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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's Spring. Like I need to tell you guys that. It's just that I look forward to Spring so much to wash the Winter crap away both literally and metaphorically. I'm listening to a beautiful Matthias Reim song, his cover of "Als ich fort ging". It is a rather sad sounding song with a few hopeful notes; seems like it could be an anthem for Spring. Today it feels very much like a song for new growth and hope, packing away winter clothes and dealing with everything that gets mulled over in the dark of Winter in front of a fire.

And I have a lot to mull. Boundaries and Beliefs are the things that let us do what we need to do to thrive in the world. With the way things are going I don't think that we can be truly content with mere survival. Cue Garth Brooks if you have to (probably one country song I don't mind). I'm working through the pains that come with life and living but I'm not doing so very successfully. So I guess that is the best reason to review the Boundaries and Beliefs that have taken me places that I never thought I would go. It can be a tough topic to wade through. Each belief is accompanied by a montage of memories, snapshots of events that support or challenge those beliefs and ensuing thoughts. I'm glad that I have music to cushion the process. And I am glad for the musicians that I am listening to.

Matthias and Sting for two, seem to be able to say things to my heart that no one else can. I know that I've said this a million times. But if I have to say it a million more I don't care. Neither of these guys know me. So nothing that they say can be construed as judgement against me. The down side of that, of course, is that they can not be construed as my cheer section either. And maybe that is not so important as the fact that they know the situations well. Matters of the heart, mind and soul condensed into hundreds of songs only a few minutes long. Being older than me they have wisdom to depart. And I guess that is one of the things I do not like about the modern music scene. Adele will be angry/sad/mad with me but she can't really tell me that it will be alright and how because she is just a kid like me (by that I mean immature in some things since we all know I'm old as dirt). Matze and Sting have been there, felt that, drowned their sorrows in food/drink therapy and come out the other side of the situation better if not less damaged than when they went in.

And I find in the things that I am going through that those closest to me can not be as helpful in the emotional support because they are too close. I think it should be different. But personal issues weird out some of our closest friends because of how deep their feelings are. They get swept up in the turbulence of our emotional tides (think Betazoids without pets) with us. The cliche "can't see the forest for the trees" doesn't apply only to Frodo. It applies to Sam Wise and everyone else in the fellowship. Well... maybe not to Aragorn. But that kinda shows what I mean. In a party of 7 if only one guy has his wits about him you can tell that its a pretty grim and desperate situation. And you can see the power of friendship has its down side... despair is contagious. Courage is too. But for whatever reason it always seems less potent than panic. Maybe because to get to courage you have to grab a hold of yourself and tackle the fear first. But that is a post for another time.

I am trying to figure out why I should care what some people think of what I do and who I am. I will fold myself into all manner of shapes to avoid negative perceptions of me because I want everyone to like me. That is totally unrealistic and the result has been decidedly not what the goal had been. So we look at boundaries and beliefs and the resulting situation. I did not have a normal existence as a kid. So I learned some bad habits that only now, at the ripe old age of 41, do I see bearing bad and strange fruits. It did not take a lifetime to learn. I've only had a lifetime to reinforce some disinformation. And undoing it is going to take some time. In wanting everyone to like me I developed habits that let me become a door mat/punching bag/ sounding board for someone else's success. And I believed that was my spiritual function because I had pastors that I respected tell me that someone has to serve as the weak to help the strong stay strong.

So lesson number one: Define who you are and what you want for yourself. Discern what makes a good support person in each area of your life. Define who and what kind of support system you need. Define who or what is a poor or deficient support and avoid those people. And in this I have learned that just because a person is a pastor does not automatically mean that they know what they are talking about and the title does not justify an automatic and blind following. There are people with pastoral degrees that graduated with barely passing grades. Same goes for doctors and shrinks. Everyone has to be evaluated. It sounds daunting. But it is sooooooooooooooo necessary. As he says "Poets, priests and politicians have words to thank for their positions." But they have to be able to back up their words with tangible results. Yes even a priest. Example? Sure.

When a pastor offers you financial advice there are a couple of thinks to consider. 1. 80 % of your money issues are a lack of fiscal education and not the automatic result of a sin you have not "laid at the foot of the cross." 2. Pastor has to be willing to treat that 20% and not dismiss it by telling you to pray about it. Prayer is a support. Not a solution. 3. The pastor has to give you wise counsel. If you need help paying your rent and his solution is to have you invite a thief into your home as your Christian duty he is not the financial guru for you. 4. Your pastor needs to be willing to allow someone outside the church and outside of the religious disciplines help you to fix the 80% and especially the 20% if he/she is not trained for that kind of thing. And lets face it... there are not a lot of pastors who have cross disciplined degrees since the church (no matter which one it is) has a Lennon-esque naivete about life. "All you need is love (read as: our version of God)" sells records. It doesn't pay the bills. Well... it doesn't pay YOUR bills.

I used to let people with titles and authority decide my life for me because I thought I was one of the most stupid people on the planet for letting the things that happened in my marriage happen. It ruined my business. it ruined my standing with a few people and it has been an issue with my whole family. So since I was dumb enough to let it happen I decided not to make any more choices for myself. I let pastors tell me what to believe about me and god and everyone else... to some degree. I let employers tell me what I was capable of doing.... to some degree. A part of my true self always rebelled after a time. and then I would have to start all over again.

I guess I am getting to the point where I am getting back to who I truly am. and this time it will be without the disfunction of the programming that I got from a deeply emotionally wounded parent. I only hope that it will be enough to get me fast tracked so that the pending fiscal meltdown can be avoided.

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