Rescue

Have you ever been in a circumstance where you feel totally helpless, being without the assistance of another and loathing the absence therein? Being able to make and maintain eye contact in such instances feels paramount to life. Knowing there is someone that is for you, in those situations, means more than anyone can ever express. To think that all is gone, without hope, is the most terrifying scenario imaginable. It is mentally, emotionally and physically excruciating to helplessly observe as your existence fades away.

To understand that there are people in the world with a mindset determined to intervene is unfathomable. A person giving and risking their life to affirm the safety of another is unmistakably the most heroic attribute anyone could every embody. Being seen, in the midst of a crisis, describes the very essence of the world “elation” and knowing that you are valued, in just such a way, is without question, a most heart warming experience.

What we value internally determines what happens in those instances and honestly, in some capacity, every person has those heroic opportunities afforded to them everyday. Being the recipient of such bravery definitely infuses the desire to not only see but act, especially when those instances occur elsewhere. In the past year, I have entered into a process of personal healing and have been able to do so with individuals of heroic proportion alongside. Every act of good will and courage builds on the foundation of our character and who we are at the center of our being inevitably surfaces in those circumstances of crisis. Heroism and the beauty of such cannot be contained. As I recollect on my experience, I feel blessed by those who have not only observed but responded to my need. Today, my gratefulness abounds.

Those magic moments

Today I’m thinking of those moments in time that hold some sort of magical remembrances. Those times that can’t be bought or sold. Those unexpected instances where every sense is awakened to the wonder of being alive. Have you ever had those moments? Have you been cognizant of those moments? There is a difference. Magical moments exist, whether it be in a dramatic skyline, an enthralling song, an instance of overwhelming joy embodied by being with the perfect people, in a perfect place, for one perfect moment. Those moments that are so rare but true. I would guess that most everyone can relate. A little snapshot of heaven on earth captured through circumstances that cannot be conjured.

I’ve had those experiences and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I cannot say that those moments happen often but I think that is why they are so cherished. It’s like every part of humanity aligns for just a brief instance and I have the joy of feeling with totality and the rarity of that is the treasure.

In retrospect, I ask myself, “what was that?” And often I hear a hushed internal voice reply, “a gift“. I breathe in what I can’t otherwise understand and add to my thankful heart.

Futuristic Thinking

This morning I find my heart a bit heavy. I’m thinking of those who look out into their future and see nothing but a bleak emptiness of sorts. Those who feel cast aside and are replaying the events of life with regret. Listening to the “I wish I had” statements are sobering in light of the “what is” and finding the right words sometimes does not come easily.

One of the most devastating behaviors in life is that of procrastination. It’s not a necessity at the moment so, I’ll just wait until it is. That sort of thinking leaves individuals listlessly scrambling for answers at a time when mentally, emotionally and physically the capacity is absent. What you do today defines your future tomorrow. If you think or expect that your circumstances are going to change and are basing your future on a hope that may or may not exist then you are not living in reality. Do not hear my words as scolding but as an encouragement to consider the road ahead. What can you do today to make your existence better in the future? I know there are people who frantically start grabbing and clinging and joining as a means of survival but I’m trying to avert that by encourage a thought process of responsibility, even before the season arrives.

Being deliberate and setting aside time to think about what you can do, practically, is beneficial. Resources are vast and often more accessible than many can comprehend. Dependency on family and friends is usually the thought process but we have to remember that everyone has responsibilities in life and that ultimately we, as adults, must take the lead in our own future. If family and friends are available and willing to assist, that is a significant blessing but cannot be our ultimate expectation. Are there certain people and places called to assist those in need? Without a doubt, this is a factual statement, there are people particularly gifted to do so. However, it is important to begin to explore these options for safe, loving community and services even before the need arises. Relating is best established through a seasonal duration, it provides a viable opportunity to establish trust. Scrambling inevitably leads to unwanted vulnerabilities and if that scenario can be avoided upfront through meaningful, relational inquiries, why not? We never know what a day brings and even in the most bleak circumstances, hope can shine through, but there can be no inevitable expectation of such. No matter your age, look at your life in reality. Think about the future and consider what it is, at the present moment, that you can feasibly do about your quality of life, for the duration of your life.

Is it beginning to save money? Even the slightest savings can begin to add up. Is it building meaningful and real community? Our emotional, mental and physical health depend upon those interactions. Is it valuing your body? What we do with our physicality will be an additive or a detriment to our existence, especially in later life. All of these thoughts are worth consideration. We are mind, body and spirit and every component needs to be assessed at intervals along the pathway of life.

If you have fallen behind in the responsibility factor, don’t be disheartened to the point of giving up, start where you are. Explore your community with intention, not to exploit or pillage but to determine who it is that has the heart that aligns with your need both for today and for the future. That is the approach that gives way to the most responsible and satisfying relational existence.

Can we be friends?

What does that statement do for you emotionally? My guess is, if you are like me, it creates a sense of internal angst or awkwardness. Becoming friends is usually very different than asking to be friends. There is an oddity in the later that most consider unnatural. However, today I want to face this notion with some measured thinking. To actually state what we want is to operate from the standpoint of vulnerability and that is an uncomfortable placement for most everyone. We love the euphoria that comes from the magical, if it isn’t magical then it isn’t worth having. I believe this notion is derived from our media saturated mindset. Don’t get me wrong, I like everyone else, love to have those “meant to be” moments, but in all reality, we need to balance the big screen with the actual commonalities of living.

Asking for what we need is an act of courage and to think that we would feel shame or embarrassment in the attempt, just increases the need for bravery. Feeling like we are going to be rejected keeps many of us frozen in our immobile state. Stated intentions, surprisingly enough, are very helpful in regard to relational comfort. Having an unsettled, uneasiness about what someone really wants IS awkward. The clarification is courageous because it lays the foundation for a decision. Otherwise, there is a prolonged, undefined relatability that feels fleeting or fragile or without substance and that idealism doesn’t encourage any real investment from anyone. The nebulous is awkward.

Stated intention is not equivalent to social awkwardness, we need to readjust our mindset in that regard. The magical idea of “wanting it to happen” is enticing, for a while, but when there are no words, that idea can easily go away as quickly as it appeared and no one wants to give themselves fully to that which has no sense of commitment. I am sure that there are numerous individuals who have taken the momentary offerings, absent of words, only to be hurt by the fact that there was nothing more to undergird but a hollow interaction. I’ve had those instances, risking with hope of substance to find that it was nothing more than an moment of fun with no real lasting intention. We become accustomed to relating this way because no one states their intention, stated intentions are binding, even for short term interactions, and our need to avoid discussions of acceptance or rejection (conflict avoidance) is so important that those risks are never taken or assumed. In affect, we all go about life wondering if there are friends to be had. I’ve often heard the statement, “If you have one good friend, you are blessed“, I believe that statement is based on the scenario described above. It is rare to meet someone who is vulnerable and wants to responsibly interact with loving respect and intention. I’m not shaming, literally the demands of life dictate what a person is capable of relationally contributing. Most individuals are engaged in family first, which is a notion that is completely understandable, but the voids are felt none the less.

The seasons where I connected most were in circumstances of necessity. Do I want to return to those seasons? Not particularly but I did learn a good bit through the process. I built relationships that lasted for a significant season based on an undeniable need. Crisis brought us to the same place, at the same time and no one was too pious to claim they did not need the support of the other. The so-called, “Fox hole” moments of our existence have an unusual way of bonding and those ties are not easily broken. Just ask veterans who have been through instances of distress, the value and appreciation they have for those who huddled with them throughout the storm is immeasurable. It’s sad that those are often the circumstances which create the most meaningful and lasting relational unions but honestly, no one takes the time otherwise. Relational interactions aren’t prioritized or considered that important. If anyone really took the time to stop and consider what is missing, I am convinced that most are oblivious to their lack. The joy that accompanies real relating is an irreplaceable component of life. C.S. Lewis said, “we settle for making mud pies in a slum because we cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.

Friendships of value are hard to come by and the necessity of such is not really optional, we just live within the void of unawareness. The absence is deadening to both the spirit and the soul. Therefore, in my estimation, the courage to intentionally invest is a component of our health and to ignore our need to belong is disheartening. Be courageous in your relationships, even when it hurts, you won’t regret the attempt.

Withholding

There are various types of traumas, some are overt, clearly recognizable as such and then there are hidden traumas, those that are unrecognizable to the human eye. Strangely enough, the second type is of a more invasive nature. The idea of visible abuse is recognized as unacceptable, by most, and responsibly dealt with when observed or summoned to do so. Yet the internal affects of psychological or emotional abuses are much more invasive and lasting. Withholding falls within the context of hidden trauma. There is an enormous amount of leverage to be had with knowledge, possessions, love and influence. To withhold from someone who is inferior, in position or power or influence or strength, based on a need to protect oneself or control the environment is a form of abuse. A generous approach to care giving of any sort is telling of the ability to love. Blocking someone in their ability to function or their progression is abuse.

Inevitably, this statement has to be balanced with an understanding that some people, based on their conditionings, live with a sense of entitled expectancy. This circumstance leads to a very different approach and having the emotional intelligence to define those who feel entitled as opposed to those who are genuinely recipients is an element of maturity necessary for any leader. The sensitivities needed for both male and female leaders are vast and I dare say these qualities far exceed the values associated with charisma or showmanship. Leaders can excel within the parameters of performance because people enjoy being entertained; however, the rubber meets the road in situations where authentic relating is necessary, far too often performance is valued over emotional intelligence. I do not intend to digress from the original thoughts of visible versus hidden abuses but I think it is important to clearly understand and observe leaders as a part of the discussion.

Withholding is a result of greed that has not been addressed. A leader of any worth allows for expansion particularly in the lives of those who follow. When I see this dynamic in action, I am enthralled because I know I am learning in an environment that precipitates growth and that inspires me to be a person of giving.

The fears associated with behaviors of withholding are related to insecurity. A sense of loss drives someone to want to push others aside and when that is happening, I can assure you that there is an abusive spirit at work in that circumstance. The tendencies are subtle yet dominant, especially to those who are being guided by such individuals. I find it necessary to particularly address this issue in regard to children. Children have not yet developed the skill set necessary to intelligently maneuver through the circumstances of abuse. Withholding time, protection, affection and adequate resources from a child is trauma. Children cannot speak for themselves and thus it is vital that educators, coaches, mentors, medical staff, law enforcement, government entities and religious leaders become equipped with an understanding of abuse and the proper definitions both overt and subtle.

It is also important to address the workforce in regard to abuse, I have worked in environments where necessity governed, particularly in regard to provision and every instance required assessment. I completely understand responsible delegation but at the same time, emotional intelligence helps determine the assessments through the grid of motivational factors. Individuals who have gained leadership status, be it in government, a business, a home, a church, etc, are intelligent individuals. They are not people who want to be seen or portrayed as insecure, it is detrimental to their ability to lead and maintain success. Withholding is like any other abusive tendency, it is often implemented with an explanation of perceived logic, yet again, when assessing, I emphasize the importance of motivational insight and emotional intelligence concerning the person or persons in question. These tendencies must be addressed from those of authoritarian equality.

To those who have been the recipient of such, though invisible to the human eye, I encourage you to recognize that you have a wound. A wound that is significant to your self perception and ability to thrive. Withholding is not indicative of your behavior or perhaps, with closer examination, you determine that is it, either way you have obtained a prompt toward action. If it is abusive it is indicative of the mental placement of those who govern over you or partner with you. What I would say to you, in the lack, is to maintain your self respect. You are valuable and your needs are important. If it is not abuse but appropriate allocation of resources, then you can grow through the experience and determine your directional path as a result of the truth that actually exists. Either way your progress can continue.

You may say to me, “this situation is happening within the parameters of commitment, what do I do with that?” I definitely understand and I would yet again encourage you to assess your worth and quality of life in regard to your circumstance. Determine how vocal you have been, are you expecting others to be a mind reader? If you have been vocal and there is an unwillingness to accommodate within a said relationship and the request is honorable and reasonable then I would suggest that you clearly research and define the parameters of abuse both external and internal and begin to get counsel on the psychological effects of such. I want to clearly say this process is very subjective. Some withholding is based on reputable reason, financial inability or situations of true incapacity and those do not align with the parameters of abuse. Be realistic in your assessments. Once you have a clear understanding of abuse, and how it truly affects your life, you can proceed with a better understanding and perspective of yourself and others.

I have lived most of my life, in environments that do not recognize withholding, the negative space, as abuse and as a result many emotional atrocities have been tolerated when in reality, the issues needed to be rightly defined. One persons word against another is best delineated through mediation and that needs to happen in a neutral context. Favoring in any capacity does not provide an accurate assessment directionally.

I just want us, as a community to begin to see what visibly delineates abuse, as well as, that which is invisible and to gain a proper perspective about the progress of our lives in regard to such. We often feel stuck in the traumas unseen but those are, in actuality, viable and constitute a necessary response. Learning the difference and behaving responsibly, based on a factual definition of abuse, is without question, a life skill necessary for every individual. The emotional intelligence from the research and information gained will be utilized and implemented throughout the entirety of existence.

Feeling loved

Do you consider yourself loved? If so, why? Personally, I think that there are a myriad of people in the world that interact daily but honestly, do not understand love or ever even feel loved. Why is that? Drawing from my own life, I have a few considerations on that matter. We often deem association as relation and I’m here to tell you that is not love. How many people, on a daily basis do you encounter or interact with from the standpoint of superficiality and yet qualify that as your sphere of loving? I am realistic in the understanding that there is an ebb and flow of life and that time nor opportunity often affords us substantive relating but understanding the importance of such is vital to a fulfilled existence.

I don’t know why it happens so often, this shallow relating, but it grieves my heart to never be able to get beyond. Within the last few days, I’ve attended the funeral of a close family friend and have been reacquainted with many who have journeyed through life with my family. I found it interesting to ride the emotional waves of relational exchange. Those situations do not often provide for substantive interaction but the comfort versus ill ease was indicative of what most everyone feels in everyday living. What is that dynamic and how do we curb the prolonged emotional drought of that which empties rather than fills our existence?

We talk about the weather and ailments and jobs and kids, we cover the surface of our existence and say that we have communicated, when in reality, most every day of our life, we all go virtually unknown. For me, a lifetime of such, is maddening yet there seems to be an inability to delve deeper and in actuality there can be no expectation of such.

It is a rare instance to have discussion with people who talk with heart language. When I encounter those people who have that interactive ability, no matter how long it has been since I’ve interacted with them, I feel a kinship. Their emotional self is accessible, not in some over the top way, but there is an ability to speak emotionally and that creates trust, interest, personal vulnerability as well as a sense of knowing and being known. I can walk away from those types of interactions and feel as if I understand humanity a bit more, as well as, being filled with a sense of real connectivity myself. I know that doesn’t happen with just everyone but if you have those people with whom you can relate, with substance, you are blessed and better for that fact.

The ability to be honest and relate with honesty is not accessible in every relationship. The reasons are vast, judgment, criticism, jealousy, all examples of that which divide. It is uncommon to encounter people who are realistic about themselves to the point that they can easily be realistic with anyone else.

This is just my line of thinking for today, I am very grateful when I have those instances of connectivity but I am convinced that it doesn’t happen without coming to terms with ourselves first. The ease which occurs finds its grounding in the substance of who we are, the introspective viewpoint is what allows for those meaningful encounters. Today, take time to notice the levels at which you relate, I think you will find it interesting to see how often you dive below the surface in your relatability. In the attempt, the appreciation factor will be more recognizable and hopefully, like myself, you too will begin to crave more substantive and meaningful relating.

Wanting and not having

I’d rather want something that I don’t have than have something I don’t want“. I read this quote today and felt an understandable association. It was spoken in regard to prolonged singleness but I think it is true of many areas of our life. Knowing who we are and what we want in life is paramount for contented living. If I know that I am within the parameters of myself, in the way I live or the choices I make, then I feel no sense of disappointment with myself. If what you want is not available to you, then that is just a fact, no one can make the fulfillment of desire happen. Why it happens easier for some individuals than others, I cannot explain. I have been called, picky, independent, stubborn, etc but the fact is I’m not a person to gamble a 24/7 lifestyle for what might seem tolerable at the moment. Knowing oneself is important and that plays a significant role in our ability to live and enjoy living. The intolerable aloneness or sense of craving often causes people to make decisions they otherwise would not have made. Is desire a bad thing? No, it is not but I definitely think it is an instigating factor for decision making and the comprehension of short sightedness versus a total investment is a significant difference to consider within the process.