In this final segment, Lynn Sumida talks about finding our way out of all “fall from grace,” and how to find a firm footing once again.
I’ve told my story fairly frequently…how, although I’ve always known that I was gay, I didn’t come out until I was in my late thirties. For many years I tried not to be gay, because the world that I lived in (the world of conservative Christianity) just didn’t have any room for gay and lesbian people and their “sinful lifestyle choice.”
I want to be clear, though… this blog post is not about making anyone wrong. I’m not going to rail against faith of any stripe, the church, organized religion or its leaders. Even now, when I look back upon this earlier chapter of my life, I am deeply grateful for all it meant to me. This was the path I took to get me to today, and I’m really thankful for having come this way.
Over the past couple of weeks Lynn has been talking about the experience of “falling from grace.” In my own life, I’ve experienced one or two of these, and as an adult I find that the greatest negative reaction hasn’t been from the people around me… but, rather, from the chorus of voices inside my own head.
I came to the church in my late teens. It was a place of warmth and welcoming… I was embraced, and loved, and accepted (at least the part of me that I would allow people to see). The people there were truly wonderful to me. In terms of the five genetic needs, it met my own need for love and belonging in a way I’d never experienced before.
Over the years which followed, I grew in my faith and understanding of what the expectations were of someone who desired to be an ardent follower of Christ. My “quality world pictures” of what a christian man was were forming and being honed and reinforced on a daily basis. In the years which followed I was married, became a father, completed ministerial training, and entered full-time pastoral ministry. My “picture” of the man I was supposed to be were deeply ingrained in my mind and heart. I knew who I was expected to be… who I WANTED to be; the faithful, devout christian… the husband… the father… the minister. But I was also painfully aware that I was hiding something…something that seemed in those days to stand in direct opposition to every other part of my life which I held so dear.
Over the course of time, I had created quality world pictures of who I thought I needed to be. Finally the breaking point came, and I couldn’t continue to hide who I really was. After more than 20 years of trying to live up to the pictures, I came out and my “world” came crashing down around my feet.
Yes, certainly there was fallout from those around me. I do not in anyway intend to minimize the impact coming out had on my family. At the same time, however, it would be less than honest to ignore that the greatest critic…the loudest voice of condemnation…was my own and was heard by no one but myself.
By admitting to my world, I was also admitting to myself that I wasn’t really the man that I had seen in my quality world. My secret was out; I had crossed the threshold, and I could never unsay those words or close the door which I’d opened.
Over the course of the next few years, I found myself in the business of deconstructing those pictures. Looking at them, and trying to figure out who I really was, and how I was supposed to relate to the world around me — and more importantly — to the God I loved, but as a gay man. The year which followed was the most difficult year of my life up to that point, and was most likely the catalyst which resulted in years of clinical depression. I was confused, conflicted, and torn in ways I thought would never heal. It was unbelievably hard for me.
This was my “fall from grace.”
Did I recover? I not only recovered, but grew immeasurably. And that part of the story will come very soon. Stay tuned. 🙂
This week’s blog is Part 2 in a series entitled, “Fall from Grace.” In this episode, Lynn Sumida talk about a variety of scenarios where we, as adults, may have experienced what we’re calling a Fall from Grace. It might be the loss of a job, an affair or marriage breakdown, or some other seemingly catastrophic event. It really hits us in where it hurts…our self-worth.
Take a few moments and check it… we think you’ll be glad you did.
Have you ever experienced a “fall from grace?” It can be very painful, and its effects far reaching. Regardless of the stage of life in which it occurs, it can be truly difficult to navigate, and the impact that it has can last a lifetime.
In this episode, Lynn Sumida begins a conversation about “falling from grace,” what it means, and how we can recognize its current day impact in our lives. This is the beginning of a great series, and you’re not going to want to miss it!
No, we’re not asking if they’re broken… rather, have they somehow been mixed up a bit?
This week Lynn Sumida talks about what happens when we let what’s really important to us shift around, and maybe get neglected. We think it’s a much better way of looking at it, rather than asking “do you have your priorities straight?”
The video is just over 6 minutes long… take a look. We think you’ll be glad you did.
Ever feel overwhelmed? Paralyzed, and not knowing what to do, or what to do first? In this episode, Lynn offers three simple strategies for moving forward and breaking through the “Overwhelm Barrier.”
There are occasions in life for each of us in which we’re presented with truly amazing opportunities. And it’s easy to see the possibilities, isn’t it? It’s easy to get excited and engage the ‘dream machine’ inside our minds and let our thoughts soar with what could be.
We start to see all the things that need to be done in order to take advantage of that great opportunity. And sometimes… well, maybe most of the time… there are “things that need to be done” that challenge us. We’re not quite sure how to do them, or we don’t think we have the necessary skill, knowledge or resources. Maybe we’re cash-short, or we don’t think we know the right people. And fear starts to set in.
Fear is a good thing. Sometimes. It’s built into all of us, and lives in the most ancient part of our brains… the reptilian brain. We need it to keep us safe. Fear is the thing that keeps us out of harm’s way; it’s that mechanism that keeps us from stepping off the curb and into traffic, from putting our hands down on a hot stove; it’s that instant reaction which causes us to do otherwise outrageous things if we perceive a threat to one of our children. Clearly, it serves a purpose and we don’t want it completely disable it, even if we could.
Clearly, though, it’s outta control sometimes. Fear comes up with the flimsiest excuses to keep us in our personal safety zone… and for me, at least, that safety zone is pretty limiting. It keeps me from allowing my creativity to flow for fear of failure or criticism. It keeps me from completing projects for fear they won’t be perfect. And it keeps me from having fun because I someone might think I look silly. There is no doubt that fear is an oppressive task master.
So, as I look at the way fear operates, it seems to me that there are at least two important things.
First, is to recognize it that it’s kicked into gear. Like anything in life, we can’t bring corrective action to something we don’t know is going on. For me, the first thing I need to do is to be conscious and aware of the ways that fear works in my system. It’s only when I recognize that it’s “running” that I can move on to step number 2.
Second, is to become curious about what’s triggered the fear. What is it that I’m really afraid of? Most of the time… well, okay… almost ALL of the time, my fear is based in some egoic “construct.” Most of the time, my fear is rooted in the thoughts I think about a particular thing, rather than the thing itself. “What will people think?” “Will I fail?” “Will I look stupid?” Do any of these sound at all familiar?
So now that I recognize running in my system, and I’ve really dug down into the core of the “feeling,” I’m at a choice point. Most of the time, once I’m at this level, I can really see it for what it is, and dismiss it or work through it in some constructive way. Once I recognize the voice inside telling me that I should be afraid is, in fact, the voice of the 5-year old, then I can move forward.
Unless I can’t.
Here’s the thing about fear, and being conscious of it, and working through it.
Sometimes it’s locked so deep in our systems that we are oblivious to what’s going on. We’re just afraid, and we don’t know why. We call upon one of the 5-F’s in defense (fight, flight, freeze, feed or f [uh… procreate]), and it takes us totally off course, sometimes for extended periods of time. Sometimes we’re sidelined for way too long. Sometimes, the opportunity is totally lost. And the kicker is the reaction is instantaneous. We don’t think about it, we don’t activate it… BOOM! We’re in full on fear mode.
Here are the differences that Prime Potential has made in my life.
First of all, so much of the deep seated fear has been released from my system. The process has just dissolved it. There are significant issues which used to scare me into paralysis, that just simply don’t have that effect anymore.
Secondly, it’s allowed me to be present and in observer mode much more often. These days, when I do feel the familiar twinges of fear in my gut, I am present enough that I can start asking questions. “Oh, really? What’s THAT about? What is it that’s really going on here?”
And then I can work through it much more easily than ever before in my life. I am far better prepared to stand with my arms wide open and embrace change and opportunity than at any other time. It’s an amazing place to be.
So… does fear sideline you? Does it take you off course, or even derail you all together? One question we’ll ask clients is, “how much has fear cost you in terms of lost opportunity?” The answer is often really sobering.
We can help. That’s what Prime Potential does. It uproots fear in your system, and frees you up to live the live you came to live.
Please be in touch with us. We’d love to have a conversation with you.
Paul and Lynn continue their conversation about overcoming shame in this second installment.
Lynn Sumida and Paul Johnson continue the conversation about the impact that shame has on our daily lives. We hope that you’ll take a few minutes and check it out!
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In this episode, Lynn Sumida continues the discussion about the undeniable link between our guts and our brains. This unfolding understanding has significant potential for the ways that we help people find wholeness, strength and well being. The video is about 7 minutes long, and we hope you’ll check it out!