images-1Yesterday I delved into it (again!)  …. the TMS pain that I still experience from time to time, and which I know to be psychological in origin although definitely physical in manifestation!  I did my best, with help from a trusted teacher, on my own, and then talking with my partner, to look at current and possible root causes lurking in my Shadow — the deep and dark, murky and mysterious places in my consciousness which harbour the negativity I would prefer to ignore, but which clearly wants out!  

It was illuminating, as well as humbling, and even exciting… to be as honest and respectful as I could, with myself and others, about the “stuff”, the gunk I found in there, my tangle of perceptions and beliefs.  For that is all they are — they are NOT reality, not necessarily true or accurate.  Sometimes rather like a hall of mirrors, a layering of illusions. 

Overnight and the next day I realized I had said a couple of things that weren’t really accurate or appropriate, and I apologized and clarified those.  

But more importantly, I realized something radical, something I know well, but which is easier to see in others than in myself:  that the way I think about things is NOT the way they are, it’s merely the way I THINK they are, at that moment in time.  There is always another way to see everythingimages

It’s actually a specific lesson in the Course of Miracles (CIM is an approach that may or may not appeal to you!)  Lesson 33 says “There is another way of looking at the world.”  (If you want to hear someone else explore this radical idea in the CIM: we are the ones who have invented the world we inhabit, check out this video.)  If the CIM is not your bag, stepping and looking at, actually questioning the accuracy of our thinking, are also key tenets of mindfulness practices, and widely used in cognitive therapy.  

It was very cool, heartening, and mind blowing to look at other ways of thinking about my life, my relationship, my world.  I am happy to report that my TMS is much improved, and so are my spirits 🙂  

It is such a pleasure to share my journey with you, and to hear from you about how this or that essay affected you, prompted reflection, encouraged inquiry.  After all, we are nothing, if not in this together, and we never know when our lives and words we may be influencing others.  

A current example.  Recently the Writer’s Almanac noted James Baldwin’s birthday.  What a life he had.  His death, as an expat in Paris, prompted luminaries around the world to speak about the effect he had had on their lives.  Here two citations:   Maya Angelou, remembering Baldwin in The New York Times after his death, said that he “set the stage” for her to write I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. He told Angelou she was “intelligent and very brave,” introduced her to his family as one of their own, saying she was his mother’s newest daughter, and was, in Angelou’s words, “my friend and brother.”  This deeply affected Angelou.  

images-2And Toni Morrison, in her goodbye and thank you in The New York Times, wrote that James Baldwin gave her three gifts: “ language to dwell in, a gift so perfect” that it seemed her own; “ the courage to live life in and from its belly as well as beyond its edges”; and his tenderness and vulnerability and a love that made one want to be worthy, generous, and strong.  

Let us live well, with courage, kindness, honesty, being as loving and authentic as we can.  Your thoughts and responses, shares and forwards are most welcome.

 Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Your feedback, forwards, tweets, likes are most welcome.
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