What does your heart need right now?

January 8, 2009 at 6:50 pm | Posted in Emotional honesty | 2 Comments
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It’s really easy for us to get stuck in thinking in a linear way. After all, it’s a pretty linear world that most of us live in, right? The kind of world where reasoning traditionally follows a fairly 1-2-3 pattern. For example, “I need to work at a job that pays well enough, so I can save enough money, so I can buy a house, so I can start a family.” Or, “I need to stay in relationship with this particular person because without him/her I can’t survive financially and we’ve got a family to support and, besides, what would people think?”

Do you hear the fear that can often accompany linear thinking? Fear that if you don’t do things in a particular style or sequence, you won’t get what you need . . .

In his book, The Theft of the Spirit: A Journey to Spiritual Healing, Carl Hammerschlag refers to the heroic journey being one where we recognize and confront our fear so we can move past it to discover our truth. I like to believe that this is what the Authentic Life process is all about — moving from fear-based living to a reality based on trust, becoming more honest and free along the way.

Wherever you are today is exactly where you need to be, to learn what you’re called to learn. When you feel you’ve learned what you can — and your heart is ready for a fresh direction — move on.

There are times when a linear approach is appropriate and other times when it can keep you from movement, growth, change. Sense the difference, release the fear. Take a leap of faith and ask yourself, “What does my heart need right now?”

So tell me, what does your heart need right now?

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How I got over my fear of conflict

August 12, 2008 at 10:59 pm | Posted in Conflict | 7 Comments
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When the mood hit him, my dad was a rager. Very loud and very scary in conflict with others. I believe that much of my difficulty expressing real anger — throughout several decades of my life — springs from often being scared out of my wits by my father’s vitriolic tirades.

When I married I had no tools to guide me in having a difference of opinion with my husband. Unfortunately, my husband lacked tools as well. We were both stuffers, avoiders par excellence, and this ostrich-method had disastrous consequences. Our marriage (the first one) ended after 13 years.

During the years that followed I intentionally sought emotional wellness by reading self-help books, participating in therapy, and practicing a new trust-based way of relating to others. That last piece — practicing — was the key for me. Consciously opening my mouth and saying how I truly felt, with others who cared for me, often felt terrifying . . . yet this was the biggest factor in my getting over my fear of conflict.

Willingly engaging in confrontation still feels slightly unnatural to me. Generally, I have to stop and think about it for a second. But I’m not afraid of it anymore.

When my husband and I remarried more than 10 years ago (that’s right, we chose to try again), I let him know up front that this time I’d be committed to being emotionally honest, that I would no longer run away from conflict. I’m sure there are some days he wishes this wasn’t true (smile), but it’s working for us.

Do you struggle with engaging with conflict? Let me know how you’re overcoming or have overcome your fear.

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