Tag Archives: Trust

Part 3: Making New Associations; Moving from Craving Certainty to Welcoming Wonder

In our technologically advanced, “just google it”, and “ask SIRI” culture, every fact we could ever want is literally at our fingertips. Anyone with a Smart phone has literally turned into a know-it-all. Knowledge has never been so easy to acquire and you would think this would make us a more balanced and peaceful society.  But anxiety levels are higher than ever. It seems that the more we know the more stressed out we become.

It is easy to believe that knowing more should bring us more certainty, about our lives and our futures. But certainty, and especially future certainty, is an elusive concept in a quantum Universe where 96% of it is made up of black holes and dark matter. Where Light acts as a wave and a particle, though they are two mutually exclusive things, and when the Universe is expanding at a mind-blowing rate. When some of the atoms that used to be in me are now in you or in the veggies I grow in my garden. There are natural laws, yes, and then, there is mystery, wonder, the miraculous, the inexplicable, and unexplained phenomena. The new association suggested in today’s blog is to move from craving certainty to welcoming Wonder!

What is wonder? “A feeling of surprise mingled with admiration caused by observing something beautiful, unexpected, inexplicable”. This is the dictionary’s attempt to catalog the concept of wonder. But I would suggest that wonder is more easily grasped with images or memories. For instance, do you remember the exact moment your very first child entered the world, or the first time you made love to that exquisite being who you had adored with your heart for so very long? What about watching a massive thunderstorm over the ocean, or a double rainbow after said storm, or surfing a 40 foot wave at Mavericks and living to tell about it?  Wonder by its very nature is not certainty or knowledge or a gathering of facts. It is visceral and hearted/body based sensations that cause deep emotions, some would say it enlivens our very souls.

If I am like most humans, I long for wonder while wanting certainty at the same time. But I would posit, they are often opposite sides of a coin and being open to wonder may mean I let go of demanding control, the human means used to accomplish certainty. Being open to the present moment as opposed to controlling it so the outcome is as I desire, allows me to experience any wonder that may be lurking. (And the more I try to stay open, the more wonder I find lurking).

I will close this blog with a poem I wrote as a way for me to make sense of my decade-long journey to try to move toward wonder. I hope it reaches places inside you where my logical words cannot. And may you find Wonder and mystery lurking in plain sight as you go about your daily life.

CAMEL TRADING

A long time ago, I traded Wonder

for knowing, certainty, and a sense of control

like a shrewd camel trader

looking for the better deal.

Now, I’m still wanting wonder while

craving security, safety and knowing what’s coming.

In a competition between a want and a craving,

the craving wins every time.

What if I craved wonder with every fiber

of my substantial being. What would life look like?

And the craven voice of my fear-based life form,

why I crave surety in the first place,

whispers, “What will you have to let go of’?

Like a rock climber whose rope’s ripped,

clings to the crack in the rock for dear life,

my human, grasping fingers grip,

every shred of certainly and all I have gained

gathered and amassed along the way.

The fear of farther loss,

seems a blow from which I will not recover.

Though choosing to let go, and be emptied,

is nothing like

having self, personhood and dignity

ripped out of your body and being

from as far back as you can remember.

But to the body, loss is loss

and the fear runs silently, in the background

of my mind like a software virus.

Then, I watch imperfectly formed, bold outlines

of humans choosing wonder

and her wingman, JOY

and my grasping, gripping fervor

seems less appealing, and loosening,

my fingers enjoy the break,

while my heart opens an inch more,

and then God with infinite patience

perpetuates the cycle.

Year by year this rhythm repeats

until that day dawns,

when I will trade certainty for Wonder

and like that camel trader,

will walk away laughing because,

I got the better deal!

by Wanda Brothers

Going deeper:

1.) Where do you find yourself, if anywhere, in this blog? Do you crave certainty? If so, what is the hit or reward you get from being certain? What would it be like to surrender this craving just for a few hours?

2.) What relationships do you have with Wonder? Can you stop and bring to memory one or more instances of Wonder you have experienced? If you can, notice the body sensations that accompany this memory. Wonder is expansive, cleansing, and revitalizing. Watch children experience Wonder if you need a refresher course.

Blog 8 -Love, Anxiety, & Spirituality

Last blog we talked about early lessons and how they impact our behaviors. There is one early lesson we learn that is often under our awareness. We learn about the nature of the Universe. The way our parents attach to us, and interact with us, deeply impacts our spirituality and world view. Einstein stated, “The most important question a person can ask is, “Is the Universe a friendly place?

What he failed to mention, is how much our early environment has much to do with how we answer that question. Perhaps, he just understood this because he was brilliant. Almost across the board, children raised in secure attachment families would answer, the universe is friendly. Whereas children raised in abuse, neglect, or insecure attachments, would state is it not.

We learn in templates, so our interaction within our first family give us our baseline templates for power dynamics, how authority is handled, relationships, and how males and females and adults and children interact. This is just to name a few that have significance for this blog. We can not keep thousands of relationships separate in our heads, so our brains just associates anything similar to the first templates made. (By the way, the good news is that these templates can be changed for the better.)

Our world views are also formed during our early years, see previous blog for more on this. When our first years of life include situations where we feel unsafe or unloved, we are building our attachment styles and also our view of God or the universe. If you believe in a personal God, who interacts with human and creation as I do, the early lessons learned about power, authority and relationship dynamics will be automatically transferred onto your view of God. If you eschew the idea of a personal God, you may view it more as the power of fate or the universe, but you will still view the universe as unsafe if your early environment included neglect or abuse.

If you are questioning this information, do a little test, think about your dad and or mom. If your parent(s) were overall kind, loving and supportive people, I bet your view of God or the universe is a positive one. If your parents were angry, punitive, scary or neglectful, I bet when you think of God or the universe, your view is not so positive. Many long-term church-going Christians, and I would guess also Jews and Muslims, would insist that God is good and loving. However, when they are in trouble or have messed up, or are frightened, that same God seems unmoved to their plight, indifferent or even angry and punitive. (I was one of these people for many years of my life.)

This is one of the many reasons why learning how to become securely attached is so important. Your view of God and the universe changes for the better as you feel secure in your life and in your relationships. This can even occur in relationship with God and our faith communities, we can learn secure attachment there and then transfer it to our families, etc,. And my friends, this will decrease your anxiety more than most any other change you make!

Going deeper:

1) Think for a few minutes about your early environment and how that template interacts with your view of God and/or the Universe. Write down the correlations that you notice and if you have any anxiety about God or the friendliness of the universe, see where you may have over-laid your first experiences onto your worldview.

2)  We more often put our father’s traits onto our ideas of God because years of Christendom have given us the idea that God is a male, which is not even Biblically  accurate. When you think of your father, what traits of his, good or bad, have you overlaid onto your version of God or even the universe?

To learn how to evict the anxiety in your life, join one of my 3-week anxiety reduction workshops. Go to http://www.sdtraumatherapy.com for more information. Mention this blog when you sign up and receive a 10% discount! Happy Loving.