Letter writing for healing.

One thing that is very healing is reconciling. It is about balancing the accounts in your emotional and spiritual logbooks. It can be as simple as writing letters.

Write that letter to the person who you can’t stand, who made you mad, who left you. Who owes you? Who has slighted you / hurt you / betrayed your trust? Write a letter to each one. Tell them how you feel. Recall the situations that were difficult.

If you feel like you can mail the letters, then do so. If that is too much, then just write them. It may be difficult to send them – the other person may not be able to receive your message. Just writing them is very healing.

One option if you can’t send the letters is to burn them. It is a way of releasing energy. Imagine the anger and frustration disappearing in the flames. See the smoke rising up as a prayer to God, asking for healing in that situation.

Then think about who do you owe? Who have you slighted / hurt / betrayed? Write that letter to the person who you never thanked, who was kind, who helped you more than you deserved. Send those letters. People need to hear that they have done a good job or made a difference.

Moving onward, think about reconciling with yourself.
Write a letter to yourself when you were 12. Forgive yourself, and offer yourself guidance.
Write a letter to who you will be 12 years from now. Encourage yourself, and cheer yourself on towards your goals.

Feelings and colors

Few of us have a large vocabulary for our feelings. We are angry or sad or happy – but we need more words than that. It is like trying to paint a picture with just red, yellow and blue.

Color theory teaches us that the colors blend – we can have happy and sad together in the way that yellow and blue make green. Or we can have angry and sad together, in the way that red and blue make purple. Sometimes we are more happy than sad, or more sad than angry. It isn’t equal, changing the color blend. We could be a bit of all three together, creating a really big mess. Is it possible to be happy and angry at the same time, in the way that yellow and red make orange?

We don’t have a place in our bodies for these weird colors, these blends, so we need to know how to be with them and deal with them. Just noticing them can be a good start. It isn’t about getting rid of these feelings. I don’t think it is healthy or natural to strive to be joyous all the time.

Another part of color theory is the rule of complementary colors. Red’s complement is green. Green is a blend of the other two primary colors – yellow and blue. Blue’s complement is orange, which is red and yellow. Yellow’s is purple. Complementary colors make each other look their brightest and best. So with that I get that we need to have a balance in our lives. It can’t all be yellow (happy) – because you can’t appreciate yellow (happy) without a blend of blue (sad) and red (angry).

Notice in the complementary color the balance is half-strength of each other color. Yellow is full strength, but we use only half of red and blue to create an equal amount of purple. Thus, we need to get our proportions right. Blue (sad) is balanced out by half red (angry) and half yellow (happy). That makes it not overwhelming. Red (angry) is balanced out by half blue (sad) and half yellow (happy). It isn’t about having equal amounts of each thing to get the balance.

We are in training.

We are in training. Everything that happens to us strengthens us. We can see it as a test and a trial, or as training. When we work out, our muscles are sore. We hurt. But then the muscles get stronger from the exercise and we get stronger. We can handle more next time.

The same is true of personal tests. When someone hurts us, we can get knocked down or we can see it as training. We can get stronger. Just like with muscles, we have to rest first. We don’t get stronger right away. And it hurts at first. But then we become able to handle more, and handle it better.

Look at gymnasts. They train all the time and they are able to do amazing feats. They perform what appear to be superhuman feats of agility. It is only from years of work that they can do this. They have amazing muscles, and amazing reflexes. They have trained hard.

Sadly, emotional training isn’t that easy. There isn’t a school for it. You have a harder time seeing when you have slipped and you did it wrong. But it is still important. Perhaps it is more important.

Who cares if you can walk the balance beam, if you can’t handle your own emotions? It matters more if your life is out of balance.

I have chosen to see every problem as something that will strengthen me, rather than destroy me. Perhaps I’m all about the lemonade rather than the lemons.

It would be easier to be angry and upset. It is simpler. But seeing it as a way to get stronger makes me feel better. Getting angry doesn’t do me any good at all. So ultimately I’m doing this for myself.

At one point I realized that I was praying a lot while things seemed to be falling apart around me. So I decided to give thanks for the things falling apart. They reminded me to connect with God. When things go well I tend to lose that connection.

Perhaps that is part of why things fall apart. I forgot to keep that connection open.

So I decided to be thankful. It was a reminder, this trial, this test, whatever it is. It told me to put my focus on God. It reminded me that I don’t have the big picture – God does. If I’m going to say with my words that God is in charge of everything, and that God wants nothing but good, then I have to let God be in charge.

I have to live like I mean those words. I have to remember that when things don’t go my way, that is good, because they are always going God’s way.

Give thanks in all things, and know that God is in charge.

Thoughts about yoga.

Yoga is like learning how to drive your body. Yes, I stole this from Dharma from the show “Dharma and Greg”. It is still true. We take our bodies for granted, but they require skill to learn how to use. Consider that your body is a biosuit for your soul. Look at a professional dancer or martial artist. They can do things normal people can’t. It is because of training. Yoga is training for the average person to be able to do amazing things.

Yoga unkinks your body and your mind. Sure, you are stretching your muscles and tendons. But somehow your brain gets stretched too. Things seem to flow better. Stresses are easier to deal with.

Yoga is like acupuncture for your whole body. It makes the energy flow.

Yoga is like getting a full-body massage, but nobody has to touch you and you don’t have to get naked.

Doing yoga daily is like taking a multivitamin for your soul. I enjoy it when we set an intention at the beginning of practice. It is where you make a prayer, or a goal. What do you want to focus on, mentally, physically, or spiritually? What area in you or in the world needs love and light and growth? That is where you place your intention. That way, the entire practice is a prayer.

Yoga teaches you acceptance. This is acceptance not only of where you are, but who you are. It is about learning to work with what is, instead of what you’d like it to be. It is important not to compare how you are doing with other people in the room. The practice is your practice, not theirs. They are different, and that is OK. There will be things that they can do easily, and that are hard for you. There will be things that you can do easily, and is hard for them. There will be things that were easy for you last week, but are hard today. Every day is different, just like every person is different.

It is yoga practice, not yoga perfect.

Yoga teaches balance in body and mind. Sure, you may learn finally how to do Warrior three, or Eagle without having to stand next to something to grab onto for support. But there is something subtle about yoga that it teaches balance to your mind too. It realigns things. I don’t know how it works, but that is OK. I don’t know how electricity works, but I still take advantage of it.

The hardest thing about yoga is showing up. You say you want to, but you’ve just never made it to a class. Or you’ve gone for years and it has gotten boring and you think that you’ll take some time off. A week becomes a month becomes a year.

Yoga teaches discipline, but not a rigid sort. It isn’t “do this, this way”. There is a lot of flexibility. You certainly don’t make up all the poses – you are learning things that have been done this way for thousands of years. But, you are submitting to this practice, this path. Somehow you find yourself there, and you’ve learned a lot by aligning yourself with it.

Yoga strengthens and tones. There will be muscles you’ve never seen before. It is amazing and beautiful and inspiring to see these muscles develop. Forearms? Abs? Gotcha. They will look stunning. So will everything else.

It is weightlifting, but the only weight is you. No equipment to misplace, and completely portable.

Butterfly

I’ve noticed that I want to pin down words like butterflies. They come to me and I want to stop them, to hold them. I want to look at them again and again.

I’m doing it right now.

I write to understand. I write to discover. I write to remember.

I don’t want to lose a single idea. There are so many. The more I write, the more things I have to write about. It is a deep well. But then I’m afraid it isn’t deep. I’m afraid it will dry up and leave me stranded, holding this bucket, looking stupid, standing at this well.

I remember the story of Jesus standing at the well with the Samaritan woman, in John 4:1-26. She was an outsider, someone that Jews weren’t supposed to associate with. Jesus is all about that. Jesus is all about the outcast, the outsider. The leper. The menstruating woman. The tax collector.

He tells her about living water, water that will never run out. He is that water.

Maybe if I tap into that living water I’ll feel safe. I’ll feel like I’ll have an inexhaustible supply of words.

I have a feeling I’m only standing in the shallows right now. Knee deep, looking out at the ocean, breathing in the salt air, listening to the gulls.

I feel like I’d like to jump in, but I’m afraid. I’m afraid of drowning. I’m afraid of losing myself. I’m afraid of it all being too much.

I catch words in my journal and I string them together in my blog. I feel like I’ve put out an antenna to God. Hey, I’m here! I’m listening! Give me what you’ve got. Talk to me.

I feel like if I stop listening then God will stop talking.

Well, deep down I know that God won’t stop talking, but I feel like I’ll stop being able to hear.

But butterflies are more beautiful when they are flying. And the truth that can be spoken isn’t the real truth. Truth can’t be pinned down, but you can point towards it.

I know my words aren’t everything, and that not many people read them. I know that I understand things more when I write. I’ve had a few people tell me that they understand things better when they read what I’ve written.

So I keep writing. I’m trying to find a better balance with my notebook though – to not be so obsessive about writing every thought down. Patience and faith are part of it I think.