Alexithymia: the bewildering dilemma of emotional void

Dilemma

One of my teaching colleagues had a poster taped to the front of her desk. It ranks as one of my favorites.

RATE SCHEDULE

………

Answers $1

Thoughtful answers  $2

Correct answers $4

Dumb looks: Still for free

To most of us, this kind of poster seems hilarious. For some, simply a bewildering dilemma. For some, facial expressions are impossible to read–and perhaps impossible to produce. The reasons for this are still being investigated and are thought to range from genetic to environmental to perhaps a single traumatic experience. On the edge of the spectrum, there is even a name: alexithymia.

How to paint emotions when the scenery is deep space

Circling back to my theme of equipping children with self-knowledge, assertiveness, and kindness, I wanted to share that app developers are starting to provide child-friendly tools. These apps can help parents and teachers teach the words and concepts of emotions to children. Time and again, developing emotional intelligence is being seen as key to developing mentally healthy children who can form their own networks of supportive relationships. This also builds the inter-personal skills that help them become productive and financially independent adults.

Here is the list of children’s apps for building emotional intelligence.

Mira

A day without writing…

Jump

bubble-bath
This may be the shallowest, most nonsensical thing I have attempted to shake out of my laptop.

Today was a day without writing. I’m missing my high-board jump into my bubble-bath of words.

For the past ten weeks or so, I have poured out things I thought I knew, things I thought I understood, things I have tried to see through others eyes. Today, nothing. Today, I think I didn’t think. And that was the thought that sparked my comfort-zone of consciousness off the couch.

When even my simplest words haven’t been extruded and examined, I feel as though I haven’t really been here. My eyes, searching up and left (as they always do when I’m trying to get the synapses firing) snatched the day’s random images: the golf shot that I should have been practicing mentally, the synchronicity of fellow bloggers working out why we feel compelled to validate and adopt each other’s view–valiantly attempting to cobble together our own little soul-groups of security. And stranger still–in our  state of nonsensical conundrum–mystified as to why our soul-group is so different from theirs.

At the end of the day, I may not know any more than the morning, but through my struggle to feel alive through the demolition and reconstruction of my elementary words, I’m feeling worthy of taking up space again. It’s the old, familiar brain-muscle-burn, feeling satisfied that I have tried.

How about you? Do you experience a free-falling existential angst when deprived of your me-time bubble-bath of words?

Mira

Judgment ≠ Discernment

Hike

 

scoldingpenguin
Take a hike, chump! You’re not worth my time!!! (judgement or discernment?)

Judgment vs. Discernment (Psychology Today)

Wait–don’t we need to make good decisions?

Sometimes my forays into cautionary tales about being judgmental are met with vehement cries of derision–especially when one’s work hinges upon the ability to make informed and wise decisions. As a teacher, I remember frequent reminders that teachers make upwards of 1,500 critical decisions each day affecting students, parents, schools, communities—well, you get the picture. Teachers are hardly alone in their circles of influence.

My new growth mindset of possibility:

I have come to the place where my most solid assurance is that there is no end: that the conversations go on between all the souls who love each other, living and dead. I have no certifiable proof of this–only that this understanding gives me peace and allows me to maintain open conversations with basically anyone. From a mindset of no end,  nothing seems catastrophic anymore; we just continue learning how to love better. That also allows me to allow others’ their own interpretations of end vs. no end. And yet, when I see others in pain, knowing that there can be life here on the terra firma without emotional pain, I suppose that I cannot, in good conscience, stop myself from putting these thoughts out there.  (Most solid assurance, after all, is not without doubt.)

Each person comes to their working core truth in their own way and at their own time. When you get to that place, I don’t think that you never want to leave that solid foundation. You just build from there. I would love to know what you think: have you reached a meaning-of-life that works for you? If so, how has it affected your interpretation of judgement?  

Decisions, words-meanings, and relationships

So, the building: we humans have our gargantuan task of working out the fabric of meanings that fashion our relationships. Our life-raft relationships that we build despite the raging oceans of our many languages, cultures, contexts, values–all of it, might be secured or destroyed upon the interpretation of a single word: judgement. To me, judgement can mean allowing a relationship or dismissing it.

In my opinion, our interpretation and application of the difference between judgment and discernment is worth mindful consideration.

Value of souls vs. value of physical matters

Claim: Judgment addresses the value of a person. If we can accept that we are all differently-gifted for our own unique life’s purpose, every individual would have equal value. We each contribute to the whole in our own way. I see it as the value of one’s soul and worthiness to take up space, to be heard, and to be loved.

Claim: Discernment, according to conventional interpretation, is based upon what can be observed: objective matters. (Granted, there is also a  Biblical application of the word discernment, which may or may not integrate well. This would probably also make for a good discussion!)  I discovered an article published a few years ago (2011) in Psychology Today. It was written by Dr. Raj Raghunathan, who explains it much more eloquently than I. Here it is again:

Judgment vs. Discernment (Psychology Today)

What do you think? What determines the difference between judgment and discernment for you?  How does that kind of distinction play out in your daily living?

Love, ❤ ❤ ❤

Mira

 

Seeing stars. Walking on water.

Twinkle

Connect with MiraLianna HERE.
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Starfish Mission is beginning to twinkle…

The past few months have been a marathon of deep diving. I been resurfacing time after time, each dive reaping more treasure. This morning, my words to my husband were something like, “I think I know how to stay on the surface now. And when I go under, I know that I’ll be able to resurface and breathe again.”

In that moment, I caught a glimpse of what Jesus was probably trying to say: “Take my hand. I’ll show you how to walk on this calm, refreshing surface so you can show others how to do it. This is my amazing Kingdom where all are equally valuable and equally commissioned. This is the leveling place where you can meet and decide your next direction. Here on the surface of my life-giving waters, I want you to be able to experience my power, my love, and the power you have with each other–drawing in–breathing in—all of the fullness of my Kingdom. Here, we continue the evolution of our Universe.”

I have been borrowing quite a few photos from Google’s free-to-use collection, but this photo is all mine. These are my waters for dancing today.

My own plunging, floundering, breathless, and black-hole story is now tucked into a sub-menu on my About MiraLianna page.

An amazing community of people and ideas has been coming together like headwaters–helping to create  Starfish Mission. On the Starfish Mission page (top of this page on a PC or bottom if you are on a mobile device), you can find ENTRY POINTS. A little like the children’s book series, Choose Your Own Adventure, can can choose your entry point depending where you are in the journey of life. Included is the life-raft of the Black Hole point, when nothing is working and you are gasping for air.

  • Entry point: Pre-Marriage
  • Entry Point: Wanting a Family
  • Engry Point: New Parents
  • Entry Point: Raising a Family
  • Entry Point: Black Hole (This is a designed as a first stop if, for any reason, you are feeling rudderless, uncertain, without purpose, neglected, abused, fearful, or unhappy.)

Today feels like yet another one of my myriad pivot points. (Apparently, I’m all about pointing today.)

Happy Birthday. Proud of you. Still..where is the love?

Yesterday, I wrote about my mother appearing in a dream on my birthday, two weeks after she died. That really happened.

This past week, I had a moment when I was consumed with a great shudder and a flood of tears. This defies all forms of logic and everything but the intention of my original journey. If you knew me personally, you would be shaking your head in amazement. You would know how intent I have been on a path of Show Me. This…whatever, whomever, is trying to get through to me is pure and unadulterated experience.

She loves me, after all

My shudder, my flood of tears: my mother seemed to be saying to me, “Yeah, we had a lot of crap to work through. It sucked, didn’t it? We had a mission, you and I, and now–look at you. 1500 hits, 530 views, 50 posts–all in one month. You have been featured on *Dr. Jonice Webb’s website, Facebook page, and Twitter feed.  You are doing your mission, you have found your purpose. You have always been a great daughter. I am still proud of you. And now, I’m not just signing ‘Love, Mom’–now I’m telling you…I have loved you–will love you–forever and forever.”

❤ ❤ ❤

Mira

*Dr. Webb’s book, Running on Empty, provided MY entry point. Through her work, I found a key to unlock my door and knock down my wall. I found what was missing, how many of us got into this mess, and what can help. I’m now linking arms with anyone who will. We have generations of hope ahead.

The Day the Music Returned

Steinway_Grand_Piano_Iron_Plates_and_Strings

Parade and Piano

Pasadena, California. The 1963 Parade of Roses. We were staying with distant relatives in their Craftsman-style home, two blocks from Colorado Boulevard. The adults–old and older, had set up chairs in the middle of the night and were on the street hours before the parade started. That was the year I had sworn off dolls, dresses, anything girlish. Blech! All I’d wanted for Christmas was cowboy boots. I was wearing them.

I discovered magic in that house. An old upright piano was tucked into a dark corner. (All rooms seemed dark to me back then.) As the one child amid the old and older, they left me alone (as always).  Oh, but the piano. I plunked out the most beautiful melodies (I thought), never having had the chance to touch one before. After that, I could talk about nothing else–except my daily plea for a horse. A horse was a reasonable request. There was room in the barn and an abundant supply of hay and grain. A piano? Excessive. Continue reading “The Day the Music Returned”

When Bad Luck is Good Luck

luck

My original thought for this title was more like Blessed to Be Cursed, but that heaviness has already filtered down to a lower water table–quite a ways down there, in fact. Honestly, I didn’t want to go the trouble of installing a new pump to haul it all up again.

In my world of education, rote learning is an accursed term. (I guess cursed may not be all that far down–it just kind of bubbled up–sorry!) We know rote as drill-and-kill: the learning of math facts, memorization without deep conceptual understanding, last minute cramming, and just surface-level regurgitation. In my journey of trying to understand why I have felt so different from others–why I was sad and empty when others around me always seemed perfectly fine–I am beginning to feel that I have received a gift.  Continue reading “When Bad Luck is Good Luck”

Inside Out

JR

Frankly, I was surprised to see an image of The Inside Out Project available on Google’s “free-to-use” images. Giving people visibility and validation–priceless.

Augustine and Karl Barth’s Life Turned Inward

I know I have friends here who have a strong faith relationship with God. What I am about to say does not contradict you or your beliefs about life. Concepts are just so word-based! Our relationship to word meanings are tenuous, at best. We can go round and round on the meaning of a single word.

Several days ago I wrote a post about paradoxes–how a statement that seems to say two opposite things actually may be true. Today, I am going to tackle the unthinkable: challenging a major tenet, that sin is a life turned inward.This concept was first coined by Augustine of Hippo and later expanded by Karl Barth.

I first encountered a contradiction to the life-turned inward approach in  Patricia van’s book  Controlling People: How to Recognize, Understand, and Deal with People who Try to Control You. In this book, she develops her definition of being beside yourself as a person who has not been allowed to develop a sense of themselves (self-esteem, self-worth, etc.). This happens primarily as a result of misinformed parenting techniques ranging from simple neglect to violent abuse.  In doing so, she says that those with controlling issues have essentially been emptied of their core selves. In my mind, I began comparing that to the concept of losing your own soul. Dr. Jonice Webb’s groundbreaking book Running On Empty has been my game-changerIn this book, Dr. Webb compassionately repaints the losing of your soul (my extrapolation of being empty of self-worth) as never having been loved in the beginning of your life as you were intended.

The Paradox: Inward vs. Beside

For those who already have a well-established definition of sin and evil as a life turned inward, the twist on words sounds paradoxical: now we are thinking of evil as being beside oneself (The term beside myself apparently originated in 1490 A.D. as being mad or having lost one’s mind.)

Truly, I think we are seeing two sides of the same coin, but I’m not certain that we actually understand what the coin is-yet.

Disney’s recent Pixar production of Inside-Out is an amazing visualization of what happens when a little person is not given permission to believe in the truth of their feelings. In this movie, Riley’s sadness after moving begins to take over, and no one is noticing. She is not validated or allowed to grieve. Only when Riley’s sadness is met, validated, and softened with compassion is she able to return to herself. With her newly-refilled hug-bucket of love for herself, she can be happy and can compassionately relate with others.

Definition of Evil = Uppity

You may want to check out this definition yourself, but you will need to go back farther than the beginnings of organized religions as we now know them. Having been raised with a solid religious structure of beliefs, I have been on a mission of deconstruction. (Read carefully–deconstruction, not destruction. I would add a winkey-smiley here.) I am conceptualizing:  evil=uppity=sin=loss of self=losing your soul. And–I welcome your discussion. We’re talking about savings lives, after all. I’m positing that change in concepts at the word-level might be helpful–might even be essential-for a move in that direction to occur.

My spaghetti-brain-trail-of-logic:

  • Books of wisdom–aka holy books–can and are helpful guides, but they were all written by people, whose collective knowledge and understanding is continually evolving.
  • Books of wisdom work (for me) if they are inclusive, not exclusive. (It has never made sense to me that a loving god would choose some people and not others.)
  • The Bible of my youth was withheld from commoners until the 1500’s or so. (If anyone were to have been discovered in possession of such, it would have been burned or destroyed.)
  • To keep peace and order, rules were needed. (It makes sense why politics and religion were intertwined–simply for survival of the communities.)
  • When immigrant families moved to America, they found themselves rudderless–without their wise elders. Many, if not most, relied on their churches for support, community, and safety.
  • Many people in my parents’ generation had no access to books of wisdom (actually, books of ANY kind, other than the Bible offered through their church).
  • Many people in my parents’ generation had little more than an 8th grade education, and so could not have read other information, history, etc., even if it were to have been available.
  • Churches and the religions they espouse have rules. All institutions have rules. They have members. That means that some people are not members. That means that some are in, and everyone else is out.
  • If you are in, and others are out–and if you believe that those who are with you are right (remember–accepting the rules), everyone else seems wrong.
  • Now, you are built by rules–not by your inner guidance.
  • You now have NO inner guidance. Just outside rules and rulers. (Not sure about you, but outside control seems pretty scary to me–sounds like anxiety to me.)
  • You now have no self-confidence.
  • You now have no self worth.
  • You now have no reason to live, other than obeying rules and getting rewarded by other’s praise of your rule-following.
  • You are empty.
  • You are beside yourself. You are mad. You have lost your mind. Maybe you have even lost your soul.
  • Who moves in? The better you? The uppity you? The “right” or righteous you? Uh oh…the EVIL you?

Rewind: No uppity…no evil…just love. God = Love (I am simply experimenting with replacing God/Jesus with LOVE–a matter of concept)

  • In the beginning, LOVE created the heavens and the earth.
  • LOVE saves.
  • Fear not, LOVE is with you.
  • LOVE came to save us.

I just did a quick search in the book of Matthew for the times that Jesus used the word God. It is not often. I would like to leave you with this today, replacing God with LOVE:

Matthew 12:28 (NIV)

“If I drive out demons by the Spirit of LOVE, then the kingdom of LOVE has come upon you.”

(This sounds like a kingdom where I would like to live. How about you? 🙂

Love,

Mira