Friday, September 14, 2007

Grace Notes: Up and Running

Grace notes carry their tune in the petals of the garden

Did you know I have another blog? Yessirreee, I do. Click here to check it out.
Grace Notes is a new endeavour for me and for CanadaEast online. It's their first foray into the world of blogging. Right now, the site is gratis.....yes, I'm volunteering for the Irvings (am I nuts?) but if the site receives a consistent number of hits (don't know the benchmark number yet) it may lead to ME being considered a freelance writer AND they will pay for my musings! Fancy that!

I will be posting 3 or 4 times a week during the work week........have just updated it today.

So, please check out my Grace Notes site. Tell your friends and family. Pass on the news (and link) to anyone you happen to pass on the street. Let your dogs, cats and hamsters in on it.


ps. I'm hoping they change the comment process to make it more interactive. Right now, one has to register on the site, which is also archaic and convoluted. But, I have been told that the site Manager is looking into this. In the meantime, if you have something to say about something I've posted, please leave a comment here. I'd love to read your thoughts and feedback.


sister AE said...

Hi, I'm here via Michele's. I did go take a look at the other blog and read your integrity post. Very interesting. I will say that while I would love to be dealing with more people with even a shred of integrity, I would settle for dealing with people who are at least willing to take responsibility for their actions and not always be so quick to blame someone or something else.

taycreekcropper said...

I've been reading your other blog and your doin' a great job!

Melissa said...

Good luck with the new blog - I've read it once or twice, I think. Also? The picture above is lovely.

Awareness said...

sister ae.....responsibility ownership is number 1 in the top 10 list which defines integrity in my books. I don't think anyone has a shred if they don't own up to their own shit.


Melissa....this photo is one of my favs from my garden this summer. I'm glad you like it.

Gary Means said...

Hi Dana,
I went to your other blog. I appreciated the post about 9/11. I was going to comment there, but didn't feel like registering.

You made the point that "life is 10% things that happen to you and 90% how you react to the 10%" it seemed like a good idea to remind myself that what I can control is my way of responding." I've wrestled with the issue of how we respond to how we respond.

Sometimes, for whatever unfortunate reasons, for many people, their immediate response to the 10% is dysfunctional. We live in a world filled, with broken, deeply wounded souls. They never get beyond their initial internal response. It governs their entire response to life.

Here are a few examples:

Racism. I know people who, because of their upbringing and personal experiences, have an immediate internal reaction to persons of a certain race. If that racist person is self-aware and responsible, they then have a choice as to how to respond to their internal response. They can give in to it, or they can consciously choose to act in a loving manner. They may still be prejudiced but they can choose not to engage in racist words or deeds. Philip Yancey is a good example of a person who worked that process, and eventually replaced his initial internal response through being self-aware, intentional, recognizing his need for God's grace in his heart, and experience over time.

I was counseling male sex/relationship addicts. One young man shared with me about his internal agony at being a pedophile. It was a shock to me to suddenly be sitting across from a pedophile. He looked like a very nice, clean-cut young man. But inside he was deeply damaged. He hated the fact that his response to children was sexual. He knew that it was unspeakably wrong. He had no control over his initial internal response to life. He had yet to learn how to respond appropriately to that response.

Even though that example is extreme, the same issue is true of garden-variety, run-of-the-mill male sex/relationship addicts. Subconsciously they view other people, (women or men, depending on their orientation) as objects, only as potential sources of pleasure and comfort. They generally find this idea repugnant, rejecting it entirely. But their actions tell a different story.

The men I talked to hated this internal response, but felt powerless over their addiction to pornography, prostitution, extra-marital affairs, lusting, etc. What I would tell them is that though they are powerless over their initial internal reaction, there is reason for hope. For whatever reason, they have a dysfunctional response to their world. But they have a choice and a responsibility to work to become self-aware, and to choose how they respond to that initial reaction.

I would tell them that as soon as they recognized that they were viewing the other person, say an attractive woman on the street, as an object, then they needed to immediately acknowledge the truth of the situation, then to confess it to God, to ask God for the strength and clarity to surrender that response over which they have no control, and then, in His strength, and in light of the Truth, to make a different choice as to how to respond. It's been a while, I used to give them a five-step process that I've forgotten which was based on recognizing and embracing the truth about themselves, including their own powerlessness, and then recognizing and embracing the freedom to be found in the Truth, that is, He who is the Source of all Truth.

There's a similar process for men who have serious anger-management issues. It takes time, but despite their initial lack of control over how they respond to life, they can learn to change.

I guess my primary point is that some people do not have power over their internal response to life. They can learn to choose how to manage their secondary response to that initial response so that they can deal with the thousands of daily incidents which trigger dysfunctional responses. It's not just a few psychotics who happen to be off their meds. I've given a couple more extreme examples, but I think that many, many people are powerless over their initial internal dysfunctional response to life. They are unaware. Look at the prevalence of road rage, hatred and intolerance, exploitation, etc.

wow. This is longer and more transparent than I intended. Good thing I didn't register.

Awareness said...

Hi Gary. Thank you for leaving such a thought provoking and interesting comment..... It is very interesting for me personally to read a little of your approach in counselling when working with human beings who are so wounded emotionally and psychologically. It is a challenging career field and I enjoy it part due to selfish's like embarking on a path of life long learning all the while remaining for the most part in one's office. I have spent a great deal of time too processing and thinking about human actions and reactions .... about responses to events, about anger and dysfunctional choices. I agree with matter who we are, we tend to be impulsive beings.....reacting without thinking things through more effectively. Have you ever heard of an Educational Psychologist named Dr. Fierstein? I will look up the correct spelling of his name. His body of work reflects his theory related to impulsivity.....and was gathered while working with children from the Holocaust who were hidden during the war and then moved to Israel. Needless to say, these kids were wounded and damaged emotionally. As well, they had never attended formal school and didn't know how to approach learning. His approach to teaching these kids how to think critically, how not to respond impusively, how to process new information is called "Instrumental Enrichment". I think if you googled that, you could read about his work.

The basic premise is that we need to receive information......stop........and think......and process before we respond. This method helped many children organize their thoughts first before then accepted, questioned, challenged, or dismiss new information or a new situation.

Good stuff......I worked under one of his "followers" during my studies.....Dr. Mary Waksman. Amazing woman who had a practise in Toronto for children....some of whom had been institutionalized for most of their lives. Using the techniques, these kids learned how to read and think and do. On the side, she worked with convicts, many of whom were pedophiles or individuals with severe anger issues using the same methods.
Awareness.....of how we process and respond is're right.

I do believe though, and this is based on my years working with people who are mentally ill, some have cognitive and psychological wiring which we don't have a way of helping undo. Hallucinations and delusional behaviour can sometimes be helped by medication and counselling intervention, but it is still a big unknown with respect to cure or long term remission leading to big changes.

Oh, have much more to say.....I could write a book :)

Carmi said...

This is so exciting. More of your work to read: what's not to love about that?

Sorry for my apparent disappearance this week. It's been a tough one. I've so very much appreciated your kind comments on my site. It's comforting to know we're surrounded by such an amazing community.

Awareness said...

Hi Carmi.....I'm excited about this site because it may, just may be read by an editor which in turn may, just may want to print one of my pieces in their paper. Who knows?

I am recycling of sorts......looking back at some of my old pieces and taking the time to edit and tweak them to be read by others outside of the blog world.

Thanks for coming by.....I know your week has been busy AND trying. Birthdays and broken legs yikes!