Dr Cheryl Meier's Blog

Walk in Love

Category: Transformation

Vulnerability and Shame

So I’m sure I’ve said this in other blog posts…but it’s worth repeating:

shame is the substance that fuels addictions.

Or a C.S. Lewis quote I remember copying out back in my college notebooks:

“…to love at all is to be vulnerable…”

Last week one of my dear friends sent me a link to this Ted talk video—->

The power of vulnerability |
Brené Brown

It seems I’m a little late to the Brené Brown party! The talk was fabulous and worth watching! I suppose I’ve been so busy reading books from the 600’s and the 1300’s that I wasn’t aware of what was going on in popular psychology culture right at this moment!

I’m glad people are still speaking about this and bringing awareness and healing to those of us who are asking ourselves:

“am I the only one feeling this way?”

I use this example with my clients:

Imagine if you were locked in a basement for 18 years and you finally got to come out and be free– you experience the feeling of sunlight on your skin– you see the world around you…you have the freedom, finally, to run around in the open air….

It’s absolutely amazing — but part of us feels like:

~ am I really allowed to experience this much sunlight?!
~ this feels indulgent
~ what do I do in this new place?
~ what if I make a mistake?
~ is someone going to lock me back in the darkness again?
~ this is so beautiful, it’s painful
~ why do I feel like crying?
~ I feel so alive here!

I remember my mentor and teacher in Montreal, Dr. Surkis, saying to us:

“When you get in touch with yourself, you get in touch with the touch you never had…”

It’s bittersweet at first…to finally feel belonging, tenderness, kindness…

Reminds me of the U2 lyrics:

I want to feel, sunlight on my face
I see the dust cloud disappear, without a trace
I want to take shelter,
from the poison rain,
where the streets have no name…

So it may be sad, or overwhelming, or new at first… but we simply must have courage to “go there!” …

To leave the familiar is to leave the
family we always knew, experienced, and internalized!

People can tell us: “you are worth loving, you were always worth loving…” but we internalized the experiential message from early childhood that communicated to us “you are not worth the love, the effort, the awareness, the kindness, the protection, the cherishing …”

If we experienced rejection, getting shut down and silenced– we, some of us, internalized the shame of that rejection.

All people are given free will, in hopes that they will freely choose the “good” and choose the most loving response— but they can misuse that freedom and choose to perpetuate their own unhealed shame, by rejecting us from their own inner rejection.

If we continue to believe their lie, however, how will this cycle ever end?!

Someone has to blaze a new trail!
Someone has to take the road less travelled– find the courage to seek out the truth and live in it!

–So what– if it may feel uncomfortable and unfamiliar at first…

Real Love is worth getting used to!

You once talked to me about love,
You painted pictures of
A never never land
And I could’ve gone to that place
But I didn’t understand
I didn’t understand.
~ Elliott Smith

There has to be a way to heal our old shame and not be bound by it, not be trapped in it, not return to it over and over each time someone pushes one of those old buttons…

Our life is all grounded and rooted in love, and without love we may not live. ~ Julian of Norwich

You are not alone on this path back to Love…

We are invited, in the Holy Scriptures, to love. We would not be invited if we didn’t have the capacity within us to choose it.

No matter how dark or difficult you may find this, persevere! Continue! Ask for courage — those who seek will find, to those who knock, the door will be opened unto them.

We are loyal to those old, internalized, experiential messages and we have no need to be loyal to them any longer. They are lies.

I hear Christ, in my deepest self saying:

“This is the way of love…follow me, I reveal this love, I lived this love, I am living this love now, calling you to it, I have always loved you…choose to follow this path of love…”

No matter how hard I try to listen to my doubts — and the people that say “that is all made up…”

I hear love.
When I enter into the stillness and just let whatever is, just be…

That gentle but persistent invitation to let go of the lies, die to them, and come take this higher path — stop internalizing the broken messages — come and follow me…

When you look at the Greek in that passage it is really more like:

Come here beside me, choose, if you wish, to walk this path with me.

I am with you always.
I will not leave you destitute…

Christ modeled to us the courage we ourselves need. We will not be left without this grace if we ask God to walk with us, help us heal this old wound.

I wish you love, always.
~ Dr.Cheryl

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Awareness vs Pushing

A quick story/quote from this book I’m currently reading!

This book was recommended to me by someone with more years here on this earth than me, more experience, and she has a different perspective — but the book is like a breath of fresh air! It’s called Awareness, by Anthony DeMello, a Jesuit priest, born in India who also was a psychotherapist! (You wonder why it resonates with me so much!)

I wanted to briefly share with you these excerpts before I go back to “work”!*(I added the bold for emphasis)*

“You know, sometimes people want to imitate Christ, but when a monkey plays a saxophone, that doesn’t make him a musician. You can’t imitate Christ by imitating his external behavior.

You’ve got to be Christ.

Then you’ll know exactly what to do in a particular situation, given your temperament, your character, and the character and temperament of the person you’re dealing with. No one has to tell you. But to do that, you must be what Christ was. An external imitation will get you nowhere.

If you think that compassion implies softness, there’s no way I can describe compassion to you, absolutely no way, because compassion can be very hard. Compassion can be very rude, compassion can jolt you, compassion can roll up its sleeves and operate on you. Compassion is all kinds of things. Compassion can be very soft, but there’s no way of knowing that. It’s only when you become love – in other words, when you have dropped your illusions and attachments – that you will “know”.”
~ Anthony DeMello

And further on in the book, he gives us this brilliant story that so aptly conveys the concepts I’m always going on about regarding dropping the “should” in our lives… Dr. Surkis would teach us, “when you ‘push’, there’s always a push back…”

20160928-090409.jpg
**
DeMello writes:

“Meditating on and imitating externally the behavior of Jesus is no help. It’s not a question of imitating Christ, it’s a question of becoming what Jesus was. It’s a question of becoming Christ, becoming aware, understanding what’s going on within you. All the other methods we use for self change could be compared to pushing a car.

Let’s suppose you have to travel to a distant city. The car breaks down along the way. Well, too bad; the car’s broken down. So we roll up our sleeves and begin to push the car. And we push and push and push and push, till we get to the distant city. “Well”, we say, “we made it”. And then we push the car all the way to another city!

You say, “We got there, didn’t we”? But do you call this life? You know what you need? You need an expert, you need a mechanic to lift the hood and change the spark plug. Turn the ignition key and the car moves. You need the expert — you need understanding, insight, awareness you don’t need pushing. You don’t need effort.

That’s why people are so tired, so weary. You and I were trained to be dissatisfied with ourselves. That’s where the evil comes from psychologically. We’re always dissatisfied, we’re always discontented, we’re always pushing. Go on, put out more effort, more and more effort. But there’s always that conflict inside; there’s very little understanding.”

~ Anthony DeMello

From this book, Awareness
https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0385249373/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475076263&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=anthony+demello+awareness&dpPl=1&dpID=41hWzCFQ8BL&ref=plSrch

Much love to each of you who wander here and find these beautiful pearls! I’m so appreciative that these insights and thoughts have come my way! I wanted to share immediately with you!
~ Dr C

Extra:

Anthony de Mello – Awareness pt.1 on waking up

  • https://youtu.be/4Y3Q7H2urto
  • (**I found the picture online from a blogger named Darren Lang )

    On the Mystics and Psychological Growth

    I found the most beautiful writings today from the 1920’s, Evelyn Underhill! I had to share!

    She writes:

    The great man is rooted in history, plaited up in the life of his own time: absorbs from the human as well as from the spiritual. His feet are in Time, though his head is in Eternity…

    ~Evelyn Underhill

    If you’d like to read the whole book, The Essentials of Mysticism, here’s a link to a free PDF of it:

    http://christianmystics.com/Ebooks/The_Essentials_Mysticism/teom.pdf

    It struck me, as I was reading (listening to) this book, I heard the line:

    His feet are in Time
    though his head is in Eternity
    ~Evelyn Underhill

    And it immediately reminded me of one of Elliott (Smith)’s lyrics:

    With a giant fantasy life
    Running round on feet of clay
    ~ Elliott Smith

    Evelyn writes of the importance of the Mystics — to the whole spiritual body (of the “church”) — and how they are like the artist, or the creative genius, who quiets their mind enough to enter into the heavenly realms and translates back to us, in some kind of words, or symbol or song — some conveyance of these beautiful truths of God — or the feeling they got from that place.

    They are ever so necessary to wake us up from our slumber! A sleep we do not realize we are within — until they show up in our lives, like a breath of fresh air or a cool mountain spring in the midst of our desert!

    If you don’t read all of this book, at least skip ahead to the chapter called “The Mystic as Creative Artist”, in this chapter she writes:

    “Ultimately, we owe to the mystics all the symbols, ideas and images of which our spiritual world, as it is thought of by the bulk of men, is constructed. We take its topography from them, at second-hand; and often forget the sublime adventures immortalized in those phrases which we take so lightly on our lips — the Divine Dark, the Beatific Vision, the Eternal Beauty, Ecstasy, Union, Spiritual Marriage, and the rest. The mystics have actually created, from that language which we have evolved to describe and deal with the time-world, another artistic world; a self-consistent and spiritually expressive world of imaginative concepts, like the world of music or the world of colour and form.

    They are always trying to give us the key to it, to induct us into its mysterious delights. It is by means of this world,
    and the symbols which furnish it, that human consciousness is enabled to actualize its most elusive experiences; and hence it is wholly due to the unselfish labours of those mystics who
    have struggled to body forth the realities by which they were possessed, that we are able, to some extent, to enter into the special experiences of the mystical saints; and that they are
    able to snatch us up to a brief sharing of their vision, to make us live for a moment “Eternal Life in the midst of Time.””

    It was all such beautiful, full, inspiring words… I had to stop by here and leave you a taste!

    I was out of the country (Paris!) for a couple weeks and other things (in “life”) have come up — but I usually tweet regularly @DrCherylM and still post some on Facebook — but again, I love to offer more depth of understanding here!

    A friend of mine posted on Facebook tonight, his distress of trying to love one dear to him in the midst of an addiction that that person may or may not be willing to part with… He expressed what he saw as the end results of addiction are:

    1) recovery
    2) jail
    3) or death …

    I put these things here, and I continue to work as a psychologist, because I hold onto this idea, perhaps in faith or in knowing that we are all redeemable, and re-covery is for us all, if we choose it! Re-membering ourselves and re-covering our “nakedness” — not in the shame we so readily have known, but in Love, with forgiveness and reconciliation. In remembering a truth that was perhaps vastly crushed out of us in childhood– that we are Loved, dear to our Creator, worth Loving, worth cherishing, worth protecting– worth taking the high road for, worth forgiving and worth giving recovery to. Worth, not from anything we have accomplished and achieved– but because we were created by our Creator whose whole WAY is to Love, who IS Love– who formed us out of Love and calls us back to Love.

    I just found this prayer (from the book of common prayer, 1928) — for my friend and for each of us:

    For Guidance.

    O GOD, by whom the meek are guided in judgment, and light riseth up in darkness for the godly; Grant us, in all our doubts and uncertainties, the grace to ask what thou wouldest have us to do, that the Spirit of Wisdom may save us from all false choices, and that in thy light we may see light, and in thy straight path may not stumble; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    As I used to do, so long ago(!)
    Here’s a song from a (*Christian) mystic to remind us:

    Bob Marley – Could you be Loved

    *Marley converted to Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity more than 6 months before his death– it’s a beautiful, but lesser known story! I just found someone’s retelling of it here: ( http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/2010/06/bob-marley-orthodox-christian/ )

    Much love to you all! You are DEAR Souls, I invite you NOT to forget that Dear Ones! ❤️
    Sincerely, Dr Cheryl

    Panic Attacks, Part 2

    I am sitting here, quieting my mind, open to what surfaces regarding how to teach and inspire you even more, in this one hour I have to write this, on the subject of Panic Attacks.

    I trust what comes to surface, I am thinking of the amazing singer and lyricist, Freddie Mercury.  His song, “Play the Game” is what I “hear”:

    Open up your mind and let me step inside
    Rest your weary head and let your heart decide
    It’s so easy, when you know the rules
    It’s so easy, all you have to do
    Is fall in love
    Play the game,
    Everybody play the game of love…

    The idea of letting someone into our intimate space can provoke anxiety for some.  We were created with this longing to love, to be loved, to know, and to be known…to have a purpose, a destiny and fulfill it.  I like how Freddie Mercury brings up this idea of a game– because there is a risk in a game, of losing.  One of the elements of love is that it involves free-will.  A person can always invest and then step out, move away, hurt us, etc.  We can choose “not to play” and then miss out all together and freeze our hearts, or cover them with plastic fakeness, or bitterness and sarcasm, or harden them with a wall of stone.

    We are often so used to our heart in one of those hardened conditions that we don’t even realize it!  We can have sadness, broken beliefs, bad experiences from early childhood and we stuffed down our confusion, anger, rage, grief, guilt, etc– and it is like you put dry-wall plaster over it all and hope that it just goes away.  It is a way of disassociating with it or dis-identifying with it.  We do not like all of that… so we “bury it,”

    like Elliott’s song so aptly describes:

    his body’d been buried below
    Way back in the day
    Oh my, nothing else could have been done
    He made his life a lie so
    He might never have to know anyone
    Made his life a lie you know…

    ~ Elliott Smith

    Why wouldn’t we want to act like everything is perfect and fine now?  We really really do not wish to repeat the trauma or chaos or rejection and pain we felt from the past, so we think if we just bury it below then we can move on and build a happy life and learn to love again.  Unfortunately, that is like building a house on sinking sand.  It’s not as if we even “think” this out, as a child.  If we experience pain and no one is there to teach us what to do with it or how to walk through it and release it…or if no one is there to comfort us and love us — what else are we going to do?

    I need a sound bite of Henry Rollin’s song, where he screams out ….”rage…I love you and hate you both at the same time…” His solution is to crush the rage somehow and turn it into a diamond.

    There is something to that… in a way.  I met with this professor a couple weeks ago, he had been a pastor in Santa Barbara for many years, Dr. Jerry Root.  He said “pain that isn’t transformed, is transferred…”

    I could honestly write 1,000 pages right now on what that means, looks like, etc.  We have this limitation of time.  There’s no way I would sit and read a 1,000 page blog post! I know myself better than that, so I won’t write one for you!

    So, lets understand, like the alchemists of the past– they wanted to transform lead into gold.  It is no “coincidence” or accident that Christ’s first miracle was to turn water into wine.  He was turning one liquid substance, water, used for cleansing, into another, rich, and beautifully tasting substance– wine.  The master of the ceremonies of the wedding said “you have saved the best for last…”  Of course, if you know me, you know I wish to talk about all of the amazing spiritual insights and depths we could go into with just this first miracle as recorded in the Gospels… but let’s stay, today, on this topic — of why we get these “anxiety attacks” seemingly out of nowhere.

    So, imagine, if the theory that I laid out so far is correct — first, we are innocent children, we “let someone inside our mind/heart” and we play the game of love…we get hurt or crushed in some way…”we bury the ‘body'” and live a lie, so that we never have to “know” anyone.  How can we know anyone or anyone really know us when we have our child self that has been cut off and ostracized from ourselves like a pariah carrying our shame– we want nothing to do with that pain.  Yet, some part of our subconscious selves KNOWS that we have buried someone.  It feels the guilt and weight of that.

    The other part of “never have to know anyone” is that we have created a wall around our heart (with the plaster, etc.) and now we have a built-in barrier between ourselves and other people.

    Before we go on to see the “cure” — Look for a second at how you can “tell” your heart has been plastered over.  I know some people– that insist “I had a great childhood, nothing was ever wrong…”  and yet the father was an alcoholic, or both spouses were cheating on each other or one of them was, etc.  (The cheating is an indication that something is broken down and not working in that family.)  But, how a person like that could “test” their own hearts — is to examine:

    “Am I always looking down on other people? judging them, gossiping about them, telling their “wrong doings” to others, making slighting comments and putting them down?”

    This is a person who is not living in meekness and humility.  When we are that way, our actions are telling us that we have this dark, broken part of ourselves buried below, disconnected from ourselves and we have no desire to be reconciled to that part of ourselves and love, transform, heal and forgive/integrate the child we cut off, back into our own person.

    I was reading the scriptures the other day (in the daily prayer readings) and the Prophet Ezekiel had written this re: God:

    “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
    The New Living translation says:

    “I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” (Eze 36:26)

    For me, regardless of what any skeptics say about God– I am so amazed, still, all the time, that we have these writings in Holy Scriptures, and in the life that Christ lived out in his own body —we have access to the Father, God– Creator of all things, and that this same God, is interested in restoring us and healing us.  In one sense, all of the scriptures, if you read the whole Bible in one long sitting, you would just see this pattern of God offering His constant love, and people turning to block Him off — and make idols, and form hearts of stones, then God keeps accepting them back, providing a means of forgiveness while not excusing their wrong doing— we wreck it again, there He is offering love again….

    I have to wrap this blog post up because I leave in about 5 min.

    Here was the commentary at that verse about how God wants to reveal to us the path to make our hearts tender again & not leave us there, lost in the pain and trauma of our childhood.

    Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
    “36:25-38 Water is an emblem of the cleansing our polluted souls from sin. But no water can do more than take away the filth of the flesh. Water seems in general the sacramental sign of the sanctifying influences of the Holy Ghost; yet this is always connected with the atoning blood of Christ. When the latter is applied by faith to the conscience, to cleanse it from evil works, the former is always applied to the powers of the soul, to purify it from the pollution of sin. All that have an interest in the new covenant, have a new heart and a new spirit, in order to their walking in newness of life. God would give a heart of flesh, a soft and tender heart, complying with his holy will. Renewing grace works as great a change in the soul, as the turning a dead stone into living flesh. God will put his Spirit within, as a Teacher, Guide, and Sanctifier. The promise of God’s grace to fit us for our duty, should quicken our constant care and endeavor to do our duty. These are promises to be pleaded by, and will be fulfilled to, all true believers in every age.”

    I honestly think this age old tradition of praying “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me” aka “kyrie eleison” can and will transform all of our deep psychological wounds… but it is a mystical and contemplative practice.  I don’t mean just substituting our anxiety and obsessive “pushing down” with reciting a prayer mindlessly — but mindful, and sincere — When we sincerely ask God, He can help us see what is disconnected in us and enlighten us and fill us with His Spirit and Truth to cleanse and re-join these cut off parts.

    Much love to you always