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Truth, goodness, and beautiful cookies

May 3, 2017

The mind often battles with believing the truth about oneself.  Negavity and self-spiralling thoughts, words and scenarios cloud our mind.  As one client told me last week, “there are too many ‘chattering monkeys’ in my head”.  

Maybe that is why we keep busy.  We keep ourselves preoccupied with work, household chores or doings just to keep the chattering monkeys at bay.  The things that we know to be good, true and what we deeply long for, like rest, reflection, thankfulness and self care, become elusive, hard to reach or weighed under a cloud.

“You’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies”. 

Philippians 4:8 (The Message)

As we know, there are many different kinds of people.  Ones who see the glass half empty, half full or somewhere in between.  There is the self-loathing person who is a victim of circumstances or a victim of self.  Then there is the self-deceiver (I’ve met quite a few) who have conveniently made up a lie and convince everyone else they are right.    They smell of arrogance and play an elusive game.  

Though both types trouble me, it’s the upbeat and optimism person that has grasped my attention as off late.  I have valued how a more optimistic mind can see good or put a different perspective on situations.  I feel their calm in my turmoil, their reflectiveness to my impulsiveness as they are Winnie the Pooh to my Eore.  I love having the ‘Poohs’ in my life, and thankful for their serenity and outlook.  

Why we think and feel the way we do is partly due to our genetic makeup, our life experiences, personality, and sometimes, dare I say it, an unwillingness to deal with the ‘elephant in the room’.  Sometimes our positive attributes mask pain too difficult to even begin to unravel.  It’s much easier to avoid than to lay it bare on the table.  Working with a female client over three years was a roller coaster that she often wanted to stop.  Perseverance and love kept her in it, facing the pain and now releasing it.  

In conversations where it seems life is: “fine” , “wonderful” – I like to prod.  What do you do when life gets tough?  Or when someone lets you down?  What would it be like for you to be more vulnerable with someone safe?  Those questions often lead to a gasp, or a slight tinge.  The word ‘vulnerability’ makes the eyes widen and the body back further into space.  Dealing with real emotions is really hard to do.  

How do we stop living the lie and believe in the truth, that though there are many wrinkles in our relationships, and patterns of behaviour we need to work on, if we can face the truth with honesty, humility and a supportive friend, then we can live into the truth that we are more than enough.

One of our children was making beautiful cookies that needed to be rolled into petite balls, then covered in melted chocolate and sprinkles.  This was their own plan.  They found the recipe and asked me to purchase items.  The table was ready for their own quiet, afternoon activity, and it certainly didn’t involve other members of the family.  

Alas, this was not the plan of others.  Others wanted to be involved and help, causing much distress to the cook, who in frustration send the melted chocolate balls into a messy heap at the bottom of the fridge.  Running to hide away from all siblings, anger, mum’s frustration and their own shame, they sat alone (and cold) – hating themselves the most.  After some time, as space and quiet is a good healer, I found myself huddled beside child in the cold garage having a chat about believing in the truth, dealing with their anger and my own. I really wanted child to hear from my lips that there is always a way back.  Don’t sit alone and broken.  Don’t remain slumped in shame of what you did or said.  Eventually, child came inside.  Weepy, shame buried deep.  “There is always a way back”, I whisper.  I needed to hear it as much as child.  I tried to stay quiet as child patiently repaired by re-rolling, touching up the icing and sprinkling with colour.  We both looked at the cookies on the decorative plate.  We both felt pleased.  The coldness had gone, my frustration had eased and love remained.  Something more beautiful was at work.  By carefully reshaping the cookies the ugliness was removed.  I gently hinted that maybe as the cookies were “repaired”, could they also seek to “repair” the brokenness in the relationship with other family members?  

The word sorry might not have passed their lips, but there was an invitation to the others to be part of the kitchen again and share in what was made.

Did it exhaust us and make us worry and take up valuable time? Absolutely.  But one thing this child is learning, and me, is there is a way back.  Believing in the truth that forgiveness and love and a renewed space can grow.  By not living in shame or denial, but facing the messiness, good can occur and whatever is lovely revealed.

It may take a cold afternoon in the garage to realise that, but it can also take 3 years and counting.  So don’t hide behind “everything is okay”.  Often it is not.  Surround yourself with a safe person, walk towards the fault, hurt or pain, knowing there is always a way back from shame.  There is redemption for us all.

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