Book Review - Love Warrior

14 September 2016

This was a really captivating read.  Lots of depth, movement, and truth.  I liked it.  Ultimately, it did not become one of my favorites, and I don't see myself ever reading it again.  I could relate to a lot from my past, as a matter of fact, I felt like I wrote my own version of this book back in my day.  But that's just it, it was back then.  It was a lot of raw wounds where I have healed, so it felt superfluous to revisit.  At times, I felt impatient that I was being drawn back.  This is the same way I felt with Rising Strong by Brene Brown.  I couldn't ever finish that book.  These books are just not in my timeline right now - other things speak to me more, and I'd rather give time to those.  Though people who are in this time, this book would be a Godsend.

And now, my favorite quotes from the book:

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They look because she's lovely but they stare because she is love. [about her mom and how her mom is so beautiful that people look.  But her mom locks eyes with everyone everywhere as a greeting; she shows them that she sees them and acknowledges them].

I take my coffee into the walk-in closet--my room of my own--and I open my computer and begin to write.  ... Just for this hour, I invite my real self forward to speak her pain, anger, love, and loss.  I never miss this morning appointment with myself, because I can tell something important is happening in my closet.  After I write, I feel calmer, healthier, and stronger.  Every time I fling an internal demon onto the blank page, that demon turns out to be much less scary than I thought she was.

What I Know: 1. What you don't know, you're not supposed to know yet. 2. More will be revealed. 3 Crisis means to sift. Let it all fall away and you'll be left with what matters. 4.What matters most cannot be taken away. 5. Just do the next right thing one thing at a time. That'll take you all the way home.

My anger is the ocean.  There are moments of calm and stillness and then, without warning, the disturbance begins beneath my skin, churning, gathering power until there is nothing I can do but surrender and ride it out.

I can never glimpse the end of the path, but if I squint hard, I can see the next step.  The way I squint is to sit in the quiet for a few minutes every day, block out all the other well-meaning voices, and say, Give me today my daily bread.  I don't know what will happen, but today, give me enough energy and wisdom and strength and peace to handle what comes.  Help me ignore the big decisions, which will make themselves, and just help me focus on the small ones.

The few times I try to tell the shattering as a story, I regret it.  Spoke words make what happened to us too tidy, too palatable, too ordinary.  I can't describe the ferocity of the fear and rage inside me with words tame enough for the light of day.  When I finish the telling, I want people to be as shocked and confused as I am.  I want thunder to roll and mouths to drop open.  But most often, the listener makes the pain harder for me by trying to make it easier for her.  

If the receiver of my story is a Shover, she listens with nervousness and then hurriedly explains that "everything happens for a reason," or "it's darkest before the dawn," or "God has a plan for you."  ...  She needs me to move forward, to make progress, to skip through the hard parts and get to the happy ending. ...She wants to shove me towards the door of hope.   

If she is a Comparer, she nods while "listening," as if my pain confirms something she already knows. ...  So instead of making a new file for my story, she files me into some category for which she already has a reference.  ... And so I become just another story in a long line of stories. ... But the paradox of pain is that it is universal only in retrospect.  In the present, it is fiercely personal. 

The Fixer is certain that my situation is a question and she knows the answer.  All I need is her resources and wisdom and I'll be able to fix everything.  ... The Fixer insists that there are definitive ways in and out of this mess.

The Reporter seems far too curious about the details of the shattering.  She asks inappropriate, probing questions and her eyes glisten as she waits for the answers.  She is not receiving my story, she is collecting it. 

People who are hurting don't need Avoiders, Protectors, or Fixers.   What we need are patient, loving witnesses.  People to sit quietly and hold space for us.  People to stand in helpful vigil to our pain.

I stop asking for advice and pretending I don’t know what to do.  I do know what to do, just never more than one moment at a time. I stop explaining myself, because I learn that making decisions is never about doing the right thing or the wrong thing. It's about doing the precise thing. The precise thing is always incredibly personal and often makes no sense to anyone else. God speaks to folks directly ad one at a time, so I just listen and follow directions. And when I need to work anything out, I turn to the blank page. There, no one can steal my pain or try to poison my knowing, and there I always have the final word in my own story.

"So even if the hot loneliness is there, and for 1.6 seconds we sit with that restlessness when yesterday we couldn't sit for even one, that's the journey of the warrior."  Pema Chodron's - When Things Fall Apart

Faith is not a club to belong to, but a current to surrender to.

I am at peace. And I understand that I am in the middle of a reunion with God. This is a returning of my soul to its source. My soul's source is God, and God is love. I am, right at this moment, in perfect love with God and there is no fear in perfect love.

I’m trying to fix my pain with certainty, as if I’m one right choice away from relief. I’m stuck in anxiety quicksand: The harder I try to climb my way out, the lower I sink. The only way to survive is to make no sudden movements, to get comfortable with discomfort, and to find peace without answers.

Upward and onward,

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