To the artist, each entry is a love letter that provides a sacred space for contemplation. It is twofold: what you plan to send and what no one but yourself will ever read. ~ vincenzo ©

How do you come to terms with the way it was — the way you wished it had been?

Some losses are beyond recovery, because you seek qualities in another he or she never possessed. You hold on tightly maybe for years, only to discover it brings you instability, desolation and untold stress until you can no longer hold on any more.

Grief appears and reappears when you least expect it. Wherever you go, it is a subject too foreign for the general public. Reading about it online only magnifies the pain as most websites approach it through a generic, scientific lens. It looks nothing like the dark forebodings gripping your heart.

Although writing helps to clarify thoughts, you often collide against your own perceptions, unable to trust your senses. No matter how you arrange the words, they look back at you with trifling glances. The deeper you excavate, the less justice accorded to the lived experience. ~ vincenzo ©

Although it is hard, seek to look at each dark episode with as far-sighted a perspective as possible. What seems desolation in the moment, isn’t indicative of the whole story. ~ vincenzo ©

“To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life.” ~ Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

One year ago at this time, a friendship began that never got off the ground. It left me feeling perplexed and relieved at once. For someone who likes to know what they’re getting into before diving in, colliding with Inconsistency is never a great feeling. It’s a vicious pattern where each time you arrange something, something else comes along. You don’t want to admit defeat too soon, so you listen and observe. Until finally, you stop second-guessing yourself and quietly back out.

It is impossible to see the end from the beginning. You fill your heart with anticipation then chastise yourself for being so gullible. Some experiences are like snake skin waiting to be shed. You enter only to realize you are outside again. Nevertheless, there is no gain without some risk taking. As Mari Ruti wrote, “Life is about showing generosity even in the face of uncertainty”. It is never in vain to show attentiveness even when it is not reciprocated, for love avoidance doesn’t make caring expressions any less valuable.

~ vincenzo ©

Whoever seeks to change anyone but himself, only adds to the misery he wishes to eliminate. ~ vincenzo ©

I like the sound of the term “cognitive dissonance”. I feel sophisticated and deep when I say it. It is also something I am recently experiencing.

Part of my training as a volunteer counselor at church requires attending Bible studies. However, Bible study is hardly a good name. It is more often a monologue in which one dominant member expresses his or her opinions while everyone else sits passively silent. How many secretly tune out is another question.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the Bible is irrelevant. However, some Bible teachers seem to run on automatic pilot. They have a gift of presenting life superficially — low on soul searching or imagination. What I find equally disquieting is how anyone could be taking notes or nodding their heads in such a bleak context. Are they just pretending? Am I just crazy?

As usual, I am conflicted. I am forever questioning myself about issues that seem cut and dry to others. I tend to second guess myself whether I’m just being too hard while at the same time dreading the thought of another meeting.

I am also imagining what kind of dialogue I will have with the coordinator if or when I announce my resignation to her …rehearsing in my head line after line what we will be saying to each other.

Is faith about upholding the status quo? What does humility look like in such situations?

~ vincenzo ©

Cover-burgundy

Saying yes to the unexpected

Patricia Madson is the author of a little book containing big ideas. “Improv Wisdom” involves approaching life with a willingness to pay attention to whatever life presents, and to say yes to the unexpected, learning to overcome the harsh inner critic and making new connections. She says,

“Yes can be a really good answer more of the time than you might imagine. It can open up a possibility. It’s easy to say no. No doesn’t require us to act. Saying yes can get us into trouble, but it’s just as likely to bring us great adventures.”

Madson finds when we throw out many of the self-inhibiting regulations we thought we must live by, we’ll find our lives more authentic, more effective, and a lot more fun. We have adopted a malfunctional way called blocking we hardly question, so we not only block others, but ourselves in the process.

Here are some excerpts of Madson’s Yes Principles:

“Cultivate all the ways you can imagine to express affirmation.”

“Yes and” …we can say yes than we normally do.

“Once you become aware you can, you will see how often we use the technique of blocking in personal relationships simply out of habit.”

“Support someone else’s dreams. Pick a person and for a week, agree with all of his or her ideas. Find something right about everything he or she does or says. Look for every opportunity to find support.”

“As we practice the affirmative response to life, positive things happen.”

“Exercising the yes muscle builds optimism. If you can’t get out of it, get into it.”

“Improv means advancing the struggle for more inclusive frameworks of understanding.”

~ vincenzo ©

Reference: Madson, Patricia Ryan Improv Wisdom, Bell Tower Publishing, New York 2005