Dr Cheryl Meier's Blog

Walk in Love

Tag: depression

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

You are Here For a Reason…

Consider a song — or singers singing in harmony…The two harmonies make a third sound — this sound could not be accomplished without both people singing in harmony with each other.  Music is so rich and beautiful, it can teach us about the deeper things of life where words fail to describe.

This is what art can do.

My art is to convey to you some of this, in words and images, so that you can heal.  I find that there are deep deep cut off parts of ourselves that weigh us down — or they freak out and provoke us to react to the smallest grievance.  I know you do not wish to hurt the people you love or push them away and remain isolated.  I am sure you are aware that it is not the highest path to tear yourself down.  For the love of our Dear God — put in the effort, let’s learn to align ourselves with truth — align ourselves with the highest octave available to us in heaven and earth — so that we can serve others with this beautiful love we have found.  We serve by singing in beautiful harmony with the truest Love.

Another way I can think of to convey what I am saying in my limited words — is to encourage you, invite you — stop blocking the Holy Spirit of God from transforming you.  Love brings Love and healing to the deepest, saddest, loneliest part of you.

You do not have to understand what I am saying in those terms — I can really only use the terms that have deep meaning for me, if they do not have the deep meaning for you, then look beyond my mere words and feel what I am conveying to you in my earnestness.  My passion and earnestness comes from somewhere– it cannot be feigned.  You can tell at once, when you are listening to a musician or watching an actor or actress — if he or she is being sincere — if what they are conveying is coming from a truly deep sincere place at the core of their being.

I encourage you, live from this place.  Regardless of how people look at you — live from this place.  Quiet your mind and look deep deep beyond the surface of the busy people running to and fro around you — beyond the bills, the debts, the highs, the lows, the quarrels, the “updates” and “statuses”, beyond what everyone around you is constantly talking about:

who are you? Who are You?

What is a piano if we just take all the keys and drop them on the floor?

If we just take guitar strings and throw them all over a floor — they make no music that way.

If they are taut and in tune and plucked in a masterful way then they can make music that transposes us to a higher realm.

Look at a rainbow, sunlight reflecting on raindrops at just the right angle, in just the right way — to reveal to us, the beautiful colors that are already there but our eyes do not see them without this specific combination.

arthur rackham rainbow woman

What makes a masterful artist?  Consider a ballerina — practicing her craft 8 hours a day for weeks, months, and years on end…until her toes are bleeding and beyond.  What makes her dance beautiful? Technique? Certainly excellent technique is breathtaking — but her life, her essence, her capacity to genuinely connect with the dance she is performing is what moves the deepest part of us.

How do we live in such a way?  Perhaps we cannot live in the serious state I am speaking from — but pure joy and happiness expresses our essence as well.  If we could “dwell in the secret place of the most high” — if we find some secret pocket of pure Love, if we live there — in that place or state of being “in God” we feel loved and loving.  We feel protected from anything and everything that has ever harmed us — we are welcomed as we are, forgiven.  From this place we can act calmly and confidently. We can dance beautifully, express our deepest longings and  highest understandings of this world.

If I play my musical scales on the piano 3 hours a day for months and years in the beginning — or find beautiful pieces of music to practice and practice so that my fingers know the path they walk by muscle memory…as I listen to the notes speak to each other and respond within the written song manifested on a keyboard — I grow in my craft.  If then, after all that work, you could approach me with Mozart — then I could sit at the piano and play it.

If I have never touched a keyboard, how could I play it?

If I do not contemplate: “Who am I and what is Life?” then how can I live this life with purpose? What is my purpose?

If I only knew that the notes on the paper correspond with the notes on a piano and I could mechanically play it — you will hear me “play” that piece.  My playing in that way may inspire you to actually learn a craft better than I have revealed by my mechanical playing.  If you watch a person who can hear the music and play the subtleties with passion and love — you could see the contrast between me and her.

This is our life.

Who are You and what is your life about?  What is Life?  What does it mean to have an in tune guitar within our being?  What does it look like to play the notes that are most beautiful in this moment — to play with gentleness, meekness, confidence, vigor, strength, seriousness, gaiety, humility?  How could we “play” in such a way that is equal to whips clearing out a temple that needs clearing out?  Or play with such tenderness that the most hardened heart is inclined to welcome love?

Pain and trauma from the past can try to block our path.  We think we got away and then find ourselves repeating the same pattern that was so familiar to us then.  It’s horrible.  I know.  Some days can be really painful.  It’s so important that we keep on.  Others can see in our face that we have experienced deep grief and pain but we are still here.  Our sincere faces inspire them to continue.  We long to play in harmony with Love.  Accept nothing less than the highest path.

One of my favorite passages about Jesus is the one that says: “Even if I testify about Myself…My testimony is valid, because I know where I came from and where I’m going. But you don’t know where I come from or where I’m going…”  He knew who He was, what his Life was about — where he came from and where he was going.

We can get so caught up in how everyone else describes life that we don’t even think of “Life”.  Remember that quote I often write on twitter — because I am reminded of it so often:

“Never tell a child,” said George MacDonald, ‘you have a soul. Teach him, you are a soul; you have a body.'”

Or remember these lyrics of Miss. Lauryn Hill’s:

Come on baby, light my fire
Everything you drop is so tired
Music is supposed to inspire
How come we ain’t getting no higher?

…Now tell me your philosophy
On exactly what an artist should be
Should they be someone with prosperity
And no concept of reality?
Now, who you know without any flaws
That lives above the spiritual laws
And does anything they feel just because
There’s always someone there who’ll applaud…

(from her song “Superstar”)

I cannot tell you everything in one blog post… you know how I try to do that if you have been here (I’m still working to re-post the 12+ posts I took down from the last two years.)  — I know that as we try to run from our past pain, or escape it –without going through it and allowing love to come in and heal us– then we just repeat it!  I know that much, from my own experience and in working with others as a psychologist.  We do not have to keep creating unnecessary pain — but we must muster up the courage, with the help of God, to face the pain we have been so frightened to walk through.

If we never think about “Life” and the essence of who we are and why we are here — then we continuously just walk through in a kind of numbed state — unawakened to any higher purpose we may have for being here on this earth and having the experience we are experiencing.

I trust what Jesus said when he said “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness….”  it would take me about a year of blog posts to begin to describe and explore the mystery and depth of those words — but his words are not said aimlessly and without purpose.  I know that much.  I put them here because I do not wish to mislead anyone — ever — I pray to God to give me wisdom so that I do not teach anyone to go onto a path that will bring you more disconnection from our Creator.

Also, you are a beautiful Soul –with choices in this world.  I must live and write in a way that respects that you have these choices to make.

You are not alone.

I wish you so much love on this journey.

I’ll do my best to keep writing here to remind you that you are not alone, to encourage you on this path of yours, and to honestly explore these psychological — soul-ideas so that — if there is a way to know and experience a deeper love, then we can keep learning how to do so.  Jesus expressed: “I am the way”…  I sincerely pray that the truest sense of those words is unfolded in our lives.

Listen to the lone piano notes…walking this path…in the midst of everything else… this song– without the lyrics was so profound to me as I heard it this evening on my way home from work —  I just went to wikipedia to find out what the title means in English — and of course, it’s about longing (the story of my life)!

“The title can be translated roughly as “enough longing,” though the Portuguese word, saudade, carries with it a far more complex meaning. The word implies an intensity of heartfelt connection that is yearned for passionately, not unlike feeling withdrawal symptoms from a drug that makes one feel good. Another good analogy might be an intense homesickness. Chega, in this case, means no more, enough...”

Much love dear ones — as we encourage each other in our intense homesickness here!

The Cause and Cure for Any Addiction

I’m going to direct us back to some of the basics here, but do NOT let the simplicity of what I am about to say fool you! My experience over the last 20 years has led me to see reoccurring patterns. This is my art/skill/craft/expertise!

If and when you understand these patterns then you can set yourself free, for the rest of your life.

“You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

So, addictions, or any kind of self-betraying (or other-betraying) behavior occurs because of shame. Another way to describe this fuel of addiction is:

I am cut off from the True Source of LOVE.

—> This “disconnect” creates SHAME.

—> Shame is what fuels addictions.

Why else would I keep going back to alcohol, drugs, cheating on my spouse, workaholism, eating disorders, faking-perfection, obsessions, video-games, tv, or other addictions? These kinds of behaviors are NOT in alignment with how I would like to treat someone that I love. 

We cannot make these behaviors go away, no matter how much we “try”– we have to see what the root cause is, and heal that.  Once we identify the cause then we can find a true cure!

This disconnect from the True Source of Love occurs out of some form of ignorance/ not-knowing, in fullness.  ( I.e.: “Forgive them Father for they know not what they are doing.)

Ignorance:  I was never taught and/or never experienced a real depth of love and intimacy. I wasn’t shown the truth of what this means! In addition to that, I was taught, by my parent’s behavior or the environment around me, that Love is not available to me — for whatever reason, they showed me that I was not worth the effort to love in that immense capacity.

If you do not “have it” you cannot give it away — so my parent’s “not having” this love– communicated to me that I cannot have it either, but that is not the truth — it may be the truth of what we experienced, but it is not the truth of the fullness of Love we are meant to have and live within.

This disconnect from REAL LOVE, that we often “feel” but never recognized or put words to, may look like one of these:

  1. “Not measuring up” :  No matter what I did, it never felt like it was quite enough for me to feel truly secure and loved.
  2. “Too Busy to recognize my need for Love”:  I’m so “busy” all the time, working, I have no need of “Love”– I pushed that aside long ago. I’d rather stay busy and numb myself to those tender feelings and experiences.
  3. I’m just gonna wait here“:   They told me it was coming…I “know” I am worth loving…I’m just going to keep taking this substitute (_________) until the Real thing shows up…it’s “just around the corner.” “Maybe if I run faster?”
  4. “It must be my fault”, I’m just a horrible, unlovable person…that’s just the way it is.  I have hurt too many people to deserve love.

——————

Look, it is vital that each of us learns how to walk in integrity, with dignity, and self-respect. This is what it means to “Walk in Love!” To Walk in Love = to Walk in Truth — in the most loving way possible..and even into the seemingly impossible

When we cut ourselves off, or are cut off, from the true path of Love, then we experience the feeling of shame and emptiness.  That shame and emptiness is way too painful of a place to “live” in, so we create defenses (really early in life!).

Some of these defenses are:

  1. Depression: We numb our need for Love, press it down and squish our heart so that we don’t constantly feel the pain…we get so used to deadening it all that we don’t even realize what we are actually “actively” doing — de-pressing.
  2. Pleasing: this is much like busyness, we do what we can to achieve, please, perform, or otherwise “fill up” a broken “other” (like a fragile parent) –with the hopes that they will somehow see our worth and fill us up with real Love. Note: “pleasing” is always paired with “waiting”, your life is constantly on hold, while you wait for the other person to “get it“, that you are worth loving.
  3. Apathy: we act like we don’t need this Love, and get used to living on scraps…(this is like depression, but seemingly more resigned to “I just don’t care!” –where depression is more like a continual loss and sadness.)
  4. Anxiety: We surround ourselves with drama and attack ourselves with anxiety, it is like a fog that works to distract us from the deeper pain and loneliness of being cut off from Real LOVE.  We can get so “lost” in the terror and anxiety that we burn out our adrenal glands (I am not a medical doctor so research more on that if you wish!) — all for the “service” of running from experiencing the real feelings underneath and finding the cure/the balm they are asking for.

There are many others, but it is the same basic pattern, showing up in a myriad of ways. When we learn this new Formula–then we are equipped to take a step back and SEE what is going on– and free ourselves!

Here is a quick drawing of one of the patterns of addiction — that I often write out in a therapy session so that my client can visually see what he or she is doing: 

20130908-125602.jpg

I often call this “The Boot and the Carrot”. You have this giant boot behind you, threatening you; and this carrot (or some mostly-empty-temporary-reward) in front of you– and you constantly put yourself back on this “treadmill”– and THAT is where you are choosing to live!

When we are drowning in shame, that is when we “use” whatever addiction we have on hand, in efforts to try to fill up the emptiness that our disconnect from REAL LOVE has created.  Then, I feel more shame, because of my secret addiction, and run to more addiction or back on the treadmill to try to “prove” my worth…which is impossible to prove.

Accepting Real Love is about choosing to receive what is already here.  We are afraid of it and have forgotten it is available to each of us, in an infinite amount.  I am reminded of Christ’s words: “for I have come, not to judge the world, but to give life to the world.” or in the same book of St. John, Jesus says: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd…”

You are free to choose the life of the endless boot and empty carrot for yourself, but then you are missing the deeper experience and reality of REAL LOVE!  This REAL LOVE is what I am constantly making the effort to put into words in all of my posts here.  The real love involves having the courage to step off the treadmill.  

Look at this beautiful invitation to a different kind of Life–that my dear friend Elliott Smith wrote into his lyrics for us:

I have become a silent movie
The hero killed the clown
Can’t make a sound

Nobody knows what he’s doing
–Still–hanging around
Can’t make a sound

The slow motion moves me
The monologue means nothing to me
Bored in the role, but he can’t stop
Standing up to sit back down
Or lose the one thing found

Eyes locked and shining
Can’t you tell me what’s happening?
Why should you want any other
When you’re a world within a world?

—-
Now, knowing Elliott, I’m sure he had 100 different layers of meaning for this song as well as “no meaning”– and I have touched on some in previous posts, but, for now, let’s just see it as another description of how to get off the repetitive, destructive or monotonous cycle– and begin to know real Love.  We can then let go of this disingenuous, yet familiar pattern we’ve been offering ourselves!

The Way to let go of addictions is to recognize your disconnect from the real Source of Love, and then heal that— and pray to the Creator, God, to help you on this path.  You would have no NEED to get back on the “treadmill” over and over if you were connected to, and living within, the real source of Love…if you knew the real essence of who You are and the depth of Love that God continuously offers us.

Elliott’s song as a description of this process:

I have become a silent movie— transformed into this quiet place, where you are observing what is going on, from outside yourself, like watching a movie and not being caught up in lots of dialogue — the constant drama of your competing desires, that each claim to be “you.”

The hero killed the clown— The hero is your better half, the courageous side of you with high thoughts and aspirations of love — I imagine the breath of God in Adam– like when Aslan breathes on Lucy in the Narnia books — the awakening of the deepest part of our Soul; the “clown”, in my understanding, is your present day personality, or warring desires that always claim to be “you” —  you are on a path to find out how to NOT let the clown part of you dominate over the True Hero.  (I do not want to confuse anyone at this point, but it is important to point out that our warring desires can mimic the hero and act like they are the hero — doing such a “good job” to kill off the joyous child-like part of yourself which can be clown-like.  For example, the super-ego coming in and “like a boss” trampling over the tender child-like parts of ourselves that are beautiful and free. 

I’ve heard it said, time and again, that every virtue has the propensity to turn into a vice.  Jesus said “my children know my voice” — you can ask God for discernment regarding the part of your Soul to align with and which parts to “repent”/ turn away completely from.  The scriptures remind us we are at war against the ‘world’, the flesh, and the devil: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”  

It is our job, with the help of God, to transform and see, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God– and to recognize who the True HERO is. It’s not the one desperately running on the treadmill– because, in this new formula:  “The slow-motion moves me” 

You would have no need to “prove” yourself if and when you are connected to the True Source of Love:

The monologue means nothing to meOur outer (present day personality) self, is just a role, that we cannot stop (like a costume that is ours for a certain time). It is NOT our real Self. It stands up and acts like it is “us” …We have been given a body and are embodied within it– but the reflection of me in the mirror is not the sum-total of “me” inside this body.  My body will die and be buried and yet my Soul carries on.

Or lose the ONE THING found” –is LOVE, it is the “Pearl of Great Price” — our Soul saved –by and in God.  This is a great mystery,  yet we must consciously choose to allow and petition God to keep revealing it to us and in us.  We have forgotten who we are and we are just now remembering…Jesus invited us: “You, come and follow me…let the dead bury their own dead.”

Eyes locked and shining…can you tell me what’s happening?

Yes! You are an initiate. You are connecting yourself, if you choose, to the Love of God– you are being transformed, and transforming into something of much more depth and beauty than the boringness and the slavery of our pettiness and addictions!

What “right” do I have to cut myself off from the Source of all Love? If we are all connected, then as I cut myself off from Love, I am also cutting you off from Love. (This goes into quantum physics – which I certainly like to study, but cannot yet explain…)

Clearly, I could go on and on to describe this is deeper and different ways– but, most people these days don’t have the time or attention span, etc. I’ll write more blogs and I have others available here and my YouTube channel! (www.youtube.com/user/drcherylmeier ).

Please share a link to my blog with like-minded people who you think would enjoy looking at life from these perspectives! I know what I have to say is valuable –because I see so many lives, and my own, so deeply healed and transformed; this is why I put the time in here, to offer this insight freely.

I wish you much Love! You are not alone.

Tiago Iorc – My Girl [Acoustic]

Wow! I just found the (above) song! I quieted my mind to see what would “fit” and I thought: “I’ve got Sunshine…” So I searched on YouTube and this is the first one I was “drawn” to… In this beautiful acoustic version, Tiago Iorc, who I do not know of, slows the song down, and –captures the beauty and essence– the FEELING of what Real Love feels like, vs. the “quick fix” of “rotating relationships” and addictions we often run to. The true “Sunshine” is the Source of all Love– “my girl” is “real” but also a signpost to the Real- REAL….(I describe all of this here in my “Girl Longing” songs/playlist on Youtube!) Enjoy!