Tag Archives for " Pain "

Jul 01

Emotional Independence Day

By Rebecca Townsend | Connection , Encouragement , Mental Health

Emotional Independence Day

Often we find it easier to think our way around things rather than to feel our way through them ~ Mark Nepo

I’ve been experiencing some frustration with words lately. They do not seem adequate. They don’t fit the depth of emotion that is stirring inside. And, they seem to be easily misinterpreted.

Where are our hearts to temper these flares?

In the last several years of my journey, I’ve worked to awaken my heart and cautiously unshackle the armor I spent most of my life laboriously fashioning around it.

All of that effort was an attempt to keep it safe from pain…to protect it from carelessness – my own recklessness and the nonchalant stabs from others.

Unfortunately, what I have uncovered doesn’t resemble what I remember it looking like. This heart was once full of hope, joy, happiness, optimism, spontaneity, unashamed and bold thinking.

It is so small…so frail and fragile now. I am not sure it can survive without the steel protection.

The temptation is to continue to overfunction with my brain. Intellectualize life – all of it…you know, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I can easily do that. I’ve been doing it and am pretty accomplished in that arena.

But, those rationalizations aren’t as satisfying as they once were. There isn’t relief and peace in those justifications. There are pieces missing. Pieces of me I have abandoned in an attempt to conform with the perceived rules of this life.

wounded-heartThis shriveled and scarred heart has been silenced for so long. Yes, she has occasionally been heard, given hope – only to find the shackles of silence are slapped back on with great fear. Fear that someone heard the weakness, the pain, perhaps even afraid the giggles and lightheartedness would be misunderstood and unintentionally wound another’s tender heart.

There are an abundance of deep wounds of so many, it is almost paralyzing to think about navigating your way through them. We can’t easily see one another’s brokenness and emotional fractures because we are smart.

We are smart enough, creative enough and brave enough to camouflage those cracks – we pour quick-setting cement into the emotional sink holes instead of seeking the core problem; we conceal the bruises with a pretty smile, charming hello and an insatiable need to care for others.

We have learned, and accepted, to think and strategize our way through life rather than to feel and experience it. It is safer, cleaner, quicker

It is also hollow. It is isolating and disconnected. It can feel so empty.

I know it isn’t too late to resuscitate my heart. But it is risky. I want to be gentle in nursing it back to its full capacity – I don’t want to use a defibrillator to shock it into beating. I want to be delicate and tender with this precious gift.

It is a process. A journey that will not be traveled without injuries, set backs, and obstacles. But seeking to live in alignment with the heart the Divine gifted to me and listening to its wisdom, its mercy, kindenss and even its humor, is where I will experience freedom.

Freedom from the words that seem inadequate. Freedom from needing an answer. Freedom from having to be right. Freedom from the urge to prove something. Freedom from having to be better.

Freedom to be me. Freedom to be exactly who the Divine intended me to be.

I Believe. I Create. I Live.

© 2015 Rebecca G. Townsend

Nov 20

The Combat Zone of Bitterness

By Rebecca Townsend | Military

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that

~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

As a therapist in a community of our nation’s warriors and the home of the most deployed Division in the US Army, I have witnessed the pain and grief of death.

Death in our community does not only happen in the combat zones of foreign lands, but also in the combat zones of the broken parts of the home front.

Many of these combat zones are deceptively disguised as beautiful homes, picture perfect families, successful professionals and God-loving people. But broken people, still – just like me and dare I say, just like you…?

We all have brokenness because we have all been hurt. We have all been injured by words, damaged by injustices, and harmed by others who are struggling just as much with their own pains. And we fight back with the intention of not being hurt again.

For some people, protecting themselves by getting smaller feels safe. They may withdraw and retreat, becoming quiet or even going silent. Their defense mechanism of escape can last for years when the agony consumes their being. The longer they are silent, the more difficult it is for them to speak their truth and feel heard.

There are others who defend themselves by getting bigger. They may speak out with their voices, sometimes degrading others or crying out in the name of justice in instances where no one wins. Their pain may cause them to blindly throw poisonous darts in every direction, injuring and wounding innocent by-standers.

Anger, resentment, and hostility can become poison. There can be healing and some good that comes from those emotions, yet those emotions can be like wildfires.

Scientists have shown us that wildfires have a positive impact on the environment. Wildfires increase nutrients being released into the soil, which is followed by new plant growth. Many ecosystems require fires to restore their balance.

Yet, we also know that out-of-control wildfires can cause an enormous amount of destruction.

Out-of-control emotional wildfires are often sparked by bitterness. Psychologist Stephen A. Diamond defines bitterness as “a chronic and pervasive state of smoldering resentment…a characterological hostility toward someone, something or toward life itself, resulting from the consistent repression of anger, rage or resentment regarding how one perceives to have been treated.”

Bitterness does not have a place in the growth of our soul and spirit. Bitterness cannot heal our wounds as a community – it only makes them deeper and more destructive. Perhaps even destructing and destroying innocent people, spreading the poison of bitterness further.

So how do we end this cycle of self-destruction? What is the cure for this pain?

We cannot fight bitterness with bitterness. We need to slow down before we react. We must ask ourselves, “Is this person’s reaction in true hate or is it a reaction of their pain? If it is pain, then how old is the pain? How deeply is it embedded in their spirit?”

There is power in the pause. We gain respect with pausing, not by reacting.

Believe. Create. Live.

© 2014 Rebecca G. Townsend

Nov 05

The Fire of Loneliness

By Rebecca Townsend | Communication , Connection , Encouragement

The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved

~ Mother Teresa

There is an aching loneliness, nagging and mocking my spirit. The feelings of isolation are familiar, yet uncomfortably raw.

But I know this solitude is a farce.

I believe, I know, and I honor the sameness in each fellow journeyer. My heartache is the heartache in your core. My laughter is the energy of yours. My Divinity is your Divinity.

This faith in Oneness is the truth that holds me in my emotional nakedness. The times when the silent mockery is deafening…The moments of alienation when you can no longer deny the truth searing your soul…The occasions you determine the bitterness of withdrawal is triumphant to the spurious popularity of the moment.

The belief, the knowing, the hope is not always successful at warming the cold and desolate moments in a timely manner. Yet, previous experience reminds me these lonely sufferings strengthen and purify my soul.

The parts of my being that are rough, unprocessed and coarse are being met with fires that will strengthen and prepare me for the heat necessary to purify me further.

It’s just like raw iron to steel. Raw iron isn’t even iron in the beginning – it is iron oxide. The beginning of our being. Heat transforms it into pig iron, still holding impurities, causing it to be hard and brittle. Much like the life experiences - kids teasing, being frightened, and feeling scared.

When the pig iron is remelted with scrap iron thrown into the fires, cast iron is created – much stronger and more solid than pig iron. This reminds me of the strength in our souls – trusting the Divine in our Core more and more with the experiences of living.

But we know cast iron can simply be reprocessed and created into a stronger iron – wrought iron. And there is even more potential for strength, if we push the wrought iron through more fires, adding carbon, to become steel.

When we push through the periods of loneliness, fear, and pain we are forging strength. Strength which may someday be needed to encourage a fellow journeyer on a familiar path.

We are never alone. Allow the Divine in you to connect with the Divine in another.

We can no longer afford to be poor in our love for one another.

Believe. Create. LOVE.

© 2014 Rebecca G. Townsend