Character strengths when you’re not your own biggest fan

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Going down that road

I haven’t written prose here for a long time. But today seems to be the day that I break the rule of simply writing poetry down here. The issue that I am confronted with today, seemed too big to write poetry about. I’m sure I will someday, but right now I thought that it might be good to do some prose about it.

I’ve always been unapologetically myself. Not because I’m this great guru for authenticity but basically since I know no other way, and honestly, I do apologize sometimes for being me– I do have insecurities, and probably the times that I don’t it’s probably simply cause I’m rude and I had no idea that something I did was a problem.

Today I’ve been looking into ‘my core strengths’ In the area of positive psychology there is the idea that there are 24 character strengths and each of us has them in various gradations. The strengths range from honesty and bravery to spirituality and perspective. If you take a test at Viacharacter.org they will organize your strengths in an order that should be true to your character strength- the top ones being at your core.

I took the test ages ago and so I looked up the result and found myself disappointed. At the number one — it said ‘creativity’. And I felt frustrated and haunted– thinking of all the time that I felt so uncreative, uninspired, wanted to hide away from all the great achievements others seemed to pursue almost effortlessly, with amazing results. My first thought: yes, people always mention creativity as my core strength- but you know what? I suck at it!. I have so many more failed projects than working projects. This idea reminds me of a friend saying: almost every night I go to sleep very quickly so I don’t have to think about what terrible (impulsive) things I’ve done that day. In that sense, my creativity feels more like a thing that I can’t help but do than something I’m truly proud of.  So much of the creativity is connected to vulnerability and failure and for that reason shame.

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Nature and walls. And beauty

I think that core strengths when you are in a state of mild or less mild depression can be very complicated to review. Because I guess while you are in a state of unhappiness, you don’t necessarily lose your core strengths, you simply link them to very difficult experiences. And for me at least, even though when I’m doing well I enjoy my core strengths, they seem a source of trouble and unhappiness when I feel down. They also to me feel sad because they feel so very far away as if I am reading about who I used to be, and not who I am now.

In the course, I was following the core strengths were described as those things that give energy rather than take it away, and those who are fueled by a fire within rather than some outside encouragement. How does it feel when the fire is low? How do you go on then? I find myself still expressing the core strengths in one way or another, but they come less naturally- I’m still creative, I still have a strong sense of perspective, appreciation of beauty and I am brave, honest and curious. I still use these strengths to continue my journey when everything seems to be gray. And perhaps this season I will discover the true value of my core character strengths. I might not be my own biggest fan right now, but I can try to recognize the way these strengths are still functioning even when I’m so frustrated with all that is going on.

I wonder what your experiences are with all of this!

Moving out and changing things.

Funny how- for so many people-

the act of cleaning up, of clearing out

clears a mind and brings peace

or rather that is always what I imagine.

But so often. I am not happy. I am

just angry about the change. about

the emptiness about the clearing out.

the hate and love I feel for the old

and then new. for how stuck I so often am.

but yeah. I understand why everything

is bittersweet. such an overwhelming amount

of memories attached to everything

If I would just push the physical things

around, maybe I wouldn’t be so angry

at the furniture in my mind.

 

Moral of the story:

apparently

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pushing things around

changing your crappy phone

to a much prettyier one is not an emotionally

neutral activity.

I think. I don’t recognize.

How are you, they ask

and there is a grey sort of thing

that takes my words and pulls

my shoulders up. and I tell something

about a break-up.

I’ll leave you to just be. they say

or better just feel and sit with it

as if I know how to. sure I can shed

a tear, maybe 2, but then the grey

thing is back. If I felt anything I would

call it a grey feeling, but alas, I can’t

really feel it. It’s just there, making

me talking to anyone a momentary

relieve and a bit of wood on the fire

of my anger, since that is the only thing

I can sort of recognize these days.

They say that people mostly think they’re

hungry cause they don’t recognizeDSC02693 thirst.

I’m not sure how this relates to that but

it probably does.

Cracking the code.

Forget- I said. What I meant was-

please help me accept what I did.

You don’t have to- I said. What I DSC01030

meant was please know that I

suck at things beyond my control

please guide me.

I miss you- I said. What I meant

was you’re in everything around me

except reality and that’s confusing me.

Its ok I guess- I said. What I really meant

is I’ll be invisible again. It doesn’t matter

who I am.

 

and then again. I try to crack the code

you send. But sitting with silence

has never been my strong point.

And so I sit with myself. And my fear.

 

 

How to Dream. Time to learn.

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The Joy and Vulnerability of working with kids. 

The kid knows more than the average adult about history

But when I watch him write he takes the longest time.

He tells me that during Monets life there were two world wars.

It didn’t say in the book, but he knows it from the dates- he just

doesn’t know how to spell ‘world’ yet.

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Teaching myself french again- long live duo lingo

 

 

 

 

And to see kids having their strengths so differently.

I feel small– Ill-equipped to help them make sense of it all

when half the time I know as little as they do.

But then again I remind myself that so often I remind them

of how we are in school to learn- and that each of us learns

on their own terms, in their own time. And I guess the

time to learn right now is mine.

You woke up.

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You woke up before- you can do it again.

Hey, you woke up!

I know it is later then you planned-

and you feel anxious about the time lost.

your breath stuck in your throat

and the tears fill your eyes with anger

But hey, you woke up!

and the sun shines,

and you can hear the men describing

where he is, on the phone,

because that is what we do.

 

And I know you wanted to simply take

your phone and tell where you were too-

the despair, the disappointment, the struggle.

but where a phone needs someone

on the other side- no one else is needed

to write.

 

Breath– It’s like she says, in

a calm voice that you only know kindness

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Forgive all the layers you hide behind.

in the midst of despair.

“Writing will make you feel better”

“No one writes and feels worse”

and I guess she is right.

 

The writing allows me now to hear

the sound of the street, the sun on

my carpet red floor, the wind that reaches

the little skin that is exposed while

sitting in my bathrobe. If only I could

forgive myself for appreciating this moment.

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How long, can one talk about presenceDSC05595

and not be there? How long can we

worship the light and stay in the shadows.

I guess quite a while- but then again,

when a light shines on the shadows where

we hid, there is no building, none of

the kingdom we proclaimed to be part of.

And then there is all of us. Around the table

brave enough to talk- they might have muted

themselves and by that mute us, but we are

still free to simply talk dream of what it would

be like to truly live in the light so far-

sure there are shadows behind us sometimes

blocking others to see, but we have learned to

have a light inside of us. we regognise it, no longer

ashamed. Let’s build something– that kingdom

that we’ve heard so much about.

Reverse lent

It’s almost easter- that means it is also almost the end of Lent. I must say I did hardly anything related to lent this year. Safe to say nothing at all. I even attended church less than usual (i did attend it just came very very late. on top of that easter will be a mess of working and all that. During lent (the 40 days before Easter) people traditionally fast and have more focus on the fact that they need redemption- they suffer a little in order to remember Jesus’s suffering on Good Friday. And that is a super good tradition, but alas this year I have missed it. But I do feel the need to mark the new life that spring gives us every year somehow. I was brought up with the idea that you don’t do good deeds in order to be saved or OK, or loved- you are loved and saved anyways- you do them out of thankfulness, out of love for a good life. love for God. And so I’ll try o be a bit ambitious (i put that here because I know how much of a messy forgetful mind I have) I will try to celebrate Easter, the new life that resurrection brings in the 40 days áfter easter- from the 22nd of April to the 27th of May 2019. And I will think about ways to celebrate the new life, a new year that is started from easter. To create some kind of order at this time.

What I’m thinking of now is:

-‘Buy nothing new’- celebrate what you have

– Acknowledge and thank for a new thing every day

– Make time each day for prayer & worship

– Seek the things that promote life and not death fro this planet as well

If anyone has any ideas of how else to mark this time- I would love to hear your suggestions!

 

 

Regognising, darkness

When was the last time-

you saw yourself as the villain.

That you would see a story

or a fairytale and see so easily who

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was bad and said to yourself- but that’s me.

I don’t mean in the sense of I’m a terrible

person- or I can’t do anything right.

but what is the last time someone hurt you

and you think – I do that as well some times.

perhaps that would grown empathy.

Towards others, towards yourself, towards me.

Perhaps it will breathe hope and forgiveness.

un-capted

I’m pretty sure- that the title isn’t a real word.

I am trying, I’ve tried to capture, to hold to round

to sculpt to understand and make understood the

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The sun shines on the rubbish lying around for months- and even though it is good that now the rubbish is gone I treasure the mess I captured then.

feeling of being trapped, stuck between invisible

walls, boxes and squares and feeling cut off.

And I’m not even now trying to write about that

since I’ve been stuck in my head, I’m writing about that

because I saw someone make the space, take the space

build a house, open a door, letting the light in

that is so familiar- that reminds me of before.

It gives me hope. It reminds me of that all of this I know,

too. The idea that perhaps I don’t have to be

hostage of my own thoughts but that with my thoughts

I can capture 

the marvalous, the love, the beauty, the strength that

will be poured in the most generous concrete making it

safe for not just me, but for anyone.

A vision that sometimes the building material around me that

I’ve gathered to be able to make anything, sometimes feels

so intimidating that it is less possibility and more burden

and sinking and drinking while my throat hurts.

perhaps, this all goes back, to the four and five-year-olds,

that i taught when they were sitting somewhere to long,

choose something else now- and they wisely knowingly

said- but first, clean up right?

And so I now try to put the wooden blocks, the train rails

the thoughts around me to their place- so that when I have time and space

I can build anything I want, and don’t get too intimidated by that.

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Joy of dirt and all that is left lying around