Why do you call me “good”? Good question. We even have a Christmas stocking for our dog that asks, “Please Santa, define good?” Goodness in my experience of God is that God always shows up whether something that happens is good or bad in my perception. God’s presence is always good. In Adam and Eve’s experience that was always true yet they feared judgment, criticism. All they got was: calm, compassionate, cooperative, creative, caring, etc. How refreshing. So why did I grow up experiencing guilt, shame, blame more than “goodness” yet I was asked to be good? Is society, religion, culture or some internal biological neuro-pathway to negativity to blame? Did you catch that? How intrinsic is it to want to blame someone or something for a situation or problem. Here is the problem as I see it. Certainly just my perspective. Blaming, shaming and guilt tripping work to creative “prescribed behavior modification”. Just because it works doe snot make it good or right. The price is too high. The cost of blaming shaming and guilt tripping is the internal injury of the soft tissue of our hearts. Secondly, without any sense of shame of blame people would blamelessly do even worse atrocities even in the name of goodness. No wonder there is so much chaos and confusion in our world. There is chaos and confusion in our internal system. That interprets a parental correction of an in appropriate statement or action as “I am bad” or “there is something wrong with me”. We become fixated on fixing something in us that does not need fixing which results in a cosmic “fix it fixation”. God did not try to fix Adam and Eve. They experienced the “inner voice of shame”. God released them from that inner voice not by negating it but by sending them a message of goodness and compassion and offering to them a resolution that they could live with as heathy humanity. By healthy humanity, I mean that the inner message of shame and blame was balanced out by another message, “It is not you that is bad (you are just human) it is your choice to inflict a negative message or action to your inner self or neighbor. Loving your self and your neighbor is how to get our of the chaos, conflict, and confusion that injury invites you into. Goodness does not just hope that I am okay. Goodness makes me okay while it also invites me to change my behavior when it inflicts anything but goodness on my inner world or neighbor. Maybe this is why, we here in many ways the message: “Love your inner self, and your neighbor as yourself”. Now that is GOOD!
While it is clear to me (perhaps not others) that god did not introduce shame, blame or Guilt, where do they come from.
Inside of humanity is the natural polarity that is in all systems. Polarities open the door to shame and blame but the negative aspect of shame and blame is inherent but not inherited. What is inherited is the capacity to invite balance and harmony, to embrace polarities without inviting polarization. Polarization occurs when a person has no sense or losses their sense of balance and harmony rather than constrain and restraint.
What if not directed by their “fear of external judgment” or internally and integrally prompted shame, “I did something wrong” creating the need to “hide” because it is all they could think of.
What if another part of them emerged and said, “we know God is full of compassionate care and that God will not let anything we do or do not do effect who they are or how they respond. God is above all of that. God’s ways are not our ways. god does no hide form chaos prompting confusion. God in the presence of chaos sees a way to respond with calmness and creativity. So what if Adam and Eve were able to access that calm and creative resource within them rather than being polarized by a part that can only “run and hide” or “stay and contend”. Wha tif they decided to stay in the garden of grace that they ha basque in even before they knew their need to experience and express grace to and from each other. What if when God cam into the garden they said,” Boy ar ewe glad to see you, we think we really blew it yesterday as we ate of the tree you put in the garden but told us clearly not to eat of it. We ate and something changed inside, our eyes looked at each other, ourselves and even you differently. We even were tempted by a part that said, “run and hide” because we felt naked where we had never felt the feeling of “nakedness” or “shame” or “blame”. We know you would come to offer to us understanding and your love and compassion. We trust that more than we fear our own inner voices of shame present asa our inner voice of shame which we now are starting to see are of set by your “impending and restoring grace. We are so glad to see you because we know you and who you are.
That shift would have shifted blaming and shaming to gracing. which was in us as well.
So Genesis was not a “fall from Grace” as much as it was and is an invitation to fall into grace or be entrapped by inner shame and blame.
Today the choice is always the same. Le the polarity polarize or let the polarities prompt us to see also the grace and healing rather than the shame that drives us into darkness and despair, “to the cave of shame” verses the “the garden of grace”. So the choice of humanity is always to slide into the human tendency to “isolate and internalize shame” or invite grace, “solo gratia” to quote Martin Luther.
So inside all of us is a “critical and condemning” part that thinks we need to be punished to be set free from our wrong. The problem is that while the intention of the part is to set us free, “hiding and isolating” never leads us out of shame and blame, but into the “cave of hopelessness”. Inside us is another part or perhaps the re-organizing, re-storing, retrofitting “Self energy” that always sees hope, remains calm and compassionate regardless of anything.
That Self is “the garden of grace” and inviting the light of restorative justice rather that wandering into the “cave of darkness and despair”.
Religion in its myriad of forms as well as social and cultural norms or abnormalities have produced or induced buckets of blame, showers of shame, and glazings of guilt but really, seriously, where did all that negativity come from?
The Bible which I believe holds in it the secrets to life and the answers to mysteries if we look not with our prejudices and predilections but with an open heart and mind.
I Genesis 3 which many have referred to as the “fall from grace” others “total depravity” etc. Yet that statement does not occur anywhere nor even the implication. It is the very nature and nuance of shame and blame to infer it when it is not there except in it micro-plasticity. way.
What we do have is Adam and Eve disobeying a direct command or restraint. They were told that what they believed was not true, (That if they ate they would die) and what was true is that God was afraid if they ate of the tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil that they would be as God. They were also led to believe that if they did not eat they would be missing something very good and powerful. So apparently for “fear of missing something” and because of a “desire to gain something”, they ate.
Something happened inside of them in that moment. “They realized they were naked”. How? Why? It was inside of them, not from the outside of them. Some part of them hammered at them as stupid, dumb, or worse. They then for “fear” of facing God who had provided everything they needed they hid in shame.
When God came on the scene later, he wondered, “Where are you?”. When they identified where they were and why they were there they said, “we ate of the tree you told us to not eat of and we felt ashamed, naked, so hid”. God’s response was, “who told you to be ashamed and what is shame”> They had no answer. But here is an intriguing point: God did not shame them. In fact, his tone, tenor, and truth was that of love an care, compassion and kindness, goodness and grace. God did not come with judgment, blame, shame or guilt”. In fact, God came into that moment with grace and goodness.
So Where did Shame come from. I will present my theory tomorrow for today as on that day know God did not put it on people nor did God ever direct people to put it on one another.
Shame Blame and Guilt are used to manipulate and control people for their good so some say. Shame, blame, and guilt are never used by God but grace and goodness are always offered by God
Many people in the US traveled miles, flew distances, planned for a long time to see, for a few moments the solar eclipse (hopefully seeing “Totality”).
What was the driver?
For my wife, our ginger (a ten year old golden retriever that as we say is more of a “bronze evader”) and me it was coincidental. Long before even a thought about the solar eclipse was in our viewer, I was scheduled to be teaching (Internal Family Systems) in Charlotte, North Carolina August 18-20 and then (because of its convenience) we would drive to Hilton Head South Carolina to visit my mother (94) and my brother and his family on August 21 in Bluffton/Hilton Head, SC (one of the best locations to see the eclipse which stretched from Oregon to South Carolina. Clouds and rain prevented our viewing. The next morning I went to the beach for an early morning run/walk (5 am – 8 am).
Notice how the clouds eclipsed the sun spreading light into other clouds in an incredible cloud eclipse exactly the morning after the solar eclipse of the previous day.
Musing as I do, I thought, “what an incredible inspirational message from the maker of heaven and earth”. This might be a message for the maker of heaven and Earth from the solar system to the internal system inside all of us of parts and Self (Sun).
When clouds, moon or anything blocks the light. love, and lesson of the solars system from reach us here it is in a nut shell or a solar eclipse. Whenever you are in a dark space or time remember that the moon, the storms, and clouds only block the reality that is there always form our experience then what we experience darkness storm seems to be all there is because it is all we see. What we don’t see is that the sun, the “maker of heaven and earth”, “the Self” is there always, shining just as bright and strong, just as translucent and transforming, just a filled with life energy as when it is cut off from our vision, our experience our senses. Perhaps when God or light or love feels the least present or even absent is when the solar system whispers the true reality, “The Sun the Light, the love of all is there always even until the end of time. Someone said that! So I am not just saying.
Here are a few pictures from a walk Jog from Head of the Meadows to Provincetown and back. That was not the plan.
The context is As I was walking along the sandy beach early Saturday morning, lost and wonder of God’s nature and happy to be gaining strength and losing weight, suddenly realized that the Piping plover (birds) had blocked all exits from the beach (or rather the environmentalists had). I eventually found a cut back into the dunes but what I found was a few bungalows I never knew existed in the valley of the dunes with multiple roads and paths with no indication which one would lead me to the road (Rt 6) so I could get back to the hotel.I took a few deep breaths relaxed and trusted God to lead me but I was lost more than found until I just looked around to enjoy God’s nature, reflect on the seals who never get lost, or the birds who always seem to know where they are going even if a stranger scares them early on a Saturday morning, or just the beauty of the day. I then (as you will see in the picture below saw paw tracks to what looked like a sandy bridge to somewhere and it was by then I was 3 plus miles form home on Rt 6 and thoroughly wasted by the 10-12 miles over the dunes and down the deserted but divine shore. I arrived at the hotel refreshed my body with water and juice then dove into the cool swimming pool that had just opened and met Debbie and Ginger for a free breakfast. God is with us always even when we wonder where we are and wander from where we should be:
A Poem that came to me that morning and some pictures:
Went for a walk along the beach…
Saw lots of God’s creatures
Got lost in nature and thought
Could not cross the protected dunes
The endangered birds protection
Caused me great consternation
I walked, jogged and walked
exhausted found a path through
Only to realize a little late I knew
what path to take, I had no clue
Found homes and paths too many
Then to the place I started from
I walked and jogged and walked
More miles, I went, than planned
0ver sand and trails I had traversed
Not smart, leave without water or planGod always has water and a plan
God meets me where I am, with his hand
Guides my steps and thought
Grants me courage in my life plot
Sent from my iPhone
Someone said to me this past week, “Nothing lasts for ever”. s I thought about that I realized two things. 1) That I did not like the implication of that and 2) There are things that last forever.
The Bible says that three things last forever: “Faith Hope and Love”. Faith because in the present it gives us optimism regardless of the tragedies in and around our lives. Faith sees goodness in all that happens, sees what no one else sees, and is transformative. It may be one of the greatest assets in eternity as it compels us to shed humanity and its negativity. Hope is what drives us to act in positive and optimistic ways regardless of natural temptation to lose hope in some circumstances. Hope is perennial in eternity. positive in expression, and persevering in extension. Love or charity is limitless in its scope, practice and effect. Love never fails. People fail to work internally and collectively on loving but love never fails. Love always perseveres.
Other religious literature suggest that goodness and kindness lasts for ever. They liberate us from legacies of our pat and propel us into better futures. They pay forward while judgment in debt us to our past.
I realized there is another thing that lasts forever: “un-forgiveness”. Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose (release) on earth will be loosed (released) in heaven” (Matthew 18:18).
On this independence day set your self free for eternity by “forgiving from your heart” and setting your spirit free of “un-forgiveness” or you may labor for eternity under its weight. This is true for self forgiveness (even if other’s cant) and forgiving others their offenses toward you. Maybe that is why the line is present in the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father (who forgives all and operates as if we never sinned at all) forgive us our sins (trespasses debts) as we forgive those who sin (trespass, debtors) against us”. There is a hint that our forgiveness is connected to our forgiveness. o Forgiveness and un-forgiveness lasts forever. One sets us free for ever the other is our burden for ever. One is burdensome the other is releasing and renewing. It is our choice.
What can you add to this idea? What additional things last forever for you? Email me at email@example.com
“The Willingness to Sacrifice is the prelude to Freedom”
“The Willingness to Sacrifice is the prelude to Freedom”I found this cute outside a military base years ago and have logged into my mind. On this Memorial Day as we celebrate in parades all across this great land those who gave their lives or portions of their lives as a heroic hope for the liberties and freedom we today share, I give thanks. In our family they are many in the nearly all passed generation that have done so. There are people today who do so. Not just in the military though that may be our focus today. I would extend that to all civil servants like EMT’s, Police, and Fireman to name a few groups who every day in a similar way are “willing to sacrifice (as a part of their very job and oath) so that we the citizens of this great land can live in and enjoy peace and freedom.” Without this prelude to the same who knows where our nation would be,Thank you all.As we remember so we will not forget the heroism of the past and the heroism (not just celebrating all ho died or sacrificed limbs but all who were “willing” to pay the price) of the present which give us the gift of hope, faith, and love in this great land.Bless you every one
As I walked the beach, I noticed the ease of his flight as he spread forth his wings. I thanked God for all of you who have prayed and for the strength and healing that is returning to my body, and the wind under my wings.
Today is 11 months since my accident and surgery. I swam 54 laps in a pool (3/4 mile)and walked 4 miles. My goal is to by 12 months be swimming a mile, walking six and to feel ready to start jogging. I still have pain and am still a bit wobbly yet praising God all the wy.
Eve The Mother of All Living: Her The Role and Rule of Love
Love Does not Compete, Conflict, Condemn,
Love is Contrite, Calm, Compassionate, non-competitive, non-condemning and conflict free………Adam and Eve had learned this. They were not made or angry that God had kicked them out of the garden. They understood it was for their own good. To protect themselves form themselves. The single best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. They had eaten of a tree that they were not to eat of. The second tree they were told to not eat of was the Tree of Eternal Life. Imagine had they eaten of the Eternal Life they would have lived forever in an eternal state of sin
Even the creator, God would be unable to change the reality of that state.
So the kindness and goodness of God is again visible in the act that at first sight seems to be God’s anger or judgment or punishment and upon a second look is clearly an act of God’s love, grace and mercy.
Did God have a right to be angry? Yes. Was God angry? Yes. Did God act with anger against the sin of Adam and Eve, or the sin of Abel. No exactly the opposite.
Note to self:
#1 You can be angry you can even hate but you cannot turn that anger and hate into acts of violence, vengeance, for that would be to violate the very role and rule of God in the World. God’s rule and role in the world is to rule with love and grace not anger and violence.
Adam and Eve had learned this. Abel got this and so his offering was one of sacrificial love and abundant grace. His name is among the Hebrews 11 People of Faith: “a righteous man by faith he still speaks, even though dead” (He did what was right in the site of God.) He was a shepherd in the fields of Iran?Iraq and gave his very best. Cain’s offering was disappointing to God, as he gave but not the best or first.
Note to Self:
#2 The emotions of anger is not a Management problem but a Heart problem. When we are threatened by someone else’s success the problem is in us not in them. Upset even anger is okay, violence and hostility is not. Cain could have chosen to look within and see his completive side and transformed it to cooperative via self-compassion. Karen Kneff, Self
Compassion is what can change the world.
Some literature tells that it was “anger” that was Cain’s problem. I disagree anger itself is not sin….the anger was a part of him that existed to cover his own shortcoming, and a cover for the sin of competition and hostility toward his brother rather than dealing with the reality of deception in his own heart. Years later the same problem would be present in Esau and Jacob.
Note to Self
#3 The role and Rule of every mother that produces life is to shepherd that life with the rule of truth and grace, and the Role of Modeling the same with humility and honor.
Eve was called by Adam to infer that she is “Life” and his role and rule was to with truth and grace honor and cherish her life as she would honor and cherish his. As the first couple of earth the secret of reclaiming the lost union that had no place for guilt or shame and restore the state of innocence and grace is a statement to all mother’s: “You are the source of Life, for all Living things, when you honor all life and when you are honestly cherishing and nurturing all life.
The very Nature of Mother hood is to Nurture all living things.