Why Affirmations Don’t Actually Work

I was coaching someone last week, a lovely, conscious, self-aware soul, and he said at one point, “I’m pretty good at affirming my way out of things,” referring to negative thought patterns.  Our conversation moved on, but later, I was thinking about something:  affirmations don’t actually work.

Well, they do work, in a way, but not the way we usually think.

What an affirmation?  An affirmation is a statement of a truth we believe in our head or we think we should believe.  It might be something as simple as, “I am loveable,” or “God loves me.”  It is often a statement of something that you WANT to believe is true, but don’t quite.  Some examples might be:

  • My hormones are perfectly balanced.
  • My living space is peaceful and filled with love.
  • My interactions with my boss are helpful to both of us.

In the years since books like The Secret or You Can Heal Your Life have come out, lots of people have tried repeating affirmations.  And they do sometimes bring some comfort or even some change.

But it takes a freakin’ lot of work to keep repeating an affirmation over and over, trying to force your brain to receive it, trying to make it sink into your heart.  Affirmations seem to lose their effectiveness after a while.  Or we desperately say them, while knowing we don’t actually believe them even though we want to or know we should.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is that we’re using affirmations all wrong.  Affirmations are like bandages.  They stick to the surface of our bodies, helping keep our blood inside us and infections out.  But bandages don’t actually cause healing.  They just hold space for healing to happen.  Underneath the bandage, the wound still exists.

And in this metaphor, what’s under the bandage?

Lurking inside us, deeper than our good words of affirmation, are all kinds of painful things we ACTUALLY believe.  Things like:

  • I don’t deserve to be loved
  • I’m a bad person
  • If he/she/they really knew me, they wouldn’t like me
  • I’m worthless
  • I’m stupid
  • I’ll never make enough money

…and on and on.  And these are the beliefs that are REALLY controlling your life.  Why?  Because they’re the things you believe in that primal, innermost part of your soul.

So if you’ve been pushing yourself to affirm only the good, to think only positive thoughts, and all the rest of it, what now?

We need to let our real beliefs come to the surface. 

“NOOOOOOOOO,” I hear you scream.  “I don’t want to go into all that negativity.  I don’t want to create a negative reality.”

But those beliefs are there whether you acknowledge them or not.  So wouldn’t it be simpler and take less energy to admit their reality?  Because when we let our worst thoughts come to the surface and we admit that they’re there, we stop fighting with reality.  And when we fight with reality, we only lose 100% of the time.

So I dare you:  the next time you find yourself feeling triggered in your emotions by someone or something, ask yourself what the most immature, selfish, ugly part of yourself is saying right now, and bingo!, you’ll know what you really believe.

Then and only then can you begin to heal the wounds, when you’ve ripped off the bandages and faced the reality of the wound.  And once you heal the wound, the affirmation-bandages magically turn into beautiful banners of truth waving over your life.

In my next email, I’m going to talk about how we can completely dissolve those painful beliefs, but I don’t want to leave you hanging if this email stirred up your emotions.  Please email me if you want to talk.  (cynthia [at] MagicCarpetLifeCoaching dot com).   I offer one-hour free sessions over the phone where we can explore whether I can help you do some thought-dissolving.  And for those of you who’ve already done one of my free sessions and your knower is saying it’s time to work together and heal some of those wounds, let me know!  I’m here for you!

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Are You Annoyed?

In my culture of middle-class America, people are nice.

Especially women.

There has been a high cultural value placed on not expressing anger.  But that’s shifting.  Have you heard people saying lately that it seems like people all around us are getting more and more angry?

But I have a hunch this isn’t a surge of NEW anger that’s welling up.  Instead, I think lots of people are suddenly getting in touch with anger that’s been buried inside them for years.  And this could ultimately be really, really good for all of us.

I’ll give you an example of something happened to me recently, when I felt annoyed, was too nice, but didn’t actually know I was angry until afterwards.  While we were under contract to sell our house, one of the things that we needed was a new survey.  I had been told in advance that no one needed to enter the house.  Two men arrived, and the one who seemed to be in charge knocked on the door and introduced himself.  Then they started doing their surveying thing.

A little while later, he knocked again and asked me if he could see our house because it was so cute.  I was completely caught off guard because when a house is for sale, you’re supposed to contact the realtor and have them arrange an appointment for you to see it.  Plus, once a house is under contract, you stop showing it, and he would have known we were under contract, because that’s why we needed the new survey.

But that darn belief that says I’m supposed to be ‘nice’ rose up in me and drowned out the voice that said it felt inappropriate for him to ask.  So I let him in and showed him the ground level, which is basically one open space.  As he looked around, I sort of walked with him, then ended up between him and the stairs.  My whole body language was saying, “Okay, you can look around here, but not the bedrooms.  That’s the end of your tour.”

Then he said, “Can I see the rest?”

I said, “Well, it’s not clean like it was for the showings.”

“Oh, that’s okay,” said he, and just came barging straight towards me.  He didn’t actually touch me, but only because I instinctively stepped out of the way.  I followed him through the rest of the house, feeling completely uncomfortable that I was alone with an unknown man looking at our bedrooms.

But did I tell him?  No, I just chatted pleasantly about how much we’ve loved the house since we bought it.

Why????

Because my training in niceness was so strong.  Even though I felt physically vulnerable, and even though his actions were completely inappropriate and unprofessional, I didn’t protest.  In fact, in that moment, I didn’t even know I was angry.   If someone had asked, I might have noticed I felt ‘annoyed.’

(Just so you know the end of the story before I make my point, I did call the company later and complained to the owner, who agreed that it was not appropriate.)

Feeling annoyed – there have been a few people in my life who always say they are annoyed, never that they are angry.  My mom was one of those.  She was one of the kindest people in my life, and she seldom got visibly angry.  She got annoyed.  I just looked up the root of ‘annoy,’ and it is from a Latin word that means to make odious, i.e., to make hateful.  I have a hunch that when we say we are annoyed, or something is annoying, we often mean it more strongly than we are willing to express – that we are angry.

Why is it good to know we’re angry?

Because anger that isn’t acknowledged doesn’t go away; it just morphs into other unpleasant forms.

Morphed anger can become:

Perfectionism, which is anger that you’ve turned on yourself when you don’t live up to your own standards, even if they’re unreasonable.  You make it impossible to be happy with yourself, or satisfied, or to love yourself, because the standards are too high.  Perfectionism is actually just a code-word for self-hatred.  You probably have a case of perfectionism and self-hatred if, when you make a mistake, you say things to yourself like, “You’re so stupid.  You just did it again.  Why do you always…?  Why can’t you ever…?”

Depression, which is anger that feels powerless to change either yourself or your circumstances.  Our sense of personal power is zapped, and we live in victim mode, allowing life to happen to us and feeling sorry for ourselves.  And depression can make us more prone to illness or addiction.

Volatility, which is anger directed at the wrong target.  Volatility is experiencing more anger at a situation than most people would think is warranted.  Volatility is getting mad at the store clerk when actually you’re angry with your spouse.

The next time you find yourself feeling ‘annoyed,’ but perhaps still acting nice, just ask yourself this question:  am I angry?

And what if you discover you ARE angry?  I have two suggestions.

Suggestion One is forgiveness.  I survived a terrorist attack.  Click on the link below to listen to my story, and how I realized I was angry and learned to forgive.

Suggestion Two is to schedule a one-hour free ‘I’m Annoyed and I Don’t Know What To Do About It’ Breakthrough session with me.  Just email me on cynthia [at] MagicCarpetLifeCoaching dot com, and let me know you’d like to talk, and we’ll get something on the calendar.  I can help you go from feeling annoyed, acting nice, and allowing your anger to morph into something worse, to learning how to process anger in healthy, useful ways.

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I’m a Failure (You Ever Say That?)

I’m a failure.

Yep, that’s the first thing I said to myself when I set a challenge for myself and didn’t reach it.

Cynthia, you’re a failure.

You see, I got all excited when I read about a business guru doing a 30-day challenge to post on Facebook Live every day.  I’ve been wanting to create lots of short guided meditations to give away, and FB Live is the perfect tool for that.  So I made a big announcement that I was going to do 30 days in a row.  I did Day 1, a meditation for when you’re tired, stressed and overwhelmed.  I did Day 2, and I was still feeling tired, stressed and overwhelmed, so that’s what that day was about.

Then I missed 2 days.  I tried to justify that they were weekend days, and I hadn’t decided if I was going to do weekends or not.  But I was mad at myself about it, because deep inside, I knew I intended to do 30 days straight.  It wasn’t a realistic intention, but that was my intention.

Plus, the video I did on Day 3 got all ‘messed up’ because I was interrupted while I was trying to record it.  It was supposed to be about stillness in the midst of chaos, but the chaos interrupted me as I was record.  So that was a failure.

I wanted to go back and delete that video, but then I thought, no, this could be a great example of overcoming obstacles.  So I tried again to record my stillness in chaos video.  But I found it really hard to enter in to the stillness.  Another failure.

Or was it?

Was any of it a failure???

Or is that just a story I’m telling myself?

Maybe there is another story that is more true.  How about this story:  the videos I’ve created so far are helping people.  It doesn’t matter that I skipped a few days.  Also, I haven’t tried to do something like this before, creating a meditation at the same time every day, so there’s a natural learning curve.  I’m a beginner at doing this 30-day challenge, so it’s not going to be perfect.  I can just start again.

Ah, that feels so much better.

Check out my videos here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXr6cswIBUY0n_ThrsF4vYQ

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Free Meditation if You’re Getting Triggered by Recent Events

Wow, it’s been an eventful couple of weeks around the world.  Emotions are running high, as evidenced by protests, the content of our Facebook feeds, the sheer quantity of calls, emails and letters sent to our political representatives, and the family discussions at the dinner table.
Are you getting triggered?
In other words, are your emotions being activated?  Are you feeling angry, powerless, heartbroken, hopeless or fearful, as you read the news?  Are you torn over whether to unfriend that distant cousin because you can’t believe they’re siding with this or that opinion or politician?
Do you long for something you can DO to help the situation?
If you are, this free gift from me might just hit the spot.
I’m calling it my Evening News Meditation.  It’s an audio mp3 file you can listen to online or download.  I just went back and listened to it again, because I recorded it in September 2016 but then got sidetracked by other projects and didn’t send it out.  I discovered it’s even more relevant now than a few months ago.
We can change what’s happening in our world!  We can shift the energy of our country’s culture and the global culture.  We can BE the change we want to see in the world.  And we can do it every day, right in the midst of our normal lives.  Yes, we need to do the exceptional things, the things that call on us for an extra sacrifice of our time and energy, like protesting or contacting our representatives.
But ultimately, our energy of unconditional love, of forgiveness, and of peace, will empower us to make the difference we want to make in our world.
I won’t say ‘Enjoy,’ because this recording is more likely to challenge you.  But I will say, ‘Be empowered to live in a flow of world-changing compassion.’
Please feel free to share this post, the link or the audio itself with anyone you like.  I just want to get this tool out there to as many people as possible.
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Confession Time: “I’d Kill Them with My Bare Hands If I Could”

hand-grenade-1188393“You don’t feel angry at first when someone throws a grenade that lands a few feet behind you.  You don’t feel the anger for a long time, in fact.  And since you’re a good Christian who’s supposed to love your enemies and be a reflection of Jesus, you shouldn’t be angry, right?  Besides, it’s disconcerting to acknowledge anger when you have a sinking feeling your group provoked the attack.”

That’s a quote from the opening of my memoir.

Twenty-five years ago, when I was a Christian missionary, there was a terrorist attack against a group of us while we were working in a Muslim area. Two of my dear friends were killed, and I still have shrapnel from the grenade.

I no longer believe there’s only one way to God, and I no longer agree with the proselytizing I was doing, but I’m deeply grateful for all that I gained from twenty-five years of acknowledging hatred and anger, and eventually figuring out how to forgive.

Did you know that we produce some of our best brain waves when we practice forgiveness?  ‘Forgiveness’ isn’t a glamorous topic, but did you know it sets us free from stuff like perfectionism, self-hatred, depression, or beating yourself up?  How’re you doin’ on all that?

NEWSFLASH:  Practicing forgiveness increases our productivity, our health, our capacity to love, our creativity, and a bunch of other awesome things!

Join me for my free training, “Forgiving the Terrorists:  What I Learned about Love from a Grenade Attack.”  I’ll be telling my story, and then you’ll experience one of my tools I created for myself, that I now use on my Paths of Conscious Forgiveness, which will give you exactly what you need to take your next tiny step toward healing and freedom.  You’ll understand that you can live fearlessly in an uncertain world.  And you’ll be challenged to examine who you might despise or have disdain for, even if you don’t realize it, and how, with Conscious Forgiveness, you can free yourself to play your beautiful, needed part in the world.

This no-cost training is for you if:

  • You’ve ever been angry or you have someone to forgive – ha ha, most of us, right?
  • Or perhaps you’re one of the victims of something heinous, whether on an individual scale or on the scale of global conflict, and you are reaching out for hope, for help, and for healing
  • You want to bring good into the world, but you just can’t figure out how
  • The problems of our world seem so huge and overwhelming that you sometimes just want to give up and live selfishly with your head in the sand
  • You feel like our country and culture is in deep trouble
  • You are heartbroken, angry, and/or afraid when you hear about the latest hate crime or terrorist attack, and images of bombs, beheadings, refugees, etc., haunt you, and you just don’t get how the perpetrators could be so evil

Are you ready to leave that stinkin’ anger (and all the depression, perfectionism, self-hatred, disease, bitterness and other junk that suppressed anger morphs into) behind, and try a step or two on the Path of Conscious Forgiveness?  Are you ready to produce some great brain waves that will enhance your well-being?  Are you ready to live fearlessly?

I hope you’ll join me either:

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017 at:

  • 11:30am Eastern Time
  • 10:30am Central Time,
  • 9:30am Mountain Time
  • 8:30am Pacific Time

Thursday, January 12th, 2017 at:

  • 7:30pm Eastern Time
  • 6:30pm Central Time
  • 5:30pm Mountain Time
  • 4:30pm Pacific Time

And don’t worry, the call will be recorded if you can’t make it live (but you have to sign up to get the recording).  So hop over here TO REGISTER to save your spot on the call!

Save

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Donald is a Gift

During this whole political season, I’ve heard so many people say they’re embarrassed, saddened, or ashamed that this ugliness is what we’ve come to. And I totally understand.  It’s sickening.  It’s cringeable.

But I’m starting to think Trump is the best gift our country could have received right now, because I perceive that his over-the-top misogyny is turning into a catalyst for real evolution of our culture.

As I’ve been reading the words of women all over the country who have been speaking out in incredibly brave, vulnerable ways over the past week or so, I, like so many others, have had a whole bunch of memories of serious ick come to the surface.  A lot of them are times when I played nice because ‘nothing really bad’ happened. Some are worse than that.

But yesterday, I suddenly discovered that I’ve made a profound decision:  I’m not going to play nice anymore.  I’m done.  Pity the next man who tries something with me — he’s gonna get 50 years of bottled anger unloaded on him.

So here’s one gift that Donald is bringing all the women of this country:  he has caused us to FEEL our bottled rage.  He has caused us to acknowledge the hundreds of times we’ve made ourselves small because we valued something else more than ourselves:  our job security, being thought of as a nice person not a bitch, or whatever was at stake if we said or did something.  He is opening our collective eyes, female and male, to see the depth of rape culture and entitlement.  He’s helping us see how we as women have colluded in the behavior.  And he’s pushing many of us to the tipping point where we’re discovering that we have the courage and strength to cause change.  Isn’t it crazy to think that Donald Trump is causing me to respect myself more???  But that’s how the Divine works – using whatever tools offer themselves, in order to guide us into more expanded consciousness, if we’re willing.

There’s another gift I see that Donald is giving me and all women:  a chance to learn to be rightfully angry without falling into a prejudice against all men, or feeling that women are superior – that we’re just more sensitive, more loving, etc.  Thankfully, my life is full of beautiful men.  But I have to admit that I’ve made a category in my mind of ‘those kind’ of men, the bad ones.  And whenever we generalize like that, it’s a prejudice.  And when we hold a prejudice, our anger turns to bitterness and damages us.

So I want to start a journey of forgiveness here, because forgiving the individual men who have violated me frees me, strengthens me.  I’m not able yet to forgive them all, but I’ll start with the ones that feel easier.  AP and PH, who as fellow first-graders, schemed to pull my dress up in the lunch line so they could see – what, my underwear? my undeveloped breasts? – I acknowledge my rage toward you.  I don’t excuse you.  You violated me.  You frightened me.  You made me feel dirty.  But there’s a golden space within me, and I choose to breathe in all the suffering you must have experienced to cause you to do that as 6 or 7-year-olds.  I hold your pain for a moment in the divine center of me, letting it dissipate into that loving, healing, warm, all-encompassing energy.  And I also breathe in all the pain and suffering you caused 6-year-old Cynthia, and the bottled rage.  And I allow it all to dissipate in that glowing space of complete love inside me.  AP and PH, I forgive you.  And I breathe out to you all the love of All That Is.

I’m not ready to do that yet for some of the others, but I want to become ready.  And at least for now, I can stop obsessing about what the next horrific thing that Donald will say or do, because I have a tiny speck of gratitude in my belly that the universe put him here in our lives and the collective life of us all, female and male, to bring about healing and growth.

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Free Talk Today – Sunday, August 21, 2016

Today is the day! I’m taking yet another step out of my spiritual closet to tell the story of my journey. I’ve called my talk, “Spirituality on Your Terms: How to Escape the Power of Groupthink and Find a Deeper Connection with the Divine.” I’ll be giving the talk via conference call, and there are local phones numbers for countries all over the world, so if you’re outside the US, you can dial in without even paying for an international call.
 
I am giving this talk to help people who are struggling to sort out what they believe versus what their religious group teaches, but I’m aware that some of you who knew me 10 years ago or more, when I was a Christian missionary, are wondering how I arrived where I am today spiritually. I invite you to join me on the call to hear my story.
 
It’s completely free, so just click on the link to register and get the dial-in details. Can’t wait to ‘see’ you on the call!
 
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“Art Doesn’t Preach Very Well, and Art that Preaches Is Propaganda” – How Religion and Creativity Get Tangled

According to my mom, I wanted to be a novelist by the time I was seven.  The summer I was sixteen, I wrote my first novel on an old manual typewriter.

Then I went off to college to major in creative writing, and became a Christian my freshman year.  I had a powerful encounter with the Divine, something I’d been longing for my whole life.  In other circumstances, I might have found the Divine in some other spiritual tradition, but Christianity was the door that opened to my hungry heart.  I fell in love with God.

There was so much that was magical in my new-found spirituality, but there was something destructive as well.

I began to think that I was supposed to ‘USE’ my writing, my creativity, to ‘serve God.’

 

Do you relate? 

Maybe you’re an artist and a creative within a religious tradition, and somehow you took on the idea that your work needs to portray your religion:

  • My stories should reveal some aspect of Jesus, right?
  • Your music should be about God, shouldn’t it?
  • Why aren’t you painting the cross or a dove?
  • What purpose does your art serve if it doesn’t teach others something???

Any of those feel familiar?

Throughout four years of college creative writing classes, I wrestled with every story idea that came to me.  Sometimes, I wrote in a way that was free and real, like a kite diving upward into the sky.  Like a hundred thousand flames burning at the hearts of a hundred thousand red flowers along the path in the land of the sunset.

But other times, I took the story ideas I received and tangled them up in a bunch of shoulds.

  • The contrived fairy tale about a girl who has to give up a string of beads to receive a necklace of real pearls…
  • The moralistic stories in the preachy coloring book…
  • The short story about monsters in the basement, written to make a point about how to protect against evil forces…
  • The fantasy novel that’s all about The Book…

After college I went on using art to preach for many years as a missionary.  Everywhere we went, we used skits and dances and stories to tell the world about Jesus.  Every piece was a (usually poorly) disguised allegory for our message.

What’s the problem with doing this?  We were earnestly trying to communicate something that we strongly believed in (myself included at that time).

But we had it all backwards.

We were starting with our message, which we believed was the one and only truth.  And then we shaped the art around the message to give people answers to questions they weren’t even asking.

That’s not art, at least not for me.  Art is starting with a question, and letting the process of creating the work reveal an answer.  Art is starting with my vulnerability or my confusion or my grief, and maybe…or maybe not arriving at understanding or peace.  Art takes the specific, the one rose, and presents its universality, instead of believing that it has universal truth with a capital T and forcing it on individuals.

I knew I didn’t like what we were doing, but for years I didn’t understand why.

Then, a phase I got from a wonderful performing arts instructor, the late Rod Wilson, finally made sense to me.  He said over and over, “Art doesn’t preach very well, and art that preaches is propaganda.”

And he talked about what he called, “useless beauty” – all the zillions of gorgeous flowers high up on mountainsides that no human ever sees, yet the Creator took time to make beauty there.

It took me a long time to free myself from the belief that I was expected to make art that preached.  But finally, back in the spring of 2005, the Divine gave me the idea for a new novel.  But saying it that way doesn’t begin to do justice to what happened.  The entire novel came to me complete – plot, characters, connections between the story lines – while I was out on a walk one lovely evening at sunset in Scotland.  It came as a sacred gift, although I still had to do the work of bringing it into form, one word at a time.

Maybe because receiving this work in such completeness felt like a sacred trust, I didn’t feel the need to impose a message on it.  Maybe it was because, although I didn’t know it yet, I was at the beginning of a decade during which I claimed my truth in every area of my life.  For whatever reason, I just wrote it as it came to me, without trying to impose meaning on it.

And do you know, the wild thing is that when I reread this novel, the things it says are truths and wisdom I didn’t actually know ten years ago, but they’re the very things I’ve been learning now.  My creative work is so much wiser than me.  And I am humbled.

 

 

Spirituality on YOUR Terms - simple square 1

Want to learn more about how religion gets tangled around our spiritual core?  I’m going to be giving my new, FREE teleseminar, Spirituality on YOUR Terms: How to Escape the Power of Groupthink and Find a Deeper Connection with the Divine.  I’ll be sharing more of my story of once believing I had The Truth, and what happened when I started questioning things like the existence of hell.  I’m using conference call technology, so you can dial in from anywhere!  The class is completely free and I’ll be recording it so you can download an audio mp3 file afterwards if you can’t be on the call live — you just need to sign up!  CLICK HERE TO REGISTER!

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What Happened When I Started Questioning the Infallibility of the Bible

When I became a Christian, it was through a church and a campus fellowship group that believed in the “infallibility” of the Bible.  Every word was inspired by God, and while they didn’t believe in the literal truth of every last word, we were taught that there was some metaphorical or symbolic truth to all of it.

So when I started reading the Bible, I approached it as I was told to approach it:  as infallible truth.  I set aside my own inklings about truth, and read with the mindset of trying to understand The Truth.

My own intuition was really competing as a basis for truth at that point.  Even as an 18-year-old, my intuition had already been overruled many times by my desire to be liked.  More than anything else, I wanted desperately to be liked and accepted and popular.  So I already was a master at ignoring those little niggling sensations that were trying to tell me I might be uncomfortable with something, whether it was riding around in a car with a cute guy who was driving drunk or being told that women couldn’t be leaders in the church.

It was actually very comforting to find out that the Bible was the absolute truth, and all I had to do to be accepted and loved by my new group of Christian friends was to follow it.

Here’s where it gets complicated.   As I read, I discovered the Bible was full of all kinds of fascinating, beautiful things.  But they were mixed in with a lot I didn’t like at all.  For example, I thought it was amazing that God SPOKE to people, and told them things about His faithfulness and His compassion.  But I also thought it was shitty that God told the Israelites that they could have a piece of real estate that was owned by some other folks.  As another example, I hated that the Bible portrayed women as second class citizens over and over, but I loved that this powerful and gentle guy named Jesus prevented some poor woman from getting stoned to death for sleeping with a man she wasn’t married to.

So I asked a lot of questions.  Honest questions.  I asked fellow Christian students, and I asked leaders in my church or fellowship group.  I even argued with them sometimes.  I wanted to be ‘allowed’ to only believe the things in the Bible that made my heart sing.  But I found out that wasn’t an option.  It’s all or nuthin’, baby.  Are you in or are you out?  And eventually, my need to be liked and accepted was so strong that I acquiesced, and I let them walk me through the mental gymnastics of hearing why it was okay that God said something-or-other.  The reason it was okay usually was because of something about the culture of that time period, which sort of made sense…sort of.  Or another reason it was okay was because God was making a point in His meta-story, so the individuals apparently didn’t count.  For example, there was His apparent meanness to one group of people (those living in Palestine who lost their land) but that was compensated for by the fact that He was going to use another group of people, the Israelites, to tell the redemption story.

I have to believe all or nuthin’?  Well, I want in, so I guess I’ve gotta agree.  I actually remember the moment my freshman year that I decided I would just accept that the Bible was infallible.  I can still feel the weird, weak feeling of resignation that came over me, but at least now I could have unconditional love from my Christian peeps.  And once I made that choice, too much love was riding on having faith, and I never admitted my doubts about the Bible to myself again.

But you see, I wasn’t doubting the realness or the goodness or the wonder of the Divine.  Even though all I knew at that point was a masculine, transcendent Being who lived outside of me, I felt the tenderness and love of that Being in every part of my being.  Year after year, I felt myself being transformed by the energy of the Divine moving through me.  I saw the radiance of Jesus.  I got it that making a difference for humanity meant self-sacrifice.  I KNEW God.

But sometime about 11 years ago, I couldn’t suppress those doubts anymore.  Maybe it was because I was in the midst of ‘compassion fatigue,’ realizing I’d spent most of my adult life trying to make the world a better place and it hadn’t done much good.  Maybe it was because I was confused about a guy who I thought God had spoken to me about, but who turned out to be not who I thought he was.  Maybe it was because I was going through reverse culture shock, living back here in the US after spending 13 years overseas, and feeling like I couldn’t relate to American culture anymore.  For whatever reason, I was sitting in a church one Sunday morning (I’ve written about this moment HERE), and I couldn’t bear having a man who was a complete stranger to me stand up in front of all us and tell us how to live our lives.  I left church that day and never went back.

And when I got home, I took a red pen, opened my Bible to the beginning of the New Testament, and started writing what I really thought.  I didn’t cuss back then, so it seems tame as I look at my notes in the page margins now, but I was serious.  I didn’t hold back in that private space between me and God.

It was one of the most empowering things I ever did.  I acknowledged my intuitions about what was truth and what was just plain bunk to me.  I WAS HONEST!

Do you know how good it feels to be honest with yourself after more than 20 years of pushing something down?  I COULD FEEL TRUTH!  I didn’t have to pretend something felt like truth if it didn’t!

I felt love for the God that I had known since childhood rising up in me.  Freedom and joy…and more and more love for the Divine One that I had known all along…it all came welling up.  So much love for Jesus, who suddenly seemed strangely different from the Jesus I had been taught about.

I’m not going to conclude this by explaining what my beliefs are now.  That’s totally not the point.  I’m not here to convince you to believe one thing and not believe another thing.  The point is that when I finally stopped suppressing my doubts, I found a much deeper connection to the Divine.  Honesty with myself led me to a deep, flowing well of everything my heart had longed for my whole life.  I’m so utterly grateful.

Has your ‘knower,’ your intuition, your gut, been squelched too? 

Want to hear about how to use your knower to know truth?

I’m going to be giving a live talk via conference call technology called, “How I Survived the Religion Machine…and Found A Deeper Connection with the Divine.”  It’s completely free, you just have to phone in to a number I’ll give you, and the recording will be available afterwards if you can’t be there live, but you have to sign up to get access.  CLICK HERE to go to my web page with to register.

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First Aid for Victims of the Religion Machine

  • You’re still going to church but you feel spiritually lost…or…
  • Everything you believed as absolute truth no longer makes sense anymore…or…
  • You keep trying to make your religion work but it feels empty…or…
  • You voiced your doubts and people you love rejected you (or told you that you were going to hell or begged you to come back to The Truth)…or…
  • You’re driving yourself nuts wondering if it’s okay with God that you left your religion…or…

And now you feel spiritually lost.  You want to find a spirituality that works for you but you don’t know where to look.

Newsflash:  You CAN untangle religion from spirituality!  The good news is that you just need a safe place to examine what you no longer believe, a big dose of encouragement to trust your own intuition, and the support to face the fallout!  You’re not alone!

You can have spirituality on your terms!  You can follow your truth and create the connection with the Divine you are longing for!  You just need a safe place and support!

 

At the end of July, I’m going to be offering a new free teleseminar called, “First Aid for Victims of the Religion Machine.”

Here’s the link to the details and signup.  http://magiccarpetlifecoaching.com/signup-first-aid-religion-machine/

If you resonate with this, I hope you’ll join me!

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