March 09, 2015

Every time I feel the spirit moving in my heart I will: SAY...IT LOUD! ("THE 25 YEAR RECEPTION REUNION" BETWEEN THE BISHOP AND ME..)

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"The world was watching on Feb. 11, 1989, when Barbara C. Harris was consecrated before a congregation of nearly 8,000 at Hynes Auditorium in Boston, thus becoming the worldwide Anglican Communion’s first female bishop.The historic and, at the time, controversial nature of that event signaled for many a hoped-for sea change toward church leadership that looks more like the church’s actual membership, a majority of which is women.Twenty five years later, however, the reality is more ripple effect than tidal wave as women are still only gradually making their way into the episcopacy; communion wide, the church is still counting its firsts.... The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, elected bishop suffragan in Massachusetts 11 years ago, said in an interview that what’s notable to her about the number of women in the episcopate 25 years after Barbara Harris’s consecration is not only that there are so few women serving as diocesan bishops, but also that so few women of color have been elected–out of relatively few candidates of color, male and female. She and Barbara Harris, together with Carol Gallagher, are the only three..."
I didn't read this interview until recently. In fact I didn't follow her career much between the day she was consecrated and the day she retired. But now I realize with people like Rt. Rev. Barbara C. Harris you're better off following in their footsteps as preachers and teachers, then trying to follow their career path! Her path was unique and so is mine but instead of chastising myself for not reading her sermons or speaking with her more when she was alive I must rejoice in the fact that she met me on 2 occasions in my lifetime! That's worth celebrating!
It all began in the fall of 1989. My parents picked up and moved to Cambridge  so my mother could attend the Episcopal Divinity School. They did so with an 8 year old Audrey in tow, and no guarantee that this "seminary nonsense" would amount to anything but headaches, debt and a lot of harassment; a female priest in the 1980's and earl 1990's was no ordinary occurrence. It wasn't something that happened on its own -it had to be built; it had to be fought for! I think, dear reader, that our construction is not over - far from it, but with women like Bishop Harris paving the way, we have a solid foundation for female clergy. We have had a few female diocesan Bishops. We are moving on up - the foundation has been laid ladies, now we need to build up and out!
Now at age 33, I am re-aligning myself to the Child I was then - the child of God... the child who was more comfortable talking to adults then kids and who once got detention in 2nd grade for "name calling". My mom doesn't know that. I got detention because I called my classmate a "male chauvinist pig". Needless to say I wasn't "popular" but I always made friends and now I realize I was doing it right the whole time I thought I was doing it wrong. I was speaking my mind and working hard. Well here I am again. And now I'm paying attention to the spirit - I forgot to do that for awhile. Well let's be fair. I was very sick for a very long time and now I'm living with the illness instead of living in spite of it. The shift has allowed me to make room for the Holy spirit in my life... maybe for the first time. I didn't have to make room for it before, because it was all encompassing. Now I'm inviting it back into my life - and using words as currency, ammunition, food and medicine - like someone I admire I am going "to say exactly what is on my mind". The Rt. Rev. Barbara C. Harris did this same thing during her interviews with the people in Massachusetts who were going to be voting in the elections in 1989. She said "I'm never going to see these people again in life. I'm going to say exactly what is on my mind..."
I'm going to say exactly what is on my mind..."
Look how that turned out.
Funny. I thought the same thing when I presented my first interview and speech to my 3rd grade classmates the year Bishop Harris was consecrated - I had conducted a phone interview with the first woman Bishop of the Anglican communion.
My 3rd grade teacher at the Tobin Elementary school was a little astounded when I showed up with my project - "the Bishop Barbara Harris is the person I most admire. She is the worldwide Anglican Communion’s first female bishop..." and went on from there. Harris was ordained Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts on February 11, 1989. "As the first woman bishop and an African-American, she received death threats and obscene messages. Though urged to wear a bullet-proof vest to her ordination, she refused. A contingent of the Boston police were assigned to her consecration..."
I interviewed her on the phone for my 3rd grade "Who do you most admire" homework project! She actually did an interview with a 3rd grader a couple weeks after being ordained. My very 1st real interview (with a celebrity!)
She took it very seriously. I did too. She wasn't condescending at all... She actually did a phone interview with me during all this hullabaloo - I just realized how busy and in demand she must have been a month after her consecration! I can only imagine. I had the idea after meeting and chatting with her one February day in 1989 at some church function... it was in Boston and there were a lot of big pointy hats and crooks there too! It's hard to keep all the events straight when you're the child of a seminarian student and active duty Army officer. It's a lot of events with a lot of costumes and decorum and people standing at microphones or in pulpits talking about stuff you don't understand.
I appreciate that she did this interview so much more today! She and I talked for 45 minutes and I had a heck of a project and speech for my class. Everyone else interviewed their grandpa's and Aunt's which is great! That's what 8 year olds do... usually.

When she retired I attended with my mom Mary J Korte​) - I hadn't seen or spoken to Barbara in 23 years. I went up to her to say hello and see if she recalled our interview. Before I could say a thing she looked at me, pausing her ongoing conversation with a bunch of other purple shirts and said...


She turned and looked at the men at her retirement, whom she'd been immersed in an obviously serious conversation with... until she saw me. She didn't apologize. I liked that!:

I remember how my dad would share that story with his family out in Kansas or with all the officers he was working with during that era... "Audrey sat right on her lap and talked to the 1st Woman Bishop in the world for over 10 minutes while thousands of people, press and police were in the room trying to get the Bishop's attention! It was cool." (I can't remember the exact wording and neither can my father I'd be willing to bet...)
For me at the age of 8 it was one event, one remarkable event no doubt, but one of many in a Iong list of stories about me saying something, speaking to someone, talking or doing something that adults found amusing or funny or offensive or profound. I never saw any of them as profound until now. Right now actually. I see now how we are called to be preachers and prophets and members of the world community, the religious houses of worship, the nations, the universities, the campuses of higher learning, the sustainable communities, the "Holy catholic church" (remember catholic here means Universal not Roman Catholic, as I learned at a young age) and how a person like the Rt Rev Barbara C Harris and a person like myself connected 3 times in 25 years and it managed to change my life!
Interestingly enough I saw an interview just a moment ago on youtube about how she came be elected to the position and it starts out with her talking about a conference she went to at EDS - where we lived... and how she never believed the process would allow her to get to this position - never ever. A friend asked if she was comfortable having her name put forth for Bishop-dom after the conference at EDS about women in the priesthood... she prayed on it and agreed, never thinking it would happen. Even when she was on the list of the final 5 candidates and being interviewed in Massachusetts by the nominating committee she truly did not think it could possibly occur. She was a woman priest. A black woman priest in the dawning of the age of female ordination and so she went to do the interviews with the nominating committee after she was on the ballot and said 'the thing that was on her mind the entire time was:'
I thought I was older when this happened - but it was 1989 so I was 8. I probably believed that because the conversation we shared in 1989 at the Reception was a big deal... TO OTHER PEOPLE AROUND US, and therefore it became one of my proudest moments. I was as a young girl eager to understand and share in the church especially when women were being allowed into the boys only clubs. My mother was attending seminary at the Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) that year as I already mentioned and so my mom and dad and I were living on campus with a bunch of feminists and gays and lesbians and liberals who were all there to study and serve and answer their calling to God's work. I can't imagine a better age to have been brought into this place actually - I was old enough that I knew it was special, and different, and not liked or supported by LOTS of Christians, including friends and families and home parishes for quite a lot of the students there in the late 80's and early 90's... probably for a lot of students there now even.
I have not really reminisced or felt nostalgic for that place and those friends and teachers of my mother's who became our family for those 4 years in Cambridge MA until recently. I liked being on campus and eating in the refectory and reading at the church services and getting to dress up and meet Bishops and Professors and the big-wigs of the Episcopal church but I was an only child at the time, and brought to EVERYTHING imaginable in terms of liturgy, conferences, retreats, activities and training's and rehearsals and receptions and all the rest of the stuff you do to run an Anglican community.
My father was quite busy working full time for the National Guard and the DEA during our time there. So when he was working or away I went with my mom to all sorts of events.I went to all this stuff on campus, like it or not I now realize. We lived there! I was 8 when she began her study! I couldn't exactly decide I didn't want to go to church 3 hours early and stay 2 hours late - since that's what my mother had to do! I'm sure many - possibly most of you reading this - can relate in some way. I bet there are more priests interested in this though then priest's kids! I laugh as I say this but perhaps that's something I'll reflect on more later, For now I am letting my childhood experiences catch up with me... it feels like time is catching up with itself... No. That's not the right wording - it's like visiting a favorite movie scene again for the first time in a very very long time and knowing the whole thing backwards and forwards - all the words and songs and where the VHS is likely to get stuck or the screen will flicker or the movie will stop working unless you hustle over to the VCR and hit fast forward for the next 20 seconds of tape... for children who are not of the 80's I'll say it feels like watching scenes or clips from your favorite music video or movie on YouTube - but a YouTube clip you have known only as chapter 4 of a certain DVD... you know the movie but getting to watch a favorite scene again after decades is like a rare gift... emotionally speaking. You remember it all and still love it but your age and experience and the dated technology and era of said movie hits you for the first time - you laugh at it or shake your head at your old self
The day of the Bishop of the Bishop's consecration in Boston it became seared not just in my memory, but in my soul.(Her reflection on the ordination process and her consecration can be found in an interview on youtube. Go to:

I JUST KNEW SHE FELT THE HUMOR AND JOY IN THAT MOMENT AND WAY BACK IN 1989. SHE FELT IT WHEN IT HAPPENED AND WHEN SHE REMEMBERED IT AT HER RETIREMENT. AT LEAST THAT'S WHAT I THOUGHT IN THIS "REUNION" ; "THE 25 YEAR RECEPTION REUNION" BETWEEN THE BISHOP AND ME...I DIDN'T KNOW HOW PROFOUNDLY MOVING THESE BRIEF INTERACTIONS I SHARED WITH THE NEWLY APPOINTED Rt. Rev. Barbara Harris would be for many years... at her retirement reception when she addressed me for the last time she spoke so elegantly and I was wise enough to write down exactly what she said on a napkin which I shoved into my dress purse. I only recently found that napkin and it brought it all back to me which is why I am now writing about it. I'll continue, picking up where she left off with,  "YOU WERE SO BRIGHT AND ARTICULATE AND I THOUGHT GOD JUST SENT US A NEW PREACHER! FOR TOMORROW! ..."
She kept going this time including them (the others in the group she had been speaking with until she saw me) in our talk as if they knew me - had been there - were a part of it - and that was her gift I think. She made sure you knew she was going taking care of what God said was important to her in that moment and she wasn't worried about the rest. We were all important in that moment - and she included us equally as if I were as important as the Bishops she was talking to. Because I am as important as them - in God's eyes. We so often forget this especially as young women... She continued talking (slower and softer then I expected. I knew she had had a stroke and was in her 80's but as such a force of nature you could forget that usually.) For a brief moment I realized her time was truly limited and it overwhelmed me with grief and gladness at once. She was almost done - and as a true believer, a real warrior for God, she was almost ready to leave us. Clearly this force of nature was not going to put down her sword of truth and justice and prophecy until she took her last breath. THAT IS WHAT I WITNESSED THAT DAY; I LEARNED FROM MY THREE INTERACTIONS WITH THIS PHENOMENON HOW TO CARRY YOUR SWORD FOR LIFE.
And those were the only 3 times we spoke... twice when I was 8, and once when I was 32. Some people have that affect. Some people are true prophets and I know now that she was one. She gave me hope for women in the church and for my own choices and the three conversations we had in 25 years are now going down for the sake of posterity and prophecy - just look how it's inspired me.

I knew enough in our last conversation to grab a cocktail napkin and write it all down immediately - I can't believe I forgot such a thing. I can't believe I found it in an old purse I never use! And there's frosting on it too... And I remembered her comment "I like cake!..." and it makes me smile! Our conversation at her retirement was mostly her story about me and her in 1989 and that was fine. It was a gift! When it was time for her to go back to business she hugged me - a really good hug, you know? She laughed and hugged me tight. 
I am genuinely grateful for her leadership and for our time together and hope this inspires some other women and men to build a stronger and more inclusive church, the way it has inspired myself. What a phenomenal woman! May we all learn from her example - may we all say exactly what is on our mind and grow in truth and beauty and for the common good!

Have a happy and healthy day my friends and thank you for reading! Keep on rockin' in the free world! Peace


January 27, 2015

Remember living is not growing - Growing takes intention

I am always happy when I find other writers who inspire me. I picked up this book at random the other day at the local library. It's called "How sucessful people grow" by John Maxwell and I want to share a section of it here today. The author writes about how when we are children our minds and bodies grow automatically, visibly and quickly. We become stronger, taller, more capable,  more independent and we face new challenges with vigor and gusto. How often have I looked at a child and said "if only I had their energy!". The fact is we do, it's just different. We can approach life as if everything can be tackled, much like a small child but we often choose not to, or we let our past failures and insecurities keep us from approaching life in such a way. "I think many people carry into adulthood a subconscious belief that mental, spiritual and emotional growth follows a similar pattern. Time goes by and we simply get better... The problem is we don't improve by simply living. We have to be intentional about it." (Maxwell, 2)

Well bravo Mr. Maxwell. You hit the nail on the head! We don't improve by accident - either as children or adults. We have to work for it, face failures, try and try again and most of all we have to be intentional about our improvements. We don't improve or learn simply because we grow older. It seems so obvious yet it's not and it may strike you as new knowledge - a new lesson; at least it did me. Once you're out of school learning becomes your responsibility - I wish we would teach our grads this instead of making them feel like they are finished. A diploma does not mean you're done with your education - in many ways it means it's just beginning. The process of growth is just that: a process - it has neither beginning or end, not if you're doing it right. So what's the point?

The point is quite simply, to grow. It's not about grades, or class ranking, or scholarships, or moving up the corporate ladder - those things are separate to your personal growth and we would be wise to remember this and make time for our own personal and spiritual growth. Now it's not easy. Nobody said it was - for starters it is a truly individualized enterprise.

Also there's no ribbons, or award ceremonies or applause along the way. You cannot gauge yourself against your classmates and there is no GPA involved. It's quite possibly the scariest and hardest educational endeavor imaginable. Worse still - there's no fudging it - a good interview will not balance out poor growth. You cannot re-take the test or get extended time. It is a process. A process not an endpoint. It's such a foreign way of thinking and approaching life for most of us that it's baffling. Many of us simply leave it for someone else to do. Let me make this one point crystal clear. Nobody will do this for you. There are no cliffs notes. There is no legacy to get you into the college of personal growth. It's all you my friend. Scared? That's okay. Just make sure you leave room for excitment and awe as well.

Remember being that small child - and dreaming of the day when you were grown and could make your own decisions. You could decide what to read, when to color, how late to stay up and who to sit next to... you have all these things. You have a library card right? Right? You have the same 24 hrs in a day as the rest of humanity. You have a brain and more decisions to make than you want - but if you realize what a huge gift; and opportunity this is for your own knowledge and personal growth you can truly grab life by the horns and seize the day... today, tomorrow and everyday of your life. Take ownership of your life by investing intentionally in your own growth. I can't tell you how exactly - and honestly would you want me to? Hell no. This is YOUR life my dear. Your choice, and your opportunity. Don't you dare let it pass you by without intentionally growing. Remember living is not growing - living is surviving. Growth is something more - it comes from a deeper place. It's spiritual, and religious, and intellectual, physical, and mental, it's anything and everything it means to be a human being living in the world community. Do with it what you please. But don't ignore it. Don't put it at the bottom of your priorities. This is you - and everything you embody.

Don't you want to know more? Aren't there things you seek to learn? Aren't their places - both physical and spiritual, that you long to discover? Think about what it is you want to do. If you have no idea - great! You have less baggage to carry around and your task is to be open to anything and everything that could possibly teach you, guide you, lead you - help you discover your passions. Whom do you want to be? How can you reach that goal - remember nothing is impossible so don't limit yourself or keep your answers small or commonplace.

Your growth opportunities are everywhere my friend - be open to the world and the world will open up to you. You'll accomplish more and be happier for it. Opportunities will find you. Teachers will appear and lessons will abound. If you aren't a little frightened then you're not doing it right. Now is the time to start growing. If you feel ready then you've waited too long! Once you start intentionally growing - the skies the limit. SO what are you waiting for - there's a world out there and it's exactly what the childhood version of yourself wanted access to... don't let that child down. Show them the kind of person you grew to be... are growing to be I should say. Expect to make mistakes, fall stumble, and get hurt. Embrace it - What toddler would learn to walk if they let their fear of falling run their lives. Be like a very small child - be intentional in your actions and intentional in your growth. Expect it to be messy - that's part of the fun. Learn to love the process and learn to love yourself. It's your imperfections that make you special afterall. Be open the growing - with all it's mess and glorious opportunities and never ever stop my friend. The world will thank you for it but more importantly that small child you once were will finally have someone worth looking up to.

Have a happy and healthy day dear friends. Peace, Audrey Elizabeth Korte

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January 22, 2015

Little by little

Little by little 

Moving past your chronic shame and humiliation: when you are dealing with long term,life altering disease, you can easily spend as much time fighting emotion and anxiety as you do facing your symptoms & fighting for your life. After over a decade of living with chronic disease, I am now able to recognize and maybe even recover a little on the mental and emotional fronts... 

What I have found enormously helpful is sharing these feelings. Some people do well with support groups, AA, NA, online groups etc - I have benefited from the process of creating content for this unexpected journey into web journals which I had no personal experience using, let alone writing prior to the day I began. Literally I had never read a blog to my knowledge and had no idea how to create a page or post or get anyone to read it and that's a good thing ... if I had any knowledge of what I could end up with or how many people would show up to read my posts on average... well I would have tried to do it all perfectly and probably would not have launched the 1st post until I felt I had things organized and looking good and professional and everything else that I am now ready and able to focus on the writing process. I struggle to stay on task, on topic and in touch with the world off screen. 

So blogging on Between Health and Wealth Avenues was never planned. I had no prior experience with, or awareness of, what would go into it other than the writing and picture uploads. I thought it was going to be a short term hobby with few readers and little interest from others besides a few friends, family members and chronic lymies. I was mistaken aparently. It's one of thoise times when being wrong is actaully pretty great!

Sometimes the process of writing with the intention of helping, helps you learn how to help yourself in the end. Weird huh? But that's exactly what's happening - little by little I learn, little by little I teach, little by little I move forward, little by little I move away from the life I've wanted nothing more then to leave in my wake for over a decade now - and no I do not leave my illness behind or my mistakes and suffering and the total devastation to my self esteem, faith, pride, personal goals, physical and mental strength and of course my independence. It may not appear like it to others but I am fighting the effects of these losses in my personality and perspective, to this day - and I do so because I have regained enough of my health and mental clarity and have made some real headway in many ways this last year to warrant sharing my story. I spread good news to those who need it most - but more importantly I spread hope and truth - neither of which we can live without.

I am trying to shake off the negativity and uncertainty that comes with being ill long term. I am trying not to focus on it, not to feed the ornery little devil. I need to distract myself, or direct my energy elsewhere. I am still spending time, quite a lot of time, feeling these things so strongly and so often that I don't know how to ignore or forget it except to stay busy and keep trucking along with the reader in mind. My past is chock full of horrors and harmful thinking - and now it's like a ticking clock that keeps you awake in the night when the rest of the house is able to sleep through it... well that's the way it feels regularly and that is why I share it tonight - just to let you know dear friend if you are in the fight of your life or feeling like there's no fight left in you that you are not alone. This is the bizarre world I am living in? This is what it feels like to survive - to begin again? Apparently. Not at all what I'd have thought but most of life has gone differently than I would have believed, wanted or sought. It doesn't mean it's not exactly what I need. 

I am waiting for the time when I am at peace with this lifelong disease- if and when I am able to find peace - I know I am closer then I was in my 20's. Not close enough to fool my ego apparently. I should know I am not in control of this life or this Lyme by now... I do recognize this on many levels, but the damn ego continues to go on as if the last 13 years had not occurred. Sigh - perhaps that is the root of my sadness and sense of misalignment with my own emotions, experiences and intellect. They say seek and ye shall find - I am finding the opposite at this point in my life and I think all things consider, I'm doing pretty well with it- I'm trying to listen, learn, accept and admit the things that are the hardest - darkest and most imprisoning... especially since I am all too aware of how much of a prison the Lyme and co-infections is, and will be in my future most likely: improsoning me physically, neurologically, emotionally, and mentally... but that realization of being imprisoned  by something neurological and diagnosable was what sent me on the path of seeking mental summits and sustenance again. I couldn't handle my own reality - nobody could I'd venture to guess - and no explanations came forward, no Doctor sat us down and explained it all. No epilogue was written, year after year it simply was... in various phases of misdiagnosis. Even after it was found and diagnosed and treated, it was still being misdiagnosed in ways that are too complex, political and absurd for the average semi-healthy western reader to believe until they live through it year after year. Take my word for it - Lyme is going to go down as one of the bigger medical tragedies in this century because it is chock full of cover ups, denials, and mistakes --- which aren't made by mistake --- if you know what I mean. Typical government bureaucracy and b.s. which has it's reasons for whatever travesty it creates or covers-up

But that's better left unsaid I suppose - oops - never was good at keeping my opinion to myself. I am trying to recognize an intense reality without painting a bigger, brighter target on my back and truth tellers especially those with imagination often end up walking right into the line of fire - am I right? 

Thankfully I have regained a significant amount of strength, and immune health since I started Juice Plus and that's a fact. Yet, I have 13 years of toil, heartache, and active daily Lyme disease which consists of literally hundreds of symptoms after years without treatment because it infects anywhere your blood goes including our brain, muscle, and even burrows into skin and bone using it's spiral shape; like a corkscrew... hence the term spirochete.

 Little by little we move on - little by little we find answers. It just may be the answer to a question you had never before asked.... it may be an answer you didn't consider before. It may be too much of an answer for your small delicate human brain and immature soul to handle or accept. But little by little the answers come - not all answers. Not when you seek them necessarily. Not when you wish for them and rarely in the language you speak fluently... answers come down to us like ancient artifacts unearthed slowly, painstakingly on an archeological dig. You may wish to use a back hoe and go for it - dig til you hit pay dirt but if you take a week to sift through an area carefully and in coordinated efforts then you may stumble on the items you are seeking. More likely you will find things that you weren't looking for and they will be answers to questions unasked, unconsidered, unthought. That's how I need to look at my life this year. And last year... and probably the year before - who knows what deep dark desires and despairs I was feeling and fighting at the time of regular hospital trips and ambulance rides and suffering in solitude or seeking solace in anything, even the things I didn't like or want, but when you face the kind of turmoil and pain and life or death decisions I did to survive the disease, the flare ups, the medications, the lack of medication, the side effects and sickness from the medications, well at some point you realize if you're not keeping your eyes wide open you will never come to terms with your own reality. Reality is chaos. Surviving it must revolve around something else. 

 Little by little

I move onward. I begin again. 

Little by little
I acknowledge,
I share, 
I analyze 
I write
I help and hope...and heal. 

The trouble is when I'm writing these things it's raw, it's new - it's occurring now so the whole "whew I feel a little better then I did" emotion I am driven towards & hoping to find when delving into tough topics about my own experience - has not happened. If I am lucky it will come right around the time I finish editing and hit post (LOL - as if! I should know better than to seek this - it will find me when I am ready.) But ideally it'd happen between being driven to share something and driven to distraction ... otherwise this post goes in the drafts pile along with hundreds of pages of writing that wasn't finished, wasn't named or dated or saved with images - just words and ellipses. Words and words and words which at some point had a beginning, middle and goal endpoint in mind but between the beginning and the goal I went off-roading and got myself lost... not this time! Little by little I will edit and progress both on page and off.

Little by little -Right? So friends I am putting my faith in you - that someone out there is with me - gets my train of thought and references and puns and follows without harsh criticism... is that so much to ask? No. And dear friend if you should be in pain, sick, friendless, stuck etc. - know now I am here for you. I may not be the best of company or the wisest. I may not be what you sought but perhaps I am what was needed? Perhaps I helped in some small way - helped you, helped myself --- who knows. When in this depth of emotion and driven to write the uncomfortable things - the unhappy thoughts, the difficult and uncertain posts, the ideas based on honesty which you don't want to write per Se yet it needs to happen... I am here in thought and mind and deed for you. 

Maybe the answer you need will come on the next dig. Maybe we can find answers together?

Little by Little we'll get there.

Little by little I do what I can. It helps me and it helps those around me to see what it truly means to battle; to be a Lyme Warrior so that when I do ask for help they know it's not from laziness or habit - quite the opposite.

And so I find myself sharing my thoughts, experiences, hopes and fears with the world in a manner of speaking and helping myself and others at the same time. It's quite overwhelming - taking such responsibility.  I may feel embarrassment, insecurity

I wish you a happy, healthy and healing day full of sunshine and hope! Y'all come back now ya hear?Much Peace, Audrey






HAVE A HAPPY AND HEALTH DAY MY FRIENDS. Y'all come back now ya hear?

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January 12, 2015

An extra large order of forgiveness- with a side of slaw please... (Ritual and Release: Part I. Forgiveness)

Howdy folks! I hope everyone is doing well. I have been sporadic with my posts I know - due to travels and technical difficulties which seem to be a chronic illness in and of themselves. Today I wanted to share some notes I took this week on the process of forgiveness. This is something I seriously need to work on especially when it comes to forgiving myself but we all have our weaknesses I'm sure. I decided yesterday to start incorporating more rituals into my life when it comes to the areas on which I need the most work and the anthropologist in me is saying "why didn't you do this earlier? Surely you know the importance of rituals!" Well nobody said I was the fastest when it comes to self realization and implementing methods of self care and growth... but at least I'm finally getting there.

It is going to take serious work on my part I know and that's why I share it here - I usually write what I need to remember the most - the lessons I am still learning and discovering - the tasks at hand - the ideas I need to put into action and not just store in the "good idea" or "great advice" folder of my life. No this is the ongoing "to do list" for myself and others and I'm so glad to know others are with me on this journey. Thank you for joining me here once again friends. Together we can become better versions of ourselves. That I believe wholeheartedly. But I admit I need a lot of assistance with forgiveness especially forgiving and moving on after my own past. I've always been incredibly hard on myself even when it served no purpose. Even when it made no sense - like when I got Lyme disease and the slew of horrors that have occurred with my health... I have always felt if I tried hard enough I could control it - I could undo the damage to relationships and self esteem and physical limitations. I still have not learned in my heart and mind that this approach is foolish. Intellectually I know this. I recognize and analyze and comprehend on as many levels as possible but emotionally, when it's just me, myself and I - well, I continue to feel guilt and shame, and despair over the absolutely uncontrollable aspects of this life. Absurd? Yes. True? Yes. Such is our human condition I suppose. And this is one of many reasons I need to work on forgiving myself, and others in this lifetime - starting right now.  

Even as I write I begin my normal routine of criticizing myself for not having done this sooner, earlier, last year, last month, yesterday. Like I said - I'm a work in progress. We all are.

Alas, none of us can fix yesterday but we have today, tomorrow and however much time is given to us to begin our process of rebirth, renewal and releasing ourselves from the prisons we build in our lives when we don't learn how to take time out of our busy lives and look inward. We must reflect in order to release and release in order to renew our scarred bodies, minds and souls. It begins with something so simple it's laughable - setting your intentions. Set your intentions and invest in yourself. Sounds easy right?

Nope. It's not. It's easy to say and commonplace to agree with when another reminds us to do so. It's much different when you put this idea into action. Remember above all it's an investment - it's a process and if you're intelligent and inspired - well it will be a process that never ends. Sounds fun right? I mean who does not want to begin something else with everything going on in our daily lives - who among us has the time to spare? Well if you're smart - if we're smart that is then we will all make the time. It's a process but it doesn't begin until you do, and nobody can do it for you.

Start with this simple outline - I always find when I have a plan it makes focusing on such tasks a lot easier and more beneficial to me. I may be old fashioned by recommending a pen and paper but is there anything so personal as your own handwriting? I mean it leaves so much room for interpretation by you the writer - long after you put the pen down. It's a gift to yourself later on too. I can tell a lot about myself based on what color pen I decided to use and how legible the writing is after the fact. If I'm struggling with my neurological Lyme I notice the shaky hands and difficulty I had with spelling and writing straight and I am realizing now it's healthy to see this when the words reflect my own personal work. If I find a piece of writing, a blog post idea, a to-do list from 6 months ago and compare it to my lists from 6 years ago I can congratulate myself - I'm actually writing, reflecting, my mind is working and I'm making a lot of progress with the inner me. I sometimes get emotional when I see how much I struggled with simple tasks but seeing it and acknowledging it is healthy and reminds me on the good days to work a little harder, stand a little straighter and smile a little brighter. No matter what I Face today I have faced worse before and that's not a cliche in m y life. It's a simple truth and one I'd do well to remember. This is why I encourage you, if you are able, to forgo the computer or tablet with these inner explorations - and don't worry most people find the process takes less time, and feels "complete" sooner when they do it by hand. At least that's been my experience with those who tried this exercise out for me over the last 2 weeks - they all had positive and encouraging things to say and felt it was worth a little time and effort. One friend told me she felt lighter and hopes to do this at least once a month now. You go girl! (And remind me to join you lady...)

Start here: Write this at the top of your paper - "I acknowledge and release the lessons of my past. I release my shortcomings. I forgive. I forgive you. I forgive myself. I forgive my friend(s). I forgive my family. I forgive the human race. I forgive God." (Note: The last line raises some eyebrows but I think it's important to say because many of us carry grievances in our heart against God, or entities or spirits or energy and without acknowledging this we can not begin the process of self love and forgiveness. If it offends you leave it out.)

Now pause and read what you just wrote allowed. Then continue where you left off...

"I forgive myself. I forgive others for their actions and shortcomings too. In order to go forward in peace I forgive and look for inner and outer peace and harmony."

Now insert your own specifics here - things you want to be forgiven for - it can be general or specific. If you're going all the way back to the candy bar you stole in 3rd grade then you're probably getting to specific and working yourself up which is NOT the point of this. Guilt is not going to help us heal but it is a symptom of the sickness in your heart and soul - a sickness that can be healed if you allow it, accept it and welcome it. This is your chance.

Take your regrets and sorrows from the past and when your brain shifts to making lists (and it will I promise) that's your sign to start a new page. Trust me. Start a new page and know it will be a list not a prayer, or a paragraph or anything like that - it's short, sweet and to the point. Take your regrets and guilt and sorrows from the past, LIST THEM on the left of the page. Give yourself a couple of lines in between as I've found most of us get less neat and tidy when doing this, and sometimes the item listed is a sentence or two long even if you meant it to be shorter. That's fine. Get it down on the page. You can mix your personal items with those offenses done to you by others. This is not a test. The more you let things flow, the better. This can take some people 10 minutes. One person ended up writing for almost 3 hrs apparently - no it wasn't me but on a different day in a different mood it well could have been. Don't judge or criticize others or yourself to the best of your ability. Your examining wounds - expect them to be sore for a moment or two but remember this is the ointment to heal these wounds and you'll feel so much better when it's done. If the idea appeals to you that's your soul telling you to get to it! Why wait? This baggage is heavy and unnecessary - why carry it another hour or day?

Now if you're like some folks and want to give up after 2 minutes I encourage you to really invest in this for 10-15 minutes without your phone, or TV or email open. Just you, your thoughts, the pen and paper. It'll be okay. It's 15 minutes. Breath.

When you are done with your list, or when you need a break - emotionally - go through the items on this list and one by one write in a column next to the items " I FORGIVE MYSELF." or "I FORGIVE THIS PERSON"... as appropriate. This is the most important part. Don't rush this but do focus on finishing the exercise. You're close afterall. This is where the payoff will be.


Okay stay with me. Nobody said this was easy - just that it's worth it. SO WORTH IT!


Re-read your opening paragraph please "I acknowledge and release the lessons of my past..." and then come back to those circled items. If you still feel the same -  like you can't forgive yourself, or this person etc YET - then start your 3rd and final sheet of paper. Write out the offenses on the left side of the paper once again - only the ones you couldn't forgive on page 2 - and on the right side of the paper make a list of actions you may need to do, or words you need to say, or confessions you want to make, or apologies you want to hear which you think would allow you to forgive this event and release your grip on it. Now don't get carried away. This is not the time to start calling people and picking fights nor is it the time to chastise yourself and let your guilty conscious carry you into an emotional black hole. And if you are invested in yourself and in the process this is something you may feel momentarily but still be able to walk away from. Remember to focus on ways to forgive, not get even, or atone necessarily. This is about releasing the baggage of past regrets and sorrows because it's good for you. It's good for your soul and spirit. It's good for the self. Therefore it's good for others as well. If you have written down actions and ideas for how to forgive yourself for offenses against another - you can start implementing them later today or tomorrow. You want to finish this but not overwhelm yourself. Some wounds are deep and as long as you're working on them you're progressing. It's your work and effort here though not another's. So if you have written down anything that involves someone else taking actions or speaking the words you want, expect, or feel are necessary to heal then I'm sorry to inform you - that is an item on the list to circle AGAIN. As long as you see it for what it is and circle it you'll be able to finish today's excercise. The items you have circled twice are things you can not yet forgive in yourself or others, and have now acknowledged you need to work on again - perhaps tomorrow or the day after. Give yourself some time and then start this exercise over, don't just pick up on page 3 where you left off - that gives the whole thing an unfinished feel and I promised you this would make you feel better. It will if you acknowledge how many things you just released instead of focusing on the items you still have to work on. SO Go through that list and look at what you just accomplished. You have started the healing process for how many painful parts of the past? For how many grievances, shortcomings and sorrows? Be proud of yourself! Remember it's a process. It will never be finished which is why it's all the more important to get started now.

Tomorrow you start again - and I bet the list will be much shorter and take less time to get through. Congratulations you have officially begun to heal your soul.


HAVE A HAPPY AND HEALTH DAY MY FRIENDS. Y'all come back now ya hear? : )

PEACE, Audrey






Have a happy and healthy day dear friends. Peace, Audrey Elizabeth Korte

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