Friday, May 30, 2008

Facing My Fears And How That Changed My Life

So often I find my ideas for new articles in my comments left on the blogs of others. Today that happened when Tom Volkar of "Delightful Work" asked me, "Pat how is life better for you when you face your fears?"

Tom, thanks for asking. I love this kind of interaction on my blog and the ones that I read. Here is my answer that I left in my comment on Tom's blog:

"Tom, how is life better for me when I face my fears? Life is better in so many ways. The first time that I even realized that I had lived most of my childhood in fear, I was 19 years old, running down a dark country road to get away from my drunk, abusive dad. My sister was running right beside me. We were running and I suddenly ralized that we had no where to go. So we stopped running and walked back home. I rmember thinking that I had never felt the fear before that night. I had denied that I felt it or stuffed it deep inside me. At that age, I didn't know how to handle it. I made the decision that night that I had to leave that home or I would go crazy or die. That was when I found courage for the first time. A few weeks later, I had made arrangements with an older friend (You will find my article about my friend Althea at ) to live with her and get a summer job before going away for my junior year of college.

The next time that I actively started to look at all of the fears that I carried around was when I was 38 years old and in Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA) and Al-Anon meetings and a few months later in an Incest Survivor Counseling group. I remember sitting in an ACA meeting and telling everyone that my fears were big enough to fill the entire room that we were sitting in. That is the night that I started looking at my fears and whiddling away at those fears one fear at a time. Most of them were needless and unrealistic. Courage has become my constant companion instead of fear."

There was more to my comment which you can find when you click on the link to Tom's article "Speak Freely or Die" which I will include at the end of this article.

ACA and Al-Anon were what really started me on my journey of facing my fears. (Adult Children of Alcoholics Played Major Roles In My Recovery From Incest found at ) Before finding Al-Anon, I spent a lot of time trying to fix everyone else in my life so that I wouldn't have to look at my own fears and anger. I even went so far as to become a foster parent in 2 different group foster homes hoping to help others to have a better childhood than I had. I have been told that we did a good job as foster parents. What I finally realized was that I couldn't really help those kids until I helped myself. That was when my real work began. That was when the Universe lead me to sources that could help me---Al-Anon, ACA and professional counselors.

What are some of the fears that I have faced in my spiritual journey that I call my life?
1. All of my control issues were about fear. I thought that if I could control everything and everyone that I would be safe. It didn't work that way. Control is just a cover-up for what you are really feeling---FEAR. Al-Anon helps me admit that the more I thought I was in control with my controlling activities, the more out of control I was with my emotions and life. What did I find when I stopped controlling---relief from a whole room full of internal pressures. Take a sigh of relief---that is what it feels like to let go of controlling behaviors. You also find more time to live and enjoy your own life. When you are trying to control others, you suddenly discover that you have all kinds of time to look at your own problems.

2. A major fear for me was what would happen if people knew about my incest issues. Would they stop loving me? Would they stop being my friend? Would my husband divorce me? My biggest fear was that they would blame me. I blamed myself for so many years and because of that self-blame I kept silent. What did facing these fears do for me? They gave me my voice. They gave me the ability to reach out to others. They gave me the beginnings of finding peace within myself. I say the beginnings because this has been a lengthy process that has taken years of my adult life to resolve.

3. My fear of driving kept me from experiencing the ability and freedom to get in a car and go any where that I wanted by myself. This fear was tied into the issues of incest and my dad. I watched my dad teach my mom to drive when I was in my early teens. We were in the truck with them for each lesson. I promised myself that I would never put myself through the torture and name calling that my dad put my mother and us kids through when he taught her to drive. She was always a nervous driver because of that experience. When I thought of learning to drive, I also thought of the verbal and emotional abuse that she went through. Those unpleasant and damaging memories kept me from learning to drive until I dealt with the abuse issues that I had with my dad. I have only been driving for about 12 years now. What did I find by facing my fears of driving? A freedom to be in a car by myself and to go any where that I want without hearing those voices of my mom and dad arguing over her driving. I could not imagine the freedom that driving myself places gives me.

4. My fear that people would not like what I write is a fear that my friend Slade Roberson ( ) talked me into overcoming when he suggested and then told me how to set up and write my own blog which you are now reading. What did I get from facing the fear of disapproval/fear of failure that has kept me from sharing my writings with others? Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker was born. On June 1, I will be celebrating my one year anniversary with this blog. Facing those fears has brought me all of my readers of this blog and all of my online friends that I would not have met otherwise. I thank all of you for your participation on my blog and in my life.

Tom, does this answer your question? I could go on and on naming many other fears from that room sized bundle of fears that I used to carry around on my shoulders but I won't. These are the major ones that I have faced. In that long ago ACA room, all I felt was FEAR. Today, because of facing those fears, I experience the whole range of emotions---anger, joy, sadness, happiness, hurt, peace. Tom, thanks for the inspiration to write this article. You will find Tom's orginal article at his blog "Delightful Work". The article called "Speak Freely or Die" is found at the following link: . I encourage my readers to go to this link and check out Tom's article and blog.

If you liked this article and want a little more background information on my journey, check out the following articles that I have written:
" Biography---Part 1"
found at

"What's In A Name?" found at

"I Am A Writer" found at

"Happy Father's Day, Daddy" found at

"Yes, I Am A Lightworker" found at

These articles just give you a little more background on me.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Grieving---A Necessary Process For Healing

Yes, grieving is a necessary, and often difficult, part of the healing process.

Earlier tonight I was watching the movie "Good Will Hunting" for the first time. In one of the counseling sessions Robin Williams told Matt Damon, "We are not perfect." I started to cry. I asked myself, "Why does that make me cry?"

Because I spent my childhood trying to be perfect and feeling that I was never good enough to meet my parents' expectations. I wasn't expected to be a child acting as a child acts, thinking as a child thinks. I was supposed to be an adult, a parent, taking care of my parents. That is why I found myself crying---grieving the fact that I wasn't allowed to be a child.

It has been a struggle to give up trying to be perfect. Every time that I think that I have found all of the areas of perfection-seeking, I find another area that I am still feeling that I don't measure up to the expectations of others or to my own expectations. Part of me still sometimes feels "not good enough." That wounded inner child is still there grieving for the childhood that she wasn't allowed to have. I still sometimes grieve for the relationship that I wanted with my parents and didn't have.

Later in the movie, Robin Williams tells Matt Damon, "It's not your fault." Matt says, "I know." Robin repeats, "It's not your fault." Matt says, "I know." This is repeated a third and a fourth time by both, each time with Matt saying the words but not looking at Robin when he says them so you know that Matt doesn't believe what he or Robin are saying. Finally Matt breaks down sobbing and Robin holds him as they both cry. By the third time, I am starting to cry also. Why? Because the wounded inner child in me still struggles with those same feelings.

I sometimes wish that there was a one-time knowing of this truth and then it would never come up again. Feelings, especially grief, are never that simple. Grief comes when it needs to come to be felt and healed. We can make it complicated by denial and resistance or we can feel it and let it move on.

Two other articles that you might want to read on this topic are "Cry When You Need To" found at
and one called "Feelings" found at .

Have a glorious Memorial Day weekend.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mirroring---Good And Bad In Each Of Us

My husband was doing some reorganizing in the bedroom earlier and ran across a notebook of mine with writings from 1997 and 1998. Here are a few ideas that I found that I had written down and wanted to share with you today. When I learned these things, they made a huge difference in how I related to myself and others. These came from a class that I was taking at the time.

1. "The faults you see in others are merely projections of your own; the good you see in others is a reflection of your own goodness."---It was easier for me to see this in relation to what I thought of as the bad in me than it was for the good in me. Everything that you like and admire in another person is because you have that same trait in yourself. We are all the same---good and bad.

2. "Think no evil, think what is good. See no evil; see what is good. Hear no evil; hear what is good. Speak no evil; speak what is good. Do no evil; do what is good."---I think this is a quote from Sai Baba but I don't know the source for sure.

3. "If you want happiness and if you want peace, you must give love. Only though love will you find true happiness. Only through love will you will inner peace."

4. "Develop your love; live in love. Love lives by giving and forgiving."

The above words of wisdom were taught to me by my spiritual teacher of the time, Saji Burke. I have never said "Thank You." publically to Saji before. He taught me about Sai Baba and made my first two trips to India an accomplishment that I will always treasure. I would never have had those experiences without Saji's guidance. One of the most difficult lessons that Saji also taught me was that sometimes the student outgrows the teacher. Saji isn't in my life today. I often think about him and wish him well wherever he is. Because of Saji and his teachings, my world is a much better and bigger place. Thank you, Saji. I will always love you.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Tag---You're It---Another Meme

Tag is a game from childhood that I get reminded of each time that I get tagged to do a meme. I always loved tag as a child because it meant that I got to run. Running was always my favorite activity as a child. I always had skinned knees to show for it. That is what happens when you try to run faster than your body can keep up with. Must be what men like about fast cars.

The current meme was passed on to me by CK Reyes one half of the partnership of Divine Purpose Unleashed. The article that CK wrote is called "Now You Too Can Be Tagged By A Blogger's Compulsive Behavior found at .

Here are the rules to the meme:
1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Share 4 things in these themes.
4. Tag 4 random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs. (I am tagging anyone who reads this and wants to participate. It is not required. Only do it, if it is fun.)
5. Let each random person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website. (My title is the only notification you are getting if you choose to participate.)

4 Jobs I have had:
1. Lineworker at Big Chain Cafeteria in Shreveport, Louisiana. I was 19 and it was my very first job. I learned so much about myself and about people from that job. Food can make even mild-mannered people greedy and demanding. Who would have guess?
2. Student Employment job at Northwestern State University, Natchitoches, Louisiana as a Teacher's Aide in a Deaf-Oral Class. I did this for 2 semesters when I thought that I wanted to teach Special Education. I had a wonderful boss and a room of 6 deaf children that I helped with.
3. Sales person and Customer Service in 3 different bookstores---one in Bossier City, Louisiana and the other 2 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. I love books and people who read them. I was very good at my job.
4. Parttime helper to my husband in his parking lot striping business for over 20 years. Daniel and I work well together. I still will occasionally work with Daniel.

4 Movies I Can Watch Over & Over:
1. Steel Magnolias---I love Julia Roberts, Sally Field and Shirley Maclaine. This is the only movie that makes me laugh and cry at the same time. It doesn't hurt that the movie took place and was filmed in the town of Natchitoches, Louisiana where Daniel and I went to college.
2. Zurassic Park I & III.
3. Any Harrison Ford movie.
4. Transformers---the action is amazing. It also brings back memories of watching the cartoons with my two kids when they were young.

4 Places I Have Lived:
1. Louisiana---I grew up in the northwest part of the state in Bossier Parish. That is near Shreveport, the second largest city in Louisiana. My hometown of Plain Dealing is very small.
2. Asheville, North Carolina---One of my favorite places in the United States. Our son was born there. We lived there for 3 years in the middle 1970's. The Blue Ridge Parkway near there is absolutely gorgeous every season of the year.
3. Northeast Texas---We moved to Tyler, Texas when our daughter was 15 days old. We lived there 3 years and moved to Henderson, Texas where our son started to kindergarten.
4. Hot Springs, Arkansas---My family and I have lived in Hot Springs almost 20 years. Hot Springs is located in the Bible Belt of the South and also has a metaphysical community because of the crystals located under the ground. I came to Hot Springs to figure out who I was. Hot Springs is a tourist town because of the crystal mines located nearby and because of Oaklawn Horse Racing Track. I still haven't been to the horse races.

4 TV Shows That I Love:
1. Star Trek---TV show and movies. I am a Trekkie.
2. Medium
3. Ghost Whisperer
4. Saving Grace

4 Places I Have Been On Holiday:
1. Idaho---Our daughter and her family lives there.
2. Colorado---My husband and I both love the mountains plus our son lived in Denver for awhile.
3. India on 3 spiritual retreats to Sai Baba's ashrams.
4. A cruise to Mexico

4 Of My Favorite Dishes:
1. Bread
2. Cheese
3. Chocolate
4. Indian food

4 Websites That I Visit Frequently: (It was really hard to just pick 4. I read so many.)
1. Shift Your Spirits found at .
2. Empowered Soul found at .
3. Plain Talk Ordinary Wisdom found at .
4. Adversity University found at .

4 Places I Would Rather Be Right Now:
There is no place that I would rather be than where I am right now.

4 Bloggers I Am Tagging:
I am not tagging anyone specifically. If you would like to be tagged to do this meme then go ahead. Have fun with it.

Thanks to CK for tagging me. I used the meme as an opportunity to share more of my life with my readers.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Blessed By Strong Women---Happy Mother's Day

This is another of those articles that I didn't plan to write. As I was getting ready to go out to my own Mother's Day lunch with my husband and son, the thoughts started coming into my mind. We went to the restaurant and decided to come home and go back out at 2:00 p.m. when most moms have already been fed and are back home. The restaurant that I picked for my special lunch was packed to overflowing with families in the parking lot waiting to go inside. So I came home to sit and write this article while I wait.

I clicked on my emails and saw an article from Slade Roberson and his blog "Shift Your Spirits". I decided to read Slade's article first. His article is called "Channeling the Mother Goddess." You will find it at .

In so many of Slade's articles I find out new information about myself. I do have a connection with Mother Mary. She or her emissary have some to me in meditations over the past 10 years. I have felt a connection to her since I played Mother Mary in a play when I was in the First Grade. I am not a Catholic in this lifetime but I have been a nun in many past lifetimes.

My other two favorites for the Mother are Quan Yin and White Buffalo Calf Woman. Quan Yin stands for compassion. White Buffalo Calf Woman stands for healing. Both show us women of strength and character which many of us don't find in our own mothers when we are children needing a strong woman as a role model.

Many of us are blessed to have a strong woman as our mother; others are blessed with a mother who is seemingly self-centered and weak. Which ever mother you were blessed with, what did you do with what you saw and learned? I grew up knowing I did not want to me like my mother. For awhile, I became like my father, overbearing and strong-willed. That wasn't what I wanted to be either. Balance was what I needed and had never seen. It was what I had to find within myself. I had to learn that I could become a strong woman without being bossy and overbearing. I could speak up for what I believed without ramming it down your throat. I could stand up for myself without being aggressive and abusive. I could state my opinion without being wishy-washy and without being afraid of your rejection.

As I learned how I wanted to mother my own children, I also had to learn to parent myself. My mother was withdrawn and unavailable. I had to learn not to smother my children with my fears and opinions. In learning to do this with my children, I learned to let go of my fears, most of which were overblown and out of proportion to reality. Before I could learn to do things my way, I had to ask, "What is my way? Who am I? What do I want from my life? What do I expect from myself?" How could I teach my children until I learned about myself?

I wasn't as good of a mother as I wanted to be either. I had to learn so much as I went along. I didn't learn how to be a mother from my mother. I learned what not to be. I believe that I did better than my mother did. She probably believed the same thing about herself. Mother-daughter relationships can be so complicated.

As complicated as they are, that mother-daughter relationship is what forms us into the women and mothers that we become. This morning I had a conversation through the comment section of Karen Hanrahan's blog "Best of Mother Earth." Karen has an article called Moms Know Best that she posted this morning at . Karen gives a great example of mothering and allowing her children to be themselves which sometimes means allowing them to get hurt. Watching your children hurt themselves is probably the hardest thing that a parent ever does. You can't stop them from riding a bicycle because they might fall down and get hurt. You can stand by with any medical assistance and hugs that are needed. You have to allow your children to make their own set of mistakes and pay whatever consequences there are in life. You aren't doing them any favors by not letting them make their own choices.

I have been blessed with so many role models of great mothers since I became an adult. I want to say thank you to each of you and say, "I love you." to the great women in my life:
1. Althea, who gave me a home when I left home.
2. My grandmother Effie Howe, who took me in when I was 2 years old and had the whooping cough and gave me love and my values.
3. Kathy who was also my best friend and mentor for such a short time before her death.
4. Mary, another friend who loved her children and taught me compassion.
5. Mom, you gave me as much as you knew how. You taught me who I didn't want to be. You chose me before I was born and helped teach me the major lessons of my life.
6. My daughter Christie who honors me by calling me Mom.
Have a glorious Mother's Day to all mothers who read this.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Processing Life's Journey

Have you ever found yourself in a position where, on the outside, it looks like you are sitting completely still, doing nothing? You aren't stuck, in a rut, afraid to move forward. You know what that feels like and this isn't stuck. Nothing appears to be happening on the outside and your guides are giving you one word, "Wait."

What do you do? Struggle with impatience? Think you are just procrastinating? Are you confused? Are you resisting being still? What are you feeling? Too many emotions to separate them and give them a name.

I call it processing. I know from long experience that eventually I will get the "Go Ahead" signal. Why do I hate waiting? Because I am an overachiever who hates standing still. There are too many things I could be doing like making a baby quilt for my neice's new son who was born in February, making a quilt for my grandson who turned 6 back in December, writing more articles for my blog, etc., etc., etc. Do you see what I mean about being an overachiever? The list of things I want to do can go on and on. The things I should do is just as long, but I am learning that doing things out of obligation isn't always that good either. (Andrea Hess's article on obligation found at )

The important thing for me to know is that I am moving forward. It just doesn't look that way on the outside. All of my current processing is internal rather than external. Look out world when I come out of what appears to be hibernation. Then I will be in hyperdrive until the next processing period. This is my cycle for experiencing my life. Can anybody else relate?