“Hope can sometimes be an elusive thing, and occasionally it must come to us with pain.” – Gerald G. May, ‘Addiction & Grace’

On the seventh day of this month, we took a long walk to our destination. On our way there, we encountered a stray, of the human kind.

From afar, I was struck by his skin, smeared in black, and the way his torn t-shirt was draped to the side like a monk’s orange robe.

The scowl on his face and the way he was striding forth commands you to get out of his way.

Even so, a part of me wanted to stop him and to speak with him. But I traced his right bared arm to his hand, clenched tightly around a bottle of liquor, now empty. I feared he could hit me with it.

So I stood aside, he stalked right by, and the sudden stench of sewage overpowered the air, trailing his misery.

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I slipped my hand into the hand of the one I was walking with, and held on tight.

“Why, are you scared? Do you fear that man?” he asked.

No. I was looking for comfort. I was thinking about how tightly that man was holding on to his bottle. An empty bottle. It was his lifeline. His only way of numbing his pain. I feel pity for him… his outer condition is a reflection of his inner condition, and it’s clear he’s in a very, very bad state…

Google defines Pity as “the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the sufferings and misfortunes of others.” I believe this feeling of sorrow and compassion can only arise from having once recognised ourselves, in them.

I remember only too well, a time in my life when I, too, felt lost and “homeless”. In my time of wandering, I identified with the beggars and the strays on the streets. It was a humbling time of transitioning, where I was brought to my knees by the awareness of my own ‘drunken stupor’ from my various addictions.

I was a human in need of grace.

“Grace is the invisible advocate of freedom and the absolute expression of perfect love.

…grace seeks us but will not control us. Saint Augustine once said that God is always trying to give good things to us, but our hands are too full to receive them. If our hands are full, they are full of the things to which we are addicted.

And not only our hands, but also our hearts, minds and attention are clogged with addiction. Our addictions fill up the spaces within us, spaces where grace might flow…

…we may not be able to make our hands completely empty in order to receive the gifts of grace, but we can choose whether to relax our hands a little or to keep clenching them ever more tightly.

…simply relaxing one’s hands may seem too passive. As we shall see, however, this simple choice may be the greatest kind of struggle any human being can face, and it may call forth the greatest courage and dedication…

…We may go through a great deal of humbling, if not outright humiliation, before we come to this simplicity of hope. We do not like admitting defeat, and we will struggle valiantly, even foolishly, to prove that we can master our destinies.

God, in whose image we are made, instills in us the capacity for relentless tenacity, an assertiveness that complements our yearning hunger for God. But most of us overdo it; our spirit of assertiveness quickly becomes a spirit of pride.

We will never really turn to God in loving openness as long as we are handling things well enough by ourselves. And it is precisely our most powerful addictions that cause us to defeat ourselves, that bring us to the rock bottom realization that we cannot finally master everything.

Thus, although in one sense addiction is the enemy of grace, it can also be a powerful channel for the flow of grace.

Addiction can be, and often is, the thing that brings us to our knees.

…it is possible that at some point in our journey with addiction and grace, we might even come to see addiction as a kind of gift.

…Addictions teaches us not to be too proud. Sooner or later, addiction will prove to us that we are not gods.

Then we will realize that we are our own worst enemies; we cannot beat ourselves. At that point, when we have exhausted all the available false repositories for our hope, it is possible that we will turn to God with a true sense of who we are, with an integrity that is both humble and confident, with a dignity that knows itself because it has met its limits.

Hope can sometimes be an elusive thing, and occasionally it must come to us with pain.

But it is there, irrevocably. Like freedom, hope is a child of grace, and grace cannot be stopped. I refer once more to Saint Paul, a man who, I am convinced, understood addiction: “Hope will not be denied, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts.” – Gerald G.May, ‘Addiction & Grace’.

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

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“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

“Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.” – Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

“To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude and grace.” – Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” 
– Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

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Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” – Brené Brown 

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.” – Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

Use your Imagination. Your Imagination have to take you beyond the pain… beyond the trouble… to the next level.

“I want you to Fail Forward… I want you to get to a place in your life that every mistake you make, every setback you get, every obstacle that you don’t overcome, every barrier you can’t climb, I don’t want you to give up, but I want you to Fail Forward…

You got to learn from your mistake… get back up and try again… don’t stop, don’t quit… Fail Forward, learn from each and every one of your mistake. Don’t quit, don’t give up… If it gets hard, you tie a knot around yourself, you double tie if you have to, but you hold on… You will never reach your goal, you will never reach your dreams if you don’t use your Imagination…”

“Use your Imagination. Your Imagination have to take you beyond the pain… beyond the trouble… to the next level.”

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

“He knows the extreme of my depravity, which I cannot exaggerate, yet He still sees the heights of sincerity and virtue in me.” – Misty Edwards

“Even I cannot convince Him of how bad I am. No one can. I can’t convince Him of how good I am. No one can. He does not change His opinion of me by my words or the words that men speak about me. Even the best of men can be swayed, but He can’t.

This gives me both confidence and comfort knowing that He knows the extreme of my depravity, which I cannot exaggerate, yet He still sees the heights of sincerity and virtue in me. Only with God do the two extremes coexist in the process of maturing. Only God truly knows us.”- Misty Edwards

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture

“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” ― Pema Chödrön

Your life is your Adventure. There will be obstacles to overcome, to show you your hidden strength and power. And then there will be ‘villains’, whose mission in life seems to be to make yours more difficult or miserable. Why is that?

That is the question I found myself asking myself over and over again last whole week. WHY?

Why is he / she treating me this way?

It hurts, when the person you care about, is the one acting like a villain. They have no awareness of the pain they’re causing.

It hurts when all you wanted is to show that you care, but that person is treating you like an enemy. 

It hurts even more, when you’re experiencing this on a constant repeat cycle, with him / her.  It’s exhausting. It’s unhealthy.

You know you don’t deserve this, neither does he / she, or anyone else for that matter.

And yet, if you’re like me, you may find yourself knocking on that same door, wishing against reality, to be invited in. Or if that door opens with a promise of a welcome, just as you stick one foot in, you find it slammed in your face–again and again. What kind of a cruel game are they playing?

But the bigger question is, why are we playing this game, with them?

I asked myself this question over the weekend, and the answer that came was a lesson I’ve already learnt, but needed to be reminded of AGAIN:

“This is your inner cry, wanting to be loved.

This is why you keep going back to him / her for assurance of love. Recognise that a person can only love you to the degree that they love themselves. The way he / she is treating is, is the way they treat themselves. You cannot expect anymore than they can give right now.

So why do you keep going back to this limited source of love? What is this habit, showing you about YOU?

Can you think of this situation as a mirror, showing you another lesson in Self-Love?

Open your eyes.

See how much you are loved. See the loving people you DO HAVE in your life. Why focus on the ONE that you do NOT have? Human nature.

Stop demanding love from a person that can’t love you any more. Start loving yourself more.

Can YOU do that?”

The answer is Yes I can. But the fact remains that it still hurts. So in desperation for a relief to my pain and frustration, I broke my rule about never contacting him again. I didn’t get any reply. In fact, the pain got worst for putting myself out on a limb and being ignored. It’s driving me up the wall that there’s nothing to numb this pain. There’s no relief!

But herein lies another opportunity for growth. The quiet and painful wisdom that sprung from within, gave me the only truth that I needed:

“So feel the pain.

Remember how this feels like. Remember it. Don’t ever forget it…

…and don’t ever do this to another person… AGAIN.”

I was taken aback with that one. But instantly, I knew the truth of it. I knew that I too have been guilty of this in the past. I too have put someone who cared for me, through this same miserable experience.

But I was not in awareness of it at that time. I had no awareness of the deep-seated pain and fear that drove me to inflict that same pain and stress on someone else. I believe he’s now acting in unawareness too…

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.” – Pema Chödrön

If you’ve been going through the same struggle as I have, I hope this post will shine some Light your way! May you find your way back to Love…

“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” – Pema Chödrön

Love,

Mish.

****

“Fear less, hope more; Eat less, chew more; Whine less, breathe more; Talk less, say more; Love more, and all good things will be yours.”- Swedish Proverb

The Love Culture on FB: https://www.facebook.com/theloveculture