Tag Archives: Sublimation

Contrary vibes

Sunday, May 26, I arrived at church after the sermon.  We had a guest preacher; she’s been here before, but I missed that sermon, too.  Her bio, printed in the bulletin, says, “Her work focuses on dismantling white supremacy.”  Those words trigger me.  But in fact I don’t know what they mean — TO HER.  I know what they mean to certain other people, but I don’t know what they mean TO HER.  I have never heard her speak on the subject.  I am in no position to judge — or prejudge.

Related:  Deal with exactly what the person says.
Related:  Don’t presume to be a mind reader.

What to do with my triggeredness?  At BK after church, I prayed for her health, happiness and prosperity; that she would succeed at every task to which she puts her hand.  I did not pray that she change her mind — about anything.  In my view, such prayers have no positive effect, and would only perpetuate the darkness I want to change to light.

Monday morning, May 27, I was in Starbucks.  The table where I sit faces the door.  In came a man pushing a woman in a wheelchair.  I know this man; he’s thoroughly demented, but you’d never know that without talking with him.  He makes money selling these toy balloons that he twists into animal shapes.  He’s really good at it.  As to the woman, I perceived that she strove diligently for many years to get into that wheelchair.  She’s dedicated her life to becoming helpless.

In seeking my own upward mobility, I am again at the stage where I’m tempted to look down on people whose lives are headed in the opposite direction.  It’s as if the vibes they emanate are dissonant to my own.  In the end, I need to accept them as they are; to live and let live.  I’m not at that point yet.

Related: Coming abstractions

I had to find some way to sublimate my anger.  At this writing, I don’t recall exactly what I did.  It may have been as simple as to visualize them surrounded by a brilliant cloud of light, feeding my energies into that cloud, loving them as they are.

Advertisements

Nemesis of the morning glories

The job search feels like an endless exercise in futility.

I recently launched a new hobby that may help me persevere.

It involves the unusual tactic of seeking emotional discomfort.
Continue reading Nemesis of the morning glories

Strategies

Strategies pertain to long-range goals, or a basic posture one means to maintain over a long period of time.  Tactics are plans of what to do from moment to moment.  In this chapter and the next I set forth the strategies and tactics known to me, that I personally use.

Other may know others; others may know better. In my work in therapy, I have been astonished how much is known to psychologists that is not common knowledge — probably because the media would rather keep people at each others’ throats than help them improve their own lives. (Compare, for example, at this writing, the recent spasms of abuse by Senators Feinstein and Grassley in the Brett Kavanaugh matter.)

Seek peace

“Seek and you will find.”

There’s no end of irony in that I write this now not based on what I have accomplished, but based on what I have yet to accomplish.  I myself do not yet do these things.

Seek peace, and you will find it — or create it.  Seek turmoil, and you will find it — or create it.  The Way of Peace entails seeking peace.

One may face dozens of decisions each day, between a path that will maintain or enhance one’s peace of mind, and a path that would destroy it.  It can be as simple as choosing a self-affirming, self-loving act over a self-destructive one.  It can be a choice of attitude towards a project or a relationship that may occupy one’s attention for hours or days.

In “the rooms” of the Twelve Step movement, we speak of changing “people, places and things.”  People, places and things that were associated with one’s former life of addiction, may need to be sacrificed in order to maintain one’s recovery — one’s newfound peace of mind.  Don’t go back to the corners you used to hang on, let alone the bars you used to hang in.  Give up activities that used to accompany your drinking or drugging; find new ones.  Old friends who used to egg you into self-destructive activities, aren’t likely to be friends to your chosen, new and better course in life.

A change of spouse may be necessary.  This is not at all unusual in the recovery movement.  The tantrums and turmoil one used to create, while in one’s active addiction, may have left the spouse so emotionally (and/or physically and/or financially) scarred, she or he cannot cooperate with the new self one seeks to be.  Given something like PTSD, the spouse may be unwilling or unable to forgive, but instead keep reminding the recovering person of her or his past offenses and behavior patterns.  To maintain peace of mind, one may need to get away.  Permanently.

There are influences and thought systems to which I will not voluntarily expose myself; for the sake of maintaining peace of mind:

  • Noir film or literature:  Scenes of torture, betrayal, and evil schemes I would never have thought of on my own, are not consistent with the way I want to think about people.
  • WERQ:  The only radio station one heard anywhere in Barclay, it was everywhere, spewing forth material produced by and for gangsta wannabes.
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates:  Currently the darling of the American intelligentsia, he seems to champion exactly that values system most prone to keep the black man bankrupt and in jail.  That’s not what I want for the black man.
  • Critical theory, including critical race theory and critical gender theory:  As I am more oriented towards feelings than ideas, these systems seem to me to be all about deconstructing others’ hopes.  I want to create hope, not deconstruct it.

Choose happiness

Many times, one can simply choose to be happy — just wish it, and one will be there.

More often, one faces choices among different courses of action or ways to look at things — some of which are more likely than others to let one feel happy, or to bring happy results.  It is wise to choose the course of action, or the point of view, most likely to leave you feeling happy.  Even in very little things, in minor things, it matters.

Circa 1985, Frank Minirth and Paul Meier produced the landmark Happiness is a Choice.

It is chock full of strategies and tactics, and even exercises, to help one learn to consistently choose happiness.  I never read it myself, because it’s written from a perspective of Biblical inerrancy, which was sure to offend me again and again.  But it is revolutionary.

Look on the bright side

Look at opportunities, not obstacles.

Stumbling blocks can become stepping stones.

Almost every cloud has a silver lining somewhere.

The novel Pollyanna told the story of a relentlessly optimistic girl.  Years ago, I was fearful of becoming “pollyanna” — relentlessly optimistic — because I supposed it involved denying that the cloud exists, denying that bad things ever happen.  In fact, it involves instead a radical acceptance that bad things do happen, and a choice to move through, rather than dwell in, the grief and get on with life.

If you’re going through hell, keep going.
— Winston Churchill

Opportunities for grief are and always will be available.  There will always be a reason to feel sad or angry.  The question is how often, how much and how long one will choose to feel that way.

Related: Life in the outer darkness

Look on the bright side.

Rodgers and Hammerstein are about the last place I’d look for wisdom.  The song, “My Favorite Things,” from The Sound of Music, is very wise:

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things
* * *
When the dog bites, when the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad

It works.  And in almost any situation, replacing bad feelings with good ones is a good thin in itself.  It’s worth it.  It leaves one in a better position to deal with the grief one can’t help but feel, and to move on, making positive decisions for oneself and one’s neighbors.

Related: I will not be disappointed.

Sublimate

In Silentium Altum, Amrose Worrall states:

Thought control starts with selective thinking.  If there is a thought that should be avoided, do not entertain it.  Some have tried to destroy thoughts by fighting them.  This is not a success­ful method.  The way to overcome unwanted thought is to think its opposite.  In this way hope replaces despair, confidence re­places fear, success takes the place of failure and faith takes the place of doubt.

What is an opposite thought?

Worrall was an engineer by trade, and so oriented more towards thoughts and ideas than I am.  I am more oriented towards emotions and feelings.  Note that the changes speaks of — hope replaces despair, confidence replaces fear, faith replaces doubt — are actually changes of feelings, not thoughts.

Sublimation is the change of one feeling into another, and we each have the right and ability to change one’s own feelings any way one likes.  Here is an example of what I actually call “incineration;” from the post, “Some prayer exercises:”

In silence, the normal way to deal with a negative thought or feeling is to just let it leave your experience, like a stray piece of paper on the sidewalk that is blown away from you by the wind.

From time to time, however, some mass of bad feelings may come that seems like it just won’t go away, no matter what you do.  A visualization like this one can be useful in such a situation.

Visualize a pile of firewood.  As a child colors in the spaces in a coloring book, fill up this firewood with all the bad feelings.  Pour the bad feelings into it.  Add more firewood to the pile until you have enough.  Let the images become as vivid as you can make them.  Feel the weight of new logs in your arms as you carry them toward the pile.  Pick up some of the pieces, feel how hard they are, how heavy they are.  Tap one piece against another, and hear the thunk, thunk as you do so.

Then set the thing on fire.

Watch it burn.  All the bad feelings that you poured into it are now there, rather than in you; and the fire is changing all that material into light, warmth, and heat — which you can choose to be positive feelings, optimism, comfort, love and joy.

Watch it until the firewood is all consumed.  Then the bad feelings will be gone.

One can use whatever before-and-after images one likes, “from” whatever ugly image may symbolize one’s ugly feelings, “to” whatever lovely image may correspond to one’s desires; with the substance involved changing — substantially — as one makes the change.

One who practices Presence becomes able to do all this without having to enter silence and without having to imagine.

Jesus is not coming soon — or ever

“The end of all things is at hand.”
— 1 Peter 4:7

The first time I was told, “Jesus is coming soon,” I was twelve years old, in seventh grade.  My friends and I had no reason to doubt it.  We thought, “He might come tonight.  Or tomorrow.  But it could be tonight.”  We lived in breathless anticipation.

For me, it all began to unravel seven years later, albeit it hasn’t finished unraveling yet.

Continue reading Jesus is not coming soon — or ever

Accepting revulsion 3: (I don’t know what to say.)

March 31, 2018

When I attend enough to becoming upwardly mobile myself, I often find myself looking down on the men around me now.

I don’t want to look down on anyone.  These are (mainly) good guys.  These are friends.

So this a learning opportunity, a growth opportunity.

It appears to be a common problem for folk who seek upward mobility.

I find this morning that perhaps I can sublimate or incinerate those feelings as they come on, burning up emotional filth to release light and admiration for guys who, after all, are doing the best they can with the resources they’ve got, and whose motivations no one can gainsay.

Related:
The request of James and John, part 1
The request of James and John, part 2
Resolution

Keep the feeling, change the thought

A basic tenet I’ve maintained here, is that one’s feelings are largely independent of one’s circumstances; and that one can typically choose how to feel, no matter what one’s circumstances are.

Well, maybe not always.

But for sure, feelings come on that one will not like, that have no relationship to anything that’s happened in the real world.  How to deal with them?

Continue reading Keep the feeling, change the thought

The best present makes the best future.

I’m posting very little new material these days, but there are hundreds of posts different folks may not have seen the first time around.  So I’ve had in mind possibly to start “recycling” old posts.

I happened across this one today.  Actually, its story has been on my mind given recent difficulties getting into the shelter.  And when I re-read it today, I was moved, not just by the story about Leo, but the remark about dwelling in untoward feelings.  I see so many people around me, and so many expressions in the media, of folk dwelling in grievance, anger, the feeling of injustice, of being disadvantaged, of harboring resentment especially against those of different skin color.

And even within Christianity, I find sometimes such negativity being encouraged, in the name of justice; wholly forgetting the Gospel mandate to forgive, forgive, forgive.

The below post first appeared 2015-12-12.

===============================================

Saturday 2015-12-05

14:40. Actually, Leo arrived first.

But he got turned away.

Continue reading The best present makes the best future.

Self-comfort

I have suffered with obsessive-compulsive disorder and genetically-based clinical depression all my life.  I first became medicated for these conditions, with SSRIs, in 1991, and the improvement was so drastic I never wanted to be without those medications again.

On or about December 6, 2015, however, it seemed as if they abruptly became ineffective.  I was not in a position to find a medical doctor competent to change them.  So, on the one hand, I’ve lived with clinical depression from then till now and continuing.  On the other hand, a positive is that in this state I’ve obtained certain insights that I never could have “seen” any other way.

One insight in particular would have changed my entire course in life, had I only learned it as a child.

It occurred in four steps.  The blue block quotes below are excerpts from my diary.  However, I recall that C.S. Lewis referred to diary-keeping as a “time-wasting and foolish practice;” that a diary is, “even for autobiographical purposes,” far less useful than one might suppose.  As to the first two steps below, I lost a good deal of time and effort searching for diary passages that didn’t exist.

In mid-December 2015 …

Continue reading Self-comfort