Discipline and order

I know someone who got very upset about the idea of having to do prayers. I’d told him about the Jewish idea of having to say 100 blessings a day. He didn’t think this was a good idea. He thought that it sounded oppressive.

But discipline and order are good things. If we impose order upon our lives we can get stronger in many ways. Otherwise we are formless.

If your leg is broken you put a cast on it to make it stronger. The cast gives it a shape to grow into so it doesn’t grow crooked.

If you have a bonsai tree you carefully shape it with wires to make it have a beautiful shape.

If you are pouring concrete you have to put a form down so that the concrete doesn’t go everywhere.

The same is true of tomatoes or of peonies. You have to give them something to grow up against so that they don’t grow wild.

When we impose a discipline to our lives we are making ourselves into disciples. We are making ourselves stronger by making ourselves fit into a particular form or mold, one that we know to be good for us. It isn’t something that we have to do but it is something that we should do.

It is just like with Peter when he was walking out on the water to Jesus, he said “Lord if you command me I will go”. Peter needed to be commanded by Jesus in order to walk on the water.

We too can work miracles if we allow ourselves to be commanded. We allow ourselves to be commanded by adopting order and discipline into our lives. We aren’t giving up control or free will at all. We are strengthening ourselves by allowing order into our lives.

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Victim mentality

Thinking you are a victim makes it so. Have you ever heard the phrase “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.”? It is very true. Our attitude is very important.

We have to get past this idea of victimhood. We seem to have a society now that says that everybody is a victim. It says that nobody is responsible for their own lives and their own decisions. This is very unhealthy and unproductive.

It is essential that we take back control of our own lives. It is essential that we actually start taking our lives seriously. This isn’t about blaming other people for our failures and our failings. Sure, society may have tried to tell us that we can blame our parents or our genes or our teachers for our messed up lives, but really we don’t have to accept that. Blaming other people only shifts responsibility to them, and takes it away from us.

When we give away our power, we become passive agents in our own lives. Don’t blame anybody, even society. Don’t blame the media for selling the message, even. Just get going, and start living your own life.

Vicious circle – on codependency

I know a few people who are having a hard time accepting what is happening to them right now. I’m really worried, and I want to help them. If only they could accept the reality of the situation they are in, things will start to get better. If only they could stop hoping and wishing that things were different, they’d start to heal.

Sometimes we are the ones who have to make a change. Sometimes we are in bad situations that are presented to us because we are the ones who are supposed to fix them.

But sometimes things just can’t be changed. Sometimes things are just as they are, and there is no getting around them.

Sometimes the only way is to go through the grief and the pain, and to see it for what it is.

But then I realized I’m doing the very same thing. I’m not accepting the reality of the situation. I’m not accepting that their pain and inability to face it is in fact the reality.

It is all a great big circle of codependency.

Mr/S

I noticed something on a form recently for the first time. I don’t mean that I’ve never seen this before – I mean that I saw it with new eyes.

The form had a place for you to circle your title. Mr./Mrs./Miss

There are several things going on here. Notice that the male title is first.

Second – notice that there are two different titles for women, indicating whether you are married or not. There is a perfectly acceptable variant, “Ms.” that does not indicate marital status. Notice that men don’t have a different title if they are single or married.

And then I noticed it even more deeply. This is beyond hierarchy and status.

What do we even need these titles for? Why does it matter if someone is male or female?

Look at some of the names that are gender neutral. Robin, Terry, Dana, Tracy.

Do we treat people differently because of their gender, or status? If so, why?

Then I considered all the different names that I come across every day. Nashville is full of people from all around the world, and I don’t know all of their naming practices. I have no way of knowing if a name belongs to a female or a male. Does it matter?

Not really.

Food abuse

I see obesity as a symptom of food abuse. It is the same as alcoholism and drug abuse. It is a sign of an abuse or mis-use of food.

I used to be obese. I’ve had to work hard on relearning what (and how much) is healthy to eat and how to incorporate more movement and exercise into my life. But I’ve also had to work hard on addressing the root cause of why I wasn’t taking care of my body and my soul.

The problem is, we have to eat. We can’t just stop eating food. We can’t drop it like we can alcohol or cigarettes or any other addictive substance.

So we all need to develop a healthy relationship with food – and to address the issues that are causing us to use food to (not) solve our problems. Food can heal us, but it can also harm us if we use it improperly. It can be too much of a good thing, but it can also be the wrong thing.

Food wasn’t the only substance I had a wrong relationship with. Back when I smoked pot, I would smoke it to feel better. I’d have a bad day at work, or my family was hassling me, or there was some other stress to deal with. I’d smoke pot to numb the pain. It would ease the pain long enough that I’d forget about it, until I’d sober up again and the problems would come back. The thing is, the problems never went away in the first place. I just anesthetized myself to them. Instead of dealing with them, I ran away from them in my head. When I got sober, I’d still have those problems, and I’d still reach for pot to “fix” them.

It was a terrible cycle of stupid.

Plenty of people do the same thing with food. Because food isn’t seen as a drug, and because it is not only socially acceptable but normal to eat, food abuse is an easy addiction to pick up. And it isn’t like our society in general has a healthy relationship with food. Everything is super sized and fried. It is too much of a bad thing.

Is this fat shaming? No. Not any more than pointing out that someone who drinks to solve their problems is an alcoholic. This isn’t “blaming the victim” either. It is pointing out that when we use food to solve our problems, we are creating our own problems.

Victims are people who have things done to them. They are passive agents in the story. A person who gets hit by a car, or lightning, or something falling out of the sky is a victim.

If you hurt yourself, you aren’t a victim. You have done it to yourself. Thinking about why you do it is the wrong direction of thought. Blaming your parents or society or your friends for your action is self-defeating. You choose your life and your actions. You have control of what you do. You can also make a choice to change.

We need to start naming our demons so we can slay them. If we pretend like everything is fine then we will continue to kill ourselves bit by bit and bite by bite.

Food won’t fix our problems. Facing them will. No, it isn’t easy.

We have gotten into the habit of shoving our feelings and anxieties down, ramming them into our mouths with food. We have to learn how to let them out rather than shove them down. We have to learn that it is OK to speak up and be heard.