Who is this that Anxiety and Fear obey Him?

I recall once, during a visit to the Holy Transfiguration Monastery in Ellwood City many years ago, walking into the church alone.  There on the ceiling of the church was the icon of the Miracle on the Sea. The icon depicts Jesus providing the disciples with an abundance of fish when, despite their best efforts, they could not catch any. It is an icon of God’s providence. I then reflected on another miracle on the sea that conveyed God’s providence. The icon of this second miracle on the sea depicts Jesus rebuking the storm that had descended upon the disciples as they crossed the Sea of Galilee. In both icons, Jesus is seen bringing calm and peace to a situation…

Putting everything into its proper place

Many of us have times in our life when we feel overwhelmed. Sometimes it is because there is just too much going on in the present. Perhaps we are too busy or trying to manage too many tasks or responsibilities. In such instances it seems rather clear why we are feeling overwhelmed. However, there are other times when our emotional response to a situation or time in our life is disproportionate. Very often when we have a disproportionate emotional response to a situation, it is evidence that there is a transference occurring. In other words, our distress is not just coming from the present circumstance, it is coming from the past as well. In essence, the past is leaking out…

Living with Hope and Not Expectations

A great service we can do for ourselves and others in our lives is to learn to convert our expectations into hope. Expectations are a great source of grief and aggravation both for us and for others. An expectation consists of a rigid, self-made construct that maps out in advance what others are supposed to do, feel, or be. So much of our frustration in life comes from expectations. Living with expectations rather than hope can also be a significant source of anger. Expectations need to be deconstructed and reframed in the form of hope. In order to do this, we first have to learn where our expectations come from. Many of them are learned from various sources, but we…

Separating the Past from the Present

We are all products of our upbringing to a large extent. However, that product is not “as is” nor is it unchangeable. We require the knowledge of how our upbringing affected us so we know what are the areas that we need to focus on. However, once those insights have been attained, anything is possible afterward. We can unlearn negative ways of relating with the world, others, and God. Our fears can dissipate, closure attained from losses, and a peaceful heart obtained.  We not only heal from past painful experiences, but grow from them. The proverbial silver lining can be found as we find ourselves more resilient, insightful, self-aware, and discerning. Try as we might, trying to merely will away…

Resolving the Unresolved

When resolving the unresolved, we will find that there is cognitive work to be done but also emotional or what is called experiential work. The cognitive aspect of the healing work means gaining insight into how we were affected, verbalizing the experience, and identifying what meanings we assigned to the event or experience. These meanings we assigned to a past event or even a present event or experience are called appraisals. These are our perceptions of events or experiences; how we appraise events or experiences. We will learn to always be aware of what appraisals or meaning we are making of each situation. We also learn to assess whether these perceptions, meanings, or appraisals are accurate or rational. When are…

Beginning the Healing Work

Many of us have some level of awareness that there are areas of our life that need addressing. For many, these times of awareness come and go. We may even have experiences in our life that bring these areas of need to the forefront with a strong conviction to finally address them. Yet often, with the passage of time, these moments of zeal for change begin to fade. The experiences that bring these moments may have been in the form of interpersonal conflict or a disproportionate reaction we had to something or someone. Perhaps they are born from becoming weary with chronic feelings of sadness, loss, and shame. Shame is living with the chronic and pervasive feeling that we are…