Liberated. Free.

One morning last week I woke up feeling incredibly liberated and the title of my new book came immediately to mind.

The Truth Has Set Me Free is about how I found freedom from the shadow of  Christian Fundamentalist teachings.

Don’t get me wrong. This article is not an attack on any particular religion, or even on the variety of churches and denominations within the Christian Religion. It is more about the psychological effects that the dogma of some of these denominations can have on people, and my story in this book is about how it affected me and two previous generations.

In my book I have written about how I broke the chains of those beliefs and freed myself up so that my children would not, in turn, inherit the anxiety and depression that comes from believing that you can never be good enough. And that God is a God of love and not fear.

I found a book which described what I was taught. 

I have been reading a very interesting and eye-opening book called The Darkening Age. By Catherine Nixey.  It is about the destruction of Greek and other classical arts and philosophy in the first five centuries.

Last month I wrote a blog called “A Heretic?”

https://patriciacherrylifecoach.com/2019/02/03/a-heretic/

In it, I pondered over whether, it is more important for all of us to realise that “I am who God created me to be, and GOOD ENOUGH.”

But it took me the whole of the first forty years of my life before I began to realise that.  I had been indoctrinated with being unworthy, and a sinner who would go to hell unless I was “Saved” and lived as a Christian.

I was led to believe that all other religions and beliefs were false, and I must not even read about them, because that would damage my faith.

I spent the last week, reading and listening to The Darkening Age with mixed emotions. Crying, laughing and angry at times.

Angry, because the book describes in detail the damage, slaughter and persecution that Christians imposed onto those who would not become Christians and be baptised. We hear a lot about how the Roman Empire was persecuting the Christians, but very little is said about the far greater slaughter on the Christians part.

I cried because I felt it was so sad that people were taught that way and did not have a choice, such as we do these days.

I laughed at times at what they used to say and believe and found it incredulous that some fundamentalist churches still teach that.

Quote “As preachers in the fourth century started to warn congregations, Gods all-seeing gaze followed you everywhere. He didn’t only see you in the church; you were also watched by Him as you went out through the church doors; as you went out into the streets and walked around the marketplace or sat in the Hippodrome or the theatre. His gaze followed you into your home and even into your bedroom – and you should be in no doubt that He watched what you did there too.” End of quote.

That quote brought back some pretty painful memories for me when growing up.  It was exactly like that. I was not allowed to move without being reminded that God was watching me. Or warned that if I was going anywhere, that I was to consider whether I could take Jesus with me. Imagine how it felt, having this hanging over my every move.

In the preface of my book, I tell how it is similar to the Christmas song, about Santa.

“You better watch out, you better not cry, you better be good I’m telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town.”  Except that for me it was a case of “God will judge you and if you’re not “Saved” you will go to Hell.

Another quote from The Darkening Age; “To allow another person to remain outside the Christian Faith was not to show praiseworthy tolerance. It was to damn them.”  End of quote.

That quote reminds me of the time when as a teenager, I found myself having to stand outside the NAAFI building in Plymouth telling them how wonderful it was that I was a Christian — and do this humiliating task in the belief that I needed to share the good news. I must add that being a Christian did not mean culture for us Pentecostals, but a born again Christian, living every moment of our lives, being a witness to bring others to the Lord as well as having to be aware that this angry God was watching our every move.

I felt angry that so many people still have those beliefs and try to impose them onto others.

Have things changed I wonder?

The only difference (and it is a vast difference) is that these days we would not be killed for refusing to become a Christian, but we would be living under the threat of a judgment day when we would be judged and sent to Hell and damnation if we don’t “Get Saved.” Either when we died, or when Jesus comes back again.

I want to believe that things have changed since I was part of this setup sixty years and forty years ago.

I would like it if I discovered that God’s love is more in the light these days, and not an angry God who is out to destroy the people He created, no matter what they believe.

So much of The Darkening Age reminds me of the attitude from born again Christians. And I can see that these teachings have come down through the ages, even to today’s Fundamentalist groups.

I think that the Jesus we read about in the Bible, would be shocked at how humans have taken His teachings far from what He Said. They certainly lost the most important one, which is love, accompanied by forgiveness.

There is so much more I could tell you about this book, and the writer Catherine certainly seemed to have done her homework!

A group on Facebook for discussion. 

I am looking forward to a group of us on Facebook which I intend to start, discussing this without fear of anyone preaching at us. Therefore it will be an application-only group. For anyone who would like to ask questions, or has been involved, or affected by what I am saying here. Also, I would like therapists and healers to belong too with their contribution.

See you again soon.  And please comment if you would be interested in joining “The Truth Has Set Me Free” group.

The book is getting nearer to being published, hopefully in May. There is no link yet, but there soon will be. Watch this space.

Recommended reading.

The Gospel Of Inclusion. by Bishop Carlton Pearson. 

Leaving The Fold by Marlene Winnell 

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Birthday Blog. Wizzdom. The Truth Has Set Me Free

On my birthday this year, I can truly say that “The Truth Has Set Me Free.”

Life in my older years is proving to be the very best ones of my time on Planet Earth. I am healthy; I am living in Abundance, I am loved, and I am full of the joy and peace that passes all understanding.

Like everyone else, I do have adversity and challenges along the way, and at times I doubt and fear. But I know for certain that everything is here to help me. And underneath it all, I know that the Universe has my back.

I have my new book coming out very soon now. Publishing a book is a long drawn out process, but I promise that it will be here in the next couple of months.

“The Truth Has Set Me Free” (the illustration above has one word change, because its a draft copy of the cover) is a story of how I was brought up in a Christian Fundamentalist faith. It describes my upbringing in the fifties, my engagement and first marriage at the tender age of sixteen and nineteen respectively.

There was fun as a child, and that fun is described in the book, including the games we played and the physical freedom of children in the nineteen fifties.

But as I got into my early teens, life became lonely and experienced an isolation which lasted for many years.

I describe how the fundamental upbringing had affected two previous generations. Which resulted in heartache, narcissism and for myself late adolescence at the age of forty, having not had one as a teenager.

The truth for me has come about since I saw the light at the age of forty, which like many other women, was followed by Divorce. But I was also conned out of thousands of pounds because of my naivety, became bankrupt and lost everything I had ever accumulated, including a large business, houses, my dogs and furniture.

But the fact that everything is sent to help us is so true. I met a wonderful man, who became my second husband, and he set me on the road to learning. In the last twenty-six years since I met him, I have developed a thirst for knowledge. Part of my upbringing was that knowledge was not important. The main aim in life was to be saved and get to Heaven which carried on into my first marriage and becoming totally immersed in those beliefs. That meant that many books that threatened to reveal anything other than the teaching in those churches were banned.

Then in 2011 at the age of 67, I studied at University to become a Life coach.  The learning there opened up a whole new way of seeing life.

All along, the Truth was setting me free from the bondage of the past, and the chains that had bound me to the belief that I was not good enough.

Now, I have reached a point in my life that is another transition. From the rush and pressure of being the best, and having to work at it, I can now trust wholly in the Divine.

Just before I left any established church, I had what I realise now was a light bulb moment, when I told other Christians, that the teachings of the church limited God. I realised that God was the Universe and everything around us. But fundamentalist belief attempted to trap God into a set of beliefs, a building, a set of people who thought they knew better than anyone else. Most of all that only Christians and “Saved” ones at that; could inherit the Kingdom. They taught and still do, that there is an Apocalypse coming and only Christians would be saved from that because they would be taken up into the air to meet the Saviour. Known as the Second Coming.

If you don’t know what I am talking about, I should give it a miss!

What I know to be the Truth, is what I had said then, without all the knowledge that I have accumulated since then. There has had to be a lot of forgiveness on my part, both for others, and myself.

The book has taken me over two years to write, and in the last year, the end of the book took on a life of its own, describing my Mothers death and how my brother and myself at long last understood why she had such an unhappy life.

Simply because she had never allowed herself to be loved, both by God and her beloved husband, my Dad. And in turn us and anyone else who wanted to show any compassion for her in her last days. She never understood that; We are all one; we are all part of God; we are all equal; we can all become conscious of those facts, and we are all loved. That love is a vital force; stronger than faith or hope.

We are all created to be the person we are, without having to be saved again by the same being who created us.

God is bigger than having to send someone to die, to correct the mistake he made when he created humans.

I have not accumulated a fortune; I do not live in a mansion, I don’t even own a car. But I feel as if I have riches beyond measure.

I feel quite amused now when I hear people who already have more than enough money say; When I win the lottery I will ………………………………….

I feel as if I have won more than the lottery. Because I know the Truth and it has set me free.

By the way, you may be wondering why the new word “Wizzdom” is included in the title of this blog. It is my new brand name, to cover all the hats I wear in supporting people. My specialities are; Weight and Food Management, Ageing with Vitality, Facilitating end of life planning and I am a Funeral Celebrant. I think that word “Wizzdom”, suggested by a friend, just about covers the wisdom I have gained over a lifetime of experiences and adventures in living.

 

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Ageing with Forgiveness

 

 

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Unforgiveness is one of the biggest blocks to freedom. Particularly as we age. To become a wise and joyful Elder, we need to come to grips with this important aspect of our lives.

Right from when we are born, we experience hurt and damage to our body, spirit and mind, mostly from the circumstances and other people in our lives.This may be bullying, misconceived parenting, religion, cultural ideas, peers, siblings, friends and even from those who love us.

No one cannot go through life without damaging experiences, and many of us carry these experiences throughout life. Even bad experiences later in life, can do untold damage.

For many years the Fruedian idea of how damage being done to us, is the cause of who we become, and that there is no turning back. This has been the basis of Therapy, the cause of illness, and spending immeasurable amounts of time and money on our “Inner child”. Particularly the “hurt inner child”.

Untitled-1Whilst this can happen, there never seems to be an answer to the question of “How can I change it!” Cognitive behaviour therapy, (CBT) has been successful in some cases, and is the most popular way of getting over hurts and behaviour, but this is only touching the surface, or the “outer” person.

To really get over things and make changes, there needs to be more work done by the individual themselves and this is why life coaching is becoming a powerful tool. Life coaching is the tool used by people when they want to move on, once they get over a major life change, such as losing a job, bereavement, divorce, retirement, and often when people just feel “stuck” and don’t know where to go next.

In most cases the reason why people cannot move on is that they are not taught how to forgive or what it really means, and that forgiveness can be the first step to moving on with their lives. In the case of ageing, it certainly needs to be dealt with if we are not going to carry bitterness and resentment into our vulnerable older years.

Have you ever thought that you need to forgive yourself?

You could be surprised at how much resentment you are carrying around towards yourself. At the bottom of this anger and resentment you could be carrying unforgiveness around just for being human!

Everyone makes errors or judgment, being unkind, saying hurtful things, playing jokes on others at school, telling lies and so on. These human errors are almost impossible to keep a record of.

It may be something that you did that was quite a major incident in your life and had disastrous, life changing effects on yourself or others.

You could be carrying this around and it is affecting everything you do in the present time.

It is just the same as resentment and unforgiveness to others.

When you did your Life Review from my post “Expectations and Consciousness in Ageing”, you may have uncovered stuff about hurts and pain. You may also have something that happened in the past that you talk a lot about, or that you think a lot about. That one will be obvious.

SDC13676In any case, sit quietly or go for a walk on your own and think about what you would like to be “rid of” with memories and overuling resentments. Would you really like to be free of these?

Let’s look at what forgiveness really is!

Forgiveness is misconstrued in our society and beliefs. It certainly was for me, until I learnt one important componant that made it easier for me.

The following quotes are extracts from “The Art and Science of Forgiveness” by Frederick Luskin, PhD and featured in a book called Consciousness and Healing.

“Forgiveness in no way means you have to reconcile with someone who treated you badly. I see this confusion over and over in the work that I do. For example, if you were the recipient of childhood abuse, or are in a harsh relationship, you can forgive the offender and, as part of that choice, make the decision to end or limit contact. Forgiveness is primarily for creating your peace of mind. It is to create healing in your life and return you to a state in which you can live and be capable again of trust and love.”

He goes on to say;

” Another misconception is that it depends on whether or not the abuser or lying person apologizes, wants you back, or changes his or her ways. If another person’s poor behaviour was the primary determinent for your healing, then the unkind and selfish people in your life would retain power over you indefinitely.  In another vein, you can forgive your ex-spouse for his or her insulting speech and even abandoning you or your children, but forgiveness in no way means you do not take your ex to court to make sure your children get the support payments to which you are entitled. Forgiveness and justice are not the same! You can seek justice with an open heart as well as a bitter one.”

In other words you can forgive without condoning the behaviour that hurt you.

” Lastly, forgiveness does not mean that we forget what happened to us in our urge to move forward and get on with our lives. It is ludicrous to expect anyone who has been badly hurt not to remember the wound.”

Luskin does not suggest that you dwell on your greivances. Jesus said that we need to forgive not just 7 times, but 70 times 70.

This simply means that everytime you remember the hurt, just say to yourself that you have forgiven.

I found this information a liberating and life changing experience. Like other people I have had some major hurts in my life and spent many years believing that I could not forgive the people who hurt me, because that would mean that I had to forget and reconcile, and write to the person to tell them that I had forgiven.

But then I realised that it was inner work that I needed to do and as long as I held unforgiveness, I was also holding onto the hurt. I learnt that letting go of the hurt did not mean I needed to put it in the past and forget about it.

Now I simpy do as Luskin and many others suggest, I simply forgive the person over again.

In the next blog we will look at HOW TO FORGIVE. This is something that is not talked a lot about. It can also be a stumbling block, so make sure that you “tune in” again to the next one on Forgiveness and Ageing.

 

 

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