I write about several subjects. When I am asked to put any given subject into a category, there is not always one to suit. Dogma is one of them.
One can be dogmatic about anything. Religion, health, nutrition, dieting, money, politics and lately I am beginning to notice some dogma creeping into Spirituality. Not good!
A loose definition of Spirituality is that; we find a truth that we know is coming from our soul and not from some outer authority.
Which in turn sets us free from fear. But there is a journey and it although it is not easy, it is exciting.
Millions of us are living in a world where we can be subjected to dogma.
One example is until recently I belonged to a club for a certain diet. Not your usual calorie counting one I may add. It worked for me, but only after experimenting to find what suits me, using the suggestions as a guide. However, after a while, the diet became dogma, not from the author, but from people joining and using the original book as dogma. Thou shalt not eat this and never eat that! The author of the original book often has difficulty getting across to people that she never meant for this to happen.
Vegetarians can become very dogmatic. Nutritionists, Dietary Advisors and it goes without saying that politicians certainly can.
Another example is The Law of Attraction. I am beginning to notice people saying that if something does not go your way it is because you are not following the rules. What rules?
I am beginning to notice people saying that if something does not go your way it is because you are not following the rules. What rules?
The dogma that has affected my life is the one of Religion. And there are millions of people in this world who are the same. Many of them stay within that dogma for the whole of their lives. But there is an increasing awareness that we do not have to spend our lives obeying someone else’s rules because it suits them. The more I study and research, the more I am finding out that we need to find out for ourselves what the truth is for our individual soul.
I have just written a book about how I did it, which is a simple narrative of my life as a child in the 1940’s and 1950’s, a young Mother in the 1960’s and 1970’s and how the teachings of a Pentecostal dogma or fundamentalism had dire effects on my choices in life. The added factor was that the Pentecostals claim that they are not religious. But a loose definition of religion can be that we follow someone elses set of rules. And there were a lot of rules in my life that came from the Pentecostal teachings and in many other evangelical movements.
From the early 1980’s life began to change, in a very dramatic and traumatic way. With the loss of everything, marriage, business, possessions and the roof over my head, during the next thirty years, I found the way to my soul. Thirty years may seem a long time, but it has all been a gradual dawning and an exciting, although at times painful journey. I found the truth and that truth has made me free.
That is the title of my book “The Truth Has Made Me Free.” It is still being prepared for publishing at this point, September 2017, but keep a look out for it.
I recognise that there are many others who have suffered because of fundamental teaching about anything. Especially other religions, but I also know of a few who have suffered because of other dogma, not just religion.
I also want to start a group on Facebook for people who have been affected by fundamentalism or dogma, in any way. Either from your own experience, or someone you know, and how it has affected you in any way. And of course, if you too have managed to be free from it all.
Would you comment below if you would like to join such a group?
As many of you know, I have the condition known as AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration)
I won’t go into the details of the condition; you can google it for that, or look at previous blogs that I have written.
I like to write about my experience, for people to understand it, both in the carer’s capacity and the sufferer.
As soon as people are diagnosed with this condition, life becomes a challenge.
Firstly the acceptance of it. Sad to say, many consultants or ophthalmologists, don’t understand that when they use the words, “There is no cure, and nothing that can be done I’m afraid” (which many people who have the condition have experienced,) it frightens people badly. They panic, they despair, they wonder what is going to happen and I have had people say that they could not stop crying for days afterwards.
Secondly, life takes on new challenges.
For this blog, I will take just these two, as there are much more in our everyday lives.
The first one, scary as the consultant’s words are, they are not as final as they may sound. Yes, there is no cure at present for AMD, but there could be in the future. But there is so much help, and support that in reality, the consultant’s words should be something like “There is no known cure at present, but as long as you don’t have any other conditions, you will not go blind. And there is plenty of help and support out there for people like you. Let me introduce you to a way to start.”
You could then be led down several routes.
Ask at reception for details about having a low vision assessment.
Go online or ask someone to find details about the condition and what can be done to help slow up the process with lifestyle.
(The information in this blog may not be suitable for other countries, but I hope that it will lead you to see that there is support, and you will find out from the US group.)
So now to the second point from above. Life takes on new challenges.
Yes, it does indeed. Firstly there is the challenge of acceptance. I am not saying that there is never any hope of a cure, but at the time of writing there is not. I have had some people sending me links about treatments that they have had, and it may have worked for them, but scientifically there is no cure.
I have also had suggestions to me that it is emotional and maybe there is something that I am not seeing in my life that needs to be sorted. Someone even suggested that all illness is emotional. I am not dismissing that idea, and yes, I can go along with that, but AMD is a mechanical breakdown, and it needs to be managed until there is a better way. Much the same as managing any other breakdown in our body.
If the emotional side of it grabs you, then, by all means, look at it. If it works for some, I would dearly love to hear about it. Not theory or hearsay, but testimonials of your own experience.
But I am talking to people who don’t think that way, and just want support for their condition. To know how to learn to live with it, and make the most of their new lives, with AMD and hear about how others manage.
So, back to the challenges that AMD can present themselves in our everyday lives. Well, there are many;
Learning how to manage gadgets, books etc., by adjusting the font sizes.
There are plenty of hearing tools, such as audio books, and your local library will help.
Having some visual identification such as a white symbol cane, so that people will understand if you are taking a long time in the supermarket queue or getting on and off the bus.
Finding ways of continuing your hobbies. With suitable lighting and magnifying tools.
Those are just some of the aids that help. You will find out more as you go along.
Then, as the condition progresses, you may have to make more adjustments.
Up to now I have managed to continue my hand sewing and have been making some quite intricate items. But in the last two weeks, I have realised that I need to find an alternative. I can no longer manage it. I am currently struggling to make my last cushions after doing them for a few years. That is an adjustment. A challenging one, but by being tenacious, I realise that I can make crochet items instead because crocheting is a more tactile activity.
That is just one example. Other examples may be, changing your room around so that you have plenty of lighting or shadow where it’s needed. For example, you may find the TV is better in another part of the room or your chair.
I am finding that my life is enhanced by having this condition. I am starting to work in a local group who do courses for people with visual limitations, and from this, I am making many new friends. I also belong to the local Macular Society group, and sometimes I almost ache with laughter at seeing the funny side of everything.
I have great pleasure writing about the condition because not many people who have it can do that for one reason or another. That way I feel that life still has a meaning and purpose.
We can all adjust to anything in our lives. Most times it is fear that prevents us from seeing that. Whether it is illness, disability, job loss, losing a partner or someone special in our lives and many other life events.
I am not saying that it is easy, I know from personal experience what it is like to be depressed after or during a life-changing event. But what I want to share is that in the end with a positive mindset, and being grateful in our everyday lives for the things we take for granted; it can be done.
I hope that reading this will encourage many people not to despair when diagnosed with AMD. There is much to hope for, and all is well. Just keep making those adjustments and enjoying life. It is possible.
Hi my lovely fellow Silver Tenters. After the discussion yesterday, as promised, here is a Precis of the Introduction to my forthcoming book. At this stage I will not be sharing this with Facebook in general. But people would be able to find it on my Website.
Please bear in mind that it has to be professionally edited, so please excuse any grammar, typos or toehr errors.
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
When he kissed me, something deep down inside was torn out of me. I wanted to scream, cry and yet dance with ecstasy. What on earth or heavens was happening to me? It was torture and ecstasy all at the same time.
I was forty-six years old and had not realised that I had been almost dead before this event. It was to lead on to not only one, but two disastrous affairs. It was my sexual awakening and the beginning of the rest of my life. Now in my forties, I wanted to live with abandonment and a feeling of invincibility, the girl inside had been let loose at last.
The light inside had been hidden under a bushel for too long. From that moment on I was on a brand new track, which was to prove painful. It included major loss, heartbreak and loss of confidence.
But the uphill climb was to be worth it for the view. I reached higher pinnacles than I could ever have visualised in my later life.
And life after that led me to learn at last that I was good enough and that I was able to be a shining beacon in my own right, without the approval of anyone else.
Most of all I have managed to break a chain that has been handed down through at least three generations of narcissism. I could never tell my Mother anything without it coming back to it being all about her and her needs.
It also opens the eyes of the reader and listener of how Narcissistic churches and movements, can hurt and abuse the mind, body and soul. Time after time when I was among them or needed support I was told that my issues were something that I needed to sort out and it was probably connected with my faith issues anyway.
When you read this, I will have most certainly moved on yet again. This is what now makes my life so exciting. It is not static, and I am ageing with the vital force still alive within me. I am still vital and will be until the day I die. Then I hope that my spirit will still be around to inspire and give hope, grace and love to those I leave behind.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves; “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. Marianne Williamson.
This quote from Marianne Williamson’s Book “A Return to Love” sums up what my book is about. It is a true story of a woman whose life was lived in the shadow of fear, ignoring her greatness and light.
I lived in fear of not doing the right thing because of dire consequences. The threat of going to Hell if I did not behave in ways that pleased others. Unfortunately, the others around me were also living in fear, and many readers will identify with that.
Unless you have been able to find your way back to the light within you, you will live in fear. No matter what you were brought up to believe. Whatever our culture, religion, race or creed, the moment we leave the womb, we begin to lose that light.
As children, we are closer to it, but as we learn that certain behaviours are not acceptable, we gradually go into a state of fear.
I decided that I would like to tell my story of how I came back into the light after the first two-thirds of my life living in fear. Coming back into that light started at the age of around 38 years. As I write this, I am in my 73rd year. I am still on my journey towards that light, but it is certainly much brighter now.
I want you to understand that I am writing this in the spirit of forgiveness and enlightenment. During my later years in life, I was able to see that everyone involved in my life was there for a purpose. For their journey as well as mine.
All of us in this life, are part of Gods experience on earth and in the Universe. We live, love and learn through these experiences and we need to forgive one another simply in love. That does not mean that we condone what someone else has done, but to understand that they are coming from a place in their experience in life.
My experience and many others as children and when we are older is that sin is something we do that others close to us or in authority over us, do not approve of. For whatever reason, whether it is their beliefs, religion or even their own insecurities.
Religious Authorities can be fear mongering. In former times, they had a very strong hold on people’s lives. But in these days of instant information, we do not need to be in a place where we blindly follow what they say without questioning it.
My story is coming from a dark place of Narcissistic teaching, which bred a few generations of people like myself who mistakenly believed that they were the only ones who would get it right, and if you did not do as they said, then you went to Hell.
My Lovely Mum has spent the whole of her life living in fear of her and her loved ones never being good enough. We needed to accept Jesus as our personal Saviour. Heaven was where you went if you did that.
You must not wear trousers if you were female, you must not smoke, drink alcohol, swear, wear makeup or go to the cinema. You must not have sex before marriage. You must not go anywhere that you could not take Jesus with you. You must go to church three times on a Sunday, go to Sunday School, not play out on a Sunday. My life as a child was controlled by these beliefs.
In my older years and as I learn about the real meaning of love and grace, I am coming from a place where I have forgiven the people who taught the doctrines and beliefs included in my life because I now understand that they did not know any different. I thank God that I am living in the age of the internet and many books that I have been able to study and find out my truth for myself.
In my early thirties I was also to encounter another church which re-enforced these beliefs.
My truth may not be other peoples’ truth, but I know the truth for me because I have a knowing deep down inside that almost hurts in a physical way. There is a difference between believing something and knowing it. Especially when something resonates with me and sends me back to the places, people, and environments that I describe.
In turn, the churches that still practice these older beliefs, call the enlightenment that is happening in the world through the teachings of people such as Caroline Myss, Wayne Dyer, Neale Donald Walsh, The Course in Miracles, Marianne Williamson and others, “New Age Stuff” which they believe is of the devil.
I still get days when I am depressed and weary, but this is part of the human experience isn’t it?
I want people, especially my children and their children’s children, to know how the genetic inheritance of those disempowering beliefs, affected me and countless others, especially women. Not only the teachings of the Pentecostal movement but the charismatic movement of the seventies and house churches.
I want this book to show how the damage to my Psyche and my soul and spirit, affected my choices and outlook in life, but also how I have at last healed from it, and continuing on the journey of life staying healed and free.
A lot is written about narcissistic parents, partners and spouses, but not about the thousands of people brought up and taught by many churches; that they are worthless without being “Saved.”
Among the hundreds of books that I have read, I found these; “Will I ever be good enough?” “Why is it always about me?” and “God is not a Christian, nor a Jew” by Carlton Pearson.
When I read the words of Carlton, my heart leapt with joy that at last, I had come across someone who understands what I have been thinking all of my life. Carlton was brought up in the Pentecostal church and became a Bishop. It is amusing to hear him describe his everyday life, thoughts, and feelings as a child, growing up in this environment and having the beliefs of fundamental Christianity thrust onto him.
In his book “The Gospel of Inclusion” also by Carlton Pearson, I feel so connected to his experience and his vision and he uses the Christmas song;
You better not shout, You better not cry,
You better watch out I’m telling you why;
Santa Claus is coming to town.
Likening Santa to the judgment day.
My Grandmother believed that for every sinner she saved, there would be an added diamond in her crown of glory when she gets to heaven. How sad is that? I don’t know where it says that this happens in the Bible.
My life as a child was just like that. I was never good enough in any way. I continued living this pattern right through my first marriage up until around the age of forty.
For the last thirty years, there has been a gradual dawning that I am good enough, and I did not need all those trappings from those crappy teachings.
We are all born with the light in our lives, and we need to recognise that it is already there. We are Valuable just as we are. I was brought up to believe that I needed an outside force to “make me good” and it was all about the life to come, not the one that we have on earth.
We do need to be Christ-like however. That is what Jesus was; a Christ-like man. His teachings are inspirational and true, and He said that He was the light. We all have that light within us as Marianne said in the quote above.
I also want to show that narcissism can be inherited, not only from parents and grandparents but from these awful teachings. My mother, bless her, internalised the message that she was not good enough, after her mother before her, and her mother before her again. Then handed down to our generation, having dire effects on my brother and myself. And we both know others that experienced that.
The main aim in life for my grandmother’s family and then Mum was to convert people to what they thought was the only way that was right.
There was a lot of damage done, but I hope that I can show you the way that I have been able to overcome and heal from it. The outcome is that in my older years, I can enjoy what is left of my life, knowing that the chain of narcissism is broken.
I can remember saying during the last days of being involved with any church that I believed that the teachings of the church, limited God. I knew without being told or reading about it, that God is the Universe. He is all around us, in us, through us and that we are part of Him so therefore we too are God.
I realise now that those thoughts were authentic and came from somewhere deep inside me. I knew the truth then, but it was not until many years later that I was to realise that they were the first stirrings of my soul wanting to go on this great adventure.
We often hear about how we attract things to us; we are living the life we are living because of choices. We all make choices, and we have to live with them. And that is true, but how many of us make choices as an informed decision? Many of our decisions or choices are based on previous experience, beliefs, or fears.
How many of us are in touch with our inner selves, or God, or Source? How many of us are aware that we need to make choices from our heart or intuition?
I made bad choices and good ones. But we need to be aware of the reasons why we make certain choices, and if they are based on our beliefs, past experiences, and fear of what may happen if we do or don’t, they can often be a choice that brings pain and grief.
I made many choices in my life, out of low self-esteem, my fear, and my past.
I want this book to open the eyes of the reader and many of those who have been hurt or damaged by narcissistic influences, from not only parents and ancestors but the false teachings of the type of churches that influenced me and many others.
My book is a historical document as well as a legacy, and following generations may be interested to see what these times were like from an “ordinary” persons’ point of view. But the question is, “Am I ordinary?” Well, that is for you to find out as you read this!
I want people to know what I learned from these stages in my life too. My feelings at the time, and looking back with hindsight, the lessons, beliefs, and customs that I built from them.
My aim is to tell people who have been hurt, or are even now still caught in the trap of these narcissistic teachings, that “Knowing the Truth will make you free.”
There is healing, forgiveness, love and grace and it is there waiting for you to receive them. And they are all unconditional.
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