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March 11, 2013 / Ronald Chapman

God Gives Us Moments and for Those Moments We Live

The launch of my new blog, http://www.SeeingTrue.com, is complete! (Except of course for the seemingly unending list of minor tweaks, corrections and enhancements…reality must always be faced!)

If you have enjoyed my material here at A Killer’s Grace, please check it out and subscribe. While I’ll continue some posting here, over time my energy will be devoted increasingly to Seeing True, and I’d hate to lose you.

The launch blog is The Story of Aaron, which includes an explanation of Seeing True. For me, it is a life affirming story and practice. Culminating in my title here, God gives us moments and for those moments we live.

http://www.seeingtrue.com/1philosophy-spirituality/the-story-of-aaron/#.UTsjW6UmXok

Cape Town - Ron Contemplating

March 10, 2013 / Ronald Chapman

Forgiveness: It’s an Inside Job

Want to be part of a virtual conversation?

How about learning about releasing grievances, those unsettled pieces of personal business that drain our life and our lives?

Check it out! Tuesday, March 12, from 6 to 7 EDT. Just click on the link and RSVP! Easy enough … well, the clicking is if not the process of forgiveness! Though the latter is incredibly beneficial.

http://shindig.com/event/forgiveness

Steps

February 24, 2013 / Ronald Chapman

Threshold to Love

New Blog to Come – March 8th – SeeingTrue.com

Here’s another sample of what’s to come …

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In a small city in the South, a city that shall remain unnamed, there was a young woman named Carolyn. She was tall and slim with short brown hair and lovely blue eyes. When Carolyn smiled and laughed, you would be immediately aware of the warmth of her personality. While in no obvious way unusual, when meeting her you would probably be left with a vague impression that something about her did not quite fit.

If you were to ask Carolyn now, she would admit she always knew something inside her was not quite right. And she would certainly add that it was a rather murky matter.

A few years ago, she found her way into Alcoholics Anonymous and sobriety. While that certainly settled some of what she would now call her uneasiness, something more was revealed. It became increasingly clear she was uncomfortable with her gender. Carolyn had never felt like a girl, or a woman.

With that truth revealed, a process was unleashed that could not be contained.

Today, Carolyn has become Edward.

There are a number of interesting elements to Edward’s tale, but I will focus on a most extraordinary one.

Shortly after the transition from female to male was underway, a small group of men invited Edward to join their study group that focused on recovery from alcoholism. It was a calculated decision by the men. They loved Carolyn, and there was no reason that should change now that she was Edward.

Their decision was a remarkable measure of open-mindedness and compassion as well as a beautiful demonstration of love transcending!

Today Edward will tell you how important their acceptance was to him. And it is very easy to understand the incredible value of being intimately and openly in the company of men after twenty-five years in a female persona.

Seeing True™

It is said that the first step in moving from disapproval, dislike, condemnation or outright hatred is not an immediate move to love and loving. That is quite unlikely. Rather, it is to learn to tolerate, though that is not especially virtuous if it ceases there.

With effort in confronting ourselves and our beliefs, it becomes possible to learn patience, which is certainly an improvement on tolerance. And with still more effort in dealing with our own inner state, acceptance will emerge. Acceptance is the threshold to love. Once it is attained, loving becomes the inevitable result.

Seeing True in Action™

Carl Jung observed, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

The path to loving begins with identifying the disapproval, dislike, condemnation or hatred we carry for others.

If you are willing, write a list of every person who provokes such feelings in you. Don’t hold back. Don’t justify or rationalize. Don’t try to remedy it. While you’re at it, don’t judge yourself, your feelings or your attitudes. Just tell the truth.

By acknowledging the darkness, the light must necessarily follow. By naming our intolerance, love becomes possible.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7508034

Image Credit - B Jaxon

Image Credit – B Jaxon

February 24, 2013 / Ronald Chapman

Transforming Our Life Experience

The last post announced my new blog coming March 8th at SeeingTrue.com! And that post also showed the first of that new approach entitled Cuddling Up…To Fear and Pain. It’s a long-time favorite story, because it does reflect such truth. Let’s explore it a bit further.

For most of us, the only thing we want to do with regard to our fear and pain is escape them. The only reason we would ever feel differently is simply because we see fleeing them does not work.

Yet there is more here than meets the eye.

The real truth is that fear and pain are great gifts and great teachers. So much can come when we embrace them. And over time, we find we even come to welcome them because we learn of their great value. Of course, this is a slow-to-develop perspective, but with practice and patience it can indeed become our experience.

When fear and pain become our friends because we have made peace with them, our entire life experience is transformed.

February 21, 2013 / Ronald Chapman

Seeing True – A New Blog Coming

On or about March 8th, I’ll be launching a new blog at SeeingTrue.com. More information will follow, so you can take full advantage of it, but here’s the first of these new approaches. See what you think!

Cuddling Up…to Fear and Pain

By Ronald Chapman – SeeingTrue.com

Jim Peterson passed away a few years ago. If you had met him, you would have immediately thought of Colonel Harlan Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken, which is now known as KFC. If you listened to Jim’s raspy voice, it would have reminded you of gravel grinding underfoot. Listen longer and you’d be surprised not only by the breadth of his stories, but by the wisdom that permeated many of them.

Jim was a survivor of the beaches of Normandy and D-Day. He was also a survivor of mental health challenges that resulted from military service. Regardless of that story, for a number of years he was the sergeant-at-arms for the New Mexico State Legislature. In later years he was known for being a mentor to a number of younger men and women. Most people remember Jim for one or more colorful stories. I remember him for one of what I believe to be his greatest teachings.

Whenever the subject would turn to personal or life difficulties, Jim would invariably offer the same perspective. He would say, “Cuddle up to your fear and pain. Make friends with them. See what they have to teach you.”

Now let’s be honest. The normal human reaction to powerful negative feelings is to escape them. So embracing them is a provocative notion. At best, most of us only manage to tolerate difficulties, which makes it all the more remarkable that Jim would propose moving into them.

Yet it was clear as a bell to Jim. His experiences had taught him that great life lessons lurked within our most challenging battles.

As a result of Jim’s teaching I have experimented for many years with cuddling up. I’ve learned a few things.

Seeing True™

It helps to understand that avoiding your challenges is a strategy that will always ultimately fail. Without knowing this, it’s very hard to convince yourself to embrace the challenge rather than flee. Yet when we engage we are forced into the experience, and it is there that we can truly see, feel and learn.

Have you ever heard a compelling or courageous story that did not involve challenge transformed?

Seeing True in Action™

The first trick is to breathe, in fact, to breathe into the challenge and to breathe it into you. Breath grounds us. When we visualize the challenge and breathe with it, the result is normalizing.

The power of the breath only grows when we bring our attention to the embodiment of the fear or pain. Locate where it is felt in the body. Describe it to yourself. Then breathe with it. Notice what happens. Quite often the physical effects diminish or dissipate. At a minimum, we can become more settled.

When more at ease, journaling can be a very powerful tool especially if we can put words to the distress as well as its source. Then we can deploy another effective approach that comes from the work of Byron Katie. She proposes we ask ourselves several questions, in this case adapted for the apparent source of the fear or pain:

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can I absolutely know that it is true?
  3. How do I react when I believe it is true?
  4. Who would I be without the fear and pain?

These strategies allow us to engage the fear and pain. When we engage them, we stop running, and that allows for exploration. It is in exploring them that we come to befriend them. As our at-ease-ness grows, cuddling up is a natural progression.

February 17, 2013 / Ronald Chapman

Seeing, Knowing, Understanding

The last excerpt from A Killer’s Grace pointed to the idea that we can see but not know that we see. That is truer that we know, and it is more true when we look toward the purpose of seeing.

Ultimately, the purpose of any sensory input is for us to know it. Beyond that however is interpretation. We see a tree fall, it enters into knowing, then we come to conclusion about what it means and how it affects us. Therein is the breakdown.

Interpretation should lead to understanding. Too often it leads to the usual conclusions that many of us reach though they are not accurate or not fully comprehended.

In my experience, understanding invariably yields insight. With insight comes appreciation, forgiveness and quite often humor.

If we were to truly understand some person, some thing or some circumstance, there would be no resistance within us, no judgment or condemnation, and probably a good laugh.

For Use - Texture on Brick

February 14, 2013 / Ronald Chapman

Seeing but Not Knowing

“Just a few days ago I heard a report on National Public Radio. A neurological researcher had a most remarkable result from an experiment with a man who had a brain injury that destroyed the part of the cerebral cortex that processed vision. He was completely blind.”

“I can’t recall why they decided to do the experiment, but they lined a corridor with obstacles like trash cans and floor fans. Then they had the blind man walk down that hallway.”

A look of mischief showed in de Franco’s eyes as he leaned toward Pitcairn. “Without any guidance the man avoided the obstacles. And when he was done, the researchers asked,

‘How did you do that?’”

“Do what?” he queried in response.

“How did you avoid the things we put in your way?” “I didn’t,” the blind man replied firmly.

Pitcairn was deeply entranced and leaning forward as well.

“Kevin, here is the piece of the tale you will undoubtedly be able to use.” A wry grin came to the priest’s face. “The researchers have hypothesized that deep in the old brain the man can see. But the conscious part of the brain does not know it. He can see but does not know that he can see.”

Pitcairn blinked several times as he pondered the implications. “Jesus,” he muttered before laughing in disbelief. “Tony, that’s more proof there really are things at work within us

we can’t begin to understand. Hell …” he shrugged sheepishly in acknowledgment of the word. “To not even know …” His voice trailed away.

February 10, 2013 / Ronald Chapman

A Universe of Reciprocity

The last excerpt from A Killer’s Grace focused on Unconditionality. And that simply begs my attention.

Over the years of working with a number of men and women as a coach and advisor, it has often come forth that many of us simply want to be accepted exactly as we are…without condition.  Apparently there is something that calls many of us toward this.

And yet, it is so seldom noted that we could be offering this to others. We want unconditionality, but we do not extend it. In fact, it may be we are so self-absorbed by our own desires that it does not occur to us to provide it to others.

There is an interesting experiment we can practice. Of course, it is exactly this notion of offering unconditionality.  We can attempt to provide approval, validation, appreciation and love to others. Then we can see whether it is reciprocated.

I’ll offer one hint for your awareness. It just may be a reciprocal universe, but perhaps reciprocity does not come where or how we expect it.

Image Credit - B Jaxon

Image Credit – B Jaxon

February 7, 2013 / Ronald Chapman

Grace Is Not Conditional

“Kevin, a few summer ago there was a marvelous story told about a couple of drunken men. They were with their families for a summer vacation on Lake Erie when inexplicably they rode two wave runners out into the lake. Who knows what they were thinking …”

Pitcairn interjected. “They were drunk, Tony, they weren’t thinking.”

“Well yes, there is that, isn’t there?” He chuckled. “At any rate, they ran out of gas and spent a very frightening and sobering night in the water. With hypothermia approaching, the sun rose on the horizon the following morning.”

“Unbelievably enough, a Coast Guard cutter sighted them despite being to the west of the men and having to see their heads bobbing amid waves flooded with sunlight. The officer who spotted them called it a miracle.”

He sipped his tea and sighed with a shake of his head. “News reporters talked to the men, one of whom said, ‘God sure was with us when they found us.’ As soon as he said it one of the priests who had been comforting the families blurted out a comment loud enough to be picked up by the microphone. He said, ‘Rest assured, God was with you even as you rode foolishly out into the lake.’”

He laughed at the story. “You see, Kevin. Grace is not conditional on anything. It’s ever present. All we need do is open ourselves to it.” He turned to smile at him. “And you, my friend, have had an unusual glimpse of the Grace in which you are immersed.”

February 3, 2013 / Ronald Chapman

Imbued of Spirit

Today I am thinking of this notion of faith, or belief, or even trust. And my mind wanders to a recent Facebook comment I made about enthusiasm.

In short, the root of enthusiasm is en-theos, in God, or of God. It implies that when we are in our passions, our zeal, our enthusiasms, the Divinity is animating us through our own emotions.

When I think along these lines, I find myself uplifted. It is such a comfort to realize that I am forever imbued with Spirit, even if I am unaware or unbelieving. It could not be otherwise.

The protagonist of A Killer’s Grace, Pitcairn, is the embodiment of this notion.

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