May 11, 2014
"To Where you Are" by Josh Groban
"My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion
May 3, 2014
When I was little, the injustices of my young life would get me so worked up and I would exclaim in frustration, "IT'S NOT FAIR!" My mother would reply to me with the same thing every time: "Honey, life isn't fair." I hated that reply. I hated that life wasn't fair. To me, it should have been. It didn't make sense to me that it wasn't.
I have grown a lot since those days, and I understand that life isn't fair, and in all reality, I accept that it's not fair for many good reasons, most importantly that of allowing each of us the freedom to choose, which means accepting the consequences that come from making unwise or selfish choices, be they our own or those of others. I'm a classical liberal because I believe in freedom for all, even if I disagree with how people use it. I believe in freedom even if it means that I get shorted or treated poorly in some way.
It's interesting to me, however, that despite this much more mature belief that I have developed since my childhood, I still find myself having an internal 'temper tantrum' every so often, exclaiming internally, "But it's NOT fair!" I catch myself when I say it, but that desire for justice never seems to fully go away. In fact, sometimes it's so bad that jealousy rages within, or the tears stream down my face, and I'm left wondering if I'll ever learn how to accept things as they are at all.
I think this is an age-old feeling - this desire for justice and fairness -- that is at the root of many good intentions, but also, ultimately, much distress and evil. It makes me wonder why it is so difficult for us humans to accept the beauty that life is, with all its beautiful yet terrifying opposites and glaringly obvious injustices. Some may only see a fight that can never really be won unless free choice is completely eliminated (and then what kind of result is that?). Only a rare few seem to be able to embrace the complexities of life; the injustices, the trials, the pains and the heartaches, right along with the joys, the wins, and the love -- and are able to not only see clearly how one side must exist to experience the other, but understand how to integrate this knowledge into their lives and subsequently becoming happier and freer than most of us can even imagine.
I hope someday to be one of those types of people. Then maybe the little naive girl inside of me will stop crying about life not being fair.
Aug 23, 2013
Well, I finally tackled the job. I removed the tray from the flex drawer and just looked at the messy caramel mess and considered different ways of cleaning it out. Finally, I decided to pour a little Goo-Gone onto it and I let it sit for 10 minutes. After that, I poured enough cold (not HOT) water to cover the stain, and let it sit 5 more minutes. Using cold water is important: if you use hot water, it will just continue to 'cook' the caramel. Use cold water only. When I went back to check it out, I found that much of the sugar had dissolved in the cold water. It was a breeze cleaning it out -- I just scraped out most of it with my finger and then wiped the rest of it clean.
Of course, I did end up spilling about a quart of water on the floor because I forgot that there were air holes on the bottom of the tray. Other than that, it was a success!
This method will also work for your bowls and pans that may be affected by burnt and/or hardened caramel! Good luck!
May 23, 2013
For the sea glass candlestick tutorial (which is super easy), click here.
I personally think it's cute, and it will go great with everything else I have in mind for the kitchen. I don't know that I won't eventually replace it, but for now, it still looks 100 times better than the boob light that was there.
For the entryway, we got a hold of an extension ladder from a neighbor and then repainted the ugly brass chandelier that was hanging there (Rustoleum oil-rubbed bronze metallic spray paint - it was so easy!). Later, we were able to paint the entryway grey, so that it's no longer the blah off-white it used to be. You can "kinda' see the color here. Our awesome coatrack is on display here, too.
My latest project (below): distressed-looking signs. We have a bunch of old cedar fencing in our garage that was there when we got there (half of our fence is down due to bad windstorms that happened before we even moved in). I decided to repurpose some of it and first made a sign for my co-worker and friend Megan, and her fiancée, Yani. Then I decided to make one of my own to hand above the coat rack :) It's only my second attempt, so I know I'll get better as I keep trying, but so far I'm really liking it!
Mar 10, 2013
Anyway, I wanted to share a few projects that I've completed (or my husband and I have completed) since moving in. We have been so busy with work, life, and just plain unpacking that we really haven't had time (or money) to dedicate to even small projects. However, as we complete our projects I feel that much more that we are making this our home.
I am always getting ideas from Pinterest and then attempt to put them together. Funny thing about Pinterest -- I noticed how my style has started to drastically change. I used to be all minimalist and modern. Now I am finding that I like to be more eclectic with my style, but I am definitely loving some vintage and antique looks jazzed up in a modern way in my interior design. I think it began with this wonderful purchase from Craigslist:
This was never my style before. I was such an Ikea fan. However, I saw this for $20 and thought it would work in with the first idea I had about decorating our new living room.
This was my original inspiration: (note: I'm not sure the source of this image, but have seen it posted several times on the internet).
This is what it now looks like with the rug. There's still a lot I need to do (like figure out window treatments and completely re-do the tv area) but we're getting closer :)
Aug 20, 2012
The first project I took on was to change the stair railing/banister. I would have loved to replace it, but money is tight, so I decided to remake it instead. This is what it looked like before:
...and this is what it looked like after:
Doesn't it look fabulous? I used General Finishes Java Gel Stain, as recommended by the blogger who posted this fabulous idea (see below). It was really difficult to find, but I found it at Woodcraft in Draper, UT. Anyway, I still have to touch up the white paint on the railing, but you can't see the blemishes in these pictures, so I took them anyway. I'm also planning on painting the white trim that you see in the 3rd finished photo a dark java color as well, so it will match.
This was a pretty easy project. I found it while perusing Pinterest. I found this tutorial from the blog entitled Monica Wants It. She did it to her builder grade honey oak bathroom cabinets. This is something I'd love to do as well, as I can tell our bathroom cabinets were similar, except that the previous owners painted them. I'm not sure what would happen if I strip the paint off; as it is chipped in some places it already looks like it wasn't even a nice honey oak but rather a honey oak veneer. But I digress. Anyway, I followed Monica's tutorial to a "T", and even allowed the allotted drying times, despite my impatience. And she is right that after the first application, it doesn't look so wonderful! This is what mine looked after coat 1 and coat 2:
Needless to say, patience pays off. I applied two coats of the General Finishes Clear Gel Topcoat because this is an area that hands will be running along all the time. I might even add a third just to make sure.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed doing this project! Please do visit the original post if you would like to know just how to do this to that 80's builder grade honey oak in your own home :)
Now to get that chandelier painted...
Mar 15, 2012
Oct 24, 2011
Another reason is because this has sort of been the theme of this weekend. I spent another Friday night and Saturday morning crying to my husband; another failed attempt at visiting family in Idaho because I was too sick; another week gone by feeling like I was an utter failure. When just a little over a year ago I was able to work a 12 hour day, go to the temple, pray for at least 1 hour, and get exercise in, these days I am lucky if I get my grading done for my University of Phoenix psychology students and also get a green smoothie made and consumed.
Anyway, honestly, I am tired of the psychosomatic illnesses on top of the real illnesses I already have. I am tired of the anxiety overwhelming me when I know better -- after all, how good of a therapist can I possibly be if I can't get my own anxieties under control? I cried to Dustin about how much this wasn't me; how the hopeless, sickly, pale woman sitting in the tub for the fourth time that day was not the woman I knew I was.
He lovingly told me I was everything to him, and that he understood that this behavior was not the real me. He gently reminded me to let go of the negativity; to be compassionate and patient with myself. He told me all the things I often tell my clients -- things I know to be true, but somehow, along the way, I have forgotten how to apply in my own life.
I took a long nap (and by long, I mean I slept most of the day). Later on Saturday evening Dustin suggested (again) that we watch 'The Secret'. While I understood its premise (after all, I am a big proponent of the Law of Attraction and use it in almost all my therapy) I just have had no desire to see it. I expected it to be overly secular and completely missing the mark when it came to Truth -- Truth as defined by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Boy was I wrong. Dustin knows me too well. He knows I'm a big-picture person, and I am positive that he knew how I would tie it in to gospel principles, psychological theories, and all the things I have already learned and gained a testimony of to be true. It was like reading Widtsoe's "Rational Theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" and William Glasser's "Choice Theory" all in one, with a healthy dose of 2 Nephi and D&C 93 to boot. When it got to the part about asking the 'universe' for what we want (the universe, in my eyes, being Heavenly Father), and truly believing that we would receive -- believing to the point that we didn't just believe it but we felt it within our entire beings, my eyes opened real wide as I recalled the single scripture that I clung to through the entire Jimi/spiritual ordeal.
Mormon 9:21 reads:
Behold, I say unto you that whoso believeth in Christ, doubting nothing, whatsoever he shall ask the Father in the name of Christ it shall be granted him; and this promise is unto all, even unto the ends of the earth."Well, duh, Michelle!" I thought to myself, and quickly turned to Dustin to share with him my latest big-picture discovery (something that he already knew, apparently!) It really WAS all about faith. Huh. So ok, it's not like I did not know that, but somehow, this more secularized description of what I already knew helped me to better understand this important theological truth. I was reminded of how Ketan and Henry had tried for several months last year to get me to understand the whole "Be still, and know that I am God" bit. The whole concept of concentrating on the negative; on what I didn't undertand or didn't have only made things worse. The whole bit on how faith actually worked - it really meant giving it all to Him -- to Christ -- and refusing to keep taking it back. Ketan's horse and carriage analogy came back to my mind. Henry's pleading with me to simply believe and accept God's will came back, too. And then I remembered how I had figured this out in small pieces before.
For example, the time when I realized I did not have to be skinny to be healthy and beautiful; and I had accepted myself and loved myself for who I was (which, of course, didn't last...but I had understood the concept for some time). Or how about the time when I tested the power of positive thinking and how that alone, along with the exercise and healthy eating regime I had started months earlier doubled my weight-loss? Or how about how I had manifested the things my heart really desired in the past - even things of a temporal nature? Or, most recent and most profoundly of all -- how I finally let go of trying to understand to my rational satisfaction why Heavenly Father had told me all the things He had, concerning my eternal companion, only to find out I had somehow been wrong? I gave up trying to understand how He was going to keep His promise to me. After Thanksgiving of last year, when I finally saw a picture of Jimi and his new bride, I just knew, somehow, that things were how they were supposed to be. I let go of that need to understand. I finally released all that pain, heartache, and control and gave it to Him. Then I became determined to have the best December I could have.
It was during that wonderful December that I met my husband. Shortly after it became clear that God had kept His promise all along; I simply had to learn to let go and let Him work.
So yeah. I've learned and applied this concept before. So what has been preventing me from doing it again? God has proven Himself time and time again to me. He is ever faithful, if I keep to my covenants & simply keep trying. So what if I can't see how He is going to take care of my health, when I am sitting here with no money and no health insurance and big issues that are affecting my very ability to get through a day? Can He (or the universe, as 'The Secret' calls Him) not make things work out? If I let go of the negativity and the constant worry about my health, perhaps, just perhaps, I will start to attract the things I do want, rather than keep attracting what I don't want by putting so much worry and energy into just that.
Cannot God help me with my financial crisis? Has He not been there previously? Have I not learned the Law of Attraction ('The Secret') by simply paying my tithing? Paying tithing is a positive act that demonstrates that very faith in Him and His promises. It demonstrates my willingness to believe; to think positively, and to move forward. Just because right now I don't know how I'm going to pay all the bills that are coming due in the next 2 weeks doesn't mean that I won't be able to. If I keep worrying and thinking about it negatively, though, I am going to manifest just that - overdue bills. But if I concentrate on what I want -- enough money to pay them -- trust in the Lord that He will help and provide -- I will find just that.
Life is meant to be enjoyed. Every person who has understood this 'Secret' has enjoyed or does enjoy his or her life. 2 Nephi 2:25 IS true:
I must admit that I love when I see so many truths come together as One. I love how these truths continue to support the Truth that I know is the gospel of Jesus Christ. I understand better how and why the gospel truly is the "good news". While trials and tribulations are an inevitable part of life, the more we are willing to see that they themselves do not have an independent, individual existence, and that it is only through giving our life energy TO those trials that give them, in fact, any power over us. If we understand this, we start to see life in a different light; we can see through our suffering instead of from it (Guy Finley, The Inside Story on Stress and Worry).
It's pretty darn exciting to see how much power we truly have; and to see how God designed the universe in the way that He did. God, or energy, cannot be created nor destroyed. Neither can we be, as we are energy. D&C 93: 29-34 tells us:
29 Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.That is pretty dang sweet, isn't it? :) We have agency to choose joy. Truth has been manifested unto us in many ways, in many forms -- and those of us who choose to receive its light will find joy. It makes total sense how we, part of the elements, have to be inseparably connected for this whole concept to work -- for this whole idea that we can manifest joy ourselves; with the help of a loving Father in heaven.
30 All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence.
31 Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.
32 And every man whose spirit receiveth not the light is under condemnation.
33 For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness of joy;
34 And when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.
Anyway. I love eureka moments like this. I have been sick again this weekend. But truths I once knew but forgot; truths that are restoring themselves again in my mind; and new truths that are becoming known unto me are telling me the same thing: I have agency. I can choose to be happy. God wants me to be happy - but He will never force it upon me. Through my faith; through my positive thinking - through ridding my mind of fear, doubt, and negativity, I can manifest anything I want (Mormon 9:21 -remember?) because He is already willing to give it to me!! The work that is necessary is to simply ask, listen and look for the answer, and receive!
Dustin and I watched a few more talks from General Conference that we missed at the time. These talks centered around this whole theme as well. Perhaps it might not be obvious to anyone who is reading this how everything I just said is linked, but that link is gloriously obvious to me. Hearing prophets of the Lord only confirm such things brings me a hope and peace that nothing else could. President Uchtdorf's (and my husband's) reminder to be patient and compassionate with myself was a seed to helping me discover, or rediscover truths that really aren't so secret after all.
In fact, these Truths are manifest around us everywhere. They are in everything. We simply have to look and see.
Oct 10, 2011
I'm honestly trying to not feel sorry for myself. I am all about taking responsibility. I know my family and I were oblivious to the dangers of the typical American diet, even 20+ years ago when it was slightly better, but having to turn everything around and try to start a new lifestyle change (not just a diet) is HARD WORK. I certainly do not plan on giving up, but I have been at this off and on for the past 7 years and have seen only moderate changes. The little change isn't because what I have been doing doesn't work, but because it becomes so difficult for me to concentrate on everything (get exercise in, eat the right foods, deal with school/work/personal life stress, work on emotional stability, spirituality, etc.) that there have been too many times when I have had to slow down.
I am proud to say I have never completely given up hope. Even when I do not eat that well, I still am aware of what I eat and watch what I eat. The thing is, I'm not an overeater by any means. Both my husband and I have to be reminded to eat. And yes, yes I know that this can cause weight gain itself because the body may think it's in starvation mode. The thing is, with my body, even when I do eat more I still gain weight -- it doesn't seem to care how much or how little I am eating. So that leads me to WHAT I eat.
I still do better on that, even during my off times, than I used to. Having once been hypnotized to like vegetables I found some success in that. It came mostly with salads and little else, but hey -- I used to never touch a salad, period. That's progress, if even a little, right?
But anyway, back to the Wah Fest. Please excuse me if I am coming across as a whiner, but sometimes everything just gets so overwhelming that I need to let it out in some form or another. I definitely talk to my husband, and he is very much empathetic as he has suffered with his own severe health issues in the past, but he will never know the pain that comes from looking in the mirror and seeing all your hard work not pay off. I wish I could say that it has paid off on the inside, but that would be a lie, too - because suddenly I am worse than I have ever been. I have a lot of symptoms, but if I could only lose the chronic fatigue I feel I could at least do something more about the rest.
Yeah, I know. Energy begets energy. I'm trying. I want to see a colon hydrotherapist again, as that has helped in the past, but guess what? No money. I would love to regularly use a Far-Infrared spa for sweat therapy, but again, no money. Heck, even buying all the vegetables and fruits that we have been buying lately costs so much more than the processed junk food that lines the aisles at the grocery store. Popping in a nutrition-less frozen meal is so much easier and cheaper than finding recipes that are palatable, delicious, and only incorporate whole foods, preferably green, leafy, alkaline vegetables.
So, here I am, telling myself over and over again to not feel sorry for myself. Yeah, things are tough, but I know I am still blessed beyond measure. The Lord has made sure of that. He has helped Dustin and I to find one another, and to have that love and support is something I yearned for and begged Him for for years. I have that. I have a roof over my head. I have a new career that will eventually take off. I have two legs and two arms and even if I'm not losing weight or gaining energy like I want, I have the ability to move and to keep trying. Most of all, I have agency to make the choices that I need to make in order to continue reaching for my goals, including my health goals. It doesn't matter how long it takes as long as I keep trying and do not give up.
Maybe I don't have the salary I used to make in my previous career. Maybe I don't have health insurance or good health, for that matter. Maybe I wish I had a full-time job doing what I love -- helping others help themselves. But I do have the opportunity to push myself to attain those goals, and that is definitely the best gift I could ever have.
P.S. If you want to learn more about our journey of eating healthier and finding delicious recipes, please read my other blog, It's Easy Being Green.
Oct 8, 2011
|Dustin & I exiting the temple|
|A kiss for the crowd!|
|Shoving cake in each other's faces;)|
|My precious nieces (and flower girls), Lucy, Audrey & Isabel|
|My adorable ring bearer and nephew, Alex|
Jun 9, 2010
I have so many projects going at once. I'm thankful for Jimi (who is now absent from my life -- his choice, not mine) for spending several hours writing a program to convert my 8 years of posts from Blogger's .xml format to a format that can be read by Lyx, a free document processor that allows me to format my posts into book form, and later publish it as an addition to my journals/diaries.
Anyway...I should be getting back to work.
May 17, 2008
I know what you're thinking. You think I'm dead. Because you cannot see me with your human eye, cannot feel me, with your hands or hold me in your arms. You feel as if I am gone forever. You recall how I looked when I left this place and you cannot remotely imagine how I could possibly be alive and happy in another place. You are racked and torn by the pain of our separation and it blinds you to that which is right in front of you ... me.
How many times since I left your immediate sight have you been told that I'm dead and you should "get over it"... How many times have you cried yourself to sleep because you feel like an outcast, believing you're supposed to get over me because that's what people say is normal... but somehow you can't and no one seems to understand? How many times have you put yourself through such excruciating pain because you aren't willing to consider that I am not, by any means, dead ?
I want you to do me a favor and go back in time with me. Remember the glorious day I came into your home- was I not the most intriguing creature you'd ever met? Did I not make you laugh and giggle? Did I not look at you with such adoration that you wanted nothing more than to spend the rest of your life with me? I wanted this too. Remember the days when I was in my prime and we did many things together? You were so proud of me! I was a good friend and I took care of you when you cried, were angry or felt down and unhappy. When you didn't have a lot of time for me because of your obligations, I waited patiently for you. I was always there when you needed me. Did I not look at you with such acceptance and patience that at times you felt perhaps a bit unworthy? You were never unworthy in my eyes. Remember when age crept up on me, my bones became stiff and my movements slower. Still I met you at the door when you came home and followed you around the house. We'd been together for so long, I was your very best friend regardless of what you were doing, saying, thinking. Did I not look at you with such kindness and understanding that you felt overwhelmed? I couldn't get enough of you.
Remember the last time we saw each other with earthly eyes? You tried to be brave but I knew you were crying ... I know you so well - better than anyone else in the whole world. Did I not look at you with such pure trust and love that you yearned only to hold me close and keep me with you always? Did you not promise that you would love me forever? I believed you. If this is so then why have you let me go by thinking I no longer exist? Remember the depth in my eyes all those times I looked at you with adoration, acceptance, patience, trust and love. Who created this depth and love? Would the Creator diminish the song of our laughter which was created in the name of love? I am no longer an earthly figure, this is true. My body was only part of who I really am. My body would have been but a mere shell on earth if it were not filled to overflowing with my soul, my spirit, my loving light.
When we met you thought I was cute, sweet, pretty and adorable. But what kind of relationship would we have had if this is all that I'd been? How could you have loved me if I'd had no spiritual substance? We are all made up of energy which resides far deep down inside of us, it is our core, our soul, spirit and loving light. It is the energy that is all of life ... it has no beginning, it has no end. It simply is and always will be and without it there is no life. You can't see it with the naked eye nor can you hold it in your hand, it is simply a certain knowing that this energy does exist. It's a knowing just as you know that our love existed on earth - you couldn't see our love in a solid sense, you couldn't gather it all up and confine it to one place. But you *knew* it existed. There was no doubt in your mind. They demand you get over me, insisting that I'm dead and you'll never see me again because animals don't go to Heaven. Oh really? I'm here to tell you different. You were worthy of my love and undying devotion on earth as I was of yours. Do you really believe this love would be snatched from us *forever* by a loving Creator simply because I wasn't human? Was I not a living, breathing creation with personality? How could I have been so if I didn't possess the energy of soul, spirit and loving light? And if this energy is and always will be, then how can it be that I am dead? If my core is not of the energy that is all of life then I was never alive to begin with.
But you know better. You cry because you miss me, this I understand. I miss you too - I miss the belly rubs, hugs and kisses that we shared. But life does go on beyond these wonderful, fulfilling physical connections. I came to this place to live a whole new life, not because I didn't love you anymore or because I wanted something better - I came here because it was time for me to go to the next phase of my existence, something all living creatures must do eventually. It is the normal progression of life. I was not taken away from you because you cannot take away that which was never owned. My presence in your life was and is a gift to be cherished and honored - just as I cherish and honor you.
Life is not simply about being born into a body, living a certain number of years and then dying. Energy cannot die. We are blessed with time in a body so that we can learn, share and grow. It prepares us for the next phase of our eternal life. The body holds within it the true life force of our existence ...our soul, spirit and loving light. Without these our bodies would be empty, blank, void of feeling and expression. Without our energy we would indeed be dead and could never have experienced our love for each other.
You say that all you have left are memories. Not so. You see, when I took leave of my earthly body I left a little something behind for you. You can't touch it, hold it or examine it. For what I left behind is far too uninhibited for confinement. I left behind a piece of my soul. I placed it right next to your own which is quite fitting as we were always side by side in our earthly life together. I love you too much to have left you with nothing but memories which tend to fade and grow cloudy as the years go by. I love you too much to have vanished without a trace. How selfish it would be of me to remove love and light from your life. I understand your tears, each one you shed is testament to your love for me and I am honored and humbled. But don't forget the good things we shared - remember and smile. This is an honor for me as well. And when you need me I will be here. Close your eyes, relax, take slow, deep breaths and picture me in your mind. Shut off the world and your notions of what death is and give me a chance. Look for the subtle signs I send you. Don't stop being proud of me, I am a friend to be proud of, I am still your friend and soul mate. Don't memorialize the death of my body but instead honor and celebrate my never-ending life for it is eternal and forever as is my love for you. Until we meet again...
I love you,
Jul 12, 2007
When Peaceniks Attack, Journalists Snooze
Wed Jul 11, 3:00 AM ET
A young Air Force airman is fighting for his life in Camden, N.J. He was shot on Independence Day by a crazed gunman who reportedly had a beef with the military and the U.S. government and "wanted to make a statement" on the Fourth of July. Have you heard about the plight of 22-year-old McGuire Air Force Base loadmaster Jonathan Schrieken? Probably not.
The shooting got no mention in The New York Times — not even a squib in a back section (though the paper did see fit to put the shooting of a 7-year-old girl in Trenton on the front page).
Local media outlets have gathered a few news tidbits about the shooter, Matthew Marren, who killed himself after attacking Schrieken outside his Willingboro home. Schrieken roomed with a few other servicemen in the rented house. Schrieken did not know Marren. PhillyBurbs.com reported that a relative said Marren was "angry at the government and wanted to make a statement" on Independence Day. Authorities found two suicide notes that "were indicative of an individual suffering from mental-health problems."
A random act of insanity? Not so fast. There's more to the story. A reader whose son is the best friend of Senior Airman Schrieken wrote to Charles Johnson of the Little Green Footballs (littlegreenfootballs.com) blog with background details:
"My son's best friend, Jon, who's in the Air Force stationed in New Jersey at Fort Dix/McGuire Air Force Base, was shot by a crazed anti-military white guy on Independence Day and he remains in critical condition. He had been on leave here in Ohio and got back to his home off base and was unpacking stuff from his car when this 22-year-old guy walked up to him and asked him if he lived in the house. When Jon said yes, the guy said 'not any more' and shot him point-blank in the chest. He tried to shoot him again, but his gun jammed. Jonathan made it into the house. The guy then shot himself.
"Turns out the guy left a couple of suicide notes stating how much he hated the military and he wanted to go out making a statement, so he chose to make his statement on Independence Day trying to kill a soldier. We are very worried about our Airman . . . he's like a son to me. He's been to Iraq and Afghanistan on our behalf and then gets shot in his own driveway here in the U.S. by an anti-war, anti-American lunatic. This is gut wrenching."
Now, imagine the scenario flipped: What if a soldier had attempted to murder a peace activist over the holidays in order to "make a statement"? The Times would be holding front-page vigil, and Katie Couric's brow would be furrowed for a week. The yakkity yaks on "The View" would be clucking their tongues about the culture of violence bred by the military — and who knows what Rosie O'Donnell would be dressing her poor child in to exploit the story on her website.
Funny how the Root Causes crowd becomes so incurious about the root causes of crime when the suspects are anti-military nutballs and anti-war protesters. To the extent leftists pay any attention at all to this attempted murder, you can expect it to be downplayed as an isolated incident. Never mind the pro-fragging comments made by troop-bashing academic fraudsters like Ward Churchill; the iconic banners that proclaim "We support our troops when they shoot their own officers" and "Don't impeach Bush . . . execute him"; the countless acts of vandalism against military recruitment offices nationwide since 9/11; and the burning of soldiers in effigy by hate-filled peaceniks.
Oh, and this week, the trial of Michael Curtis Reynolds began. He's a Pennsylvania man and al Qaeda sympathizer accused of plotting to blow up U.S. energy installations in order to drive up gas prices and precipitate a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. In e-mail exchanges with Internet sleuth Shannen Rossmiller, who unmasked the bombing plot, Reynolds called the United States an "accursed country" and said "it isn't the land of the free, but the home of the new dictators."
Harmless rantings? No. Ideas, like the bullet in Jon Schrieken's chest, have consequences.
Readers can send get-well wishes to Schrieken at http://www.cooperhealth.org/content/PatientGuide_egreetings.htm.
Michelle Malkin is author of "Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild." Her e-mail address is email@example.com.
Jun 12, 2007
We may deny that we value our aches, but on the other hand, we think about them all the time. We have yet to recognize the fact that our thinking about any painful event as something real, solid and unavoidable is one of the conditions that perpetuate it. Take one thing out of the mix of elements that make up any moment in life, and it is no longer the same event. When we stop giving our life energy to any moment which seems overpowering, it loses its illusion of power. In that moment is also lost our prior belief that we have to submit to its punishment.
This shows us that no negative state or event has any individual, independent existence. We can begin to free ourselves from the event when we understand the truth about its power over us. Until now, we thought from our suffering instead of toward our suffering. Now, however, because of our new understanding, we can see through our suffering instead of through its eyes. And what a world of difference this distinction makes!
What we see is that our perception produces what we experience, and our experience is made up of many different small elements that by themselves mean nothing. When our perception combines and organizes these events, and connects itself to them through an expectation or desire, the thing takes on a kind of life. It appears to us as a whole, dark, permanent entity that has the power to hurt us, but it isn't that at all. It's only a confluence of events that has conditional dependence, and the primary condition that gives it power is our perception. When all these conditions are stirred up and "baked in a cake," that cake has reality to us. But in fact, the cake is made up of individual facts that will simply pass if we let them.
Why have we not seen this for ourselves? Why have we not let those facts just pass by without grabbing onto them? It's because we have become so used to being in a storm, we aren't at all sure who we are without something to suffer over. As strange as it may seem, we welcome the painful experience because it makes us feel real. But who is it who feels real? It's the false self -- the intimate enemy.
Can you see what good news this is for those of us who wish to free ourselves from false suffering and find the higher life? It means that all those conditions that seemed so real and painful are just the creation of faulty perception. Our belief that the event had the power to hurt us is what made it so punishing and continued its existence, but now we understand that if the events are left to themselves, they must move on. The expression "This too shall pass" is now revealed in all its wisdom. Every temporary coming together of events must pass as long as we don't keep it going through our own thoughts.
The bitter cake can't exist if one of the ingredients is displaced. In our own lives, we have kept the achy cake baking; but now that we see the facts, we no longer need to be a victim of our own misunderstanding. We can inwardly say to that suffering state, "You are not a power. You only feel like one. The knots in my life that have me all tied up have no power over me outside of my own misperception. That misperception put the stone in my shoe, but now I will learn to see things as they really are."
Now that we know negative events are not powerful in themselves, we can turn away from what we perceive as permanent punishment toward what can be called permanent pleasure. This is the same thing as turning toward Truth.
-- Guy Finley
Jun 9, 2007
I decided that I was strong enough to watch the slide show memoriam that I put together last year for the Murphy family reunion. Sure enough, I was driven to tears before the third slide.
My uncle was the patriarch of not only his nuclear family, but his extended family (my family) as well. He was every bit the father in my life that I and my siblings and cousins needed. He taught us respect, honesty, integrity, autonomy, community, and most of all, recognition of and gratitude for the Lord our God. He was the epitomy of empathy, compassion, and no-nonsense. He was also the family funnyman. We often referred to him as the "white" Bill Cosby. Just watch the Cosby show sometime; my uncle and Cosby not only shared the same birthday, but they shared the same humor, mannerisms (right down to the devlish smirk, the laugh, and the jokes), and concern for those around them.
Mike Murphy was a hero in every sense of the word. He always went out of his way to serve those around him; even perfect strangers. His ability to unconditionally love anyone and everyone enabled him to endure the toughest of situations (and of those he had plenty) with determination and a smile. It was exceedingly rare to ever hear a complaint escape from his lips. He was an advocate of moral agency and choice; and repeatedly taught me how everything I felt; every reaction; every action; every thought, every word spoken, every deed done was a choice. He choose to be happy; and happy he was. Life never brought him down; in fact, he just brought life back up with him.
I'd like to end by sharing the words of my sister, written in her blog a year ago, and the tribute that I mentioned earlier.
I want you to know Uncle Mike that you are and always will be my hero. I've looked up to you my entire life and deservedly so you've been on one of my highest pedastels. If I had never been blessed with you as my uncle I would not be the person I am today. You gave me something to strive for and to look for in a husband and father of my children. You've taught me how I want to be with my future nieces and nephews, what kind of person it is that deserves the respect you continue to command of the people who knew you even though you have left us. I hate those words. Were, left, without. They are terrible words. Even though I know better, that it's only physical, it still hurts so very much to know I will never be able to hug you again, that when I want to say, "I love you" to you that it will have to be "inside." I only wish we were given more time. How robbed I feel. I needed you still. I know I will get on with my life, but I needed you still when you went "home." I know you're up there smiling and laughing and happy to be with your mom, dad, and brother. I can't wait to see you again, it will be one of the happiest times it will. I love you so very much unkie. I will miss you terribly so and will think of you every day that passes. Thank you for being a wonderful uncle, father and grandpa to me, you have affected the world more than you'll ever know. I don't want to say goodbye and I won't, I have to just say see you later.
I love you too, Uncle Mike. And I'll be seeing you again one day. You are my hero and the best man I have ever had the pleasure to know. I literally thank God every day for the blessing of having you play such a giant part of my life. You are the reason I am a different person today; one who chooses to be happy.
Apr 25, 2007
By ANDREW E. KRAMER
The New York Times
April 22, 2007
MOSCOW, April 21 — At their first meeting with journalists since taking over Russia's largest independent radio news network, the managers had startling news of their own: from now on, they said, at least 50 percent of the reports about Russia must be "positive."
In addition, opposition leaders could not be mentioned on the air and the United States was to be portrayed as an enemy, journalists employed by the network, Russian News Service, say they were told by the new managers, who are allies of the Kremlin.
How would they know what constituted positive news?
"When we talk of death, violence or poverty, for example, this is not positive," said one editor at the station who did not want to be identified for fear of retribution. "If the stock market is up, that is positive. The weather can also be positive."
In a darkening media landscape, radio news had been a rare bright spot. Now, the implementation of the "50 percent positive" rule at the Russian News Service leaves an increasingly small number of news outlets that are not managed by the Kremlin, directly or through the state national gas company, Gazprom, a major owner of media assets.
The three national television networks are already state controlled, though small-circulation newspapers generally remain independent.
This month alone, a bank loyal to President Vladimir V. Putin tightened its control of an independent television station, Parliament passed a measure banning "extremism" in politics and prosecutors have gone after individuals who post critical comments on Web chat rooms.
Parliament is also considering extending state control to Internet sites that report news, reflecting the growing importance of Web news as the country becomes more affluent and growing numbers of middle-class Russians acquire computers.
On Tuesday, the police raided the Educated Media Foundation, a nongovernmental group sponsored by United States and European donors that helps foster an independent news media. The police carried away documents and computers that were used as servers for the Web sites of similar groups. That brought down a Web site run by the Glasnost Defense Foundation, a media rights group, which published bulletins on violations of press freedoms.
"Russia is dropping off the list of countries that respect press freedoms," said Boris Timoshenko, a spokesman for the foundation. "We have propaganda, not information."
With this new campaign, seemingly aimed at tying up the loose ends before a parliamentary election in the fall that is being carefully stage-managed by the Kremlin, censorship rules in Russia have reached their most restrictive since the breakup of the Soviet Union, media watchdog groups say.
"This is not the U.S.S.R., when every print or broadcasting outlet was preliminarily censored," Masha Lipman, a researcher at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said in a telephone interview.
Instead, the tactic has been to impose state ownership on media companies and replace editors with those who are supporters of Mr. Putin — or offer a generally more upbeat report on developments in Russia these days.
The new censorship rules are often passed in vaguely worded measures and decrees that are ostensibly intended to protect the public.
Late last year, for example, the prosecutor general and the interior minister appeared before Parliament to ask deputies to draft legislation banning the distribution on the Web of "extremist" content — a catch phrase, critics say, for information about opponents of Mr. Putin.
On Friday, the Federal Security Service, a successor agency to the K.G.B., questioned Garry Kasparov, the former chess champion and opposition politician, for four hours regarding an interview he had given on the Echo of Moscow radio station. Prosecutors have accused Mr. Kasparov of expressing extremist views.
Parliament on Wednesday passed a law allowing for prison sentences of as long as three years for "vandalism" motivated by politics or ideology. Once again, vandalism is interpreted broadly, human rights groups say, including acts of civil disobedience. In a test case, Moscow prosecutors are pursuing a criminal case against a political advocate accused of posting critical remarks about a member of Parliament on a Web site, the newspaper Kommersant reported Friday.
State television news, meanwhile, typically offers only bland fare of official meetings. Last weekend, the state channels mostly ignored the violent dispersal of opposition protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Rossiya TV, for example, led its newscast last Saturday with Mr. Putin attending a martial arts competition, with the Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme as his guest. On the streets of the capital that day, 54 people were beaten badly enough by the police that they sought medical care, Human Rights Watch said.
Rossiya and Channel One are owned by the state, while NTV was taken from a Kremlin critic in 2001 and now belongs to Gazprom. Last week, a St. Petersburg bank with ties to Mr. Putin increased its ownership stake in REN-TV, a channel that sometimes broadcasts critical reports, raising questions about that outlet's continued independence.
The Russian News Service is owned by businesses loyal to the Kremlin, including Lukoil, though its exact ownership structure is not public. The owners had not meddled in editorial matters before, said Mikhail G. Baklanov, the former news editor, in a telephone interview.
The service provides news updates for a network of music-formatted radio stations, called Russian Radio, with seven million listeners, according to TNS Gallup, a ratings company.
Two weeks ago, the shareholders asked for the resignation of Mr. Baklanov. They appointed two new managers, Aleksandr Y. Shkolnik, director of children's programming on state-owned Channel One, and Svevolod V. Neroznak, an announcer on Channel One. Both retained their positions at state television.
Mr. Shkolnik articulated the rule that 50 percent of the news must be positive, regardless of what cataclysm might befall Russia on any given day, according to the editor who was present at the April 10 meeting.
When in doubt about the positive or negative quality of a development, the editor said, "we should ask the new leadership."
"We are having trouble with the positive part, believe me," the editor said.
Mr. Shkolnik did not respond to a request for an interview. In an interview with Kommersant, he denied an on-air ban of opposition figures. He said Mr. Kasparov might be interviewed, but only if he agreed to refrain from extremist statements.
The editor at the news service said that the change had been explained as an effort to attract a larger, younger audience, but that many editorial employees had interpreted it as a tightening of political control ahead of the elections.
The station's news report on Thursday noted the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Moscow metro. It closed with an upbeat item on how Russian trains are introducing a six-person sleeping compartment, instead of the usual four.
Already, listeners are grumbling about the "positive news" policy.
"I want fresh morning broadcasts and not to fall asleep," one listener, who signed a posting on the station's Web site as Sergei from Vladivostok, complained. "Maybe you've tortured RNS's audience enough? There are just a few of us left. Down with the boring nonintellectual broadcasts!"
The change leaves Echo of Moscow, an irreverent and edgy news station that often provides a forum for opposition voices, as the only independent radio news outlet in Russia with a national reach.
And what does Aleksei Venediktov, the editor in chief of Echo of Moscow, think of the latest news from Russia?
"For Echo of Moscow, this is positive news," Mr. Venediktov said. "We are a monopoly now. From the point of view of the country, it is negative news."
Glenn Beck did an interested story in this little-publicized story. Check it out:
The REAL Story 04-23-97
snopes.com has found that this story is true, give or take a few "numerical facts".
LOOK OVER THE DESCRIPTIONS OF THE FOLLOWING TWO HOUSES AND SEE IF YOU CAN TELL WHICH BELONGS TO AN ENVIRONMENTALIST.
HOUSE # 1:
A 20-room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guest house all heated by gas. In ONE MONTH ALONE this mansion consumes more energy than the average American household in an ENTIRE YEAR. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2,400.00 per month. In natural gas alone (which last time we checked was a fossil fuel), this property consumes more than 12 the average local home. This house is not in a northern or Midwestern "snow belt," either. It's in the South.
HOUSE # 2:
Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university, this house incorporates every "green" feature current home construction can provide. The house contains only 4,000 square feet (4 bedrooms) and is nestled on arid high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 degrees F.) heats the house in winter and cools it in summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas, and it consumes 25% of the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Flowers and shrubs native to the area blend the property into the surrounding rural landscape.
HOUSE # 1 (20 room energy guzzling mansion) is outside of Nashville, Tennessee. It is the abode of that renowned environmentalist (and filmmaker) Al Gore.
HOUSE # 2 (model eco-friendly house) is on a ranch near Crawford, Texas. Also known as "the Texas White House," it is the private residence of the President of the United States, George W. Bush.
So whose house is gentler on the environment? Yet another story you WON'T hear on CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC or read about in the New York Times or the Washington Post. Indeed, for Mr. Gore, it's truly "an inconvenient truth."
By Lynne Forest
Most of us unconsciously react to life from a position of victim-hood. Anytime we refuse to take responsibility for ourselves, we are opting to play victim. This leaves us feeling at the mercy of, done in by and un-faired against; no matter what our situation might be.
Victim-hood consists of three positions outlined by Stephen Karpman, a teacher of Transactional Analysis, on what he called the "Drama Triangle". Having learned of it some thirty years ago, it has been one of the most important tools in my personal, as well as professional life. As my understanding of the Drama Triangle has expanded, so has my appreciation for this simple, but powerfully accurate instrument. I call it the "shame machine" because through it we unconsciously re-enact our vicious cycles, thereby creating shame. Every dysfunctional interaction takes place on the Drama Triangle! Until we make these dynamics conscious, we cannot transform them. Unless we transform them, we cannot move forward on our journey towards re-claiming our spiritual heritage.
Karpman named the three roles on the Drama Triangle Persecutor, Rescuer and Victim and placed them on an upside down triangle representing the three faces of victim. Even though only one is called Victim, all three originate out of and end up back there. Therefore they are all stopping places on the road to victim-hood. We each have a most familiar, or what I call, starting gate position.
We first learn our primary position from within our family. Although we each have a role we most identify with, we will also rotate through the other positions, going completely around the triangle, sometimes in a matter of minutes, or even seconds, many times every day.
It's difficult to see ourselves (or others) as victims when we are in a care-taking or blaming role. Nonetheless these two, Rescuer and Persecutor, are the two opposite extremes of Victim. This is simply because all roles eventually lead back to victim. It's inevitable.
You might notice that both the Persecutor and Rescuer are on the upper end of the triangle. Whenever we assume either of those stances, we come across as one-up. From either position we are relating as though we are better, stronger, smarter, or more-together than the victim. Sooner or later the victim, who is in a one-down position, develops a metaphorical "crick in the neck" from looking up. Feeling"looked down upon", resentment builds and some form of retaliation inevitably follows. At that point the victim moves into a persecutor role. Reminiscent of a not-so-musical game of musical chairs, all players sooner or later rotate positions.
Here's an example. Dad comes home from work to find mom coming down hard on Junior with, "Clean up your room or else" threats. He immediately comes to the rescue,"Mom" he might say,"give the boy a break". Any one of several possibilities might occur next. Perhaps Mom, feeling victimized by dad, turns on him, automatically moving him into a victim position. They might do a few quick trips around the triangle with Junior on the sidelines. Or maybe Junior joins dad in a persecutory "Let's gang up on mom" approach, and they could play it from that angle. Or Junior could turn-coat on dad, rescuing mom, with; "Mind your own business, dad . . . I don't need your help!" So it goes, with endless variations perhaps, but nonetheless, round and round the triangle. For many families, it's the only way they know how to communicate.
Everyone has a starting-gate position on the Drama Triangle. This is not only the place we most often get hooked, but also the role through which we actually define ourselves; a strong part of our identity. Each starting-gate position has its own particular way of seeing and reacting to the world. Each primary position originates out of a particular life theme and moves around the triangle in its own distinct way.
For instance, although we all eventually end up in the victim position on the triangle, the starting-gate position of Rescuer (*from here forward Starting-gate positions will be capitalized to differentiate them from the movement through a particular role) moves through victim and persecutor in a very different way than do either a primary Persecutor or Victim.
The Rescuer moves into victim wearing the cloak of martyrdom("After all I've done for you ..."), whereas a Persecutor claims victim as a way to justify vengeance(If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have had to ...."). Whereas a Rescuer may persecute by withdrawing their care-taking, a Persecutor's rescuing is liable to be almost as painful as when they are in attack-mode. And a starting-gate Victim is perpetually pitiful and incapable. They even rescue from a one-down position! ("You're the only one who can help me, because you're so talented, or smart, or whatever!")
Our primary positions are generally set-up in childhood. For instance, if a parent is overly protective, doing everything for a child, then that child may grow up to feel incapable of taking care of themselves. This sets them up for a life-time role of Victim. Or, the opposite; they might come to feel angry and vindictive if others don't take care of them, thereby adopting a primary Persecutor stance.
There are many variations, and each case needs to be individually considered.
We not only act out these triangular distortions in our everyday relations with others, but also internally. We move around the triangle as rapidly inside our minds as we do out in the world. We trap ourselves with dishonest and dysfunctional internal dialogue. For example, we may come down hard on ourselves for not completing a project. Perhaps we lambaste ourselves as being lazy, inadequate or defective, causing us to spiral into feelings of anger and self-worthlessness. Inwardly, we cow to this persecutory voice, fearing it may be right. Can you see the persecutor/victim exchange happening here? As soon as we begin to blame or insult, a victim is created. And in this case, we're it! This could go on for minutes, hours or days, but sooner or later, there will be a voice in us that comes to the rescue. Because we're feeling lousy and need relief, we start to make excuses,"Well, I would have finished that project if it hadn't been for ...", we might say. Now we have moved into rescuer.
Sometimes we rescue ourselves (and others) by denying what we know,"If I look the other way and pretend not to notice, it will go away" sort of tactic. These inner dramas perpetuate a vicious cycle of shame spirals and self loathing.
Similar to the way a generator produces electricity, the Drama Triangle generates shame. Whether through internal interaction or external communication, moving around the triangle keeps the self-disparaging messages going. The Drama Triangle becomes our own personal shame machine. The good news is that we can do something about it. All we have to do is learn to turn off the shame machine in order to get off the triangle. It's a simple, although not easy, remedy.
Before we can get off the triangle we have to recognize and be willing to let go of the drama produced therein. We must first become intimately acquainted with the costs and trade-offs of each stopping place on the path of victim-hood. This allows us not only to recognize the various roles, but to realistically evaluate the consequences of being there as well.
Identifying the language and moves of each role further helps us to apprehend when we are being invited by others to join them on the triangle. With this awareness, we can choose whether or not we want to dance to the shame generating tune of victim. With that end in mind, let's examine each role carefully.
The Rescuer role is the shadow mother principle. It's the typically co-dependent response we think of as"smothering". It's a twisted version of the feminine aspect that desires to nurture and protect. The Rescuer is the enabler, protector, mediator; the one who wants to "fix" the problem. Of course, before a Rescuer can remedy a problem there needs to be one.
Part of the problem of rescuing is that it comes from an unconscious need to feel important or establish oneself as the savior. Taking care of others is the only way a Rescuer knows how to connect or feel worthwhile. Rescuers usually grow up in families where they were put down or shamed for having needs. They therefore learn to deny those needs, turning instead to taking care of others. This makes having someone who needs them essential.
Very often, Rescuers operate out of the hope that if they just take care of others well enough they will get their turn, too. Unfortunately this rarely happens. Often the resulting disappointment sends them spiraling into depression. Martyrdom and depression earmark the victim phase of a Rescuer's dance around the triangle. This is when you hear them say things such as, "This is what I get, after all I've done for you" or,"No matter how much I do, it's never enough", or "If you loved me, you would be more supportive."
A Rescuer's greatest fear is that there will be nobody there for them. They compensate for that anxiety by making it a point to be there for others, thus encouraging dependency. Making themselves indispensable becomes a primary way of avoiding abandonment and it provides the validation they long for, as well.
Rescuers are oblivious to the crippling dependency they foster when they enable or take care of those they are fixated on. Through these tactics, they send disabling messages. Everyone involved becomes convinced that the Victim is incapable, inadequate or defective, thus reinforcing the need for constant rescue. It becomes the job of the Rescuer to keep the other propped up,"for their own good", of course.
Having a Victim to care-take is essential in order for the Rescuer to maintain an illusion of being one-up and needless. This means then, that there will always be at least one person in every core Rescuers life who is sick, fragile, inept and in need of their care.
Beatrice grew up seeing her mother as helpless and impotent. From an early age, she felt a huge responsibility to take care of her frail parent. Her own well-being depended on it! Else how was she, a small child, going to make it? As the years went by, however, she could scarcely contain the inner rage she felt towards her mother for being so needy and weak. As a starting-gate Rescuer, she would do all she could to bolster her mother, only to come away again and again, feeling defeated (victim) because nothing she tried worked. Inevitably the resentment would take over leading her to resort to treating her mother with scorn (persecutor). This became her primary interactive pattern, not only with her mother, but in all of her relationships. By the time I met her she was emotionally, physically and spiritually exhausted from having spent her life taking care of one sick and dependent person after another.
Like the other roles, the Persecutor is shame based. It's the sort of shame-drenched-anger that results from growing up overloaded with scorn. Persecutors have long ago repressed their convictions of worthlessness, covering them instead with indignant wrath and an attitude of uncaring.
In the same way that the Rescuer is the shadow mother principle, this role is the shadow father principle. The beneficent father's job is to protect and provide for his family. The Persecutor role is a perversion of that energy, instead attempting to "reform" through force. This role is taken on by someone who has learned to meet their needs through authoritarian, controlling and often punishing methods. The Persecutor overcomes feelings of shame by over-powering others. Domination becomes their most prevalent style of interaction. This means they must always be right! Techniques include preaching, blaming, lecturing, interrogating and attack. They believe in getting even, very often through passive aggressive acts.
Just like the Rescuer needs someone to fix, the Persecutor needs someone to blame! Persecutors deny their weaknesses in the same way Rescuers deny their needs. Their greatest fear is powerlessness. Denying their own infirmities, they are in constant need of someone on whom they can project their own unclaimed inadequacies. Both Rescuers and Persecutors therefore need a Victim in order to sustain their place on the triangle.
Persecutors also tend to compensate for inner feelings of worthlessness by putting on grandiose airs. Grandiosity inevitably comes from shame. It provides compensation and a cover-up for a deep internal inferiority. Superiority is about swinging hard to the other side of "less than" in order to come across as "better than".
I recall a client, a doctor who exemplified Persecutor mentality. He truly thought hurting others was justified as a compensation for his own pain. He told me once in session about running into a patient of his on the golf course, who"had the nerve" to ask for on-the-spot treatment.
"Can you believe he asked me to treat his injury on my one day off?", he railed.
"That does seem pretty bold" I replied,"how did you handle it?"
"Oh, I took him to my office, alright . . . and he got a steroid shot, too" the doctor chuckled,"but I bet he'll never ask me to do that again."
"What do you mean?", I asked, not quite following.
"Because that shot was one he'll never forget!"
To the doctor, his action was totally justifiable. His patient had infringed on him and thereby deserved whatever pain he got. This is a prime example of Persecutor thinking. It never occurred to my client that he could've said no; that he did not have to feel victimized by, or have to rescue this patient. In his mind he had been treated unjustly and therefore had the right, even the obligation, to get even.
It is most difficult for someone in this stance to take responsibility for the way they hurt others. In their mind, others deserve what they get! These warring individuals tend to see themselves as having to fight the world for survival! Their battle cry might well be, "I've been treated unfairly and somebody's going to pay!". Theirs is a constant struggle to regain that which they perceive has been taken from them.
The Victim is a life role most often taken on by someone who was raised by a dedicated Rescuer. It is the shadow of the precious child within; that part in each of us that is innocent, vulnerable and needy. This child-self does need support and"care taken" on occasion but when an individual becomes convinced that they can never take care of themselves they can easily take on a primary Victim stance. Buying into the idea that they are intrinsically defective, Victims adopt an attitude of "I can't make it". This becomes their greatest fear, forcing them to be ever on the lookout for someone"more capable" to carry them.
Victims deny both their problem solving abilities and their potential for self-generated power. Instead they tend to see themselves as too fragile to handle life. Feeling done in by, at the mercy of, mistreated, intrinsically bad and wrong, they see themselves as the"un-fixable problem".
This doesn't stop them, however from feeling highly resentful for their dependency. Victims eventually get fed up with being in the one-down position and find ways to get even. A move to persecutor usually means sabotaging the efforts made to rescue them, as well as other passive-aggressive behaviors. They are very apt players of the game called,"Yes, but". Any time a helpful suggestion is offered, a Victim response might be,"Yes, but that won't work because ...". They may also resort to the persecutor role as a way to blame or manipulate others into taking care of them.
The Victim eats a daily venue of shame. Convinced of their intrinsic incompetence, they live in a perpetual shame spiral, often leading to self abuse. Perpetual Victims walk around much like the Charlie Brown character, Pig-pen in his whirlwind of dust, except Victims are surrounded in a shame vortex of their own making. This cloud of shame becomes their total identity.
Linda was the second-born in her family. Almost from birth, she had problems. Linda was a child who was forever in trouble of one sort or another. She struggled academically, was perpetually disruptive and often sick. It came as no surprise to anyone when she got into drugs as a
teenager. Her mother, Stella, was a die-hard Rescuer. Thinking she was being helpful, Stella bailed Linda out every time she got in trouble. By alleviating the natural consequences, Stella's earnest enabling deprived Linda of the opportunity to learn from her poor choices. As a result, Linda came to see herself as incapable, becoming dependent on someone besides herself to fix things for her. Her mother's well-intentioned rescuing sent a crippling message which promoted a life long Victim stance, keeping Linda needy and ever vigilant for a potential rescuer.
Projection and Shadow of Victim-hood
As individuals grow in awareness and change, they often change their starting-gate positions. Becoming aware of a primary position, they may commit to change but often merely switch roles instead. Although they may be operating from a different place, they are nonetheless still on the triangle. This happens frequently and may even be an essential part of learning the full impact of living on the triangle.
Placing the three positions on a straight line with Victim in the middle is a way of demonstrating that Persecutor and Rescuer are simply the two extremes of victim-hood.
Persecutor ------- VICTIM ------- Rescuer
All three roles are merely the perverted expression of positive powers we each hold in potential, but deny. The primary face we take on determines which of these powers is being denied.
The Rescuer part of us contains the gift for mediation and problem solving. It might be deemed a feminine aspect. The Persecutor, on the other hand, is the part of us that knows about the use of power and assertiveness. It might be considered a masculine attribute. When these essential qualities are not fully acknowledged and claimed, they get repressed into the unconscious, where they then come out in the perverted expression we see on the Drama Triangle. In other words, because these aspects are denied, they get acted out in unconscious and irresponsible ways.
When we suppress both our problem solving ability and our power for assertive action, we take on a posture of Victim. When we see ourselves as primary mediators and caretakers, but deny our need to stand ground for ourselves by setting appropriate boundaries, we occupy the Rescuer position. Persecutors on the other hand, have hidden their caring, nurturing qualities, and therefore tend to problem solve through anger, abuse and control. In essence, the victim's dance is a constant, unconscious surfacing of unclaimed aspects of personality that produces perpetual drama in our lives.
We live in a Victim based society. In the United States, we like to think of ourselves as Rescuers. For many years we identified Russia as the Persecutor with third world countries being the identified under-dog, or Victim. Several years ago, USSR's President Gorbachev was said to tell President Bush,"I'm about to do the worst thing imaginable, I'm going to take away your enemy!" Here was a man who innately understood our country's need to have a scapegoat, providing us the chance to say,"It's those bad communists again". Otherwise, we, as Americans might be forced to take responsibility for our own perpetrator tendencies. Of course, Russia does perpetrate, as witnessed by the doings of their KGB, but haven't our own CIA shown similar tendencies? Our very history is built on persecution. Within a few years of arriving in America, our forefathers began to systematically oppress and subjugate the Native Americans who had lived here for centuries! It seems a wearisome task for this country to get willing to be accountable for the ways we have persecuted. Instead, we seem bound and determined to hold onto the idea of being the world's"good guy". It is always difficult for Persecutors to perceive themselves as such, however. It is much easier to justify persecutor behavior than it is to own the oppressor role.
The cycle goes like this; "I was just trying to help (rescuer), and they turned on me (victim), so I had to defend myself" (persecutor). Persecution is almost always justified as a necessary defense. It is the role most often denied. After all, who wants to admit that they ill-use people?
The Rescuer, on the other hand, has no trouble identifying with the helper role. They are generally proud of their position as caretakers and fixers. They are socially acclaimed and rewarded for"selfless acts" of rescuing. They believe in the goodness of being caretakers, seeing themselves as ever helpful. What they deny is the ill-begotten consequences of their enabling/disabling acts. But what these"do-gooders" have most difficulty seeing is how they, themselves end up as victims. It's very hard for a Rescuer to hear themselves referred to as victims even when they get caught red-handed complaining about how mistreated they are!
Living life on the Drama Triangle creates misery in many ways. The primary commonality is that none of the players are willing (or even know how) to take responsibility for themselves. The price paid is tremendous for all three roles lead to emotional, mental and even physical pain.
Evading responsibility and/or attempting to protect oneself or others doesn't work, and yet it is the primary goal of those caught up on the triangle. The simple truth is that the greatest pain is the anguish created in trying to avoid it. When we try to shield others from the truth, we discount their abilities. This is disabling and leads to negative reactions all around. Everyone involved ends up hurt and angry. No-one wins.
As long as we chase ourselves and others around the Triangle, we relegate ourselves to living in robot-like, knee-jerk reaction. Rather than living vibrant lives of spontaneity and choice, we settle for a sort of pseudo aliveness. Experiencing a full life requires the ability to interact as free agents. This is impossible as long as we are involved in the Drama Triangle.
Frequently we find entry onto the triangle through the port of denied feelings. Whenever we deny our own or another's feelings we inevitably end up playing a role on the triangle. We rescue others anytime we attempt to keep them from feeling bad.("I can't tell Jim what I think because it'll hurt his feelings"). So we keep our opinions, feelings and thoughts secret which inevitably creates distance.
Parents who grew up without permission to acknowledge or express feelings often deny their children the same right. Repressed, these denied emotions become secret shame pockets, alienating us from others and sentencing us to life on the triangle. Feelings may be intangible, but they are nonetheless real.
Anytime we deny access to our feeling experience we set ourselves up for a victim perspective. We cannot take responsibility for feelings we have not allowed ourselves to acknowledge, therefore we end up on the triangle.
Shame and Core Beliefs
Triangular interaction is the primary way that shame is generated. Each role moves around the triangle in their own distinct way. This is because each starting gate position has a set of core beliefs that tends to set them up for that particular role. These unconscious attitudes are what creates feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy and or defectiveness. The triangle is the way we reinforce and perpetuate those shame producing beliefs.
Rescuers, for instance, believe that their needs are unimportant and irrelevant and therefore do not deserve to be met. The only way they can legitimately connect with others(in order to meet the need to belong and feel important), is by taking care of someone else. Rescuers guilt themselves when they aren't care-taking others. Their primary myth is;"If I take care of others well enough ... long enough, then I will get my turn." Unfortunately, on the triangle, Rescuers are taking care of life-time Victims who have no idea of how to be there for others. This reinforces the Caretaker's core belief("my needs don't count"), which in turn produces more shame around needing.
Guilt and shame are powerful driving forces for the perpetuation of the Triangle. Guilt is often used by Victims in an effort to hook their Rescuer into taking care of them("If you don't do it, who will?). The Victims shame producing belief of not being able to make it on their own leaves them feeling powerless and needy.
Persecutors, believing the world is dangerous, use shame as a primary tool for keeping others in their place. Their primary goal is to feel safe by putting others down."Get them before they get me!", is their primary agenda. What better way of accomplishing that, then to judge, moralize or denigrate their victims?
Of course, it follows suit that once we learn to deny our feeling reality, honesty becomes impossible. Telling our truth first requires knowing it. When we react out of denied feelings and unconscious programming, we cannot possibly know our personal truth. This means there will be hidden agendas and dishonesty. This is another primary trait of all players on the triangle. Only by knowing our truth, can we begin to speak from a place of personal honesty. Then getting off the triangle becomes possible.
Although we all long for a sense of connection with others, many people are secretly terrified of intimacy. Letting someone really know us can be a frightening experience. Intimacy requires vulnerability and honest disclosure. Believing that we are at heart unlovable, defective or" less than", makes it difficult to reveal ourselves. We want to feel unconditionally accepted, but when we haven't accepted ourselves, it's impossible to believe that anyone else could embrace us. Thinking we need to hide our unworthiness makes keeping a distance imperative. As long as we maintain hidden agendas and deny our truth, intimacy is impossible. Victim-hood is designed to insure alienation, not only from others, but also from ourselves.
Getting Off the Triangle
In order to get off the Triangle, we must first decide to take responsibility for ourselves. We then begin to allow ourselves to acknowledge and express our true feelings, even when doing so is uncomfortable. As we explore our core beliefs and starting gate positions, we become better able to recognize when someone is attempting to hook us, and refuse to allow it.
Learning how to sit with guilty feelings without acting on them is a big part of resisting the Victim game. Feeling guilt does not necessarily imply that we are out of integrity with ourselves. Guilt is a learned response. Sometimes guilt indicates that we've broken a dysfunctional family rule. Growth prohibitive beliefs about ourselves and the world, instilled early on, become rigid rules that need to be violated. Family dictums such as; "Don't talk about it", "Don't share feelings", or "It's selfish to take care of yourself", must be overcome if we are to grow. We can expect, and even celebrate the guilt when we defy these deeply entrenched unwritten laws.
Getting honest with ourselves and others is a primary way to get off the triangle. Telling our truth is a key way of taking responsibility. We then must be willing to take necessary action for whatever that truth reveals.
In order for a Rescuer to get honest, for instance, they have to confess their investment in keeping others dependent. This means acknowledging that being a rescuer fills their need for self-worth. In this way, Rescuers learn to recognize and address their own needs.
It can feel very threatening for someone stuck in Persecutor consciousness to get bare-bones honest with themselves. To them, to do so feels like blaming themselves, which only intensifies their internal condemnation. Persecutors need to have a situation or person they can blame so they can stay angry. Anger energizes them by acting like fuel in the psyche that keeps them going. It may be the only way they have of dealing with chronic depression. Persecutors need a jolt of rage the same way some people need a shot of caffeine. It jump-starts their day.
Just as with the other roles, self-accountability is the only way off the victim grid for the Persecutor. There has to be some kind of breakthrough for them to get willing to own their part. Unfortunately, because of their great reluctance to do so, it may have to come in the form of a crisis.
Ironically, the doorway off the triangle for all players is through the persecutor position. This is because when we decide to get off the triangle, we are often seen as persecutors by those still on it. Once we decide to take self-responsibility and tell our truth, those still aboard are likely to accuse us of victimizing them."How dare you refuse to take care of me!", a Victim might cry. Or"What do you mean you don't need my help?", says a primary enabler when a victim decides to become accountable. In other words, to escape the victim grid, we must be willing to be perceived as the"bad guy". This doesn't make it so, but we must be willing to sit with the discomfort of being perceived as such.
When you are ready to be accountable, you begin by sorting through your real motives and feelings regarding your present situation. You become willing to experience your own uncomfortable feelings and to allow others theirs without rescue. If your loved ones and associates are also willing to participate in this process of self-realization, it speeds the halt of triangular interaction. If you're ready to get off, but they aren't, then you may have to draw some hard-fast boundaries, or even walk away. Again, this puts you at risk of being perceived as a persecutor.
Since starting-gate Victims are the identified problem in their family, it's natural for them to seek outside professional help. Often, however they are unconsciously looking for another Rescuer(which abound among helping professionals, by the way). Those in primary Victim roles must challenge the ingrained belief that they can't do for themselves. If they are to get off the triangle, they have to initiate self-care, rather than look outside themselves for a savior. Instead of seeing themselves as totally powerless, they must begin to acknowledge their problem solving as well as their leadership capabilities.
In conclusion, we must first become conscious of how it is we play out the Drama Triangle. For where ever there is dysfunction, the Drama Triangle is found. Making ourselves aware of our starting-gate positions is the first step to moving out of destructive patterns. As we begin the process of liberating ourselves from our stuck-ness through self-responsibility and truth telling, we transform our lives. In other words, we actualize our Higher Selves, thus realizing the blueprint of possibility that lies dormant within each of us.