I distract myself

The other day a dear friend asked me what I did when I was upset at something, or someone. When my anger or sadness was taking over every minute. How did I handle it to stay calm and okay?

I paused before answering. (Did I mention we were running, and I always have to pause to get enough breath to answer?) “I look at what’s good,” I told her.

“Oh,” she replied. “Do you mean you look to see all you have, and how many awful things could be true for you that aren’t, and you realize you should be grateful rather than upset?”

“No,” I answered (again after trying to catch my breath). “I look for things that feel good right now. I distract myself like I would a toddler.” Another pause.

“I notice the trees against the sky.” (As I’ve written here often.) “The sound of seagulls.” (I was just in Portland, Maine.) “I hug my kid.” (Or anyone who will let me.)

I distract myself.

I no longer believe in covering up or denying my feelings, and I certainly no longer believe in beating myself up because I’m sad or angry or struggling. I’ve learned to allow […]

What will ease my heart?

The weirdest thing is happening to me.

As I’ve written here, I am becoming more and more able to identify my false tapes as they surge into my head. And to breathe and ease them away.

“You deserve to die!” they scream inside me.

“Breathe, Lisa. It will pass,” I reply.

“You’re a worthless piece of s—t,” they counter. “You deserve to die.”

“Breathe sweetie,” I remind myself. “Breathe, and it will pass.”

And it does.

I breathe. I look around me. I remind myself – as quickly and as much as I can – that these are false tapes. Lies. Complete mistruths carved into my psyche through my misinterpretation of all that happened to and around me.

My parents split up. Must have been my fault. My mom left us for God. Must have been my fault. I hated that my mom left us for God. (Well, I’m assuming that I hated it, because I certainly never let myself feel it.) I am evil and deserve to die. Sexual abuse. I am damaged and deserve to die. I cry when I leave my mom. I am evil and undeserving…and deserve to die. The Messiah banishes me. I am absolutely […]

The horror of extremist beliefs

Last week hundreds of couples toting (I believe unarmed) AR-15 rifles attended a “Blessing” – a ceremony sanctifying marriages – in Newfoundland, PA.

This ceremony was conducted by an offshoot of the Unification Church – the Sanctuary Church – that is led by one of Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s children, Hyung Jin Moon.

The AR-15s are said by Moon to represent the “rods of iron” referred to in the Book of Revelation.

Needless to say, I watched this unfold in horror. As it was mentioned in an online group I belong to for people who were born and/or raised in the Church. As local friends (I live in PA) sent me local news stories, of how nearby schools were going to be left empty that day. As friends in foreign countries sent me the link, with huge question marks.

Those who have read the prepublication version of my memoir comment that I don’t portray the Church as horrific. I will be the first to say that painful things happened to and around me because of Church teachings, and because of how Church leaders – and members – decided to live based on Church teachings and to interpret and enforce Church […]