Dark Room, Headphone, Numb, Yikes!

a dark room

I had a dream this morning about someone I know and it truly pained me because I care about them as a person and what both of us hope to save in therms of our faith and an institution.

When a dream shows me someone carrying a bunch of stuff, equipment, papers etc… and they are about to fall to the ground, smash to a million pieces, them saying oh oh as they try to keep that from happening, and they then refuse all offer of assistance offered, all wisdom, insight advice offered in that same dream, any attempt from anyone in that regard, rather going into a dark room, headphones on, fidgeting with equipment that is not in line with what is needed, just being in the dark, working alone in a dark room, a dark place.  That kind of dream is heartbreaking because it tells me that a person is not only living in the dark about what is going on around them, refusing to heed any advice, any input etc.., but that they have tuned out to true intimacy, true close relationships of any kind.  They are carrying all this load on their own, refusing to accept help, real help, real close deep profound connection help, collaboration etc…  They won’t share anything of depth with you, or rally anyone in any intimate connection way, though they may have lots of people they know.  It was heartbreaking to watch this person in my dream go into that dark room, cover his ears, refuse to hear, refuse to acknowledge, perhaps even his own heart, spirit and soul truths.  One can choose to stay in that dark room forever, alone, shut everyone out, heed no one be a team of one, but that is a dark place to be, letting past hurt baggage accumulated stay there.  One can do the opposite and be liberated from all that junk, baggage, not be in a dark room, not have headsets on and ignore truths about what should be done, reach out and ask for help directly, collaborate, coordinate etc.. directly on a day to day basis.  That takes a lot of courage to do so and awareness of the fact one is in the dark all alone, in that dark room with those headsets.  

What do you do if you have, as an empath etc.., these insights?  When you receive these insights it is usually for a reason, and the first thing to do is pray and meditate as to why you did.  If it’s a dear friend you are an integral part of their life, hang out a lot, really close, you can directly approach them about it.  However, if that is not the case, as much as it pains you to receive this insight, you can also be grateful that you did receive and pray, meditate for their healing of heart, spirit and soul, for release of all their baggage, breaking down of all their walls, all that is toxic etc…for the light to shine bright in their lives.  Don’t give up, meditate, pray and as best you can, offer help periodically, maybe just in the form of thoughtful questions to ponder.  

Amen

Do You Go Lone Ranger? Oy!

Letting Go Never Easy, But Necessary

When you are coordinating just for your own gig, just you involved, you only have to coordinate with yourself and the heavens and no biggie.  If you have a pretty good idea what you want to coordinate, well you just do it, don’t dilly dally, you just do it.

However, when you are not coordinating just for you own personal gig, but rather for an institution and others are involved, they are not synergizing, not directly working to coordinate directly day to day, not providing info in an immediate timely manner, are like the honeybee here there everywhere, a million projects, not focused, not streamlined, you find yourself very frustrated in trying to get things done on your end.  You have tried talking to them, asked for relevant info etc.. over and over, have tried to get them focused, to closely coordinate things with you, see how crucial that is, but they are in fog land doing a million things and so nothing is done.  That leaves you in limbo potentially and frustrated, potentially your blood pressure rising.  What do you do?  You can’t just push people aside, not right, not if they have seniority and for any number of reasons, not right to that.  On the other hand if you really care about the institution, project etc… you want to get things planned, done etc…, so waiting on them to “get it”, get focused etc… could mean nothing gets done.  You have to figure out if you have the thick skin to stay and deal with butterfly and honeybee personality, how to deal with that if you are going to stay put.  You also have to decide if it may very well be necessary to go lone ranger, simply act of your own accord on things and hope for the best.  They may get upset that they are left out of the loop at any given point, that they were not part of the process, but to be part of the process, you have to be part of the process, up close and personal, in the trenches with the person coordinating and organizing.  You have to be very very very streamlined, focused, working out the PR, Plans, all of it.  It’s like a relationship, you can have feelings, like someone, but unless you express it, get in the trenches to spend time with them, discuss the sensitive stuff, faith, politics, get to know each other, even if you disagree, feelings don’t amount to much, action does.  As one seeks to work towards common goals, others have to be in total sync with you in terms of coordinating directly with you.  If they are not, if they are not providing the info quickly, in a very timely manner, well in advance for you to do what you seek and need to do, then you may have to go lone ranger to some extent and if they complain that they were left out of the loop, well there’s a reason, not because you wanted it to be the case.  If you have a mission, goals to accomplish for the good of the project, the institution, and others are not “getting it”. not directly coordinating in a timely manner etc…, you may have to go to some extent lone ranger.  The way it is when you deal with what I call butterfly and honeybee personalities that are all over the map and are trying to do a million things a the same time, bad idea, very very very bad idea.  If they choose to do that and put others in a position of huge frustration and having to go lone ranger, then they need to suck it up, tough luck.

Amen

Being Part of Something, Beautiful

Baptism of Fire

Yesterday The Sons and Daughters of Italy celebrated their 112th Founder’s Day, with Mass and lunch, which included a lifetime achievement award.  It was special for one or two particular reasons.

As I heard the priest give his homily in Italian, as I watched the Mass with everyone very reverent to the priest, the Eucharist, and prior the camaraderie of us all, even those of us who were perhaps meeting for the first time, it touched my heart.  Then there came the beautiful voice of one of our members singing Ave Maria and brought a number of us almost to tears.  I was so grateful to be part of the church that started with Peter, with Jesus telling him to feed his sheep.  Then came the ceremony, laying of the wreath a few blocks away at the site of the founding of OSIA. We sang the Italian and American anthem and again I was brought to tears almost, a number of us were because we realized we belonged to not only this exceptional nation America, but also to a culture rich with so much tradition, includes the faith, and if we don’t do something to preserve it, we are in huge trouble.  It was for some of us a mixture of feelings, but pride was definitely part of that. Once again at National Convention NY State loges gave more in charitable donations than any other state lodge and our lodge Petrosino more than any other lodge in NY State.  Part of our cultural identity is being grateful through all generations for being in the land of opportunity, trying to make it better for others.  As we were at the table at lunch and just sharing, talking, chatting,  we were given a flyer about an upcoming Christmas show by one our members, the artist who sang the national anthems, one of the ladies said we should go, her and I.  It is so great to have that camaraderie, but also to know that the truth of the faith can live on with out being active and pro active, as well as the good done for the community, for veterans, for example. It’s beautiful to be part of this.

After a very long journey, I am home being a minister of the arts, a writer here on this blog, some might even label this as life coaching, you decide, Roman Catholic and proud Italian-American

 

Why We Hold On, Even When Drowning

Letting Go Never Easy, But Necessary

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We all have dreams and we have such high hopes for them to come true, maybe a childhood dream that we have always had.  Understandable, what nourishes.

Suddenly seems you have that chance, that opportunity to make it all a reality, and you pour heart and soul into it, sweat blood and tears to make it happen, to make it work, yet it doesn’t.  What’s going on and what do you do?  Could be that what you are offering is not what people want, are looking for, need.    Could be that the concept in general is fine, just the content is not what people want or need.  Could be God rejects what you are doing and won’t allow it to move forward for whatever reason.  Could be your motivation is not in line with what God thinks it should be. These are just some of the things that come to mind as to why projects, dreams don’t move forward, don’t bring forth fruit.  Why do we hold on to them even though they are not bearing fruit? Dreams are like our children.  The thought of letting them go, die etc… pains us, is hard to fathom, hard to do, as the song says “breaking up is hard to do” that goes for us and our dreams.  No one wants to walk away from their dream, their dream project that they implemented.  There is also pride, especially when everyone is telling you you’re spinning your wheels.  You don’t want to give in because well, human nature. You don’t want to give them that satisfaction of folding up your tent, paramount to admitting to all the nay sayers that they were accurate in their assessments.  You prefer to keep going even when deep down you might know this is not working, not what people are responding to, want or need.  You might not do anything to move on the things that are going to be embraced, might drag your feet on those. If anyone decided to go right ahead and make all that other stuff happen, not wanting to fiddle faddle, to dawdle, get a move on the things that will work, you might get darn right offended dammit that you are not being supported as you feel you ought to be.  That may not be the case at all, but you might perceive it that way.  Again, dreams are like children and you don’t want to let them go or lose them.  

What do you do with these dreams, these dreams when they come up smack against reality?  Well, you could just ignore reality,  cross your arms, ignore all all input, feel negative about the persons giving the input because they care,  see the writing on the wall as they say, follow only that dream you have, nothing else.  You could do that, to the very end, no matter what the fiscal etc.. consequences.  I myself, been there, done that, not a big fan.  You could adjust the plan to what The Holy Spirit gives you after much meditation and prayer, so it fits God’s will not yours, not easy for us humans to do, pride you see, remember we were tempted by the serpent who said we could be God like to have all knowledge.   You could just accept that the dream needs to be let of and mourn like you would for anything else that you love and you had to release, had to let go of, though it pained you.  Different people will respond differently when faced with reality of the dream not rendering fruit, once implemented.

What of those around them who may not agree with the dream being continued even as it is clearly not rendering fruit? What of those around them who are in any way affected by the financial ramifications, let’s say a musician who is paying the band out of pocket because the gigs for the past year have not produced any revenue though they have heavily invested in promotions etc..? What of his family?  What of friends who care and it hurts them to see him do this and to see all that effort?  What of the band members, those who have heart anyway, how do they feel?  If they have heart, they see no fruit being born of this, and the manager of the band, or if the manager is paying out of pocket for several months, if the band member have a heart, they have to be thinking, no, this is not right.  What do they do? Does the lead singer tell the manager, this can’t go on and risk being seen as the one who burst the manager’s bubble if the manager put the whole band together, launched the dream? If the band members tell the lead singer, will they be seen as the ones who destroyed the dream, burst the bubble, hated?  Will friendships be ruined because the caring won’t be seen, just the bubble bursting?  Tough thing when you have to let go of the dream, and even tougher when you are the one bringing reality home to the dreamer because you risk them potentially hating you for bursting the bubble of this dream.  If you care, and you consider yourself a true friend, then you need to be as honest as you can, with love and kindness, maybe using questions, a parable, like Jesus and those in the Bible did.  If in the end you are thrown out of the kingdom, disliked, at least you know you spoke from the heart.  If you are the dreamer, well only you can decide up to what point you can stay in the dream before it’s time to wake up to reality, even if that reality is not one you like.

This is what the Holy Spirit promoted me to write for my blog today.

Amen

 

Want People Back In Pews, TRADITION!

Holy Ghost

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That’s right darlin, Tradition, just like they that word that we remember from Fiddler on The Roof.  As music coordinator for the local church and one who had made a journey back home to the faith, I have done a lot of research as to what not only millennials are seeking, but in general those who would want to come back to or come to the church, also what they don’t want.  This would also apply to non millennials, the gist of it.

What don’t they want? What they don’t want is the church to be a rock concert, night club, cafe, lounge, opera stage or anything besides a church.  They also don’t want hip and cool man, so if you are looking to become a star and liver out your dreams through the church, they won’t appreciate any of that.  They won’t appreciate it being a way for you to feel good about you, or for you to be some hero, and they will see right through.  Authentic teaching, authentic God, even if it rattles their cage, okay rattle away, but he honest, don’t run, hide, water down, treat them like fragile porcelain, but also don’t be brutal either, judge the sin, but love the sinner.  The articles I have been reading make a similar point, which is that you do not go to church to be entertained to “feel good”, you go to reflect, contemplate, to hear truth, even if uncomfortable.  

What do they want?   They want traditional Mass with traditional song and liturgy, dynamic homily.  As for the arts, they are fine with the creative,  related to scripture, faith formation.   If you are creative and you do it out of true love of teaching scripture and all things of God, teaching that to them, hey by all means. They want the homily, the teachings to be authentic brutal, but authentic, Jesus presented in both his humanity and divinity.  They want a God,  Trinity that is not so pie in the sky they can’t ever relate.  Authentic teaching, authentic God, even if it rattles their cage, okay rattle away.  Be honest, don’t run, hide, water down, treat them like fragile porcelain, but also don’t be brutal either, judge the sin, but love the sinner.  They want the church to be a second home, to guide, point the way, to know that even the apostles, the saints struggled with temptations, with anger, with people opposing their expression of faith, throughout their lives, and that faith is not easy.  One article I was reading pointed this out:  Recent research from Barna Group and the Cornerstone Knowledge Network found that 67 percent of millennials prefer a “classic” church over a “trendy” one, and 77 percent would choose a “sanctuary” over an “auditorium.”.  That says a lot.  In that same article blogger Amy Peterson put it this way: “I want a service that is not sensational, flashy, or particularly ‘relevant.’ I can be entertained anywhere. At church, I do not want to be entertained. I do not want to be the target of anyone’s marketing. I want to be asked to participate in the life of an ancient-future community.”  Again, they want to feel embraced and safe in the church, but they also don’t want to be lied to and not receive authenticity, so finding that balance is crucial.  

Catholicism in particular has such rich traditions and to try and modernize and all that blarney is silly and dumb and no it should not change its’ doctrines of truth on anything in terms of core teachings, but each church must do a much better job of catechesis, formation, apologetics and application of it all to life and community, internally and externally.  Sadly not everyone wants to hear get back to basics, get back to tradition, to catechesis and all that jazz, and so the church pews stay empty, as the secular and all other marvels are tried in order to grow the church instead of getting back to basics.  These articles I found interesting and hope you do to.

https://georgiabulletin.org/news/2017/04/local-parish-leaders-gain-insights-reaching-millennials/

http://www.thecatholictelegraph.com/millennials-at-mass-to-whom-shall-we-go/33000

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/jesus-doesnt-tweet/2015/04/30/fb07ef1a-ed01-11e4-8666-a1d756d0218e_story.html?utm_term=.b2fcdb9b9994

 

 

 

The Parent Traps

Letting Go Never Easy, But Necessary

 

When a parent leaves, walks out or passes away and the child is young you can end up with the “parent trap”.  The trap can happen out of caring or out of the other parent being really pissed of at the situation that took place.

The caring parent trap can be where the parent cares so much about the child having a positive image they make the parent that passed away or left a saint, this all encompassing hero, this larger than life person.  I get that a parent wants their kid to have a positive model and good memories of the other parent, but his can be a real negative.  If you create a saint to rival all saints and heroes in that parent, that child is going to feel their whole life like they have to bend over backwards to live up to being like this larger than life saint or person you and the whole family created.  That does not help at all, not them, not anyone who has to live with them or deal with them on a day to day basis.  Truly loving them means giving them a very human parent flaws and all, not some mythical hero with a heart, spirit, soul larger than life.  My dad was by all accounts a nice guy, maybe too nice for his own good some might say.  I am glad I have  a very human picture of him, very glad, one that is a mix of strengths, but also weaknesses that hurt him in his life.  Still, I prefer the very human dad than if I had some larger than life myth.  Then there is the other side of the coin, the one where the parent is so angry, bitter they do nothing but tear the other parent down, creating a lot of chaos within the child, fear and a whole bunch of insecurity.  They create anger issues in the child and through adulthood, lots of stuff that is projected and as a child, that child has no real way to process or understand.  They develop a very warped and negative image of the male or female gender due to that.  A lot of damage can be done by this other “parent trap” as I call it.  I understand that loss of  partner under less than ideal circumstances can be reason for anger etc.., but that is no reason to bring poison into the life of the children.  Whatever war is going on between the adults need to be worked out strictly between the adults.

When one parent gives the image of the other parent, any mythology, needs to be left in the mythology section of literature either way.  It is not in anyone’s best interest to create a false extreme narrative of a parent to that child positive or negative. Best to keep it as honest as one can, keeping in mind the age range.  If a parent has left and the child is young, just say “mom/dad left, we have a lot of stuff to work out and it’s between us grown ups, but it’s stuff that happens with grown ups and sorry that you get stuck in the middle, but we love you”.  Don’t create monsters.  If the parent passed away, even if they were great people, don’t create a larger than life myth or saint, make them as human as possible, no grandiose anything to strive to live up to, don’t ever burden children or anyone with that.  Not fair to them or those around them.

Amen

 

Supportive Yet Protective, Tricky?

Letting Go Never Easy, But Necessary

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You care, you want to be supportive, but you also feel protective of the person, the entity perhaps you are a member of and those you interact with within the entity.  You want to be supportive, but you may also have a protective side, especially if you are an empath and intuitive etc… by nature who sees with the spirit guided by what the Spirit gives you.

When one of persons there is spinning their wheels to perhaps exhaustion trying to make an idea work that you know is not meant to be, sense they might be stuck in the past even with their personal life, and you sense this very clearly or even see any of this unfold right before your eyes, it’s tricky.  If you simply tear down their dream, then you risk their resenting you for being a downer and all that.  If on the other hand you play pollyanna and all is well, just smile and pretend all is bright and beautiful, you are not being much of a true friend. You are on a scale trying to keep the scale from tipping either where you are too harsh and totally make them feel crushed and like you have no faith in them, which you might, just not in a particular idea or project, or where you present a pollyanna unrealistic this is going to be great, all working out peachy, keep spinning your wheels, no biggie.  Neither will serve anyone well.  What do you do? For one if you are dealing with a professional situation, do your homework, so if you are going to give advice, you are giving it based on solid research and feedback maybe even that others have given on what has been going on.  When you present any advice, even to a friend make it clear you support their dreams, their efforts to achieve a goal, but you are concerned about the spinning of their wheels, how that energy could be focused elsewhere.  Anything regarding a personal nature, not moving on, returning to the past, maybe find a song that talks about leaving the past in the past and why it should stay there if they are artistically inclined. Letting them know you understand nostalgia can be powerful, but there is a reason people are not part of our lives, why we are apart, not truly connected anymore to others, best to move forward, not back, especially if that connection etc.. was toxic in any way.

We might know in our heart, spirit and soul that what the Holy Spirit has given us is what ought to be, a vision after God’s own heart that should be implemented, but others may not see that same vision, and may be spinning their wheels, banging their heads against the wall doing stuff that is not workable and not part of God’s great commission or even remotely part of his plan for the group, the person, the organization, but if we are going to get that vision across we can’t do it with the scale out of balance in either direction.  Meditate, research, meditate on Scripture, and mediate some more.  You will know how to approach things, even if not everyone will appreciate your efforts to do things right, the heavens will.   Hope this helps in your journey through life and relationships.

Amen