Well, here goes. My first foray into blogging and I stare at the blinking cursor wondering why I thought this would be a good idea.
I don’t suppose it helps that the last thing I read was a chapter entitled, “Nightmare–A World on the Brink,” from a book entitled, Creating a World That Works for All, by Sharif Abdullah. In this chapter, Mr. Abdullah writes about The Mess: our pain, our ugliness, our cynicism, brutality, cold-heartedness, and violence – not exactly a bedtime story. In another chapter, he describes how things got to be this way and tells the story of “The Keepers,” “The Breakers,” and “The Menders.” I will let you buy the book if you want to know more, but I am reading this book because I believe in a world that works for everyone and I am intrigued by what it means to be a Mender, or as the author calls it, a “Breaker in recovery.”
I am intrigued because at one time, I was certainly a Breaker – living my life with the thought that there was not enough, that different was bad or wrong or something to fear, that people were not to be depended upon and I needed to be in absolute control. If you are chuckling at the thought of absolute control, feel free to continue and perhaps throw in an eye roll as you mutter, “Yeah… how’d that work out for you?” Because, you know, it didn’t. It didn’t work out at all and my life crashed in ways that are too numerous for this post.
And so now I try to be a Mender; I have given up the story that my problems were someone else’s fault. I can’t imagine my life without the people in it – people who show me every day how much I can, if needed, depend on them. I am peaceful, happy, content and relatively fearless (except for bees and swimming in the ocean!) Being a Mender, for me, means acknowledging my oneness with all beings and doing my best to see and honor the divinity in everyone. Are there some that make it a little tougher than others? Yes. But I’m sure I’m not always a picnic in the park either.
I wish I could tell you it was easy to get here to this place of kinship, that I simply clicked my heels together three times or dumped all my worldly goods and lived in a tree house until enlightenment came. Nope. Not my story. When life crashes around you, it’s not easy to put the pieces back together, it takes time and patience, strength, hope, and a lot of prayer. It also takes the support and love of people – yes, people – turns out I was wrong and most people can be depended upon!
There are two more very important ingredients, the main ingredients, really – personal responsibility and spiritual tape, lots and lots of spiritual tape. Personal responsibility means not only do I stop blaming others for my situation, I also stop looking to others to fix it, fix me, bail me out, or fight my battles. I take responsibility for the things that need to change in my life and I change them, bit by bit. Sometimes those changes have to do with work, other times they have to do with personal vitality and making healthier choices. And sometimes change has meant having to release those relationships that no longer served me, or those relationships that were keeping me tied to a story that was not my truth. Think about the people with whom you spend your time – do you leave them feeling uplifted and supported, or do you leave them feeling bad about yourself or drained of your vital energy? If the latter is true, you may need to release some relationships that are not in your best interest.
Next let’s look at that spiritual tape. When your world crashes, you will find yourself surrounded by the debris of the life you were living (or surviving). Some of the pieces are of little value, or simply will not be of value to the new life you are rebuilding. Still other pieces are vital to your journey and they are the pieces worth putting back together. That’s where the spiritual tape comes in: it is a metaphor for the power of Spirit, the Presence that is the one constant as you grow into your new self. Change is scary, radical change is downright terrifying at times. It’s important to always remember that when things are falling apart, it’s only so that they can come together again. Remember you are never alone and that this is the time to move deeper into your spiritual practice. Pray. It works. Even if all you can muster is, “Help me…” whispered in a dark room while you rock back and forth hugging a pillow you sometimes need to scream into – it is enough.
I know it’s possible to come out the other side – I am living proof. And, as I said, that doesn’t always mean I don’t break something now and then, but it’s a rare occurrence. And, I’ve got plenty of tape, so call me if you need some.