A little encouragement . . .

I have tried for hours to put words to this image.
But I’m stuck!
Nothing I write captures what I’m trying to say . . .
So I’ll just tell you how it happened . . .

After a day of reading and hearing too much social media.
In a moment of angst, I said to God:
“I need something here and now!”
And this was the immediate response to my callout!

‘Wisdom & Faith’ is the ‘mantra’ of my church.
Because that is all we can do:
Use wisdom in order to flatten the curve.
Apply faith & prayer, from this we will emerge!

Be encouraged as I was at that time,
and continue to be through this time!

A reason, a season, or . . .

Today (Friday February 7th) as I was leaving work, contemplating my last day here (having spent the last 6 months working as a casual employee), before commencing my new permanent place of work next week, I consoled myself with a variation of an old quote:

from
‘Friends are for a reason, a season, or a lifetime’
to
‘Everything happens for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.’

I thought about all the reasons and seasons I’ve been through in this place, and in other workplaces, but especially here as it’s been such a huge part of my lifetime. When I’ve ‘stepped out’ to travel to Africa, or to a new place of employment, ‘this place’ has been somewhere I could come back to, helping me to find my feet again.

It’s the place where I am known. The place where I grew up. The place that taught me everything I know. With all its politics and varied relationships, some close and others completely indifferent, this is another version of what I would call ‘family.’ So while it ‘feels like’ I’m leaving, I’m not. What I am leaving, is my comfort zone.

For all the years I’ve known this saying, today as I thought of moving to my new place of employment and how everything happens for a reason, a season, or a lifetime I heard this response: Could it be for a season, with a reason, for a lifeline?

Let me tell you a story about ‘Naamah’ and ‘Sarah’:

Back in November last year (2019) I briefly met my new neighbours Naamah and Boris as I was rushing out and they were coming home (our doors are side by side in our apartment building). Naamah said “We should organise tea.” But then due to a miscommunication it didn’t happen and so a few weeks later I decided to follow it up. Because I’m naturally shy, quiet and awkward, I admit that my follow up was prompted by a ‘random act of kindness’ challenge through a women’s group I’m part of within my church circle. And so it was a couple of weeks later Naamah and I met for tea, and had a great afternoon getting to know each other.

It was a week or two after that in December, that Naamah’s Aunt Sarah arrived from their home country to visit for a 6 week holiday. It was on a Sunday afternoon, Naamah asked if we could go for lunch. While we were at lunch chatting about so many things and the importance of having hobbies outside of work, Aunt Sarah asked about my hobbies. And so I told them about my writing, the 3 collaborative books I’ve written, and a brief outline of each.

Aunt Sarah was intrigued and wanted to know more about my writing, but in particular about my first chapter. A book titled Spiritual Conversations, in which my chapter is titled: A raw conversation with God. And so I delved deeper into that chapter, and my story behind it.

While telling my story, feeling choked up as I spoke (because there are parts of it that I still ‘feel’ in remembering the pain), I noticed Naamah smiling from ear to ear, and yet I didnt understand why. But then as I looked at Aunt Sarah, to see her crying, reaching in her handbag for a tissue, I would soon come to know exactly how Naamah’s smiling and Aunt Sarah’s crying was all connected to my story.

Seven months earlier (that’s about May 2019) Aunt Sarah at the age of 40, single, and no children, had a hysterectomy for the condition of uterine fibroids and the resulting anaemia. In struggling to come to terms with it all, she then had another condition to deal with: the diagnosis of depression.

‘Funny’ isn’t it . . . that Aunt Sarah’s story in May 2019, was exactly my story in May 2016 . . . just 3 years earlier, when I was 45. And so while Aunt Sarah spoke of coming to Australia to forget about her situation. I wondered, could it be that God brought Aunt Sarah to Australia, to help her in her situation? And so I love the quote below:

It’s scary to be vulnerable. But when we are (in a safe and healthy place to do so) it has the power to transform what was our pain, into someone else’s gain. While it may be a selfish reason, I like that this in turn gives a sense of purpose to my pain.

And so . . . if God can organise a woman living in another country on the other side of the world (that shares my exact story) to visit her niece, my next door neighbour (who I only just met), that I would then have opportunity to share my story and give her a copy of my book, so that maybe it can help her on her journey . . . could this then have been a 6 week season, with a hysterectomy reason, to be a lifeline for Aunt Sarah as she ‘navigates’ depression?

Who have you been a ‘lifeline’ for today?
Maybe you dont even know it!

And as for your workplace and mine, what if:
It’s not about what we ‘do’ in our place of employment.
But about who we ‘be’ in our place of deployment.
Employed? and/or Deployed?
Our employer employs us for our skills.
But God deploys us for our gifts!

In this current corona crisis, as many of my fellow nurses in casual employment are out of work, I feel like my new permanent workplace is my lifeline.
I feel for all who have lost their employment in this time. But I hope if you are reading this, that you find encouragement in it somehow.

#GodArrangesOurConnectionsLocalAndInternational
#ItIsNotAboutWhatWeDoItIsAboutWhoWeBe

#Deployed
#TheDictionarySaysForcesWereDeployedAtStrategicLocations
#YouAreAForceStrategicallyDeployedAtYourLocation
#BeTheForceYouWereDeployedFor

When the ladder speaks . . .

As I contemplate what to write about . . . I thought I had a piece . . . and then I got this . . .

As I woke up this morning contemplating everything I had to do today . . . I thought of the clothes I need to take somewhere to donate. And my eyes caught the jacket still hanging on my ladder. Some people have a chair, but I have an old ladder that I hang my clothes on at the end of the day, when suitable for another wear.

I looked at that brown fleecy lined jacket, contemplating how long it had hung there for . . . since the last time that I wore it . . . which was some months back. Then I remembered that at that time of wearing the jacket, I had discovered it had become too tight for me in the arms, thereby limiting my ability to move. And so now I find myself wondering . . . “Why is it still hanging there?” Because I really like it! And I wish I hadn’t outgrown it, but I have. The truth is, it’s still hanging there because I like it so much that there’s a part of me that really hopes that one day it will fit me again, and so I dont want to let it go.

Then while contemplating that jacket hanging on my ladder, I heard the question: “So what’s hanging on the ladder of your heart?” While I had a concept of what ‘the ladder of your heart’ might mean, I couldn’t fully grasp it, so I looked up the dictionary definition of the word: ladder.

2) a piece of equipment consisting of a series of bars or steps between two upright lengths of wood, metal or rope, used for climbing up or down something.

And so I contemplate . . . in all areas of my life: What have I outgrown? Even though I might still really like it? Have I let go of it? If not, then why not? Am I hoping it will one day fit me again? Maybe it’s not a piece of clothing? It could be a mindset or a belief that needs to change? It could be a connection/friendship/relationship? Or it could be a space and/or a place I am trying to fit in to?

But as with my jacket, if it is restricting me, limiting me in some way, why then would I want to, much less choose to, have that ‘thing’ hanging on the ladder of my heart? I was made to be who I am, without restriction, without limitation, so to be hanging on to any ‘thing’ that restricts and limits me is nothing other than self-sabotage. And why would I want to do that? Fear? Fear of what? Fear of failure? Or is it fear of success?

So going back to the ‘ladder’ definition: two upright lengths of wood, metal or rope: different materials with very different strengths, different weight capacities, and thus very different purposes. Yet they can serve their purpose together to some degree: as in a rope ladder with wooden steps. But regardless of what and how the materials are used, it is the ‘two upright lengths’ that must be stronger as they serve to support the ‘series of bars or steps’ for the climber to climb.

In different aspects of our lives, we are any one of these ‘materials’ and any one part of the ladder. For example in any one of my connections/friendships/relationships I may be an ‘upright length’ of support, or I may be a ‘step or a bar’ needing support from my ‘upright lengths’ around me. Or as in my new workplace, I feel more like the ‘climber’ utilising the ‘ladder’ (that is my work colleagues) for their knowledge as I ‘climb’ my way into a new workspace, to see if and where I fit.

Whether we are an ‘upright length’, a ‘bar or a step in a series of’, or a climber looking to climb, what is important is that over and above how much we ‘like it’ or ‘want it to fit’, we must first know the strength that we have, our capacity to hold, and the purpose of that which we carry in and through the climb. If it’s beyond our strength, outside our capacity, or not in line with our purpose, then it’s not a good fit. So . . . much like my jacket . . . dont leave it hanging there . . . hoping one day it might be a good fit. But instead acknowledge it for what it is, even if you wish it wasn’t . . . and as per the song in the movie Frozen: Let it go!

To conclude, I see two concepts within my thoughts here:

  1. the jacket and its representation of ‘things’ we allow to ‘hang on’ and
  2. knowing who I am in or on the ladder: an upright length, a step, or climbing.

I believe when we don’t, won’t or can’t “Let it go!” that another definition of ‘ladder’ enters our world:

2) a vertical strip of unravelled fabric in tights or stockings.

Our not ‘letting go’ leads to us becoming ‘unravelled’ in who we are, and so we do ourselves an injustice to who we are as a person in: our strength, our capacity, and our purpose.

So . . . regardless of those fears . . . whatever they might be. . . whatever you are hanging on to that is restricting you, or limiting you in any way . . . “Let it go!” and just be who you are in knowing the strength that you have, the capacity that you hold, and the purpose that you carry.

A Christmas Story

It must be 21 years ago that 3 friends: Naomi, Victoria and I each made our own Nativity set.

At the time Naomi was working in a pottery place when she had the idea. So having purchased the unfired pieces, painted them, and then sent them off with Naomi to be fired in the kiln, we waited with anticipation for their return.

I remember Naomi saying that somehow in the process of being in the kiln, one of my pieces had been damaged: Joseph’s hand had been broken, but she thought it would be okay. As for me, I wondered how broken? Do I need a new Joseph?

On that day when we each got our Nativity pieces back, I examined Joseph to find that on his left hand (with his outstretched arm) he’d lost the top of his fingers. But thankfully I didn’t need a new Joseph, with a bit of paint, I could still use him in my Nativity, to represent as the father of baby Jesus.

In thinking deeper about this, I see how this story reflects our own life, or at least mine for sure!

We have a picture of how our life will be, and we paint it as so, but then come the fires of life: the death of a parent as a young child, bullied at school, divorce, a hysterectomy, a diagnosis of depression, unhealthy life choices, and loss of friendships, to name some of my own ‘broken fingers.’

In the midst of each of these fires, I have wondered if I was:
Too broken to be repaired.
Too broken to ever be me again.
Too broken to represent my Father.
To feel so broken, that I should just be replaced with someone else.

But then:
While I couldn’t give Joseph back his fingers, I saw the way to ‘repair’ what remained of his broken fingers. And with a touch of paint you’d never know the injury he encountered while going through the fire (unless you look closely to see his short, stumpy hand).

And this has been my experience also:
While there are some things I just can’t get back, God saw the way to ‘repairing’ my broken parts. With His touch of love on those areas, He gave me hope that He will not replace me with someone else, but instead repair me so that (in spite of all I’ve been through in the fires of life), I can be confident in who I am. And so I represent Him, the One who got me there – my Father.

The Christmas season stirs up different emotions for different people for different reasons. But if you’re in a difficult place, know that no matter how bad it is:
Despite what you think, you ARE NOT replaceable!
Despite what you feel, your repair is possible.
And even if you can’t see it now, you can be confident in who you are, because I know the One who can get you there.

Merry Christmas as you celebrate with family and friends on this day, the date designated as the birthday of Jesus.

The last of that flowering bunch.

Sometimes in life we can find ourselves in a place making decisions we never thought we’d make. When life throws us a curveball, and within the time of dealing with that curveball, we make unhealthy choices. Then long after that curveball has resolved, we continue to be faced with the consequences of those unhealthy choices.

If you’re working through a difficult space, because of past decisions you made while struggling through a painful place, then I hear you. Because I’ve been there too, and in some circles of my life, I’m still navigating my way through that. It sucks! But it is in part, the result of my choices. And there are still days where I have ‘memory flashbacks’ and I wish (on my part) I had done it different: “IF ONLY . . .” and then something like this happens:

On a day when the last flower remaining from a bunch dropped its petals . . . as I went to gather them all up to put in the rubblish . . . I felt to take a photo. Why? I didnt know why? But I’ve learnt from past experience that such a prompt means a story will follow. But I still wondered: “What could possibly come from this remnant stem?” and there begins the story.

In the search to find out what that remnant stem is called: its called a pistil. It’s usually located in the centre of the flower, and made up of three parts: the stigma, the style, and the ovary. The stigma is the sticky tip of the pistil. It is attached to a long tubelike structure called the style. At the other end of the style is the ovary (containing the female egg cells called ovules) in the core of the flower.

But it was the word ‘stigma’ that stood out for me. While I know what ‘stigma’ means, what it is, and how it feels, I looked up the dictionary meaning anyway.

Stigma: A strong lack of respect for a person (or a group of people) or a bad opinion of them because they have done something society does not approve of. OR the one I didnt know: in a flower, the part of the pistil that receives the pollen during pollination.

Both are nouns: one defines disapproval, and the other defines the life of a flower.

So then . . . can I switch my stigma, to turn my unbearable pain into something that brings life? I have to believe it is possible because of Romans 8:28: We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

I find it an interesting parrallel that the stigma of a flower is sticky . . . because that is how it is in life . . . rightly or wrongly, true or false, stigma sticks!

As in the photo, everything else about the flower has fallen away, leaving only the pistil standing exposed. But in my experience, it’s been about how I handle it. Recognising that in the same way there are two sides to every story, there are also two ends to my style. Regardless of my stigma, choosing not to be overwhelmed by the exposure, but instead looking and searching to find my ‘style’ knowing that while on one end is the ‘stigma’, on the other end (at the core of my being) is my soul, my ‘life source’ of hope and potential for my future. Sometimes it’s about that: not being consumed by the ‘stigma’ that many (even ourselves) are stuck on seeing, but pursuing the ‘life’ at the core of our being.

As it is for the flower,

could it be that new life begins (as opportunities)
that have come through the stigma?

When:

the process of pollination that begins in the ‘stigma’,
passes through the ‘style’ to reach the ‘ovary’,

somehow relates to:

my deepest devastation having bought
my greatest transformation.

And so I’ll close with this:

The stigma of disapproval is in the doing.
The stigma of the flower is in its being.

So how do we turn the negative stigma from our doing,
into that which is a positive stigma for our being?

I think of people like David and Solomon
Men of God who made wrong choices.

Led by insecurity and misguided hearts.
Turmoil from their deepest hurting parts.

For David, a man after God’s heart did arise.
But for Solomon he lost favour in God’s eyes.

So dont be overcome by the stigma of your doing.
But pursue the ‘stigma’, ‘style’ and ‘life’ of your being.

Find your ‘style’ to connect your ‘stigma’ with ‘life.’
Use it for good, that it would bring no more strife.

‘My Health My responsibility’

This is my adjusted version of a culture statement in and of my church: ‘My Heart My Responsibility.’ In taking ownership of our responsibility in this, we seek to keep our hearts right and free from its potential (emotional) entanglements with offence, judgement, criticism, etc. Likewise ‘My Health My Responsibility reminds me that I’m accountable for what I do and don’t do for my health, so as to seek to keep me free from the entanglement of disease, and my resulting health journey.

As an Essential Oils Advocate, I have to be diligent in reminding myself of where the boundary lines are in my responsibility to my clients on their health journey. Because ultimately: Their Health IS Their Responsibility.’ Over the past week or so I’ve been reflecting on this increasingly so.

As a nurse in the operating theatre, I’m reminded of a situation some months back: the current case on the operating table had been much more complicated than expected, putting us in to overtime, and so we had to cancel the last patient of the afternoon. It normally wouldn’t be an issue to continue on, except on this day when the surgeon had an important family celebration dinner to attend.

After being informed by the surgeon of their cancellation, I became the liaison person between the patient, their family member and the surgeon. I was understanding of each perspective, while trying to comfort and calm the patient and family member as they pursued their desire for the surgery to go ahead.

I observed a surgeon who held tight to his boundary (going out of his way to offer what I believe to be suitable alternatives), and a patient and family member who believed the surgeon’s boundary was inappropriate, unreasonable, and inconsiderate of what they wanted here and now.

They tried from every angle, through every avenue, anyone who would listen, to change the surgeon’s decision, but the surgeon (respectfully so) maintained his boundary. I think the key point of learning here (for me) was to see and hear ‘Boundary Busters’ in action:

Convinced that they are entitled to what they want,
Derogatory about his decision for his want.
Stating that they should be his priority,
Over that of celebrating with his family.

It was very interesting to watch the battle over the boundary line. And while most people may not be as forthright in actually saying so, I wonder how much is still thought so. The silent Boundary Buster: the silent expectation that because we want or need something, we should be able to have it, and our attitude in that and about that, as we seek or pursue to have it.

As a person with my own health issues, I’m challenged to consider if I’m taking enough responsibility for my own health:

  • Am I eating right, regularly doing my stretches, and even in prioritising myself over my clients? It’s easy to get caught up in research to make oil blends for clients, excited about the possibility of helping someone on their health journey, and yet never getting around to making my own.
  • Am I expecting more of my practitioner than I am of myself? Yes, my practitioner has the knowledge and the know-how, but the question is still: am I expecting him/her to do more for me, than the effort I am prepared to do for myself?
  • Am I expecting a miracle cure, a miracle healing, because that’s easier (for me) than to put in the required effort for my desired result?

I’m especially challenged in the areas that have gone on (and on and on) for so long now, that my consistency in doing ‘what I can do for me’ sometimes waivers from weariness. Some days, I wish I could hand it over to someone else to sort out for me. But it doesnt work like that. It’s not their responsibility to take that on. Healing takes time . . . sometimes longer than we think, or ever thought it could or would or should ever take. But even then, I’m still responsible for the choices I make along the way, for however long it takes for my health to be what I hope for.

Without wanting to sound judgemental it is my experience, to have heard it said so many times by patients I’m preparing for heart bypass surgery: “Doc you’ll fix me right up won’t you?” They seek the assurance of a solution from their surgeon, yet they admit to not having done what they could do for themselves as directed to do in: changing their diet, starting an exercise regime, or giving up smoking. They don’t see that they are (through their choices) part of the solution, in the same way that they were part of the initial problem. And so as a result their unchanging choices will continue to complicate (and even advance) their issue.

The best result comes through my taking ownership of responsibility for my health. Be it (in my case) mental health, skeletal issues, or dietary triggers, when I don’t do all that I know I can do for me, then if my condition continues to deteriorate, or even just remains stagnant in its recovery, I must first look at my own choices to see if they have impacted that.

Otherwise I am no different to the patient having heart bypass surgery, that in the near future has to return for further surgery because their lifestyle choices continue to produce the same life threatening condition.

In every area of life for the sake of our overall health, holistic health, I believe we need to regularly ask ourselves three questions:

  • Is there something I need to change?
  • Is there something I need to start?
  • Is there something (or even someone) I need to give up?

Because when all is said and done, whether I want to be or not, I am responsible for my health, and my choices will (and do) determine that. And so to use another culture statement in and of my church:

Do Something!
For (and not against) your health!

More from that bunch . . .


Sometimes we can feel like any one of the flowers
in this vase.

Blooming in colour with all its foliage.
Blooming in colour but having lost all its foliage.
A bud that has never opened to reveal the flower it was created to be.
A stem and the remaining pistil of a beautiful flower that once was.
A bent over stem with a bud that has now opened up to reveal its flower.
And yet that flower is not fully seen because it can stand up no more.

Why is it so?
All in the same vase.
All drinking the same water.

And then came this:

I bought a bunch of flowers for a friend.
And with it came a message to send.
Feeling compelled to by my own bunch.
So that on this message I could also munch.

Her card with the message arrived.
A photo she sent
Of how her flowers had thrived
To be that of a brilliant red
Except for two
That had blossomed pink instead.

I now recall
There was this one day
Before my buds had blossomed
Their water they’d drank away.
So I gave them more in abundance.
For resuscitation I would pray.

In that full bunch of red
I wondered why
Those two would be pink instead
And here it is
When my friend then said:

The pink in my bunch
had a bend in their stem.
Drooping over the vase
I cut off the bend in them.

“Could it be?
That the water they lack
Was determined
by the bend in their back.”

Be they pink or red
While beautiful as either.
Could it be said?
That the depth in their colour
Was determined
By how much water they swalla?

And so for those that remain:
Still flowering pink,
I trimmed each of their stem.
For the remaining bud,
I stood her alongside of them.

And for the flower with a bend in her back.
Who could stand up no more.
She now stands again as part of the pack.
Because I did what I could,
To remove that bend in her back.

If God is the florist.
Then He knows His craft.
As He trims and cuts at my being.
He’s creating a new draft.
He is removing the bend in my back.

If a friend were a flower
Then as a bud I’d choose
Blooms that would me empower.
Those who have been trimmed enough,
To stand alongside of me,
Through the rough and the tough.
Those that would choose
To help with the bend in my back.

It’s now 3 weeks since I bought that bunch of flowers for my friend,
and then another for myself.

And just this morning the last of the petals did fall.
Except for that of one last stem.
Yes! The one with the bend in her back.
The stem that I had to trim.
So that she could stand up again.
She is the one outlasting them all!

And so I wonder:
Could it be that the bend in her back,
Once removed and restored to stand up,
Made her the toughest in the pack?

We’re all on a journey. On my own journey I wish I had not encountered (or even chosen) some of the paths I’ve been on. But the reality is, we dont always get to choose. Sometimes it’s a case of:

STUFF HAPPENS ! ! !

But in learning from this bunch of flowers, I never would have imagined that for all this one flower went through, that she would show herself to be the last one standing.
She’s lost all but one leaf of her foliage, and her stem looks a bit discoloured, but she’s fully intact as a flower.
And I get to enjoy her pink beauty, as well as the message she carries, which she has shared with me as a result of her journey.
The second best part:
Knowing that I did my part in helping to remove the bend in her back.
The VERY best part:
To see her stand up again. To see her as the beautiful pink flower she was created to be.

More than just a bunch of flowers.

In buying a bunch of flowers for a friend, I had planned to buy a lovely open bunch showing off their colour and vibrancy. But I didnt see anything I liked. They all looked a bit scrappy, so I grabbed a bunch that somehow appealed to me in their greenery.

As I was leaving the florist, it was only then that it occurred
to me that I’d bought a bunch of flowers that I had no idea
what they would look like when they blossomed.
NOT what I had planned AT all!
I softened my disappointment with the thought:
“Oh well, that’s the element of surprise!”
But then my next thought was:
“But for me, I dont like surprises. I’d rather know.”

Then I realised this:
Life can be just like this bunch of flowers!

  • We plan for it to be one thing, then one day we realise we didn’t get what we planned for.
  • Maybe what we see looks a bit scrappy, compared to what we hoped or planned for.
  • But it’s in the not getting what we planned for, that the ‘element of surprise’ can come through.
  • There is no room for the ‘element of surprise’ in getting what we planned, because we planned it.

While driving to visit my friend with that bunch of ‘surprise potential’ sitting on my front passenger seat, a song came on the radio: ‘Take Courage’ by Kristene Dimarco.
The words I heard first, and loudest were:

“He’s in the waiting”
“He’s never failing”

And so I believe that because of the words above, I need to apply the words below:

“Take courage my heart”
“Stay steadfast my soul”

and
“Hold onto your hope”

Because surely as that bunch of flowers are not failing to open, but only AFTER a time of waiting they will open up to reveal what was all along being developed within: the resulting ‘element of surprise.’

I’m encouraged by the words that continue on:
“As your triumph unfolds . . .”
As the ‘element of surprise’ is revealed:
in that bunch of flowers,
and in life itself,
we will see it was all coming to pass.
but only after a time, because it’s
“in the waiting.”

The Whisperer!

One morning while getting ready, an old 80’s song came on the radio.  ‘Shout’ by Tears for Fears.  It was like I was hearing the words (those of the chorus) for the very first time and yet I knew them to sing along with:

Shout.
Shout.
Let it all out.
These are the things I can do without.
Come on.
I’m talking to you.
Come on.

And my mind went to all the negative things I think, believe, and say about myself, to myself. And I thought: “Yes! Absolutely! I can definitely do without all of that. And more over, rather than those thoughts, beliefs, and words talking to me, I should be (for my own sake) talking to them!”

I then got to wondering what the meaning behind the song was all about. Was this actually what they, the band were also referring to, or was this just my slant? So I googled . . .

‘Tears for Fears’ were followers of Arthur Janov (an American psychologist, psychotherapist, and writer) who created the school of Primal Therapy. A treatment for mental illness (that was influential for a brief period in the 1970’s) based on Janov’s belief that neurosis is caused by the repressed pain of childhood trauma. In therapy, the patient recalls and re-enacts a particularly disturbing past experience (usually having occurred early in life) and expresses any repressed anger or frustration through spontaneous and unrestrained screams, hysteria, or violence. The theory is that in fully expressing their pain they can then resolve it. And so this was the inspiration for the song, a therapy that worked by getting people to confront their fears by shouting and screaming. This is also where the name ‘Tears for Fears’ came from: Janov’s book ‘Prisoners of Pain.’

The first verse:

In violent times
You shouldn’t have to sell your soul
In black and white
They really really ought to know
Those one track minds
That took you for a working boy
Kiss them goodbye
You shouldn’t have to jump for joy
You shouldn’t have to shout for joy

The effects of a negative self-belief system can certainly be violent times, be it limited to our head space, or in the outworking of behaviours we employ as a result of that headspace. It’s as if we have already sold our soul in thinking that negative line of thought, because once it’s established it’s hard to break free from, and the outworking of that is devastating to varying degrees. Those one track minds reminds me of the theory (as written about by Dr Caroline Leaf and others) that our thinking creates neural pathways, and over time, as with any track repeatedly taken, it becomes the known track and thus the resulting journey and destination. And so while we shouldnt have to jump (or shout) for joy . . . maybe that’s exactly what we need to do, in order to reroute the track from that which we created through our pain (childhood or otherwise), in order to cause and effect the change to something better for our gain.

The second verse:

They gave you life
And in return you gave them hell
As cold as ice
I hope we live to tell the tale
I hope we live to tell the tale

We give life to that which we believe, and if that’s from a negative self belief system, then those beliefs will surely give us hell in our headspace. But as cold as ice (and we know it is), we have to each determine to overcome that mindset, and not just hope to live to tell the tale (because that could be interpreted with a negative slant, that maybe we wont), but in making the choice to ‘know’ (that) we will live to tell the tale we exchange ‘hope’ for something greater, that of definite-ness in ‘knowing’ that we have the power to choose: to live to tell the tale.

And so I’ve flipped this verse to: 1) personalise it, and 2) redefine my own choice:

I gave you life
And in return you gave me hell
As cold as ice
I know I live to tell your tale
I know I live to tell MY tale

The third and last verse:

And when you’ve taken down your guard
If I could change your mind
I’d really love to break your heart
I’d really love to break your heart

This verse speaks to me of an enemy out there with an assignment for my mind. I believe (and know from my own experience), what starts in my mind has the ability to impact and affect my whole being in who I am and what I do. And so I translate this verse as:
I would only take down my guard if I thought it was safe to do so. And in thinking it is safe to do so, I obviously feel I’ve made enough progress forward from my old way of thinking. But when there’s an enemy with an assignment, that’s exactly what he’s lying in wait for me to do: take down my guard. If he could change my mind (and ‘could’ implies I have a choice in that) back to my old way of thinking, then his assignment is back on track. He’d love for me to get stuck back in those violent times again, where my heart and soul feels stuck in the grip of his hands, because as is his assignment: he’d really love to break my heart.

But as I mentioned . . . I have a choice in this: not to let my guard down, that he would then have opportunity to make his attempt. And given the opportunity, he will! Because he is an opportunistic beast with an assignment!

So in light of this, Im standing up for myself, to be a self advocate for my mind (and how it is set) in applying the principles of Primal Therapy:

Im going PRIMAL!

I have NO MERCY for the beast who has shown
he has NO MERCY in his assignment
on my mind and my whole being.
My shout is a SHOUT!

Beautiful exchange . . .

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It must be two years ago that I bought this piece from an artist friend: check her out on fb and instagram: rachelhannaart. And yet it was only a month or so ago I finally had it framed. In asking where the inspiration for the piece came from (after I’d bought it), Rachel said Malachi 3:10 and the exchange of blessing between us and God.

And maybe that’s why it took so long for me to get the painting framed . . . because there was a time there in the midst of my struggle with depression, that despite all my effort, I felt I wasnt seeing any blessing coming down. So in that time . . . I had no desire to find the cash, to have it framed and on display. And so it remained flat in its box labelled: Beauitful exchange. And yet despite the conflict between what it represented and my personal experience, somehow I could never give it away. And then the time came, when all that changed . . .

In the process of overcoming depression, I had some things things that needed to be burnt (not literally but cognitively, emotionally, and spiritually) for my own benefit.

It was in letting go of those ‘things’: the (seemingly) good, the bad, and the ugly, that I started to see the beginning of that exchange taking place.

Then I went public with sharing my journey, through my writing (albeit somewhat reluctant at making myself so vulnerable and exposed) and the exchange escalated. Through conversations wih God and writing it down, as I gave up my pain piece by piece, healing came down with peace and then more peace.

And so it is, this piece of writing is the result of my peace through healing:

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It’s finally in a frame!
Painted by a friend,
Titled: ‘Beautiful exchange’

Ev’ry good & perfect ‘flame’
A gift heaven sent,
And that He’ll never change.

With Malachi as his name,
Bless up in Three:Ten
Blessing comes down in exchange.

Let it all go: pain, guilt, shame,
Releasing loose ends,
I find it is all quite strange.

By writing up of my pain,
This healing, the mend.
That only He could arrange!