Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What if you are Wrong?

Do you carry a memory of past hurts and disappointments? Is there someone you need to forgive? Forgiveness is about releasing your need for revenge. Forgiveness is about freeing yourself. Forgiveness is NOT about sanctioning the behavior of the offender.

Surely all of us have been harmed or disappointed by another. The key is what you DO with those feelings of pain and disappointments. Do you hold on to the memory, believing by doing so you are insuring that the person responsible is held accountable? I have heard many spiritual teachers describe this type of behavior: “Taking poison and expecting someone else to get sick.”

Few things are more poisonous than holding on to past hurts. It impedes your progress on the journey. It as if you shackle your feet with cement blocks and then attempt to run. Clearly, there is a better method of taking the journey.

Iyanla Vanzant describes the Law of Forgiveness in her book, Acts of Faith, as: “Infusing the mind with natural healthy ideas that take away the darkness and bring in the light.”

When you bring in the light, you will find peace and happiness. When you hold on to hurts, you may certainly feel RIGHT and JUST, but you rarely feel peaceful or happy. I pose to you the question popularized by Dr. Phil, “Would you rather be right or happy?”

Still not convinced?

Consider these questions: What if you are wrong? What if the reasons why you think, the person acted in the way that you, are all wrong? What if it did not even happen the way you remembered it? What if the person’s motivations were different from what you thought they were?

I can imagine you may not want to explore these questions. You may even have feelings of anger at the mere suggestions these questions pose. Let me give you an example from my own life of what came up for me when I allowed myself to explore these questions.

For years I resented my father for not keeping his word with me. I can remember sitting and waiting for him for hours to take me somewhere only to find out he made other plans, usually with someone else, and that someone else was usually a woman.

From that experience I began to believe that all men (not just my father) lacked integrity, were unreliable and unfaithful. I subsequently found that to be true in my relationships with men (surprise, surprise.) I would recount this story over and over again. That story was my proof that men were unreliable.

When I dug deeper and began to explore this story from the perspective of what if I am wrong? I discovered that my dad might tell this story differently.

First of all, he would say that he likely never made a firm commitment to do what I asked. And that would be true. He often replied to my request by saying, “We’ll see.”

Secondly, my father always believed I could take care of myself. He thought I always demonstrated that I was capable, which is also true. I always had a contingency plan. If he did not come through, I had a back up plan ready to be executed.

So, my father’s story goes something like this, “My daughter made requests of me that I sometimes could not honor but she was OK with it because she always had other options.”

The reason he may think I was OK with his behavior is because I NEVER told him otherwise. My reasoning for not letting him know I was hurt or disappointed was that I did not want him to know he had the power to injury me.

So you see, it just like my Pop-Pop always told me, “There are three sides to every story: yours, mine and the truth.”

So I ask you, “What if you are wrong?”

Excerpt from my book, Journey to Purpose: Simple Guide to Discovering Your Life Purpose ©2007 T. Dorsey.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Calm Seas on the Journey

On the surface of the sea there are moments when it is calm and moments when it is turbulent. However, deep down in the sea, all is constantly still.

That deep stillness and calm is what my aim is on my journey in life. Understanding that there will be times when on the surface things are rough, I strive to maintain a deep inner knowing that all is really well within.

The spiritual tools which help me to sustain this inner knowing are journaling meditation/prayer, visualization and music. If I am consistently utilizing my tools, when the rough seas come (And they always do. That’s just a part of this life journey.) Then the turbulence doesn’t last for long.

For instance, in the spring of 2008 I tested positive for a dis-ease that could potentially be with me for the rest of my life. When I got the news, I was walking along the river with a dear friend enjoying an amazing spring day. I was feeling vibrant, alive, healthy, strong, loved and blessed. Everything felt right with the world. Then that call came.

Nothing the medical professional was telling me made sense to me. She informed me that this dis-ease was incurable yet because I have no symptoms, there was nothing I needed to do differently. She told me there are 25 million people in this country who have this dis-ease but do not know it. My thought was, “If they do not know they have this dis-ease, than how does SHE know?”

As she is talking, everything inside me is saying, “This is NOT so. This simply is NOT so.”

After that call ended, through choked words, I told my friend about the news I had just received. On the outside I felt like I wanted to crumble. But inside, something kept saying “It ain’t so.”

I began to sing a song I wrote about letting the river wash over me. In the song, I called out the names of my ancestors who in the face of what seemed insurmountable odds, they not only overcame but triumphed:

Imhotep, Nefertti
Queen Nzinga, Hannibal
Denmark Vesey
Phyllis Wheatly
Malcolm and Martin

In the days following that news, there were certainly moments that on the surface things felt turbulent. However, that inner voice kept telling me that the dis-ease is not so. My wholeness is what was true. That voice kept getting louder and louder. In the depth of my soul, I knew I was healthy and well.

I knew that if I continued to use my spiritual tools I would continue to have the experience of optimum health.

So if that was indeed my truth, why was I having this experience? What was it I am supposed to remember? In the book, Conversation with God. it purports that every experience comes to remind you of Who You Really are?

Whenever I am experiencing any kind of physical challenge I refer to Louise Hay’s book You Can Heal Your Life. In that book she charts an array of dis-eases and provides the root mental/spiritual/emotional cause of that dis-ease along with an affirmation to assist in the elimination of that root cause and beginning the healing process.

Hay cites the root cause the dis-ease I was diagnosed having was guilt. This information resonated with me. I certainly felt feelings of guilt at various times in my life. At certain times, my feelings of guilt have almost been crippling.

So now armed with this information, I knew what I needed to do:

o Continue utilizing my spiritual tools
o Release my guilt
o Affirm my healing
o Claim wholeness and wellness in every moment

I envisioned that the next time I got my annual exam my healing would be complete and I would not have this dis-ease. That was not only my vision but what I knew to be already true.

Just this week I went in for my annual exam. The usual battery of tests were done. Lab work was submitted and the results would be in at the end of the week.

Immediately after the doctor left the office, I began to get dress. I began praying, "Thank you for my healing. Thank you for my healing."

Yesterday I got the call. The lab work was in. The result . . .

I tested NEGATIVE.

All is calm on the surface and deep within me. For now.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Blogger Blues

For some time, readers of my blog have informed me that they have experienced some difficulties leaving comments on my blog. Despite several changes to the settings on my blog the problem still persists. So, I have turned off the Comment Moderation feature which I hope will do the trick. Please let me know if you are still having trouble.

I have also had my own problems publishing the Comments that do get through. For that reason, I wanted to give a special shout out to Deb and Karima for leaving comments on my last post. Deb, your comment never showed up and I appreciate you sharing a synopsis of what you wrote by phone. Your comments are always very encouraging to me. Karima, I was thrilled to hear from you. It has been a long time. Your words of wisdom were truly a comfort to me. More than you could know.

I am considering using another site to host my blog if these challenges persist. If anyone has any tips for improving our experience here on BLOGGER or know of a better host site to use, please let me know (Perhaps email would be best :-).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Parenting on the Journey

When your journey includes being a parent, you want to be the sign posts for your child's journey. You want to give warnings such as, "Danger up Ahead" and "Caution: Sharp Curves." You want to suggest better paths to take to get to the places of interests with greater ease. You want to provide Roadside Assistance service when your child gets stranded.

I am learning now that there comes a time when you have to allow your child to travel the journey alone. This realization came when I was repeatedly told by my child that she knows the way and has a plan. She clearly understands the directions I have given her. She has heard the warnings and has concluded that I am an alarmist. She is also convinced that the roads are significantly different now than they were when I may have traveled them.

Family, friends and professionals tell me it is time to step aside and allow her to follow the paths she chooses for herself. They tell me it is ok to be nearby in case she does decide to ask for my assistance but until then, I must put away my directions, signposts and travel tips. In the end, everyone is convinced that she will arrive at the places she desires.

I have to say; so far it has been a tough being on the sidelines. Feelings of hopelessness and fear sometimes overwhelm me. All I can do now is pray.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Tell a Story

Today we have endless and instant ways of communicating with each other. We can IM, text, fax, email and call. You can give a report on every moment of your day via blogs and social networking sites. Your message can be sent in a nano second to persons all around the world. Yet are we really connected? Are we really making connections? Are these technologically advanced methods of communicating effective in building relationships, understanding human frailties or solving problems?

I believe we must not lose face-to-face communication. Most importantly, we must get back to telling stories.

In her book, Sisters of the Yam: Black Women & Self Recovery, author bell hooks writes, “In the years before television, folks talked to one another. Conversation and storytelling were important locations for sharing information about the self, for healing.” She continues, “. . . for the telling of our stories enables us to name our pain, our suffering and to seek healing.”

Often as a child, my mother told me a story about being in kindergarten and overhearing a teacher talking about her, “She is really pretty to be so d-a-r-k.” This story not only told of my mother’s early experience with racism, but it was for me, a reminder that my mother was once a vulnerable child. (An obvious fact often overlooked by me especially in my teenaged years.) Hearing this story also made me believe my mother could possibly understand me and my battles in school. After hearing her tale, I then felt I could trust her with my own stories of vulnerability.

Storytelling reconnects us to our past tragedies and triumphs but also points the way to our future. Clyde W. Ford, author of We Can All Get along: 50 Steps You Can Take to Help End Racism, was once asked about how to combat intraracial violence plaguing so many communities. His answer, “Tell them a good story.” Ford understands that when you tell stories of heroes and heroines who overcame tremendous difficulties the listeners begins to think they too may be capable of facing the obstacles in their life. Ford believes that even when faced with the relentless monsters of hunger, poverty, injustice and racism, people can have hope for the future when they hear stories, especial tales of people like them, linked to them through history and heritage.

As a storyteller I have seen first-hand the tremendous transformative power of this art form. You do not have to look far in your own life to see it as well. Think of how storytelling is used in religious circle to inspire the congregation. Think of how political leaders use stories to persuade.

Let us put down our blackberries, PDAs, laptops, for a short wile and tell a story.

New Beginnings

In previous postings I have shared how important journaling is to my journey. Since I was a small, child I have using writing as a way to understand the world around me. Journaling is how I metabolize my life.

Recently, I purchased a new journal. Selecting a new journal is always interesting for me. First, it is often challenging to find a journal I do not already own because after 37 years of journaling I have an extensive collection. Then, I am very particular about the features I want in a journal. It has to be the right size. It has to be lined. It must have a decorative cover. And the list goes on and on.

Finally, I decided on a silver and white journal with 164 ruled pages, stitch bound, with a silk ribbon marker and a picket holder in the back for those loose pieces of paper I jot my thoughts on when my journal is not handy.

When I get my new journal home I am excited. Starting a new journal is literally the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I wonder to myself, "What events, people, circumstances and situations will prompt me to fill the pages?"

Every now and again, I will read the entries of a journal in my collection. Sometimes my own words from my distant past inspire me. When I read some of my past musings it is like reading a self-help book . Other times, I will read about a challenging time in my life and I can scarcely remember the details in the present moment, which makes me think of the adage, "This too shall pass."

In my younger years, I used to feel embarrassed as I read about some heart break I experienced at the hands of some man in my past that now is barely a blip on my life's radar screen. It is that feeling of embarrassment that at one point kept me from even including the names of people in my journal.

Now that I am a woman of a certain age, I rarely admonish myself for my past transgressions. To paraphrase Maya Angelou, " Always have the courage to give love one more chance. And always one more chance.

So I hope this new chapter in my life is filled with captivating stories. I pray the mistakes of my past are not the mistakes of my future. And if I gain some pearls of wisdom along the way, I promise to share it with the readers of my blog.