We who lived in the concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others,
giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number,
but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing:
the last of his freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances.
Viktor R. Frankl
Sometimes I complain bitterly about my life; about how life is unfair and hard; about the path God has set me on and how hard it is; sometimes I just want to say “chuck it all, I’m gonna do my own thing.”
Then I remember that doing my own thing is what got me to where I am right now. Speaking of bitter, that is a bitter pill to swallow. I don’t want to accept that my life is the cesspool that it is because I made it so. All those bad choices, all those bad decisions, I want to blame on God because He is the most convenient target, for me at least. Or, maybe I could be like my fellow bitter companions and blame everyone else – my boss, my spouse, my kids, my job, the stranger in the car in front of me, my neighbor who won’t mow her lawn or – for goodness sakes! – stop her dog from barking at all hours of the day and night. All of these things that make my life suck are not my fault.
Really? Really? Can I not find some blame in all of my life for my life? Am I not woman enough or human enough or spiritual enough to accept the responsibility for my life?
I can choose to shuck responsibility and become an embittered old woman.
Or, I can choose to take responsibility and change who I am by looking within at me and at God. God is as much in me as He is outside of me and only through His Wisdom and Guidance can I change. But, only if I am willing.
I can’t change the world. But I can change me and my view of it.
Surrender to what is.
Let go of what was.
Have faith in what will be.
– Sonia Ricotti
When I surrender to what is that doesn’t mean I allow it free reign in my life. If I am in a bad situation then I still need to get out. But that also means accepting that I am in a bad situation or relationship or job or whatever. In some sense of the word, I am surrendering – I am surrendering false hope that things will change or will improve. I remember that I am unable to control the other person or people in the situation or relationship or job or whatever. I am surrendering my control, acknowledging that I need help and am letting go of what was, would never be, or what I hoped to be.
Magical think, as my therapist used to call it, is a detriment to anyone trying to heal themselves. Too often we – I – think that if I just hang on to that job or relationship or situation it will get better. The other person or people will change. Or worse, I will change to make it so everything is all right and I am loved again.
It won’t happen. The other person or people will never change unless they want to. I can’t control their changeability. I can only control whether I change or not. And my change means getting out. Letting go. And choosing to have faith in a Loving God Who will see me through whatever crap I am going through or will go through.
Surrender, let go and have faith. Simple to say but hard to do. But all things worthwhile are not easy.
You cannot heal the world until you heal yourself.
– Katrina Mayer
The first step – the very first step – toward healing old wounds is to acknowledge that you have them. If I don’t know or recognize that I have old wounds or if I do know and chose to ignore them, then I am allowing them to control my every thought, action and relationship. And that in itself is a scary thought.
I was in my mid 20’s before I truly recognized I had been wounded so badly. As a child I buried both good and bad memories deep in my subconscious, never realizing how I was shaping my future. When I took a creative writing course in college I wrote the most horrific stories – rape, murder, bloodshed, violence – and I didn’t know where those images came from. I didn’t read violent books or watch violent movies or TV. I wasn’t a violent person and didn’t think violent thoughts. Yet vivid images of bloodshed crept up from my subconscious into the written word. (Those stories are posted on this blog – unedited or changes since I wrote them. Compare them to the stories I write now after decades of healing on my Orange Marmalade Press blog.)
Those stories disturbed me greatly and I talked to my professor about them. He told me that all artists and writers have wounded souls and I shouldn’t worry about where the stories come from because those wounds are what make artists great. That conversation prevented me from seeking help for a long time. I didn’t seek help because I desperately wanted to write and create. I did continue to create but my art took a darker turn, so dark it scared even me and I stopped releasing my pain creatively and instead turned it inward and did some really crazy stuff before I finally began the true healing journey.
My point is this – as long as I refused to acknowledge that I needed help – much like addicts – I was not in control of my own life.
But through God’s Grace I found my way toward healing and toward me.
So – the first step – the very first step – toward healing is saying – “something is wrong and I need help.”
Simple words for a momentous occasion – an occasion that will make a difference in your life and in the lives of everyone you encounter from now until the moment of your death.