Loving patiently while they learn…

baretrees
Waiting patiently in silence for the returning spring of life-giving love…

Judging vs. discerning; rejecting the person vs. employing wisdom for daily-living

There seems to be a common theme here in the blog-o-sphere, around which humanity has obstacles of communication for developing a unifying understanding. And yet, perhaps we are growing closer.

I found article on the website TheOverwhelmedBrain.com that beautifully illustrates how a form of judgment can destroy relationships. (Click or tap the link above for access to the article. The website itself is linked here, inside the “Daily Balance” of my Starfish Mission.)

A teacher with whom I once worked seemed to have struck this beautiful balance. She often remarked that her mother, also a teacher, had repeatedly instructed her to “remember to always be kind”. Continue reading “Loving patiently while they learn…”

Bullies: just longing for Boeles?

elephantfamily
Bulls? Bullies? Boeles? Or the elephants in the room?

Apparently my bully-ish thought-stream decided that a raging waterfall would be more appropo tonight. So, here goes…

Earlier today, I discovered that bully was, originally, a 16th Century term of endearment for a friend or lover (spelled boele). You’ll have to hang with me here to follow my spaghetti-brain logic. Continue reading “Bullies: just longing for Boeles?”

More rocks

Twilight Zone

Connect with MiraLianna HERE.

The Russian ballerina pressed on relentlessly, honing every move, gritting through pain, powering through fear, and achieving her evening as prima ballerina. After the performance, the ordinary returned. Walking out through the back door into the dark rain and back to her tiny apartment, she knew that tomorrow would be more of the same old shtick.  She would need to prove herself time and time again. This documentary from- Continue reading “More rocks”

Assertiveness: Mirror + 1

Mirror

mirror

The source for breaking through my wall:

Running on Empty by Jonice Webb

This post is going to be a departure from my usual blurb about emotional health. Since this is a journey-in-progress, you have gotten glimpses of the process of climbing out. Today is a turning point: I am moving into the topic of what to do once you have a sense of escaping the hole–to see what is above ground. My next series of posts might be of particular value for those interested in the world of bullying, power, and control: how bullies develop as well as how victims become vulnerable. We are going to be exploring what it means to be assertive, as well as how to avoid becoming aggressive. Continue reading “Assertiveness: Mirror + 1”

Learning: Certainty or Doubt?

Open-Minded
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Certainty is not quite what you thought. Don’t stop thinking.

An elementary classroom is full of strategies. Some better than others–but all quite effective with an experienced teacher possessing the mental flexibility of a gymnast.

Take for example this vocabulary strategy: students brainstorm synonyms and antonyms of a given word. Done independently, there is limited value. As a class discussion, you can predict that there will be controversy (productive controversy!), especially with antonyms. Doubt in a classroom is good. Doubt leaves the door open for learning. Certainty means the door is closed. End of discussion. Continue reading “Learning: Certainty or Doubt?”

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

 

 

Mistake

Mistake

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I had gone to bed at a reasonable time last night, wanting to make sure I could get up and not be late. Once a month, a few of us meet in the parking lot at 6:15 am to drive downtown to serve  breakfast. But it was only 2 am. My eyes popped open. Ugh. Going to bed early was a mistake. Highly unusual. I never wake up in the middle of the night unless a storm is raging. Going to bed early? Big mistake. Now, I was hungry. I stumbled downstairs and made my emergency comfort: chicken broth, a bit of frozen corn, sliced cherry tomatoes and red pepper flakes–topped with a handful of mini-saltines. Now what? Eyes still popped.

I knew that one of our sons had been giving himself a crash-course in Italian for an upcoming trip. He was stressing out, worrying that he wouldn’t be able to reach a point of engaging with locals. So, I did a quick random search about languages (always the curious one). I don’t even remember what site I was on, but I’d taken note that Thomas Jefferson had been fluent in six languages: English, French, Greek, Italian, Latin, and Spanish. John Adams knew five: besides English–there were French, Greek, Hebrew and Latin. The part that caught my eye was “The Jefferson Bible”. Jefferson had carefully constructed what he considered to be the essence of practical wisdom, cutting out words, phrases, paragraphs–gluing and making his own. It wasn’t intended for anyone but himself; he used it late at night or sometimes in the morning. I smiled to myself thinking, …”maybe at 2:00 am when his eyes popped open.” He especially liked Matthew. Oh well, sleep again, finally.

Workers filled the steam-heated serving pans. Lines formed. Thin Styrofoam plates. Paper towels for napkins. The organizer gathered a few of us and asked if anyone would be willing to read a few verses and lead the group in the Lord’s Prayer. “Um…I can do that.” I flipped through Matthew and thought about what Jefferson might have chosen. I decided to read the first few verses of Chapter 18.

The organizer gave directions as the hungry ones jockeyed for positions–then, my turn. What to say? What would be meaningful? My teacher voice took over and explained a few things about what I’ve been sharing here: the origin of evil means “uppity”, that we are all the equally important and deserving of validation–meant to see and meet each other on common ground. I talked about Einstein’s words, “The more I know, the more I realize how much I don’t know.” I shared about Jefferson’s Bible and the words from Matthew…”unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom…”– (the importance of listening intently to every word spoken to us–leaving preconceptions at the doorstep). I was feeling all eyes-but more. There was synchronicity. Everyone has their own story. Every story counts. 

As they came through the line we caught each other’s eyes. Some commented with affirmations. In that moment I knew–2 am had not been a mistake.

 

The Wormhole

Paradoxes

wormhole

By being blind to faults, we see.

By becoming the servant, we lead.

By becoming vulnerable, we learn to trust.

By emptying ourselves of the world’s expectations, we find courage.

By listening, we learn to speak.

By writing out, we think within.

By becoming part of the many, we become

one.

-Mira

Best way to raise your baby? 266 days before birth.

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Earlier today, I published a post about making friends with ADHD/ADD. You won’t find a lot on this website about school-age children–an intentional decision  on my part. There is an abundance of resources about what to do after a diagnosis. This is about prevention. Evidence is mounting that there may be a lot you can do to minimize your chances of having to use those resources. It makes sense, actually. If you know anything about genetic expression, you know that our DNA adapts for survival. That means that eggs and sperm have learned things even before they meet up. They might already be genetically wired with alerts for fear, danger, and anxiety. Even if that is the case, even if you have had a rough go of life in your early years, that doesn’t mean your children will be doomed to repeat the pain you experienced.    Continue reading “Best way to raise your baby? 266 days before birth.”