Sunday, November 25, 2007

Compassion Begins With Me

I just read an article called The perils of forced Compassion and Loving-Kindness, Part 1 which was written by Albert Foong of UrbanMonk.Net. The article is posted at

In the first part of Albert's article, he explains the statement of "Why we begin with ourselves". From my own experiences, I agree with Albert when he asks, "How can we give what we don't have?" My answer to that question is, "You can't. I know. I have tried to do just that."

For two years before we moved to Hot Springs, Arkansas, my husband and I were foster parents in two different group foster homes. In both homes, we were given a cottage of two - ten boys ages 7-18 years old. Most of the boys were 14-16 years old.

When my husband and I talked about working as foster parents, it was my idea originally. I envisioned us having a girls' cottage. I thought that I could help abused girls learn to love themselves. I thought that I could help them to grow into productive, happy young women who would find love and marriage and children in a Donna Reed/Father Knows Best kind of world. Those were TV shows from the 1950's that represented what the perfect family should be like. They showed what was supposed to be normal, loving, happy families who overcame life's struggles through the support of each other and their faith in God. They were "perfect" families. Not at all like the family that I grew up in.

I thought that if I could help others, then I would have value and everyone would love me because I was doing something special by helping these young girls from troubled homes. Boy, my ego sure sounds pompous even to me. Those were my thoughts back then when I was still looking for ways to feel good about who I was. I was still in denial of how I was being affected by my incest issues.

What I didn't know and the number one lesson that those two years taught me was that I couldn't help anyone until I helped myself. Those teenage boys mirrored my own inner demons of rage and hurt back to me. The main difference, probably the only difference, between me and those boys was that they used their internal rage to rebel against their parents and society. I suppressed mine until one of the boys would act out his rage and then my rage was right there in my face in all of its full-blown strength. I didn't want to see my rage, at that time. I just wanted to deny it and keep it hidden from the world so that I could keep my halo in place. I wanted everyone to see that I was a good little girl. I wanted approval.

Thank you, boys, for teaching me about myself and my rage. That part of my journey prepared me for the next step when I decided that I needed to work on me. Until I loved myself, I couldn't really love anyone else. As Albert's article says, until I felt compassion for myself, I couldn't feel it for anyone else either.

The second part of Albert's article is entitled Loving your enemy. I was my own worst enemy as long as I was a volcano of emotion waiting to explode. Loving any other enemy wasn't possible until I loved myself.

At different times in my life, I tried to forgive my sexual abusers. There was more than one. I didn't know how to protect myself so I attracted several abusers. Most of the time that I tried to do forgiveness was because of a sermon at church that said that I should forgive them. I cried so many tears and thought I had found another area that I was flawed in because I couldn't forgive. I have done four articles on Forgiveness previous to writing this article.

The first article is called Forgiveness, Done In Layers and found at

The second article is called Happy Father's Day, Daddy and found at

The third article is called Forgiveness Is For You, Not The Other Person and found at

The fourth article is called Prelude To Forgiveness and found at

True forgiveness did not come until I chose to forgive myself of my real and imagined transgressions. The first person that I forgave, after myself, was my dad. I looked at what I knew of my dad's childhood and saw him as an angry, hurt little boy. I am not excusing what he did. I chose to see the hurting person inside of him. Because I could feel compassion for myself, I could feel it for the wounded person that my dad was. I now know that he was also just a mirror for my own woundedness.

My mother, who was the co-dependent, emotionally shut-down parent was harder for me to forgive. Forgiveness for my mom could only come after I looked at all of the ways that she used passive-agressive behavior to control people and situations. My dad was openly aggressive with his rage. My mom's rage was buried deeper and made me question was I imagining what she was doing. That kind of behavior can make you feel crazy until you see it for what it is. As a woman and mother, my mom was the main role model for me becoming a woman and mother. I couldn't forgive her until I was willing to forgive the same things in me.

In some ways, I became both of my parents in my sometimes openly aggressive behavior and at other times with my passive-aggressive behaviors. Both were extremes and very unheathy. As an Adult Child of an Alcoholic, I learned that doing extremes is a characteristic of many Adult Children. Those were my experiences of how to deal with my rage. There was no balance.

The openly aggressive rage came out when my volcano of emotions refused to be suppressed even one second longer. My passive-aggressive rage came out in the form of sarcasm. I played word games in my mind and verbally allowing my ego to build itself up and feel superior to others by tearing people down with my words. Who did the sarcasm hurt the most? Me. Most of my "victims" didn't even know that they had been wounded (or so I thought) because I was so clever with words. I was a master of sarcasm. I thank God that I woke up to the harm that I was doing to myself and others. I realized that I didn't feel respect for myself or for anybody else. I slowly changed that by becoming more conscious of what I said. I am still working on mastering letting go of sarcastic thoughts.

I recognised neither of those ways of dealing with my rage until I discovered the 12-Step programs of Adult Children of Alcoholics and Al-Anon. Those two groups of people and the 12-Steps which were adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous taught me that everything begins with me to paraphrase Albert's third section of his article which says, "Start within you."

"Compassion begins from the heart" is the final section of Albert's article. Albert, this is one of those articles that you write so well that spoke to my heart and pulled these words of response out of me.

Compassion really does come from a heart that has learned to love---first and foremost, to love oneself. Real compassion enables you to release anger, hurt, and sometimes tears. Real compassion has no judgments against you or others. Real compassion allows you to see the other person or the circumstances as your teacher, not as someone who intentionally or even unintentionally hurt you. Real compassion allows you to connect with the oneness of all. It allows your inner light to reach out to others in love and kindness. Real compassion allows you to see all of the other person, warts and all, and allows you to choose to love that person anyway. It allows you to see the other person's pain. I know that my dad's rage came from the hurt and angry child that he was inside. I know that my mom carried a very frightened little girl inside of her. I know that, even with all of the spiritual growth that I have done in my life, I still carry around an angry little girl and a very frightened little girl inside of me. Neither one of them is as angry or as frightened as they used to be. They are both learning to play and be children. That is part of my healing journey. Want to go outside and play? These inner children are where some of my greatest moments of creativity come from.

No one can hurt me, unless I allow them to. Forced compassion isn't real compassion. Look at your reasons for pretending to offer compassion. If you want to be compassionate because the church or people expect you to, or because the Bible tells you that you should, none of that works. These reasons just give you more reasons to beat yourself up, to hate yourself, to call yourself all of the nasty names that your inner critic can think of. Hit the stop button on the remote control of your inner critic. Real compassion starts with being compassionate with yourself. Offer compassion to yourself and the love then will flow from your heart to others.

This article and Albert's article are just further lessons for me about compassion. When I was in India recently, Compassion was one of runes that I drew the most frequently in my daily reading from The Healing Runes. The rune of Compassion was my sign to be compassionate with myself and my own healing journey and to extend that compassion to all others that I came into contact with.

From The Healing Runes, written by Ralph H. Blum and Susan Loughan, St. Martin's Press, New York, 1997, page 116-117: "It has been said that when we have compassion for one another, we shall be of one mind. For in living a compassionate life, we are practicing the Presence of God in a simple and universal way. Drawing this Rune reminds us to take time to show compassion for those we meet on our healing journey." The reading goes on to say that we can show compassion through service.

The Rune says that you may be required at this time to recognise something that you have long denied and reminds you to have compassion for yourself as you face this challenge. In India, I came face to face with some of my grief and was able, through compassion for myself, to release the grief through the release of healing tears.

The Rune also says that a physical healing often comes about through compassion for yourself. On one side of Compassion is Fear. One the other side is The Divine. ". . .Fear, passing through the prism of Compassion, is transformed into the energy and radiance of Love." Look at the world around you through the eyes of Compassion.

Albert, thanks for the Link Love and the inspiration for this article. Albert's article can be found at

Thursday, November 22, 2007

A Day Of Gratitude

I know that rather than being on your computer, you are probably having a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with your family and friends. As I wrote that, a voice popped up and said, "if they are Americans." I still tend to forget how far out there my reach is with this blog thanks to the world-wide web.

Whether you are American or not, you can still decide to have a day of gratitude on whatever day you choose to read this article. Being in gratitude is a great way to go though a day. Experience the joy of a grateful attitude.

Thank you to all who read and/or subscribe to my blog. Thank you for those of you who have reached out to me with the comments that you have left at the end of my articles. Your words are important. Your comments tell me that I am accomplishing my goals of spreading knowledge, of touching others with my words and stories, of opening eyes and ears to be more aware of the abuse that may be happening around you, and of opening hearts to any abuse survivors that you may know or meet. I thank you for letting me know, through your comments, that my choice to share some of my more painful childhood experiences is of benefit to other survivors. For the most part, I do not live in that pain today. I choose to revisit those painful times to benefit others who think they are alone and have no way out of the pain. My goal for this blog is to offer hope and strength to all who read my words. Your pain may be from a different experience than mine. We can learn compassion for ourselves by offering it to others. We are truly one.

Someone told me recently (I have actually been told this several times lately, so I know it is really important.) that when one of us changes, we all change. So, if you want to change the world, do as Gandhi says "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

My blog presents a variety of topics, as my spiritual growth takes me down many roads.

Part of that path has been about incest. I am thankful for the incest and the abusers who have been in my life. They have been some of my greatest teachers. In addressing the incest, I have found out who I am and what I am not. I am not a victim of incest or of anything else. I am a strong, caring, courageous woman. I thank my parents for the parts that they played in my life.

A number of my articles were written in gratitude to The Most Influencial Person (people) in my life. I do believe in saying Thank You when someone has done you a service. I have even been known to sarcastically say Thank You to someone who did me a service that I didn't appreciate. Have you ever done that?

I have also written about other subjects that I believe in, such as the Law of Attraction and the use of affirmations. I know that affirmations work. The use of affirmations helped me to learn to love myself and helped me build my self-esteem from that of a frightened child in a woman's body to the healthy, compassionate woman that I am today. I know my self-worth today. I am grateful to the people and books that introduced me to affirmations, The Secret, and The Law of Attraction.

I am grateful for the opportunities to travel to India three times over the past ten years. I am amazed at the difference in where I am on my spiritual path now compared to that first trip back in 1998. Seeing how different and how alike people are around the world helps me to remember that we are all one.

I am thankful for the success of my blog. A year ago, I would not have imagined having all of the new friends that I now have because of my blog. Your friendship is much appreciated even though we have never met. You have all become a part of my spiritual growth.

Here are some links to some great articles on gratitude written by some of those new friends of mine.

Nneka at Balanced Life Center started a month of weekly Season Of Gratitude posts found at

Edward Mills at Evolving Times found at

Albert Foong at UrbanMonk.Net found at

Marj aka Thriver at Survivors Can Thrive! found at

Stephen Hobson at Adversity University Blog found at
I just discovered Stephen's blog in the past few weeks.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Let's Talk About Spirit Guides Teleconference With Andrea Hess And Slade Roberson

Saturday afternoon, November 17, 2007 at 1:00 p.m. C. S. T., I was on the phone for the first teleconference that I have ever participated in. I was on the listening end of the conversation. The teleconference was done by two of my favorite spiritual bloggers---Andrea Hess and Slade Roberson. If you have never checked out their blogs, just click on the links below.

You will find Andrea at .

You can find Slade at .

Both of these spiritual bloggers have added to my spiritual growth by sharing their particular areas of expertise. I don't know if either of them considers themselves as experts on their subjects. Those are my words.

Today's teleconference was about Spirit Guides and how to connect with yours. I took nine pages of written notes from the phone conversation which lasted a little over an hour.

The first advise that Andrea gave to us was to tell us to each find our own unique way of contacting our spirit guides.

Slade told us to let go of any expectations that we may have about what our guides should look like, sound like or how they should connect with us.

Slade and Andrea both talked about how our guides are with us from birth so we are very familiar with their energy and what it feels like to have them near us so that most of us know they are there and have forgotten because of the familiarity. We are so used to having them around that it isn't a part of our consciousness for most of us.

Your guides can work through a voice or voices that you hear in your head. (No, you are not crazy, but your ego will ask if you are.) Hunches and intuition can come from your guides. Repetition can be used by your guides to get your attention. Ex.: Hearing the title of a book over and over again. Hearing the same song over and over again may be a message. A word that keeps coming to mind over and over again may be a signal for something. Symbols, numbers, anything that you keep hearing or seeing over and over again may be a message that your guides are attempting to get your attention.

Andrea said that your guides always work in the present moment. Information is for now, not next week. The future has different possibilities and different paths than today.

Andrea and Slade are both going to be doing future teleconferences so go to their sites and keep up to date by subscribing to their blogs. I look forward to future teleconferences from both of them. Thanks to you both for a very enjoyable hour.

A relatively new blog that I discovered this week, that you can also check out is called Spiritual Drifts from The River of Karma. He still hasn't told me how he decided on River of Karma as a name. I really like it. You will find this blog at

Another favorite of mine that I hope is back for good after a little hiatus is Damian at . Damian provided the inspiration for my The Most Influencial Person series that were some of my first articles that I wrote for my blog back in June and July 2007.

I am amazed that I have actually been blogging for such a short period of time. Writing and blogging are two of my most joyful activities that I have ever done. I have also done some tremendous growth because of some of the articles. Revisiting some of my childhood has been painful, which I didn't expect it to be. What the pain told me was that some areas still need more work. My goal with writing the incest articles is to offer others the knowledge that they can heal as I heal. This is my journey.

Thanks to those of you who are reading this and have joined me with your own healing journeys. We are all connected. We are all one. As one of us heals, it affects all of us.

Have a glorious Thanksgiving Day. My husband, son and I will be visiting family in Louisiana. I will be busy cooking all day Wednesday. I enjoy cooking for special family occasions. It is a chance to make old, much loved recipes like pumpkin pie and Southern cornbread dressing like my mother used to make. I also love to find some new, untried recipe to tempt appetites with.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Language Of Mastery

I recently took a one day workshop called Language of Mastery. The instructor, Coleman Kelly, has given his permission for me to supply his email address to any of my readers who may have questions or who may be interested in setting up a Language of Mastery workshop in your area. Coleman does travel to do workshops.

The email for Coleman Kelly is .

Here is an example of what I learned in the workshop about changing my choice of thoughts and words.

Original thought:
I don't seem to be manifesting what I want in my life.
(Want equals lack. I discussed this in my first article on Conscious Language which you will find at .)

Better choice:
I am manifesting my abundance. I am rich.
(Manifesting---any "ing" word---is in the future. You want to manifest in the present.)

Best choices:
I manifest my abundance. I am rich.
I express the abundance that I know I am.

One very important activity that I sometimes forget to do (Change that to: I choose to do) is to breathe. Holding your breath holds you back. (Change that to: To move forward, I choose to breathe.
Even better: To move forward, I breathe.)

Another thing that I learned in the workshop is that eating a lot of sugar is usually a sign of a person who is avoiding grief. The same is true for a person with a blood sugar problem such as diabetes. You feel like the sweetness of life is gone. Coleman told us that suppressed grief is waiting to be transmuted into joy.

Using the above information, here is the process that I went through in the class. The words in italics are the thoughts of the wounded little girl that still lives inside of me.

1. Eating too much sugar, having a blood sugar problem
Are you avoiding grief?

2. Grief about what?
People don't love me. They use me. They abuse me.

At this point, I was crying. Tears are a sign that says this is a core issue.

3. (New thought) I choose to feel with ease.
Avoiding grief means not feeling the grief and the underlying pain. I personally stuff feelings down with food. Others may use alcohol, drugs, smoking, excessive exercise, sex, etc.
I choose to feel with ease gives me permission to access the feelings. Feeling emotions allows me to release them.

4. (New thought) I choose to feel my connection to myself---to my body.
As an incest survivor, I disconnected from my feelings and my body years ago. In order to heal, I choose to feel my connection to myself and to my body.

5. (New thought) I choose to love myself.
As an incest survivor, for years I hated myself. I didn't think that I was lovable.

6. (New thoughts)
I love myself.
I love my body.
I feel.
I am lovable.
I am love.
I love.

At the beginning of the above process, I felt grief, hurt and sadness.
At the end of the process, I felt a release of the grief and a return to joy. I felt love for myself.

Some other conscious language statements to use:
1. I am Light and Love. (Light and love leave no room for grief or sadness.)

2. I am connected to the Source of All that is.

3. I am connected to my Higher Self.

4. I choose to understand. I really choose to understand.

This article is my interpretation of what I have learned so far about the use of Conscious Language. My ideas of how it works will probably change as I learn more. What I have shared is my understanding of how the process works. Remember that I am just beginning to learn how to do this.

I choose to learn more. I grow as I learn. My understanding changes as I grow. For more information, contact Coleman Kelly or go to the website listed at the beginning of the article.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Spirit Animal Totems

I just read an interesting article about spirit animal totems written by Geoff over at Tapping Creativity. You can find the article at . At the end of Geoff's article, he gives you a site that you can go to and take a quiz to find out what your animal spirit is.

You can find the quiz at . The quiz is purely for entertainment purposes. Jeri Smith-Ready calls it "Spellbinding fantasy for the heart, mind, & soul." Well today, that was what I needed---to have fun, so rather than one of my more serious topics, today you get this article.

Read Geoff's article. Then go take the quiz for the little kid in you who wants to play today. Most little kids love animals.

My quiz results say, "You are a Horse!" My other animal spirits were Swan with 21 points, Wolf with 20 points, Owl with 20 points, Hawk with 19 points, Otter with 18 points, Crow with 14 points, Spider with 14 points, Wolverine with 14 points, Bear with 13 points, Cougar with 13 points, and Fox with 11 points.

Some of the animal spirit totems from the above quiz results are new to me. Some are not. I have always loved horses, wolves, owls, hawks and cats in any shape and form. My favorite cat has always been the tiger. Tiger has been one of my animal spirit totems since I was a young child. I used to dream about a tiger that would talk to me. This dream came many times in my childhood. As an adult, many times I dream about Snake, another of my totems. A friend did an animal spirit totem reading for me years ago. Some of my totems from that reading were Tiger, Snake, Buffalo, Eagle, Coyote, Wolf and a few others that I have forgotten. Over the years, I have had others totems come and go such as the Black Leopard, Crow, Hawk, and Owl.

If you are interested in reading more about animal spirit totems, go to the above sites where you will find other links to play with and find your own animal spirit totems. Have fun today. Go play. Have a glorious day.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

First Darshan In The Ashram---India Trip

During our first darshan in the ashram, I was sitting and talking with my friend, Ki as we waited for Sathya Sai Baba to appear. A young-looking 40-year-old Indian lady was sitting close enough to overhear our conversation. I was catching Ki up on some of my activities of my life over the last few years since we last saw each other.

I was telling Ki that I got kicked out of the church that I have been a member of for almost 10 years. I was one of the infamous 12 that the minister kicked out of the church because we chose to disagree with her.

I went on to share with Ki that I realized that my anger with this person was way out of character for the situation that I found myself in even before she kicked me out of the church so I looked deeper inside of myself to see where my anger (I really should call it rage.) was coming from. Over a period of a year, I got information from a past life that I had shared with this lady and her husband of this life time. The first information that I got was of him as a river boat captain. In a meditation that he was leading at the church on a Sunday morning, I suddenly saw such a clear image of him in my mind. He had a handlebar mustache from the 1800's. He was in a uniform. A friend gave me the information that he was a river boat captain and that he was my husband in that life time. My inner voice confirmed the information. Over the next year, I received bits and pieces of information about this past life. The final piece came from a vision that I had of me being thrown overboard his ship. I drowned. With this last bit of information, I was able to say that I forgave all three of us for the parts that we played in that past life. I was no longer angry at either of them or at myself for the parts that we each played. My rage was gone almost from one thought to the next. It simply wasn't there. I know that I had probably fed some of her anger at me by my reactions to her.

The young Indian lady was avidly listening to my story as I shared it with Ki. When I finished my story, the Indian lady said that she had read the book Many Masters, Many Lives. I told her that I had also read it and it was written by Brian Weiss. She agreed. The book was written about his study of reincarnation.

The young Indian lady told us that she was at the ashram to enroll her 14-year-old son into Swami's School. She told us that when the Indian government would do nothing to help the area people get clean water, that Swami stepped in and got it done. I have read from other sources that Swami has helped to bring clean water, electricity, free education and free hospitals to parts of India when the government seemed helpless to do much.

The Indian lady told us that in July for two weeks she was very, very sick and in the hospital. She decided that she was going to die. She told us that there was a picture of Sathya Sai Baba high up on the wall at the foot of her hospital bed. She started talking to Swami's picture. He talked back to her and told her that it was not her time to die yet. The picture started making vibhuti (sacred ash which is a signature thing that articles tied to Sai Baba sometimes do, especially pictures). She said that almost overnight, she got well. The doctors did not understand how someone who was as sick as she was made such a quick recovery. She never questioned why. She knew.

The second wonderful story that this kind lady shared with us had to do with the birth of her son. She told us that her son has two birthdays. When she was pregnant with her son, her due date was on November 23 which is also Swami's birthday. Her husband told her that he would not be around on November 23 to take her to the hospital or to bring her home after the delivery on November 23 so she would need to have the baby either before or after that date. She was so upset and stressed by this news. She wanted her son to be born on Swami's birthday and she wanted her husband around for the birth and to take her home afterwards. She became very depressed over the situation. Her mother and aunt told her to write to Swami about the situation and her feelings about it. She did.

She told Swami, in the letter, that she wanted her son to be born on Swami's birthday but that her husband could not be there at that time. She asked if her son could be born on November 7 instead to suit her husband's schedule.

Well, on November 7, her son was born. On November 23, her son got very, very sick. The doctors thought that he would die and told her and her mother that there was nothing else that they could do. Her mother told her to pray to Swami and told the doctors to keep working on the little boy. I am not sure whether the baby actually died or not. In the crowd that we were sitting in, it was sometimes difficult to hear everything being said. What I did hear her say was that her son was born a second time on November 23. According to her, things happened exactly as she had asked Swami in her original letter written before the birth of her son. She told us that her son was born on November 7 and again a second time on November 23.

I thought this was such a wonderful story to be told on one of my first days at the ashram. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Some might even say these were miracles. These are just two examples of the kind of "miracles" that Sai Baba devotees from around the world report from their close association with Swami's love. If you are interested in more stories of this type, check out the list of books written about Sai Baba from my article found at
Each book that I have read about Sai Baba is usually full of stories like the above.