Category Archives: Walking The Way

The Essential Qualities to develop in order to know God

When Anger Stops Us Seeing A Friend

When we begin to open our eyes and hearts to the level of addiction that has existed in our lives sometimes its tempting to declare “Well no one has ever loved me! True friendship is a fallacy.”

Even if we don’t admit it, deep down, many of us feel cynical about love and friendship. All the little hurts have added up and while we may not say it out loud a part of us has become hard.

But for most of us there have been people – amongst the comings and goings, the growing and learning phases in our lives – who have extended the hand of friendship our way. 

Its true, we may not have noticed.

These special people can pass us by if we want to hold onto our grief and pain, if we want to blame and be victims.


It happens because we get angry instead of sad.

We get angry because we hurt and don’t want to know it. We don’t want to open up again, to feel how alone and sad and friendless we felt before, when our feet were small and hearts tender.

I know this because I have been there. 

Sometimes the hurt of feeling friendless, abandoned, unloved and unimportant feels too much and I just want to hold onto angry disillusionment instead. 
And if you are like me, then when we do this, when we shut down in this way, we not only miss the chance to receive the gifts and gratitude of true friendship but we also prevent ourselves becoming true friends to others.

When we are willing to be humble to the pain we feel, we will stop trying to have those around us alleviate it, and begin to have something to give.
Before this can happen however we will need to stop blaming others, we will stop waiting for the world to make things fair and safe for us to share and speak and be ourselves.
We will have to ask –
Do I want to be true even if others aren’t?
Do I want to give more than I want to justice?
How much do I want to love?
The story of ‘Through the Mists’ shows us many beautiful examples of friendship in action, not the least of which is Fred’s own life. Fred was a lonely man while on earth, he lacked love and support from almost everyone in his society yet he lived his life in service and friendship to those less fortunate. His humility made him not full of self but of compassion; his integrity made him willing to risk ridicule in order to live by the principle of love he aspired to. 
I have learnt that to be a true friend I will require humility. It may mean taking steps that feel risky. 
But mostly to be your friend I will have integrity. I will honour love and truth above my image or comfort. 
And in thisI will serve as a matter of course.
Who has been a friend to you in your childhood or life today? What did they teach you about life and love?
 

Be Real, Be Loved

Yesterday I talked about overlooking friendships. I said that not so long ago I’d asked myself:

“If I can’t see the love extended towards me from those around me, how can I know it and receive it from God?”

This question opened my eyes to many things.

When we live steeped in addictions and co-dependence true friendship doesn’t always stand out. It takes a growth in integrity to begin to recognise those that give without trying to getsomething from you. And often when we’ve been used to co-dependence it can feel vulnerable and strange to begin to enter relationships based on love and humility.

I often find myself feeling exposed or insecure or stupid when I can’t ‘control’ the way others will perceive me through projections or addictions in the way that I used to.

As I let the real me speak, the child in me identifies risk.

All of the times as a child that I was made fun of, or judged, or rejected, or just not approved of when being myself taught me to play it ‘safe’ and hide myself in gradually increasing increments. I replaced these ‘self-parts’, my ‘whole-heart’, my ‘true-ness’ with parts I thought would please everyone, until one day (not so long ago) I realised that my heart was closed off and I had lost the ability to sincerely love and to be loved.

It’s hard to let love into a heart that is walled off by fake parts. And as I tear down the barricade I often find myself overwhelmed with emotion. When love reaches behind the façade it is such a contrast to the loneliness my true self had grown accustomed to, that I often melt into tears.

So I’ve learnt that sometimes friendship requires bravery. Sometimes it means taking a step that feels risky. It means taking down the walls and opening up to the possibility of love once again. It means having the courage to grieve as well as be real.

I see the same thing reflected in my relationship with God.

Have you ever realised that you overlooked a true friend in favour of an addictive relationship?

The Fruits of Friendship

Each day this week I’m reflecting on friendship.
In my journey to understand true friendship, I realised something truly humbling. That is, that many times over the years I have completely overlooked people who extended true friendship to me.
I’ve done this for many reasons.
Sometimes it was because I’d never stopped to consider the qualities of true friendship. I was constantly seeking addictive relationships in order to make me feel safe, or validated, or liked.
Sometimes I recognised the character and goodness in the person but I felt so vulnerable and insecure about myself that I withdrew from them thinking they wouldn’t like me.
Sometimes I was just completely self-involved in my own life and issues that I didn’t even notice that the gift of love and acceptance was right there beside me. I didn’t see a gift without strings attached when it was offered to me.
How sad I feel to have rejected such gifts.
I recently asked myself the question: “If I can’t see the love extended towards me from those around me, how can I know it and receive it from God?”
Last Wednesday at the book group and karaoke night, the gift of friendship was extended to all of us present.
There were quiet helpers who gave us their time without demand for payment or recognition.
They set-up the sound system, they set out your chairs, they recorded it all, they charged batteries, set-up microphones, played music, cut-out feedback, and then packed it all up and stacked it in the van. They give you the gift of their time, their service, and their expertise almost every time we meet.
Did you see them? Did you notice the fruits of friendship all around you?
Often friendship is a quiet gift, by its very nature it does not demandour attention. Instead it ripens and bears fruit. It is enacted not just felt.
I am reminded that many who have now passed still serve me and offer me friendship. Fred and Robert James Lees extend their friendship across a century assisting me to grow and learn.
Also that each of us is surrounded daily by invisible brothers and sisters who wish to guide us to greater love and safety.

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Huge gratitude to these people who helped out on Wednesday.

Lena, Igor & AJ
 

To Lena – who has learnt how to edit video files so that we can bring you the book group on youtube every  week. She edits the video for upload each week and also operates a video camera and helps with set-up and pack-up.

To Igor & Vlad – who operate a camera and handle sound during presentations. Igor is our usual video editor and Vlad is learning the ropes. Igor uploads all files to youtube.

Joy & Cavil

 To Joy – who was the first to arrive and last to leave. I believe this made her stay at the Wondai Hall more than 10 hours!

Cavil

My AJ – who has individually purchased every piece of sound and video equipment we use, he maintains all of it, and understands how each item works. He has trained all of us in how to use these things and is involved in and oversees every set-up and pack-up we do. He packs the van and unloads. He backs-up every piece of data we collect. He edits all of the audio files that appear on our website.

Diana, Jane, Joy & Laurleen
Vlad & Igor

Jane & Anto

 To Diana, Cavil, Anto & Jane– who handled hall logistics, and mucked in with technical support or whatever was needed at the minute.

You guys are awesome

Some great guy who would probably rather be playing guitar!

My special thanks to these wonderful people and many others who often show up and quietly add their hands to the task. (I think Joy calls you her ‘silent ninjas’!) Every one of them is led by their own passion in these areas and their desire to serve others.

A Friend Indeed

On Wednesday at the book group we discussed the question “What is true friendship?”
This is a question that I have given weight to over the past year. In December 2010 Fi and I talked about friendship. I tearfully told her that I would like to be her friend, a real friend. I’d just lost faith that I had any idea about how that would look in practice.
You see I’d realised that I had often used friendships to avoid rather than express myself. I’d noticed that I’d used ‘friendships’ with women to avoid my loneliness and soulmate grief.
I’d begun to feel how hurt I’d been in my relationship with my mother and how that had effected every relationship with women since.
Too often I’d tried to gain approval rather than been willing to give or receive the gifts of true friendship.
Our conversation really started me on a quiet journey of self-reflection and it’s been a road on which I’ve paused at times to grieve what I thought I knew but didn’t, what I thought I’d lost but had never really had.
Here is what I have felt and learnt about friendship in the past year:
       a friend will tell you the truth of who they are and how they feel
       a friend won’t withdraw when they are challenged by the way we feel or live
       a friend lovesand gives without expectation, demand or desire for anything in return
Since I began to pray and desire to understand true friendship I have come to see that some of the people I thought were true friends were not, and some people I didn’t consider much had more integrity than I anticipated and offered me the qualities of friendship as a natural part of themselves.
Friendships, by nature of their honesty, their love, their gifts and their steadfastness in the face of change, can not only nourish us but also challenge us, and help us grow. 
At times in the past I’ve used ‘friendships’ as ways to have commiseration for my woes and agreement for my self-righteousness and anger. 
I now believe it is a true friend that will honour love and truth above accord in their relationships. And this not only makes them trustworthy, it makes them a friend in deed, in word and in spirit. It grounds them as an ally as I seek to honour for these things myself.
In the example in “Through the Mists” Helen and Frederick met only briefly while on earth, yet in that time they displayed to each the qualities of true friendship and thus formed a bond that reached beyond their earthly lives and into the heavens. Fred was so humble, so without demand or expectation, that he hardly understood that he should be rewarded for his gift of friendship nor did he see the measure of the gift he had given Helen i.e. peaceful resolution of her loving desire to have her charges cared for after her passing.
 

Have you experienced a friendship that has not only nourished you but also challenged you to be a better person?

Welcoming Sorrow, Honouring Self

About a week ago I had a series of realisations. Like a mini power point presentation in my soul, every couple of hours ponderings in my heart, snippets of discussions with Jesus or pages I had read or written would coalesce and God would download another whopping ‘Truth Slide’ for my soul to tremble at.

Below is the list of my ‘Truth Slides’. I can’t programme html to save myself so they appear as numbered points but if you can imagine God gave them to me in this really cool cascading flow chart, every couple of hours the next slide would appear and I could feel how it snugly related to the previous one.

1. I have never really loved anyone. I have always been in addictions in close relationships.

(Do you sort of get to feel why I needed a couple of hours before the next slide?)

2. I am in almost complete denial of my true self. I have squashed my true self and all of my feelings into   a tiny ball in a dark corner of my soul. Every now and then when she tries to appear I (judge) stamp on her to make her more squished and tiny. My true self is full of sorrow

3. My inauthentic self, created to get approval and avoid my sadness is not content, confident or able to love authentically because she is created through addiction. She is needy by nature.

4. If I want to know and accept my true self I must be willing to accept her sorrow. She is full of pain. I want to reject pain but now I realise that pain is a large part of the real me. I can’t know me unless I let my grief be present and tell its story. In order to know myself I must open my arms and welcome pain.

5. Allowing my sorrow will not only connect me with my true self but it will bring about my healing. Even in my sorrow I will be able to love and give authentically because I will have reached an authentic place within myself.

6. My authentic self knows and desires her Soulmate (my inauthentic self stresses about not desiring or knowing – this is just an effect emotion) My authentic self knows what she wants and what is good for her.

In the wake of the God engineered slide show in my soul I have this to say.

We tell ourselves that the adult, invented self is strong and the protector, that the child within is weak and needs protection. In fact it is the child within that holds the wisdom, she is the one connected with her emotions, the emotions that make us sensitive to what is good, safe and wise for our well-being and happiness. Our denial of the painful feelings, created when we were harmed, suppressed, bullied or disrespected as children, desensitizes us to the passion, creativity, surety, desire and heart-trust that is innate to our fully feeling selves.

We must welcome our pains in order to know our desires. We have been taught to trust our minds and rationality (and look where it’s got us: sick, divorced, overweight, discontented, dissatisfied, unsure, cynical and mistrusting). If we can find the scrunched up part inside that holds our true self, full of pain; if we can sit with it and ask it to expand, to stretch out into the fullness of our being we will feel its pain and loneliness. We will feel its fears and losses but we also will for the first time in so long be feeling our true selves and there is so much power in a person connected to themselves. This feeling creature that we were created to be, is also aware and connected to everything around it. It feels nature, it feels others, it allows its own feelings and as a result it knows what it wants! If we desire Love and God from this space the potentials for peace, joy and fulfillment are no longer even potentials – they become realities.

The key for me is to begin to view my pain as something different to ‘bad’, ‘the unpleasant part’, the ‘please can I get it over and done with’ thing that I have to do. I want to love me and that means loving my pain because it is a part of me right now. In fact it tells my story, by allowing my pain I am honouring my story, I am coming to know the complete me. By judging and avoiding my pain I am judging the largest part of me (largest for now). I am saying to the real me ‘you are unpleasant’, ‘I wish you weren’t there’, ‘you make my life hard and miserable’.

The starker truth I have come to face is that I, the manufactured me, have made my life unpleasant and miserable and the more I fight the real me, the more miserable I become. I have blamed ‘real me – full of pain’ for unhappiness only to realise now that allowing ‘real me – full of pain’ unlocks my joy and even during the feeling of my pain she, the real me, has the capacity to love, to make decisions, to create and connect with others.

We must change our attitudes to pain. We must desire not only God but ourselves – and if our true selves come clad in pain, abuse, loss or fear we must welcome them and let their grief tell our story, for ultimately they will become our greatest teachers, they will instruct us in love. They have lived so long without it, they have felt the absence of it so acutely that, when we allow them, our darker feelings will give us knowing and make us hyper-aware of what it loving and what is not.

God, of course, will be our constant companion but at present so many of us invite Him from our inauthentic selves. We say “God, come sit for a while, come for tea and I’ll show you my best self, we won’t talk about that scrunched up part of me in the distant, dark corner down the hall because, frankly, she bothers me. I wish you would just clear her out of here, take her off my hands.”

And all God can do is smile gently and try to have us hear His response “But my beloved, this part is you and I love her so much. My Arms of Love long to embrace her – if only you would embrace her yourself.