Dee's Blog
Fri 09/19/2008
The Darkest, Brightest Wilderness
Topic: coping

It seems that the darkest places to be--the ones that seem most like wilderness--are the deepest recesses of our hearts.  The longer they are neglected, the darker they become, the more difficult it is to make these places into lovely "wild life" areas.

Yet they also hold the potential for being the brightest places, for there are both unknown shadows and unknown places of intense light in those recesses.  To avoid entering is to avoid experiencing the greatest joys, even as we attempt to avoid the sorrows that come because we are afraid to explore.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 10:38 AM CDT
Wed 09/17/2008
Moving from Wilderness to the Wild Life Area
Topic: Making Changes

Just in case you were wondering where I was yesterday, I should tell you that I was in the wilderness.  Quite unexpectedly.

Partly from the shock of the economic news on Monday.  It sent me, perhaps like some of you, to start taking stock of my meager assets and to wake up from some of my denial about getting older and needing to be less of a risk-taker than most people my age are.  Literally, when it comes to my tendencies with my personal financing.

Oh, I'll stay a risk taker in some other areas.  That shouldn't come as a surprise to any of you.

Of course, as I get older, I'm recognizing the need to think twice about a lot of risks and about how I want to invest my time, as well as money.

Then, yesterday while I was coming to grips with some decisions from the Monday "crash," I had about a 10% reduction of my weekly income with some unexpected calls!  Ouch!!  Even for a self-employed person who rolls with the punches somewhat gracefully, this was a shock I'd never experienced all in one day.

This morning I found an e-mail from a friend I haven't seen in a couple of years or more.  Asking me to get together with her for lunch.  That was all I needed to make me realize that the wilderness experience is indeed temporary, and it really doesn't have to take much to bring us back to a place where we realize what is really important in this unpredictable life we all lead.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 9:39 AM CDT
Updated: Wed 09/17/2008 9:42 AM CDT
Mon 09/15/2008

Leslie Van Gelder really has me thinking, doing some soul-searching.  She talks about her experience in the wilderness--literally in the wilderness--and how this relates to our personal processes of individuation.

A few people are comfortable in any wilderness, she says, because of life experience.  In fact, they quickly convert what others see as "wilderness" into the "wild life" place of refuge.  I certainly haven't gotten to that point yet, but would love to be there.  She says such people quickly are able to turn wildernesses into a habitation for wild life and humans together.  Translating that into the unknown things over which we have little or no control, but still maintain a high degree of comfort, so that we co-exist with the unpredictable and very quickly integrate that into our lives, almost seamlessly.

It dawned on me recently that the people I have the most difficulty relating to, in all the world, are those who have an extremely low tolerance for the wilderness.  Maybe that's because I am quickly perceived as BEING the "wild" one to most people.  My husband says I scare a lot of folks to death. 

Maybe so.  Maybe I don't care most days, if it means having to give up my own comfort as much as it seems I have to.  If I sound a little conflicted and confused, you are reading me right--at least for the moment.  Sorting is SUCH hard work, even in the "wild."

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 3:11 PM CDT
Sun 09/14/2008
Life in the Wild
Topic: coping

Been reading some about life in the wild lately.  Not just the actual areas where wildlife abounds in our world.  Also, about the rich experience of living where few people live because of life's choices.

It occurred to me yesterday that one has to be very alert to live in the wilderness, where everything is unknown and people are definitely not in control.  The wilderness is where nothing is predictable, and all we can do is move by faith and a hope that there will be something that will allow us to at least survive the raw elements.

According to Leslie Van Gelder, in her new book WEAVING A WAY HOME, life in the wild isn't the same as the wilderness.   "The Wild" is where others have gone, but it's still untamed territory.  There is much to learn and explore there, yet we have a better idea how to survive. 

Some of you have lived in the wilderness, as I have--a spiritual wilderness, that is.  Where few survive for long.  Maybe you have found your way into the wild, where there is a little more comfort due to experience, so that it is beginning to feel like home.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 1:37 PM CDT
Fri 09/12/2008
The Real Perpetrator
Topic: Power

Sometimes, in stories involving professional abuse, I feel like we should bring back an old show, from the 50's, entitled "To Tell the Truth."  A contestant was brought on the show, on one side of the stage.  On the other, behind a screen that allowed the audience to see while the contestant could not, were three people who were introduced by the host with a one-paragraph teaser.  The contestant was allowed to ask questions of the hidden people, one by one.  Only one of the hidden guests was the real person, the only one who was telling the truth.

This morning, I woke up to the news that Eric McLean was found not guilty of murdering his wife's teenage "lover."  OK--on that I'll agree.   As the story shows, the shooting was not murder, though McLean was recklessly using a gun.  If he'd wanted to only scare the teen, Sean Powell, I don't understand why Eric was carrying a loaded gun to the confrontation in the first place!  Nor why he, an adult, would have been dumb enough to have his finger on the trigger, especially knowing it was loaded, when Sean reached for the barrel of the gun!!  Eric McLean made a HUGE error in judgment and brings into question the whole issue of why we so readily allow such easy access to guns in America, to start with!!

That's a sub-issue, however.  So before I get too far afield, I would like to be like Horton with his tiny little voice, and ask:  "Will the real perpetrator please stand up?"

At this prompting, if we had the whole scene on an episode of "To Tell the Truth," the person to stand would be MRS. McLean (I can't even quickly locate HER name this morning).  While she certainly didn't shoot her student, she certainly ABUSED HIM.  And all of the journalists and lawyers with big names are missing the main point of the story. 

Eric McLean was a victim, though a secondary one.  SO--especially so--was Sean Powell.  He was even a minor!  Teachers do NOT have affairs with their students.  Neither do ministers have affairs with their congregants.  PLEASE GET THIS STRAIGHT! 

The biggest perpetrator here may even still be teaching, or soon will be, the way things go!  Let's face it.  The real perpetrator--the one who betrayed her student and also her husband--got off without much notoriety at all.  Meanwhile her primary victim is dead, leaving a huge impact on the lives of all the secondary victims, especially his family.





Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 8:13 AM CDT
Thu 09/11/2008
Seeing through the Lens Backwards
Topic: coping

It's impossible to see much through lenses that are on another person's face. 

This is what prompts the rest of the message about Transition lenses.  Not only do we, as individuals, have to be patient with our own need for transition lenses.  We have to respect the need of others to have them--not just our own rights to have them--as we are adjusting to the light. 

Anyone wearing such lenses has the choice of removing the glasses at any time and putting on another pair that does not block the light.  Or just seeing things through their own bare eyes, if they are able to do so.  Choosing to remove the sunglasses or transition lenses either one IS a choice.  It allows us to see colors more brilliantly and to realize that there are many different shades of color in our world--each representative the complexities of our world and all of it's issues.

This is the part that is often hard for me to remember, but it carries a spiritual message.  No matter what my concern, I need to be very careful about how I try to "remove the log from another's eyes."  Or the lenses that may be self-protective or even in the process of coming off.  For the speck in my own eye may prevent me from noticing the subtle movements toward change in vision that another person or institution may be slowly making. 

I can actually, if too critical or condemning, delay the decision to look fully at the light of day.  It's a tricky work indeed.

It's a lesson very much applicable on 9-11.  For it applies to world affairs as much as individual ones.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 10:46 AM CDT
Wed 09/10/2008
The Tinted Lens
Topic: coping

Heard the term again just yesterday.  An elderly woman I've known for years said that she sees some things through jaundiced lenses now, after being betrayed by her church after experiencing clergy sexual abuse.  Jaundiced eyes or lenses can be caused by many experiences in life, of course.

Yet this friend of mine can be so much fun, so much of a joy to be with.  She demonstrates the wisdom of sages in many areas, with incredible insight.  Maybe that's because the lenses I use are also jaundiced in some ways. 

Sometimes I am more disturbed by people who see things with rose-colored glasses, however.  Whether steeped in idealism or cynicism, it's hard to carry on a real conversation about a lot of things unless both parties are willing to adjust the tint on their lenses.

I think some folks sell these lenses--under the name of Transition Lenses.  Good name and a great idea!  In fact, I had some Transition lenses years ago, before I got my contacts.  They are much preferred to having no sunglasses at all.  For our eyes do need relief at times, when the light of day gets too bright.

Transition lenses do not make our view jaundiced.  Nor rose-colored.  They give us time to adjust to the light and then to see things more clearly. 

As I see it, that's a very good thing!  As long as they adjust as needed to make the light bearable enough to really see and keep our eyes healthy.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 7:54 AM CDT
Tue 09/09/2008
Changes Cause Disruptions in Relationships
Topic: Making Changes

When we make changes, not everyone is happy with all of our changes.  Some people want us to consult them more often than we may think necessary as we make change.  As if their approval is essential for us to change. 

In an enmeshed family, people aren't allowed to grow without there being an uproar.  Sometimes change is allowed, though, as long as it's not for the better--that's what is so interesting about enmeshed families that are filled with addictions.  The addicts can just get sicker and more self-absorbed, and that seems to be fine with people who are "tolerant."

Same goes for enmeshed institutions. 

 Individuation and separation allow me to decide how much time I want to spend with people who have not taken inventory for a long, long time.  The older I get, the less inclined I am to make choices that put me in close proximity, for very long, with either the individuals or institutions that do not appreciate change.

Only problem is that life can be a little lonely sometimes, but never for long.  All I have to do is change the way I'm reaching out or relating to a variety of people that I already know, as well as to those I want to know better.  Or maybe to meet in the future.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CDT
Updated: Wed 09/10/2008 7:40 AM CDT
Mon 09/08/2008
The Problem with Change
Topic: Making Changes

Just this morning, I was saying to a friend that change is important for healthy people.  We need to change our habits, our thinking, our beliefs, and even consider changing our feelings about a lot of things.  As we grow.  And as we age.

Taking a good inventory is important.  The more frequently we do it, the better.  Depending on how honest we are able to be with ourselves, change is going to happen somehow with almost every thorough inventory.  If our inventories are frequent, we are likely to make small changes without even noticing.  If we wait for years, thinking that change isn't necessary--like I've done at certain periods of my life--then making change is very hard.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 10:53 AM CDT
Sun 09/07/2008
A New Song
Topic: music

At our piano recital this year, one of my high school students is playing a rather complicated piece that he just composed.  It's awesome. 

While he composes new pieces, his younger brother listens and comes up with the titles.  This one is called "Distant Discoveries." 

Both the title and the music remind me of something I recently heard:  "In order to better predict the future, we need to invent it."  It helps to, anyway.

Posted by Dee Ann Miller at 12:01 AM CDT

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