Sunday, May 18, 2008

Disqualifying the Positive

Years ago, after I left The Way and ended up at Yale Divinity School, I went on a quest to find "My Truth." It was a rather calamitous search because I forgot my flashlight. Instead I brought a pick ax and a saw, determined to unearth and dissect every morsel of reality I could find.

The problem was that after the brainwashing of the cult, I assumed reality must be a pretty grim business – you know, “nasty, brutish and short.” I didn’t dare to look for anything positive because, to my way of thinking, that would be a lie. In other words, if it was to be true, it had to be hard or bad or both.

One might attribute this attitude to my Jewish heritage (no disrespect intended.) I think this tendency to think negatively is all about control. If you’re negative and it comes true, then at least you predicted it – you think you’re in control. If you’re wrong and something good happens, then you don’t mind being out of control because it’s good.

Anyway, my error in “disqualifying the positive” was quite costly to me. I nearly lost my children, not to mention my mind. I was under the mistaken impression that for something to be Real, it had to be negative. Wrong! It’s taken me years to believe that I can be positive and still have both feet on the ground, that I won’t float away to some unseen Oz over the rainbow and be overtaken by the wicked witch. It’s taken me years to accept the good life has to offer. Years!

I could begrudge the time lost in the slough of despond, in my descent into hell. But that’s been very rich ground for my seeds of personal truth to grow. Today I count my seedlings, weeds and flowers and cherish them all. Good and bad. I don’t discount the beauty anymore because I’m no longer afraid that it will be snatched away from me. It’s not only around me. It’s inside of me. I’m positive about this and, finally, I’m not afraid to say it.


Anonymous said...

Hello Kristen,

Thank you for putting yourself out there for women who are struggling with some of the same issues. I'm overcoming a situation of having been brainwashed, not by a cult, but by an individual claiming spiritual "superiority"... something I was seeking after years of being in an empty marriage. I divorced my husband and got into what became a very stormy relationship. After some time, I realized that this so-called spiritual individual was really just full of shit and sent him on his way. My children and I were still relatively intact until I recently discovered that during my relationship with him, he'd been sexually abusing my daughter. In fact, it was my daughter he had his eyes on all along. I was only a pawn for his access to her. NOW I'm a mess. My feelings of guilt are almost more than I can bear. I reproach myself mercilessly. How could I have been naive enough to have put my children in harm's way? I feel I acted selfishly. Not a day goes by that I don't have tears in my eyes over what that bastard did to my daughter. Will I ever find peace?

Kristen Skedgell said...

dear anonymous, The fact that you suffer so for your daughter shows the great love you have for her. Even in the best of circumstances, predators find their way to idealistic victims even when we think we have our eyes wide open. As your daughter heals, so you will heal and vice versa. the thing here is that you were a victim, TOO and thank God you dumped the criminal. Now it's a matter of holding onto the good that you've have given your daughter (which I'm sure is A LOT) and holding onto the good in yourself. You will find peace, in time. Just be patient and try not to think in terms of "all good or all bad." be gentle with yourself and heal. best.....