The post you are about to read is not political, not religious, but it is spiritual.
I’m speaking from my heart and deepest understandings, knowing that some people are going to potentially get “their panties in a wad.” But some things in life are more important than whether someone is offended or not, the biggest cause worth sticking my neck out for to me–is children.
“Children are a heritage from the Lord,” a psalmist once said.
A heritage is a legacy, a gift by will, to be passed down to future generations.
A child is the most precious thing on this entire planet and according to Jesus, the closest thing there is to heaven. All the gold and silver on earth is less important in the grand scheme of things than the life of one child. Yet, each day, thousands upon thousands of children are treated with no regard. If you mar the child, you mar the future. If you kill a child, you kill parts of the future.
I believe the most important job any human has ever had on this earth is to raise children to be humane and compassionate and if we fail at that, nothing else we do matters. Nothing. It doesn’t matter if you are a biological parent or not, the way you treat a child (a neighbor’s child, a nephew, niece, cousin, student, etc.) makes a difference; each of us has an obligation to humanity to demonstrate what it means to be humane to the next generation or else, we get this:
Kids are not put here to pleasure adult sexual fantasies. They are not meant to work in sweat factories or be the source of black market body parts (if don’t believe me, check out the fate ofAlbino children Tanzania: ) Children are not meant to be tools that divorced adults use to “get back” at one another or to “punish” one another. They are not meant to be a means to getting government subsidies or punching bags for frustrated adults who were most likely abused themselves. Nor are they put here to live through vicariously, pushing them into things that are torturous to them so that a mother who never got to be a beauty queen can be one through her child (like on that Tots in Tiaras show) or a father who was never good at baseball can shine through his son (the dad in at the little league park who yells and screams at his 8 year-old son over a ballgame that will be forgotten in a few weeks). They are not miniature adults and they DON’T understand all the things that can hurt them; that’s why they need parents: mothers and fathers and that’s why they need caring mentors, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.) They are meant to be loved unconditionally, trained (notice that discipline is training and punishing is abusive and punitive) and taught that they have potential, unique callings and gifts to give the world.
Children end up bearing the brunt of brutality, abuse and hatred and they can’t fight back. They don’t have a voice. Who’s marching for them? Who’s standing up for the most vulnerable population in our county? Where are the protestors against thugs who shoot little kids?
Tonight I ask all of you who believe in prayer, to pray for the children, pray protection around them. Pray that the eyes and hearts of this nation be opened and that all those kind-hearted people of every shade, gender, spiritual and economic background unite to make this world a better, more-loving place for our heritage. And I ask that we band together and raise loud voices online, stating that we do not condone the harming of children, physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually for any cause or purpose.
No more human trafficking.
No more drug culture.
No more abuse.
No more shootings.
Kids are more than a substance that takes up space and has weight. Kids are more than a clump of molecules and atoms. Kids are more than matter. They are humanity’s greatest potential.
Over the past week, I’ve spruced up my porch, painting things, planting flowers, etc. and in the process, I took down the American flag that’s been hanging there for the past ten years, because it doesn’t match the new decor. Today, I picked it up off the picnic table where I’d rolled it up and laid it down, intending to dispose of it in the proper way with the proper respect. But I stopped in my tracks, noticing how faded it really was, how frail, thin and torn. I noticed how it was so stained and that the red had turned rust and the white had turned gray. Suddenly, there was a pain in my spirit and tears in my eyes, because I was no longer looking at a symbol of America. I was looking at America herself.
America: Stained. Torn. Tattered. Faded.
America: Land of the free.
America: Home of the Brave.
I cried, realizing that I love America, even when she’s stained, torn and faded. I’m an idealist. I know that. Some might call it a weakness, if so, then let me be weak, because I dream of a land where all life is respected from the unborn to the ancient, where there are no color lines and the only hue is humanity and the only responses humane. I straightened the flag as best as I could and hung her back on my porch, where she waved in the southern breeze that blew up from the cow pasture. She may be tattered, worn and faded, but she’s still beautiful to me.
I’m from a multi-racial family in a small town in Southern Appalachia. We have a modge-podge of ethnicities: White, Black, Latina/o and Native American. I don’t think we have any Asians—yet, but my CRI Genetics test says I have Asian ancestry, so, it was there at one point in time (approximately 5 to 6 generations ago). I believe we are all human and that genetically, we are 99.5% the same (according to 23andMe), and what we do to one, affects us all.
Now before I make the next few statements, let me say that my little spill here will likely not change the minds of most people. I’m not speaking to minds now anyway. I’m speaking what’s in my heart, because I need to speak it. So, this blog post is a selfish one. I’m doing it for me, not you! But hopefully, someone will find something worthwhile within it.
That broken flag is a sign of blatant symbolism to me. You see, I’ve caught myself praying a lot these past few days. I was walking through the Dollar Store and realized that I was praying, out loud, asking for America to be healed and then I realized that healing has to come one heart at a time and that the reason our country is broken is because our people are broken. If we want to fix our country, then we have to fix our people and we can’t fix people by killing them, robbing them, burning their homes, etc. We also can’t fix people by legislating morality to them. Politics can’t fix our country, because politics can’t mend human spirits or awaken the ones that are asleep. Only a spiritual awakening in human hearts can fix our country. Notice that I did not say a return to religion, by the way. I said a spiritual awakening.
I think about how Gandhi said that if we live by an eye for an eye then the whole world would be blind and how Jesus said that if the blind leads the blind then they would both fall in the ditch and Crazy Horse who said that a good leader was one who served others rather expecting others to serve him. Yet, I feel like so many people today are concerned only about serving themselves and they will blindly follow anyone who makes that a little more possible. That literally that they are lovers of themselves, angry, proud, arrogant, loud, aggressive and filled with hate and fear, while others are self-loathing, depressed (and some strangely proud to be that way). However, I know there are peace lovers out there who believe we evoke change in the world by being the change, that we can protest injustices without more murder and destruction. Jesus said that if you live by the sword you die by the sword. Or in other words, violence simply breeds more violence and it is never the answer. The only time it may be the answer is when someone invades your home and threatens your family. Then you fight for survival. A lack of the right tennis shoes or want of a better job is not survival.
I think about the man called John who wrote that if we say we love God and hate our brother (or our neighbor or our fellow human being) then we are lying to ourselves. How can we love God that we haven’t seen if we can’t love the human being that we do see? And what is love, anyway? Well, in this context, it simply means to treat others with decency. This is where healing begins, with brotherly love. And love has to come from a heart that’s been touched by love.
So, tonight, I pray for a healing in the hearts of Americans. I pray for Love’s light to over power the darkness that has settled upon our country and I employ every child of light to shine, shine and shine. Shine your light. Love, love and love radically because if ever there was a time when America needed the healing of radical love, it’s now.
So, my tattered flag waved in the afternoon breeze and I realized that through her thread-bare stripes, there were patches of sunlight.
I believe there are only two basic emotions that exist in the world; LOVE and FEAR and that all others — happiness, jealousy, anger, sympathy, compassion, etc. are manifestations of whichever one we are walking in at the moment. I believe that it is impossible to act from fear and love at the same time.
If an action is intended to harm another, either physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, socially or spiritually, it’s motivated by fear. Sometimes, it’s a fear of being wrong about something, like politics or religion. The fear is that if we are wrong about one thing, then somehow our entire universe and grasp on reality will come undone. Sometimes, it’s a fear of change, because people fear the future or that the past will repeat itself. Some people are the opposite and fear a life of boredom and sameness. Some people fear a lack of control. Others fear being controlled. Sometimes, it’s a fear of being “without,” meaning having less financially or of being poor. Sometimes people fear those of another religion, race or ethnicity. Sometimes people fear getting older while others fear dying young. Some fear they will never have a relationship while others fear commitment. Ultimately, most are afraid of death, yet everyone must face it.
Some people have been raised up in fear, believing they might not be as good as other people, so they constantly lash out at anyone who threatens their notion of being “somebody.” Maybe they get angry over something as simple as a social media post that they disagree with politically or religiously or something like that, so they lash out violently with foul language and cruel private messaging, but it’s their own insecurities and learned behaviors that come into play, not really anything you’ve done.
If someone reacts violently or hatefully to you, they are reacting out of fear. Maybe it’s a generational fear that is buried so deep in them that they don’t even know it’s there. Maybe it’s a learned behavior, instilled and ingrained, but it’s still a fear.
If an action is intended to help another, either spiritually, physically, financially, emotionally, mentally, or socially; then it is motivated by love. Love compels us to acts of faith, *true confidence, *true humility, kindness, gentleness, *forgiveness, *objectivity, patience, and selflessness. Love brings joy and laughter and fond memories. It doesn’t lash out in anger and understands that others get tired and stressed. It doesn’t hold others to impossible standards or double standards. It doesn’t act in covert contract mode, expecting something in return. Love gives for the sake of giving, not receiving and shows gratitude when it does receive. Love brings growth, joy and life to everything it touches.
Every kind, compassionate and uplifting thing is done out of love. Every unkind thing is basically, an extension of fear or just plain old habit. In some cases, it’s both. If I am secure in love, then it doesn’t matter what someone says, it shouldn’t rattle me, or at least not for very long.
Love is like sunlight and water. Where there is love there is life.
A lot of people live in fear and the ironic thing about fear is that it causes people to run away from the positive, from hope and encouragement. It causes them not to recognize what is good when they see it and to label the strongest attributes of humanity: gentleness, kindness, patience, meekness, forgiveness, mercy, etc., as weak and mistakes brutality and violence for strength.
The truth is that it takes great courage to be gentle in a world where harshness is the standard. It takes great faith to be positive in a world where we are bombarded by negativity. Love brings us that courage and faith.
I’m reminded of Gladys Aylward, a tiny English woman, who led a hundred orphaned Chinese children to safety over the mountains during a time when all of China was in the grip of fear and war and she did it with love.
Love is the greatest force on earth. It is greater than war, greater than violence. It is greater than fear and it is greater than disease. Love endures forever and nothing can ever change that. Love is God and God is Love. If you want to know the Creator of the Universe, the One Who Never Dies, Great Spirit, Ancient of Days, the Force and Source of All, then look no further than Love.
*my definition of true confidence as opposed to cocky self-assurance is doing what you need to do with the faith that all will work out as it should and without the need to control people or outcomes.
*objectivity–in my mind–is the ability to remove your “personal” preferences, likes and dislikes, from a situation and see it from many angles and from the perspective of others involved and make the decision based on what pathway yields the most positive or favorable outcomes for everyone involved, taking into considerations the effects on and motivations of others.
*true humility–I believe that there is such a thing as false humility where a person acts humble in order to appear to be a “good person” or “more spiritual” but in truth the act is motivated by self-interest. True humility doesn’t care who’s watching or who’s not and will often try to perform in secret without getting recognized or needing recognition. True humility doesn’t need a pat on the back or a trophy. In the same way, true humility will propel you to the stage even when self pride wants you to sit back and not make a fool of yourself. It does what needs to be done for the good of everyone involved, regardless of who does or does not get the credit.
*forgiveness–does not mean forgetfulness. If a person has it in their nature to lie, cheat, steal or whatever, you don’t have to be blind to that fact, just accept that they are that way, keep your distance from them. Simply let go of any anger they caused you and don’t carry it or hold it against them. Caring a grudge will not punish them. However, it may add extra stress to your life and make you physically ill.
Lisa was 97 years old when I worked at the center for the elderly. She always sat in the chair by the door with a romance novel in her lap. I commented on her love of romance one day and she said, “I’m old, but I’m still human.”
I squatted beside her chair; her eyes sparkled. “When you grow old,” she said, “you don’t stop being human. You don’t stop having feelings or having dreams.” She shrugged, “I’m nearly a hundred, but as long as I am in this world, I have hopes.”
She then spoke of what it was like to have people look at her as if she weren’t in her right mind, because she was elderly and what it was like to have others think she needed someone to make decisions for her. She told me of how it wounded her pride to be treated like she was senile when she wasn’t, of how people just assumed that because she was old, she had somehow stopped having any pride or emotions or feelings of self-worth or that she deserved pretty things. Then spoke of how she had served as a nurse in WWII and how she had paid her dues for her country. She was a veteran. She told me of how she had come from the Choctaw Nation and she was an American of all Americans.
She asked me for hot cocoa and told me the special way she liked it. I went in the kitchen to make it and the young worker in there said, “You making chocolate for Lisa? She won’t like it. She’ll send you back. That old bitty can’t be satisfied.”
But I made it exactly as Lisa had told me to make it and if she had asked me to redo it, I would have done so. I sat beside her and listened to more stories until I had to go attend to another matter. Daily, I listened to Lisa’s stories and I read manuscripts from 80 year olds with dreams of becoming writers and I discovered something that I hope every 30 year-old will soon discover, age is nothing. Our spirits, the real us, are ageless, eternal.
Lisa at 97 was the same Lisa who had done all of those amazing things in her 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. Lisa, at 97, was more mentally clear and intelligent than that 30 year-old who called her an old bitty. It is a foolish person who writes someone off because of age or appearance. She wasn’t any more demanding than I would have been in her shoes. Who wants to eat tasteless food and drink watered down hot cocoa? She wasn’t hard to please, she just wanted to be treated with dignity and respect. I don’t know what ever happened to Lisa. I’m sure she’s gone by now or else she is 115 years old, which isn’t impossible, but I doubt she’s still with us. Still, at 97, she taught me a thing or two about life and I am forever grateful for the two summers I spent working at the center and the insights I gained into human nature.
**Another post I found here in my drafts. I apparently, never finished it. It’s dated 2010. It sort of just leaves off in the midst of a train of thought, but I decided to post it anyway….
I think I’ve spent my whole life trying to communicate, to truly connect with others. This connection can’t be made in a materialistic way and it crosses all racial, cultural, gender and economic barriers.
I think I’ve always been trying to say what can’t be said with mere words, seeking a pure communication of the heart. I remember a co-worker once telling saying of me that I “always spoke my heart.” I responded with, “Is there another way to speak?”
I believe it was Like Ironweed who said, “You must speak straight so that your words may go like arrows to the sun.” I’ve tried to speak straight, to speak my true heart and to be true to what I believed. I think that perhaps in matters of style I have often wavered and changed course, but in matters of spiritual truth (not religion for there is an enormous difference between spirit truth and religious traditions forced upon others by those in authority) I have remained steadfast.
What matters to me most is spiritual truth and in knowing those spiritual truths, how we treat one another as human beings. So often the words we use are clumsy and get in the way of what we really want to say. Edgar Cayce, an American psychic, is quoted as having said that God put artists on the earth to act as windows to the spirit world. But in order for a window to offer a clear view, it has to be clean. I believe it was King David who prayed, “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.” I wish for a pure spirit, a spirit without malice or intent to do harm or take advantage of others, a heart that doesn’t want to manipulate or control, a heart that sees the good in others, even when it’s not obvious.
I have long believed that my entire purpose for living in this world was to be a conduit, a window, to the spirit world. There is a way of wisdom and I long to walk in it. I’d rather be wise than beautiful. I’d rather be wise than famous. I’d rather be wise than wealthy. Once, when I was thirteen, I prayed that above all else, above beauty, above talent, above wealth, that I would be wise.
The spirit world is all around us every day. It is in the pond, it is in the rain and wind, in a baby’s giggle, a kitten’s purr, the night songs of the crickets, early spring peepers, because it’s in us if we chose to listen. In the spirit way, ordinary things are sacred and blessed and are of far more value than all the man-made things combined. The spiritual laws is the WAY in which we should conduct our lives in order to obtain true satisfaction, which is far above what the world deems as successful. It is the way is the way of kindness, forgiveness, love, selflessness, compassion, mercy, endurance, patience, understanding…everything that is good and lovely and worth thinking about. It is the way of the spiritual warrior.
The spirit world does not operate on the same value system as the laws of the materialist world and for that reason, the person who choses to walk the spirit way will often be misunderstood by those who value the material world most….
Fi=Feeling Introverted in the hero position means that the INFP KNOWs what she values, what’s important to her and she is guided by this. She may not verbalize it until one of those values is violated, but above all, she knows. Sometimes, she may immediately be put off by a person or situation without being able to put her finger on the reason why.
Ne=Intuition extraverted in the parent function or responsible function holds her hero in check and allows the INFP to be quietly spontaneous, open ended and creative.
Si=Sensing introverted. INFPs have a childlike need to be comfortable. It also causes the INFP to be somewhat of a collector and keep a data reference, howbeit, because their aspiration function is Te, their organizational system may look like total chaos to an outside observer.
Te=Thinking extraverted-INFPs again INFPs have a unique system of order that works for them alone.
Darcy wears the same style of clothes almost everyday. She has about three brands of clothing that she will wear in about five colors. She buys everything in those brands and colors. She always wears comfortable tennis shoes or black leather shoes. She always wears the same kind of jeans and the same style of shirt. She wears her hair the same way the majority of the time, as well.
She runs an antique store in an old building on the edge of town. Inside her building, the paint is peeling, books and antiques are stacked to the ceiling and it smells like an old library. Darcy never uses scented candles, air freshener or any artificial smells. Every isle is filled with items that are unique, quaint or just plain odd.
A big gray cat often sleeps on a chair behind the check-out counter and another cat, a yellow one, has claimed the window sill facing the street. A third cat inhabits the back porch of her shop where she hired someone to build him a little house. She feels a special connection to the cats and has several more at her home. She feels they are more honest than people and she had rather have a conversation with them than with most humans.
Around the shop there are several signs that say “Do not spray.” Being an avid plant and wildlife lover, she is trying to protect her innocent wildflowers and the butterflies and hummingbirds that visit them from the thugs the city sends out to keep weeds under control.
Darcy loves art, poetry and anything having to do with the paranormal. She is highly involved in aura reading, out-of-body experiences, ghost hunting (she belongs to a group of paranormal investigators) and chakras. She writes poetry and has a large collection in a various boxes. She remembers which poems are in which boxes by the colors of their lids.
She doesn’t like “fake” people and is selective of her friend. She enjoys quiet time and spends her days off with a good friend, foraging for rare things to put in her shop. Darcy knows immediately if she likes someone or not and if she doesn’t, she won’t care to be around them anymore than she has to be. She is the same way with food, clothes and most other things. She knows immediately what she likes and can quickly send it through a pass or fail test.
She does not like rigid schedules and likes to keep her options open for discovery. She often plays around in the store, coming up with unique display combinations. Darcy has a good memory and a keen eye for detail. She can tell if a piece is authentic or fake within minutes, sometimes seconds.
She doesn’t have a lot of friends, maybe four people, that she feels close to. She also doesn’t like hot weather, background music, artificial smells, clothes that have stitching she can feel, air fresheners, body lotions with scent, shampoo with too much lather, make-up, hairspray, perfume, shoes that she can feel on her feet, collars, ruffles, lace, leather, flip-flops or chap stick, along with many other things. She collect things that hold fond memories for her.
All her life, she has felt misunderstood and all she has ever wanted was for people to just leave her alone, accept her the way she is, stop trying to force her to “play nice” and be like everybody else.
She recently started dating a musician who has been putting music to some of her poetry and is planning to record a collection of her work as songs.
Darcy’s cognitive preferences are those of an INFP and while not all INFPs are exactly like Darcy, they do all have certain things in common:
INFPs know what they like and dislike.
INFPs are creative.
INFPs are good at making inferences and connections.
INFPs are sensitive to what makes them uncomfortable, whether it be physical, emotionally or spiritually.
INFPs are quick to spot “what is wrong” with anything (sometimes–anyone) but may be completely unaware of their own appearance or physical environment.
INFPs are collectors of information, be it photos, memoirs, mementos, etc.
INFPs have their own unique organizational systems.
Ne–scans the horizon, looking for possible pathways. It toys with ideas, with relationships and every piece of data, experience or external stimuli leads to making inferences, drawing analogies, coming up with metaphors, motives and meanings. Ne is adept at what if scenarios and mirrors others. It tends entertain multiple meanings and ideas at once.
Fi–introverted feeling in the parent position means that the ENFP will be responsible for his/her own values and will have the ability to place themselves in the shoes of another person and see from another person’s viewpoint. It may also cause the ENFP to behave selfishly if in a foul mood.
Te–extraverted thinking in the child position means that the ENFP has a pure ability to be organized when they need to be and will give them a childlike love for gadgets, technology, data, etc. Make no mistake, ENFPs and ESFPs definitely have the ability to get organized, even if it doesn’t look like traditional organization to Is-Te types such as ESTJs or ISTJs.
Si–introverted sensing in the aspirational position means that ENFPs may tend toward moments of nostalgia or when stressed find relief in something familiar. Even though they love change and they love the new, they do take solace in the familiar on occasion. Si acts as a release valve or a balancing act for Ne.
Janet is a perky, bouncy and seemingly carefree person, but she is also responsible and proves it everyday. She runs her own company.
When Janet walks into a room, her employees can immediately tell what mood she is in. They can tell by the way she carries herself. When she has a new piece of technology, she walks with a pep in her step that makes her appear to walk on air. When she has an unsatisfied customer or trouble at home, she walks with anger in her steps. Workers know when they can and can’t approach her with requests, all by the way she walks. Though they would never say it to her face, they all describe Janet as “moody” and say that she can both be kind and sympathetic and yet, at times, childishly stubborn and selfish. Some workers have quit because they say that Janet is insincere and acts like she is on “their side” then turns around and does something that they feel stabs them in the back.
For example, three years ago, there was an opening in the company and Janet called a board meeting. The board held interviews and voted to hire a girl name Stacey, who was highly qualified but had been struggling through financial difficulties due to the recent death of her husband and the closing of the factory where she had worked.
Janet called Stacey and cheefully told her that she had the job. Stacey and her two kids had a party to celebrate her getting a good job and their being able to get off food stamps. She then preceded to move her belongings into her office and was all set for her first day of work.
Meanwhile, Janet was approached by a representative from a clique of workers. The representative told Janet that the other workers (meaning her little group) didn’t like Stacey and didn’t think she was a “company kind of woman.” So, Janet, in an attempt to keep her company looking top notch, decided to hire another person, less qualified but infinitely more popular with her employees. When Stacey showed up to work, Janet asked her to leave, explaining that they really didn’t have the money to hire her.
Later, Stacey learned that the other woman had received the job and that Janet had lied to her. Stacey was devastated and had to take a part time job as a waitress to feed her children.
Janet is innovative and always has new ideas. She is funny and loves to have fun. She can make people laugh and is constantly open to possibilities. Janet has worked her way to the top of every company she’s ever been a part of, and now, she has her own company. She’s also highly creative and enjoys art shows, theatrical performances and is a great performer herself, always participating in local theatrical productions, talent shows, etc.
Janet’s first marriage ended because she felt stifled and misunderstood. She left her husband after a couple of affairs that also ended with her feeling let down; when Janet finally left her husband, she did so without having anyone in the wing and truly did feel she could do better on her own, which she did. She realized that she had married wrong and had been mismatched for twenty-seven years. She never knew how happy she could be until she was living on her own. Five years after her divorce, she was perfectly happy. She spent her vacation time going places her husband was always too afraid to go and it was on one of her trips that she met her current husband, a quiet artist with a thirst for adventure. Together, they go off the beaten path and explore the novel, the quaint, the bizarre and the unusual and they both love doing it. Janet is happy in her current life.
Janet’s cognitive preferences are those of an ENFP and while she is not identical to every ENFP, she does share somethings in common with other ENFPs.
ENFPs are energetic and have tremendous mental energy.
ENFPs NEED change and without it, they become stagnant and unhappy.
ENFPs love new, novel and exciting things, like new technology.
ENFPs need to return to the familiar from time to time.
ENFPs are aware of they value but may not be aware of the morals and values of others.
ENFPs are experts at making connections, drawing analogies and coming up with or understanding metaphors.
I diverge from my writings on depth psychology today and revisit a concept I found in my notes from some years ago. It comes on the heels of a post I made on my artist blog concerning one of my paintings. I look in the mirror and I see gray hair beginning to peep out of my dark strands and yet, I’m okay with it. I may dye it, eventually, if I don’t like the way it looks later on. But if I do, it’ll be my choice and not something that I feel pressured to do. However, like with many things, the voices in our world scream that we need to “fix” that gray hair, and instill fear that if our hair is gray, we are less attractive and if we are less attractive, then we are less valuable.
We are daily bombarded with messages that we need to be slimmer, taller, prettier, smarter, richer, younger-looking; that we need newer gadgets, smart cars, smart phones, smart homes, and I-everthings. The internet tells us what to wear, what to eat, and where to go. We get the message that we need to have these things or do these things in order to have a better life, to be happier. I actually know women who will not walk out their front door without make-up, because they’re afraid someone might see them and reject them. I want to tell them that make-up can’t make them beautiful or more acceptable. Beauty first has to come from inside.
It kind of reminds me of the story of Adam and Eve when the serpent told Eve she needed to bite the fruit because then she would be better. She would have something she didn’t already have, know something she didn’t already know. She would ‘move up in the world.’ Yet, Eve was already at the top and she already had all the knowledge she needed inside herself. All she had to do was trust the voice she already knew was true. But I don’t fault Eve. The liar was probably persistent, showing up day after day, looking good, charming, appealing, promising high rewards. The same thing happens to us all on a daily basis. The same lie, the lie that we “need” to obtain something to be worthy or better or just good enough, is being pitched to us all every single day and like Eve, we bite into it, and then offer the same critical lie to someone else. I believe happiness is found when we know our own worth and live according to our own values. In other words, we have to assert that we are ENOUGH and don’t need to bite into anything else.
Somewhere in our pasts someone criticized us out of their own insecurities or thoughtlessness or ignorance; but the criticisms stick, the lie continues, the lie that says, “You’re not _______ enough.” The lie says that you need to do something, obtain something, to be better, to have more knowledge.
At the very least it is a lie that causes a woman to look in the mirror and turn away with a knot in her stomach, feeling that she isn’t–enough. I hear women make negative statements about themselves all of the time. They look at some woman in a magazine and compare themselves. The kind of beauty we see on television and in magazines is what some money hungry cooperation has designed to get more in their bank accounts. That’s why fashion is always changing. They want things to consistently be hard to obtain so that people will pay more to get it…and that includes everything from beautiful hair to buns of steel…anything to make money.
Now, I’m not advocating letting yourself go. I believe in being responsible for the house I live in and not just letting it fall apart. Yes, we should try to eat right and get adequate sleep. We should exercise, but the belief that our value is tied up in our physical appearance or the things that we own, etc., is a lie. If that were so, beautiful young celebrities who “have it all” would not be overdosing or committing suicide.
Real beauty is found with the inward adorning of the heart. It’s okay to look our best, to want to be pretty, but the mistake comes when we began to believe that our value is tied to our appearance or that anyone in this this world actually knows what true beauty looks like. Who gives “them” the right to define what is beautiful? Is not beauty in the eye of the beholder as the old saying goes? When we allow anyone to determine our value based on…anything…or when we believe that our value is determined by what we look like, what we have or what we can do…we believe the lie that we are not____enough. It all comes down to who and what are we believe and our beliefs determine the quality of our lives, not our looks, not our bank accounts, not our popularity, but our beliefs. So, that is where beauty lies.
We are born with different natures. Nature means the way we are naturally “bent” or inclined. We each have our own set of natural strengths and weaknesses. The book of Proverbs talks about training a child in the way he or she should go. The words “way he should go” there, literally translates into the direction in which a person is “bent” or “inclined.” King Solomon, all those years ago, understood that each of us has a natural, God-given, inclination and that we should train each child according to his or her own unique inclination, help him or her develop strengths and overcome weaknesses, each of which is different in every person. There is not a one size fits all mold for human beings.
So, we could say that the word “train” refers to nurture. Solomon tells us to nurture each child according to his or her own specific nature.
Nurture means our environments, our relationships, our belief systems and our experiences. Two people with the same nature may be very different because their nurture is so varied. So, teachings we receive, the environment, relationships, religious beliefs, cultural beliefs and life experiences will affect the person we become. We could say that our nature is influenced by our nurture.
Problems come when we expect everyone else to live by our own “natural” value systems. In other words, if I naturally value structure and another person values unhindered exploration, we may have issues, unless we come to understand that and approach each other with the other person’s values in mind. This is where depth psychology comes into play. You may not EVER understand the letters Jung used and what they signified, but anyone who can think can, if they try, understand that other people see the world differently and value different aspects of human nature.
We each have one of 16 sets of cognitive “preferences” or ways of thinking. Preferences means that we subconsciously gravitate toward in much the same way that each of us gravitates toward left-handedness or right-handedness.
****IF WE UNDERSTAND THE NATURE OF A PERSON THEN THE TASK OF GETTING ALONG WITH THAT PERSON IS ALREADY 50% ACHIEVED. THEN ALL WE HAVE TO IS WORK ON THE NURTURE OF THAT PERSON. When we understand the nature of a person, we are responsible to hold them to THEIR value system and not our own.
So having said that, here is a two word description of the basic nature of each of the sixteen types. (In depth psychology terms, it’s the dominant or hero function). This is what each of these types value and excel at.
Ti=introverted thinking is the INTP’s superpower. This means that the INTP is gifted at logically dissecting and analyzing problems.
Ne=intuition extraverted is the parent function of the INTP and is where his/her responsibility lies. Ne in this position takes what Ti has perceived and analyzed and toys with possibilities of application.
Si=sensing introverted in the child position means that the INTP has a pure need for personal comfort. Unlike people who have Si in the hero position, in the child position, it means that the INTP needs to feel “safe” before they can be their true unguarded selves.
Fe=in the aspirational position means that INTPs often misinterpret what they others value or how they feel. It means that they aspire to make others happy and are let down when others are suddenly angry and lashing out at them.
Calvin’s glasses are held together with electrical tape and he wears a hoodie and baggy jeans almost every day. He’s a quiet man most of the time except when he’s with his business partner, Eddie. The two of them constantly bounce ideas off each other. Calvin married right after college but the marriage fell through as Calvin did not do well with paying his bills, following a set schedule or showing up to work on time. When he did have money back then, he spent it on gaming equipment. His wife got tired of the bill collectors, food stamps and always being broke, so she left, thankful that they never had any children. So Calvin moved into the apartment above his parent’s garage and has been living there ever since.
Calvin started out as a clerk in a comic book store where he sold comics, figurines, gaming equipment and t-shirts to costumers, but when he met Eddie, the two of them discussed an idea for a particular kind of gaming software. Eddie had the money and the vision. Calvin had the ingenuity, so they partnered and eventually started their own company which is doing well, but Calvin has not bothered looking for a bigger or better house or more expensive clothing. He is content in his garage apartment so when he does spend money, it’s related to software development. Calvin doesn’t place a lot of value on the external world around him. His apartment is cluttered with wires, cables, computers, gaming paraphernalia and coffee cups.
Calvin seems to live and breathe to generate new ideas and improve upon the things he’s already developed. Existing rules or structures don’t mean much to Calvin when a new idea is born. He will by-pass the way things have always been done and pioneer a new, more innovative way. He approaches problems with skepticism, seeking patterns and logical explanations.
Calvin is a peaceful person and hates face-to-face conflict, although he is silently critical of others whom he deems as “unintelligent.” He often gets online at various forums, under different names, and “trolls” people. He says things to them just to get them going. In real life, he is conflict avoidant. He likes martial arts and can tell anyone all about the history of martial arts and all the best moves, but he would not engage in hand-to-hand combat because the one time that he did, a 100 pound Thai girl beat him up.
He doesn’t like to meet new people, usually, unless they are people who draw him in by discussing theories and ideas that appeal to him. Calvin doesn’t base his decisions on how he thinks others will feel about it or whether they will value it. His creativity tends to come in bursts of energy and he has to go with it when it hits. He may stay up until 3 a.m. or sleep until 3 p.m.
For Calvin it is important to express ideas and facts correctly. He expresses himself in what he considers truths and when he explains it to someone who isn’t an expert in the field he often forgets or doesn’t bother putting it into laymen’s terms. Thankfully, Eddie is strong in that area, of taking complicated things and putting them into simple terms, so Calvin leaves the public speaking to Eddie.
Calvin’s cognitive preferences are those of an INTP and while not all INTPs are just like Eddie, they do all have some things in common.
INTPs see everything from an analytical point of view.
INTPs cannot help but be logical.
INTPs see possibilities and need to play around with them.
INTPs are unaware of why others can’t see things more logically.
INTPs want to be left alone to work or to work with a like-minded person.
I recently found the following draft from a post I intended to publish in 2011, a month after my dad died. For some reason, I never published it. I thought it was fitting to post it now, in the midst of my Depth Psychology Series, even though it was written before I was well-versed in MBTI or Depth Psychology. I do hope you enjoy. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
I’m a writer and an artist.
I have discovered that whether I’m writing about a person, a character, or painting a person’s face, there is one thing I must do. I must really SEE the person.
I don’t mean that I have to notice the color of his hair or eyes, but I must really SEE. I have to determine what makes that woman in my chair, her. What characteristic makes that man, him.
Sometimes I portray a distant sadness, a longing in the eyes, sometimes…pride, self-importance and sometimes, a free and generous spirit. Sometimes a sketch ends up projecting a sense of wandering, longing. Often a person will sit in my chair and in ten minutes time tell me his or her entire life story. There is a comfort in having a stranger draw your face, much in the same way that there is a comfort in sitting next to a stranger on a bus or an airplane.
As an artist, I often feel like a bit of a palm reader. I have to look into a face and discover what line, what shadow or smudge, portrays the depth of a person’s character and if I leave it out or add what is not there, then I loose something.
It’s not so much an emotional experience. I suppose it can be, but it’s more like a revelation. I think drawing is a spiritual experience, not a religious one. Pencil on paper is honest and it’s hard to mask. Not everyone will sit in my chair. Some people are afraid to see themselves through the eyes of another. Some people are too self-important. Some just aren’t into art. Some just have ants in their pants and can’t sit for ten minutes.
Another thing being an artist has afforded me is a fly-on-the-wall view of people. Often times when I paint murals in a public place, people come and go without so much as realizing I’m there. I hear their conversations, pick up on body-language, and other things that I would not maybe notice if they were in conversation with me.
Whether I’m painting in a resturaunt, a school, a church, a business or drawing faces at a festival, pow-wow or some other type of gathering, I have come to understand that inevitably I will encounter the following types of people:
1. The-Whatever-People. These folks follow trend. They make up the vast majority. They don’t want to stand out, or think too deeply. They worry about being branded as weird, yet, they secretly want to confide their hopes, fears and life details to someone. They are usually good-hearted, hard-working people. They just want to be reminded that they have value.
2. The -I’m-More-Powerful-or-Spiritual–Than-You-or-Anyone-Else-Here-People. I call them the Moses Wannabes, because they want a crowd of followers. I’ve met them in churches VERY often. They are the ones who exert power over others, who tell me what I should or shouldn’t wear or whether or not my motives are “righteous”. They are the self-appointed gaurdians of everybody’s lives and the ones who rejoice to know that all the “unworthy” are gonna one day get what’s coming to ’em. They know more scripture or are somehow more equipped by God to tell me what it all means. They are the ones who expect people to follow them. And, of course, at Pow-wows, they are the ones who self-proclaim to know the “Old Ways” better than any of the rest of us and they are also the ones that get mad and storm off like a child when someone doesn’t swoon over them or asked them a question which they can’t answer [um, yeah, I do that sometimes]. They seem to gain energy from other people by exuding some type of control over them. I guess, in some ways, they are intimidators. They control by lording over others. They are dictators at heart.
2. The “Lone Wolf” People, this is usually the I’m-so-cool tough guy, you-can’t-touch-this type or the “Redneck Woman” (like from the song) kind of woman. These people are usually putting up a big front to mask the insecure child they still are on the inside. They’re usually full of a life lived in pain, fearful of rejection and terrified of being ridiculed and embarrassed, so they put up a front. Often, when they know they can trust me, the front falls. I meet a lot of biker, redneck types who are like this. I meet a lot of women who are like this. They often cuss and talk bold. They sometimes brag about fighting, but sometimes they tell me stories that tell me that they are fragile and vulnerable. They don’t want pity. They want someone to say to them that they are brave spirits. They are still searching. Their pretense isn’t to gain power over others. It is merely to protect themselves from pain and hurt and from those who want to exert power over them.
3. The I’m-a-Mystery-so-Notice-Me People. This is, I hate to say it, often the artist. Sometimes when I go to art festivals I will encounter artists who feel they don’t need to actually “talk” to you. They can just drift around, being all mysterious, because they get some kind of pleasure from people trying to find out about them. Seriously. I meet a lot of musicians like that, too (and oddly enough…mechanics) Sometimes, these folks will try to be all “mystical” and “super spiritual”. I don’t know what the deal is except that having a Merlin persona somehow gives them a boost of energy. Then there are the ones who are self-sacrificers because looking super humble and meek makes them feel more spiritual which in turn really feeds their ego.
4. Then there is the I’m Smarter Than You People. No matter what subject you bring up they know more about it. They are the “experts” on everything and rarely shut up long enough to learn anything. Whatever topic I bring up, they twist it back to their own topic of choice and ask me questions so they can prove how much more they know. They get power from imparting information, whether it’s correct or not. They just have to know that they know more than I do. So, I let them believe they do, because informing them otherwise might destroy their fragile selves.
5. There are the Poor-Me-Feel-Sorry-for-Me-Because-My-Life-Sucks People. These are the ones who gripe and complain and tell me all of their woes, their angst. It gives them a sense of power when someone feels sorry for them and it feeds them, at least for a little while. They have predetermined that their lives are full of negativity and it makes them feel good to know that they feel worst than the next person.
6. Finally, there are the Genuinely Rare People Every once in a while, I will encounter these rare gems. There are people wandering around out there, some who have endured great hardships, others who have not, yet they do not need anyone to pity them, nor do they need to be in charge, or to know more or to feel they are more spiritual. They do not need put on a show or try to prove how tough they are, because they KNOW who they are. They are like sparrows and dragonflies, they just exist and go through life being what they were created to be and doing what they were created to do. They aren’t afraid to laugh or smile or cry. Nothing is done for a show or to gain dominance over others and upon these people rests the responsibility to let others see that when you know what is true and you act on what is true then you are free.
They have no need to control because they have no fear of being controlled. They have no need to dominate because they have no fear of being dominated. They are the people who have learned the secret–the one who lets go, gains all and that the one who holds on too tightly ends up empty-handed.
They are not religious. They are not prideful. They do not feel that they have prominence over others and whenever one of these people happens to be a leader, they understand that being a leader means never asking another to do what you would not do yourself. It means never lording your posisition over others just for the sake of feeling important, not proclaiming yourself more annointed, or spiritual, or needed. They understand that each of us is a spoke in the wheel of life and no one spoke is more important than another.
Ne=Intuition extraverted sees connections, makes inferences, deciphers patterns and toys with connections. This function is the ENTPs superpower and is in the hero position.
Ti=Thinking introverted sees inconsistencies in logic, analyzes and fits information into an internal framework. This is the ENTP’s parent function and is where his or her responsibility lies. The ENTP will always look for the underlying truth in any situation or problem because that is where their “parent function” is at.
Fe=Feeling extraverted cares how you feel and what you value. It is in the ENTP’s child position, meaning that the ENTP has pure desire to make others feel good and happy. It is what makes ENTPs some of the greatest givers. And coupled with the Ne hero (which is unpredictable and playful itself, Fe child makes ENTPs delightfully humorous and playful at times.)
Si=Sensing introverted in the aspirational position means that ENTPs need to a “place” where they feel secure and comfortable.
Adrian is fun, optimistic and outgoing, he doesn’t need the approval of others. Yet, he needs a certain kind of others. He needs to be around smart people, people who are interested in the metaphysical side of life and people who are open to trying new things. He isn’t afraid of valid criticism and actually welcomes it if it will enrich his life in the long run. His feelings are not easily hurt. However, when someone lashes out at him emotionally and without objective reasoning, he finds himself mirroring their anger. On the flip side, when he is around jovial people, he finds it easier to be jovial himself. He needs stimulating, in-depth and lively conversations. He needs someone to extravert his ideas with and discuss possibilities and implications. He needs someone to dream with.
He is a master of boundary pushing, and tends to provoke arguments out of others. He can usually justify what they think or say better than they can but he wants to know how they came to see things the way they do. This helps him “grow” and invariably increases his ability to fix or improve things.
Adrain is a giver and has a large circle of many interesting people in his life. Having to endure boring, sameness and stagnation are torturous to Adrian.
In conversations, Adrian doesn’t have to hear the whole story to get the picture. Making inferences and drawing analogies are his superpowers and so is coming up with new ideas. Those who work under him often complain that he changes things just to be changing them and actually, that’s true. He constantly toys with ideas and relationships. He tends to shift situational dynamics and trusts that something good will come out of it. Every piece of data, every experience or external stimuli leads him to make inferences, draw analogies, come up metaphors, jokes and more new ideas.
It is hard to manipulate Adrian, because he has a gift for guessing the details and is adept at “what if” scenarios. He has a lot of mental energy and often entertains multiple ideas and meanings at once. He is proficient at weighing the odds, at categorizing, and seems to separate his feelings, his body and his mind when he is arguing or having a discussion. This separation is not to be “mean” to others. Most of the time, he is only throwing out ideas or intentionally trying to get others to “think” and make their lives better or bigger. He wants people to grow and he wants to grow himself and often this flies in the face of accepted social constructs and traditions. That’s not to say he doesn’t need “some” tradition. He still tears up every Christmas when he sees a red poinsettia, remembering how his mom always put them the hearth and how they gathered around and sang carols.
His objectivity and need to “push” the limits often translates into mentally, verbally and emotionally pushing others to the edge of their comfort zones and results in some people backlashing him. Because of these adverse reactions to efforts to help others grow and move forward in life, he has learned to cover up what he really thinks at times, and most certainly, what he feels. Therefore, some members of his family and co-workers have accused him of being deceptive. He is wounded when his attempts to help or give to others turns to criticism and backlash. He wants to give people joy, to see them happy.
Adrian’s cognitive preferences are those of an ENTP and although not all ENTPs will be exactly like Adrian, they do all have certain characteristics.
ENTPs are witty and innovative.
ENTPs hate boredom and stagnation.
ENTPs do not like rigid structure and systems.
ENTPs seek out and need life experiences.
ENTPs are path finders and givers, seeking to help others be the best they can be.
ENTPs are open-minded.
ENTPs have a wide variety of hobbies, interests and talents.
Ni-introverted intuition in the hero position is perspective-shifting in that it is constantly at work on a subconscious level, sorting through information that comes in via the five senses or some unconscious means, giving the INFJ (INTJs, too), the ability to see things from many different angles and viewpoints at once. Ni is the NJs’ superpower, giving them insight into relationships, imagination, originality, ingenuity and visions of what not only could be but the road to take to get there.
Fe-feeling that’s extraverted in the parent position is where the INFJ’s responsibility lies. Whenever INFJs experience the sensation that the values of others are being violated, this function steps in and reminds them that they have a responsibility to the well-being and happiness of others. Fe is aware of what matters to others and how others feel. Coupled with a hero Ni, this means that INFJ is always subjected to having to balance what they see as best and what they want (Ni) with the consequential effects on others.
Ti-in the child position means that the INFJ has a form of pure logic, that when unhampered by interfering Fe, and in service to heroic Ni, can devise a plan to accomplish, basically anything in a step-by-step manner. It also means that INFJs may get so focused on what they think that they fail to listen to the advice or thoughts of others.
Se-extraverted sensing in the aspirational position may mean that INFJs worry about giving others a bad experience or doing something that cause physical harm to others. Yet, on a positive note, it serves as a release valve for the mental energy consumed by massive use of Ni and Ti. When young, INFJs may be so distracted by the never ceasing noise in their heads that they forget where they’re going or walk into something but as they move out of adolescence, they may become physically involved with any number of sports or physical activities.
Meet Willow, an INFJ
Willow is a writer. She takes long walks. She needs time to think. Time to hear her “own heart.”
Thinking helps her determine what she is feeling and why she feels that way. Thinking helps her make sense of her world. She is strategic in almost everything she does and tends to see patterns on a subconscious level. She also understands many things without ever having officially learned them and may not be able to recall how she knows them.
Willow has a keen sense of personal direction and is led by something that can only be likened to an internal guidance system. She can’t explain it no matter how hard she tries. She hates being asked personal questions, and she hates having to explain her past or why she chooses certain things. Her greatest personal intention is to live with integrity and authenticity. She constantly struggles with what she sees as the right path for her own life and what others want and expect from her.
Willow has an undaunting and tenacious will power and even when emotionally distraught, or physically in pain, she will press forward on behalf of something she values and believes in, especially if the well-being of another is involved. She has been known to literally lay her life on the line for the sake of others.
Willow has a beautiful sense of humor and can make people laugh at the drop of a pin. Wherever she goes, people flock to her. They say she is like a light entering the room and makes others feel good about themselves when she is with them. Friends say that Willow is inspiring and they feel connected to her. Willow feels good when she makes others feel good, however, she often feels drained, like people have some sort of invisible energy IV hooked to her, trying to siphon off her life energy. Even when she tries to be alone, people find her.
Friends and family will often ask her to do things she doesn’t really believe in or want to do, yet she has an incredibly hard time saying no and wrestles daily with requests from other people. She constantly feels torn between being true to herself and maintaining harmony with others. Willow’s greatest fears are that she will irreparably damage another person by following her own passions and she is very passionate internally while remaining calm on the surface most of the time.
With a high IQ the ability to speak multiple languages, paint, dance, sing, write and learn anything she sets her mind to, Willow is gifted, yet has struggled with her self-worth many times, feeling that it is somehow her responsibility to make everyone happy, to fix their problems and take away their pain without judging them for anything they did or didn’t do to cause that pain in the first place. Her best friend tells her that she has unreasonable expectations of herself and is too hard on herself, while letting other people get off easy.
She struggles with mechanical aptitude and her family laughed at her struggle to learn to drive. She struggles with Si dominate skills like keeping up with binders, folders, data etc. Willow feels this stuff is pointless. She can keep up with stuff in her head. Why does she need all that clutter in her physical world? Clutter and conflict make her physically ill. She really just wants to be left alone and allowed to work in her own way most of the time.
That’s not to say she doesn’t like structure, she does, somewhat. It just needs to be a lose structure with room for spurts of creativity. She dreams of travel and adventure and writes historical fiction with intricate characters, twisting plots and many subplots. Willow is highly observant of human interactions and intuitively understands unspoken motives. She bases her interactions with others on what she picks up off them, not what they show on the surface.
The ”mundane” things of life are a weight around her neck. She longs for escape from the ordinary day in and day out routines of life, and often finds it through her fantastic imagination.
She is always prioritizing. Above all things, Willow wants to leave behind something that makes the world a more enlightened place. She wants to help open the spiritual eyes of others and feels this is her highest call in life. That is why she writes, to communicate a truth that is bigger and far more reaching than her immediate circle. She wants to leave a legacy of what it means to live for something bigger than one’s immediate needs.
Willow has the cognitive preferences of an INFJ and while not all INFJs are the same, they do all share some characteristics:
INFJs know things without knowing how they know them.
INFJs see many angles at the same time.
INFJs feel responsible for the experiences and feelings of others.
INFJs have a pure logic with the ability to analyze and synthesis on a subconscious level.
INFJs need a loose but dependable structure.
INFJs are strategic yet they are movement oriented (they get bored with stagnation and seek adventure.)