Ultimate Love ❤️

  

I have come to see that all human interactions, even the most depraved of behaviors, can ultimately be reduced and refined to exactly two qualities: we either display love or display responses that are an expression of a desire to be loved.

We may put up both inner and outer defenses believing that we are protecting ourselves from fear, uncertainty and pain but in so doing we find ourselves to be the ruler of an increasingly vacant and lonely fortress.

To be love and share unconditional  love – all walls must be torn down and we must accept the consequence of this tearing down of our defenses. We must accept the possibility of the pain of our love neither being accepted nor returned. When we open our hearts to  the vulnerability of love, then we are no longer protected from the possibility of pain – in this open space I pray that you remain fearless and accepting.

The enormous breakthrough happens when you truly honor and accept the divine timeless essence – the love within yourself, and henceforth cannot help but see  it in everyone else too – beneath the outer veil of differing views, speech and behaviors – we are all reflections of a seraphic and blissful nature. 

To recognize the essence of love in ourselves and the essence of  love in another is the only way to stop judging and to truly start loving limitlessly and compassionately, caring unconditionally – without questioning  if someone is worthy or not. 

The recognition of ‘I am not separate from you,’ and ‘you are not separate from me,’ is the only way we will stop hurting each other and end our suffering. If I hurt you, I hurt myself. If I deeply begin to love the divine within myself, it is impossible that I could love you any less. 

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Old Lang Syne

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Her creative mind left malnourished destructively devoured itself. Neck deep in bland security, the soulless high walls left her painfully out of touch with her gypsy-esque beginnings. Eventually she chose passion over love, and like a fool that played with thorned stems – in her bored and middling years she dismissively rejected the blossoms.

 

The time drifted. He watched his love slip away and chose to care for her in passive silence, for there he found no rejection. He treasured her with a distant heart, and pretended the distance shielded him from the pain.

 

The deafening mistrust grew until their love went unspoken and numbingly vacant. Dream years past, barely recognizable pictures, only faded images and wrinkled memories remained.

 

I listen intently to their explanations and their half-hearted attempts to repair and amend, confusedly desperate to feel both lovingly wanted and shamefully rejected. Neither wants this familiar misery to end but they also cannot bring themselves to begin again.

 

I take no sides in this well-worn theme. The time glossed over with children, weekends, vacations, and of course their share of tragedies. But these weren’t the lives that either imagined, enmeshed together with the disarming comfort of the passionless familiar.

 

Nearing the end of this play, in the autumn of their years – they feel saddened to stay, but compelled to move on. An unknown future awaits – and at this crossroads I encourage them to follow their passion and leave the door open to the possibility of a beautiful if not distant friendship.

 

They spoke of past innocence and old adventures while the conversation ran its course. She kissed him one last time. As she drove away, she contemplated the good times they’d had so long ago, and with it came the return of that old familiar pain. When she left, the red lights blurred, and the snow turned into rain.

 

Mediated  transitional  relationship counseling is offered.

Mindfulness Based. Wise and Inspired Counseling. In person, by phone, or Skype: 941.416.1890 or michael@mbsgroup.org

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Speak to Everyone Like You Would Speak to Someone You Love❤

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What people could so beautifully and consciously imagine is so very different from the darkness they all too often unconsciously conjure. What people can say is very different than what they will say. What people can do is very different from what they will do.

 

However difficult relationships may sometimes seem, there is always something you can do to be more vulnerable and reveal your good heart more fully. No matter the difficulty you are having there is always something you could say to be more kind. No matter the injury, it is always in your interest to think the very best of others. The healing will begin when your swirling mind settles and your impassioned heart is still.

 
Love others according to your capacity to love, resist the temptation to withdraw love because of distance, time, or space. You are empowered when you value others in accordance with their essence, not their action. Observe how someone transforms in your mind when you hold them gently in the light of loving awareness. Forgive yourself for ever thinking or speaking of them differently than your kindest capacity.

 
Stitch your cracked heart from any bitterness or emotion you could not convey – make peace with those broken pieces. Remind yourself when you fall from grace that you are far from burdened, it is up to you to be sweet and lovely again.

 
And despite how open, loving, and peaceful you attempt to be – people can only meet you as deeply as they’ve met themselves. Not everyone is coming from where you are coming from – love them anyway. ❤

The Power and Strength of Bearing Witness🙏❤

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Pray with me today – May I have eyes that see the best in people, a love that forgives the worst, and a soul that never loses faith in the hopeful and limitless possibility of others. Today may I have the courage to remain open and vulnerable. May I once more have the compassion to listen deeply into the depths and pain of another’s heart.

 

A witness assures that our stories are heard, contained and transcend time. Experiences in my own life and in my practice as a counselor and minister have caused me to concur with Maya Angelou that, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” But what produces the power and strength of witnessing, for the teller and often for the witness as well? How exactly does bearing witness benefit an individual? How is it reparative to us? And how do we, as fellow human beings help others bear nearly unbearable experiences?

 

Bearing witness is a term that, used in psychology, refers to sharing our experiences with others, most notably in the communication to others of traumatic experiences. Bearing witness is a valuable way to process an experience, to obtain empathy and support, to lighten our emotional load via sharing it with the witness, and to obtain catharsis. Most people bear witness daily, and not only in reaction to traumatic events. We bear witness to one another through our writing, through art, and by verbally simply sharing with others.

 

From a psychological perspective, it is widely confirmed in the literature on the treatment of survivors of trauma, sexual abuse, and incest that validation in the course of and bearing witness is vital and necessary in remembering traumatic memories and in the healing process. And what about a story that remains unacknowledged? Does our story hold the same weight, the same significance, in the absence of a witness? Is our reality different, less meaningful perhaps, if we have no one to bear witness? If no one empathically listens to the story of our life? It seems so.

 

Sometimes an experience is so profound, there are no words, and we endure in silence. Yet, the emotional price of remaining silent, without a witness, is costly. Move past your inaction, don’t waste more years to share what you feel and what has transpired in prolonged silence. Sometimes the harboring, that is our greatest burden.

 

And what about our experience of bearing witness in counseling? Trauma survivors often cite the importance of the therapist’s validating role in their treatment; the simple act of accepting an individual’s life story can be highly therapeutic. While bearing witness is vital in the therapeutic recovery from trauma, we all have our stories to tell, even in the absence of trauma. I fondly recall the gratitude I have felt toward my own witness, whom I often refer to as an exceptional “memory keeper” and a “remarkable witness.” A witness to the story of my life, with all of its pain and joy. Sharing ourselves with others opens up a space where there once was none. Only through such space can positive memories occur and resilience prevail.

 

Although the tale of human experience is certainly universal, it contains unique elements for each us and we continue the art of storytelling, both verbally and nonverbally, each and every day. While some stories are sweeter than others, all long for the benefit and necessity of a witness, for a witness assures us that our stories are heard, contained, and transcend time; for it can be said that one is never truly forgotten when one is shared and carried in the hearts of others.

 

I would like to introduce Don Ritchie, the now deceased, “Angel of the Gap,” and one of my many unsung heroes. Mr. Ritchie is someone who gave living meaning to the term ‘Bearing Witness.’

 

For nearly five decades he gazed out of his Sydney home overlooking the Pacific Ocean, inspired by one of Australia’s most picturesque views. But it was not just a love for the sea that drew him to the dramatic panorama.

 

Don Ritchie’s window-watching had a far greater purpose. Since l964 he saved at least 160 lives, though some say the true figure is much higher. Mr Ritchie, who died two years ago at the age of 86, was known as the Angel of the Gap, a title earned for persuading people not to throw themselves off the notorious Australian suicide spot.

 

Like Beachy Head on the Sussex coast, the sheer cliffs at the mouth of Sydney harbour have long acted as a magnet to those who have lost all hope. But thanks to his calm voice and sympathetic manner, Mr Ritchie offered a helping hand to the desperate by engaging them in conversation on the cliff-top in their hour of need.

 

A modest man who did not court celebrity or praise, Mr Ritchie would spot would-be suicides from his home and slowly walk across the road to them. At the cliff-edge he would simply smile and ask them, “Can I help you in some way?” More often than not the quiet approach worked, though on some occasions he risked his own life by physically restraining the more determined from making their final leap.

 

Afterwards he would invite them back to his home for a cup of tea and a chat and occasionally they would return years later to thank him for saving their life. One survivor gave him a painting of an angel with the rays of the sun and the simple message: “An angel who walks amongst us.”

 

My ambition has always been to just get them away from the edge, to buy them time, to give them the opportunity to reflect and give them the chance to realize that things might look better the next morning,” he once confided.

 

“You just can’t sit there and watch them,” he added. “You’ve got to try and save them.”

 

Mr Ritchie’s daughter, Sue, said her father enjoyed his ocean view, but was equally determined to watch out for troubled souls. He once said an offer of help “was all that was needed to turn people around and he would say not to underestimate the power of a kind word and a smile,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.

 

He was “a great mixture of strength and compassion… an everyday person who did an extraordinary thing for many people that saved their lives, without any want of recognition,” she added.

 

Mr Ritchie was a seaman in the Royal Australian Navy during the Second World War and witnessed the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay in l945.

 

Back in Sydney he worked in the insurance industry. He would later tell friends of the people he had saved: “I was a salesman for most of my life and I sold them life.”