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Adversity and spirituality/religion

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#1    DeWitz

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 11:06 PM

This thread opens with a sincere interest in any and all respondents with perspectives on how to deal with serious personal/professional adversity.

I've enjoyed my 7 months hob-nobbing with my fellow UM-ers and, despite some sarcastic remarks on my part here and there, have genuinely appreciated the wide variety of views presented and the willingness to share heartfelt experiences and concerns.

So I write this with some trepidation, worried that it may sound self-pitying or self-absorbed. I have endured underemployment for 7 years, but have survived. Then my wife lost her job, and half of my p/t income went to health insurance alone. Most recently, I screwed up personally and experienced the legal consequences of an unwise driving decision (in New York State my fines and fees will be in the thousands).

Most of my life I have had a strong personal faith, and have expressed it as a (previously full-time) pastor in my particular liberal Protestant tradition; this has been my "call," my only significant vocation/occupation.

In addition to the guilt/shame I feel, and the increasing financial liabilities, my faith has been challenged--not that the Deity has failed me, but quite the opposite: That I am a personal and professional failure in keeping my life together, constructive and forward-moving in service to my fellow humans and my sense of the Divine

I've said enough. If you out there have any ideas, suggestions, opinions or even 'advice,' I'm all ears.

My intellectual resources and my spirituality have not proven adequate to confront conflicts, failures, stresses and a downward spiral of 7 years.

Thanks.

[previously incarnate as 'szentgyorgy']

"Things fall apart. . . it's scientific." - Talking Heads

#2    Beany

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 02:31 AM

At one time in my life my house was repossessed, I was being stalked by my ex who also threatened to kill me and stole my only means of transportation. I had no job, no financial resources, and my health took a dive. My kids were p***ed because I couldn't be that strong woman that they had always known. Well, I got through it, but it usually wasn't pretty. I was forced to learn how to receive and rely on others, I learned how to be less critical & judgmental of myself and to give myself a break. For a long time I didn't have any hope, couldn't look that far ahead. Every day was stressful, dreary, and accented the failure of my life due to some of my own decisions and poor judgment, and circumstances out of my control. If I ever had any faith in anything, it disappeared.

Then I heard someone say "lessons are repeated until they're learned." I thought about that for a long time, and decided to view my circumstances as lessons, instead of failures, and lessons that I knew I didn't want to repeat. So I mined those lessons for every little bit of knowledge and wisdom & information, because to repeat it would be unbearable. And I guess through that process I became less focused on beating myself up & feeling victimized, and more focused on self-reflection, understanding my own motives & behavioral patterns, on setting healthy boundaries, etc. The more I did that, the better I felt, but it was a long process. I think one day I just woke up and actually wanted to get out of bed and face the world.

So, anyhoo, no matter how old we are, we always have more to learn. And it's not so much the events that happen in our lives, although those are bad enough, but how we respond to them. And it always takes longer than we think it should for things to begin to turn around.  Forget the guilt & shame & feeling like a failure, those are not useful to you in any way; forgive yourself, understand that being human means we're not perfect, have never been perfect, and never will be perfect. There's always going to some things in life that are more than we can handle by ourselves, that require us to ask for help, and that may be the hardest thing of all. I think we don't so much rise above it as claw our way out of it inch by inch. Which sucks, but can be done. Love yourself, give thanks for what you do have. My mantra during my hard times was "However I am right now, however I'm feeling, is perfect for me in this moment." Some days I said it a hundred times, repeated it every 5 minutes. That came out of a Science of the Mind magazine, and it was a wonderful piece of advice.


#3    ambelamba

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 05:27 AM

I am in the same or probabaly worse situation. I really don't know what to tell you. Sorry. I sincerely hope everything goes alright, especially the financial one.

The biggest lesson I learned after years of hardship is that you must not underestimate the power and influence of money. I am sorry to tell you, but it's is possible to buy love with money because without financial stability you simply can't make friends or have a relationship.

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#4    GreenmansGod

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 02:52 PM

I had a Great Uncle who once told me.  When he woke up in the morning and his feet touch the floor he was having a good day.  As long as your alive things can change.  I know people who have really serous long term heath problems. Compared to that it is all good.  When the chips really get down I do spells.  What spells do in contrast with prayer is you focus YOUR energies to manifest positive change. One kind of spell I do is candle magic.  You take a candle (I get the small bees wax ones}. I pick color and carve on it something that represents in my mind something I want happen job, love, what ever. The candle represents the change you what to happen.  Focus and concentrate your thoughts  on the candle.  Nothing to do with a god. Just you and the candle. Then you burn the candle until it goes out, when it goes out the spell is cast. You still have to act and look for a job for it to work.  You have to buy the ticket to win the lottery. Does it actually work, I don't know I haven't won the lottery yet.   I think it just puts me in a better fame of mine to deal with adversity. Sometimes the river of time has rip currents and you got to ride it out and swim parallel to the shore, remain calm and think your way past it.   Now this advice is coming from someone who is on two different antidepressants right now.  Some times you crash and you need help.  Don't be afraid to ask for help,  we are all in this together.

Edited by Darkwind, 25 July 2013 - 02:55 PM.

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#5    GreenmansGod

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 03:14 PM

View PostRon Jeremy, on 25 July 2013 - 05:27 AM, said:

I am in the same or probabaly worse situation. I really don't know what to tell you. Sorry. I sincerely hope everything goes alright, especially the financial one.

The biggest lesson I learned after years of hardship is that you must not underestimate the power and influence of money. I am sorry to tell you, but it's is possible to buy love with money because without financial stability you simply can't make friends or have a relationship.

Dude you need some new friends. None of my friend have any money or power.  They are kind and generous people, but they really don't have anything you couldn't put in a pick up. Makes it a lot easier to move.  If you got to pay for it is not love, It is sex.  I find the best people at drum circles. Positive happy people, having a good time, making noise and dancing.  Doesn't cost a dime.

Edited by Darkwind, 25 July 2013 - 03:14 PM.

"The moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible." Salman Rushdie

#6    DeWitz

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 03:45 PM

Beany, Ron and Darkwind, I thank you for your responses. Beany, I appreciate the idea of considering problems/failures as, instead, lessons. I still have a lot to learn. I know there is much pain and despair in the world, and even with all my issues I still have it better off than most of humanity. I know my wounds right now are self-inflicted---that's precisely why they hurt as they do.

Thank you again.

[previously incarnate as 'szentgyorgy']

"Things fall apart. . . it's scientific." - Talking Heads

#7    redhen

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Posted 25 July 2013 - 06:22 PM

Although both these approaches have been criticized as having a whiff of sour grapes, you might want to investigate Buddhist non-attachment or Stoic dettachment. These practices are still valid today; cognitive based therapy and mindfulness based stress reduction are both founded on these two ancient schools.




#8    DeWitz

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 01:01 AM

View Postredhen, on 25 July 2013 - 06:22 PM, said:

Although both these approaches have been criticized as having a whiff of sour grapes, you might want to investigate Buddhist non-attachment or Stoic dettachment. These practices are still valid today; cognitive based therapy and mindfulness based stress reduction are both founded on these two ancient schools.



Thank you, Red. Stoicism sounds inviting at this time. Suggestions? Epicectus? Others?

[previously incarnate as 'szentgyorgy']

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#9    redhen

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 02:45 AM

View Postszentgyorgy, on 26 July 2013 - 01:01 AM, said:

Thank you, Red. Stoicism sounds inviting at this time. Suggestions? Epicectus? Others?

I don't think most people could relate to a Senator like Seneca or an Emperor like Marcus Aurelius, but a slave like Epictetus would be more believable.

You can read his discourses online, like here for example. I always prefer hard copies myself.

Keep in mind the context, the ancient world. So don't be put off by his hymns to Zeus, everyone did that, it was the right and proper thing to do. This emphasis on moral duty was probably one of the factors that made Stoicism easy to co-opt by the early Christians.

Also keep in mind the ease to which the Stoics resort to suicide. They don't do so out of grief but on principle. If the hardship is bearable, than don't whine and complain. If it's not bearable, leave. Tough love for sure.

Here's a different clip using "Stoic therapy".



One more link I found; The Philosophy of Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT):
Stoic Philosophy As Rational and Cognitive Psychotherapy

If you clink on the table of contents, you can read quite a bit of that book for free.

Edited by redhen, 26 July 2013 - 03:07 AM.


#10    DeWitz

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 10:43 AM

Redhen, thanks very much for the information and links. Fascinating stuff. Perhaps I've been too long, and too much, bound by my specific tradition(s) to the detriment of my more whole self.

[previously incarnate as 'szentgyorgy']

"Things fall apart. . . it's scientific." - Talking Heads

#11    redhen

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 12:14 PM

View Postszentgyorgy, on 26 July 2013 - 10:43 AM, said:

Perhaps I've been too long, and too much, bound by my specific tradition(s) to the detriment of my more whole self.

Then again, perhaps not.  Five Reasons Why Stoicism Matters Today from Forbes magazine;

No. 3  If you’re Christian, you’re already part-Stoic.


#12    LostSouls7

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 01:28 PM

View PostDarkwind, on 25 July 2013 - 02:52 PM, said:

I had a Great Uncle who once told me.  When he woke up in the morning and his feet touch the floor he was having a good day.  As long as your alive things can change.  I know people who have really serous long term heath problems. Compared to that it is all good.  When the chips really get down I do spells.  What spells do in contrast with prayer is you focus YOUR energies to manifest positive change. One kind of spell I do is candle magic.  You take a candle (I get the small bees wax ones}. I pick color and carve on it something that represents in my mind something I want happen job, love, what ever. The candle represents the change you what to happen.  Focus and concentrate your thoughts  on the candle.  Nothing to do with a god. Just you and the candle. Then you burn the candle until it goes out, when it goes out the spell is cast. You still have to act and look for a job for it to work.  You have to buy the ticket to win the lottery. Does it actually work, I don't know I haven't won the lottery yet.   I think it just puts me in a better fame of mine to deal with adversity. Sometimes the river of time has rip currents and you got to ride it out and swim parallel to the shore, remain calm and think your way past it.   Now this advice is coming from someone who is on two different antidepressants right now.  Some times you crash and you need help.  Don't be afraid to ask for help,  we are all in this together.

I agree with using your own will and energy to create change.
I also agree with spells.
I sing and write my spells.. but candle magic sounds good as well.
sometime I just focus my energy with incantations....

the results I have seen so far do truly work for me...
sometimes just changing our way of thinking can create big change in our lives..

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#13    LostSouls7

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 01:30 PM

View PostDarkwind, on 25 July 2013 - 03:14 PM, said:

Dude you need some new friends. None of my friend have any money or power.  They are kind and generous people, but they really don't have anything you couldn't put in a pick up. Makes it a lot easier to move.  If you got to pay for it is not love, It is sex.  I find the best people at drum circles. Positive happy people, having a good time, making noise and dancing.  Doesn't cost a dime.

making noise and dancing.. sounds fun :)
singing also

Do you Fear The Ouija?
www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUCPmNBbLHM
Wisdom of Magic and Natural Healing Potions enjoy
http://healingpotion...ic.blogspot.com

#14    markprice

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 02:53 PM

View Postszentgyorgy, on 24 July 2013 - 11:06 PM, said:

This thread opens with a sincere interest in any and all respondents with perspectives on how to deal with serious personal/professional adversity.

I've enjoyed my 7 months hob-nobbing with my fellow UM-ers and, despite some sarcastic remarks on my part here and there, have genuinely appreciated the wide variety of views presented and the willingness to share heartfelt experiences and concerns.

So I write this with some trepidation, worried that it may sound self-pitying or self-absorbed. I have endured underemployment for 7 years, but have survived. Then my wife lost her job, and half of my p/t income went to health insurance alone. Most recently, I screwed up personally and experienced the legal consequences of an unwise driving decision (in New York State my fines and fees will be in the thousands).

Most of my life I have had a strong personal faith, and have expressed it as a (previously full-time) pastor in my particular liberal Protestant tradition; this has been my "call," my only significant vocation/occupation.

In addition to the guilt/shame I feel, and the increasing financial liabilities, my faith has been challenged--not that the Deity has failed me, but quite the opposite: That I am a personal and professional failure in keeping my life together, constructive and forward-moving in service to my fellow humans and my sense of the Divine

I've said enough. If you out there have any ideas, suggestions, opinions or even 'advice,' I'm all ears.

My intellectual resources and my spirituality have not proven adequate to confront conflicts, failures, stresses and a downward spiral of 7 years.

Thanks.

Maybe there is something you need to consider; something overlooked by most people and systems of thought; something the affirmationists will never acknowledge because it tears apart the fabric of their positive delusions. Something like this: there is a X-factor or glitch in creation, if you will. What this does is create the often inevitable feeling that something is just not right and what happened is just wrong with no amount of justification able to change the realization; you just know it's true and then eventually something comes to light and you have to accept this new reality. But until then all you can do is struggle along faced with unnecessary adversity in the face of people saying: things are as they should be, you are perfect just as you are, and it will only make you stronger etc. Of course it will make you stronger if you endure but that doesn't make it right, and stronger doesn't necessarily mean healthier or even better off; strength can kill in some ways. I seem to have just written myself into a corner faster than I can wake up and focus this morning. But I know this is true personally, and it has recently been scientifically proven: genetic blood defect. I guess this will be a short rant--I tend to do that to help clear cobwebs. 40 years of constant struggle and I was almost instinctively doing things right all along, but it was a losing battle. I even had the diet and proper amounts of alcohol figured out without knowing the cause. Then one day it all comes to a screeching screaming halt: blood-clot-paralysis and sixteen days in the hospital just short of amputation. Then the reason finally surfaces--they refused to tell me the reason so I had to discover it for myself, or actually I escaped to an area where I could find new doctors and one of them finally told me, and then it all added up; it added up to an impossible situation. One more specialist (I'm doing all this without insurance btw) and then I might have a chance, or it might be too late for me. Normally this defect is diagnosed and treated from infancy...but the point is even when I was a little kid I knew something was seriously wrong while fools told me I was fine.

This may be the opposite of your situation; you may be fine and just having hard times. But the universal glitch is not just personal. You can crash into it in almost infinite manifestations, and if you are even remotely psychic in the very least, as most people are (even if they don't admit it), you think to yourself WTF that was so screwed up! how could that happen? and almost comically messed up, if you have a sense of humor and can transcend the crisis. But deep down you know something is just plain wrong and so you deal with it any way you can. This is not the way life was meant to be, IMO.

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#15    White Crane Feather

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 04:41 PM

View Postszentgyorgy, on 24 July 2013 - 11:06 PM, said:

This thread opens with a sincere interest in any and all respondents with perspectives on how to deal with serious personal/professional adversity.

I've enjoyed my 7 months hob-nobbing with my fellow UM-ers and, despite some sarcastic remarks on my part here and there, have genuinely appreciated the wide variety of views presented and the willingness to share heartfelt experiences and concerns.

So I write this with some trepidation, worried that it may sound self-pitying or self-absorbed. I have endured underemployment for 7 years, but have survived. Then my wife lost her job, and half of my p/t income went to health insurance alone. Most recently, I screwed up personally and experienced the legal consequences of an unwise driving decision (in New York State my fines and fees will be in the thousands).

Most of my life I have had a strong personal faith, and have expressed it as a (previously full-time) pastor in my particular liberal Protestant tradition; this has been my "call," my only significant vocation/occupation.

In addition to the guilt/shame I feel, and the increasing financial liabilities, my faith has been challenged--not that the Deity has failed me, but quite the opposite: That I am a personal and professional failure in keeping my life together, constructive and forward-moving in service to my fellow humans and my sense of the Divine

I've said enough. If you out there have any ideas, suggestions, opinions or even 'advice,' I'm all ears.

My intellectual resources and my spirituality have not proven adequate to confront conflicts, failures, stresses and a downward spiral of 7 years.

Thanks.

I think your current experiences will give you wisdom and knowledge to help others one day. I have been through a lot as well and I can honestly say all of those experiences have become assets now. They allow me to have a better perspective on what I have now and to empathize with others. It's no fun going through, but if you keep yourself together you emerge a wiser stronger person. Wisdom is earned. You are paying your dues.

Being a spiritual leader this is especially poignant. Effective leaders are not parrots. Real leadership spiritual or otherwise comes from deep within.  I suspect being drug through the mud, makeing mistakes, and traversing the long dark night of the soul is practically a requirement to truely help others in the future. People going through hard times don't want or need a white sparkly toothed preacher parroting scripture. They need an experienced person who has been there and understands the place they are in.

The only advice I have for you is to disengage from these material concerns. You are in a death cycle right now and it's centered around material concerns. I would suggest a trip into the wilderness. Gaze up at the Milky Way on a clear mountain night and take it all in perspective. Bsth in a mountain stream and abdorb a lot of sunlight. Nothing is as important as it seems. They only thing you need is a core temperature of 98.6 degrees. Start with that and realize everything else is a luxury.

Hope that helps

Take care.



Edited by Seeker79, 26 July 2013 - 04:47 PM.

"I wish neither to possess, Nor to be possessed. I no longer covet paradise, more important, I no longer fear hell. The medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning, but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, But I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see that I will never find the light.  Unless, like the candle, I am my own fuel, Consuming myself. "
Bruce Lee-




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