't fallen into that trap in awhile, until yesterday.
I have been counseling children and families for almost 10 years, and there is a subtype of parents I encounter-- the desperate parents. These parents are having great difficulty accepting that they have a child with any type of disability or illness. Understandably, the pain of this type of acceptance is very scary and crushing. I drift in and out of acceptance regarding my own children's disabilities, but I accept it or I go crazy. That's the only two options unfortunately. Nonetheless, there are parents who hold onto hope that someday some magical person will come along with magic wand in hand, tap the head of their child and, all ADHD will disappear. Autism will shrink to nothing or severe mental illness will turn to mist and vanish. This magical person must only appear and be willing to impart her divine wisdom and allow their child to sit in her most holy presence, and all will be well.
I am getting better at spotting these types of parents, because I am prone to buying into their grandiose plans for me and their child. One of the first telltale signs is that many of these parents actually say something like this,"We have been to so many doctors and I am just exhausted with this process. Come work your magic!" I usually try to burst that bubble right from the start with, "Well, I hate to tell you this but you're going to learn it about me eventually... I'm human, no magic, sorry." Usually they don't believe me the first few times and continue to try to force magic from me. When the magic persists on not "working," then I begin seeing anger. It often sounds like this, "What have you been doing with my child all this time? All I ever see you do is playing with them. How is that going to help them!? Look, I really need help here! This is not what I thought it was going to be. I need you to talk to her teacher, and could you please tell her case manager that I need those housing forms? I'm not even sure I like this doctor anymore, are you going to be talking to him soon?" Essentially, this parent just took the enormous burden of caring for a sick or special needs child, held it out to me and asked, "Are you going to take this crap off my shoulders or not?"
Be forewarned, if you take the bait (and I have), this is what will play out. You, the therapist (or friend, spouse, etc), will take over the role of shouldering this burden. You will begin making the phone calls, researching the internet, buying the books, emailing the doctor, calling meetings at school, and lecturing the child to get with the program. Therapy sessions turn into what Mom or Dad wants you working on rather than what the child brings to the table for the day. Child clients become defensive and shut down, whether passively or aggressively. Therapists begin to burn out, get angry with the child for not cooperating with the plan! Basically, I have taken the anger and denial from the parents and made it mine. In the meantime, you are not likely seeing much progress with the child with this type of approach. Thus, parents are getting angrier and applying even more pressure. Therapist starts working even harder, gets angrier. Less progress, parents apply more pressure, therapist wears out.
Oh,well... mistake spotted. Time for me to back up and go back to plain old humanity. It was kind of fun for awhile believing I had superhero powers. I almost thought I cured one this time, but no. I've seen good, healthy, slow and steady progress with a child. One more case of the humdrum, slow and laborious work, eating your therapeutic fruits and vegetables, and being only a small part of someone's lifetime of growth. That's just how we humans heal. I guess that's just how we therapists learn too. Drats.
Photo above found at: http://mehmeturgut.deviantart.com/art/pixie-s-magic-36077755
Thursday, October 22, 2009
One of the spiritual lessons I am in the midst of these days (and we are always in the midst of one, whether your recognize it or not) is better understanding my sexuality. My concept of sexuality has been corrupted by culture, childhood events, relationships, media of various forms, and much more. I'm definitely in the beginner classes, when it comes to understanding the magnitude of sexuality and how it encompasses our entire (human) being.
As God often does for me, He introduces a person or event into my life that becomes a perfect metaphor for what He's trying to teach me. I enjoy metaphor, use them often, and think in them often. Being our spiritual Daddy, He knows how we all learn best! A couple days ago our home computer became infected with a pervasive and pesky virus that eventually crashed the entire system. In researching this virus and how to clean it, I probably created even more devastation than was already there. I also had the honor of experiencing what I have learned in the computer world is called "the blue screen of death." When your computer gives you that blue screen screaming error... well, you're just toast. Yeah, I get that now. Thanks. This morning God dropped some insight into me like a pebble into a pond-- my sexuality is the core operating system for my entire life!
Our sexuality goes way beyond sex organs. Because I am admittedly still in the beginner classes here, I cannot rattle off for you the complete list of what falls under "sexuality," but I can tell you that you'll find much more than "genitalia" listed there. In fact, I'm beginning to realize that practically EVERYTHING about me falls under the category of my sexuality, and I am hard pressed to find what isn't listed there. My sexuality is my very self as a woman-- my creativity, my feelings and thoughts, my strengths and weaknesses, my emotional and spiritual energies, my gender identity and role on this planet as a woman. My sexuality is the very essence of everything else about me, the core operating system. God forbid it ever get infected with a virus. Been there, done that and it pretty much sucks.
I am no computer genius, but I know there are innermost programs operating on an unseen level that keep my computer healthy. These programs are the skeleton for every other operation I want to perform, kind of like the secret inner room of my hard drive. There is a secret inner room to my sexuality, where no one enters but God. If I allow my spouse, partner, friend, or any one else to go where only God can exist, I get infected. Then there is a middle room to my sexuality that is meant only for close intimate relationships. God permeates into this room as well and allows me to bring in my husband. This room is meant only for him and if I let someone else in, yes, I get infected. Just a side note, I am not talking about the kind of infection that requires a shot of penicillin! Even though the virus entered through this middle room, it worms its way into every area of my sexuality and every room becomes infected!
Then there are other outer rooms where it is good to allow safe people. It is vital to the health of my sexuality that I keep these outer rooms open, while also using good protection. I have to share the programs operating from the depths of my inner sexuality, because they are creative masterpieces from God and His gift to the world. To keep them to myself would just be a waste. But in that sharing, and in all moments of sharing and opening, I need good protection around me that I do not allow viruses to come in and infect the lush and fertile grounds of my sexuality/my encompassing self.
When we are infected in our sexuality, regardless of how the virus entered, it can manifest itself in a lot of dysfunctional patterns. We're most likely going to see it really wreaking havoc in our relationships. A healthy sexuality shares intimacy and honesty, but an infected system cannot perform this function. An infected sexuality also creates bad employees and bad bosses. We become selfish or conversely, a wide open door for any fool that wants to come in and pillage. We become neurotic, psychotic, codependent, lazy, workaholic, alcoholic, sexaholic, ragers, doormats and/or devoid of any self at all. Our thinking becomes illogical and distorted. We start to believe things about ourselves and the world that are so sick it then affects the way we behave. You see how a virus spreads and affects every area of our lives?
So now I'm wondering, what is good virus protection for sexuality and where can I get some? Well, naturally, foremost I guess that means keeping my innermost room healthy. That space for me and God needs to be clean, open to Him only, and visited regularly. He meets me there, I can go any time, and answers for every other operating problem are found there. I have to keep that room safely protected and stop bringing any Tom, Dick and Harry to come in there and impart their wisdom. I need to be mindful always of other infected people. Don't you know if you invite a sick person to come in and hang out for any extended period of time, you're probably gonna get sick too?! Duh, this is not rocket science! As I change and grow, I have to keep my protection updated. What protected me yesterday may not be sufficient today as I have grown into new areas. I am careful where I go, who I listen to, what I watch, see, or read. I take in all things through a protective lens. Yes, it is hard work, but it is self-love, and more than worth it.
So, as I am re-building my electronic life on a computer that has been entirely swept clean and re-set, I am reminded that re-setting a life is painful. There is protection against the sexually transmitted diseases that infect the human spirit, and these diseases can take a life just as assuredly as HIV or untreated syphilis. Having an infected body or computer is devastating, having an infected sexuality is devastation.
Photo above found at: http://lordike3.deviantart.com/art/You-Suck-Notice-99394886
Friday, October 16, 2009
The great thing
is not having
a mind. Feelings:
oh, I have those; they
govern me. I have
a lord in heaven
called the sun, and open
for him, showing him
the fire of my own heart, fire
like his presence.
What could such glory be
if not a heart? Oh my brothers and sisters,
were you like me once, long ago,
before you were human? Did you
to open once, who would never
open again? Because in truth
I am speaking now
the way you do. I speak
because I am shattered.
by Louise Gluck
Photo above found at: