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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Caring About the Invisibly Hurt

For all the people we know we’ve hurt — the ones no longer fraternising with us, and we know why; those refusing to forgive — there are perhaps as many who we don’t know we’ve offended.  This is especially true over social networking sites.  The invisibly hurt have left our stead for some reason.   
Is this to cause any lasting concern to us?  Perhaps it should to a point.   
The only points worthy of our ongoing attention are: 1) Why the hurt? ~and~ 2) Is there anything we can do to change it now or for the future in the light of prospective acquaintances and liaisons?
Self-condemnation is Nonsensical
There is no good in feeling condemned about it having hurt others.  Stewing rotten fruit is senseless and a waste of time.  It is best just disposed of, but never disparagingly so.  All that can be done, if it can be managed, is forgiveness sought.
It is good to be aware that the invisibly hurt might be veiled by those who come into our lives but for a season, and vice versa.  It’s true.
Not everyone who is no longer friends with us is hurt by us — they (or we) just went a different way, that’s all.
All we should be interested in — for the future’s benefit — is locating traces of personal falsehood to prevent possible harm from occurring to current and future relationships, as well as dealing in forgiveness for those past ones that are reconcilable.
Keeping Close in Mind the Hurts of Others
Knowing that other people in our midst have been hurt, or are hurting, is enough to help us have empathy towards them.  This facilitates humility, for we’re placing them over our hearts and not simply in competition for our met or unmet needs.
Having the heart’s eye open for existing and potential hurts of others feeds the wisdom of heavenly vision.
It’s seeing one aspect of life through the God-scope; as God sees, for our Lord sees much more than we readily do.
Then, and only then, might we begin to see the invisible hurts as they surround or take place.  Then we’re a channel for listening and encouragement, as well as being a gentle word of insight where the opportunity allows.
Knowing how easily we get hurt helps us bear in mind how easily others will become hurt, also. When we are in touch with our emotions, we more readily care about others’ emotions. Via empathy love is known.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Deep Wish – “Don’t Change Me”

The right to change is personal. Only personal change sticks. Only when we want to change, a habit, or to reinvent ourselves, will we actually change. Yet, we exist in a world that insists on changing people. From our processes of education, business, marketing, technology, family, and social sciences; all of these exist to change people.
But, we must be the ones who decide.
We must be the ones that own the idea of change and the processes toward it.
And we just do not want people to come to us and insist we change; we want to be influenced more softly than that.
Changing Others
We ordinarily agree with the idea that we cannot change people, until, that is, we come face-to-face with our clandestine strategies of changing the ones deeply in our midst.
The family members, friends, co-workers, church attendees, and those in our communities, are all within reach of our desire to change them. Some of us are more controlling than others, just as we are more or less overt or covert in our strategies.
The wish to change others is about converting them to the truth as we see it.
Any time we seek to convince someone as to our opinion we are, even to a very minor extent, trying to influence them; to change them in some small way. Opinion proffering is never really a good idea in the realm of social freedom. Our opinions are good to be expressed only as our own.
Our challenge is to identify situations where we wish to transfer our opinions onto others, especially through the use of influence. Like, whose benefit is this for? We may be deluding ourselves to think that venturing our opinion to influence them will actually help. Who is it really helping?
In Social Situations – “Don’t Change Me”
Social situations are best constructed in friendly, cohesive ways, where we can be ourselves and not be judged and not have others’ opinions foisted upon us.
The highly opinionated soon find themselves friendless. That is one type of social justice in action. People knowingly and unknowingly respond to the inner desire—the deep wish—that says, “Don’t change me! Like, don’t even think about it!”
One of the greatest ideas of life is to cohabit peacefully, without pressure to change. People change of their own volition, not because somebody talks them into it. The friends we love the most are those who enjoy us for just who we are.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Anger’s Opportunities – to Hurt or Heal

Walking in after a long and trying day at the office, the husband, looking rather battered and beaten, was open to sympathy from his wife who said, “Love, are you okay? You look a bit worse for wear.” He responded, “Yes, it was shocking day, one to forget.” Words were put on the backburner, just for a moment.
They hugged and silently each began to feel and heal the other.
She was feeling and healing him because he felt heard. He was feeling and healing her because he hadn’t come home to rant. He was surrendered and she was available to him.
Had he not been surrendered she would have felt threatened, scared, blocked for effectiveness—and defensive. Had she not been so neutrally available it may have raised his ire. He was feeling quite weak, after all.
When There Is Anger There Is, Equally, Opportunity
Crudely put, anger may breed something ineffective and dangerous or it may conjure processes of feeling and, therefore, healing. (In this context, feeling is experiencing the primary emotions—which maladaptive, aggressive anger tends to suppress.)
Everyone battles with anger because we are emotional beings, and our emotions are piqued by something or other. Sooner or later we will get angry. If we are honest it happens at least weekly.
Feeling angry and giving vent to our anger are, however, two separate processes. The former we cannot help. The latter, though, we have much more control over.
When there is anger, there is also an opportunity. What will we do with it? Will we use it to hurt or to heal?
Having taken the opportunity and grasped the occasion of surrender, to not fight our anger or become resentful, just letting the anger be, we come across in vulnerable and sincere ways to those who might help. Because we have no defence they have no defence either. We have become available to each other such that one can help the other. And in that help the person helped also helps the helper. The helper feels useful. The helped feels helped.
We can use our anger to hurt or to heal—it depends how seriously we take our responsibility for it. Anger is ours to manage and ours alone. When we resolve to admit our anger we are much more available to be helped. Then we can be healed. Then, also, the people that help are healed because they help us.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Beyond Defence and Beyond Attack

Imagine a thought-world where you would neither perceive the need to be defensive nor would you think in terms of attack. All that would come into your mental processes would be dealt with in an unemotional way, and everything communicated would also be conveyed without negative emotion. Your relationships would be, in the main, positive.
Such a mental space would have no armour-plated shell protecting what’s inside you by defending in counter-attack.
Being beyond defence and beyond attack is a cherished state of the joyous life.
And whilst many may feel it is an unrealistic goal, there is no question that to harness just some of it would be beneficial.
Being Beyond Defence
Even though both issues are linked—being defensive and attacking other people—they can, for the purposes of our thought, be separated.
Being beyond defence is the ability to manage our interactions in such a way that as we feel ourselves becoming defensive, in the moment, we ask why, without giving into the defensiveness if we can. The other person may not intentionally evoke our defence. And they certainly don’t want to be attacked, which is what a lot of defensive action consists of.
There are a plethora of reasons why we would be defensive. There is no shame in it, because it is so common. But knowing why we are defensive, and not submitting to our defensiveness, is the key.
We need to find ourselves in a position where we cannot, or will not, defend ourselves, unless, by right action, we need to defend ourselves. In other words, defences that lead to attack are the defences that we seek to eradicate.
Defences that are necessary to protect our safety are very good defences and should remain, always, for our safety.
When we understand that other people’s attacks are them transferring their anguish and frustration onto us we can afford to extend, to and for them, a little compassion. We can also understand our need to get beyond attacking others.
Being Beyond Attack
Likewise, when we are in a position-of-mood where we might attack others we are improperly positioned. Our scope for mental and emotional vision has narrowed to the point where we see others as the enemy; like, others are to be fought.
This is generally illogical.
Apart from times when we must attack to provide for our safety, in order to get out of a dangerous situation, attack is a highly inappropriate and insufficient response.
Being beyond attacking other people is about being right-sighted about ourselves, and knowing about the threats to our emotional and spiritual peace. When we are beyond attacking people we are safe to be around. People trust and respect us.
The best people to be around are those who are beyond defence and beyond attack. They are safe. We are at peace with ourselves when we are neither defensive nor attacking.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Consumed By Love and Lost Without It

“Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead.”
~Adele, Someone Like You
Love, by emotion, is the most powerful thing on the planet. It brings us joys unheralded, but pain so unrivalled death seems easier. To those hurt by love, nothing can touch the pain in the immediacy of the loss.
Love consumes us. It requires all we have, and sometimes more, and it pushes our existence through to thoughts for extinction. For love to wield such power seems unfair when we are betwixt for the rationale to continue.
But love, also, sees us through. It compels us to hold on for the next time; even in the grips of grief we have an unconscious hope that our fortunes will turn, eventually.
The Commonality And Depths Of Loss From Love
Love and loss are two unlikely companions. They cavort together, taking us through the range of experience—the majestic highs with the calamitous lows. And perhaps both extremes of experience are comparatively rare, yet they always promise and threaten. The majestic highs promise. The calamitous lows threaten.
The depths of loss from love are common to our humanity, which must love to survive. Romantic aspirations are both the making and breaking of us. We love because we cannot help it. We risk because we must love. Anything less is untenable, and yes, possibly even unacceptable.
For all we stand to gain from love we inevitably stand to lose just as much. Yet, the promise compels us to risk what threatens us. Love is a holy dichotomy. It is a contemptible yet alluring mystery.
How are we to deal with the losses that engage us when love is lost?
When Love Is Lost
Sometimes love lasts and sometimes it hurts; ultimately, we have to be prepared for love to end. We may be forgiven for thinking love may remain as it is—interminably. And then there is love that’s lost and never again reclaimed. We may remain hopeful, and all the better for us if we can.
When love is lost we can expect the pain to etch deeply into our inner core. The process of grief is fully engaged. Our drive is quenched. We experience death, not of our mortal bodies, but of our souls. As we live and breathe, death is what subsumes us.
But when love is lost we stand at the cusp of learning. We never want to learn this way. But learn we will if we remain remotely open. A broader, wider, deeper version of us is developed through the suffering.
Nothing hurts so much as love lost. Over the jealous expense of grief we are scarred for a time. Love has consumed us and we are lost without it. But we remain hopeful that love will come again, and that hope compels us to survive, to learn, and to adapt to the new situation.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Compassion – Agency to Blessed Healing

Compassion comes in steady,
Soothing the aching heart,
A kindness always ready,
Renewing hope, again, to start.
Compassion is the miracle of God; the agency of blessing able to soothe the aching heart. It is ever ready in its kindness, opening doors to hope, and the courage to start, afresh. Compassion finds reason for a new hope; one that is miraculous (and unexplained) in the finding.
But compassion is not easy, for it relies on a solemn heart, motivated in purity, and dissuaded from a self-manufactured solution. No, compassion must come from elsewhere.
Compassion is both the gift of God and, therefore, inexplicable. She is inscrutable, and, like empathy, unknowable, and only always felt.
The Giving Of Compassion
Perhaps there are more people who wish to be compassionate than can be. Some may yearn to be compassionate but find they struggle. They may not have been compassionate with themselves. They may not have had opportunity to connect.
The genuine reaches of compassion are singed by the flames of suffering. It is when we experience our own suffering that we first notice the suffering of the world about us. This suffering is the bleak reality. But it lights up the juices of compassion and the liquid of grace steams, permeating into action.
The giving of compassion becomes the only way in such circumstances.
What is natural cannot be suppressed. To know compassion, and to give it, both, are gifts from God—to be owned and appreciated and respected. It’s a responsibility. Compassion has another role in harmonising any of the sinful pride we might experience for having been so gifted. This is not a gift we have given ourselves! It’s of God. All glory goes to him.
The Receiving Of Compassion
Is there anything better on this whole earth, when it is needed, than the receipt of compassion? Everyone needs compassion; even, and especially, those gifted to give their compassion. For, they may wonder why it is they give yet don’t receive.
Something wondrous happens when we receive somebody else’s compassion. We become energised with a certain unspeakable magnanimity for ourselves. Suddenly from within grows a hope and a belief in ourselves to get through.
This is the power of love. The kindness in compassion creates an indelible space through which God works mysteriously and therapeutically. It brings us to life.
Compassion makes all the difference in the world to healing. In its silent way it eases open the barriers holding us to a depressed world, such that there may be faith again to explore an emerging hope. In compassion, God begins to work a miracle.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Friday, May 25, 2012

They’re Just People Like You and Me

Picture, for a moment, meeting your favourite sports hero, or actor, or hero of another kind. Imagine coming face-to-face with them. Imagine the feelings of awe and, perhaps, the feelings of embarrassing self-consciousness.
Now picture a bunch of them, all the people you adore, all in one room, 30 or 40 of them, coming to listen to you speak. Imagine them there before you. As you go up to utter that first word, what are you feeling?
These are important, yet stark, images for the mind to grapple with.
To begin with, those we admire from such a distance we see as surreal in real life. They don’t seem quite real until we meet them, and then they are just like us; they breathe like us, they eat like us, they perspire like us, and they even get nervous like us.
They are just people like you and me.
Times To Dissolve The Imagination
When we have situations, like before our CEOs and presidents and famous sports stars, we have the ability to enjoy the wonder in the moment and not be swept away.
But to manage these situations requires us to, for a time, dissolve our imaginations. We must somehow grasp the reality of the situation before us. And this is applicable to any situation where we find ourselves self-conscious before another human being.
Instead of putting them on a pedestal, and it’s no doubt many deserve such a pedestal, we, for our own sakes, and theirs, need to treat them as normal people before us.
With a will for normalcy we manage the moment consciously. This takes a moment’s courage; one courageous moment after the other, strung together. And when we achieve this we preserve the dignity of both them and us.
As we manage these moments, refusing to give in to the imagination’s sense of awe, we extract a pleasant experience and not embarrassment. As we think of these times back in our pasts, we recognise the importance, for our memories sake, of a good showing—now—before esteemed colleagues.
We want our best foot forward; to do that we must harness our imaginations.
These important people, again, are just people like you and me.
Famous and well-respected kinds of people we easily awe. But they are just people like you and me. Being creditable before people we esteem highly is simply about harnessing our imaginations and consciously managing our moments.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Two Truths Forgiveness Must Acknowledge

Forgiveness has an accountability partner in Justice.
There can be no true relational forgiveness without two truths bearing equal significance: the bringing to light of the truth, including any atrocities committed, and the achievement of reconciliation with oppressors.
The respecting of both of these truths ensures that all parties, the victim(s) and the perpetrator(s), are considered and the process toward forgiveness is completed.
And that’s Justice!
Justice is a full portion of truth in action. Good justice is never partial. Good forgiveness, therefore, has gotten beyond the emotion of transgression and betrayal. It has weighed up the facts. The cases of all parties are borne fairly into account.
Justice For The Oppressor
Justice cannot look after the victim, mollycoddling them without thought for fair dealing for the perpetrator. It is not a just result to extend a conditional grace to the aggressor. This is a thing most laypeople cannot come to grips with. Can we forgive the paedophile, thief, or liar who has done their work of restitution—who is appropriately remorseful? It doesn’t mean we place people into unsafe situations, or that we expose people to their weaknesses. But we learn to put the past behind us.
Justice for the oppressor is important if we claim to be instituting a godly form of justice. (Is there any other form?) This is a difficult issue for most people, where sympathy sells us an easy justice for the victim only; because it makes us feel good.
Justice is a difficult system of thought. Ethics are never straightforward. But one thing is sure; justice must be just for all, not just the obvious ones.
Justice For The Victim
Justice cannot also only look out for the perpetrator, in a way to desperately extend the second (or a sixty-seventh) chance—to be so ‘forgiving’ it’s ridiculous. We lose the plot, and we go against the will of God, when we fail to consider the serious and stern concerns of those hurt.
Where the consequences of situations have finality, consequences for the future should be equally considered. Sometimes forgiveness means we cannot trust again.
The justice of forgiveness must, first of all, swing into action for the victim. What sort of efficacy for forgiveness would we have if we didn’t fight for the rights of those disadvantaged? Anyone who has been transgressed has been disadvantaged. They have issues unresolved, and without justice how might resolution commence?
Forgiveness’ first task is to achieve justice for the victim. But there is a second task; to check for justice, overall.
Justice is central to forgiveness. Both the victim and the perpetrator must be fairly considered—in the light of the truth. Forgiveness remains incomplete if justice is conditional. Where the truth is taken partially, the justice in forgiveness is betrayed.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Forgiveness in an Ugly World

They say things happen in threes. This was apt, when, on a recent night, I went to buy the evening meal. Having innocently driven into a local drive-through, I obviously hadn’t noticed the line of three or four more cars parked and waiting, just a little distance away. Having apparently jumped the queue, a couple of drivers blew their horns in visceral indignation. I quickly amended my mistake and decided to walk into the restaurant to purchase dinner.
Service was average at best, and having picked up this meal I drove home, but was tailgated for most of the journey, before being overtaken on a residential street. I was doing the speed limit.
Arriving home felt good, until I checked the contents of the bags. A significant portion of the meal was missing. I was quietly livid.
But such is life; our challenge is to forgive in an ugly world. In a world that transgresses us, and often, as we also might transgress it, and often, we still profit by finding a way to get on—a way to deal with the encroaching cynicism and resentment.
Doing Something Impossibly Hard
When we are angry, forgiveness is impossible. So to expect ourselves to feel compassionate when we want to rip someone’s head off is a tall order indeed.
When things go against us we are rightly angry. We are given these emotions as a sense of feeling for justice. The only trouble for us is when the pressure valve blows and our justice must be avenged.
Avenged justice, as a thing to be fought for, very rarely comes out for the victim as it should. So often the victim becomes the perpetrator. So often the one transgressed becomes the transgressor, and sometimes there’s no coming back.
But what is impossibly hard to do when we are angry is sublimely easier through the agency of a few quiet, reflective moments. If our wisdom can counsel us, as our temper climbs the wall of our psyche, we can get beyond the need to avenge the initial transgression.
What Sort Of World Do We Expect?
Expecting to be transgressed by other people, especially when we understand our propensity to offend, is a sound basis for living this life. With that sort of outlook—expecting to be offended—we can prepare our minds and hearts for it.
We all make mistakes. And we all take ground that, on reflection, isn’t ours. We are not thieves at heart, but our instincts have us doing things we occasionally regret. When we contrast our true selves with the behaviour of others, we can see the problem better.
Sure, there is a reprobate element to life—people who do things we wouldn’t dare do. But we are more similar to other people than we realise.
So, when we have been the transgressor, and when we have been forgiven, we truly experience grace. We feel very fortunate. Others who transgress us deserve the same privilege.
Besides the above, when we refuse to forgive, our resentment twists us into knots.
Forgiveness is necessary in an ugly world. When we do not forgive, we become ugly in our resentment. Forgiveness is the key unlocking the door of the heart’s jailhouse. Forgiveness is a life-saver if our aim is for love, peace, and joy.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Monday, May 21, 2012

What Others Reveal About Us

Why is it that others can evoke our passion, or spark our attraction, or incite us to rage? Just why do we seem so insistent in our reacting or in choosing our reaction?
Perhaps others reflect what we consciously resist, to some extent, yet also that which unconsciously resonates within us—at the polar extremes of our emotions.
Yet, we’re not so much the victim of our reactions. Negative others are not so much there to taunt us as they are there to reveal something about us that we ought to know about ourselves.
Other people are as mirrors before us. They are merely that—purposed as instruments for our learning.
‘Mirror, Mirror On The Wall’
There is much about life that resembles the fable, Snow White. The ways we instinctually respond reveals both our humanity, generally, and our personality, specifically.
We could ask the mirror ‘who is the fairest of them all’, but the truth is, we, like the wicked witch, will ask the mirrors within our lives such leading and rhetorical questions by our responses. Our responses are the mirror’s responses.
If we see someone as aggressive toward us, they may well be. But what is it that the aggressor reveals to us through our response—our timidity, our own aggression, or our ambivalence regarding their aggression? Our responses tell us, like the mirror, what our nature is like. This we should not deny. No one makes us respond.
How you treat me,
And how I find I react,
Both of these have meaning,
If I can see how my thinking’s backed.
Analysing Our Conflicts
If we, just for a few moments, can surmise that the people we have conflict with unintentionally draw out our worst sides, we have found two strong positives in dealing with that conflict.
Firstly, we might understand more about our instinctive responses and adjust accordingly. Secondly, whilst we’re thinking, we don’t react. The process of thinking halts us. The biggest problem we have in conflict is reacting. Reactions without thought push us quickly into the cavernous lands of regret.
We have much more to learn about our instances of conflict than we do about our harmonious relationships. The harmonious relationships we can enjoy. Those we have conflict with we are bound to learn more from, even if only by our response, and the thoughts and feelings we experience.
The people we’re quickly into conflict with are not there to taunt us, but to teach us—if we’ll observe about ourselves our responses. This will reveal the things we don’t like about ourselves. When we begin to enquire—‘why’—we not only learn to get on better, but we learn to resolve the things within us that we cannot stand.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The For-giveness Encounter

For-giveness: as a concept it is for you and for me, as we give to each other or give to ourselves, this divine and precious gift of love. God, too, has something for every single you-and-me, and the Lord wants to give.
For is the subject of forgiveness—for the one who receives.
To give is forgiveness’ object—for what they receive.
When I for-give you,
And you for-give me,
Justice becomes true,
For both of us see.
When I for-give myself,
For those things I held true,
I take off the shelf,
What I no longer rue.
And when I for-give the other,
As they feel when they for-give me,
I am to myself a brother,
And so are they also free.
Forgiveness is healing,
The necessary part,
Giving sense to feeling,
As each find their heart.
Forgiveness: The Relational Concept
Forgiveness is the relational concept. It’s a two-party process and event. Even as we forgive ourselves, we come to agree with once-dissonant parts of ourselves. We can see, then, that forgiveness between two persons or more, or groups, involves much more than the people involved. Each is held relationally within themselves and from there the relational dynamic explodes into myriad fragments.
Because forgiveness is relational it cannot be accurately analysed nor explained.
Forgiveness: Far Beyond Our Understanding
Forgiveness, being a relational concept, is worlds beyond human understanding. As there are many forms of relationship we have even with ourselves, and, so for others too that they also relate in many forms with themselves, only God can truly know.
The dynamics of forgiveness are about reconciliation and healing. These are relational mandates. God is the bequestor. Only God has the power to give someone the grace to forgive. Forgiveness is not a mere human transaction. It cannot be bought. It can hardly be requested, though we will try.
Many words could be written on forgiveness, and many words are. Words could be infinite and they still wouldn’t do justice to the majesty in such a thing.
And then, forgiveness is merely one superbly surreal manifestation of the splendour of God. And because this particular manifestation is mysterious, it holds us open to the enigma that is God.
What can we do but for-give?
What right have we not to?
If we would but agree, God would thrust all his divine power into our hearts so we and they (the other party, whether part of ourselves or another person or group) could be freed and healed.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.