Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Open Hand October & Celtic New Year Celebrations

Join our Open Hand community the last week of October in celebrating the closure of the Bright Half of the Year, Halloween and All Saints Day, culminating in Halloween evening worship.

Thursday Evening Prayer with Bonfire 7:00 - 10:00pm, October 28th, 3173 Side Yard.

Friday Morning Prayer Liturgy 7:00 - 8:00am, October 29th, Van Gogh hospitality home.

Curb Your Anxiety Friday 5:30 - 7:00pm, October 29th, 3173 with pizza and drinks.

Halloween Sunday Evening Worship 5:30pm, October 31, 3174 Crane home (if at all possible). 493rd Anniversary of Martin Luther's 95 Theses and preparations for All Saints Day, November 1st.

Can't wait! Cheers, O'

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Help Leah & Jeff Paint A Room - Saturday Morning: 9:00am - Noon

Calling everyone who loves the Crane's! Please consider heading over to the their new old home at 3174 N. Delaware Street this Saturday morning. Bring your favorite paint brush or wall roller and roll your sleeves up.

With your help we can knock out several bedrooms between 9:00am and lunch. Pizza will be served at noon along with cold ones.

We may not be an Amish community, but we know how to paint interior walls.

Love you Leah and Jeff (and kids),
O' for the Open Hand community

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Columbus Day - Going the Other Way

It has become one of my favorite holidays in the USA.

As politically incorrect as it may appear, I deeply respect Cristo Colombo for enabling the "old world" to pull out of its doldrums 500 and some years ago. He was heading West when all the others were still looking East for ways to get around Africa.

His adventurous leadership broke through long standing emotional barriers that had restricted the imaginative capacity of medieval Europe for centuries.

The fact that he rode around Europe on horseback for over ten years trying to secure funding for his visionary (crazy) dream of sailing West, is an encouraging reminder that we can live into our vocational callings, even when things look hopeless.

Going against the grain is seldom easy. Fueled by a lifelong passion for sailing, and equipped with exceptional navigational skills, Columbus was relentless in his desire to test his intuitive knowledge. He knew the earth was not flat in 1492, regardless of what Thomas L Friedman says today in his bestselling book.

"Sailed to the WSW, and we took more water aboard than at any other time of the voyage. I saw several things that were indications of land. At one time a large flock of sea birds flew overhead, and a green reed was found floating near the ship. The crew of the Pinta spotted some of the same reeds and some other plants; they also saw what looked like a small board or plank. A stick was recovered that looks man made, perhaps carved with an iron tool. Those on the Nina saw a little stick covered with barnacles. I am certain that many things were overlooked because of the heavy sea, but even these few made the crew breathe easier; in fact, the men have become cheerful. I sailed 81 miles from sunset yesterday to sunset today. As is our custom, vespers were said in the late afternoon, and a special thanksgiving was offered to God for giving us renewed hope through the many signs of land He has provided." C.C.
11 October 1492 The Log of Christopher Columbus

I say cheers!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Give me that pill.....

Okay.....raise your hand if you have ever used performance enhancing drugs. Don't worry, no one will know you are reading this blog when you do.

Those of you who internally scoffed and said something like, "Of course not, I am not a professional athlete.", or, "I didn't even play sports in high school or college, why would I need to get a leg up on anyone else?", probably weren't thinking about the drug, Adderall, often prescribed for ADHD or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

As I talk with college students about this, it is apparent that this popular drug is widely available on campuses around the country and cost a few dollars a per pill on the black market for students wanting a competitive advantage.

Say what! Yes, it is common knowledge among students that taking Adderall while studying for an exam, enables them to buckle down and lock in with a Zen like focus for extended periods of time.

The scenario seems to be wide spread. A student pops a pill, and then hunkers down in the library for hours of intense concentration. They are so focused and productive that it becomes hard to tear themselves away from the books, to get ready for an evening of socializing.

The Adderall is dictating one type of behavior and their hormones another. Tough choice.

If you know your classmates are taking a pill to enhance their ability to study and ultimately better prepare for exams, what's your strategy to keep up. Drink more coffee? For many, they see nothing wrong in mimicking what others are already doing to get ahead.

Sounds like the scandal in professional sports. Athletes recognize performance enhancing drugs are necessary if they are going to stay competitive with their peers.

Many parents with students (at all levels) get them diagnosed with ADHD so they have a legitimate prescription to keep them more focused 24/7/365. This might be especially advantageous for an easily distracted young boy, in a classroom full of more mature and capable girls. Most of us guys need all the help we can get to keep up with more sophisticated gals at all levels of life.

I'm not sure I would have traded my evenings and weekends of socializing in college for extended times in the library, even if hits of speed transformed me into a straight A test taker. But then again, maybe students today can have their cake and eat it too.

Alcohol has been around forever and is readily available for those wanting to kick start their social lives and lubricate the hormonal pull towards relating and connecting after the intensity of a day holed up in the library.

"Give me that pill...! I have to keep up with my friends."

"Give me that drink....! I have to connect with my friends.

"Give that other pill...! I have to get some sleep."

"Give me that smoke...! I need to relax."

"Give me that coffee...! I have to wake up."

"Give me that......."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Honesty and Truth-Telling in Families

Nobody said it would be easy, but most of us grew up assuming that our parents would never intentionally lie to us, or deliberately conceal information about important things.

As kids we expected straight answers. After all if we couldn't be told the truth by our mom and dad, how could we ever begin to trust the universe, including our own internal world of thoughts, feelings and perceptions.

Here is where the problems begin. Parents can be no more honest and direct with their children than they are with themselves. And as a parent, I recognize the natural drift to focus on what I perceive as being 'good for us' rather than what is true.

I am as guilty as anyone in routinely telling my children when they were young what I thought to be helpful rather than conveying my true regrets, struggles, doubts, and uncertainties. It was much easier to talk about "how it should have been" than "how it really is or was for them."

As Harriet Lerner describes it...."we rarely describe our reality to each other with candor, and this failure constitutes a tremendous loss, for it is through our stories, which create an authentic connection with significant others, that we begin to uncover our deepest truth."

Anxiety and a reactive emotional climate makes it difficult to push against silence and secrecy in a family system. "I just can't be real; I can't be myself", is often an unspoken symptom of underground anxiety reverberating through the life of children. They learn from a young age to recognize and tiptoe around invisible family mine fields.

From generation to generation reactivity accumulates over time. Intense and painful events that have never been processed remain embedded in the emotional landscape of families, only to be reenacted with each new generation.

And it is this level of underground anxiety (emotional reactivity) in a family that determines how much freedom the offspring have to discover, clarify and express their own realities (truth as they experience it), and how accurately they will see themselves and others.

Anxiety polarizes and herds family members often towards fusion or the opposite, cut-offs. Toward disclosing too much or too little. Toward completely avoiding a subject, or focusing on it incessantly.

By the time chronic anxiety (as opposed to acute situational anxiety) becomes the family norm, it tends to lock members into a rigid authoritarian rules bound system or the opposite fluid and chaotic family system that is out of control. Either way, kids suffer in both extremely anxious family polarities.

Someone eventually has to take the lead and openness and truth-telling can't begin until at least one person steps up, calms down, and really begins to think rather than to merely react. Any movement towards greater truth-telling in our families will requires us to:

1. define ourselves more clearly to one another
2. to see other family members more objectively
3. to talk straighter about family issues that matter
4. and to acknowledge in oneself and others the full, shifting range of competencies and vulnerabilities that make us human

Usually that someone in the family is a motivated adult who has the capacity to reshape the emotional climate of the family system by changing their behavior. (A child generally has limited capacity to problem solve and to take risks with the adults on whom their very survival often depends.)

Positive moves toward truth-telling require us to remain less anxious, and to arrive at a place where our wish to understand the other people in our family is as great as our desire to be better understood by them.

Honesty and simply "being ourselves" is not to be equated with uncensored raw expressions of thoughts and feelings that are merely dumped out into the family system. Instead, being strategic rather than spontaneous may include timing and tact on our part.

Truth-telling requires us to "be ourselves", but to also exercise restraint as it may take extended time and effort to clarify our positions on how we really think and feel, and where we stand on important family issues.

Asking questions and remaining calm (I call it sitting on your hands) helps promote a less anxious process, and each question and disclosure often times evokes more new questions, new feelings and new disclosures.

Laying the groundwork for becoming better truth-tellers is a life long challenge. It can begin at any age, and be done by each and every family member over time. Where lies, secrets and silence have prevailed in the past, families can begin to reverse the process with humble acknowledgment and declarations of forgiveness.

The good news is that it's never to late. We can begin today. The great news is that we have little to lose and lots to gain. Why bother going into emotion-laden issues with our families?

Why not bother? There is probably no better way to discovering our own truths than to unearth the stories and family events that have shaped our own stories. These stories are us, and it is in exchanging and refining our personal experiences that we can begin to know our own truths. Amen.

Enjoy the challenge!
PS Peter, John, Nick and Annie - I'm all ears......OK, I need hearing aids sometimes, thanks for the journey! Love DAD
Adopted from the materials of Harriet G. Lerner, Honesty and Truth-Telling