Dr. Mike Obsatz, Professor Emeritus at Macalester College
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Moving to New Normal
How Can Hugging Someone I Love Make Me Cry?
For the first time in fifteen months, I feel free to hug my three adult children, six grandchildren, and many of my good friends.
I have been hugging-deprived (except for my wife) because I wanted to stay safe during this COVID experience. Staying Alive" has been more than a John Travolta disco song for me. It has been my main job and focus since March, 2020.
I have tried to do all the right things. I realized that where I went, and how I behaved was up to me.
I wore a mask everywhere, wore plastic gloves, washed my hands fifty times a day. I avoided planes, trains, and automobiles, except our family cars. No ubers for me. Plexiglas shields were not enough protection.
Recently, I went to a gathering and hugged a few people. It was a surreal experience to hug and be hugged. It felt amazing and scary at the same time. It is also felt wonderful.
When I first hugged my son and grandson a few weeks ago, I cried. Even though I have been vaccinated since February, I knew many others were not. Now, my adult children are vaccinated, and my most of my friends are as well.
Businesses and spiritual centers are opening up.
There seems to be the belief that it is now safer to touch another person, give or receive a hug or handshake. A sigh of relief. Maybe we finally made it through this. Maybe I can feel safe again in the grocery store.
Crying can be a sign of sadness, but also it may be a sign of relief. Finally, we are free to live our lives. But for me, I think I am crying because I was unable to cry during the last fifteen months. It was too much to feel all the sadness and loss while being so strong. It was too much to let in and let out the feelings of grief. So, maybe I can grieve now as I begin to feel more connected again. Hugging in person is different than a face-time phone call.
I feel sadness because of the 600,000 people in the United States who died. I am sad that this pandemic was not taken seriously by some people. I feel sadness for all those who became ill and recovered. I am also grateful to every caregiver who kept people alive, and took care of our basic needs -- food, medical care, mail delivery, spiritual support, etc.
I am most grateful for the scientists who created the vaccines, and those who delivered the vaccinations. I believe that I can cry for joy about that.
Regarding Unity Minneapolis, I am super grateful for the ministers (Rev. Pat, and Rev Toni), staff, board, volunteers, and congregation for keeping the high watch, making our lives better, more connected, and love-focused during the last fifteen months. Where would I be without "Connecting with Reverend Pat," my prayer chaplains, my Unity men's group, and live-streaming the Unity Sunday services?
I am still going slow with re-entering the world. How safe is it really? How can I know? In the meantime, I will be hugging those who are vaccinated more freely now. And I will cry out of love, gratitude, sadness, and relief. Thank you, God.
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Beating Shame With Spirit
The Ultimate Shame-Buster: Overcoming Shame Through Spiritual Connection
Shame is pervasive in all cultures. Shame is a feeling of unworthiness, incompetence, and self-hatred. Empire Consciousness promotes shame by creating a hierarchy of the powerful at the top and the powerless at the bottom. One is always striving to climb to the top by putting others down. This results in racism, sexism, hetersexism, ableism, classism, etc.
Empire Consciousness is about control, domination, we/they mindsets, scarcity and oppression. It is understandable that those at the bottom would have shame because they are heavily abused and shamed in the process of experiencing oppression. However, those at the top feel shame and guilt deep down for being oppressors. They also hate themselves. They may not be aware of it on a conscious level, but shame is always part of Empire Consciousness.
Oneness Consciousness is about God-connection, and love for all of creation. It is the ultimate Shame-Buster. The more connected to love of God and the whole universe one feels, the more lovable, worthy, and meaningful life is.
We can "heal" shame by looking at past hurts, family of origin issues, and a culture of shaming. But the real healing comes when one detaches from needing any validation from the world. Everything comes from within, and an internal spiritual connection is the ultimate lover of all.
God is the ultimate life-force of love energy, blazing holes through the worldly shaming of Empire Consciousness. Jesus said, "Be in the world, but not of the world." In other words, live in the world but don't define oneself by worldly standards, rules, categories and labels.
We are validated by our wholeness and spiritual connection, and need nothing from any earthly beings. Just live and let live. Create inner peace and outer peace will follow. Everything is an INSIDE JOB.
Books about Shame:
Brene Brown -- The Gifts of Imperfection
John Bradshaw -- Healing the Shame that Binds You
John Bradshaw -- Homecoming
Charles Whitfield -- Healing the Child Within
Alice Miller -- The Drama of the Gifted Child