Let me explain to the best of my ability what the phrase “par for the course” means.
A golf course is comprised of 18 different “holes” and each hole has a number.
Golfers will always know which hole they hate the most. That would mean it’s the most difficult.
Levels of difficulty can vary from length from where the golfer begins each hole, called the TEE, to where the golfer needs to sink the putt, the green.
Often a golfer cannot even see the green from the tee. The configuration of the hole can include a huge hill, over which the golfer cannot see the green. The layout can even include an angle and will completely obscure a certain portion of that green.
Each hole must be played according to the integrity of the hole and each golfer approaches their game in his or her own unique way.
The biggest thing I learned while watching the Masters was that the length of a hole was represented by the number that came after the word PAR.
So a Par 3 hole would be shorter in length, but still have as many challenges as a Par 5.
The number ideally means that a golfer can get from start to finish in the prescribed number of holes.
I say ideally because even on a Par 3 a golfer can have a heck of a time sinking his ball in 3 strokes.
The biggest eye opener for me was that a stroke of, let’s say 350 yards, was AS important and significant as the short stroke, called a putt, of 2 or 3 feet.
Anything can happen, and as I saw at the Masters a “sure thing” was often not so sure.
How does this game of golf and the distance of the strokes apply to women who are trying to escape from abuse or women who are simple trying to set a boundary?
The significance is this….
It DOES NOT matter if you take a small, seemingly insignificant action with an abuser like staying out of his way when he is gearing up to strike, or whether you take a huge step of calling the police and getting you and your family out of danger permanently. The most important thing to do is to take ONE step towards the life you want for yourself.
The golfer must have faith in their ability to take the breath and swing his arm with the club attached and then begin to walk to wherever the ball landed and do the same action all over again. Over and over and over. And always with a calm and peaceful demeanor.
What is par for the course of a life without violence?
This is a question that is unanswerable.
We do not know HOW MANY challenges life will throw our way. We do not know how many times we will have the take the same action, the same step with the same person until we can get it thru to them. That we will NOT under ANY circumstances accept any more acts of violence.
We are not in control of whether we contract a serious illness or if a loved one will meet with an accident. As I’m writing this, a dear friends nephew was just shot.
We ARE, however, in control of whether we will accept abuse.
If we all had a ZERO tolerance for accepting abuse, the first time a person did an abusive act would be the last, because we would say “Oh no, not with me, not ever.”
Take a breath.
Take your best stroke/step.
Repeat until you have the culture of peace you require for yourself.
I have never had an altar and I found the instructions of building one for myself just not me, not something I would do.
I looked around and found that, really, my home is my altar and I made that comment to my dear friend.
I felt it was egotistical to say my home was my altar, that it placed attachment to my things. And perhaps there is some attachment to a few of the items.
My friend reminded me that my house used to be my prison and that transforming it into my altar was a major accomplishement. I sat with that thought….
My house was not a home for so many years, it was a place to hang my hat. Home is where the heart is and there was no love amongst the walls, no trinkets of adornment, no comforts with its furnishings or the people who resided there.
As my divorce came and went, the house had become mine to do with it what I wanted. No compromise with others, no decisions made just to please another. I was and am free to do what I want. Awareness for what I needed became apparent as the cast of characters in my life stepped off the stage. As I had looked to others in my house of life for the love and acceptance, I had to turn to self-love and self-acceptance.
The walls that held secrets of the arguments, the abuse, the anger and resentment, I had them plastered over. Part of my history that were painful building blocks of who I am today, I’m stronger for it. Plaster and paint gave a fresh page to a new chapter. The house is an eccentric museum of my life and the things I hold dear, the memories and experiences which have shaped me in this lifetime. The books I loved reading and those I would love to read. Treasures and antiquities from my adventures. Colors and fabrics that bring me comfort.
Even a toy from my childhood with a hole and a torn eye sits on a shelf, a reminder of family vacations when they were still fun, and I was innocent.
Like an onion, each item is a layer of my life and peeling away one layer only brings about another.
The structure that, in the past, held no charm and had no atmosphere, now welcomes everyone once they cross the threshold. The energy of my altar is one of peace. It’s a place where every room invites you to stop and sit a spell. Blow the dust off almost any item on the shelves and there is a story of wonder and discovery to be told.
On the floor are framed photos of people and places I love and one day they will finally find their place on a wall. My tribute to them.
My home is not finished. It’s a work in progress as is my life.
In the book The Six Pillars of Self Esteem, Nathaniel Branden tells us that “self acceptance is more primitive than self esteem. It is a per rational, per oral act of self affirmation.”
I think in the caveman days it served to say to the tribe that we, too deserve to eat at the fire, to have a place in the cave for shelter and we have a place at the fire for community and camaraderie.
In modern times this means that girls have the right to eat the same healthy food as her brothers and father. She has the same rights for schooling and she has the right to expect and demand that she and her body be respected.
“Self acceptance is my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship to myself.”
“An attitude of basic self-acceptance is what an effective psychotherapist strives to awaken in a person of even the lowest self esteem. This attitude can inspire an individual to face whatever he or she needs to encounter within without collapsing into self hatred, repudiating the value of his or her person, or relinquishing the will to live. It entails the declaration : “I choose to value myself, to treat myself with respect, to stand up for my right to exist.” This primary act of self affirmation is the base on which self esteem develops.”
When we cannot dig deep enough to uncover this basic self acceptance, we fall prey to what others want to say and do to our minds and our bodies.
We must, at all costs, find the strength to face ourselves and to declare: “This is the day that I stand for ME.”
Will you practice standing up for yourself in small ways?
Maybe at the grocery store, or at the doctors office or perhaps with the your child’s teacher.
If you practice in small places, the larger places will not seem so very dire.
Love and light,
P.S. Read The Six Pillars of Self -Esteem by Nathaniel Branden. It is worth every minute of your time.
A few weeks ago in the NY Times, I read an article on how Olympians use imagery to practice their jumps, runs and plays.
One of the team psychologists, Nicole Dietling said, “In images, it is absolutely crucial that you don’t fail. You are training those muscles and if you train those muscles to fail that is not where you really want to be. So one of the things I will do is if they fail in the image, we stop, rewind and replay again and again and again.”
I think that we can use this technique for creating the quality of life we expect for ourselves. We cannot use imagery to change another’s behaviors but we can use imagery to change our own behaviors.
Let’s say for example, that you have a teenager that drives you batty. You have tried everything you know and still the two of you end up in screaming and shouting matches.
YOU can use imagery to change the behaviors you want to change in yourself.
If you wish to NOT be in a shouting match, you can use imagery to bring up a fight that recurs with your child and when you SEE yourself losing it, STOP and rewind to the beginning of the fight and imagine yourself using a different behavior.
The sports psychologists who teach imagery teach that the athletes must see, feel, smell, hear and taste the entire scenario. So an athlete will be able to conjure up the wind in their face, the taste of the air, the smells of the venue, etc.
Similarly, you can use imagery to see which areas of contention get to you the most with the teenager.
You can begin to change your reactions to the child and control where the conversation will go.
When I had teenagers, I hated that I would often fall into the very shouting match I so desperately wanted to avoid.
I wish I would have known about imagery back then.
I think as parents we need to use every tool we have at our disposal to teach our children how to be calm and controlled adults and when we lose it, we just teach them that we have a lot of learning to do.
Let’s try to utilize all the techniques that are proven so we can model great parenting for our children. After all, most of us want grand kids and do we want our children yelling at our grand kids the way we are yelling at them?
I hope this helps the next time you feel that you are losing it, but it will ONLY help if you practice using imagery when you are not in the midst of the crisis.
Love and light,
Try to think of something important, significant and poignant that you know now, but to which you used to be ignorant.
For me, it is the fragility of teenagers.
There was a time, before I had children, that I did not know the in credibility of teenage-hood.
I used to think that they were just younger versions of adults, that it was just a chronological thing for them.
I did not know that their brains were barely baked, or that their executive functioning skills were sorely lacking, or that they had the capacity to think of others.
Let me make a side note here. There ARE some teenagers who are incredibly mature and make ALL the “right” decisions….the kind of decisions that make adults proud and secure in their parenting skills. Yes, there are many of these beings.
If you know one of those beings… run, do not walk and hug them. Give the permission to make mistakes and to break some rules.
Give them permission to be one of the “other” kinds of teenagers.
Now that I know a few more things about the way teenagers behave, and that as parents, we should not take it personally, I can never not know.
This knowing, gives me the gift of compassion for teenagers and their witless parents.
The kind of witless parent I used to be.
In the words of Mark Nepo, ” …what has become visible and true will not become invisible again.”
Mark Nepo tells us that honoring ourselves means that “we will not pretend to be ignorant to what we know to be true…”
When we allow our knowing to inform our living, we live in honor of spirit of all things. We especially live in honor of ourselves.
Can we be patient enough to hold honor for all the “future KNOWINGS” that we will receive in the exact right time?
That is indeed a hard task.
Try to think of something you desperately want to know now…something that is bothering you in a deep and confusing way.
Can you give yourself the gift of patience and time to allow the knowing to appear to you?
If the answer is “no way,” then you have chosen a path very fraught with brambles and sticker bushes and cacti.
Yes, you will be caught on the many branches in the way as you barge thru the unknown.
If, however, the answer is a soft “maybe,” then you stand a chance of less pain and less regret. You will allow yourself to step over the brambles and sticker bushes. You will be more discerning with your steps.
If your answer is a resounding “yes,” then you, my friend, will be still enough to see the different path, the one clear from the brambles and sticker bushes and cacti.
I do not know which decision you will make but know this, YOU can always start again and make a different decision.
Remember to learn from the hasty decisions though, lest you trip yourself up again.
Wait…wait for the path to be clear. Wait for the clearer path to show itself.
It may be the best thing you have ever done for yourself.
Love and light,
If you should see a sign above a beautiful doorway in a lovely building that reads Department of Emotions, you may be curious.
You may enter cautiously, with glee or maybe with anxiety. Let’s assume that you do enter and begin to look around.
Within this department, you may find floor upon floor of beautiful offices with open doors and nicely dressed people working away.
These employees have the job of dispensing emotions to the whole world. They actually love their jobs.
The way they do it is that they get telegraphic requests and they dispatch emotions at the speed of light.
You want Joy? Done.
Gratitude? Yes, lots being dispensed these days.
You look around some more and realize that some employees are sitting still, making no movement with no work to do.
You look at their titles and there seems to be a theme….Bliss, Ecstasy, Passion and you wonder why.
Then you wander some more and see some employees over-burdened, just dragging and stressed and you glance at their titles.
You see another theme…
You ask them why they are so exhausted and they don’t even have time to look up or answer you.
One of the other employees, the one called Ecstasy, tells you that some emotions are overused and the guys dispensing them cannot catch a break. No time for rest or sleep. No one seems to be taking breaks from fits of anger, rants full if rage or blinding hatred.
Then you begin to realize that you too have overused some emotions and woefully underused others.
You cannot remember the last time you telegraphed for Bliss or Passion and forget about Ecstasy.
I know that this blog is way out there. I hope that it gives you pause to consider which emotions you over use and which others you ignore.
I encourage you to use less anger and rage and use more of joy, bliss and passion.
Find something to be passionate about…a hobby or a cause.
Find Joy in the everyday stuff, even little things like the gift of sight or the ability to still climb stairs.
I believe it was Albert Einstein who said we can behave as if nothing is a miracle, or as if everything is a miracle.
Let’s live the miracles that are all around us.
Love and light,
From what I have read, shuttles use over half of their fuel supply to break out of the earth’s gravitational pull.
After the shuttle breaks free, the fuel usage drops significantly.
If there is not enough combustion and the propulsion does not quite allow the shuttle to break out then all that initial work, all that burning will be for naught!
The shuttle will fall back down and shatter.
I like this metaphor for looking at what it takes to leave an abuser.
In order to leave, you have to have some initial fuel. Perhaps it’s a threat that you finally believe. Perhaps it’s yet another physical attack. Something fuels you to run for your life.
If you do not have the reserves of fuel to help you to stay gone (breaking free of the gravitational pull of the abuser) you will fall right back into their pull and burn up, all over again!
What are those reserves of fuel?
Those reserves are LOVE for yourself and your children.
Those reserves are finally realizing that your abuser tells you LIES!
The lies are that you are worthless, that you cannot survive without them, that you will live under a bridge or that NO ONE could ever love you.
Lies… All LIES!
The deeper you dig to find YOUR truths the better chance you have to stay gone to continue to free yourself of the gravitational pull of the abuser.
Abusers, like gravity, like to pull you DOWN.
They do not like you to move and think on your own. If they want you to think, they will TELL you what to think, when to think and how long to think it.
Abusers like to see themselves as mind readers, as purveyors of Truth!
The world revolves around them and the only thing that matters is what they believe to be so.
Read this former blog post, Bricks are for building and get an insight into some real life abuse.
How do you reserve enough fuel so that you can stay gone?
Some of the things you can do are:
TALK to professionals about your abuse.
Gather information on how abuse and abusers work.
Begin to identify the pattern in your abuse. 1. Event 2. Abuse 3. Honeymoon** 4. Apologies
**Note that in this 3rd stage, The Honeymoon Stage, is when the gravitational pull to go back to the abuse is strongest. You WANT to believe that he means it THIS time. You want to believe that he WILL never hit or rape or threaten you again. Oh, how you LONG to believe it. Beware of this gravitational pull.
All abuse follows this formula.
Sometimes the time frame between the stages varies from minutes to hours to days and even months. I have also seen the stages take years, but it still follows this formula. The abuse is still present.
Keep notes (in a VERY safe place) and note how many things you are being accused of. Ask yourself if you are really that powerful as to make those things all happen.
If indeed you WERE that powerful, would you not make the abuser stop hurting you?
You cannot fight this fight alone. It takes a whole team of qualified engineers and staff personnel to safely send that shuttle off into space. You need a team of qualified people to help you to blast away and more importantly, stay away.
Find your team.
Refill your fuel reserves.
Far away, until you love yourself SO much, that you will never again believe the lies.
Love and light,
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