too gentle to live among wolves

I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us.

We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand.

We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well.

Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know – unless it be to share our laughter.

We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide.

Most of all we love and want to be loved.

We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love.

For wanderers,

dreamers,

and lovers,

for lonely men and women who dare to ask of life everything good and beautiful.

It is for those who are too gentle to live among wolves.

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Kavanaugh

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one foot in sea, one on shore

Love,

It will not betray you
Dismiss you, or
Enslave you.

It will set you free.

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crisis survival guide: a weapon

This is the fifth post in an ongoing blog series, featuring some practical tools and activities. Fill up your arsenal and collect your weapons for recovery.

*****

Crisis time.

I’d guess that less than 10% of us handle potential emergencies in a rational and calm state of mind. The rest experience something else that doesn’t quite make for the most efficient response – overwhelming panic, nauseous anxiety, stunned shock, blinding confusion, even more blinding denial, or some other lovely category along those lines.

I’ve always heard that slips and setbacks aren’t just possible, but they’re expected along this path on which we’ve been placed.

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We can bounce back from adversity or be consumed by it. The survivors will walk away with more personal strength, character and resilience, and a heavier toolbox for future attacks.

Some succinct tips to help keep your head above the water:

  • Shake off the stunned brain freeze as soon as you can
  • Don’t waste time on blame and shame
  • Be gentle with yourself as you come to acceptance
  • Rally your support troops and call 9/11 on yourself
  • Take account of your current situation and how it’s both similar and different to what you’ve known before
  • Collect every tool you have and search for new ones
  • Be patient with your progress
  • Make small goals and celebrate baby steps
  • Don’t minimize the problem
  • Positive self-talk only
  • Drink tea, breathe deeply and get a lot of sleep
  • Think only moment-by-moment, one day at a time
  • Ask for help
  • You’re stronger than you think.

2

wolf in sheep’s clothing

How do you know if something is good or bad? It seems a simple question, but this is a task at which humans are notoriously inept.

We would say that something is good if we like it. If it makes us feel pleasant and comfortable. Maybe even safe, happy and secure. Bad things bring us discomfort. They take away the things that we like. Bad = pain, confusion, anxiety.

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The trouble is that good and bad mean different things to different people, at different times and under different circumstances. Cue: Conflict. Plus, sometimes good things wear disguises and present themselves as challenges, only to turn out absolutely and completely amazing. On the other hand, we do things that feel good and comfortable that prove to be unhealthy and destructive in the long run.

I spend all kinds of time paralyzed by fear of doing things that are actually good for me because they bring feelings of anxiety, vulnerability and stress. Avoiding these things is a quick fix to feel better in the moment, but actually does no good at all. A wolf in sheep’s clothing. A security blanket. I can build myself upon these unhealthy things disguised as good, until the ground collapses right under me and I find I’ve gone nowhere.

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Letting go of the security blanket means doing stuff that doesn’t feel good. It means walking up to the big, bad wolf and staring it right in the eyes. This just isn’t human nature – Think of all the people in the world sticking to bad relationships and unhealthy habits, like smoking – Letting go is a process.

Realizing this limitation actually brings me a sense of peace. I know that avoiding the right path because I am afraid will never allow me to achieve my dreams. I can cast my fears aside by accepting that I don’t perfectly understand good and bad, and I’m not intended to. I can trust that my life’s trajectory is headed toward freedom and peace, and align myself with the inherent goodness that is faith.

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if you call one wolf, you invite the pack

I’m an intelligent chick. I learn quickly and make rational choices to stay out of trouble.

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Still, every now and then, a negative idea will pop up. As if it was planted there by some external force. It stands alone like a weed in a garden of all the other thoughts and feelings that bloom in my mind. Many of these ideas are easily debunked by my rationality, quickly plucked from the garden and discarded.

Many aren’t so easy to get rid of. Sometimes, I remove them only to find they have bloomed again the next day, in the same place or somewhere totally different. These peskier thoughts activate my negative mind and like to stick around for awhile.

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Instead of being quickly removed by my rational thinking, these manipulative weeds seem to harness my strengths, capitalizing on my intelligence and excellent vocabulary. Suddenly, I’m negotiating with them, wondering what would happen if I simply left them there. This kind of upkeep requires a lot of work and I grow tired. So, what if I just left one maladaptive thought? Maybe I could take comfort in its small presence without allowing it to take over…

We can’t. It breeds. It grows. Allowing one thought to take root is letting others sprout up around it at impossible rates. We must remain vigilant, strong and positive. And, if anything, one step ahead.

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