Dealing with pressure

As a person that has been plagued with anxiety and depression, I want to address these issues from the standpoint of what I have learned. Anxiety and depression carry with them a stigma that often causes a sense of worthlessness and shame. The burden of that fact is grieving to my heart. Overcoming what we can’t even understand or see is troubling in a way that is all encompassing. Knowing something is wrong but having no ability to address the issue is debilitating. Prolonged seasons of sadness are like a low lying cloud that never goes away. A hint of light would be oh so welcomed but there is no accessibility to such. I have heard so many sermons and lectures and talks on the issue of depression and anxiety but honestly, most of those discussions came from an angle that substantively felt untrue.

I was told that I should be able to overcome or take control of the issues through behavior modification tactics and with this thought I only fell deeper into a depressive state. I did not have the wherewithal to take on a challenge of this sort through means of behavior modification or otherwise. I was depressed and with depression comes lethargy and an obvious inability to move or think in ways that were life giving to me or anyone else. The more I heard in regard to this type of instruction, the angrier I got, especially based on the comprehension of my current physical and mental placement. It is vital to understand that there are levels of depression and an understanding and proper assessment is necessary. Everyone has days where they feel out of sorts but it is the prolonged seasons of emptiness that are brutal to the existence.

To simply chalk the issue up to behavior modification is, in my estimation, a cruelty. We are holistic in nature and it is necessary to include our physicality in the discussion and with the consideration awaken to the gracious understanding that there is hope.

I will agree that we are the only person that can begin the search internally; however, having supportive people who understand the holistic approach to healing is invaluable. We need light and nourishment and oxygen and movement and relationships and a sense of belonging and purpose. Our bodies have to be tuned and when something is amiss in our physicality, inevitably it is going to affect our emotions.

Depression and anxiety can be simply a susceptibility for our particular DNA. It can also be circumstantially related. There are so many factors to determine and, for starters, the quiet reflection is as good as any movement towards a solution. Just as an illness is diagnosed, “what happened?“, “when?“, “was it something you ate?“, “what are you feeling?” It is equally as important to delve into our emotional history.

The unseen aspect of mental illness is so deceptive to our ability to properly address the issues. Everyone observes and recognizes that something is wrong but the abstract elements create so much turmoil for healing. The signs and symptoms are telling but the insights seem like a never-ending shot in the dark.

I say all of this because I have experienced the hopelessness and the sense of failure that accompanies. There is an inability to function at a level that feels acceptable to others and to yourself. I recognized that something was wrong and I sought counsel. My counselor gave me a test to determine where I was on the spectrum of depression and I did have symptoms of such. I then provided this information to my medical doctor and was prescribed a low dosage anti-depressant. I was hesitant about taking the medication but honestly when support is needed for a deficiency it is a provision that just becomes a part of a process. It was not my intent to forever be medicinally dependent but a means of maintaining my emotional health to assist in finding viable solutions to a prolonged distress.

My depression was related to an unresolved loss and grief of relationship. The emptiness that accompanies such is shocking in regard to the thought process and nervous system. Then it was coupled with circumstances that overwhelmed my ability to comprehend and that led to anxiety. Panic attacks are real and to feel as if you have no ability to control the internal quiver is maddening. The options to quieten are just as disturbing, medication that can be addictive or substance that is utilized to take off the edge are often the go to and I knew for certain that I did not want to be owned by either. So, what does a person do?

I can tell you with assured certainty that the body wants to heal and resolve the disruptive issues. I began the process of yoga as a means of quietening my mind and my body and thankfully my nervous system began to respond to the graciousness the was offered. We often think that it is possible to actually address these issues in the busyness and routine of life but truly we cannot quieten to the degree our body requires in the hustle and bustle of what is our existence.

We are designed in such a way that we need adequate activity and equal rest. For a person who is highly conscientious or conditioned through the grid of perfectionism, anxiety is a given in pressurized situations. Also, the consideration of personality type, extroverts tend to handle the rigors of daily demand better than those with an introverted mindset, all factors to be considered. The shame and blame game is not helpful to the process of recovery and restoration. We are human beings with varied experiences and placements and that understanding is necessary when it comes to helping someone through distress. This comprehension is so important for those who are living with, working with, befriending and loving those who suffer. Do not be that voice that contributes to the angst, be that voice that speaks from an educated, informed and holistic perspective. To those who are suffering, be gentle with yourself, you are not broken beyond repair. Listen to your body and to you story, it will help you to be generous and loving towards the person who needs it the most, yourself.

Formation

The game of life comes with many unspoken rules. We all adapt because we think we have to play to be accepted. Living with a sense of true masculinity, for men, is a thought that, most of the time, runs at the forefront of their minds, even when they are not being intentionally cognizant of that fact. Am I adequate in my masculinity? In what I purchase, how I behave, how I relate to others, do I qualify as a man? Those are questions that first begin to be answered in relation to a father figure. Comprehension for most men is experiential, what is often learned is “caught rather than taught“.

Swimming upstream, is a characteristic that rarely, if ever, gets seen, much less adequately respected. The comprehension concerning the thoughts of masculinity and the inherent need of such often go unrecognized and unaddressed. Fear often accompanies because the worst thought in the world is to be perceived as anything but a red blooded, masculine male. The perception creates a stigma that can forever define someone and no man wants to fight off those demons even if they are just inferred. I have witnessed this behavior in men of every status. And honestly, to be fighting so strongly against a persona, that does not even define, is indicative of an unhealthy pressurization that exists in both the heart and mind of men.

Masculine security starts being attacked from the day a male child is born. The right of passage and the need to prove comes with the territory. The most awful experience of a man’s life is to not be able to do something that is the fulfillment of masculine expectation. The shame is unfathomable and the willingness to embrace that vulnerability is non-existent based on their need to survive.

As a woman, I have watched men grapple with these issues and honestly, I understand, but I also feel perplexed. I know I keep returning to the stages of development but truly it is an understanding that is essential for anyone to thrive. I can say that, in the feminine world, there is a similar phenomenon but I suppose the vulnerability factor is the difference. Women emote and are less likely to be judged for doing so, thus there is more freedom to express without undo criticism. However, as a “tom boy” type, I have felt the effects of feminine expectation as well and I understand the outcome emotionally whether male or female. We have all learned throughout the years, how to throw a punch, without fists, and that happens most often through the grid of our sexuality. Those blows can be leveling to our sense of belonging and the shame of embarrassment is usually adequate for an effective recoil.

I really believe that it is time to have a civil discussion about how to discern, embrace and securely live our sexual identity. The prolonged effects of adolescents creates a dissonance for adult progression and it is necessary for us to stop the behaviors that have been used as emotional weapons and to begin to relate as adults of varied dispositions. That being said, the responsibility ultimately falls on the shoulders of each person as individuals. We have to become people of security. Even the slightest inferences, deemed as jokes, begin to have long term effects upon developing children and the care with which we navigate those developmental seasons will be to the degree that we succeed.

I grew up in a world where masculinity was about athleticism. That was the defining factor of accomplishment. I believe that can be said or understood by many in regard to male children. Yet, this idealism, in reality, is so short sighted. There is nothing wrong with athletics or being athletic, it helps to build character and an ability to work as a team but that is not the measure of masculinity. Masculinity and femininity are both grounded and founded in an understanding of the person that we are actually created to be. Living to the measure of our particular person is the objective. I can tell you that it isn’t any fun to be in an environment that is laden with sexually defined roles and to feel completely out of sorts.

Men and women who have accomplished their stages of development have nothing to prove, there is no fight because an assured certainty resides within themselves. These people are pleasant to be around. They make those around them feel welcome and loved regardless of their particular way of being. The old saying, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself“, is true in regard to our formation. Being at ease with development gives a person a much better opportunity to grow into themselves rather than into some distorted image of themselves that comes from an outward imposition.

I know you all can understand what I’m saying. Holding a shape until it forms that way is not optimum for relatability or to anyone’s sense of being cherished or loved. The formation is important, don’t get me wrong, but that is done with attentive love and care and a respect for how a person is designed.

For me, it has been an emotional roller coaster at times, this trying to discover and maintain the person that I truly am. It takes courage to face off with those of your own gender because inevitably understanding and leverage don’t necessarily go hand in hand. To experience pain or loss or to be overlooked because you cannot or won’t assimilate to an understanding of someone who has not yet grasped these concepts is discouraging. Yet, in my estimation, these instances are the catalyst for our future development and ability to love and lead otherwise. Let’s change the momentum and begin to provide the ease of development that is necessary for healthy and inspiring human endeavors.

As a single

As a responsible, older single, many are perplexed by a lifetime of prolonged singleness. Why would anyone choose to live life alone. I, for one, can certainly attest to that fact, I know my life is puzzling. All of my life, I have been surrounded by family and the idealisms of family. Yet somehow family has not been the story of my life.

I truly believe that the inability to grasp the concept of prolonged singleness is an issue that needs to be addressed. The oddity that accompanies the status, in a family saturated world, is quite perplexing. There really is no place to fit aside from work environments and the rhythmic community of daily living. To most, this phenomenon give way to what feels like unaccountable living. However, I have to clarify, there is no one to answer to. Expectations are not present. The come and go of our existence, as singles, is without parameters and that is not irresponsible living it is just factual.

In marital relationships the ties with family of origin are broken in a clear and concise manner or at least that is the intent. Yet, in singleness, there is never a defining moment of such and often the lines that delineate adulthood are blurred, especially when a person has lived in the same area all of their life.

Honestly, I’m in a quandary because I, at times, feel like I should have left home years ago but our path unfolds as it is, not within the parameters of hindsight. I have grown exponentially but at times I feel as if I missed the season that was most ripe for expansion. Hindsight is 20/20, I’m having to learn to be where I am and sometimes the retrospective mindset is daunting, especially when it is unbalanced with the realistic understanding of how blessed I really am.

What we know and love

I feel as if I must write these words today. I want to speak directly to the “remarkable” generation of parents today. You are playing a pivotal role in the formation and continuance of our great nation. I, like all of you, have lived through seasons of peace but that wasn’t always the case. I was recently reminded of that fact in a discussion about the depression with my father. To feel as if, the quiet is in some way lulling us to sleep, is somewhat disconcerting for my generation and beyond. I, in no way, wish for the return to yesteryear but I do want to take this opportunity to ask you all to listen to me. Our history is unprecedented and I do not want to ever lose sight of that fact. I know the temptation to read words on a page about the, “what was“, and take a test and immediately eradicate the information gathered. However, the appreciation factor, has to be maintained, our generation must keep the context of our existence in the forefront of the minds of those who will one day take the helm. The ease by which we go about life is mesmerizing because it speaks of great intellect and ingenuity. Yet, retaining our heritage, as a reference point, will keep us grounded and founded in what our country is most beloved for, “freedom“.

Like any family, throughout the years, we have had our battles and those often continue today but the objective is to remember, we are a family, founded on principle and freedom and the next generation needs to learn to hear, observe, be attentive and to protect and serve so that those values are maintained for the generations that are to come.

You may think that your recollections are not valued and you may feel frustrated with the immaturity that we’ve all known in regard to our youth but believe me when I say, what you do and say and share is being heard. One generation builds upon another and what I could not value in one season, I am now appreciating and loving today. Be consistent and live the beauty of your heritage our future depends on that which you impart.

In practicality, I would encourage you to visit historical sites. Not just to visit but to delve a little deeper. Tell the stories, allow the imaginative mind to wander through those events. I recall as a child visiting Washington D.C. and all the surrounding historical landmarks, I was enthralled with wonder. There is something magical about being at an actual historical place and hearing the recollections. What cannot be imagined in the abstract of a classroom, becomes very accessible with real and tangible observations. Take trips with intention, do your research, learning really can be fun for both you and your children. Utilize these opportunities to feed the informational curiosity that naturally exists in the heart and mind of a child. They will be better for the experience, as will our country.

Be free

The latest lyric that has crossed my mind is from an album by Simply Red, “To be free or to feel free, the first one is a myth”.

This morning, I want to consider the complexities of attachment disorders. Attachment disorders are very real and in many ways affect the functionality of individual lives every day. Attachment is a crucial element in our developmental process and when the stages of development are absent or have not been completed successfully, it makes for a very lonely existence. Many times an individual is defined as a “loner” and the reality of that label is very accurate. It isn’t that a person will not attempt to attach or, at times, even successfully do so but it is an internal sense of being that hurts when you are with people and hurts when you are not. It is a strange relational phenomenon that is often observed as a quandary but there is no real ability to ease the pain.

The mystery is interpreted as snobbish, bizarre or selfishness, when in reality it is a condition of developmental proportions. There is a duality that exists, a craving for rhythmic regulation while at the same time, there is a need to run, “to be on the go“. It is impossible to have an existence that accommodates both or at least that is how it feels for a person in that predicament.

The mind is a busy place and it is much easier to live in the mind because it can accommodate the duality with much more ease than can that of real life. The internal need cannot sufficiently be met in the substance of daily existence and the imagination is the resource for fulfillment.

Depression often accompanies this way of being because their is no way to get “satisfaction“. I’m speaking this, as a person who has moral authority on the matter, it is true of who I am. Restlessness is the inevitable and it keeps me in a cyclical quagmire most of the time.

A person who enters into the process with someone, in this circumstance, must have an understanding of who it is they are actually dealing with. If they do not, they will approach the relationship with expectations that will most certainly be dashed.

You may be relating to what I’m saying and asking yourself the following question, “I’ve been in a stable, consistent home environment all of my life, how is it possible to have these feelings of aloneness“. My answer to that is not based in proximity but founded in community. If your existence was based in “doing” rather than “being” you may have the understanding of what I’m saying.

Being” and having the warmth and affection of such creates a sense of belonging and allows a person to love and be loved. Without that sense of unconditional belonging accompanied by appropriate parental physical interaction, in childhood, a person just wanders aimlessly both internally and externally looking for a sense of warmth and compassion. The magical thinking associated is “over the next hill“. “Over the next hill“, I’ll find the answer, “over the next hill“, there will be that sense of fulfillment, until one day you just stop climbing the hill. Dreams stop, ambitions cease, wonder loses its ability to uplift and a person lapses into a depressive dull drum of nothingness. Every person is only equipped with so much fight and no amount of pushing and shoving can fix those conditions that occur even before a person is cognizant of the deficiency.

There is no shame or blame to be applied. A person, as an adult, cannot push through what was lacking in the seasons of development that existed even before there was any real, viable comprehension. Living from that place becomes the normalcy of life as it developmentally unfolded.

The challenge for those of us who suffer is in determining where we go from here. In this particular circumstance, a recognition is not equivalent to a solution. I have found that having something to do, for a sense of purpose, can definitely help but that doesn’t mean that the relational stressors diminish.

In some ways I liken it to a soul wound. Knowing how to be in a relationship with a person of this particular placement is about strategic living. The come and go elements are both emotional and physical in nature. A consistent presence, in warmth, is like a calming agent for the nervous system. An existence of perpetual disorder emotionally or physically is internally brutal.

Being a “loner” yet, in relationship, is a ruthless dynamic for both individuals. As a single, I find myself, in mercy, not wishing that upon anyone. However, I experience the duality of longing, as well, and no matter what I know about myself, I want to contribute and to love another. It is the most awful sense of being imaginable and I say that not for pity sake but because there are vast numbers of people who haven’t the platform or understanding to speak about what they are feeling much less find a resolve.

Sometimes you have to just play the hand you are dealt and adapt to a lifestyle that correlates for the good of everyone involved. The duality is a given and the incapacity to be otherwise gets lost in a time and place of no return, for that I grieve. It is a quest to find those fulfilling purposes of life and the wisdom comes through setting the rhythm of being to accompany the, “what is”.

What is mental illness?

So much of the verbiage that we use in our society is shrouded with abstractions. We consider an idealism such as mental illness and immediately associate the thought with institutional living. However, in reality, the term is much more applicable to the populous at large. Mental illness is a distortion of thought and those distortions happen primarily through our conditioning. What we believe about ourselves, others and our circumstances is a good gauge whereby to assess our mental stability. The grid through which we view our surroundings is paramount to healthy living.

Unresolved emotional distresses inevitably get transferred and to think that they will not surface is short sighted. Mental illness is living life from an unresolved standpoint. We are often not even cognizant of unresolved emotional distress and many times it isn’t even noticeable in a public sense until the situation or circumstance is extremely personal to someone or to their sense of being. A threat is often the trigger that reveals the true placement of the mental state. It becomes visible in a tangible way and what is seen and recognized is often at odds with what is typical in a controlled circumstance. The loss of control is a catalyst for what can actually be deemed as a form of mental illness. Irrational thinking or behaviors that are emotionally driven are likened unto that which we have in our physicality, the flu, a common cold, both symptomatic of circumstances invading our being. The frequency of the occurrence is telling in regard to our mental health. If the root of an issue is not dealt with, the inevitability of problematic behavior is not only probable it is a given. A wise person, even when not comprehending their illness, will attempt to curtail the inevitable through avoidance or self regulatory behaviors but simple behavior modification tactics are ineffective and do not qualify as mental health.

Aggression related to shame or possessiveness or anger is a form of mental illness that needs to be examined and resolved. We, so often, dismiss this type of behavior as acceptable because outbursts of anger are common in our assessment of humanity; yet, it is not a healthy means of relating or processing life.

There are different levels of assessment that need to be determined. There are those given to verbal abuse, there are those given to emotional abuse and there are those given to physical abuse and each needs to be recognized and treated as an indicator of a mental illness to be taken seriously.

Discipline is often touted as a justifying factor for these types of abuse and I’m here to say that is not a valid excuse. Aggression has to be dealt with but it is vital that our mental health be in check when that process occurs. Discipline is administered with maturity and when the responses are from uncontrollable and unresolved personal issues inevitably the result is going to be unacceptable.

You may ask, “how is it that these fits of anger are adequately addressed?” The first step is acknowledgement of the problem. An acknowledgement allows other people with informed wisdom to engage the issue. When the only perspective a person has is their own, they are living in a myopic way. Also, being teachable, a person who has no willingness to hear or learn is a person who will be continually stuck in unhealthy patterns of associating. The best decisions I’ve ever made in my life were those made in counseling sessions. I opened my heart and mind to the understanding that I did not know everything and that there were people who were equipped to help me sort through the “what has been” of my existence. The reframing was invaluable. I found answers and self compassion and breath and hope for a new way of living and being. I immersed myself in what was offered and I began to find a new lease on life. The unknowing of my existence started to be explained and the relief I felt in those answers helped me to change in magnificent ways. I was given a toolbox full of everything I could need to navigate the landscape of my emotional life. The time and money spent was probably the best investment I have ever made. What a person does with the revelation of emotional health is indicative of the trajectory for the remainder of their life.

As a society, we have elevated the term, “mental illness” to those who are visibly and socially inept. However, when we really stop to consider the mechanism of our mind, inevitably it affects the day to day interactions of society in every regard. Naming issues with truth is vital for motivation. Take some time today and consider mental health, particularly your own. I think you will find that it is a beneficial and wise use of your time.

Buck skin

I have never been more moved by a story/documentary than I was with that entitled, “Buck“. I watched as the tears trickled down my face, listening to a gentle soul who has courageously navigated the path of abuse to become a healer himself. The stages of development were accomplished through intensity, loving community, belonging, opportunity and indwelt insight and intuition. Buck Brannaman was conditioned as a child star, a prodigy in rodeo roping, yet the son of a man who saw nothing but utilitarian gain and possessiveness in regard to his children. Outside of stardom, he spoke of unfathomable abuse. As a small child his mind and body were scarred and had it not been for an insightful educator his story might have been very different. He was removed from his home of origin and placed with a family that understood his value, as a human being, and began to cultivate and shape his natural abilities and gentle presence into that which ultimately became his calling.

I was not enamored by this story based on any sense of similar abuse in my home of origin but because I saw a man who was remarkable. Yet, those traits in him were so fragile and vulnerable and it reminded me of the fact, that everyday the value of humanity is stolen by those who have no sense of humanity, their own or that of others.

I listened intently to the words of his adopted mother as she, with aged and trembling voice, described the exuberant worth and value that she saw in someone who had clearly become a wise and productive man.

The fragility of our worth is often inexpressible especially when considering those stages of development. Buck Brannaman became what is known as, “the horse whisperer“, he has the unique ability to tame, finesse and refine horses through both spoken word and the slightest touch. His inner being guides his every move and his experiences throughout his youth are foundational to his approach and success.

His wisdom, with an animal twice his size, is awe inspiring. As I watched, I learned so much. I learned what it meant to a man to feel vulnerable and powerless. I learned what it meant to a man to be valued and embraced when there was no frame of reference for such. I learned what it meant to a man to impart compassion from a true place of understanding. Although his work is primarily directed towards the horse, in tandem, he understands that they are relative animals and the owner is pivotal to their success or failure. It is from this place, that he finds a dual significance and that we can learn so much from the process.

I cannot stand the thought of dampening the fire that resides in the spirit of any being. I realize how powerless I am when I consider the magnitude of that statement yet it has the capacity to easily unclog my tear ducts. I truly believe that every person is born with an understanding of their beauty and wonder and worth, after all, children are some of the most uninhibited creatures in creation. It is those who implement the shaping element of their lives that are the decision makers for their direction, and sense of purpose. If you haven’t taken the time to watch this recollection of one man’s story, I’d highly encourage you to do so. The insight offered is both practical and profoundly meaningful to the understanding of humanity at large. I’m quite certain my gleanings will continue for a while in this regard. So watch and follow along.

Compassion fatigue

I have heard the term, “compassion fatigue“, but haven’t really understood the concept until the last few years. Being overwhelmed to the point of being unable to see, feel or even comprehend the pain of others is a very real condition. I have always been a person who would cry at the slightest representation of hurt but I have been through a season where my tear ducts have run dry.

The personal hurt or injuries can be so deep and so invasive that there is an inability to see beyond the confines of the jagged emotional walls. For most observers, selfishness becomes the defining term; yet, in reality, the pain and the loss of control is so intolerable that there is no capacity to interact beyond that which simply exists.

I have repeatedly said that the brain can lock and without question, I understand that fact. Gaining accessibility to functional thinking is something that most take for granted. Spaciousness is necessary for even the slightest decision making process. When spaciousness is not available, an emotional immobility is inevitable. One of the most challenging components of this season has been related to the fact that the pain originated in places where I once found my most significant comfort and sense of security. When the circumstance began to unfold there was no ability to orient elsewhere because quite literally there was no elsewhere. Attempting to start over when there was not even a hint of the necessity was more than disconcerting to my physicality and my nervous system. Anxiety can take over the dashboard of existence and I, for one, can assuredly testify to that fact. I was not a person given to anxiety, I was usually most self assured but the effects of that which cannot be understood are truly maddening.

Within the last year, I have begun to explore the practice of yoga. As I have observed my mind and body, through this venture, I have been unable to even comprehend my lack of dexterity. I have been an athlete, extremely agile, highly coordinated and even the most simple attempts at balance have been unexplainably challenging for me. I am no neurological specialist but I can tell you for certain the hemispheres have not been communicating and even at the present, I’m still trying to regain my spatial balance. I feel the expectation internally to jump into the next opportunity but I’m honoring this time, knowing that my brain is healing. Sometimes decision making must align with where we are both physically and mentally.

At the moment, I’m sitting outdoors, being warmed by the natural sunlight. My body and mind seem to be finding some integration, once again, and just as if I had an actual physical, external wound, I am internally healing.

The laceration to my life has left a gaping hole and all I can do is observe the emptiness. At this point, starting over is no doubt totalitarian. Literally, every area of substance in my life has been voraciously tossed to the floor. I’m awakening to find myself standing among the rubble of what I have accumulated physically, financially, occupationally, relationally and I’m just now beginning to assess what is left for me to work with. Can I easily assess my sense of anger and rage, absolutely, the circumstance was unwarranted and based completely in behaviors of hatred and vengeance. An attack that targeted the entirety of my existence. Can I stand outside of myself and adequately determine where I am? Today, that seems to be the starting line for the return to compassion. I know that compassion embodies my being, it has been true of me for as long as I can remember. I open and extend my arms eagerly awaiting the return.

Accountability

I have spent a good portion of my life being governed by this particular term, “Accountability“. It is a word that honestly, I despise. I know the intent and the wherewithal of how it is used but in actuality, I believe it is the impetus for developmental impairment.

I am going to challenge this idealism in a community that thrives on blockages. The individual is created to be free. Am I ignorant of the fact that governing is a necessity for civility, I am not. However, maturity is dependent on our ability to relate with freedom and yet maintain our interactive integrity. If I am a person who needs to be corralled then I have stopped the progression of maturity within myself. Children are being shaped, they are learning what it means to be mature and responsible. At what point in our adult lives, do we feel confident enough to live without a continual governing eye. I realize there are stages of development but there is a point where those stages must be attempted and achieved.

You may be saying to me, that is only for the extremely healthy. I would have to agree, on some level, but does that argument constitute the heavy handed approach of accountability for everyone forever and always? I am not speaking in an anti-communal sense, community is a necessity and a supporting factor for everyone but the objective for maturity is to be able to fully develop and mature within the confines of personal integrity, honor and respect. You may also argue value systems, “what is acceptable to me, is not acceptable to you“. To that discussion, I say that a mature respect for humanity governs. Most every individual understands the meaning of viable and respectable behavior, those are most often learned in Kindergarten. However, I am very concerned about the prolonged developmental immaturity that the idea of unending “accountability” accommodates.

Community has a purpose and developmental preparedness is a significant value to be gleaned. Community supports and loves and gives us wings to fly. The community I have known has been about suppression and the mindset reflects that emphasis. Expansiveness allows us to breathe and those full, life giving breaths awaken us to the wonder of what is beyond our comprehension or ability to control. The miracles are diminished and the fire is dampened when we cannot explore with confidence within the development we have achieved.

There is so much that I have to learn. Developmentally I am a prism. I have accomplished tasks and I have tasks I’m just attempting and with that understanding, I lightly tip toe into this discussion but I will not hesitate simply because there are loopholes for developmental consideration. To not have the discussion about why I despise that word, is to allow for prolonged immaturity and to me, that is unacceptable. There are children, there are toddlers, there are adolescents, there are adults and there are elders, in every facet of life, and to govern every aspect as that which is necessary for children is unwarranted and grievous to my heart.

Confidence

This morning, as I roll down a dusty road, the sounds of Lady Antebellum reverberate, “You look good“, and as the lyrics unfold, I’m led to thoughts of confidence and emotional health. As the years have progressed the idealism of confidence has both grown and matured in my mind. The innocence of self perception is lost as we enter the environments of living that are choked full of smoke and mirrors. Having a being is wondrous until that being starts to embody the expectations of others and the societies in which we dwell. In the season of pivotal self image, I was extremely under weight. It was not the result of an eating disorder, it was the combination of extreme activity and having the metabolism of a tiny squirrel. I languished over the fact that I could not gain a pound. The sense of my body, during that particular time, was frustration. I wanted to develop but the day I entered college, I was 5’4” and 98lbs.

It was part of my genetic heritage. My dad would often say about himself, in his youth, that “he could drink a coca-cola and get out in the sun and he’d look like a thermometer.” The story changed as my activity level waned and my lifestyle became more settled. I gradually began to obtain the shape I’d longed for and with it some relational success. My confidence increased, my clothing fit better, my mind started to assimilate and I’d say, in my 20’s, as is true for most, I was “blooming“. In that particular time, I enjoyed my sense of self; however, yet again, I had no true intention, I was living in the moment enjoying what development provided. Age and increased sedentary behaviors, packed a punch, especially when I was not cognizant of any directional thought or way of being. It literally felt like I just woke up and one day I resembled the Michelin tire man.

The pendulum swing of emotions was vast. As I viewed the landscape of my mind, I realized that , in actuality, there was never a healthy thought concerning my body image, it was likened to every other developmental process. I held a snapshot and actually ingested the image, I didn’t quite know what to make of what I saw. I can’t say I was thrown into a depressive state but I can say that I was disheartened and felt no actual ability to understand or be in control. In my mind, the justifications were valid, I was getting older, I was sitting, I was eating (because a good southerner cleans their plate) and I was the product of such. The prime had ended and I had harvested what I’d sown. I began to settle into the mindset of old age, at a time, when it was completely unacceptable.

That sense of self rejection begins to lay the groundwork for what we attempt or achieve in the second half of our existence.

Today, I am progressing both mentally and physically. The work began through the reality checks and has been purposeful.

Where do I want to be?

How do I want to relate?

How do I get there?

With whom do I travel?

Intentionality is of first and foremost importance. All those, “What I wish I had known when the journey began” musings are blazing a path. Backtracking for understanding provides the compassion needed to scale the heights for summit, especially in that second half.

I’m realistically and gently addressing my mind and body today. I’m seeing results, even after one year of intentional living. My mind has opened from the gridlock of progressional trauma and I’m understanding that there is much life to be had and to behold.

Confidence is not indwelt from birth, it is not about our physicality, it is not about what has been obtained along the way, confidence is an assured placement of mind and purpose. Knowing where we are going is the fuel for our mobility and investment. Being able to peruse the “what has been” and imagine, gives us a real sense of confidence. Obtaining skills, pursuing education and administering our heart calling is definitely the basis of a nutrient filled soil and our thoughts are the seeds sown upon which we confidently grow and stand.