Saturday, January 29, 2011

Notable Quotable

May I acquire the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things I cannot accept,
and the wisdom, to know the difference.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Notable Quotable

Peter F. Drucker - "There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all."

Recovering from Trauma

I was looking up some information and came across this article.  I thought it was pretty good so I put this bit here.  There is a link at the bottom and I have placed the author's name there as well.  I hope someone will get some understanding of where they are at from this.

It is okay to hurt. As a survivor, you need to go through the process of mourning which takes about two years if your mother dies of old age in her bed at home and you were expecting it. Traumatic losses take longer.

Mourning has five stages:

**Denial: is screaming "No! No!' at the time of the trauma. It is also "Never Happened!" and "Didn't affect me!" People can get stuck in denial for years. 

**Rage: People get stuck in the rage stage, too, screaming and lashing out at everyone around them, or coldly angry and unable to change. 

**Bargaining: Stuck bargaining includes veterans who will only get well if the VA gets perfect or if Nixon or Fonda goes to jail, the child abuse survivor who will only get well when patriarchy is gone, or the survivor who will only get better when he or she finds a perfect therapist. 

**Sadness: The sadness stage is very difficult for most survivors because of our feelgood culture. Being sad is practically illegal. Sadness refused leads me to deep depression, but today if I start to feel depressed, I ask myself what do I need to feel sad about. If I can identify and feel it, I don't get depressed. Sadness needs to be felt. What happened to you was sad, painful, grevious. The only way out is through. Those feelings won't kill you. It is okay to grieve. Grief is part of life. 

**Acceptance: The final stage. Yes this did happen. It was bad and it has affected me. I have a scar, but I survived. In time, I may be able to use my experiences to help other survivors. 

Recovery takes persistence and patience. "Progress not perfection" is a good motto. Recovery is not a smooth swift rise out of the depths of pain or numbness. It is a rough climb with many slips and lots of hanging on at new rough places in the climb.

"We recycle" is a slogan that will help you laugh when you slip. Acceptance of the slowness of the process is hard but it's reality. Since PTSD symptoms can come back with new stress, knowing that it is normal to recycle can help you continue to recover.

It takes what it takes and it takes as long as it takes. Human beings hardly ever change quickly except under extreme stress, so be easy on yourself. In response to the idea, I should be over this, remember this slogan (made up by yours truly) "Everything after the word should is bullsh*t."

H.O.W.? Honesty, openness, and willingness are characteristics that will help anyone recover. These things did happen and do affect us (honest). We can find help if we look (open). We try suggestions from others who have recovered or have worked with others who have recovered (willing). This is not to say that every idea or suggestion will work for you. Some won't. Some will be very uncomfortable, but will have a healing effect on your life, like getting sober

Yet. If those ideas scare you, the most healing word in the English language is yet, as in I can't do that yet... Someday you will when you are ready.

Willing to vs Wanting to: There is also a great deal of difference between the words "want" and "willing." Spelled differently. Mean different things. Willingness may mean I do things I don't want to do! If I wait till I want to do the things that will help me recover, I may never recover.

We heal by degrees. You don't have to heal perfectly or on someone else's schedule. People do this work in stages and have to take breaks from it.

Feelings are facts: you feel what you feel. It doesn't have to be reasonable, justified, or what other people feel. Feelings do not have brains. They are not logical! Part of recovery is learning what you do feel so you can take care of yourself. Trying to take care of yourself without knowing what you feel is like trying to budget without knowing your income.

Feelings are not facts: Emotional reasoning is a distorted way of thinking common in our society: I feel it therefore it is true. I feel hurt therefore he/ she meant to hurt me. I feel guilty therefore I am guilty. Many of us tend to feel hurt by or guilty about everything. It comes with our culture, but we don't have to believe it.

It is ok to feel more than one contradictory emotion at the same time.

Respect your emotions but don't necessarily believe them and don't act on them in old ways. People can change by acting in new ways until new feelings come. Waiting till they feel like changing is a dead end for most people!

Don't compare: Compassion is something that develops in recovery. You will see that what each person has lived through is the worst thing he or she has been through. Remembering how you felt after the first firefight, the first beating, the first time someone in your neighborhood was gunned down, before you got so numb, will give you empathy for others.

Recovery leads to autonomy, the feeling of being whole, the ability to change when necessary and the ability to regulate yourself. These are important concepts to people who may feel they have lost great parts of themselves. You may not get all of yourself back, but you can get some of it back. For people who have been stuck in survivor skills, being able to change is freedom, and for people who could be blowing up one minute and numb as a stump the next, the ability to regulate these reactions is pure joy.

Recovery will bring back joy into your life. It will be mixed with pain because this is real life, but learning to feel the pain lets it pass and the periods between the pain will get longer and longer and better and better.

One final word, no matter what you did to survive, you do deserve to recover. Many survivors feel guilty for surviving or for not doing enough or for overreacting. During the recovery process, your feelings about this may change. If you find that some of your guilt has a realistic basis, you can make amends for your actions.

--Patience Mason

Here is another link.  Remember that I am not saying that these are perfect resources but I liked this resource a lot because it talks about self-help, which honestly is what most of us use, and when to ditch self-help and get some professional help.

Dr. Valerie Tarico has written this excellent article.  There are more articles by Dr. Tarico at, as well. I really like what she says in this particular article that I think helps people move forwards with their lives after being affected by religion.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Notable Quotable

It is from Isocrates, a contemporary of Plato: " Democracy destroys itself because it abuses its right to freedom and equality. Because it teaches its citizens to consider audacity as a right, lawlessness as a freedom, abrasive speech as equality, and anarchy as progress. "

Wow.  That is for real.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why happiness?


"Sir, no SIR!" they shouted in unison.


from Why I am always happy by Larry Spencer

That is why I am always happy:)

Having survived a childhood that was filled with uncertainty, fear, hunger and confusion, as well as having survived a car wreck where I thought I was going to die and a marriage where I feared my ex had the capability of killing me and having survived being squeezed into the Christian box and punching enough holes in that box to worm my way out - well, I have a lot to be happy about.

And if things were even worse, well, someone out there is going through/has gone through even more than I have or ever will.

We really do live in an amazing world at an amazing time when one can grasp the knowledge of the ages. Who would have guessed even when I was a kid how the internet would allow us to read on just about any topic? Or that women would be allowed the freedom to be all they can be? Or that science would answer so many of our questions?

I am glad to be here.

 A commenter to this blog apparently saw that I am an atheist and an exChristian and said "I am sorry for your pain."  A bizarre assumption in that there is no pain involved in having an unbelief in god.  At least, there isn't for me.  I am content, even happy, with the place I am at today.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Notable Quotable

This tidbit really struck me today.  I have read this essay before and this is the essay that was the final nail in the coffin of my disbelief but today, I was amazed by this.

Did Jesus Christ Really Live? (ca. 1922)  by Marshall J. Gauvin
The full article can be found at the link above.

On the theory that Christ was crucified, how shall we explain the fact that during the first eight centuries of the evolution of Christianity, Christian art represented a lamb, and not a man, as suffering on the cross for the salvation of the world? Neither the paintings in the Catacombs nor the sculptures on Christian tombs pictured a human figure on the cross. Everywhere a lamb was shown as the Christian symbol--a lamb carrying a cross, a lamb at the foot of a cross, a lamb on a cross. Some figures showed the lamb with a human head, shoulders and arms, holding a cross in his hands--the lamb of God in process of assuming the human form--the crucifixion myth becoming realistic. At the close of the eighth century, Pope Hadrian I, confirming the decree of the sixth Synod of Constantinople, commanded that thereafter the figure of a man should take the place of a lamb on the cross. It took Christianity eight hundred years to develop the symbol of its suffering Savior. For eight hundred years, the Christ on the cross was a lamb. But if Christ was actually crucified, why was his place on the cross so long usurped by a lamb? In the light of history and reason, and in view of a lamb on the cross, why should we believe in the Crucifixion?

We once again see the evolution of the Christ story.  For the first 800 years of Christianity, Christ was not depicted on the cross.  A lamb was depicted.  A very human decree by a Pope changed history and the views on Christ.  With the stroke of a pen the Christ story took on whole dimensions of new meaning.  

Now we could talk of the torture of Jesus before he died.  His fully human, fully God status.  His vile treatment at the hands of the Jews.  [As if God wasn't fully responsible.  How Christians have loved to hate the Jews for killing Jesus, who was also a Jew, in these tales from the pages of the Bible.]  No longer was a lamb sacrificed to the Heavenly Father.  Now it was His own Son, His own flesh and blood, reviled, tortured, whipped and brutally hung on a cross.  The drama of the story is complete. An amazing tale of a demi-god. 

Think about how crazy this story is.  That God sacrificed Himself to save all of us from Himself, when He could have just issued a decree saying:  There, there my children, if you see what you have done wrong and truly repent and try very hard to do better in the future, then I forgive you." The whole story of Jesus is cobbled together by one power monger after another that want very much to have a say in what each of us believes about God.  For his own benefit.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Stone Pillow

The Bible
Throws you the bone of heaven
You celebrate your good fortune
While you lay your head
On a stone pillow
Your body on a bed of nails
Wearing a millstone around your neck
Chains on your wrists and ankles
Inside a musty dungeon
Within the high walls of a hard rock prison
Surrounded by a moat

Living in the fresh air of today
is out of reach
until you let go of the bone

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Notable Quotable

Hector Avalos in The End of Biblical Studies writes of Hermann Samuel Reimarus [1694-1768] who is often credited with producing the first modern critical enquiry into the “historical Jesus.”  Avalos quotes Reimarus on the subject of Jesus’ resurrection:

    Now, if all the apostles who, of course, had seen and heard Jesus’ earlier miracles…were still skeptical and doubtful about such an important event, how much less should we be reproached today for being doubtful and skeptical since we cannot experience all the things with our own senses but must accept it seventeen hundred years later from the reports of a few witnesses?

Albert Schweitzer is quoted:

    There is nothing more negative than the result of the critical study of the Life of Jesus…”

Avalos summarizes thus:

The quest for the historical Jesus is an abject failure.  After hundreds of years and probably millions of person-hours, reconstructions of Jesus are no better than the one of Reimarus in the eighteenth century.  Reimarus had nearly exhausted the critical search for any historicity, and he found mostly a myth.  … Further progress is futile because we simply don’t have any preserved accounts of Jesus from his time or from any proven eyewitnesses.”

Can God blame us if we search for any historical evidence of Jesus and come up empty handed?  Is there any fairness to state that we will all be tortured in a burning hell forever and ever and ever when God has not even given the proper tools for belief?  There is no eyewitness account to be found of Jesus. The gospels are in not eyewitness accounts.

 Even Christian Biblical scholars admit that the vast majority of what Jesus is alleged to have said in the New Testament, those letters in red that you see in your Bible, could not, or would not, have been spoken by their Jesus.  The vast number of additions and omissions in the New Testament are astounding.  It all strikes me as so not inspired by all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful God

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Day, New Year

I woke up this morning and it wasn’t just a new day, it was a New Year!
The New Year started without all the talk of rapture and Armegeddon.
No one I hang out with is expecting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
      to ride down our street.
It was a pretty mellow evening without religion.
I wasn’t asking God’s will in the New Year.
Or hoping to leave the world and be watching from heaven
     as God smote all the evil unbelievers in a great war.
I woke up expecting to still be right here on planet Earth.
I fed our three goats, our two dogs and our cat.
Had a cup of Starbucks coffee.
Did the dishes [yes, I waited to clean up the kitchen until this morning].
I organized my day.
Made a hearty breakfast of farm fresh eggs and sausage patties.
    [Thank you neighbor for my weekly dozen.]
I'm off to do the dishes, again.
Oh, and it started snowing, the world has turned a pristine white
     and the quiet is all around us.
All in all, a pleasant start for a New Year. I hope this year is a good one.