Tag Archive: grace


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In July a friend posted a link to this article “Against Self-Criticism: Adam Phillips on How Our Internal Critics Enslave Us, the Stockholm Syndrome of the Superego, and the Power of Multiple Interpretations” – it’s one of those rabbit hole things where you follow links within links to whole other articles… in a good way.  I think I experience some intersectionality in self-criticism being female and having a spirituality that calls me to try and live as a “good” person. Parking tidbits here so I keep thinking about them.

  • what kind of person would your critic be if you met them in person?
    boring? cruel? bully? abusive? would you keep them in your life?
  • if the critic mutilates, deforms, distorts our character… whose voices do you trust to speak to your character? what would you say if it were happening to someone else? what does it look like to defend yourself the way you would defend someone else against this kind of negativity? what techniques do you have for combating the critic when it’s a voice that feels loud?
  • the article refers to this critic as a mechanism of “unrelenting internal violence”. As an advocate of non-violence what tools and techniques are available to you to respond to, engage with and mitigate the impact of the critic?

 

“…in our capacity for merciless self-criticism. We tend to go far beyond the self-corrective lucidity necessary for improving our shortcomings, instead berating and belittling ourselves for our foibles with a special kind of masochism.”

“In Freud’s vision of things we are, above all, ambivalent animals: wherever we hate, we love; wherever we love, we hate. If someone can satisfy us, they can also frustrate us; and if someone can frustrate us, we always believe that they can satisfy us. We criticize when we are frustrated — or when we are trying to describe our frustration, however obliquely — and praise when we are more satisfied, and vice versa. Ambivalence does not, in the Freudian story, mean mixed feelings, it means opposing feelings… these contradictory feelings are our ‘common source’ they enter into everything we do. They are the medium in which we do everything. We are ambivalent, in Freud’s view, about anything and everything that matters to us; indeed, ambivalence is the way we recognize that someone or something has become significant to us… Where there is devotion there is always protest… where there is trust there is suspicion.”

“You can only understand anything that matters — dreams, neurotic symptoms, literature — by overinterpreting it; by seeing it from different aspects as the product of multiple impulses. Overinterpretation here means not settling for one interpretation, however apparently compelling it is. Indeed, the implication is — and here is Freud’s ongoing suspicion, or ambivalence, about psychoanalysis — that the more persuasive, the more compelling, the more authoritative, the interpretation is, the less credible it is, or should be. The interpretation might be the violent attempt to presume to set a limit where no limit can be set.”

Sit, empty cupped hands

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Sit
empty cupped hands
outreached in supplication
for the daily bread
that feeds and sustains you.
Everyday you must
acknowledge your own hunger,
acknowledge your own emptiness,
acknowledge your own longing…
in this weakness
lies your strength.
Freed from all you cannot do
you are released to do what you can
and it begins when you sit
empty cupped hands
outreached in supplication.

Talitha Fraser

 

He picked up some food from the table they were sitting at and said: You know what? Everybody eats. He raised a glass of what they were drinking and said: You know what? Everybody drinks. We all have these bodies.  These human bodies.  Different but elementally the same. Same blood and water runs in your veins that runs in mine.  Eat this food and drink this drink just like everyone always has and always will.  These lives are for  living and loving.

Some people might think that’s a ritual about remembering God but it’s not. It’s about remembering the Human One.  Let’s remember everyone is human – the other and yourself.  You are uniquely and specially yourself and just like everyone else at the same time. There’s a space and grace about that if you marinate in it for a while.

 

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Within the grip of winter, it is almost impossible to imagine the spring. The gray perished landscape is shorn of color. Only bleakness meets the eye; everything seems severe and edged. Winter is the oldest season; it has some quality of the absolute. Yet beneath the surface of winter, the miracle of spring is already in preparation; the cold is relenting; seeds are wakening up. Colors are beginning to imagine how they will return. Then, imperceptibly, somewhere one bud opens and the symphony of renewal is no longer reversible. From the black heart of winter a miraculous, breathing plenitude of color emerges.

The beauty of nature insists on taking its time. Everything is prepared. Nothing is rushed. The rhythm of emergence is a gradual slow beat always inching its way forward; change remains faithful to itself until the new unfolds in the full confidence of true arrival. Because nothing is abrupt, the beginning of spring nearly always catches us unawares. It is there before we see it; and then we can look nowhere without seeing it.

 

With thanks to Dusk for sharing this when I needed to hear it.
An excerpt of a meditation from From To Bless the Space Between Us by John O’Donohue 

 

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God our creator, provider, and carer,

You are the best and fairest;

We are committed to searching out and living the way that you want us to.

Help us not to worry about the future,

and to share what we have with others.

Forgive us when we destroy life

and teach us to create life instead.

Give us courage to choose to

forgive those who hurt us.

Be with us in our time of need

and help us not to give up.

Our safety and life is in you.

Amen

Re-membered

IMG_8263Camping for Easter in the Brisbane Ranges and I have brought along Cheryl Lawrie’s beautiful Pocket Liturgies for reflection…

 

Holy Week – This is my body broken for you [Matthew 26: 6-13]

There are many ways to break a body.

When someone pays their piece of silver to
have their way with you in a dark corner,
down a back lane…
to make your body theirs to do with what they will.
And if you can, you break yourself before they break you.

Your body stays, your mind detaches,
and you disintegrate, disremember.

Or when someone sells your body for pieces of silver,
for those in power to do with as they will,
and as you hang on a cross, battered, disfigured,
your soul splits from your body, and spins into hell,
detached, disintegrated, dismembered.

This woman touches Jesus
[she whose story all of history knows by rumour
and reputation]
and she offers him all she has to give:
her truth.

But she stays with it, this time. All of her.

And those who are watching, can’t
[it’s hard to look at raw grace face on].
They redirect attention with words of political correctness,
questions that need to be asked
but not in this moment, not at this time,
when they’re asked not for revelation, but for diversion.

But Jesus knows no gift more divine
than one who has been to hell before him.
Coming back to life in front of him,
and honours her one more time:

remember her not as a person to be bought
or a body to be broken

This is who she is
[re-membered]

Gift and giver
loved and lover.
Body and soul
holy and whole.

[p.68, Hold This Space Pocket Liturgies by Cheryl Lawrie]

 


 

God, I confess to my own dismemberment
profane and broken
who am I to touch You?
to touch anyone?
you break yourself before they break you
there is an ego to imagine I have any power
to participate in my own healing
detached, disintegrated, dismembered
what does it mean to live engaged,
holy and whole, remembered?

Let me aspire to offer all I have to give
no gift more divine
coming back to life.

“This is who she is
[re-membered]

Gift and giver
loved and lover.
Body and soul
holy and whole.”

 

We are all too small

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we are all too small
we cannot fathom
the entirety of You
or know Your ways
we want to understand
the meaning of all of this
all there is
is finding space
to live with
some of the
fog of unknowing
softening the harsh
light and life
diffusing
grace

Talitha Fraser

You are the reason

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You are the reason

for all that I am

You are the inspiration

and imagination that

makes the world new

You are the hope that

makes light where

light should not be but is

You are the grace that

heals our wholeness

filling and forming

You are the source

of such beauty it is our

hearts hurt and gladness

at the same time.

You are.

You are.

 

Talitha Fraser

grace

“You should share communion together,
it has a unique power to unite beyond words”
Peter (Chappo) Chapman

Very pleased to present this little number…

This resource is the result of a collaboration between Elizabeth Taylor, myself and the many vibrant alternative discipleship communities sharing hospitality and, indeed, grace around Victoria. Such as: Common Rule, Cornerstone, Footscray Salvos, GraceTree, Indigenous Hospitality House,  MannaGum, Missio Dei,  Newmarket Baptist Church, Seeds, The Cave & Transfiguration Community, UCA, Urban Seed and the many more who serve, share and speak grace spontaneously, silently or scarcely – you know who are.  We acknowledge that we do so on the land of the peoples of the Kulin Nations.

We decided to make this as a kind of snapshot in time of radical discipleship expression in and around Melbourne and to encourage one another – we don’t often get to get around the table together but we do go back to our separate spaces and share meals in community.

Elizabeth’s beautiful and colourful visual images were inspired by the language of the prayers, varied and lovely. Done in a loose watercolour style we are offered a birdseye view of a table full of food, with hands around the edges sharing and eating, different types of food, the hands that prepare and acknowledgement of the earth that produces.

We share this abundance, from our table to yours,
in acknowledgement and celebration of the bigger Grace extended to us all.

Free PDF (or LMS accessibility supported copy) available by request.

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the toast rack of reproach
balefully squats
on the coffee table
that’s really for
tea and hospitality
and other nice things
the crooked bend
of things to do
that Newton’s forces of physics
are required to move
external impetus
gives momentum
the toast is shared out –
refreshments flow.

 

Talitha Fraser