My Cisa Name

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Images

Two people, two persons to blame.  Is that a perception in most cases where a marriage disolves?  Seems like if there are two people in the relationship, there are two people who bear the responsibility of maintaining the relationship.  It's sad to me that often one person is left feeling as if he/she failed in some way to keep it together.  Could the phrase "it is what it is" apply?

Moving through a divorce was NOT a part of my plan, ever.  I had every intention of my marriage being "till death do us part".  I believe when we said our vows before God and the minister in 1985 my ex-husband was of the same mind.  Divorce wasn't his plan either.  However, our ideas of what "happily ever after" looked like were very different, we just weren't aware of that difference at that point.

I remember when I first became acquainted with my ex-husband's family.  They were the ones who lived in the two story white house with black shutters complete with a white picket fence.  Their well maintained yard was where lots of neighborhood kids congreated in the 60's and 70's to play football or basketball or spot light.  His dad was the President of the bank in our small town. I remember going there with my mother as a little girl and this kind man giving my brother and I a stick of Doublemint gum.  Those were the days, am I right?

My perception of the "perfect family" was, of course, not real.  But the picture painted in my mind's eye was the life I dreamed of having one day when I "found Mr. Right".  Can you hear where this is going?  I was young and niave and looking for a deep need to be met outside of myself.  I was all kinds of messy human looking to connect to the opposite of my too dependent self and, guess what, that's what I found.  The energy I was putting out into the world attracted my opposite in every possible unhealthy way.

Back when I was chewing gum from the kind bank president, I could not even imagine him being my father-in-law, it just wasn't even a possibility, until it was.  Fast forward 10 or 12 years and I'm there, except I never "felt" there.  Does that make any sense?  If I've lost you, maybe just quit reading right now because I'm not sure this is for you. :)  I had the last name and all the people connected to it and eventually I even ended up LIVING in the big white house (sans the picket fence), but it wasn't enough.  Why?  Because I didn't believe I was enough, among other things.

The image is never enough because the image is just that, an image.  It isn't real.  The image in my Cinderella dream wasn't real, the image of the perfect family wasn't real and the image put forth before we were married, wasn't real.  The only way to discover real is to connect to real and that wasn't a possibility for either of us because neither of us really knew WHO we were, apart from the image.

So much of our human culture is posturing this curated image of who we believe we need to be or are supposed to be in order to get what we want; love, acceptance, value. This posturing begins early in childhood as we create ways of belonging  in our families of origin. Then throw us into a wider culture of other humans in schools and neighborhoods and the image building continues into adulthood.

So, what should we do about the image?  Crush it or allow it fall away as it begins to crumble?  I don't know many people who want to willingly submit themselves to "crushing" because we all know that crushing involves pain.  We tend to avoid anything painful and certainly aren't excited to place ourselves (our curated image) on an alter to be crushed.  But isn't that the example Jesus lived for us?  Allowing himself to be "sacrificed" in order to bring forth, resurrect, new life?  And what about the sweetness of wine after the grapes have been crushed?  And remember the parables of the seeds and how dropping a seed into the dark where it is crushed is the only way to bring forth the fruit it was designed to bear?

The past few years, working through all the images I had curated has been interesting to say the least.  I'm not sure if anyone else notices the difference when we are together but I sure do.  The anxiety I felt on the inside, the worring I did when I was in the presence of others, the wondering "am I good enough", "do I belong" has all but evaporated.  What's left is this sweet peace and confidence in knowing that no matter where I am, that's where I belong.  Comparrision, Competition and Not Measuring Up have been pushed to the back seat along with fear and doubt.  That doesn't mean they won't try to creap back to the front and even attempt to take the steering wheel, but now I'm more aware of what triggers their movement and what I need to do to take care of my Self.

I have no regrets on this journey.  It has been so incredible to witness the falling away of the old and the resurrecting of the new, over and over again.  I am amazed every time at what is revealed when I am willing to look deep into the dark.  The dark...that's where the stars shine the brightest, have you ever considered that?





 





Monday, August 6, 2018

Vulnerability

I listened to a podcast yesterday about nutrition wherein the woman being interviewed told a part of her story that she "seldom reveals" in her nutrition counseling with private clients or talks about publically on social media.  She admitted that she should include that part of her story more often because it is a key part of her journey.  As I listened to her speak, I automatically knew WHY she didn't share.  It's the same reason I don't share all of my thoughts here on this blog.  I write daily but seldom put my thoughts out here because I don't want to be judged, criticized or rejected because of what I write.

Vulnerability is something I talk about in my private conversations and it's something I practice on a regular basis with the people in my smaller circle of friends.  Opening ourselves up, sharing our deepest fears and intimate parts of ourselves can be so scary.  There are lots of questions looming about what others will say or think or conclude about us IF we put it all out there.

I want to be liked and loved and so I dance around what to write here because someone might not like what I have to say or may disagree or may think less of me if they "knew_______".   I don't blog more because of fear of rejection.  I say with my mouth that the approval of people doesn't control me but if I'm not writing because of what others might think or say about me behind my back, then I am being controlled by fear and the opinion of others.  I've been moving from my head to my heart to my body for a while now and it's been a difficult process.  As an Enneagram Type 6 I'm in my head ALOT and everything stays nice and neatly labeled and categorized in there.  But when it comes down to where the rubber meets the road and I need to move into my body and "practice what I preach" it becomes a whole nother animal...a big scary monster actually.

Part of living my true identity as a daughter of God involves being honest about how my life has been shaped by the experiences I've had along the way.  Some of those experiences have been extremely painful, some filled with joy but BOTH the pain and the joy have helped to shape what I believe about this life.  Not who I am, but what I believe and perceive about life here on this earth and how I live it.

 I am not this body, I am not my feelings or emotions.  The Body I live in is a shell that contains the soul of a beautiful daughter of God who desperately desires to be fully known and loved just as I am.  I am not what I do or what others have done to me.  Those experiences shaped my perception of life but they don't define me.  I am responsible for my behaviors but my behaviors do not label me as "Failure" or "Success" because we all experience BOTH of these scenarios.  Perception is a weird and crazy thing in this life.  Our perception of what it means to be a success or a failure is all jacked up. A friend told me recently I needed to throw the word failure out of my vocabulary.  For a recovering perfectionist who has believed for lots and lots of years that there is a "right" way to do things and a "wrong" way to do things, that is a tall order.  But I believe her advice is helpful.

Believing that there is a "perfect" or "right" way to live life creates LOTS of issues for myself and others. Division is caused when anyone doesn't live their life according to MY STANDARD or perception of right and wrong.  I "judge" them as less valuable instead of simply different and still worthy of love and acceptance and valuable in this life. That attitude places me ABOVE others on some days and BELOW them on others, depending on my actions.

I haven't quite figured out when and where these superior, I know what you need, let me tell you how to do it better, my faith practices are superior and here's why attitude came from. I don't need to identify when and where to see that it has permeated most of my life.  I will say that the places that I chose to worship affirmed this attitude over and over to varying degrees.  Affirming judgment as correct and even necessary to maintain a sense of order because God is a God of order, just doesn't jive with the reckless love of Jesus I read about in the Bible. 

So, here's to vulnerability, to saying what I think instead of shrinking back because someone I like or love might be "offended" if we don't agree.  Here's to diversity and beauty that cannot be contained in a box made of human hands.  Here's to a BIG God who loves EVERYONE regardless of how they come to him.  Here's getting it, not "getting it right".  Here's to finding your true Self, not the image created to maintain security and a following. Here's to REAL Worship not the worship of man or an image molded before your eyes that isn't really valuable to you at all.  Here's to thinking for yourself and following YOUR journey even when others don't agree.  Here's to living for an audience of ONE.


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Question 1

Are shitty days real or simply a matter of perspective?

That's my question today.  

I'm not sure I have an answer right now.   

Now, in this moment, I'm angry, which by my own definition is a secondary emotion for pain or hurt.

Maybe today was just a hard day.  One of those days when it seems I am the target for the word arrows.  Maybe the arrows I felt aren't the words but the unspoken attitudes of frustration and disapproval that seem to accompany the words.  Maybe the inability to navigate this day's interactions with all the people is a result of my own skewed perceptions?

No matter the cause of what I'm experiencing in THIS moment, I am angry.

Right now, I'm going to sit in this emotion and allow it; without judgment, without trying to fix a single thing.

This is a new practice for me.  It's going to take some time to get used to allowing emotions that have been taboo to surface and linger without pushing them down or attempting to refocus my attention to something else that perhaps might possibly get me out of "my bad mood".

I hope as I practice making space for myself to just BE and feel whatever it is I'm feeling in the moment, I will be able to do the same for others.  I am acutely aware that I have not always allowed myself or others freedom and space to just sit in their pain without trying to "make it better".

So, for this day, I will not make a single attempt to change the way I feel.  I will feel and that is all.




Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Letters to Lisa {nombre un}



Dearest Lisa -

I see you.  You may not believe that anyone notices you, but I do.  I've seen you all along but only recently realized how important is it that I share my heart with you.  I have a couple things I'd like to say, since we're sisters and all.  I hope you'll be able to receive these words and not believe they are criticisms.  I truly offer them to you with love, out of a deep desire to see your life flourish.  I believe you're holding back, maybe you're afraid, maybe the lens you look through is clouded and you can't see clearly or maybe you don't believe you have what it takes to accomplish your goals, if you've really set any at this point in time.  Your life is very full with raising your girls, that takes lots of energy and I know you fret about whether you're doing a good job.  Let me assure you, you're doing a great job.  Your daughters are going to be fantastic, strong, competent women who give you the most lovely grand babies.  But let's not get off the subject at hand, there's plenty of time to talk about that later.

Here's the question.  Have you forgotten how to dream?  I'd like to make a few suggestions that might help you let go of all your own plans and just dream about what life might be if you quit trying so hard. What if you simply opened your hands to receive the next thing that came your way.  All your striving and trying to "get it right" might be keeping you from experiencing some really great things and some wonderful people.  What follows is a little list of how to get yourself in a position to dream again.


#1 - Just BE.  
Quit doing all the things for all the people so that they will need you and you will feel important because you're needed.  You are already important without doing one single thing.  You're value is not based on what you DO or how much you serve that organization or where you live or how much money you have or do not have or whether you're single, married, divorced, childless, working, non-working, schooling, not schooling.  Also, you are NOT an extension of your spouse.  You are an individual who is perfectly able to have a life that supports and builds up your spouse without diminishing who you were created to be.  And another thing, you are not an extension of your children and they are not extensions of you.  They are unique individuals who need to be allowed to follow their dreams apart from what Mom and/or Dad believes is good for them.  Caveat here...I'm not saying you give children free reign, you are to steward their lives not live vicariously through them.  Enjoy your children's successes but have some of your very own.

#2 - Think about what YOU need.
Self care.  I'm convinced you have no idea what this word even means.  It's more than just making sure you are clean and put together.  So, take some time to think about how to care for YOU.  Not just on the outside but on the inside too.  What helps you relax? What do you enjoy doing just for yourself?  I know this will be difficult because it's new and different but trust me, you will be a much happier human when you make intentional time to do something just for you. And, don't let anyone give you a guilt trip over the fact that you spend money and time on yourself.  (see #7 and exclude this person from your squad, immediately)

#3 - Get Outside
I don't mean go outside and DO something, like mow the grass or weed the flower bed.  This is also not getting outside to take a walk for exercise, no fast moving.  This is a time to BE in the great outdoors.  Enjoy the scenery.  Listen for the birds, look at the flowers, walk down the street and notice the sky, the sunset, the moon the stars.  If you must get in the car in order to escape responsibilities, do it.  You don't have to drive a hour away, go ten minutes to the nearest park or a different neighborhood.  Commune with nature a little, without any distraction. 

#4 - Journal
Write down EVERYTHING, not just the hard things.  Keep a little notebook beside your bed, when an idea drops into your heart write it down.  Don't ignore those little thoughts that just seem to pop up from no where.  They're coming to you from deep inside, from the Spirit of creativity, from the creator himself.  He knows you because he made you.  He's the one who knows what you should do next because he is the one who made the plans for your life way back even before you were born so take note, literally.  Also, write about all the funny/crazy things the girls do.  You think you'll remember them but believe me, that razor sharp memory doesn't last forever.

#5 - Have FUN.
You've gotten a little too serious.  I'm not sure if it's all the really hard things that seem to be a regular part of your life or the church affiliation you've chosen but you need to loosen up.  I think Jesus would agree.  I guarantee Jesus and the disciples sat around cutting up and enjoying life, not at the expense of others, mind you, but they had a good time.  And you know the Bible thumpers of his day didn't call him a wino because he was drinking grape juice.  Relax, have a glass of wine and enjoy an evening rocking on the porch.  Better yet, invite a friend over to join you, have some good conversation about nothing serious and enjoy the time being together, no agenda, just delight in the people you are.

#6 - Listen to your Inner Voice
You have a good intuitive nature and you are a smart woman.  Use your brain and make the decisions your gut is telling you to make instead of listening to what other people say.    You have everything you need in you to make the best decision for YOU.  No one else knows what is best for you, except you.  So, do whatever needs to be done to silence those people who question what you're doing.  For some reason we humans just love same...same thinking, same doing, same little rigid lines and tight boxes. We weren't created to be the same as anyone else, so simply be YOU.

#7 - Be a Cheerleader and Find some Cheerleaders
I know this will be difficult because there just aren't very many women who believe there's room for everyone.  Sad to say, a lot of women can't cheer for you because they don't want to see you accomplish what they won't try.  Of course they don't see it and neither do you, that's why I'm telling you.  When that competitive spirit lifts its ugly head, you need to squash it, kill it even.  There is room for everyone to do their thing and just because they're doing it over there doesn't mean you can't do it over here.  This life is BIG and out of the box and there's no need to compare or compete, both those things will keep you from the deep connection your heart craves.  Remember that, it's important.

I think seven suggestions is just the right number.  I hope you don't feel overwhelmed and that you'll remember that there is no practice makes perfect...that little lie will trip you up for a long time so listen to my voice, practice makes progress.  That's what we're after, progress not perfection.  Oh, and you're doing fine, just fine.  Every day, every minute every hour you are just fine, even though you don't feel fine. You're gonna make it.  (cue Mary Tyler Moore theme song)

I love you friend,
Lisa
xoxo


Friday, February 9, 2018

IF:

As I prepare to host our 5th IF: Local Gathering, I can't help but take a look back at all the other times we gathered women in our local area for a time of seeking God's face and asking ourselves questions about the ways we are spending our one life.  Every single year since the inception of IF, God has unfolded a little more of his plans for our lives, for our healing and freedom. 

February 8, 2014, the second day of the very first IF: Gathering is a day I won't soon forget.  Sitting on the floor of our church with a small group of 4 or 5 women I poured out my heart all broken and bleeding.  That day would have been my 29th wedding anniversary. Instead of celebrating those years of good and hard with flowers and a candle light dinner,  I was waiting for the mail carrier to deliver my Final Divorce Order.  That first IF: Gathering Saturday, our hearts joined as my friend prayed over me and asked God to meet me in the doubt and fear of what life would be going forward.  Raw, messy, transparent, vulnerable fear was met with kind, gracious, tender love and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to be known in such a rare and beautiful way.

There are three of us who attended that first gathering in 2014 who have continued to support, promote, and engage with women from different parts of the country who also have attended an IF event, whether that be the gathering in Austin, or Dallas or locally.  We are a sisterhood of freedom fighters who carry a torch that we pray ignites the whole world with love.  Each of us unique in our places, putting one foot in front of the other day in and day out realizing dreams God has placed in us and had planned for us from before we were born. Those good works that he had prepared and is causing to flourish as we simply join him where he is already at work spreading love and speaking welcome.

So this evening, as I prepare to light candles and heat up soup and place flowers on the table for my local sisters, I cannot help but smile to myself knowing there are hearts all over the globe that will be touched as women gather for a fifth IF: Gathering.  We are all connected, we are all different and we are all LOVED so very much just as we are right.this.moment. 

If you are not familiar with IF: Gathering but would like to be, click this link.  I can guarantee if you are willing to risk, God will meet you wherever you are with exactly what you need and you will be amazed over and over at His scandalous love for you and the tender ways he shows up to answer your questions or connect you to exactly what/who you need to take the next step toward living in freedom.

xoxo
Lisa









Sunday, January 28, 2018

"What a difference a year makes".

"What a difference a year makes".  I hear that phrase spoken as a way of indicating how fast time passes.  12 Months, 365 days.  You blink and it seems the days of what used to be are gone, never to be relived.

The past year has been a kind of assessment for me.  A path of learning to slow down, to BE in the present instead of rushing on to the next thing and the next thing.  I haven't always lived my life with this much intention, focus, looking and feeling.  I lived quite a few years numb, unaware, unable to access deeper parts of who I really am.  I kept going and going because life was hard and parts of it were excruciatingly painful to navigate. 

My memories of when my children were younger are etched in my subconscious mind.  Some things I remember vividly and some, well, they seem to have all but vanished.  I say often that one of the reasons I can't remember some of the details is because I was always moving at break neck speed, never quiet, never still, never really present in the moment. 

 Details vary from individual to individual as to the causes for our fast paced living but the bottom line is ALWAYS the same, pain.  If we stop long enough and intentionally tune out every distraction, we have to BE WITH ourselves.  Quieting long enough to actually become aware of what you're feeling and then paying attention to what you do next is not something that happens automatically.  So many things vie for our time and attention and that doesn't include having a phone in your hand with contacts and pictures and blog posts.  There was no social media when I was raising my girls, but there were still numerous distractions.  There is always one more THING that needs to be DONE. 

This journey of discovery and healing and freedom, has been incredibly painful and incredibly beautiful and good at the same time.  Nothing is permanent.  Nothing lasts.  Life is always changing. 

A year ago today my family dynamic changed forever.  The picture below is what life looked like 26 years ago.  These little people were ages 2 and 4 and 4  They are cousins and best friends.  I have dozens and dozens of pictures just like this one, all three of "the girls" as we referred to them together somewhere doing something.  These girls laughed and screamed and didn't sleep and made messes and rode bikes and blew out candles and gathered Halloween candy and took pictures and did cheers.  Oh my...the memories go on and on.  I can't count the number of times I said "if you girls don't quiet down, I'm going to pull this van over and...  and I'd go back in a minute because it was all so beautiful.  I didn't see the beauty at the time, I was so overwhelmed with the details of getting things done that I missed parts of it. 

This year, I have intentionally chosen to sit with my grief and pain.  I've allowed the pain to shape me.  I've asked myself hard questions and I have cried tears and tears remembering so many things.  But, I am a better human for having lived the last year.  When the hard, painful losses come into our lives we make choices about our journey.  We can buck up, toughen up, keep on going and harden our hearts OR we can chose to FEEL what we're feeling.  It won't be easy.  It won't be neat or predictable.  But it will be Beautiful!



Always in our heart
Chasity Dawn Shingleton
2/26/88 - 1/28/17


Friday, November 3, 2017

Five Minute Friday: Need




Five Minute Friday is weekly link up where you free write on a particular word prompt for five minutes.  The prompt for this week is "Need".  Setting a timer, ready, go:

I have everything I need IN me.  I forget that.  I look around to the people in my life and wrongly believe that I don’t have what it takes, that I somehow NEED someone else to help me.  I think believing the truth that God IN me provides all I need and that I have what it takes to accomplish whatever task, is a truth many women struggle to live out in their daily lives.  Somewhere, way back when we were little girls, some of us were told explicitly or implicitly that we were needy, the “weaker” vessel.  For some that caused a rebellion and a mind set of “I’ll show you, I don’t NEED anyone” and for others it created the opposite effect.  I believe church culture has played part in overemphasizing the “weaker vessel” passages in the Bible and somehow it was translated in our minds as something negative.  Thus, we lost our way, believing we needed something outside ourselves to “complete us”.

Being needy isn’t all bad.  Needy helpers are THE BEST helpers.  Acknowledging my need for God is worship.  He loves for me to be dependent on him.  And, in truth, I am.  The fact that I am breathing, my heart is beating and I am a walking, talking, seeing, hearing individual is all due to my creator and his sustaining my existence.  I do NEED Him.  And I need other people as well.  I was created for relationship with God, myself and others.  To deny my need is to deny my humanity.


Remembering I have all I need inside me is something I’m practicing and I’m making good progress.  I’ll never be perfect at it, but no one is, so I’m in good company. 


need 


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