A Woman and Her Gun

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Romans 12:2 NIV

Three years ago this month, I picked up a gun for the first time. I wanted to impress or get the attention of the man who taught me. I don’t have the man anymore but I still have the gun.

I was afraid of guns, prior to learning about them. I came from a holistic framework that if I had one, I would invite trouble toward me. I still believe this so I keep a conscious mindset in respect to owning a gun and how I will carry myself in the world.

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Surviving the Pandemic Strongly and Bravely: A Professional Woman’s Story

For the longest time I have wanted to share publicly, my story of surviving this pandemic as a psychotherapist and a woman. I attempted to a couple of times and then took it down or never posted it. Today, I finished reading Dr. Mark McDonald’s book “United States of Fear: How America Fell Victim to a Mass Delusional Psychosis.” If a child/adult psychiatrist can be bold enough, as a medical doctor, to come forward well, what is stopping me?

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Centering Prayer: Intuitive Wisdom in the Aftermath

Oh God, unto whom all hearts lie open. Unto whom desire is eloquent and from whom no secret thing is hidden. Purify the thoughts of my heart by the outpouring of your spirit, that I may love you with a perfect love and praise you as you deserve. Amen

The Cloud of Unknowning

The discomfort you face, will lead to enlightenment. In the moment, when you feel such pain, try to remember this.

It is easy to let the ego win over and turn to anger, find solace in addiction or self-soothing that is going too far vs. taking care of the self. Ego wants to control the suffering but this is only a tease, a way of making you feel as if you are receiving justice. Ego gives you nothing but more pain, more time with the negative energy, more space in the connection with that bad occurrence, person, because you are unwilling to let go. Because you don’t want to let go of whatever you struggle with. Did you realize this? Your pain only lasts because you allow it to last. The minute you focus on letting go and letting God into your life, the pain will subside. You will grow. You will attain enlightenment.

Seven months ago, I began a devoted practice to centering prayer. It can also be called contemplative prayer. I learned about this on Insight Timer. I read the book “The Cloud of Unknowing,” who’s author is unknown. I read the book by Father Thomas Keating, “Open Mind, Open Heart,” which teaches centering prayer and explains what this is all about.

Open my heart, awaken my mind and cleanse my soul

A daily prayer that I offer up before meditation

The devotion to this practice is sitting still for 20 minutes – 2x/day. You are listening for God, you are sitting with God, you are still and silent. What do you hear? Probably nothing. Maybe birds singing, a lawn mower in the distance, people talking on the street, chattering or racing thoughts going through your head. You say a word “Truth,” “Love,” “Justice,” “Intelligence,” “Help,” whatever word you choose to help bring you back into this space when your mind loses the silence. Jon Kabat-Zinn would say, when your mind wanders off a thousand times, bring it back a thousand times.

It does not matter that your mind wanders off, your body is still, you are quiet – in the sense that your body is not moving or doing anything, you are in a place of contemplation. If the thoughts come up, there is something there that God wants you to listen to and do something about.

Twenty minutes, two times a day seems so great to many. How much time do you waste on the computer? You have children but yet you still make time for this. If you are on the computer for 20 minutes or more, you have time for centering prayer. How much do you spend working out? How much time do you spend reading a book, listening to music, cleaning your house, etc… etc… If you have time for all of these things, you can make a space for centering prayer. Your life depends on it.

When you struggle with society, the chaos of the world, the Babylon which we have turned into – a hedonistic community of people who think of nothing but themselves. Fear, anger, torment, trauma, anxiety, frustration, feeling unloved/unwanted, without a consistent faith in some spiritual cleansing practice; you are nothing. You cling to a need for fantasy and self-soothing that will take your mind off of things and give you this delusion that you are happy and content. That your self-centered needs are being met. When we focus on just ourselves and are in denial that life has a timeline and that there is an end and that we have a responsibility to others, as well as ourselves, you get nothing. Maybe a few moments of pleasure but ultimately nothing but pain and emptiness inside.

Devotion to centering prayer gave me a place to go to, when I was in a dark place last year. No matter what, I continued. I made a promise to God that I would never give up, no matter what. In the aftermath, my life began to change. It wasn’t in the twenty minutes, nothing earth shattering has occurred – so far. By this I mean, I have had no conversation – as one might imagine you are seeking. I have had some experiences, but this is not something to explain out loud. I did ask once, for God to show me that He was there, by giving me a sign in meditation. My right arm suddenly became so heavy, I could not lift it. It wasn’t until I said “Thank you,” that it then began to go away. I didn’t say that though for a long time, because feeling it gave me such pleasure. In that moment, I needed to have some tangible experience and He indulged me.

If it weren’t for that dark place that another he, a more troubled soul, who is devoted to himself and his pain – if it weren’t for him pushing my buttons and twisting my heart around and then punching me in the gut (metaphorically), I might not have come to this place. Often, we go to God when we are in peril. I am grateful for the lesson I was given last year. This pain and suffering woke me up. I had been in a deep slumber for forty some years, in reality, my entire life. I had assumed that I had been awake a few other times, when I felt I had finally gotten it. Then another lesson would be put in front of me and I realized I was still asleep. Still following the same path, dissociating in life. If it weren’t for pain, how could we ever reach enlightenment? Not that you search for it, believe me, you will get it one way or another. Now, though, I have asked God to bring my lessons through intuitive wisdom.

And, this is the aftermath of centering prayer. In my awakened life, outside of those twenty minutes, I am speaking positively, openly, affirming, attracting goodness. I have prosperity, balance, love, friendship, abundance, wealth, health, and happiness. Most and more importantly than all of this, I have Intuitive Wisdom. God speaks to me through this wisdom as He is showing me things that I need to see and learn. Sometimes they are painful realizations about my past relationship and sometimes they are insights to share with my clients. Sometimes, I am just sitting still with others and not looking for things to upset me. Sometimes, I am listening to my listening of those around me and guided when to speak and when to not. I have never not felt loved or alone.

I love the Lord who listened to my voice in supplication. Who turned an ear to me on the day I called. Return my soul to your rest, the Lord has been very good to me. For my soul has been freed from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling. I shall walk in the presence of the Lord, in the land of the living.

Psalm 116

Walking with the Lord, with my God, my unknowing, my patience and unconditional love and support, is my favorite line of all.

I surrender.

Note: There is an app for centering prayer that you can download and set up. I chose these quotes from the Cloud of Unknowing and Psalm 116 for my featured prayers to begin and end. I created my own individual prayer, which I mentioned here, so that I had my own voice to offer up to God. I do not claim any religion. I follow a solitary spiritual path, based on my study of World Religions, that has encompassed my entire adult life. Prior to that, it began intuitively but not consciously.

Human Violence Not Gun Violence

Pew Research Center

Prohibition taught us many things. If we take away something that someone wants and already has the right to have, they will get it anyway they can. The mafia took over and ran our streets. Abortion rights were given to women so that they didn’t have to go into a filthy hovel and have some woman or man cut them up and perform a “surgery” that many women died from. The same people who fight for Abortion rights are fighting for “gun violence” laws. Politicians, who don’t give a damn about people and are focused on winning elections have said the same stupid lines since Columbine. Women and men continue to have no respect for their bodies and continue to not use birth control and bring babies into the world that they have no business giving birth to. This is the argument. Listen. Read a history book.

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Manners, Morals, Faith and Values: A Decline in Current Civilization

I blame my own generation for the current downfall of manners, morals, faith and values. We stopped paying heed to these rituals and rules to continue rebelling and punishing our parents for corporal punishment and other frustrations growing up. However, this decline is seen generation after generation, due to wars which caused society to shift from a state of depression with the loss of sons, brothers and husbands, but also economic changes as well. The decline also has suffered due to relocation of families, who are no longer near grandparents, uncles and aunts. Of course now we have social media, cell phones, texting which all correlate to a decline in the above as well as religious practice or even spiritual beliefs as well. Will we ever go back, I certainly hope so but it is highly unlikely. People get lazy and just as their ancestry or cultural background is watered down from the old country to the grandchild, the same has occurred for manners, morals, faith and values.

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Critical Thinking – An Enlightening Conversation

What is critical thinking and what are its various uses and benefits? This topic shines brightly in the “sorely needed in our society”  category. As you listen, appreciate your ability to think with finer and finer discernment. Be open to picking up new tips on honing your skills in this area. You can also notice how you inspire others to use their Critical Thinking ability. 

To learn more about the presenters:

Ellen Seigel, LISW-S To work with Ellen as a Transformational Life Coach contact her: ellen@BeHappyNoMatterWhat.com or call 614-389-5795 To receive enlightening Contemplative Thoughts daily and receive a chapter download from her book Be Happy No Matter What – 5 Steps to Inner Freedom, visit http://behappynomaterwhat.com

Jeannine Vegh, IMFT at Transformative Psychotherapy, LLC https://jkvegh.com Survivors of Narcissists Workshop available at Udemy https://www.udemy.com/course/embracing-me/?referralCode=C515C00CF7BBEE83BEC5 Blogposts on Psychology, the Arts and Ohio Women’s History https://discerninggal.com

Disclaimer: As we are two humble therapists, all discussion you see between us in the video/podcast is based on our training and education, therapeutic work in our practices, and thoughtful opinions formed over our years. We are not the last word in this discussion, and we commit to providing ongoing resources beyond ourselves to enlarge your understanding of this complex subject. Thank you for viewing and we hope this will be helpful as you move forward on your journey.

Misinformation & The Death of Personal Responsibility

Once again, I am submitting a reblog from Dr. Rod Hoevet as I think his words are inspiring and raw. It is important to hear the truth in others and to reflect upon this in ourselves.

Rod E. Hoevet, Psy.D.

We are witnessing a tragedy unfolding before our eyes. Seemingly every day, the world is abuzz with the latest controversy, which these days seem to almost invariably be about who is responsible for sharing so-called “misinformation” and who is responsible to moderate it. This is a terrifying trajectory that has no good outcome. 

As of the writing of this article, Joe Rogan – former MMA announcer and immensely popular podcast host – is public enemy number one. Musicians and others are protesting his podcast and its host alleging that he is spreading “misinformation,” specifically about Covid-19. Within the past few weeks, the tragic anniversary of the Capitol riot occurred and the US was abuzz with commentaries and opinions about what happened, why and who was responsible. As one example, this story, heard on NPR on January 5, 2022, included an interview with Craig Silverman from ProPublica and his investigation…

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Anger and Pride – A Fortunate Man: Denmark 2018

The Irony! I just finished watching this 2 hour and 47 minute film that I think will become or should become a classic. I wasn’t able to find a good trailer online with subtitles and so you will have to just read what I am telling you here. (smiling) This is a movie about a poor man who dies a poor man and the reason is because of his anger and pride.

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An Impossible Love: Un Amour Impossible

I will not put this movie (French 2018), in “The Arts” section because it is a psychological drama that hits on the topic of sexual abuse, narcissism and women being left alone for several generations; much like Antonia’s Line (Netherlands, 1995). The film starts out in the 1950’s post WWII France. If you are a great film lover, as I am, you will know when you see the cover and the title, it just hits you – I must watch this film. What really piqued my interest was the title “An Impossible Love,” which hit home for me. I saw other things in the description that I ignored at first until it came up on the screen. I love the way Catherine Corsini handles abuse of a child in this film. Extremely subtle. The topic does not even come up until much later in the film. The child’s older lover tells the mother, not to let her daughter visit the father anymore. The shock on the mother’s face, to realize a man she has loved for 16 years, but who has rejected her all the same, is now sexually abusing their daughter. The shock to finally take in the missing pieces of this puzzle “Rachel” has created, her fantasy that he was a great lover, that they had something special together, suddenly unravels before her eyes. Virginie Efira (with the help of the cameraman), gives a somatic demonstration of soul searching, confusion, awareness and reality in just a few seconds of this film.

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They Know Not What They Do

The above title is a comment made by Jesus, on the cross, and can be found in the New Testament. I was taking a course on Insight Timer recently called “The Contemplative Journey,” which is a Gnostic workshop given by Methods. The very last day of this five-day process, the instructor took us on a final meditation in which he used these words “They know not what they do.” I was mesmerized by this statement in a new way and decided to reflect on this today.

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