Time for a toxic-parenting purge? [Part 1]

25/04/2013 2 comments

30 Missing Pieces telling offParenting is a tough task. Perfect parenting is an impossible one. But most parents do a phenomenal job of caring for their children, while holding down a job (or two), remembering everyone’s birthday and making order out of chaos. There are some, though, whose unresolved issues and emotional pain from their own upbringing result in abuse and deep emotional scars for their offspring. The fallout is costly, with failed relationships, unexpressed anger, and years of therapy for many worthy souls. And even if they arrive at a place of compassion and understanding for their parents’ pain, it can be hard to completely let go of the feelings and memories that distorted their world.

In cases like this, it can be refreshing to give yourself permission to vent and to not feel obliged to love someone just because they gave birth to you. It can be healthy to reclaim yourself by rejecting all that ‘stuff’, through humour and spontaneous self-expression, in ways that got suppressed through abuse in your formative years. If you’ve done years of therapy and have diligently peeled away the layers of pain that got laid down, it might feel good to just ‘let it rip’.

Over the years, many women have came to see me about the pain of their past – and the damage done by their severely dysfunctional alcoholic parents. These parents had dumped all their toxic pain on their children (a projection of their own sense of worthlessness and despair, since their children are an extension of them) and some took a perverse pleasure in seeing them suffer. It’s hard to feel compassion for parents like that – and maybe we shouldn’t even try. If we find ourselves trying to make sense of such wanton cruelty, it’s often because we’re trying to figure out what it was about us that caused them to be that way. That, in itself, is a big part of the damage done to our sense of self and our innate self-worth.

So, for all those lovely women (and men) out there who have experienced the pain of a loveless and alcohol-driven existence, here’s a tongue-in-cheeky recipe for relief that will hopefully bring a smile to your lips and a lilt to your heart. (For other forms of toxic parenting, see Part 2 – coming shortly.)

Imagine a world without those parents; they have evaporated into the ethers in an alcoholic haze and are no longer using up valuable oxygen on planet Earth. You’ve decided to expunge all negative feelings and memories associated with them. What should you do?

Celebrate! Take a whole week off work and give thanks that you’re finally free. But don’t go drinking, now. You know what happened to them, and you don’t want to give them the afterlife satisfaction of turning into an alcoholic yourself.

Spend all of Monday walking on the beach, breathing in that delicious parent-free air. Savour the fact that you are a self-sufficient, autonomous, self-determined being, and give yourself total permission to be as outrageous and creative as you a-parently are.

On Tuesday, eat a whole bar of organic dark chocolate, just to re-affirm that you can actually enjoy yourself (maybe even experience ecstasy, if it’s really yummy chocolate) without getting drunk. Notice the uniqueness of your experience, which you can’t possibly describe to anyone else, even if they’re a connoisseur of chocolate, and remind yourself that all your experiences are your own, for you to accept or reject, as you see fit.

On Wednesday, go into a pub/wine bar and order a fresh orange juice, sipping it slowly as if it were heavenly nectar (which it is). Luxuriate in the fact that your taste buds are alive and well (rather than being numbed by alcohol) and that you can fully appreciate the delicious, sun-kissed perfection of nature’s simple goodness. 

On Thursday, go dirty dancing and take special delight in being able to pirouette 10 times without falling over legless. Even if you do fall over, you can laugh, knowing that it puts a healthy spin on life; and you can get up, knowing that you’re still in charge of you.

On Friday, write them a letter telling them what you think of them and send it off to the Guinness Book of Records, without a return address. Be creative, exaggerate, and inject as much humour as you can, knowing that laughter is a form of self-love – and an antidote to pain.

On Saturday, go sit on a mountaintop and give thanks for all that you are that they were not …and apologize to the universe for ever thinking that you were anything other than perfect – not to mention courageous, strong and forgiving, with an uncanny ability to see life’s many ironies.

By Sunday, you should be feeling fabulous. Parents? What parents…?

Please note: No parents were harmed in the making of this blog.

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Are you switched on?

02/10/2012 5 comments

Isn’t it funny how we all desperately try not to repeat the mistakes our parents made? We’re determined to be emotionally available for our children, to protect them from bullying, abuse and second-hand smoke, and to feed them nutritious food.

But guess what we’re doing instead. We’re walking around with cellphones, while carrying our babies in a body sling. We’re exposing our youths and teenagers to harmful wi-fi radiation – not just at home but in schools, libraries and almost every other public place. And we’re wired for sound (and visuals and games) in every square foot of our homes and offices. Looking back at past generations, we may find it hard to believe that doctors used to promote cigarettes as being good for our health, and that tapeworms were sold as a great way to lose weight. But what will the next generation be thinking of us, when it becomes widely recognized that our high-tech gadgets are creating all kinds of health problems and fatal illnesses—not to mention killing off the birds and bees so essential to our food supply?

Headaches, abnormal heart rhythm, cancer, fatigue, MS, Parkinson’s disease, memory loss, tinnitus, digestive problems, difficulty sleeping and numerous other conditions that you’ve been unable to resolve (or may have attributed to stress)… these are all symptoms of electromagnetic sensitivity—the body’s physical reaction to the constant bombardment of electromagnetic fields and radio-wave radiation that permeate our living and working environments.

Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is coming at us from every angle—from cell phones, cordless phones, wi-fi networks, Smart Meters, laptops, wireless keyboards/printers, kitchen appliances, electronic equipment, heating systems, and fluorescent lights. Not only that, but often the wiring in a house or building can contain what’s known as ‘dirty electricity’—a high-frequency current that produces magnetic fields that emanate from the walls into your living space, with the potential to cause numerous conditions, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, allergies, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, attention deficit disorder, cancer, infertility, miscarriage and birth defects.

All of this and more is explained in Jim Waugh’s fascinating book on EMR (Living Safely with Electromagnetic Radiation—a complete guide to protecting your health), which is an eye-opener for those seeking an explanation for their health-related conundrums. Waugh shares numerous accounts of individuals whose debilitating conditions disappeared when the source of electromagnetic radiation was detected and removed. Pets, too, are seriously affected, with dogs, cats, horses and other animals succumbing to lameness, tumours, diarrhoea, skin diseases and paralysis—often because of a cordless phone in their owner’s home.

I need no further convincing of the importance of ‘cleaning’ up my act. Yet I realize that it’s another ‘inconvenient truth’. We all love our wonderful, labour-saving, mobility-enhancing technology, and none of us want to give it up.

What can you do to minimize the negative impact?

Here are some tips from Jim:

-Never leave an unused appliance plugged in as the cord/cable and socket will emit a strong electrical field. Don’t stand near them, either, when in use.

-Stand back from the electric elements on your stove, when turned on. They too emit a strong electrical field.

-Change all your so-called energy-saving CFLs back to incandescent bulbs – if you can (they will soon be banned for sale in Canada). CFLs emit harmful radiation (causing skin burns if placed too close to the body), and they contain toxic mercury. According to Walt McGinnis (see http://www.greenmuze.com/blogs/guest-bloggers/1031-the-dark-side-of-cfls.html), CFLs actually increase a consumer’s carbon footprint because they are energy hogs to produce, operate and dispose of.

-Never sleep with an electrical cable or plug behind or near your head – such as the cord from a bedside lamp going behind your bed to reach a socket. The electrical field can disrupt sleep and other body functions. Check appliances on the other side of your bedroom wall for any appliances plugged in there – for the same reason.

-Use a separate keyboard with your laptop, if possible. Using the built-in keyboard exposes you to a strong electrical field.

-Switch from a cordless phone to a corded one. This may not be easy or convenient to do, but numerous health problems have been associated with the use of cordless phones—among pets as well as humans. Cordless phones use the same kind of pulsed microwave radiation as cell phones and are known to be more dangerous because they operate 24 hours a day, even when the handset is not in use.

-At night, turn off your wi-fi and all other appliances not in use.

-Never charge your cell phone in your bedroom. During the day, avoid putting it in a breast/hip pocket, if possible. Keep cell phones away from babies and small children as they are much more susceptible to the harmful radiation than adults.

-Be mindful of others around you and how they may be affected by your techno-gadgets.

In Sweden, EMF sensitivity is officially recognized as a disability, and the government provides benefits as well as designated EMF-free areas for those who are affected. While Swedish brains are presumably no different from ours, they certainly seem to be a whole lot smarter.

For more info, see emfsafehome.com

From dental disaster to mental re-mastering

15/08/2012 5 comments

I don’t know about you, but I find going to the dentist very traumatic. So when I broke a tooth recently, I was steeling myself for some radical (and expensive) dental treatment. The visit turned out to be much more traumatic than I expected—but not because of the dental work, which was yet to come. Instead, I had a very disturbing experience with the dentist himself, and I left his clinic feeling more traumatized than if I’d undergone major surgery.

Considered to be one of the best in the field of biological/holistic dentistry, this man was nonetheless arrogant, unprofessional, disrespectful and insensitive. He openly bullied his staff and he wasted precious time (at roughly $5 a minute) extolling his many virtues, claiming to be so incredibly happy with his superior skills that he had no time for everyday things. And it was clear that he didn’t really want to be spending it on ordinary mortals like me, either. Added to that was the fact that every other dentist who’d treated me had, he said, done a really bad job, and it was going to cost me, big time, to repair the damage. With them, I had wasted my money, but undergoing his extensive treatment (for TMJ disorder, crown reconstruction, dental implants…) would, it seemed, be my salvation.

I don’t normally like to put negative labels on people, but I’m allowing myself this rare dysfunctional luxury—partly because it can be healthy to just emotionally vent, and partly because it helps me to understand what’s going on for me. I also think it’s important to try to define the subtle negative undercurrents and passive-aggressive behaviour that we so often experience in our communications. These things can be hard to articulate, and we may feel we won’t be heard or understood anyway …which is why we tend to let them go unchallenged.

Admittedly, I’m unusually sensitive, acutely aware of undercurrents, hidden agendas, underlying emotional drivers, and the deeper truths and dynamics behind our words and actions (which is a wonderful asset in my work). Nonetheless, after 35 minutes of this dental diatribe, when the master himself had left to deal with more important surgical matters, I was stunned to find myself crying uncontrollably—literally unable to contain my emotions. When my embarrassing sobs finally subsided, I began to reflect on what had happened and why I’d reacted so strongly to his behaviour.

The true gravity of a cavity…

If I see myself as perfect and always attracting what I need (rather than being a victim), then this dentist must represent something more meaningful for me. But what did it mean? He was irrational, which prevented me from having a reasonable conversation or taking a logical approach. He was destabilizing—nice one minute, but aggressive the next—so I didn’t feel safe. He needed to be heard but didn’t listen to me, which brought up issues of trust and validation. Yet the emotional overwhelm kept building, as he piled on the pressure—financially, emotionally and psychologically—completely insensitive to the fact that I was dealing with a brain tumour that is aggravated by stress. At the same time, despite his claims that he was just “too smart for anyone else to keep up with him”, I was ‘reading’ him on many levels. I could see why he was arrogant; I could see high blood pressure in his complexion; I could feel some deeper warmth and compassion underneath all the bravado; and I sensed that he was far from happy.

Of course, he’s not a bad man. His mind was just so fevered and intense (a bit like mine!) that he could not relate appropriately to others. His work had saved him—given him an outlet for his creative energy and provided him with the accolades and recognition he wanted. Yet, at a deeper level, I sensed that he was lost and in desperate need of acceptance and validation from others. But with so many data and stimuli coming at me at once, my brain just couldn’t process it all …and I broke down. There was nowhere else for all the backed-up energy and tension to go. It had to come out; when it did, I recognized it as trauma—just one more layer on top of what had been buried inside, many years ago.

Perhaps if I’d allowed myself to collapse emotionally with him, rather than his assistant, I’d have connected with the deeper essence of the man—the heart and all the loving dedication that keeps him alive and engaged in his work. Maybe it would have been healing for us both and maybe we’d have seen the powerful impact we can have on others. Not all our cavities are in our teeth, and I believe that sharing our deeper selves can help us heal the ‘holes’ in our hearts.

We think we need to ‘hold it together’ so others won’t be upset by our upset, but really we owe it to ourselves and to them to just let it rip and to share the raw, authentic emotions that we keep so tightly contained, terrified of their powerful intensity. Maybe that’s the very essence of trauma—a deep hurt that never gets processed or healed, a ball of suppressed emotions that keeps attracting triggers on the outside, pushing us to the edge of overwhelm so that we finally crack, let go and set ourselves free.

As healthcare practitioners and as human beings, we have a responsibility do our own inner work, to have solid boundaries, to demonstrate appropriate behaviour and to not dump our unresolved issues on anyone else. Our clients invest their trust in us, and we hold their hearts in our hands, whether we’re counsellors, doctors or dentists. We’re not just fixing a tooth, an illness or an emotional crisis; we’re helping to build wholeness—one word, one action, one smile at a time. And aren’t dentists supposed to give us lovely smiles?

Healing gift

01/08/2012 1 comment

 

IImaget was my Dad’s birthday recently, and I wanted to get him something special. I spent weeks trying to come up with something unusual that I could mail to him in Ireland—without having to take out a loan to pay Canada Post. But when the day arrived, I still had nothing. Part of the problem (I told myself) was that my current health challenge prevented me from haring around at my usual break-neck speed, scouring the shops till I found some quirky item he might like. A brain tumour can have that kind of nasty effect, inconveniently bringing normal life to a standstill, and forcing you to cut back on all the things that seemed so urgent and important.

But then I had a ‘brainwave’, you might say. Since our challenges so often contain a hidden blessing, I reflected, perhaps the most meaningful gift was something a little less tangible. So, on 18 July 2012, I made a promise to my Dad: I committed to completely healing myself of this brain tumour before his next birthday—and to celebrating the breakthrough with him in person. Although I was technically giving this gift to myself (which felt a bit like cheating, and maybe even a bit cheap), he seemed to find it more than acceptable. (But then my Dad’s like that.)

And, today, after more than two years of steadily worsening symptoms, something happened. After making that heartfelt commitment, I felt better, with less pain and more energy than I have felt for a long time. In fact, it felt almost too good to be… untrue. And as I sat on the beach (eating a rather yummy coconut-milk, chocolate-vanilla ice cream), I realized that I felt calm, content and confident of being able to keep my promise. I also realized that I’m not actually making anything happen; I’m just allowing it to.

I attribute this amazing shift to my love for my Dad, yet I wondered why I could not have made an equally heartfelt commitment to myself, without involving anyone else in what is, after all, a very personal process. But, of course, we so often learn to love ourselves more by loving someone else. And if that’s what it takes to get there, to heal, and to be reminded of what’s important in life, it’s a gift that can be shared. After all, healing ourselves—mentally, emotionally and physically—is surely our ultimate gift to the world.

So my thanks to my Dad for allowing me to use his special day as a turning point for me. I hope I’ll stay mindful of this gift every day of the year to come, and that when (not if) I heal myself, the new-and-improved me will make up for all the other times I failed to give him, me and everyone else the kind of heartfelt presence (and presents) that we all deserve from each other.

I’ve still got a long way to go on this healing journey, and a year to complete it. But maybe it can happen in a month or even a week, if I allow it—or if I find some way to deepen and hasten the gift…

Anyone else out there with a birthday coming up soon?

Categories: empowerment Tags: , , ,

Should I humour this tumour?

24/05/2012 16 comments

Not many of my friends (and none of my clients) know this… but I have a brain tumour. I say that in the same way that I’d say I’ve got a house guest—and I think of it like that too. It has taken up temporary residence inside my brain while I figure out the purpose of its visit.

I know it’s a messenger, and if I don’t figure out the message within the next 3 months, it will either get evicted by surgery or nuked out of existence. But if it’s a diligent messenger with a mission of guaranteed delivery—a bit like FedEx—then it may well pay me another visit to make sure I get the message. And if my own stubbornness is anything to go by, it probably won’t quit till its job is done.

So I’m looking at the options: with surgery, I’d be left with a trapdoor in my skull after the surgeon saws through my tough noggin to reach the intruder—with unknowable consequences; with radiation, I’d be left with a crusty ‘raisin’ that may or may not re-inflate itself to the size of a grape—or maybe even a plum—and possibly in a more aggressive, attention-seeking form.

With those images in mind, I’m quite motivated to crack this on my own and to find a natural solution. It won’t be the first time I’ve had insights from illness, so I recognize the value of digging deeper. And this tumour is prompting me to go deeper than ever before. With my focus on empowerment, I’m also committed to resolving conundrums—and I’ve had many in my own life, pushing me to look at the underlying dynamics. Yet when I started my online research, I was amazed to discover that there were no online stories of anyone curing this kind of tumour (a benign acoustic neuroma) in a natural way. Think about that. There are hundreds of cases of people successfully curing all forms of malignant cancer through natural means—but not one single online report of a natural cure for a benign acoustic neuroma (none that I could find, at least).

Obviously, I’ll have to find my own way. Like many, I explored the conventional approach first and was presented with the limited, invasive options: surgery or radiation. As I sat there, listening to the neurosurgeon explain the pros and cons of either option, I was aware of my growing frustration. The hearing loss on the right side is permanent and irreversible. You may end up with facial paralysis and you may lose movement on the right side of your face. You may not be able to close your eye—but we’ll give you some special weights to put in the eyelid to help with that. With radiation, the tumour may come back and it could be cancerous. With surgery, we can’t say what may be affected but, for sure, your hearing will go and there’s the risk of death. But if you don’t get either surgery or radiation, you’ll die anyway, if the tumour keeps growing at the current rate…   

It wasn’t just his lack of compassion that bothered me; after all, it’s probably a good thing for a surgeon to be able to operate fairly robotically, without getting all worked up and emotional (I wouldn’t want him snivelling or sobbing uncontrollably while wielding a scalpel inside my brain). It was the fact that there was absolutely no enquiry into the underlying reason for the tumour occurring in the first place—plus he didn’t listen to what I had to say. He had his spiel, and that was it; the readings from his high-tech equipment overrode what I was feeling. So when I told him that I was starting to experience the same symptoms on the other side of my head, he said the MRI showed nothing on the left side and that I was imagining it.

That prompted me to tell him a little story. For years, I had a stabbing pain in my right eye. I consulted eye specialists in Switzerland and in Canada but they all said the same thing: there’s nothing there. Finally, in desperation, I went to Emergency and was referred to another specialist—a young Asian woman who… wait for it… pulled a piece of metal out of my eye. For seven years, I walked around with that piece of metal in my eye because… well, there was nothing there. (I think all those other ophthalmologists needed to get their eyes tested.)

But I knew where this indifference was designed to take me—and it worked. When I left the neurosurgeon’s office, a healthy dose of self-responsibility had reasserted itself and I was on a mission. I was going to fix this myself, if it was the last thing I did (and, yes, I did see the irony in that).

This got me thinking about my rights—not just as the host of this unwelcome guest in my headspace, but also as a person who’s supposedly in charge of her own circumstances. That is, after all, what I teach others and what I strive to practise in my own life. So I asked myself what I was entitled to that I wasn’t giving myself. What was I not doing? And it occurred to me that maybe what I was not doing was… not doing. Rather than doing more, I needed to not do certain things. (I needed to cut things out of my life—before the surgeon needed to cut things out of my skull.) I needed more head space. Things were getting too crowded in there. I needed to download some data rather than uploading even more.

So I started doing less, thinking less and just letting things be. I could feel that the tumour was agitated by too much mental activity and I realized it was pushing me to be still. My brain wanted peace. Reflecting on my daily routine, I saw that there was precious little stillness—in body or mind. Yes, I meditated and did some yoga; otherwise, though, I was constantly doing, thinking, moving, analysing, talking, planning, creating and working my mind. With all our techno-gadgets, our brains are constantly over-stimulated. We’re bombarded with e-mails, texts, commercials, traffic and hordes of other equally hyperactive bods; our sensitive electrical systems are constantly assaulted by mobile phones, cordless phones, TV screens in every café, ipods, ipads and wireless networks 24/7. And we wonder why we’re sick or why we can’t sleep, focus, concentrate or keep going for 15 hours every day.

So stillness, ease and peace have become my focus, and things have started to flow. I’ve received gifts of bodywork, hands-on healing, laughter, emotional support, and a session with an amazing alternative healthcare practitioner who has actually cured someone of an acoustic neuroma, using natural means. I’ve started his programme, while maintaining my own regimen of yoga, chi gung, relaxation, sitting in nature and being more creative with food.

The mind still wants to be in charge, of course, and I resisted sharing this information, for fear of being seen as weak or of not practising what I preach in my work. But the wiser part of me knows that most of my wisdom and expertise has come from addressing challenges like this, rather than trying to deny or suppress them.

So watch this space… while I monitor the space inside my head—and hopefully both will soon get filled up with some really good stuff.

Righteously religious …or mightily misguided?

26/02/2012 1 comment

A young woman called Lola contacted me recently for help with a religious dilemma. She was a ‘non-practising Catholic’ and desperately wanted to marry her ex-boyfriend, who happened to be a Jew. They had broken up because of the religious mis-match and she wanted help in trying to win him back. Lola was willing to convert to Judaism and would do anything to prove that she could be a good Jew. How could she get him to believe her? What could she do to convince him that religion would not be an issue if she converted to his faith?

The problem with religion is that it’s divisive. It separates people into different categories, rather than bringing them all together as one and the same. It forces people to accept certain dogmas, rules and rituals …if they want to be part of the club. And it tells them what to believe rather than helping them to explore their own spiritual selves, forcing them to be judgemental of themselves and others. More importantly, it forces people to choose—resulting in the kind of lose-lose choice that Lola felt forced to make. If I choose this man, I must become a Jew. If I don’t convert to Judaism, I lose this man. Going deeper still, it means: if I choose this man, I lose a part of myself; if I become a Jew, I compromise my values, my independence and my personal freedom. There’s no room here for me to change my mind later; my kids will be brought up Jewish, even if I decide I can’t handle it.

So I asked her if she really wanted to marry a man who made these kinds of conditions and demands. Could she unconditionally love someone who did not unconditionally love and accept her? Was she willing to give up her personal autonomy—her right to choose whatever she might subsequently choose to do or be, in any area of her life, in the future? Was she willing to distort herself to fulfill what this man considered to be a necessary role?

A relationship founded on this kind of unhealthy compromise can never be truly loving, trusting or committed, since all such compromises ultimately require a distortion of the self, which creates resentment. It would be shaped and controlled by an outside force, in the form of religion, and Lola would be monitored for her adherence and commitment to the Jewish faith. She would need to constantly demonstrate her conformity and would likely find herself saying yes when she wanted to say no, going along with rituals and ceremonies that had no real meaning for her, and generally suppressing whatever feelings she might have along the way that might jeopardize her ‘right’ to stay married to her chosen partner.

If religion requires this kind of sacrifice and if it doesn’t bring us together in love and unity, surely there’s something wrong with it. And why should anyone be expected to take on another’s beliefs, when our connection to God (or whatever we might choose to believe in) is a purely personal, private matter? Why should we care what others believe in, provided we live by our own healthy values and respectfully allow others to do the same? How can any faith be threatened, if faith exists inside each individual and is the one thing that no one can take away from them? Does it matter to you that I eat brown bread instead of white, prefer yoga to tai chi, support a different football team, or believe in me more than in a priest/minister/rabbi…? How does it benefit you if I believe exactly what you believe, rather than being true to myself? Being true to me is precisely what makes me reliable and trustworthy, since I won’t be swayed by others telling me what to do. And personal autonomy is the key to empowerment and fulfillment (not to mention democracy), since anything else is control.

So if you’re ever faced with a situation like Lola’s, ask yourself this: Is it really about religion/your football team/politics/vegetarianism? What are you really afraid of, if your partner doesn’t share your beliefs? Is it him/her you’re afraid of losing control over or it is you? And if you’re not in charge of your own beliefs, who is?

US reality check: the president is NOT the problem

Why is President Obama being attacked from all sides, after such a positive start to his presidency? Why has he failed to make the difference that he initially seemed so capable of making?

His apparent failure is part of an ongoing cycle that is never going to change unless we realize what’s really driving the crises and dysfunction in our world. We are so busy trying to address the symptoms of dysfunction that we fail to ask the bigger questions: why is there such dysfunction and strife? Why are we locked in repeating cycles of debt, military defensiveness, economic boom-and-bust?

This is not about Obama’s shortcomings; it’s about what’s missing in us all. And the root of our dysfunction lies in our negative programming—the most powerful factor in determining the quality and success of our lives, yet the most overlooked. Through our upbringing, schooling and religions, we are programmed to feel inadequate, unworthy, insecure and powerless to orchestrate our lives. We are taught to live reactively, to devise strategies and manipulative mechanisms for getting what we want, and to cope with life as it appears to just randomly happen to us. Our deep-seated unworthiness and lack of healthy self-acceptance leave us disempowered and needy, unable to create/sustain healthy relationships. We’re driven to earn the acceptance, approval, recognition, validation or love that we need in order to feel good about ourselves. And if we cannot master our relationships at the individual level, we cannot hope to do so at the international level.

We expect one man to fix a nation, yet most people are not even taking responsibility for their own lives, let alone doing something to address the bigger problems. They enthusiastically elect him, then proceed to decimate him—from the Capitol to the voter—rather than championing and supporting him in working on their behalf. They cannot believe in him because they cannot believe in themselves. He’s a handy target for their anger and frustration at not being fulfilled or prosperous in their lives, yet their individual situations—as well as the collective problems relating to the economy, terrorism, poverty, etc—are the direct result of the negative programming that permeates society.

Obama cannot possibly heal a dysfunctional nation on his own. What Americans believe him to be capable of is a reflection of their own perceived abilities and self-worth. And attacking him/voting him out of office is simply going to confirm their subconscious beliefs about not being able to have what they want in life.

War, debt, crime, divorce, ill-health, addictions, poverty, economic crises and political gridlock are the symptoms of a race that has failed to understand or master itself. Until we start to examine the negative programming that runs (and often ruins) our lives, and to empower ourselves in practical ways, these dysfunctional cycles will keep repeating themselves.

From the interpersonal to the international, it’s the same dynamic. It’s just like in a relationship, once the honeymoon period is over. Our issues come up, the dysfunction kicks in and suddenly our loved one starts looking inadequate and flawed. But what’s really happening is that we start to blame the other person for not giving us the love, attention, affection or fulfillment we want—and have been missing all along. We are needy, incomplete and disempowered, and THAT is what’s wrong with America—and any other country with economic problems, civil strife, etc. It’s got nothing to do with the president or any other politician.

Have no illusions about the next president being any better …for as long as Americans remain so profoundly disempowered.