History or Creative Writing?

Have you ever read an account of the past that sounded like someone “re-wrote history?” This discussion has come up more than once in our household, but then I live with a historian who is a scholar and expert on the United States Civil War, as well as Presidents Jefferson and Lincoln.

I suggested to him the other day that history was just creative writing. What I meant, whether we want to admit it or not, was that very little writing, is completely free of slant or bias. I expected an argument (friendly, of course!) as our family members often goad another on topics near and dear to our hearts. It keeps us on our toes.

To my surprise he quickly agreed without even pausing the DVR’d program we were watching. I must be losing my touch or six years together has caused us to become more similar than either of us wants to admit! Perhaps it has something to do with a recent discussion how the educational system of one particularly large (VERY large) southern state has an interesting take on the history of slavery in this country. But I digress …

No matter what we read in historical accounts, it behooves us to remember who is writing the story. If the writing is recent, is the information based on primary documents from the time period? Or, are the suppositions presented to us based on secondary and tertiary documents, or in some cases, merely hearsay?

How does this apply to our daily lives? Well, we all have history. In the telling of that history we attach biased or slanted meanings that may or may not provide a clear picture of what really happened. Did daddy “abandon” me, or did he just “leave?” Was I “denied” the right to a higher education, or at some point along the line did I just decide complaining was easier than just doing something about my situation?

There are two schools of thought on whether or not we can really “re-write” our personal history, but we can most definitely do something. What is that? We can re-frame our history to allow our past to be experiential and instructive, not tragic and destructive. Ask yourself, What story about my past have I been telling that no longer serves me?

An honest answer to that question just might open a door of opportunity for clarity and healing you may have been missing. We can continue to honor the past by learning from it, not by allowing it to control, mold and determine our present…or our future.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,

Terry

Have You Arrived?

How do you know when you’ve “arrived?” What I’m asking is, How do you know when you’ve accomplished what you set out to accomplish, or that you have the life you want?
With some things, like taking a plane from one city to another, you know exactly when you’ve arrived. The aircraft stops, you get off the plane and you go about your business. But life is not always that cut and dry.
I suggest to you that too often we wait to do what we want to do, or experience what we desire to accomplish, because we are waiting for some power outside ourselves. We delay our joy and happiness by making the assumption that to achieve our goals we mustgo through a pre-determined set of mile markers. For example, “I can’t get a good job until I get my bachelors, masters or doctoral degree.” Therefore, no job or career, until the achievement of one or all of those goals, will ever be good enough to be “good.”
Here’s how I started thinking about this last week. As you may or may not know I’m in the process of completely re-designing my ministry and how I serve others. There are, of course, some components I will keep that have worked well for me and benefited those whom I have served over the past two decades. But other projects and opportunities I have in mind are brand new areas for me, a few using cutting-edge technology which I have yet to learn!
I’ll be 60 next year. I actually started thinking that with this new ministry I’ll be able to enjoy the life I want in another ten or twenty years. I got stuck for a moment in the shoulda/couldas. (NOTE:  Please read the rest of this paragraph with a whiny voice.) “I shoulda done this twenty years ago. I coulda moved forward before now. Now because I delayed I won’t be able to enjoy the life I want for some time.”
WRONG! I know exactly what kind of life I want to have and – drum roll – are you ready? – I’m already living it! There isn’t anything I’ll be doing in twenty years that I don’t already do now. We have this idea in the U.S. that we have to work a long time to create the life we want and, in the back of our minds, feel like we might be too old or too feeble to enjoy it once we get there. Here’s a quote I love to remind myself of from time-to-time:
The world knows you in terms of your history,
but the universe knows you in terms of how you
are knowing yourself at this present moment.
Michael Hyatt writes an amazing blog. This week his topic is, “Why Retirement is a Dirty Word.” I re-tweeted a quote from him that speaks directly to what I’m writing about here:  “If you’re doing meaningful work you enjoy, why would you ever want to quit?” This is exactlyhow I’m living my life, helping others to have the life they envision for themselves – not twenty or thirty years from today, but starting right now.
Let go of the past! Forget about what was and concentrate on what “is.” We do not have to wait for anything to enjoy the life we desire. We are only a thought away from changing our attitude and our outlook by simply changing our perception of what’s happening in front of our faces.
What has to happen before you will have the life you want? Do you feel something stands in the way of your happiness or a change needs to occur before you can be satisfied? Would you be willing to ask yourself if that is really true? We human beings are spectacular at convincing ourselves of what we can’t have. The magical answer to obtaining our desires is that we can just as well convince ourselves that we can have the life we want.
The universe is here to lovingly and rapidly rush to our aid. It is conspiring to give us what we want. The key is that we have to be willing to allow this to happen. What are you waiting for? Go for it!
In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,
Terry


P.S.  To read Michael’s full posting, click here!

“Genie, You’re Free”

Are you thinking about the death of Robin Williams today? With all the news channels reporting it, Twitter feeds going wild and the many photos on Facebook it’s pretty hard not to think about it.
I’m publishing this week’s message early, unedited, unproofed and completely raw form. Why? Because that’s what many of us are feeling right now:  raw emotions. We’re feeling sadness at how much we’ll miss his humor and crazy antics. We’re experiencing rage or anger that he died. Why didn’t someone see this coming, or why didn’t his family or friends do something?
As a minister, and also a licensed social worker I’m well aware of the truth of just how much depression and anxiety permeate our society. Studies indicate around 16 million Americans suffer from some form of depression and most of those cases go either undiagnosed or untreated. A psychiatrist one said, because he’s a medical doctor, that a death from suicide to him is no different than any other death. How can that be? Isn’t that callous? He explained that the reason he felt that way is that it is still a death from the disease of depression. In that light, it is no different to him than the death of a person from the disease of kidney failure, heart failure or a brain tumor.
Ponder that a moment. Do you see depression as the dis-ease it is? It is a condition that is treatable through many methods, including medication, behavioral therapy and the complimentary treatments of affirmative prayer, meditation, movement, exercise and massage, to name a few. I have used all of those for my clients. But, more importantly, I’ve use them for myself as well.
I’ve dealt with, and at times suffered from, chronic depression from the time I was a child. I’m 59 and I’ve allowed this condition to affect me in various forms for about 55 of those years. I’m no longer ashamed to say so, any more than I would be “ashamed” to be dealing with diabetes, lung cancer, HIV/AIDS or any other physical disease. Just as these other physical ailments can be treated through Spirit, mind and body, so can depression. At the time I’m writing this we’re hearing that William’s death was a suicide. I don’t know that for sure. What I know is an incredibly talented man, one who made so many of us laugh, cry and ponder ideas, is gone.
We can’t bring him back. What we can do in this country and abroad is stop vilifying people who are experiencing depression and anxiety like they are some kind of weaklings. It’s a disease and it’s highly treatable. Wouldn’t you rather be the catalysts to someone getting help with their depression, rather than being yet another nail in the coffin by saying things like, “Just pull yourself up from your boot straps,” “Get a grip!.” Or “Man up, you pathetic substitute for a man?”
If you know someone with depression, reach out to them. If you are depressed for more than a few days without have recently experienced tremendous loss, reach out for help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 and their website is http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org where you can find links to local organizations. Reach out to a spiritual counselor who can help you deal knowing you’re not alone, and then refer you to a licensed social worker, licensed professional counselor or other mental health professional.
No, this isn’t my normal happy-peppy column. Being a spiritual being having a human experience means we must deal with all the human experience – all of it – even the parts we don’t want to talk about. You are not alone. There is a Power within us that is greater than us that knows exactly how to move forward in life. Open up to that Power within and allow it to guide you to the perfect person or right action to face whatever is standing in the way of your happiness. As always,
With Spirit, Joy and Playfulness …. And my love,

Terry
"Genie, You're Free"
R.I.P. Robin Williams