The “Just Wars” AKA The 4 Top Killers of Personal Growth

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Is there such a thing as a “just war”?  A right war? A moral war?  A needed war?  There are some who would argue YES.  What about the war inside?  The war of the mind that affects your  heart light and keeps you from authentically manifesting your magnificence.

Today we’re discussing growth inhibitors.  Unlike fertilizer, inhibitors include thoughts, phrases and behaviors that hold us back.  The stories we tell ourselves and the language we use even in our thoughts affect our action or inaction.

The top 4 growth inhibitors:

 

I just. . .

I just often precedes a statement that reflects conflict and internal struggle.  A dissonance.

For instance:

When discussing a friend who chooses to make decisions that may or may not be in his or her best interests:  “I just don’t want to see _____ homeless and unable to have _____. ”  Even though we know that we have no control over the situation, we want to be able to influence another’s behavior.  We don’t have that power.

“I just want them to understand.  I just don’t want to be the outcast” for setting healthy boundaries and taking care of one’s own well-being.  You can’t do both, dear one.  Personal growth requires sacrifice and self-preservation.  That often means leaving situations or people that have become toxic behind.

 Yeah but. . .

Yeah but often precedes a statement in which a person knows what he or she needs to do or that the advice or facts are true but isn’t yet ready to take action.

For instance:

When discussing healthy boundaries with family or friends:  Yeah but they’re family and I have to put up with them or there won’t be a relationship.  Yeah but if I don’t do what they expect, they won’t provide babysitting, etc.  Yeah buts come up in situations where we’re afraid of the outcome if we hold our ground.

 But it’s haaaaaarrrrrrdddddd. . .

Did that sound like a whiny 2 year old?  Good! It was meant to because that it is exactly what we sound like when we use it.  But  it’s haaaaarrrrrddddddd often precedes a statement in which change has either begun or is about to be embarked upon.  It is a reflection of inner resistance to change.

For instance:

The need to take time for oneself to study, meditate, do art or simply recharge.  “But it’s haaaaaaarrrrdddd to set aside the time.  I’m sooooooo busy, stressed, etc.”   The REALITY:  We all get the same 24 hours, dear one.  We each make the time for what we consider important.  Why can’t YOU be one of those treasured things?  Even 20 minutes to do what you love will make a difference in your outlook.

OR “I know I need to eat right/stop smoking/exercise etc but it’s haaaaarrrrrrrdddddd.”   Of course it’s hard.  Changing habits requires commitment.  Are you willing to commit to loving yourself enough to change?  You can’t punish yourself into self-love; you have to love yourself with affirming action.  Baby steps are fine but move yourself forward a little at a time.

I Can’t.

 

Intended to shut down uncomfortable conversations or thoughts, I can’t implies that you are infinitely limited.  But the word impossible contains the words “I’m possible.”  Trite, I know yet internalizing that truth is powerful beyond measure.

Reframing the “I justs, yeah buts, but it’s hards and I can’ts”.

I have a few journaling exercises to turn those thoughts around and manifest ACTION.

I JUST.  Take a moment to think about what you really WANT from a given situation.  Look at the change that needs to happen and identify YOUR needs.  Do you need peace, acceptance, self-love?  Identify how you can remove the toxic and create what you want.  Can you take a walk, make art, say “I choose not to entertain that thought/energy”?   When you have identified what you need, practice saying silently or out loud (in the instance of people who may be emotional vampires) “I choose not to entertain that.”

YEAH BUT.  Write down what is the worst case scenario.  Then decide what you really want from the situation and write down what is the BEST thing that could come from the situation.

Make a list of the difficult things you have done in your life.  What are the traits that you exhibited that allowed you to handle those situations.  You still carry those traits, dear one.  They may have fallen dormant for a period of time, but you have everything you need to make necessary changes right there inside your phoenix soul.

I CAN’T.  Write down your list of I can’ts.  Then in another column make a heading that reads BUT WHAT IF I COULD?  List what would happen if you could.  Then list small steps that you can take to turn the can’ts into I CAN and I DID!

You are a Phoenix Uprising!  You are stronger than you can imagine and you have the power to be anything you dream of.  Vulnerability is power, strength and might.  Strength is born from vulnerability – from being vulnerable enough to be uncomfortable and to walk through the fire to emerge a Phoenix of your own destiny.

Zen & The Busy Brain

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© 2013 Paulissa Kipp, all rights reserved

What happens when you combine acrylic skins, pen and ink, meditative creation via zentangling aka tangling and an explosion of color?  You get zen.  This piece began as a simple line drawing and through the process of building patterns, it built upon itself.  What does it mean?  The jester hat stands for mirth, the poppies for the beauty of the earth, mother earth, shoot for the stars and the labyrinth on the left represents the path the only we can walk.

Have you tried using acrylic skins in your work?  Skins add interesting textural elements.  Simply use a glass palette and peel the acrylic waste from the palette after the paint has dried.  You can cut it into shapes, layer several skins and no waste!

I’d love to hear how you recycle in the process of doing your art.

 

What Happens When Zentangles, Projectors and Cameras Collide??

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Photo by Olav Folland, Model Kat Folland, Art by Paulissa Kipp. © 2013 All rights reserved by the artists.

I am thrilled to honor to present a new collaboration with my friends Olav & Kat Folland.  Olav and Kat are very talented photographers and artists.  Recently, Olav obtained an old projector and began doing projector art onto his wife’s body.  Some designs have been Kat’s doodles and more recently, Olav put out a call for artists willing to collaborate.  I submitted my henna hand original drawing shown below to see what would result.  I am proud of the stunning way in which my work was interpreted and the courage of my friend Kat.

Go to Olav’s Google+ profile to see more of his amazing series and interact with him.

https://plus.google.com/u/0/113330053950020592701/posts

Kat is a powerful author, cancer survivor and talented photographer.  You can connect with her on Google+

https://plus.google.com/u/0/106644585677637197494/posts

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Spending Time With Mother (Nature)

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Spending Time With Mother (Nature)

 Today is Mother’s Day in the United States.  A day to thank Mom for all she has done to bear us, for the sacrifices, the love, the meals, the guidance and for her presence.  Mother’s Day has a long and interesting history.  Mother’s Day began as a progressive movement advocated for by a handful of activist women.

  1. In 1858, when Anna Reese Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker, organized “Mother’s Work Days” to improve the sanitation and avert deaths from disease-bearing insects and seepage of polluted water.  Anna began giving carnations to mothers in her Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia.
  2. In 1872, when Boston poet, pacifist and women’s suffragist Julia Ward Howe established a special day for mothers –and for peace– not long after the bloody Franco-Prussian War.
  3. In 1905, when Anna Jarvis died. Her daughter, also named Anna, decided to memorialize her mother’s lifelong activism, and began a campaign that culminated in 1914 when Congress passed a Mother’s Day resolution.

As the years progressed and commercialization of the holiday began to take over Jarvis’ original intent that the day be an intimate affair between mother and child(ren), Jarvis came to be disappointed in those who sought to monetize love and loyalty.

Source:  http://www.nwhp.org/news/history_of_mothersday.php

As the parade of pastel cards, memorials, tributes to Mom, flowers, dinner and even gardening centers benefit from the day, my thoughts turn to those for whom the day has a different meaning.  Those for whom Mother was not a nurturer, but the source of abuse and neglect.  For those persons, Mother’s Day can be a source of high anxiety and sadness.

For years, Mother’s Day has been a source of sadness and anxiety for me for a number of reasons:  My mother abandoned me at 8 months old, my grandmother and grandfather raised me and my grandmother was physically, emotionally and verbally abusive.  Mom, while occasionally present, really only dealt with me when there was a new relationship in her world.  I am incapable of having children of my own due to endometriosis and the resultant hysterectomy, so the opportunity to be a better mother than my mother(s) is gone.  As I near 50 years old, raising a child is impractical.  I was raised by parents who were in their late 60s when I came along; I know the disadvantages to both parties of that arrangement.

For those of us with abusive backgrounds, the saccharine sentiments on Hallmark cards don’t apply to us:

 

“You have always been there for me.” Huh? No.

“Thank you for always listening to me.” No.

“A mother is a gift from God forever.” No, I didn’t feel that at all.

“A mother sacrifices for her child.” That doesn’t work when mom abandons you at 8 months old and  your grandmother who raised you was abusive.

“Thank you for your love.” I only felt her “love” when there was a new man to show me off to.

So. . .what to do about this Mother’s Day thing.  This year, I will celebrate in a way that affirms me.  Today, I will spend time with Mother Nature.  I will walk with her, hold her in my hands, drink of her perfume, marvel at her beauty and the way she supports me, the way she has given me life and nourishment.  I will allow her to love me and me her.  Today, I will love Mother in a way I have never before.  I will define Mother in my own way and she will bring me peace.

© 2013 Paulissa Kipp

How We See It: The Nature of Our Worlds Book Is Now Available!

Bursting at the seams, so I have to share. I am proud to be published in Volume III of How We See It, A View of Our Worlds. This is my 3rd collaboration with a group of 75 artists of all sorts from Google+. The book is beautiful and I am so humbled to be a part of it. (I am on page 101) You can preview the entire book here: http://www.blurb.com/books/4293600-how-we-see-it-the-nature-of-our-worlds – private – private

So if you need a mental break, give it a gander. We are donating all of the proceeds to the National Organization of Women’s LOVE YOUR BODY campaign as in previous volumes.

Bruised, Not Broken A Survival Story TRIGGER ALERT

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Bruised, Not Broken – A Survival Story

 

My past has not defined me, destroyed me, deterred me, or defeated me.  I am the face of abuse and recovery.  I have survived child abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault.  I am stronger than what has happened to me, but what has happened creeps into the shadows when I least expect it and response will always be present.

 

A little about me:  For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Paulissa Kipp.  I have been a Women Against Violence sexual assault/ domestic violence victim’s advocate for 20 years.  This conversation may be disturbing.  If at any time you’d like to take a break and regroup, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

The story I’m about to tell you is mine.  I was 22 years old.  I left Nebraska for a romanticized ideal of being taken care of.  Every relationship red flag that I will discuss was present but I was young, opinionated, and most of all, naïve. 

The relationship started easily enough. 

Here he comes.  The truck and ladders lumbered down the lane with a loud clank.  3:47 am.  He’s been gone for three days, no phone call (the phone was actually working but he didn’t call), no food in the house except for 2 packets of oatmeal, and here he comes rolling in at 3:47 am drunk.  He fumbles with the keys, singing “Yellow Submarine” at the top of his lungs.  He finally gets the door open.

He asks me for a kiss.  The smell of whiskey nearly makes me sick.  “What’s wrong you don’t love me?” 

“You’ve been gone for three days!  Do you even know how many days you were gone?  The police are looking for you because I filed a missing person’s report.”

“I told you I was looking for work in Oklahoma City.”

“I know what you told me”.

I didn’t see it coming.  The force knocked me backwards.  I could feel my broken teeth and my jaw hurt.  I ran into the bathroom and pushed the dresser against the door and held it. He came through the door and choked me until I gasped for air.  I ran down the basement stairs and shut myself into the storm cellar.  I felt the knife whip the air as it passed my head and grazed my ear. The footsteps overhead grew louder as glass shattered.  The house gradually became quiet.  I took my shoes off and tiptoed through the house. I gathered a bag of clothing, my legal documents, and walked to the front door.  As the door opened, he stood up and lunged toward me.  The bullet grazed my hip. My ankle twisting, I broke free and walked 3 miles on a broken ankle for help. I am one of the lucky ones.  I lived to tell the story.

Abuse causes many cracks in the veneer of the soul. Healing from abuse is a slow recovery process. It requires a courage that does not come naturally. It often requires counseling and brutal honesty. It requires forgiveness, but not forgetting. It requires not being a bystander. It requires making a stand and saying “Not on my watch, not me, not you and not your child. It requires faith, even when you don’t know if the wound will heal. It requires acknowledging that we are all broken in some way. In the words of Leonard Cohen, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets through.”

All violence is the result of people tricking themselves into believing that their pain derives from other people and that consequently those people deserve to be punished.  Often abusers punish while professing love.

You might ask yourself how do we combat violence?  Violence isn’t just what lurks on the surface; it goes deeper than that.  As Jiddu Krishnamurti points out, “Violence is not merely killing another. It is violence when we use a sharp word, when we make a gesture to brush away a person, when we obey because there is fear. So violence isn’t merely organized butchery in the name of God, in the name of society or country. Violence is much more subtle, much deeper, and we are inquiring into the very depths of violence.”  Begin by speaking for those who are unable. Don’t ask why did he or she stay? Ask why do batterers, rapists and molesters do what THEY do and work to combat it. Yes, I’ve been there and can tell you it’s not as easy as it might seem. If you are being abused, have a safety plan (if you don’t know how to set one up, call the national domestic violence hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE(7233). 

I have spent a lot of time working on myself, learning to be vulnerable, to love myself, to find my own worth, to value the things I do well, to not give others the power I should keep for myself and to learn how to feed myself and my soul what it needs.  

So dear friends, this has been very long and if you made it to the end – THANK YOU!  The things that I am learning are these:

A caterpillar only remains in the cocoon for so long.  Eventually, it has to break out of its shell to become what it is destined to become.  So it is with our lives as well.  

The things we give the most of are the very things that we need most desperately.

No matter how painful our past or present is, we do not have the right to project that pain onto others and punish them for past hurts.  No matter our past or present circumstances, we have a choice.  We can choose better.  I have a lot I could be bitter about.  For the most part, I’m not bitter.  Why?  Because if I am bitter, that means that I have nothing worthwhile to offer the world and that would be a waste of my potential and ability to love.