Thursday, April 4, 2024

Recipient to Provider

     At first, we're afraid & feel alone in a seemingly hostile world. Newborn babies probably feel this way, but to highly varying degrees, visceral fear & estrangement can weigh heavily for a lifetime. To prevent this, it's absolutely essential for us to be nurtured in safety & unconditional love at the very least in the first few years of life . We desperately need to have that primal fear, insecurity & isolation loved & hugged out of us! At least one caregiver needs to be dependably safe, holding us, and loving us unconditionally.

    Not knowing we are loved & lovable makes the heart grow cold. And all the tragedy of human life follows from there."
    John Welwood. "Perfect Love, Imperfect Relationships. Healing the Wound of the Heart." Trumpeter, 2006. EXCEPTIONAL!

    Gradually, we all need to evolve into becoming dependable sources of nurturing, safety & unconditional love. Without a nurturing recipient phase, the provider phase is at best very challenging, or drastically worse - "and all the tragedy of human life follows from there."

    Some of us mature, grow up, evolve into who we're meant to be - adults who are spiritually fit to welcome babies and the growing numbers of severely traumatized children & adults into the world. Inter-generational trauma is the natural result of spiritually unfit parents.
strongly suspect that none of us had philosopher kings & queens, saints or mystics as parents. And no matter how hard we tried to be model parents, probably none of us were always instantly there to pick up our crying babies, comforting them back to sleep. That's the baby's first taste of the frightening fact that external circumstances are NOT completely controllable

    The older we get, even the control we did have over our physical life in our prime, progressively starts 'slip-sliding away.' We have 2 choices, age unsuccessfully - OR - successfully.

    “The easy path of aging is to become a thick-skinned, unbudging curmudgeon, a battle-axe. To grow soft and sweet is the harder way.” James Hillman
    "Aging is inevitable; becoming wiser with age is not. Researchers, theorists, and clinicians have noted that older adults approach their lives in one of two ways: Either they draw on their strengths & live life to the fullest, or they magnify their weaknesses & restrict their lives to succumb to life's inevitable end.
Rigidity is a tendency to resist change, while flexibility is the ability to adapt to change. The conscious aging theory espouses late life as a period of deeper meaning & personal growth.
    As long as one remains engaged late in life, personality continues to develop. One's sense of self changes as one negotiates the conflicts proposed at each stage (of psychological development). The conflict assigned to 'old age' is that of integrity versus despair."
Giblin JC. J Psychosoc Nurs Ment Health Serv 2011; 49(3): 23-6.

    Spirituality for me means ‘aliveness.’ It comes from the Latin word spiritus, which means 'life' or “life breath.” So, spirituality is our full aliveness — particularly the aliveness to that mystery with which we are confronted in life. As human beings, we are confronted with mystery — that which we cannot grasp. We cannot get it into our grip. But, we can understand it by letting it grasp us.
    That is the longing: to find opportunity to let yourself be gripped & grasped by this great mystery. Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a great medieval mystic, says, 'Concepts give us knowledge. What we can grasp gives us knowledge. What grasps us gives us wisdom.'
    Every human being longs for that wisdomlongs to be touched by that mystery. A good example is music. We can’t grasp music. Nobody can grasp music. But, we can understand music. How do we understand music? When it grasps uswhen it does something to us. Then we understand. That is a big, pretty accurate image for what it means to be to be in touch with what I call mystery.”
David Steindl-Rast: Grateful Living in the ‘Double Realm’ – Tami Simon interview
    The ancient Asian greeting, "Namaste" (the Divine in me, recognizes & honors the Divine in you) intended or said while bowing with palm of hands held together, is beautifully expanded upon:

    “I honor the place in you
     where the entire Universe resides.
     I honor the place
     of love, of light, of truth, of peace.
     I honor the place within you where
     if you are in that place in you,
     and I am in that place in me,
     there is only one of us”
        Ram Dass, on the meaning of Namaste

    "What I ultimately encounter in any You, I can also encounter in any tree: Mystery. This happens, as Buber says, ‘through decision & grace.’ Both are necessary: I must decide to open my heart wide for this experience and receive it as a gift. ‘All is grace,’ said St. Augustine, all is Life’s gift. And Life is the story of our adventurous encounters with that ‘Secret,’ of which, so far, we only know from Robert Frost that it ‘sits in the middle & knows,’ while ‘we dance in a ring & suppose.
out the line of any relationship into infinity and it will lead to that ‘Secret’ – the Mystery, which we encounter in & through all that exists.

    Even the most jaded hearts “are longing whether or not they are aware of itto be liberated from their love of power by the power of love.

    But how can we have reverence for human dignity unless we stand in awe before the Mystery? Human dignity is rooted in Mystery.
    David Steindl-Rast. “You Are Here. Keywords for Life Explorers.” Orbis, 2023. DEEP & POWERFUL


Smiling Nova Scotia, late March 2024


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