Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET)

I am thirsty these days and actually drink full glasses of water. That does not sound so unusual, but it is for me. I have always proclaimed that I had no thirst mechanism, and was a sipper. Drinking any large amount of water made me feel like I was "drowning.” But I have overcome this hydration issue by breaking a mind-body connection that never served me well.

I have always been fascinated with how the mind works. I have also been curious about the concept of trauma stored at the cellular level: the kind of trauma that is not just stored in the brain, but stored throughout the cells of the body. In the spirit of always wanting to move forward in growth, I have been searching since then for a way to release past trauma. I was introduced to one method about eight months ago.

I was in my homeopathy class, and mentioned two near drowning experiences that I had, one that I remember and one that I do not. One of the teachers suggested that NET could clear the trauma. All I knew about it was that it stood for neuro-emotional technique.

I went to see an NET practitioner. I told her that I had hydration issues, and I wondered if it could be connected to the near-drowning experiences. We began with my sitting with my arm out in a muscle-testing position. She pushed down on my arm, and tested through “family, career, finances…” What came up first was “inner child.” My arm flew down and tears sprang to my eyes at the same time. Then she tested different organs, with kidneys responding positive. She went through emotions often connected to the kidneys, and came up positive with “fear.” She tested further for the age, breaking it down to age three.

This is how I had heard the story. We were at a hotel by the pool. Apparently I got into trouble when whoever was watching me went into a nearby room to answer the phone. Someone had to jump into the pool to save me. Whether this is how things happened in reality or not is irrelevant. I can be relatively sure that I went under the water, probably swallowing a lot of it, and felt true panic for the first time in my life.

The practitioner asked me to hold the feelings in my mind of how it might have felt as a three-year-old child who was under the water. Meanwhile she stood behind me and tapped me gently on several points. I found myself looking upward with my vision full of bright clear water over me, and I had the momentary sensation of being unable to breathe. As this passed, she came back around and tested me for many positive statements dealing with feeling safe, and allowing myself to hydrate, and letting go of the trauma. I tested that the trauma was cleared. Then I told her that I was really thirsty and wanted some water. That made her laugh.

The goal of NET is to break that connection between the current emotion and the emotion from the first time it was experienced. The present and past situations are often not so directly related--except through the emotion being experienced. Through muscle testing, the block of energy in the body is located. Then through questioning and muscle-testing, the person can usually pinpoint a prior event that first triggered the emotion.

Once the initial triggering event is cleared, then all subsequent and future events are freed from repeating the same response to the same old song. It is a simple, non-invasive, and effective method to release pent-up emotional trauma from the cells of the body. I particularly appreciate the efficiency. I like to think of it as behavioral psychology on fast-forward. Therapy on steroids.

This first experience with NET was certainly the most dramatic I have had. But I have been returning at regular intervals, and feel lighter because of it. I take my daughter there occasionally as well, because how wonderful to have childhood trauma cleared during adolescence. I find this new modality particularly fascinating, and definitely count it among the methods which have helped me and my family tremendously.
bxApage bxAinline

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Our Deepest Fear

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, "Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?" Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
by Marianne Williamson from A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles
bxApage bxAinline

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Back to Organics

My lower back has been sore for a week. That's not particularly unusual; I get that way a few times a year. I ride it out mostly, do some stretches, and maybe visit my chiropractor. I did that today, and it helped quite a bit. What was unusual was that I went there not expecting relief. I did not feel that my sore back was due to some structural issue. In fact, the only reason I went today was because I had my usual appointment. I told him my far-fetched theory about why I thought my back was hurting, and he actually validated it.

Let me back up a little. I buy and eat almost exclusively organic produce. I say almost because when I need to buy large amounts of fruits or vegetables for a party tray, I might buy commercially grown produce to keep from breaking the bank. (Am I saying my friends are not worth organic?) Also, we sometimes will have fresh produce at restaurants, which you can bet is not organic. Still, I would say that of the fresh produce that I eat, 80-90% is organic, and I have been eating this way for maybe three years.

This past December, I had a bout of soreness in my lower back. We had been going to parties and throwing parties, with plenty of crudités (or for those of you who do not speak French, veggie platters). Since I have been avoiding refined sugar this past year, I would gravitate to these platters at a party. I felt quite gratified in my choices as I filled up on fresh fruits and vegetables instead of cheesecake and brownies. But then the next day my back would be sore.

It was worse when we threw a party, because I would continue eating the leftover produce for days following, and my back would hurt all the while. Finally after making the connection, I formed the theory that perhaps the pesticide residue was having an impact on my body since I was not accustomed to consuming commerically-grown produce. I imagined the little pesty molecules taking up residence in my spine and throwing a party of their own.

Well, it always takes me several repetitions of the same lesson to really get it to resonate into habit. To put it more simply, time goes by and I forget. Last Wednesday night, I was at gathering at a friend's home. We were offered ice cream and a huge serving bowl of the most beautiful strawberries that one could imagine. Shiny, rose-red, huge, juicy and sweet. I had maybe five or six big ones because I was not having any ice cream. They were delicious.

I figured they were not organic, as I was listening in on where they were purchased. I thought briefly about the Strawberry Incident last summer, but I did not care; they looked so yummy. (Last summer with my new blender I was making tons of smoothies using strawberries from the freezer that my husband had picked up at a fruit stand in Los Angeles. My scalp had started to itch something awful; in fact, I was having my husband check me for bugs. I thought I was allergic to strawberries until my nutrition doctor told me that strawberries are the most toxic of all commercially-grown produce. He said to eat all the organic strawberries I wanted. I did, and my imaginary bugs went away.)

Well this time, my head was fine, but the day after these delicious strawberries my back was sore. The following day we had a gathering of our own, and I found myself in a regular grocery store. Oh, the lure! A quart of blueberries for $5! Two quarts of strawberries for the same price! And the grapes! They are not even in season yet, but I succumbed and bought all sorts of berries and grapes. As is my habit, I ate tons of fruit at our gathering to stay away from the cookies and brownies. I continued having equal parts of blueberries and cereal for breakfast for the next several days. To eat blueberries to satisfaction--a taste of heaven. By Tuesday, I was an old woman.

Something started to occur to me as I walked about stiffly. Some vague memory of a recent sore back. I had blamed this episode of soreness on too much sitting, but there was something there in the fog. Then I remembered an email I had written my friend in December. Something about pesticides on crudités. I found it, and sure enough, as I recollected what I had been eating this last week, it was Lesson Two in the series. Those pesty molecules were setting up camp again.

When I went to the chiropractor today, the first thing that I said was that my back hurt but I did not expect an adjustment to help. I told him my theory, and he listened with interest. He said that my theory did have validity. He told me that the body can have a (love this Latin) "visceral somatic response." (Etymology moment: viscera means intestines or soft organs in the abdomen; and somatic can refer to the vertebrate nervous system.)

Essentially, an ailment in an internal organ can cause displaced pain in the spinal area. He said that doctors note that people with gallstones can have pain in the middle back area. Other organs translate to whatever area along the spine whose nerves serve that organ. In my case, he felt that the organ that had issues (based on my lower back pain) was my large intestine. That organ would be consistent with the flushing of toxins from my body.

That is not to say that chiropractic could not help. He continued that there can be displaced pain with misalignment or displaced pain without. Sometimes the nerve pain causes the muscles to spasm which results in a misalignment that is secondary to the pain. I think that is what happened in my case, since my back pain went from sore to hurting sometime on Tuesday, and my doctor found L5 to be misaligned. I was greatly relieved after my adjustment.

So my colon is mad at me right now. I like to think that it is by grand design that our internal organs (which do not necessarily have pain receptors for every ailment) can send a message to a part of our body which can shout loudly. Just because we are not always intuitive enough to understand the language that is being spoken does not mean that the design is any less grand. Our bodies were not meant to digest poison and live to tell about it. The fact that any adaptation at all exists to complain says a great deal about the adaptability of the human form.

So the remaining wilting fruit is now tossed. I have instructions to drink plenty of water and some detox tea, and to eat plenty of (organic) greens for awhile. It is a mixed blessing to be sensitive to what others can eat without thought. Sure my back is sore, but I am greatly intrigued by the knowledge that I have gained from this experience. If I ate a king-size Snicker bar at this point in my life, I would probably be bedridden for a few days. But the sensitivity translates to an intuition regarding my body, a discernment about what I choose to eat, and a knowledge gained from experience that I hope to help others by passing on.

Three months later: My back is still sore off and on. Never experienced anything like this. Will post details when resolved. My spirit is still yelling at me, and I am trying hard to translate!

Six months later: Okay, after four months of pain, I went to a friend's party and was dancing. I figured I'd regret it, but it was fun. A friend of mine was dancing next to me, and I thought I'd do an 80's bump with her. Well, she bumped back pretty hard. I limped off the dance floor and the next day could hardly move. But--the next day after that, I was absolutely fine. As of this writing, it's been two months and I remain pain-free. Thank the Lord for outdated dances.
bxApage bxAinline

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Nature of Nurture

Chatting pleasantly with my uncle this afternoon, I am once again struck with how much he reminds me of my brother. His mannerisms, his sense of humor, his outlook on life--all very reminiscent of his own brother's son. When I once again pointed this out to him, he said, "Well, he just had a birthday too." I took this as his implying our astrological similarities at birth. Two Aquarians may have more in common than birthdates.

The question of nature versus nurture has always intrigued me. How much of my personality and thought processes are affected by innate factors, and how much is affected by the experiences I have had in my life, particularly my early years? It intrigues me even more as I watch my children grow. How much of their behaviors and reactions are due to their inborn life force, and how much can they blame on me when they are in therapy?

My siblings and I are about as different as children of the same parents can be. We look different from each other; we respond to life with varying reactions. My brother always teased me that I was adopted from a band of pygmy gypsies, and sometimes I would wonder. But I can find at least a few physical family traits in each of us that belie that fairy tale. So we are blood related, most likely. But why are we so different from one another after having grown up in the same household?

I remember when I was in therapy in my twenties (as is still vogue), I was immediately asked about my parents. I was confounded by these invasive questions, wondering what my parents had to do with my current situation. They were in a neighboring state, and my relationship with each was very good. But the line of questioning was pursued, and because I was paying this woman, I cooperated. What followed was months of childhood examination, rechewing the bitter cud of every perceived let-down, betrayal, abandonment, or other negative experience I may have had that brought me to the place I was then. Whether this helped my situation directly, or I just eventually got over things, I will never know. But two things happened for sure: I began to see my parents as more human, and the seed of "nurture causes all" was planted in my head.

I find that I am still impacted by the "nurture causes all" mentality as I parent my own children. I reproach myself for any ill behavior on their part, as I believe deep down that I am to blame for poor parenting. If I were more strict, or less strict, or more gentle, or more firm, or if they were in public school, or if we sat down to dinner more often--well, then this ill behavior would not be happening. An instance of poor behavior on their part causes anger on my part. If I were to peel back that anger, I would find fear. Fear of failing as a parent. Fear of messing up their budding personalities. Fear of lining the pocket of some future psychotherapist who will tell my child that it was all their mother's fault.

But what of nature? What about our innate personality type? Society has always pigeonholed people. I envision the pigeons each perched in their own cubby in the pigeon loft. There is something comfortable about being able to put people into our own personal cubbies. It makes us feel more in control when trying to figure people out. We even have pigeon lofts provided for us: the aforementioned astrological signs, Ayurveda doshas, Meyers-Briggs personality types, Type A-B-A/B personalities, race/nationality stereotypes, gender/age stereotypes, occupation/class/religion stereotypes, Generation X/Y/Z, and Chinese astrology, to name a few. And to visually look upon a person is to classify them in a myriad of ways that cannot be counted.

Let's see, I am a Scorpio, Vata dosha, probably INTJ on the Myer-Briggs, Type AB, white, American, female, 40's, homeschooler, middle class, Catholic, Gen X, born in the year of the Snake. If you were to look at me, you would see a tall, slender, reputedly attractive woman with mousy hair and glasses. What does that tell you about me? Even if you are the most easy-going (Type B) non-judgmental (INFP) person, you form perceptions about me. How many of these pigeonholes were the fate I was born into, and how many were affected by nurture?

This question is raised once again for me as I learn about yet one more pigeon loft, that of the homeopathic constitution. Within the philosophy of homeopathy, a person can be categorized as a particular "constitution," based on his physical appearance, his outlook on life, his behavioral reactions, his physical weak links, and various other idiosyncrasies. There are many common constitutions, but also combinations of these common constitutions which form new ones.

Basically, all constitutions can be decent and likeable people when in balance, and each have their own foibles when out of balance. The beauty of homeopathy (similar to Ayurveda) is that one can affect one's constitution in a positive way. The homeopathic constitutions map to homeopathic remedies. (Not all homeopathic remedies are constitutional--not by a long shot.) Using your own homepathic remedy helps to balance your constitution. And similar to astrological philosophies, homeopathic constitutions can have varying degrees of compatibility, depending on the combination of people.

I used to have fun with horoscopes and would read my mother's Sun Signs book when I was a teenager. I found all sorts of matches to what I perceived as my personality, or what I wanted to perceive. I wonder how much of that reading impacted who I became (nurture) instead of it reflecting who I was innately (nature). When I was younger and more of a wild card, I used to be proud of being represented as a scorpion born in the year of the snake. Now it bears little resemblance to who I am, or who I want to be. Did I change? Or did my perceptions change? If I changed, then it debunks the whole nature concept of astrology. (It matters not to me anymore, as one paragraph is all I would want to indulge on this subject anyway.)

Homepathic constitutions have more in common with Meyers-Briggs, in that they do not involve pagan fables and the alignment of the stars at the time of birth. They do however, claim an innate nature, particularly in that homeopaths are often able to type even a baby. I was fortunate to recently have my constitution pigeonholed by a talented homeopath, while I was interviewed as an example to our class.

Without going into it too deeply, I am considered an Argentum Nitricum, or Argent Nit for short. For those of you with a chemistry background, you may recognize the remedy as silver nitrate. This constitution is a combination of two others, one of which is perfectionist, detailed, and punctual, and when out of balance can be fear-based, anxious, and OCD. The other constitution is friendly, easy-going, and deep thinking, and when out of balance can be fear-based, worrying, and a people pleaser. I immediately noticed that these two constitutions seem so opposite. Interestingly, I have always thought of myself as a woman of extremes, or as one who sees both sides, or as one who can have a completely opposite reaction depending on my mood.

Reading up on my constitution was not a situation of trying to make the black glove fit. It just fits. One trademark idiosyncrasy involves trembling. Argent Nit tremble. I tend towards whole body shivering when I am highly emotional, whether for good or bad. On my dates with boys in college, we would be sitting there overlooking the city lights. In anticipation of our first kiss, I would be trembling like crazy. When asked if I were cold, I would always respond yes in a desperate attempt to not appear too excitable. The poor guy would never be able to offer the chivalrous jacket off his back, because it was 87 degrees in Tucson in the late evening. Yet there I sat shivering.

My poor son was terrified one time when we were alone in our hotel room in Julian. I had eaten something bad, and was terribly sick. I lay on the bed shivering uncontrollably off and on, and it scared my boy so. I kept trying to tell him to not worry; Mommy just trembles. I don't think I had him convinced.

I started to take this homeopathic theory seriously when I began to take my constitutional remedy daily. The first week, it was like I kept looking over my shoulder to see who took over my body. I was under-reacting constantly. I was underwhelmed. I was calm. I was even PMS'ing and I was calm. I was letting go. The anxiety that was always just under the surface was gone. My corners were rounded.

That was a few months ago, and I feel changed. I still scream and yell and carry on sometimes, and my husband asks, "How's that constitutional working for you?" The fact is I don't take it daily anymore, just when I remember. I am having a withdrawal reaction from not being the perfectionist, the purist, and the hardliner that I used to be. I feel a part of myself disappearing. I know it is just my ego not wanting to let go. Balancing my constitution is upsetting the status quo, so I fight it. It's an ongoing process.

I find it an interesting exercise attempting to pigeonhole those around me. I am by no means an expert, but some people are easy. My children are the only ones that I plan to intervene and force feed their constitutional remedies. But I cannot express the emotions that I felt when I figured out and read about my son. Right there, in black and white, someone had written about my sweet, social, naive, gentle, goofy, irresponsible boy. He was no longer a product of a failing mother who was ruining him with "nurture causes all" parenting. He is who he is, and now that I know that, I can parent him without the fear-based anger that it is all my fault. I can even choose to parent him differently to better respond to his nature (as well as force feed him lactose pellets).

Of course, we cannot brush aside the effects of nurture. Our experiences and relationships constantly shape and change us. We store trauma in our very cells which can either be cleared or can fester within us. We can inspire those around us, or stifle their creativity. We can allow nurture to impact us deeply, or rise above it to stand firm regardless. It is the nurture that allows us to reach the potential that nature has provided for us.

I come out of all of this recent instruction with a more balanced viewpoint in the nature versus nurture debate. In fact, it is no longer a debate to me. As one prominent psychologist puts it when asked about nature versus nurture, "Which contributes more to the area of a rectangle, its length or its width?" So with the debate put to rest, I find myself with less guilt, more tolerance, and complete forgiveness of my past. I can take what I have to work with in both myself and my children, and make the best of it as I nurture each of us.

One of my favorite cartoon characters as a child was Popeye. I can still see him zipping open that spinach can, cascading the green contents into his mouth. This childhood experience nurtured me well when it taught, "I yam what I yam."
bxApage bxAinline

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Book Review: The Four Agreements

Every once in a while, I read a book that really resonates with me. It gives me insights that are relevant to that moment in my life. I want to shout to everyone I know about how great that book is, but I do not. That same book might not have an impact on another person because he is different from me, or is just in a different place in life. The same, I suppose, can be said about any idea, or cause, or hobby. What might ring true for one person at any given time may not be what another person needs. We are all constitutionally different, and even universal ideas affect us to a greater or lesser degree depending on where we are in life.

With all this said, I am going to tell you about a book I read. Perhaps it will resonate with you; perhaps it will not. It is not a book I read recently, but it has stayed with me. The book is The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz. The premise is that if we follow these four agreements, we will find ourselves more in harmony with the world around us.

Before introducing the agreements, I would like to use a story to illustrate. Let’s say a father loves to fish, and he takes his young son to the mountains camping. He proudly introduces his son to the art of fishing, but his young son is more interested in skipping stones and soon loses interest. Instead of enjoying his son’s active boyhood, the father becomes despondent because he is unable to share his passion for fishing with his boy. The weekend is nothing like he anticipated. He becomes irritable, and finds fault with his son often throughout their time together. The son is confused by his father’s behavior, and assumes that it is his own fault. Instead of nourishing their relationship, the weekend has damaged it.

Let us look at this story in light of the four agreements. The first agreement is to be impeccable with your word. This is a difficult agreement to make with yourself. Words are powerful. They have the ability to create, destroy, heal, condemn, inspire, and corrupt. If the words coming from our mouths always reflect our integrity, and are used for the highest and best, then we are truly being impeccable with our word. Had the father in our story been more impeccable with his word, his son would have been nurtured by their interaction instead of being brought down.

The second agreement is to not take anything personally. Everyone comes from a different perspective. Nothing that anyone does or says is because of you; rather it is because of who they are. We each have our own reality within which we live, and remembering that helps us to not take anything personally. The father took his son’s disinterest personally, and interpreted it as rejection. When we cannot connect with another on something deeply vital to us, we need to remember that we all come from different perspectives, and in that way acceptance can be achieved.

The third agreement is to not make assumptions. Assuming you know what others want, or that you understand the intentions of others can lead to misunderstanding. We develop pre-conceived ideas about how something will play out, and when it does not go exactly as planned, we become discouraged. Asking questions and communicating with those around us helps to dispel assumptions. The father in our story had an idea about how the weekend should go, and it affected his ability to be flexible with the desires of his son.

The fourth agreement is to always do your best. Does that mean that we always need to be perfect and high performing? No, rather it means that we always need to do the best that we can do given our momentary circumstances. If we are sick, our best will look different from when we are well. Yet if we always do our best, then we will avoid judging ourselves and regretting the past. The father in our story will never be the perfect father who only does what nurtures his son, but he can certainly try his best.

The reason this book came to mind today is because I tried to make a loved one “go fishing” without success. I took their lack of enthusiasm personally, since I made the assumption that they would be just as passionate about what interests me as I am. Fortunately, the thoughts in my head about their “stubbornness” did not come out of my mouth, so the situation never escalated. I was able to gain some distance and reflect on the situation. Applying several of these agreements in my reflection gave me the perspective that I needed to dispel my ill feelings. If I can remember and apply ideas from a book that I read years ago, I put it on my list of personal classics. So here I shout!

bxApage bxAinline

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

All in the Family: Vanity and Humility

This past week has been a study of Vanity and her poor brother, Humility. Vanity is the sister who preens with excessive pride in her appearance. Humility, on the other hand, knows that there are more important things in life, and deflects attention away from his outward show. Vanity made the choice to fill her mouth with sapphires with the promise of rich rewards in two years' time, but Humility must bear the burden of the discomfort in the unsightly interim.

Braces are a choice on my part. Not because I vainly decided one day that I wanted perfect teeth, but because I was told "Now or Never." Do it now, or never do it, they said. That is a powerful impetus for action in the now. I have already stocked up on enough past dental regrets to fill the empty sockets where my wise back teeth used to be; I did not need another. And why not? After all, it did bother me that the flash of a camera would reflect on one front tooth and not the other. Vanity won out under the pressure of immediacy.

The immediacy came unexpectedly. I sat down into the dentist's chair expecting to get my teeth cleaned, and left with the ominous news that my root canal failed and the front bottom tooth would need to be extracted in the next few weeks to avoid further bone loss. There was a war being fought in my very chin of which I was unaware. The next few days and next few doctors revealed that orthodontia would have to be completed before the implant, or never. Implants apparently don't move. Not only that, but the implant would need to wait until the teeth were moved to their proper place. Normally, they would move the root canal tooth with the braces, but my tooth needed to come out soon. Enter the pontic.

I asked the ortho consultant to spell that word; I had never heard the term "pontic" before. It is essentially an artificial tooth that is mounted on a fixed or removable dental appliance, in this case glued to a bracket of the braces and nestled between the teeth at the gumline. Pontic is also a form of the Greek language originally spoken in the Pontus area of the southern shores of the Black Sea. I think the consultant was referring to the former definition. Apparently, pontics are rare and endangered, and quite elusive. I had my tooth removed five days ago, and despite previous assurances to the contrary, I am advised to allow the "open wound" to heal further before the placement of the so-named Greek Pontic.

So here I sit, with a gap the width of Utah in my face. My tall bottom teeth, being the predominantly visible teeth when I speak, make me want to use words such as "hag" to describe myself. There is as much contrast between the cute little six-year-old with a missing tooth and the 42-year-old hag as there is with luscious hair on your head and the same clogging the drain. So speaks Vanity.

Humility on the other hand is the pragmatist. Gum and jaw bone health are the greater issue. Near-term aesthetics can be compromised for long-term gain. Humility will talk to strangers and be proud, knowing that the final remaining amalgam is gone, and dental purity has been achieved. Vanity will duck behind a cement pillar at the church festival to avoid an encounter. Even though I am becoming accustomed to housing the Mormom captial of the world in my mouth, and perhaps even my children are used to it, I feel as though I sport a neon sign inside my lip when I speak to someone new. I envision them revulsing without expression to spare my feelings.

I had the inspired idea of using orthodontic wax to fashion a tooth for short duration when I was in public. At first it appeared to work famously, and it actually did not look that bad. A miscolored tooth far surpasses a missing tooth. It's like that luscious hair, only in the hairbrush instead of the drain. The only caveat with this idea is its staying power. I endangered myself and my children while driving, as I kept checking the position of my wax pontic in the rearview mirror. Vanity is not the best at making good judgment calls. If I let her, she would go in public with a tight tshirt and no bra in an attempt to detract attention from her mouth, the wench. I drew the line on that one.

Vanity refused to sing at church, and mumbled peace to those around her. Humility tried to appease, assuring her of loved ones' continued devotion despite the map of our mouth. I listened to both, and Humility won out as I chatted with a dear friend out in front of the church. Naturally, I launched a preemptive strike, explaining my dental condition in great detail to evoke sympathy rather than repulsion. In the middle of our conversation, my waxing tooth decided to wane. I just plucked it out and tossed it in the grass. I think Vanity had had enough for awhile, and is hiding behind a pillar somewhere.

bxApage bxAinline

Monday, October 20, 2008

Worry Wart

Sometimes I wonder if worry has a purpose. Legitimate fear certainly does. It keeps us away from the cliff, or prevents us from slapping our boss. Worry is the wet noodle of fear. Where fear is acute and pulsating in nature, worry is chronic and dull. It is a backburner emotion, rarely taking center stage. Where fear catapults us into action or deliberate inaction, worry freezes our ability to make a decision, or causes us to make small, petty decisions all day long.

Like a wart, after which worry is so aptly named, it is a useless appendage. It is not supposed to be there yet we call it our own. Excising a wart can obliterate it sometimes, but more often than not it will grow back with a vengeance in a different place. Or we let it be for years until someone points it out to us, when all along we thought no one noticed. If only worry were so obvious that someone who loves us might say, "Hey, take care of that thing! It's ugly!"
bxApage bxAinline