Do You Have Time For Beauty?

JOSHUA BELL PLAYS DC SUBWAY

JOSHUA BELL PLAYS DC SUBWAY

“As an experiment,

The Washington Post

asked a concert violinist—

wearing jeans, tennis shoes,

and a baseball cap—

to stand near a trash can

at rush hour in the subway

and play Bach

on a Stradivarius.

Partita No. 2 in D Minor

called out to commuters

like an ocean to waves,

sang to the station

about why we should bother

to live…..” excerpt from “Bach in the DC Subway” by David Lee Garrison

 

On a cold January morning in the L’Enfant Plaza Station of the subway line in Washington, D.C. one of the worlds best violinist, Joshua Bell, played for 45 minutes on a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. It was a social experiment to see whether or not people would stop to appreciate beauty.

Over a thousand people passed him by as he played some of the most intricate pieces ever written for violin. Just that week he had performed at a theater in Boston, which sold out even though tickets were selling at $100 a seat. So how many people stopped to appreciate this free concert? Only seven.

Among the seven that stopped to receive the beautiful self-gift of his heart being poured out through his violin was a 3-year-old little boy. The boy tried to stop and take in what I can only describe as achingly beautiful music, when his mother can be seen on the YouTube video pushing him along, forcing him to move for what I must assume was a very important play date. Most of the children that walked by kept their face towards him, listening to the sweet sounds of the strings even though they were being marched away in the opposite direction.

Jesus says we must be like little children to enter into the Kingdom of God. I am not sure he was talking about the children of the 21st century. The children of the 21st century are quite different than those of even 20 years ago. Today those children are either on their phones, iPod’s or gaming device and on their way to select soccer, baseball, gymnastics, football, hockey or the like. Some how an appreciation for what is beautiful is being lost or perhaps replaced with “more important” things. However, as human beings I believe what sets us apart as unique and unrepeatable persons made in the image and likeness of God is that we create as well as take in beauty.

The Sistine Chapel, Mozart’s Requiem Mass, the Eiffel Tower are all examples of beautiful things man has created. Beautiful things elevate our minds and cause us to transcend this world to contemplate the divine. Beauty will save the world or at least that is what Dostoevsky has famously declared.

This social experiment done in Washington D. C. reminds me of the time I left the Theology of the Body Institute with a busload of other attendees and was dropped at the airport. After getting through security I began to look above my head to see which direction to go for my gate.

Several of my class attendees were with me and had gravitated to an interactive light puzzle projected onto the wall. It was at least six feet tall and at least 10 or 12 feet long. I watched as they moved the pieces by touching them and sliding them around. They laughed and giggled and played with this beautiful wall mural.

The truth is that I would not had even noticed it if I had been on my own. Was it because they were in there 20’s and I was in my 40’s that I had not even thought to try it? I went over to the puzzle and took my turn moving the pieces around. The entire time all I could think was “Why don’t I stop and look around more? What else am I missing?”

I made a decision right then to pursue what is beautiful. When it snows I tilt my head back and watch the flakes cascade down to my face. I pulled over on the side of the road and watch the sun setting. I get out of my car and take my shoes off and walk through fields with thick lush grass and I even lay down on a beach at night to behold the stars. I make time for beauty.

Do you have time for beauty? You and I are called to pursue what is beautiful, true and good, but are we? Perhaps the question we have to ask ourselves is that if we do not have time to stop and listen to a world class musician playing the most intricately written music on the best instrument ever made then maybe we need to re-prioritize our pursuits.

 ORIGINAL WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE WITH VIDEOS

 

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You Are Not a Disorder, You Are a Person

original art by Christina King

original art by Christina King

You are not a disorder, you are a person.

We are body, soul and spirit.  We must bring healing to our own “Trinitarian” being (in the sense of being body, soul and spirit).   Traditional therapy either wants to give pharmaceuticals or just discuss and manage symptoms of anxiety, thoughts or behavioral issues or perhaps to do all three but not to actually bring healing and restoration for the “whole” person.

Christ says He makes all things new. He promises us healing. Was He lying? Are we expecting too much? Are we giving the cross or God too much power?  I say no.  I say we do not expect enough. I believe Christ really has the power to work miracles.  In fact, He worked miracles of healing and told the apostles that they would do all of the things He did and more! We are called to bring healing and deliverance to those in misery, to be a sign of His power.  Christ desires to restore us.  Our healing is to be a visible sign to the world that our God is an awesome God and that He Reigns in Heaven and on earth.  He makes us whole.  I believe he wants to heal our emotions and our memories, not just our bodies.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things pass away; behold, he is made new.” 2 Cor 5:17

We are not disorders.  I believe many people who have been sexually abused or experienced traumatic childhoods like I did are actually dealing with identity wounds that distort their ability to know themselves and to know God. Being abused has a very real and powerful effect on shaping our identity.  To merely dismiss that and label someone as being “disordered” is, in my opinion, causing more damage and in a sense, keeps their pain and cries for help unheard.

I realize we can categorize and diagnose and give our psychological disorders a name but what good is it to give it a name if you do not understand it enough to help bring healing?

identity wounds Many of our disorders come from identity wounds. How do we get identity wounds? We get them when our true identity is distorted by shame. It may sound contradictory to say there is such a thing as “good shame” but in fact there is good shame and bad shame.

Good shame is felt when we are separating ourselves from God as well as others in a selfish way.  It “prickles” our conscience and in this way it helps us to address a something we are doing that we know is wrong so that we can self-correct.  This “prickling” of conscience is from our awareness that we have just separated ourselves from what is good and true.  This not only helps us shape our morality but it also protects our self-respect.  When we feel “good shame” we become aware that we have lost our innocence, motivates us to correct ourselves and turns us back to what we know is good.

Bad shame is more of an emotional torment and sickness to our very soul.  It is what begins to poison and divide us from within our whole self. All of us have shortcomings and when they are used to ridicule us or to inflict “bad shame”, we tend to believe the lie that we are bad or unworthy and this new “truth” sears into our heart, mind and soul.  We believe the lie that we are inferior, unworthy, undeserving and bad to the bone.  Bad shame causes us to despair separating us from our only cure to what ails us, which is God’s mercy.

The inflicting of this debilitating shame comes from those closest to us and causes the deepest of wounds. When we are children, our beliefs are being shaped, especially our beliefs about who we are as persons. If the message we get is that we are bad or unlovable, it can become our identity.  Identity wounds distort our ability to love ourselves, to love others and to love or know God.

the worse thing we can do to a person with identity wounds is to give them an identity as being “disordered”.

borderline Personality Disorder

 

Lets think about the word “disorders” through the lens of Theology of the Body.  For something to be disordered it has to have been rightly ordered but then gotten twisted up.  When the John Paul II wrote about Original Man he reminds us that in Genesis that Adam was naked without shame.  He had no desire or intention to use Eve as an object of pleasure for his own selfish needs or wants.  They were both subjects of God and saw one another as persons.  When sin entered the garden they were no longer seeing one another as subjects but as objects.  They covered their “private parts” of their bodies in shame.

 

What was good and right became disordered due to sin.  This is the reality of the world we live in.  If this is true then we see we are all disordered in one way or another.  If we are all disordered in some way how helpful is it to give a person made in the image and likeness of God a label of being disordered as if this is their identity or who they are as a person? I am guessing it could be potentially destructive and could create further woundedness.  Let’s call disorders what they truly are, which is distortions of truth from which we base our lives and relationships upon.

We are complex human beings.  The teachings of Theology of the Body helps us to get a bigger picture as to who we are as persons and how we are made to love and be loved as self-gift whereas psychology bases “truth” in disorders or distortions.

Our experiences in and through our bodies shape our understandings and beliefs and those beliefs can bind us up.  We act on our beliefs and if those beliefs are disordered it goes to follow that so too may our actions be disordered. For example when I experienced the trauma of being sexually abused it created a deep wound that penetrated my identity, which distorted my whole “person”. Psychology may have helped me to understand the distortions and behaviors but Theology of The Body helped me to understand my wounds and their effect on my identity. It was this distorted identity that shaped my beliefs and those beliefs caused me to make the choices in my life that I did.

body

Looking at someone’s whole person, body, mind, emotions, memories, spirit etc is what needs to happen if we want a person to reclaim their greatness.  Seeing the whole person as opposed to a disorder is what gives true hope for healing.  Anything else merely treats a part of a person.  Christ comes to make all things new, not part of things new.

For information on finding freedom and healing with what is labeled as “Borderline Personality Disorder” order my book on LuLu  

 

Treasure In Earthen Vessels; God Works Through Cracked Pots (UPDATED 10-28-2012)

SCROLL TO BOTTOM TO HEAR THE TALK I GAVE AND SEE THE PREZI/PRESENTATION I GAVE TO 1,000 WOMEN)

The story of the woman at the well is a marriage proposal and is a great place to begin in sharing how we are treasures in earthen vessels. It is strangely reminiscent of the song we sang as children “first comes love then comes marriage then comes the baby in the baby carriage”. First there was God who is love. Then the word was made flesh. Jesus is the Bridegroom.

That childhood song was a song about the holy Trinity and the call of our God into the marriage relationship of the bride and bridegroom and how we will be transformed into new creations. Theology of the Body gives us a beautiful lens from which to fully understand what the old Baltimore catechism said when it said we were created to know love and serve God to give you him forever in heaven.

The woman at the well is symbolic of all of our brokenness because of the sin in our lives, all of the inadequacies and all of the ways in which we fall short and yet God comes to us and seeks us out.

This is the marriage proposal. We are made for connection we are made for relationship.

Where we struggle in this is when SHAME gets in the way of allowing others to truly see who we are or to allow others to truly see us.

That’s where vulnerability comes in.

VULNERABILITY IS NOT WEAKNESS. How many think it takes vulnerability to speak in front of an audience of 800 people? It is true that vulnerability involves emotional risk and uncertainty but what vulnerability really means is to have courage.

Vulnerability is birthplace of creation and transformation. To create is to make something that never existed before like the unique and unrepeatable person. When we have the courage to really open ourselves to look into our hearts and even more importantly let others really and truly “see” us, we become transformed. “ Grace perfects our nature”.

In the garden, we were naked without shame.

“Naked without shame” is about knowing who we were as persons made in Gods image and likeness and our nature was perfect. When we fell from Grace due to original sin shame entered into the world.

Shame is the devil’s proposal about who God is and who we are.

Shame says one of two things; “you will never be good enough” or “who do you think you are”.

Adam and Eve covered themselves because they said yes to the devil’s proposal. Because they were unwilling to be vulnerable enough to go to God and trust in who He said we are, they fell and the consequence was sin.

A very basic understanding of sin is separation from God. In the Old Testament sin is described as a transgression. It is not just a violation of the law, but because the law was meant to protect as persons and to protect our world and our environment and God’s creation it is also a violation of God and violation of us so every time we separate from God and transgress upon his will we transgress upon ourselves and of all of creation. Sin, missing the mark and falling short of the glory of God. So with three

Sin has its effects always in wounding. Sin always wounds. There is no sin that doesn’t wound. It wounds us and it wounds others around us. We have no possibility of living in this world without being wounded.

What SHAME does is it takes the guilt we feel and turns the belief of “What I did was bad” into the belief that “I am bad”.

SHAME then makes us feel that we are unworthy of connection. It is in believing we are not thin enough, beautiful enough, successful enough or smart enough that SHAME turns our focus from who we are as unique and unrepeatable persons into who we think we “should be” or “should be doing”.

Shame makes us feel we are not good enough and that we will never be good enough.

The story of the woman at the well reminds us of whom we truly are which is the beloved of the Bridegroom and that God desires to marry us.

God knows all the places we have failed him and will fail him and yet he created us anyways. Out of all of the potential people God could’ve created we were chosen to be created and to come into the world to exist in fact of this very particular time in history.

But it gets better than this! God is calling all of us to enter into the redemption of the world! God could have chose to redeem the world anyway he liked. What he decided was that he wanted all of us to enter into this great work with him.

He does this by transforming our wounds much like his own were from the power of the cross. His “cracks” were in fact the greatest gift given to the entire world. Our wounds, our cracks, our inadequacies become the very place, once transformed like a firing kiln to a clay pot, becomes the very form from which God can best shine through, pour out of and be given to others. He is magnified by our smallness and our weakness.

God is calling you and is issuing a marriage proposal in which He desires to transform you and touch the lives of those around you through your fiat.

A treasure in earthen vessels is about our unique and unrepeatable personhood, it is about our immortal soul chosen by God to be called into existence. The earthen vessel reveals that the person we are is feminine or masculine and also is a sign that we are called to love like the trinity. But the earthen vessel also speaks to us about form.

Form, and the material from which it is made reveal its purpose. If I held up a cup and asked, “What is it?” unless we were from another world where they do not use cups, we would know it is a cup and that it holds liquid. We know understand what it is because of its form

Our form is meant to be a visible sign of Christ to the world. It is not just our masculine or feminine person that our form reveals but it tells a story of the Bride and the Bridegroom.

In Caryll Houselander’s book “The Reed of God” she uses three forms to reveal how Christ “shines” through our cracks”, The reed, the chalice, and the birds nest.

The Reed grows on the riverbanks and must be cut with a knife and then hallowed out with notches cut into it to create its form. Some of our stories include this kind of shaping. We are cut and hallowed out. We may think that we have nothing to give, our brokenness, or even our sinfulness might make us believe that God could never possibly choose us. The woman at the well is a reminder that God does chose us and when we allow him to redeem us, it is as if we are pressed to the lips of the master and when His Spirit blows through the reed, lyrical music is created because of the hallowing out and the notches that had been cut.

Some of our stories are like a chalice. A chalice is made from gold that has to be first hewn from the mud, then forged in fire before it can be poured into it’s mold. It then has to be pounded by a mallet to create its form. For those whose forming came from the succession of blows or from the purification of fire, they may understand that they are like Gold, that they are good, but they may not believe themselves worthy of greatness. It is the age-old question “Who do you think you are? If we remember that we are the beloveds of Christ, that He called us into being that we are His, then we remember who we are. A chalice is used to offer the great sacrifice of the mass. For those whose form is like the chalice, God desires to fill you with the water and blood that gushed from His sacred heart so that through your form you can pour Him out to a thirsting world.

Finally, for those who are shaped like the nest of a bird, the soft downy feathers of a tender mother bird’s breast create the form. For those who may have been formed by loving parents, in a prayerful home and have no painful formation as part of their story the temptation could be to say that they do not have a unique or inspiring story. Those whose story includes love, fidelity and affirmation are not only hope and inspiration for the world but it also creates a person more fully capable of revealing Christ. This story is an example of how each of us is called to become tabernacles.

We are to bring Christ to the world with our own hands and feet, with our own stories.

Each of our stories is as unique as our fingertips, as unique as our personhood.

We are the vessel and form helps us to tell the story of who Christ is and who we are in Christ. We should never underestimate the power of conversion to work through even the most broken of vessels.

Lazarus is an example of just such a vessel. He was dead. A rotting corpse and according to chief mourners “stinking” and yet when Christ shone through Lazarus, an entire city and now every generation to come, was converted through his story and through his form.

For me, my form is the reed. I have been hallowed out, whittled and cut into. The story I have to tell is of being transformed through my children and my husband.

I’ve been able to identify specific attributes or virtues that God has helped to develop in me for each one of my children.

For Maegan it was vulnerability, for Sara it was selfless love, for Elisha it was the need of affirmation, for Gabriel it was submission, for Annamarie it was long-suffering, for Mercedes it was Mercy, for Christopher it was joy, for Jonah it was perseverance.

For each child I have received a healing of a major wound, crack, or notch cut into me. God transformed it and the grace He has given to me in each of these areas have brought me freedom to love more rightly

Each time I was cracked, wounded or cut into because of my sin or the sin of others, the enemy proposed a lie so to enter into my heart and bring me to a place of shame.

Christ helps to expose the lies and bring healing to our wounded hearts and when we become vulnerable and allow Him in to truly see us, Christ transforms our wounds and they become like stained glass windows illuminating and radiating God’s beauty, God’s light, God’s truth to the world.

They will know us by our joy they will know us by our love. In this year of faith we are called to transformation. The new evangelization is about allowing Christ to permeate us. We embrace our greatness when we dare to take what we know in our heads and connect it to our hearts. When we move from knowing God, to being in an intimate relationship with Him.

When we allow ourselves to truly be seen and to really see the person God puts in front of us everyday is when we enter into one another’s story of redemption. God works through cracked pots, because His greatness is magnified in our weakness. The truth is that the enemy puts salt in our wounds because he is terrified that if we actually go into the wounds and bring Christ there with us, we would discover that when Christ redeems them, they become like jewels in the Crown of the creator.

You are a treasure in an earthly vessel and your form reveals a call to love and to be loved from the bridegroom to His bride. All it takes is your “fiat” which is the greatest “I DO” you can ever utter.

LISTEN TO MY TALK HERE

http://archive.org/details/TreasureInEarthenVesselsGodWorksThroughCrackedPots

HERE IS THE SLIDESHOW

http://prezi.com/rf8re5qrwol-/treasure/

THE POWER OF VULNERABILITY

LISTENING TO SHAME

Intercourse Of The Heart

“O Church, pilgrim and suffering, of which I am the Mother, you must understand that the center of your life, the fount of your grace, the source of your light, the beginning of your apostolic action is found only here in the tabernacle where Jesus is truly kept…The more your life revolves wholly and entirely at the foot of the tabernacle, in intimate union with Jesus in the Eucharist, the more you will increase in holiness. (#360 c, d, B).

Image 

This is a quote from Fr. Gobbi’s book on what Our Lady spoke to him for the Church.  I read this on a card given to me by Lilla Marie, a woman that is now apart of who am I not merely someone I met or someone that I know.  In fact, I know her as an experience, which is internal rather than external.  I met the love of God in that place.  I learned something about God there and so desire to share it with anyone who is seeking their own identity or seeking to “know” God and His calling on their own lives.  I think for me, this is going to transform how God will evangelize in and through me.  Here is what I believe the Holy Spirit showed me.

 

The source of light, the font of grace to be center of our lives is the tabernacle that is not an external thing (although certainly we know Jesus is there) but in a mystical tabernacle within our hearts.  Mary is the mystical declaration of this truth as first tabernacle.  She embodied the incarnation of God, Jesus Christ within the tabernacle of her womb and she brought Jesus within this tabernacle of her heart to the world when she visited Elizabeth.  In this demonstration she revealed what we are to do when Christ “lives” within us.  We are to bring Him to others and their birthplace within them will “leap” for joy when they receive Him through us.

 

Intercourse of the heart is a 2-fold mystery.  When we spend time with Jesus in the flesh a mystical infusion, penetration and intercourse with our hearts takes place and his “seed” is ejaculated there onto (hopefully) a receptive and fertile ground within us bringing about supernatural life.

 

It renews and refreshes us and it restores us, especially when we receive Him in the flesh because this is not just an intercourse of the heart (Holy Communion) but it is a unification of the body, soul and spirit within us receiving this Holy Seed, His Word and it is made flesh within us.  We enflesh it when we live out the fruit that begins to grow within the tabernacle of our person.  We are “possessed” means an enfleshment of this spiritual reality.  The body, soul and spirit is 3 in 1 or Trinitarian view of our personhood and He comes to us in a profound way in all three of these parts of our personhood.

 

God the Father gave Himself as a full, free, faithful and fruitful gift to the son and the Son openly received this gift and gave Himself to the father in this same way and the love between them IS the Holy Spirit.

 

The more your life revolves wholly, meaning is surrendering your all and everything (I surrender all) in its entirety at the foot of the tabernacle within you, this submission allows Him to possess us and conforms our will more perfectly to His.  Through this possession of our being, our tabernacle of our personhood then is possessed by the Holy Spirit and made manifest in intimate union (intercourse of the heart) with Jesus in the Eucharist.

 

When we are in His presence (Adoration) or receive Him in Holy Communion, a mystical restoration takes place through an intercourse of our person with God in His Three Persons, not just 1 of the three persons.  This brings new meaning to “you are what you eat”.

 

We need to be recharged, to receive and be filled to overflowing so that we can be filled so as to spill out to those who are desperate for their thirsts to be quenched.   It seems that intercourse of the heart with God is a profound way to do this and the purer the form of Him we receive the more capable we are to enflesh Him in and through our own lives, families, communities and friendships.  The more we do this the more we will increase in holiness.

 

I desire to be filled.  I desire to be capable of evangelizing in the way that Heidi Baker, founder of Iris Ministries declared in the foreword of Michelle Perry’s book LOVE HAS A FACE.  She said  “I have seen visions of a radical army of laid down lovers- a whole generation of those who are so full of passion and intimacy that they run into the darkness without fear to bring in the lost bride.”  What I have to say to that is this.  COME HOLY SPIRIT COME.

 

For more on this go to “Missionaries of Our Mother of The Eucharist.  The website is linked HERE.