Archive for February, 2012


Funny vacation stories!


In light of the crummy weather here it the GTA (greater toronto area for those unfamiliar with the term), and my increasing urge to just jump on an airplane and fly away to some sunny beach destination for a week… Since I am NOT leaving for a vacation, I figure I’ll cheer myself up today by sharing some funny vacation stories from the past. FYI… Never travel with my husband and I if you are not the daring risk-taking type. Though we don’t consider ourselves to be that type either, daring, and high risk situations tend to come up during our travel! Even, unexpected and unwanted if I dare add that! Lol!

So…. My first story goes back to 2003 when a bunch of us went on a short term missions trip to Kenya. All was well and good for the trip until we were supposed to leave to come home. We somehow got informed that our flight schedule had changed and we were to depart a day earlier and take an indirect route to our connecting plane in London England. So much for our last day plans. Turns out there was a terrorist threat on our flight, so they had to re-route us through Uganda, and we underwent some heavy security checks. Thankfully we arrived home safely. Now while you may not immediately see this as a funny story, it sets a precedent for following vacations. In the moment, not so humorous, but when you put them all together, it makes for a good laugh in the aftermath! Oh, I forgot to mention something else that happened in Kenya – just days after we had left, which is funny in an ironic sort of way, but not funny at all…. While there, I had asked about lions, and how frequent, if ever, they came near towns and villages, and was reassured that they are skittish around humans, and usually avoid cities and towns… Unless they are really hungry! Days after we left, 2 people were killed by lions coming into the small town area we had just been near. Bizarre occurrence! Just days after we left.

So… Fast forward a couple years or so, and my husband and I decide to go on a vacation to Florida. We had lots of fun, but everywhere we went, there was an interesting story that accompanies it. First things first, we went to Universal studios to see the Blue Man group perform, and Jason gets called up on stage! It was quite entertaining, and for those of you who are familiar with the blue man group, they are quite hilarious! So Jason (my hubby) gets up on stage with them and begins mimicking everything they are doing, which makes it all the more hilarious! I’m filming the whole thing, but I wasn’t supposed to, and got caught filming and was asked to stop recording. Sad, but I did capture some of what happened. First, the one guy takes some of the blue paint on his face and puts some on Jason’s face, then they get him to put on a white painter’s suit, which he does, and they take him backstage, where they proceed to have him lay down and tie his feet, and pull him up from the ground by the rope around his feet so that he is upside down, and they proceed to swing him into a canvas after first having splashed him with paint, to make for an interesting painting! Then they put him in a box, and put a what looks like a jello mold on his head and wheel him back out onto the stage. At which point, we all laugh and applaud loudly. Now they are poking his head through the jello mold and then they take it off and he bows and leaves the stage so they can proceed with their next act!

Jason tells me what really happened… In fact, he didn’t know what we were being shown by video while he was back stage. But what really happened, was they had him take off the white painter’s suit and put on one that had been splashed with paint, and then they put him in the box, with the jello mould on his head. He said it felt weird! The whole thing was really quite hilarious! So, we continue to laugh at the antics of the blue man group for the rest of the show, and decide to head home afterwards, because we had already enjoyed 2 full days there. Instead what we discover, is a massive crowd at the exit all wanting to leave but being detained. We ascertained from the crowd that what was going on was that there was some sort of bomb threat in the parking lot!! Go figure. From terrorist threats, to bomb threats…

So we ended up watching a movie to kill a couple of hours to see if we could then finally leave the park and go back to our hotel. Coast being clear, we headed on our way. But the trip was not over, nor were it’s adventures! We then proceeded to take a mini cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to the Bahamas, and while on our cruise, we hear of someone having jumped overboard… Not kidding. Thankfully it was not on our cruise, so we were not detained, but it was a cruise ship from nearby. The Bahamas was amazing and I would go back in a heartbeat! But on our way back from the Bahamas, we heard on the news that there were some crazy forest fires happening… On the exact route we needed to take to get to our next destination, which was Daytona beach! We were able to drive through some of the area and see the blackened trees, and you could still see smoke in the forests off in the distance! The next story, is not funny at all, but true nonetheless…. Our dog passed away while we were in Daytona beach because no word of a lie… He overdosed on Tylenol!! My friend was looking after him and he got into her purse while it was unattended and ate half the bottle of tylenol! Needless to say she has never dog sat for us again! Although, we also don’t have a dog, and our dog was always getting into trouble so we really can’t blame her! I’ll have to do a blog sometime with funny stories about our dog! Lol!

So just when you think there couldn’t be anything else go wrong on ONE vacation, this was all in the same trip, btw, the trip is not yet over. One more story to share from our Florida adventure: so we are on the airplane coming home, close to arrival, and suddenly there is an emergency situation on the plane. Someone’s baby had a high fever and was turning blue! So the announcement comes on requesting that if there is anyone on the plane who knows First Aid, or nurses or doctors or EMS workers, to let them know…. By this time, my heart is pounding, because I know first aid – in theory. I’ve been trained and have renewed that training several times over, but nothing prepares you for the real thing… Heart pounding, palms sweating… Praying “God, PLEASE let there be someone more qualified than me!” Thankfully there was a dr. on board relieving me of the responsibility. Of course, we were given first priority in landing because of the medical emergency, which thankfully was resolved and the child was ok, or so we heard. Back in Toronto, we quickly hurried home before anything else could go wrong!

It’s in retrospect that some of these stories can be funny now… But at the time, they were not.

So…. You might think that’s a lot to occur on one trip, but our adventures are not over. Yes, that’s right, there are more stories to share!

You all remember the big earthquake in Haiti a couple years back? Well, a few months after all of that, we went on a vacation to the Dominican republic… next door nighbors To Haiti. Everthing was wonderful and good, until one night, the ground moved under our feet…. we were freaked out! We had experienced our first earthquake! I can’t remember what it measured on the richter scale, but it was something like a 4.2 or a 5.2 ish… not super close to where we were, but close enough that we felt the ground move. And only a couple months later, back here in Canada, there was another earthquake, to a lesser degree, but still enough to make those of us not used to earthquakes, feel like the ground beneath is a little less safe than you gave it credit for!

Moving on, September of 2010, we decided with a couple good friends of ours, to take a greyhound to Manhattan New York. First of all, I will NEVER again take a bus trip like that again, and NEVER EVER EVER on a long weekend!! The trip itself was super fun… we practiced new york accents before we went to be sure to fit in! As you can imagine the laughter and fun times we had alone just trying out the accents. “he left his Kahkis in the Kah, and packed the Kah in brooklyn.” This translates to “he left his car keys in the car, and parked the car in brooklyn.” Loads of fun!
We were lucky to get a dicounted rate on a hotel right by times square, because it was a ‘soft opening’, meaning it was a brand new hotel, not fully completed, so they were giving discounted rates on this brand new amazing hotel! Can’t complain there! We were busy from morning till night taking in the sights and sounds of new york… and the shopping!!!!

Now here’s where our funny new york stories come in.

So the one morning we decide to go find a french restaurant to eat at for breakfast. after breakfast we were going to check out ground zero and the financial district and… go shopping. DO keep in mind, we went in Sept 2010, not in Sept. 2001!!!

So after hours of shopping, my friend who was with me realizes she doesn’t have her cell phone!! she’s freaking out… we reconnect with the boys, and call the restaurant. Sure enough, she left it there. They would hold it for us while we continued to shop. So when we were ready to check out with our purchases, we grab a cab and head back to the area where we had eaten. We were taking turns paying for the taxi. my friend’s hubby took the bill this time. We all climb out of the cab. We are standing on the street corner as the taxi drives away when my hubby realizes he has lost his wallet! My friend is telling him not to freak out until her hubby notices she is missing her purse. Now they are both freaking out, because her camera was in her purse and he had a couple hundred in cash in his wallet! After retrieving the cell phone, we head back to the hotel to call the cab company. They ask for the cab #. We don’t know. All we know is it was a yellow cab. Didn’t even catch the license plate #. They basically said, “good luck getting it back”.

So a little more careful, we make it through the rest of our time in new york. We successfully navigate our way to getting on the right bus back to Toronto. And end up spending like 6 hours at the border while 26 buses are ahead of us in line to go through customs. We missed dinner, the bus driver refused to stop anywhere, and wouldn’t let us off the bus, in fact, he locked us in while waiting at the border for hours! By the time we were heading back home, the toilets on the bus were smelling up the entire bus!!! From wearing hoodies backward with the hood over our faces, to wearing bandanas around our face or burrowing our heads into pillows to avoid the smell, we bitterly endured the long trek back to Toronto, all the while worried that we wouldn’t get back before the subway closed down for the night… At this point all we wanted was to get home!! We survived and lived to tell of our experiences! A couple months later, we get a package in the mail. My husbands wallet! With all the contents in it! The guy who sent it didn’t even take out money to pay for the stamp! We were so grateful! We sent him a thank you card in the mail. Sadly, because my friend had no ID in her purse, it remains a mystery of who is enjoying the pictures of our new york vacation, while sporting a new handbag!

One last quick story… Our last vacation, this past September, on a Mediterranean cruise, was amazing! Hitch free! No issues, no volcanic eruptions, even though they say mt. Vesuvius is about due to blow again anytime, it thankfully did not happen and has not yet happened since we left. But is it a coincidence that not too long ago there was a Mediterranean cruise ship that sank along the same route we had just been on our cruise? Is it just coincidence? Hmmm. We’ll never know. This much I can tell you though, a vacation with us is bound for some unusual excitement, drama, risk and earth shattering experiences!

Cheers to vacations! Hope you had a bit of a laugh at our expense!

Be sure to check out Friday’s blog as I continue a series on understanding and developing healthy boundaries! And if you have any funny vacation stories to share, I’d be glad for the laughs!

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What is sin?


“What is sin? What is “the fall of man” really about? Several months ago, God began a major journey of discovery for me… I thought the initial discussion between me and God was about faith. But He kept taking me elsewhere… as if to say, before you can understand the roadblocks you’ve struggled with your entire life about faith, you need to understand the foundation of the problem. And that problem- is sin. And He began to open my eyes to understand what sin really is.

What went wrong? Why, how… did we lose out on fellowship with God? Well… ‘the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.’ Gen. 3:1. The great enemy of God, the accuser of those who believe in him, who had a vendetta against God since before the foundation of time, had it out for us, had an evil intention to break up the relationship God had in mind for us.
Lucifer, once an angel of God, the covering cherub of the glory of God, had become proud in his heart thinking he could become as powerful as God himself. The following passage taken from Isaiah 14:12-15, is often referenced to refer to Lucifer’s fall:
“How you have fallen from heaven, o star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven, I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the most High. Nevertheless, you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit.”

And again in revelation it references a war that takes place in heaven between Michael and satan, also called Lucifer, as a result of his rebellion against God:
“And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”
As a result of his defeat in this great war in the heavens, the fallen angel, Lucifer, (which means morning star) now referred to as Satan or the devil, went off to make war with the people that God had created. His plan: if he could not physically overpower God to become equal to, or more powerful than God, he would break God’s heart, by breaking the fellowship between God and mankind whom he had created to enjoy and experience the bond of love and community with him.
So now we fast forward again to the garden of Eden. All of this previous detail is the prequel to the events described in the first few chapters of Genesis. So essentially, we find, just like a movie might start, we aren’t necessarily starting at the beginning of the story. Yes, it is the beginning of the story of how earth came to be, and the business of God’s creating, and the beginning of mankind. But here, scattered throughout the bible, we see that there were things happening prior to creation. In Hebrews 11:3, we see that ‘by faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.” Suggesting then, that what is unseen is more real than what is seen with the naked eye. Again in Ephesians 1:4 we find that there were things going on before the actual business of creation:
“just as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him, In love, he predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the kind intention of his will.”
And to Job, a man who endured many trials in his lifetime, through a series of great losses, God speaks to him, when Job cries out to the Lord for a response as to why all the misfortune he has experienced, God replies: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth, tell me if you understand. Who set its measurements… who laid it’s cornerstone?” (Job 38:4-6)
So we come to know that the back drop to creation suggests there were things happening before we came to be… before we were a glimmer in God’s eye.
And when we came on the scene… we were already in the middle of an ongoing conflict between a fallen, angry angel, with hell bent fury and vengeance on his heart against the heart of God. How could a defeated foe vanquish his enemy who is more powerful than he is? Aim for his heart. Aim for the crown of his glory, the created beings made in his likeness. Made to display the glory of God. Remember, Satan once was the ‘covering cherub’ of the glory of God. Now he’s jealous, as God has a plan to extend this glory to mankind.
Innocent and unaware of this drama unfolding, mankind enters the scene. Act 2, Scene 1. The garden of Eden.
Enter the serpent: Lucifer. Satan. The deceiver.

So how did he do it? How did the serpent make his assault against God? He went after his beloved creation. He enticed us to question the very character and nature of God. “Did God really say?” he asks, planting a seed of doubt in our ability to recollect what God had spoken. Followed by a bold lie, “You will not surely die!” God is LYING to you. He is holding out on you. He is NOT to be trusted.
Let’s look at the passage before we unpack this further:
“(the serpent) said to the woman, “indeed, has God said, You shall not eat from ANY tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, ‘from the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, but from the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘you shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die.’ And the serpent said to the woman, “you shall not surely die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves…coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid themselves from the presence of…God among the trees of the garden.” Gen. 3:1-8

Even as I type this, I feel like weeping. I have come to know the heart of God for mankind, and can only imagine the sorrow and sadness God felt at this broken fellowship. But so ingrained, and so deeply did the lie permeate the entire being of the man and his wife, that trusting God was broken. They embraced the lie, fully. And the community that God intended… was broken. Between God and man, and between the man and his wife. Let’s take a look at that for a moment. The woman made an independent decision to eat of the fruit, and though Adam was with her, theirs was a partnership of mutuality, and as a result of making that independent decision, she isolated herself from the man. When God called for them in the garden that afternoon, what did they do? They hid themselves from him. He invited them to come back to relationship, but their shame had caused them to hide, and they refused to come out of their hiding, so they cut off that fellowship of trust between them and God because a seed of doubt in his character had been planted. Thrust into isolation, God asked them, still reaching out, “what happened?” Adam, making the isolation permanent, responds, “It was the woman’s fault. She did it.” And instead of taking responsibility for his own actions, because he WAS WITH her when she ate, and he chose independently to eat as well, passed the blame, isolating himself from the woman. The woman then blamed the serpent causing the cycle of rejection to be made complete. The man and the woman were left alone, dependent neither on God nor each other, and sin was born.
Now you may say, that’s fine, but that doesn’t have anything to do with me. I wasn’t there, I didn’t make that choice, we need to take a look at what it means to inherit sin nature.
For those of you reading this, that aren’t quite sure what you believe about sin nature being inherent, or the concept of original sin, passed down from adam and eve to the rest of us, without getting too technical, let me ask you this: Do YOU trust God? Do YOU believe that his heart for you is good? Have you ever felt an inclination to disobey a command from your parent to “not” do something, and you did it anyway, feeling that independence/rebellious nature within you, rising to rear it’s ugly head? Have you ever indulged in the urge to protect yourself and defend yourself when you are ‘caught’ doing something you know you shouldn’t do? (like speeding on the highway, or making a big blunder at work, and wanting to pass the blame on someone else, or at least refuse to take responsibility for your actions?) Have you ever tried to protect yourself when someone accuses you, falsely or otherwise, because there is something inside you that needs to justify yourself?
What is that? It’s independence. It’s rebellion. It’s self-protection. Call it what you like. It’s sin nature exerting itself in you. It’s that “I can make it on my own’ attitude, the “I have no one to rely on but me, so I have to defend myself’ idea. It’s because of isolation from the foundational relationship of trust between God and man. But trust was broken. But perhaps this is just where the deception comes in. Adam and Eve believed that God has broken trust with them because he was ‘holding out on them.’ But has he? Were they not the ones who broke his trust?

What is a person to do, when trust is broken? Now keep in mind, we haven’t even established whether God has broken trust with man or not, but in this story, Adam and Eve believe God has broken trust. He lied to them, they perceive. What do you do when you think someone has broken trust? You defend. You keep your distance, you become skeptical of their every move, or their intentions. You separate yourself, emotionally, or physically to keep from being taken advantage of. You no longer trust them, so you harden your heart toward them. Intimacy is broken. The relationship is then torn apart. There is a rift between the two. It takes more than a little work to re-earn trust once it has been broken. Even then, some relationships never achieve the former intimacy they once enjoyed. What’s worse is when you find yourself in God’s shoes, as in this scenario with Adam and Eve. Where you have been accused falsely of something you haven’t done, and people who once were close to you, believe the accusations against you and their trust in you has become broken. And you didn’t even do anything wrong.

This, has been the single most enlightening concept that God has revealed to me in recent months: Independence.

Sin… is independence from God. It is choosing to go our own way. It is believing that the very heart and nature of God toward us is NOT GOOD. That He is NOT to be trusted. He is holding out on us somehow. Therefore, we must take matters into our own hands, and look out for ourselves.”

What you have just read is another excerpt from the book I am writing, called “Found Wanting”. This particular chapter takes a look at the concept of original sin, and the heart of God to have a relationship with us and how one big lie drove us far away from believing a simple concept: that God is love. God is good. His heart for us has always been good, but we have hardened our hearts to Him, and go our own way, not believing & trusting in all that He has for us, thereby living far beneath the destiny and intended purpose & inheritance He had planned for us.

But hope is coming… God did not plan for us to remain in exile from himself. He was already putting together a plan of redemption. Stay tuned for further updates and excerpts of my writing in the weeks to come!


Sometimes we live a life where we feel like we have two selves, or a split self. The good ‘me’ we present to the world, and the ‘bad’ me, that we hide from others. It’s a lot more common than you think. Living a life that is ‘ideal’, setting the standard of perfection so far above anything humanly achievable, while denying the ‘real’ self that fails sometimes. I know many people who cannot accept or conceive of failure in others around them or accept failure in themselves. Where does this originate from?

If this is your first time tuning into my blogs, I am currently in the middle of a series on boundary development that I blog about every Friday, and encourage you to check out the past 3 blog entries I posted on previous Fridays. This week I am writing on what real love is about. That real love involves knowing that you are loved for both your “good” parts, and perceived or real “bad” parts of yourself.

Often times though, we learn that we are loved or accepted by what we do, or how well we perform at certain tasks, rather than being celebrated even when we fail. The expectation to get the best grades, or perform the best in your dance class or on your hockey team, meeting disapproval if you don’t get it quite right. Or being compared to others in your family by how well you perform vs someone else, making it into a competition to ‘get love’. This often is where the performance trap begins.

We all can imagine what the perfect “me” should look like. But who defines that? Who are you performing for? Now some of you may say, “I’m only performing for myself”, but where did the idea of performing at all originate? I challenge you to take a look at the root in yourself where you began trying to achieve a high standard for yourself that you can never meet, and the being harsh with yourself when you don’t meet your ideal expectation. Or maybe you can’t stand when others fail and set unreasonably high demands on others to perform to your ideal standard.

The reality is, we all have a “real self”. The self that we are when no one is looking. The self that we truly are, warts and failures and all. The real self is not who we wish to be, but us, just as we are.

When we begin separating the real from the ideal, it is often because we have believed a message that only the good parts of us are lovable and accepted, while the ‘bad parts’ or perceived bad parts are unacceptable. What happens to all that underachieving, bad habit, negative stuff that is unacceptable? It goes into hiding. If unattended for too long, psychologists label it a ‘split self’, where you only present on the exterior what is pleasing and acceptable and considered ‘good’ by those with whom we are in relationship because we grew up believing the struggles and failures and imperfections we had were unloveable. So we begin to build an outer world and a secret dark inner world that we are afraid to reveal to anyone, as we are sure to meet with rejection of the self as a whole – the real person, who is imperfect, yet loveable no matter what. But if the messages you received were that you are not lovable, you begin to believe it and begin to be your own worst judge.

What we all need is to know we are loved just as we are, the good and the bad, and that love is not lost or taken away if we neglect to perform a certain way.

When we fail to accept good and bad in ourselves, or in others, these are the symptoms that result:

1. Striving for perfectionism
2. Idealism – denying that bad exists
3. Inability to tolerate badness in ourselves or others
4. Inability to tolerate weakness in ourselves or others
5. Inability to tolerate negative feelings which then go into hiding, which have all sorts of negative side effects as a result as well.
6. Depression or moodiness
7. Self-image issues
8. Anxiety and panic
9.Eating and substance problems
10. Narcissism
11. Guilt
12. Sexual addiction
13. Broken relationships
14. Excessive rage
15. A perception that you are “all bad”
16 The “all good me” approach of being defensive about taking responsibility for any fault.

These issues can lead to all sorts of distorted thinking, such as believing you are not worth being loved, or that your badness is worse than someone else’s, or that you should be better than you are, all the while competing with a completely opposite belief that you are ‘ideal’. You may also believe your badness is unforgiveable.

How do you get past this? With great difficulty. Anyone who relates to this will easily tell you that once you believe that your unlovely parts are unloveable, it is a tremendous risk to bring those unacceptable parts of yourself -the parts you and others have judged- into relationship.

But it is the only way to heal the gap between the real and the ideal. A good test to tell if you struggle with this at all, is to try writing a list. Define, by using words to describe the external you, who you are to others. Then make a list of the ‘internal you’. The parts younkeep to yourself. Are they telling the tale of two completely different people? Or are they pretty much the same? If there is a huge difference between what you present on the outside and what is going on inside, you may be dealing with a split self. I am not saying that a split self means you have a personality disorder or anything, I am merely suggesting you may have not felt loved for who you are, the good the bad, the ugly. You may have been taught conditional love: that only parts of you are acceptable.

Real intimacy can only exist when the ‘whole’ self is loved, just as you are.

Quick tips to overcome the performance/people pleasing trap: confess who you really are with safe and trustworthy people in your life. Keep following, in a few weeks I’ll blog on the subject of how to determine who the ‘safe’ people are. So to recap: confess the ‘real you – the inside you – with someone. Forgive those who taught you parts of you were unloveable. And forgive yourself for being too hard on yourself and for your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s part of being human. It’s ok.

Next, integrate your negative emotions and attributes with the ‘good’ parts of you so that you can begin the journey towards becoming a complete person. Allow yourself to feel sadness and anger and fear. The very things you tried to bury because they were perceived or treated as bad. Or were merely discouraged. Stop medicating to avoid pain, whether it be drugs, alcohol or sexual addiction, whatever it is you go to to avoid your pain, is only making matters worse and increasing self hatred. Get help if you are using coping mechanisms to avoid negative emotions.

Begin to challenge your thinking distortions. Instead of assuming on what people are thinking or what you think they want you to be, ask questions. If you are performing in an attempt to please or in order to earn love you don’t believe you are worth receiving, ask. Ask someone the very thing you are afraid of. Ie “I think you are bored listening to me talk. Is that true?” instead of assuming that’s the case and responding as if it were fact, just ask. It may surprise you when they respond, “not at all! I love it when you share your feelings with me! If my expression shows otherwise, it’s because I’ve had this nasty headache all day!”. And then try to believe they are telling you the truth, so that you are not self-sabotaging the ability to receive love from others.

I would also advise that you begin to process and value your negative feelings instead of chucking them into the abyss of your soul, where they only lurk and wreak havoc on the inside, destroying self esteem and encouraging self hatred instead.

Those are a few tools to get you started. My final piece of advice: be authentic. Be your real self. It’s much more wanted than you believe it to be. You cannot achieve true intimacy or really know if you are loved for who you are, unless you take risks and give someone a shot at loving you. You just might be surprised, and find the love and acceptance you crave, rather than the rejection you expect. I know it’s risky. I know it’s hard. But it is achievable!

If you’d like to look at a great resource, check out my one-on-one Personal Development Program which will help you overcome depression, unhealthy thought patterns and so much more!

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If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach

what is strength?


They say that when things are tough, the tough get going.

Well, I hardly would consider myself a ‘tough’ person, although many people have told me I am strong. I’m not sure if I believe them or if they simply say it to encourage me, or if they really DO see a strength in me that I cannot see for myself. Because when I look at what’s inside of me, I see human weakness, and frailty. I see someone who has been broken too many times to count, yet possesses this strange sense of resilience that even I don’t understand.

I have been disillusioned far too many times to count, in areas such as faith, my beliefs, my values and my understanding of morality.

I have always felt like I am a far too dependent person, simply because I allow myself to be vulnerable, real and open with those closest to me. I would also say that I am REAL with everyone, as I have not yet figured out how to hide on the outside what is happening on the inside. And I appreciate authenticity anyway, so I choose to be authentic.

I feel like I am in a sad state of affairs internally, as I currently continue to battle disillusionment in many areas of my life. Perhaps this is what happens when idealization shatters in front of you. Which is funny, really, in an ironic sort of way, because I have always thought of myself as a realist rather than an idealist. Possessing the ability to hope for and believe for the ideal, but to willingly accept the real.

What doesn’t make sense to me now, however, is that though I feel disillusioned, I am picking myself up off the floor, and going on. Damaged by what has harmed me, yet I am picking up pieces and moving towards the goals I have in my life, that are as of yet, unrealized. Perhaps I am placing my hope in something new while the rest of my life feels shattered? Or maybe this is how you move on, and grow. Maybe this is a mark of maturity, an embracing of all that is, no matter how unpleasant, and growing up and becoming someone who is less dependent on other’s, capable of achieving my dreams and reaching some long lost goals.

Maybe I finally am strong enough to accomplish what I have allowed fear, anxiety & insecurity to hold me back from. Maybe I misunderstand the definition of what it means to be strong. Maybe the harshness of life is a training ground to make us tough enough to handle the hardship, while keeping us soft enough to receive the healing & inspiration we need to move forward.

Coming back to my opening line about what happens when the going gets tough… Perhaps they are right that the tough do get going.

In my own life, no matter what I feel I am struggling with internally, on the outside, I see initiative like I have never known before. I used to feel like getting motivated was a tough thing for me. I allowed a lot of things to hold me back- mostly anxiety and fears.

But perhaps going through some of the most difficult things in my life, facing my worst fears, and some I never imagined possible, I came out on the other end finally with the belief ‘what is man? And what can he do to me?’ maybe it’s because it’s all been done… And I’m still standing. (although sometimes I feel like I’m crawling… And then those other days were even crawling out of bed feels like a chore…)

The point is, that maybe I’ve overcome my fear. Maybe my fear of rejection has been solved by experiencing it, and living to tell the tale.

But whatever it is, I’m moving forward. I’m taking my life in my hands and saying ‘I will not allow fear to hold me back anymore’ and I press forward towards the dreams, desires and visions I’ve carried for years, but held myself back from due to fear or negative self talk about myself.

Maybe the confidence I was hoping to get from others, the affirmation and reassurance, is coming from within, instead of from external sources. I feel motivated like never before to accomplish my dreams. My goals. I feel like nothing can stop me. Because the things I thought could, have not destroyed me. Perhaps I’ve been set back a little, but I am pushing forward. There is within me an inner resolve, and an inner resource of life & love I didn’t know I could possess in light of the trauma I endured last year.

It’s my time. To reach out and grab what I have longed for and yet had allowed myself to be held back by for so long.

Is this what they call resilience? Is this what strength is? Perhaps I have misunderstood what strength is.

I want to share a poem with you I wrote a while back about hope in the middle of a storm. Here it is:

Though I am Weak

Though I am weak in my flesh
I feel my spirit coming to life.
Love bursts forth from my heart
Like the dawn of the sun,
Overflowing like a tidal wave
Sweeping over the broken places within me
Making all things new.
Hope arises, is stirring anew
The love for the broken
Makes me new.
When I am rejected, I love all the more
The love of God covers the failures of men,
His light is shining bright in my heart
The morning has come.
His love floods my heart
With his pure love
Covering over my imperfect human
Capacity for loving.
He empowers me anew,
His armor he puts upon me
His strength has come.
‘the journey ahead is too much for you’ he said…
Rest, eat, sleep…
He has come to my aid,
Come to my defense
His shield is upon me,
I rest beneath his feathers,
His wings overshadow me
Like a mother hen,
As he heals and mends the broken
Places in my soul.
I breathe in deeply
A breath of clean air,
Throw my hands up,
Weary from fighting on my own.
I surrender, I trust. I rest in you.
You are my defender,
The one who lifts my eyes up
To the hills
When my head is too weary to lift my gaze upon you.
My strength & my help
Come from the Lord.
His salvation for me has come.
My first love renewed.

-Katie Meilleur

So here is my closing question for the day, and I would really love to invite your commentary and thoughts on the subject. How do you define strength? What is it? What does it look like? Feel like? How does it function? What… IS strength?

God’s Original Design


On Monday’s I blog about the book I am currently writing called “Found Wanting”. Today, I am simply going to post from my book about God’s original design for mankind, the desire in his heart for a community of relationship between us and God, as well as with each other. Keep in mind, this is just a small excerpt about what God’s original purpose for us was, prior to what Christians deem, ‘the fall of man’ when sin affected and corrupted God’s original plan. The belief is that in order for God to create us with the ability to love, he had to create us with the freedom to not love, which opened the door for rebellion, hatred, independence and unbelief, all key ingredients of what christians call ‘sin’. For those reading who are not of the Christian faith, keep in mind that this book is geared for those who are Christian, so if you have any questions for me, by all means contact me and ask! Here is an excerpt from an early draft of my book:

Made in God’s image, a brief look at the triune God

“God is presented in the bible as a tri-unity of entities existing as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, a community of ‘one-ness’ that we refer to in the Christian world as ‘the trinity’. The Evangelical Theological society describes the Godhead as the ‘original community of
one-ness in a single sentence: “God is a trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, each an uncreated person, one in essence, equal in power and glory.” Each member of the trinity participates in the creation of, as well as the grand design for mankind. The Father is the originator, the son is the revealer and the spirit is the one who completes the work. And what is the work? To build a community of one-ness like the one that the trinity shares. There is a unity that is shared among the trinity that we must explore to understand.

Throughout all eternity, God is Father, Son and Spirit bound together in a dynamic relationship that unites the triune God. What is that bond? The discovery of that is the key to understanding what God thinks of us.

God is love. “The unity of God is nothing less than each of the Trinitarian persons giving himself to the others. This unity is the dedication of each to the others. The Father loves the son, and the son reciprocates that love. This love is the Holy spirit, who is the spirit of the relationship of the father and son.” (–Created for Community, Stanley Grenz)

Augustine wrote, “If God is love, then there must be in Him a lover, a beloved and a spirit of love, for no love is conceivable without a lover and a beloved.” Frank Viola suggests that ‘pulsating within the centre of the godhead was the very essence of deity, a passionate love.”

God lavished his goodness upon all of the earth and the creatures on the earth in his work of creation. But immediately after creating the man Adam, he saw that the man was alone. Everything else in creation had its counterpart, but man was solitary. Everything else God created he said “it is good,” after he spoke it into being. But not with man. The first thing he does is say “It is not good for man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18) Why? Because God had enjoyed the intimacy of a community of love in the trinity, he immediately saw that Adam’s alone-ness was not good. His design was to create a community to share in the love expressed in the trinity… because the nature of true love is to be generous, to reach out beyond ourselves and to embrace others and pull them into the circle of love so that others may experience the intimacy that comes from being loved. So too, God, who is love, desired to lavish his love upon us, and allow us to experience the love and unity that the Godhead has shared for all of eternity. Because God is community, he creates community. It is his gift of himself to humans.

Created in His Image

What does it mean when God tells us that we are ‘created in his image?’ I believe this means that we reflect who He is, the attributes that are a part of His divine nature. His creativity, His love, His passion, His ability to rule, His authority, His intelligence, His beauty. And many other details that we can take the time to observe in the things which He has created to get a glimpse of who He is, and what He is about. It also speaks of His goal or design for us, about the connection we have with him, our identity as connected to him.
God envisioned that mankind would model his creativity, and share the love he poured out on us that we would experience by knowing we were unconditionally accepted by God. We were to demonstrate his loving Father’s heart for us, to our families. He created us to be ambassadors, in a sense, taking what we have learned of his image, his character, his desire for mankind, and to represent him here on earth, in our relationships, in the varying roles we occupy throughout our lifetime. As we care for the earth and the creatures in it, we were made to model Him, and His ways, his ideas on earth.
Being in the divine image involves living in the grace of the creator, a special relationship with God, unique, above the animals, and plant life on the earth, we enjoy a special worth in his sight, receiving a special love. It involves a purpose and a future (Jer. 29:11). This being made in his image also involves a design he created, to enjoy rich fellowship and community with him, our families, our world and the body of Christ. He created us for community with each other.

Made for God

And so begins our journey of discovering God’s original design. God made us and designed us to be in intimate relationship with him. To enjoy the extension of the unity and love expressed within the members of the triune God. And so we see the first glimpse of the passion of a God who loves us completely. Let’s take a minute to look at a common definition of the word passion: “a strong and barely containable emotion, a state or outburst of such emotion, an intense desire or enthusiasm for something,’ and some common synonyms to describe the emotions of passion: rage, ardour, anger, love.”

There is much more to speak of God’s love and the purposes he created for us, but I will leave you with this passage from the new testament concerning the evidence God created for us to see and know and understand that we are not here by accident, but there is in fact a loving God who designed the world, and each human being uniquely and with purpose, and the sad effect that sin had on that original plan:

“That which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being, and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity…For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the created, rather than the Creator.” Romans 1:18-25.


If you haven’t been following my Friday blogs, you may want to circle back and read “Grace & Truth -building blocks“, posted on February 3rd, as well as My blog posted on February 10th, entitled “Learning to attach and bond“, as they are the two preceding blogs to the series I am currently writing about on the subject of boundary development – the necessary steps to developing a ‘self’, a personality, with a healthy knowledge of how to interact with others, while keeping your own boundaries and self intact.

What are boundaries? Well, let’s begin with the characteristics of a complete person first, to give you a sense of what boundary development helps to accomplish. If all goes according to plan, a ‘complete’ person should exhibit the following characteristics:

1. The ability to connect emotionally.
2. To be vulnerable and express emotions.
3. Have an appropriate sense of power.
4. The ability to say no to something unwanted.
5. Have initiative and drive
6. Have at least a minimal amount of organization.
7. Be real, but not perfect.
8. Accept imperfections in yourself and others, and have grace and forgiveness.
9. The ability to grieve
10. Learn and grow
11. The ability to take risks.
12. Grasp and use one’s talents.
13. Be responsible and follow through.
14. Be free and not controlled by external or internal factors.
15. Be sexual.
16. Be spiritual.
17. Have a moral sense.
18. Have an intellectual life.

Wow, that’s quite a list! If you have trouble in any one of those areas, you most certainly could use a more thorough understanding on the subject of boundaries.

If I were to simplify boundaries, I would suggest that boundaries are that which we are responsible for, as well as a knowledge of what we are not responsible for, or what we cannot control.

I’m sure you are all aware somewhat of the term, ‘the terrible two’s, the stage in a child’s growth and development when the only word your child seems to know how to use is the word, “NO!”
Although not a ‘piece of cake’ navigating this stage of development for any parent, it is actually a very necessary part of the child’s development. This is the stage where he learns “Mommy and me are not the same, as opposed to the previous stage of development, where he learns to attach and bond, believing “mommy and me are the same”. Both elements are vital to a child’s development, and the need for attachment and bonding must precede the stage of developing his own personality apart from his parents. This stage of developing a self, own’s own separate identity continues on through life. But there can be very many messages that interrupt this growth process, making transitions into adulthood quite difficult. I will not spend much time on this in this blog, but to give a couple quick examples of such interruptions, a couple things come to mind. If one is taught that their accomplishments are what makes their parent proud, one might learn that performance causes feelings of being loved. Or perhaps if a child’s assertions to separate from mommy are met with a lot of resistance, the child will develop believing that she cannot have a ‘self’ and must ‘merge’ with those she is in relationship with, allowing that process of development to remain stunted. I do not have time to mention such things as manipulation and abuse in this blog, but will circle back to some of these concepts at another time.

For now, let us simply look at the responsibilities for our own soul that we are to learn, and develop in order to grow into a ‘complete’ person. Let me just mention that this is ALL we have responsibility for. We cannot control what another person does or how they will respond to us. We only have control and responsibility for our own selves.

What are we responsible for?
1. Our physical appearance, and physical boundaries.
2. Our attitudes
3. Our feelings
4. Our behavior
5. Our thoughts
6. Our abilities & talents
7. Our desires
8. Our choices
9. Our limits
10. Our values
11. Our negative assertions
12. Love

“A mature and complete adult not only takes responsibility for himself, but also requires the same from the people he loves. To be codependent and not require responsibility from others is to not be responsible for oneself.” – Melody Beattie, author of “The New Codependency“.

These are some pretty tall orders when it comes to personal responsibility.
A great exercise to try if you wrestle with your identity or are not quite sure who you are and who you are not is the following:

Exercise: Imagine a circle and everything in it is you. Think about what fills up your circle. What do you care about? What do you hate? What do you love? Who are you? What is attractive to you? What do you value? What do you believe? What repels you? What do you think about? Feel about? What are you really like?

There is a great deal more to be said about boundary development. This is merely a small introduction to get you thinking.

I will leave you today with common symptoms that occur in us when we fail to develop and set boundaries.

1. Depression
2. Panic
3. Resentment
4. Passive-aggressive behavior
5. Codependency
6. Identity confusion
7. Difficulty being alone
8. Masochism
9. Victim mentality
10. Blaming
11. Over responsibility and guilt
12. Under responsibility
13. Feelings of obligation
14. Feelings of being let down.
15. Isolation
16. Extreme dependency
17. Disorganization & lack of direction.
18. Substance abuse, addiction, and/or eating disorders
19. Procrastination
20. Impulsivity
21. Generalized anxiety
22. Obsessive compulsive disorder

Now, while many of these symptoms can have multiple origins, or be as the result of a difficult temporary situational trauma, if you find you identify with many of these symptoms, you may have some unfinished business in the boundary development process.

I also realize I have not mentioned anything about what to do with the boundary crossers in your life, nor touched on the subject of abuse, or further explained what codependency and some of thes other terms mean. That is because they all require in and of themselves a blog or several, to unpack further.

If you would like more information on Boundaries, check out the Boundary Development Program available on my website.  Hope to see you there!

————-

If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.   

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach

Perceptions about Christians


So I mentioned on Monday that today I would blog about the perceptions many people hold in north America about Christians, church and religion. Most of these opinions are negative, according to statistics.

This particular subject is actually something I am extremely passionate about. I strongly believe that God is relevant for today’s society. For years, the age of enlightenment has taught us that we outgrew God. That modern science would replace our need for God, or at least prove He doesn’t exist. As much as I would like to delve further into that subject, I will save that for another time. The point is, the current trend that is taking place, at least in North America, is a moving away from the modern era, and moving steadily towards what people are deeming the next wave, calling it post-modernism. What are the differences you might ask? Well, in a nutshell, instead of leaning heavily on the sciences, and modern intelligence, a new generation is emerging that is extremely spiritual, and hungry for spiritual meaning. Now, you might think that is great news for modern religions, such as Christianity, that work to proselytize new believers to the faith.

Instead, what is actually taking place, is a movement away from traditional religions in their purest form, such as Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, the Muslim religion, and others. What IS happening, however, is that people are finding a sort of ‘choose your own adventure’ sort of faith, mixing varying traditional religious beliefs from many of the above religions, and then some, adding their own ideas & values, forming the ‘god’ that suits them best. A god that most represents themselves individually, forming something that people have best labeled, ‘tolerance.’ It’s the concept that you can believe what you want, and I’ll believe what I want, and we will respect each other’s opinions.

Now, for me, coming from a Christian upbringing, what I personally see out of that, is merely that we have become gods to ourselves as a generation who has been dis-enchanted and disillusioned by the traditional modern faiths of our time. What it looks like from my perception, is that we gave up on something greater than ourselves, and must rely on our own selves instead. The problem with this, I fear, is that… What if we’re wrong? What if there is absolute truth? What if there is a solid foundation to be grounded on? What if we are just floating around believing in whatever we ‘feel’ is best for us, and the same thing happens all over again? Another wave of disillusionment that comes from recognizing that what we have put our faith in (ourselves) is not enough. Then where will we turn? Because obviously, modernism and science did not feed the hunger in our souls for a god. What if our own melting pot of ideas, borrowed from this faith and that, does not accomplish the fulfillment or completion, or enlightenment we are looking for? What will we do then to fulfill this spiritual hunger that is escalating to an all-time high? Whether we admit it or not, we are hungry, as I mentioned on Monday, for purpose, a sense of meaning as to why we are here, a need for destiny, intimacy and hope.

The problem for those who admit they are hungry for something more, and are searching for truth, come up empty, raised without knowledge of the varying religious beliefs out there, many come out empty, wondering… “well, just what IS the right religion, or the one that holds truth?” But most people looking for faith in something often look elsewhere other than to the beliefs of Christianity, because of a very negative stigma the church carries. Sadly, they are right. It is true that some of Christian history is muddied by horrible atrocities done in the name of Christ, such as the crusades, using the predominant religion of it’s time, to justify a lust for power and conquest for control. The same could be said of Hitler and the holocaust. Hitler believed that he was a christian, and was quoted saying, “I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the almighty creator… I am fighting for the work of the Lord”. Persecution of the Jews, and murder were never the teaching of Jesus himself. Neither was the quest for power and control and pride. He spoke that the meak would inherit the earth, not the power hungry. He himself, was a Jew, why would he instruct his followers to persecute those he loved so dearly? It is sad to see how religion used for politics and military conquest can become something so totally against the teachings of Jesus.

But more recently, and before I get too far off track, the more current complaints against Christianity and perceptions of its faith, according to recent statistical research conducted by The Barna group, the main concerns people hold of Christians and their faith, are these 6 issues:

1. Christians are hypocritical.
2. Christians are only interested in getting converts to their faith.
3. Christians are anti-homosexual.
4. Christians are sheltered, disconnected from current culture, and therefore irrelevant.
5. Too political.
6. Judgmental.

Sad, but true. As Ghandi summed it up: “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.” Amen to that Ghandi!

My passion, as a believer in Jesus, is to see Christians become like our Christ. Because the message Jesus preached was grace and love, and called himself “the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)

“For God so loved the world, that he sent his only son, that whoever believes in him, shall have eternal life.” John 3:16

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent us his son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1John 4:10.

I believe Jesus is relevant to our emerging post modern culture, as a viable option to fill the deep spiritual hunger of this age. My mission: to see the Christians become like their Christ, and to erase the negative stigma the church currently holds as judgmental, hypocritical, sheltered, etc, as were mentioned above, and to become a solution to human need, instead of being part of the problem.

Choosing My audience


So I decided who my audience for my book will be with great reluctance. I so desperately wanted to be able to write both to a Christian and an unchurched audience, but was informed the marketing would be difficult and far too expensive for those interested in publishing my book as it would cost twice as much to market to both audiences. So I decided with apprehension, to market my book towards a Christian audience. But as I’ve thought about it, it makes sense, considering I have been a very disillusioned Christian for quite some time, seeing the great and vast divide between those who are Christians and those who know little at all about what being a Christian is about. I have a heart to see the divide and segregation diminish. Christians, by and large have become ‘out of touch’ with our world and it’s culture. It is time that Christians not only understand the culture in which they live, but to reach out in relevant ways to engage the brokenness in our world with the love of God which heals like nothing else can. Please hear me clearly when I speak of brokenness. I’m talking about those who have been impacted negatively by abuse, abandonment, rejection, addictions-directly or indirectly, broken families, broken hearts, who have had to cope with hardness around them by hardening their own hearts to self protect against hostility and evil.
I so desperately want to share God’s love with a hurting world.

But I fear that the church has done more damage than the good we are called to do in reaching out with love to those who are broken and in need. I feel strongly that the church needs a re-introduction to a God of love, truth, mercy and justice and lay down hearts of judgment towards those who have been damaged by the harshness of life, and rather embrace compassion and a message of grace and truth and love. We are living in the effects of the fall of God’s original design. We live in the era of sin and hardness, and independence and selfishness, which breeds evil towards each other when left without understanding of what the love of God can do to heal the broken, bind up our wounds, and bring joy to sorrow.

I want to expose the errors that exist within the current church system, the religious views that bring judgement and condemnation to those who need grace, forgiveness and love. The church needs to hear the message of the gospel again & again: For God so loved the world, that he sent his only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life. -John 3:16.

So with great hesitation, I decided it was time for christians to hear the message of the gospel of good news that God intended to bring to all people, regardless or religion or race, or sexual orientation, or other biases most commonly held. The reality is, God loves us all and has good news of the most unconditional love we will ever know. And a grace beyond our wildest imagination. I want to see a revolution in the church to know, to really know, what the love of God looks like and how He draws hearts to himself.

I will blog on wednesday about some of the issues those who are unchurched generally have against the church as it currently exists. It will kind of be a part two to this blog. Not enough time to get it all in one blog!

In the meantime, today I will share a few quotes from my book that will likely NOT be in the finished book, directed towards those who are unchurched, as I very much have a heart to see people know a God who loves them, simply because His love has profoundly changed my life and brings me peace, healing and restoration from my own brokenness. Because we all go through it, churched or unchurched. Christian or not. The rain falls on all of us, no matter what. Christians are no more perfect than anyone else. Anyone who tells you this is not being truthful with themselves. But God comes to bring hope to all of us, and offers a freedom we cannot understand until we experience it first hand. It is hard to know what something feels like when we haven’t experienced it.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that everyone who does not consider themselves to be a Christian, automatically feels like they are broken or empty or missing out on something. Sometimes this is not the case. I know lots of people who consider themselves happy who have not known God. I am directing this message today to those who ARE feeling hopeless about life and feel like everything is falling apart around you. And to let you know that God comes to offer hope and peace and healing.

Here Is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of my book which will not make it to the final cut, as it is more directed to those who are searching for meaning in life and wondering where to find it.

Enjoy:

“So what are we doing here? Why are we here? What is our purpose in life? Is there a purpose, or are we all just floundering around trying to make our own way in this world? What is our destiny? Do we have one? Why do we so often find that we are working hard at achieving something out of life, only to reach a goal and feel less fulfilled than we expected to feel once we achieve it? You might be focused on your career. You’ve done the years in university to pursue a path in life you thought you were passionate about only to find yourself working in a field completely separate from your original intention. How did that happen? Or maybe you ARE working in your field of expertise and you are climbing the corporate ladder hoping to get ahead, or get a bigger raise, to buy a bigger house, or another new luxury car… you may be working toward retirement, putting everything you earn into savings, so you can live easy when you retire. Maybe your hope is in romance. Find the right guy, live happily ever after, right? But what happens when you reach those goals and you become disenchanted? You work hard so you can provide the best conveniences for your family, only to find that you never have time to spend with them. Suddenly your kids are grown and moved away and you wonder how you missed out on all those years. Maybe you’ve saved your fortune for your retirement years, but now you’re there, and find you’re too sick, or too frail to do all the things you promised yourself you would ‘do later’ and later never came, and now it feels like it’s too late. What happens after the honeymoon when the real work of marriage settles in and ‘happily ever after’ is a lot harder to maintain than in the fairy tales? How quickly we get pulled into the dreams and goals our culture tells us we should pursue. “Do this, and you will find happiness.” “Follow this path and you will find success, and finally feel like you are ‘good enough’ or ‘important enough’, or better than someone else.” “Entertainment, and leisure – these are the things you want.” “This is what life is about.” But these messages are subtle. They are never so bold, but they do lure us into living a life that is less than what was originally intended. And they are good slave drivers too. They suck us in so well that we hardly realize we ‘bought into’ the idea of success, or romance as the be all and end all of life as it was meant to be. It is only when we reach the place of disenchantment with these lesser loves, the ‘fillers’ that consume our time and attention, that we begin to ask the questions again: why am I here? What is my purpose in life? Where do I find meaning in my life? What am I meant to do? Where is the love I’ve been searching for my whole life that mysteriously keeps eluding me? It is only then when our soul’s deepest needs and desires resurface pointing us in a direction to search out a better way, to find a more substantial meaning or purpose to our otherwise meaningless life.

“Each one of us hides an awful secret. Buried deep within every human soul throbs a muted pain that never goes away. It is a lifelong yearning for that one love that will never be found, the languishing in our inner selves for an all-consuming intensity of intimacy that we know will never be fulfilled, a heart-need to surrender all that we are to a bond that will never fail. The silent churning at the core of our being is the tormenting need to know and to be known, to understand and to be understood, to possess and to be possessed, to belong unconditionally and forever without the fear of loss, betrayal or rejection. It is the nostalgia for our primal oneness, the silent sorrowing for paradise lost, the age-long pursuit after the encompassing embrace for which we were created…it is the distant echo of the wail in the garden at the loss of innocence, of the grieving after a remembrance of shared freedom…the embrace of absolute oneness.” –Gilbert Bilezekian (excerpt from the book ‘community 101’).

But along with this cry for intimacy and unconditional acceptance, we also feel a need to ‘do’ something with our life, our time, our talents, our energy. We sense somewhere in the deep recesses of our being that we need purpose, direction & meaning, to contribute our strength and initiative to something. Without it, we lack purpose, and where there is no purpose, the people perish. It seems like, in order to feel like our life has been lived ‘fully’, we require meaning, belief in something, to use our reason & imagination, to contribute… we have dreams, and a sense of destiny, ambition, we require hope, and significance, on top of this need to attach and connect and find intimate relationships to enjoy. It’s built in. Without it, we wind up depressed and floundering about life wondering what it’s all about. If we don’t catch this vision, we end up living some kind of sub-existence. We just go about our every day life with a sense of drudgery or dutiful response to whatever we feel is our cruel task master.

This cry within us, this need for meaning, this loss of paradise, where did it originate? Deep inside, we know it is true. Even if we don’t think we remember what paradise was supposed to look like, our heart speaks of it in short whispers in the night… hunger. Ache. Something’s missing. Can I propose a suggestion here, that maybe, just maybe there is more to life than all of this? That there IS a specific design, task, role, purpose, for each of us here on this earth.

But what IS that design? Might I make a suggestion?

“Then God said, “let us make man in our own image, according to our own likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ And God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them. And God blessed them and said to them, ‘be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and rule over…everything that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:26-28”

If I were to continue quoting from my book, I would get into some concepts about what the Bible suggests about the purpose that God created mankind for. But I don’t want to give away too much. For now, I will leave you thinking. About meaning. And Purpose. And design. What are you living for? I would love to hear your comments, thoughts and questions on the subject.

I know many of you that don’t know what you believe about God or christianity have questions. Questions like ‘how do I know what religion is true?’ and even more specific questions and skepticism about the specific beliefs of christianity. I want to engage you on that subject. Stay tuned and ask your questions, tell me your opinions, your beliefs, your thoughts. And read Wednesday’s blog to see if you relate to some of the commonly held issues that people have with the religion of christianity. Looking forward to engaging you on the subject, no matter what your religion or beliefs are! Have a great day!!!

Learning to Attach and Bond


By the time a child is 3 years old they have taken in astronomical amounts of information -we are created with so many genetic possibilities. So much of which depends on what we recieve from our parenting, the quality of relationship, to see which elements get developed, and which remain underdeveloped. The reality is that that none of us walk away from being parented completely unscathed! No one is perfect, and our parents are not fully responsible for what we missed out on in our childhood. This is due in part to the law of responsibility. We are responsible to finish growing in whatever areas we missed out on the first time around which is great news to parents who often beat themselves up over areas where they recognize that they were imperfect in their parenting.
But what is this astronomical amount of information that a child must take in and receive and begin to appropriate in life?
Children are always learning, and observing, and mirroring what information they see and take in. Kids need to attach and to bond, to learn to separate from mommy and determine who he/she is apart from mom. In the first year of life, they need to learn basic trust, developing a self soothing ability to have a relationship with his/her caretaker in their absence and develop emotional object constancy. Early on in child development, infants do not have enough love or structure within themselves, and require a great deal of nurture. Kids also need to learn to know what their desires are and their limits and to know that these will be respected. They are to learn how to own and take responsibiltiy for their own behavior, feelings, attitudes and abilities. They need to know they are loved no matter what. They need to eventually grow up and leave and become mature adults. But before they finish growing up and developing, they also need to process the imperfect parenting they receive. They may need to learn how to respond to physical or emotional neglect, abuse, deprivation, role reversals, physical abandonment, boundary violations, sexual violations, etc, etc.
That is an incredible amount of information for someone so young to have to learn all at once, which is why we often come away from our childhood feeling like there were pieces missing, unprepared for adulthood or recognizing that perhaps we are incomplete in our development.
My intention is to unpack this a little bit and help fill in the gaps a bit.

Today we will touch on the need to attach and bond. Before we can even begin to understand and appropriate healthy boundaries in our life, we must first be able to bond and attach and connect to someone who is safe and loving and can fill that lack of love that we first come into the world with. Before you can separate and become a complete person, you first need to be a part of something before you can individuate.

Many people struggle with the ability to receive love, due in large part to a lack of attachment or bondedness. Or, you learn enmeshment rather than intimacy, therefore lacking a clear knowledge of what the difference is. Enmeshment happens when your ability to separate and individuate is disrespected. I will touch on that more next week. I am merely trying to show that there are injuries that develop in us that we carry into adulthood as a result of a lack of bondedness, or unhealthy ways in which we bonded, such as sexual abuse as another example.

So what is bondedness? Simply, the ability to emotionally attach to another person on a deep level. The ability to share your deepest thoughts, ideas, dreams, fears, etc with another person and know you are loved and to feel safe. Emotional object constancy is developed over time as you continue to take in enough love, to know that even when the person giving love is not in the same room as you, you are still loved. Now, you may think this is silly that this emotional object constancy can still affect us years later if not enough love was taken in during our formative years, but it is true. Years later, if that part of development is incomplete, a person may feel a deep sense of isolation and aloneness and be unable to cope with such feelings, and needs to find varying ways to cope with a deep sense of emptiness and aloneness that does not go away. This learning to bond idea is really a BIG deal. It is the first step of growth and development, and the most important.

Some symptoms of a failure to bond include: depression, feelings of badness, guilt, sadness, panic, feelings of meaninglessness, emptiness, feelings of unreality, fantasy, addiction, rage, panic, distorted thinking, fear of intimacy, excessive caretaking, etc.

Unfortunately in one blog I don’t have time to get into more detail about how all these things work, but I can say that if you identify with any of this at all, I can leave you with a few simple tools about how to begin the process of bonding. Perhaps at a later time, I will come back to this subject more in depth and give more helpful tools for growth.

But for now I will leave you with this:

Here are a few tools to help you on your way to develp the skills to bond and complete the mothering process in healthy relationships in your current life:

Step 1. Realize the need for it. Often people live without even having an awareness that they need to connect on a deep level because they have lived so long without it that they have developed skills to adapt to the emptiness. Some people don’t even ‘feel’ the emptiness, because it is buried so deeply inside.

Step 2. Make steps to reach out to others. If you see someone who seems like a caring, nurturing individual, make an attempt to develop a friendship with that person to allow yourself the opportunity to learn to receive warmth, empathy and love.

Step 3. Be Vulnerable. This is big. This is hard…. and often feels extremely threatening when you are very disconnected. The fear of a loss of love is so great it prevents you from reaching out and allowing someone “in” to the deeper parts of yourself. Try not to let this fear rule. It will cripple your ability to attach and bond.

Step 4. Challenge your distorted thinking patterns…. such as the fear I just mentioned, or making assumptions about what other people are thinking, and how confident you are that they WILL reject you if you let them in. These distorted thinking patterns could also be about yourself, and how you have erected a wall of protection by saying hateful things about yourself so often until you believe them, and believe that everyone else thinks the same thing about you. Try not to interpret what you think others are thinking of you. When in doubt, ask, instead of assuming.

Step 5. Take risks.

Step 6. Allow yourself to experience dependent feelings.

Step 7. Recognize your defenses.

Step 8. Say yes to allowing yourself to receive love. Allow yourself to be compassionate to yourself instead of critical and give yourself permission to receive.

It may feel right now, like that is too much of a risk for some of you. I tell you from experience, it is not always smooth sailing, and you may get burned here and there, but when you do finally experience what it is like to really receive love, the benefits far outweigh the risks.

My challenge to you today is this: Love, like you’ve never been hurt. Keep reading, because I will blog in a few weeks on how to identify the safe people to be able to attempt this growth challenge with. Stay tuned!!

If you would like more information on Boundaries, check out the Boundary Development Program available on my website.  Hope to see you there!

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If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website www.freedomlifelove.com and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.   

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach


I recently watched the movie ‘, the whistle blower starring Rachel Weisz. It’s a great movie to give a real snapshot of the sex trafficking industry for those of us who live a life relatively removed from the horror of how severe this problem really is.
It was maddening & frustrating to watch those in authority who are meant to protect the weak, co-align themselves with international crimes against women and watch them get away with it and cover it up. Who can you trust for justice to happen? What is wrong with humanity when human decency gives way to violent lust? I battled hatred for men as I watched this movie, and yet I am aware that women are involved as well, in a system that makes it profitable by selling one’s own family members for greed & lust.

this particular issue of human trafficking is one cause I personally care deeply about and it arouses fierce anger in me at the injustice of it, and the power of those trafficking young women as well as the powerlessness of the girls who have been taken. I feel we need to be made more aware of the issue and get involved in doing something about it.

What infuriates me more is that we do nothing about it. We live our comfy lives pretending it doesn’t exist & ignoring it. And all of our entertainment revolves around sex, amplifying the problem. This is why I am truly grateful when the entertainment industry raises awareness to such issues, like the Whistle Blower or the movie ‘Taken” a few years back, starring Liam Neeson, as we all know how much influence the entertainment industry carries. Another reason to be grateful for actors like Ashton Kutcher who is raising awareness on the issue. See this article for more info: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/08/us-ashtonkutcher-idUSTRE81704I20120208

I mean, seriously, the superbowl is one of the largest venues for trafficking young women! And all you thought was going on was football! See the following links for more info:
http://t.co/94kqbnCE
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/super-bowl-sex-trade_b_1198168.html

Let’s do something to make it stop!
Join with great agencies like http://www.thea21campaign.org, change.org, Notforsalecampaign.org, human trafficking.org, http://www.catwinternational.org, http://www.polarisproject.org, http://www.charityvillage.com, the international justice mission at http://www.ijm.org, or check out what Ashton Kutcher is doing to fight child sex trafficking and exploitation on causes.com as he raises money for the DNA foundation which is dedicated to fighting child exploitation.

Check out this website as well: http://www.crisisaid.org/trafficking2.html And see how you can get involved to help bring justice to these women.

You may wonder why I am blogging about this issue today, as Wednesday’s I am supposed to be blogging about myself. Part of that does involve blogging about the things that I am passionate about, the issues that are on my heart that bring about in me an urgent desire for justice and freedom, two things I am really about, coupled with the fact that this past Sunday was Superbowl sunday where there is a large amount of activity involving abducting young women into the sex trade industry. I was thinking about it all day Sunday, wondering how many children would be abducted this year at the Superbowl. And praying.

Today, I simply want to raise our awareness on the subject, hoping some of you will get involved and be activists towards making this multi billion dollar industry crumble as we choose to become humane individuals fighting against slavery, fighting for the freedom of these young girls, forced against their will, drugged and beaten for any reason, threatened to not speak out against the injustice imposed upon them… Let’s decide today to be their voice.
Get involved. Do something!!! Thanks for hearing my heart on this issue, and please check out the links and websites I mentioned!

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