"Carry the Dharma" -- an online space for survivors of spiritual abuse

Starting in July, I'd like to offer a space for people to gather online and explore spiritual abuse through the path of meditation. If this sounds interesting to you, please feel free to reach out to me through the comments below and I can share more about the group (and the password to the sign up page).

Each meet-up will consist of:

~ 10 minutes of sharing about a topic that relates to healing/moving on from spiritual abuse

5 minutes of guided Shamatha (breath awareness) meditation

15 minutes of Q&A

Here are a few topics that I've been tossing around. If you have any ideas for future topics, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

  1. Intro to meditation instruction, why we're here and discussing: "How do we 'work with' spiritual betrayal?"
  2. "After experiencing spiritual abuse, how do we work with concepts like 'faith' and 'belief'?"
  3. "How do we work with trusting ourselves again?"
  4. "Who am I after spiritual abuse?" 
  5. "Is my body good?" (guest speaker)
  6. "What do I tell my children about God in light of spiritual abuse? Talk about spiritual topics?" (guest speaker)
  7. "How do I find practical help after spiritual abuse?" (guest speaker)
  8. "How do we relate with dying and uncertainty after spiritual abuse?" (guest speaker)

Step 6 delayed and here's why ...

It’s been almost three years since I worked in an office full time. Before taking the “self employed plunge,” I thought that anything could be better than working for a company. I hated being rushed in the mornings. I hated being chained to a desk. I hated being evaluated for hours worked instead of my productivity, insight and efficiency. The more I focused on these feelings, the bigger they got, until they seemed unmanageable, and it became unthinkable to stay in the gilded cage of corporate America.

I took the great leap and like most things in life, about two months later, reality started to set in. It was no longer thrilling to answer emails in my pajamas, or to jog in the middle of the afternoon without asking anyone's permission. There were things like juggling client expectations and "how am I going to pay this bill next month?"

I tried to build in elements of freedom so that this whole experiment could at least seem worthwhile. But it turns out that being motivated by next month's paycheck never did quite measure up. Instead of needing to be completely free to chase my own wiles, it turns out that what I needed was a lot of things that a formal 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job offered. I needed things like structure (tasks to fill my day); companionship (friends to work alongside and eat lunch with most every day); expectations (do this by this point, please); rhythm (see you on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday); and contribution (you helped make this possible!).

Why am I telling you all this today?

Well, because last week I didn’t write Step 6 of the 7-step series we’re in the middle of. I don’t have a nice orderly blog to offer you today. It’s outlined on paper, but it is not written. And instead of pushing and cranking on myself to get it out at the ninth hour last night, I thought I’d take a stab at letting you know what's up.

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Have you ever been in a place you knew you shouldn’t be? I often struggle to identify the difference between where I ought to be and where I truly desire to be. There are plenty of voices in our lives that will tell us—be sensible, be small, be frugal, be considerate of everyone’s feelings except your own. It’s a circular sort of trap that I got caught in, torn between doing what was expected and what was nourishing to me deep down inside.

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At the age of 19, there were a lot of things that came flooding to the surface. Fast forward to age 32 and I've got a working theory on people:

there are friends who fluff their pillows and there are those who don't

Some people can let you into their inner circle in a healthful way, while others stay back. Some run in circles with themselves, which makes it really hard to figure out what's ever going on. I'm somewhere in the middle -- I'm a pillow fluffer in remission with occasional flair ups.

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In Colorado when you want to get from one side of a mountain to another, sometimes you have to drive through it. Not around it, not along the edge, but right through that giant rock holding all those trees and rivers and animals. The mountain stretches up, up, up to the sky and as you look back down to the road, you realize that they’ve carved out a relatively small crevice for your car to zip through to the other side. 

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