In My Spare Time

In my spare time; well its not spare time really, just the time left over after my 40 hour job teaching music. Then again, its not exactly time left over, its time I MAKE. Do you MAKE time? Do you have any secret ingredients for making time that I should know about? Anyway in my “spare time” – meaning the common usage of that word, even though I have established that really, nobody has spare time—I SING! Tuesday is probably the most over-loaded day of my week, for on Tuesday I rise and go to work, teaching about 175 students, then home to check on the household, next to an hour long voice lesson, pick Philip up from work and give him a ride home and proceed to a 2 ½ hour Sweet Adelines rehearsal. But you know what? If I am singing and breathing right, it is a most exhilarating day! I do believe singing for 12 hours might be cheaper than a visit to an oxygen bar and it certainly does release the endorphins and dopamine. In my spare time I make time to SING! What do you do with your spare time – or the time that you make?

Carried Shame and the Author

The author, 2008

Originally uploaded by ein feisty Berg

During the course of the writing of my just completed novel I read a number of books about codependence and addiction; not only the usual alcoholism or chemical dependency treatises; but also writings about clean addictions such as caretaking, affirmation addiction, or the currently popular: workaholism

One reoccurring concept, pinpointed as a factor in addiction, which I at first had a hard time wrapping my mind around, was the idea of carried shame. The concept reoccurs often enough that it is safe to say it is a contributing factor in the development of codependence or addiction in an individual. That is; carried shame causes addiction. Carried shame causes the workaholism of the caretaking codependent.

As near as I understand it, carried shame is when one person does or says something abusive or shameful to another. The victim, or the recipient, sees that the perpetrator should be ashamed and is ashamed or embarrassed for them. Or perhaps the recipient is ashamed for being the one that triggered the shameful thing, revealing the flaw in the perpetrator. The victim / recipient is painfully embarrassed or ashamed for the person perpetrating the incident and carries that shame forward in life; trying to assuage the pain (cope) through a variety of ways; perhaps self-medicating with alcohol, or perhaps merely striving to be perfect.

The carrying forward of Carried Shame is most clearly seen in individuals who have suffered violent physical / sexual abuse and self medicate via chemical abuse; but carried shame can also turn up in the most unusual places.

WWJD? Is a fine thing to ask oneself. Yet, too often I have heard it used by bullies in position of authority. It goes something like this: What would Jesus do? Well I’ll tell you exactly what He would have you do. Listen up. I’ve got it all figured out. Just do exactly what I tell you to do; exactly the way I tell you to do it and you will be doing exactly what Jesus wants you to do. Slip up, do any less than precisely what I tell you and….you know where you are going.

This, this abuses the follower or the sinner shamelessly in order to manipulate them, to control them, to meet the standard of the bully, the church, the family or the organization. And this, I believe, causes pain and fear and carried shame.

The Patience of a Daughter In Law

My daughter-in-law is a great cook. I love being asked to stay and eat at my son’s house when his wife is cooking. I can just run off and play or read with the grandkids, entertain the baby, and after a while the aroma of a healthful meal wafts in pursuit of my growling stomach, inviting me to the table. Sometimes when left to my own devices at home I crave the fresh ingredients my DIL is fond of using: Romaine lettuce, organic zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, cheese… Last week I decided to put together a seven layer bean dip for an extended family get together. But I do not have the patience of my DIL. I had a number of items on my to do list and I really wanted to be out visiting; not in the kitchen preparing. I had a terrible time disciplining myself to stay in one place and dice and assemble the ingredients.

Over the years my understanding of the adjective “gifted” is, “can do without sleep,” And how do I define “gourmet cook”? One who has patience for shopping and chopping.

I am trying to learn patience. I just spent an hour and 20 minutes in the cell phone store.