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    Psychotherapy

    Relationships * Mindfulness * Spiritual Counseling * Dream Work

Away in Your Manger, A Holiday Meditation for 2013

Away in Your Manger…

“… and Mary took him, wrapped him in long pieces of cloth  

and laid him in a manger.”

 by D. Royce Fitts, D. Min.

copyright 2008

Well, we were probably 9 or 8 or 11 years old or so, my cousins and I. We would try to leap over the hay trough in the barn, jump from the middle hallway and vault over the trough into the animal pen. If we could do it without falling or having to actually demean ourselves by just climbing over the trough, we would be “cool” or strong or whatever it was that farm cousins strive to be in front of each other. I’m not sure I ever made the leap successfully. I also know I would never admit it, anyway.

The hay trough was also a place for hidden treasures. More than once we would notice the disappearance of one of our momma cats. We would secretly and quietly tiptoe down the barn’s hallway, listening for the tell-tale tiny cries of newborn kittens. The momma cat, almost always gentle and friendly, would consent to our purring over her babies as she nursed them. It would also not be unusual to discover the next day that the momma cat had moved her babies to another secret location, probably trying to follow her instincts and keep these strange human children from bothering her little ones. Her work was always in vain, of course.

I don’t know how, but I remember one day it dawned on me that the hay trough could also be called a manger. “Wow!” I thought. “Could it be?! Jesus was born in a place like this?” I looked at the trough…called it a manger…and studied it. Did the original one look exactly like this? I’ve been jumping over the holy manger? I should be careful! I might die!

The trough looked so awkward, so hard to get into. It was kind of deep and only a momma cat could curl up comfortably in there. Only a cow with its long neck could easily reach in for food without tumbling into the trough. I was genuinely puzzled. How in the world could a baby, a human baby, live in there? Or at least sleep in there? I figured Mary was kind of short — how could she reach in there and care for her baby? Even for Joseph it would be hard. And most of all, why would they put their baby in there anyway??

I kept studying the …mangerIt was dirty! Dirt, dust, mice and spiders were probably everywhere! Yuck! I couldn’t believe it. Not here! A baby in a place like this? Besides, look at the animal pen! I mean, let’s be real. This is a barn. Pigs live in the pen sometimes. Cows with baby calves would live in here in the winter. Sick cows and sick calves would be treated for their diseases in here. And, of course, they would (and there is no nice way to say this … ) poop in here. This was gross!

I was really puzzled — no, I mean stunned! A baby in a manger? I even contemplated scrubbing and cleaning it, now that I knew what it was. You know, treat it with reverence. I envisioned trying to dust, wash and clean up the whole trough and pen — impossible, even I knew that! I even felt guilty for not trying.

Well, decades have come and gone since that day. Over the years I became much more refined and sophisticated, or so I thought. I became a liberal theologian, social activist, and counselor. I even got a couple of degrees in theology and psychotherapy. Maybe I was smart! Yet, somehow, that day in the barn, perched on the edge of the manger, has never left me.

I’ve met a lot of people since then. Some have asked me to join them on a sacred journey into faraway lands, searching for lost treasures. Inevitably, it seems we would walk to their manger. They would tell me secret stories of cries in the night, of shattered dreams, nightmares and demons all too real. Tears from years of pain would flow.

And now I know why: We all have a barn. We all have a hay trough. We all have dirty animal pens. Maybe, just maybe, as we tiptoe quietly down our sacred hallway, we will hear the faint tiny cries of a baby being nursed by its mommy, touched by its daddy.

In this place in our souls where it is dank and dark, frightening and painful, is also where the gentle whisper of wings is heard and stars sing. This is our hay trough … away in our manger….

The Sandstone Goddess

the sandstone goddess

a spiritual essay

d. royce fitts

(copyright 2013)

further, deeper into the prairie, through the dark canyons, and above them, hovering, watching, protecting these spaces…

 

a couple of decades have gone since i first saw that strange outcropping of hard, yet, delicate sand jutting toward the sky…a monolith, colored with a multitude of red, brown and tan hues typical of the shades of earth here…it would not be so odd, so intriguing, and different than the hundreds of other sculptures of sandstone dotting these high prairies, if it had the regular, normal vegetation growing around it, the many varieties of grasses that grow elsewhere, even just scores of feet away from it…little and big bluestem, brome, buffalo and other grasses having evolved over millions of years through wind, fires, blizzards, rain, drought, grazing…

but…nothing grows around it, this monolith…except, as i visited the last time, this late spring, little prairie flowers, spiderworts standing on the sandy naked earth, bold, daring with their tiny purple blossoms…and, tiny, too, a random sunflower…

as if this is holy, sacred ground…little, and only little, grows in the presence of this sandstone goddess…

maybe the power is so great that only the bravest, most durable can grow here or, maybe these are her chosen ones,

and are allowed to grow for joy…

or maybe it is the wind, the westward push of the wind toward the east, prevailing most everyday, except when the storm spirits call…then the north, or the east or the south winds push, too…bringing rain or snow, or fire or even more dryness to this space…

maybe it is the rise of the ridge directly to the west of this goddess, that, as the western prevailing wind blows, it rises fast to the ridge’s western slope, and then, dashed by the towering ponderosa pines on the top of the ridge, the wind is forced, deflected to blow hard down the eastern slope of the ridge toward the monolith…sweeping clean every-thing, every plant, every seed…stirring, purifying the holy dust…

and it swirls and swirls, around and around the monolith…honoring the sandstone goddess for the blessings of this space…

around the goddess, are rugged clumps of rock and sand, eroded to form an almost perfect circle, an earthen ring to protect this secret, holy place…and on the south, on a dune, stands an old proud pine, roots exposed, serving as sentry for this goddess, holding fast the earth beneath…

years ago, as is sometimes my practice now, i accept requests from spiritual seekers to join with them on hikes and walks on this lovely land…it is public land, not often explored by humans now, and on that day, two women asked to take this journey…it was early spring, cool and warm at once…melting snow still on the old cattle and deer trails…we walked and talked…these two, spiritual sisters, who knew each other as little girls long ago,

and over time both moved and lost touch with each other, until by strange accident, were visiting in the same town, in the same neighborhood and at the same time…when they discovered each other again, they laughed and cried, and became sworn sisters, sharing stories of times past and revealing secrets of pain and horror that neither had known of the other, when they were so young…

their sisterhood grew, and they supported each other as each struggled to heal from past and present wounds, as they explored their marriages and children, they marveled at how their lives were similar and different, after all these years…

so, that day of the walk, the monolith called, the sandstone goddess softly beckoned to come and hear their stories of love and loss, pain and joy…we sat on the chilly earth, bright sun shining, having a picnic of peanut butter and jam…they felt the presence, saw the monolith, respected this holy earth…understood, felt understood…

the sisters laughed often that day, taking in the healing of that place, sitting on the high ridge, gazing down the slope at the goddess who, ever so gently, grieved their wounds and showed them this place heals…

and time passes, a few years go by…a phone call late at night, hysterical weeping i hear…groans and the gnashing of teeth of the soul… “she’s dead!  she’s dead!  my sister is dead!”  what?  who?  no!  no!

what happened?  i cried…an accident, an accident!  the dread of realization…the awfulness of yes…

and months later, in the autumn, another call…desperate sounds…the living sister, crying, “i’m lost…can’t find my way…went to the monolith to plant prairie flowers for my sister’s memory, on the ridge, under the ponderosa pine…can’t find my way…”

oh, words of truth, of the soul, of the earth, of lostness…

i rush, run across the hills, across the dark prairie, only starlight now, seeking, calling, pleading… “where is this living sister who planted flowers for her soul’s mate?”  finally, in the far darkness, i see her moving, walking, a tiny silhouette on the vastness of the prairie, far across the fence a dim figure, weeping, in terror and pain…wandering, weaving, crying for her sister, crying for herself, crying for the sandstone goddess…

we stumble and meet, both confused and scared of her sacred calling…

through her grief we call her mate and, finally, she rests in the arms of her family, exhausted in this strange journey of sisterhood…

and now, every year, i walk to the monolith, most often alone…i always pray and remember, sometimes have a picnic, a communion of memory…the sandstone goddess always asks and grieves along with me…

for these sisters of soul, so far now from each other, and yet, so near…in the ages of sand and stone, monolith and wind, across the eons, the sandstone goddess stands, reminding of presence, deep friendship, love, loss, connections forever, beyond time and space…

…and wildflowers growing on the ridge…

The Zero of God

A Meditation on Stillness
5/12/2011

We sat in a small circle not saying much at all. Somehow, the stillness became the moment, became the topic, became the way to be…one person shared, quietly, how this moment reminded her of childhood; that when she was left alone, she would seek out her private place of peace, would climb a nearby tree, her favorite tree, her private tree, her tree friend and would just sit and sit and sit in the arms of this old, giant friend and sway in the gentle breezes. Listening to the crinkle of leaves, brushed by the wind. She would talk to God then, transcending time and space, feeling, believing, knowing she was resting in God.

Another shared, how in this quiet moment of being still, she, not often able to feel peace, not often able to move into the quietness of her soul, so blocked by years of painful labor to simply survive, was able, this day, to “borrow” the images of her friend and “imagine” herself in the tree…trusting to rest in the arms of the tree…

I, too, remembered…remembered how, as a young boy, I would gaze up, up through the huge branches of an old cottonwood tree from far down below…sitting and drifting in my old rope swing, supported by the old tree…letting it sing to me with the music of waxy leaves and lazy breezes…

Someone remembered the ancient Hebrew scripture, the ancient Psalm, “Be still and know…”

How the words seemed odd, simple, so profound. What does it mean, to be still and know…?

Perhaps the ancient Hebrew implied that it is in our “letting go”, in our “dropping our hands” and stopping, in owning our “giving up” from the depths of our soul, that we can, then, mysteriously “know”…how to “be”, how to be held in “stillness”…

One understanding of addictions is that the substance, the compulsion, the activity that we use to unhealthy extreme which comes to dominate our souls is really an attempt, a false attempt, to “ease ourselves”, to calm our soul, to be still, a false way of “knowing”, to quiet the anxiety of our wounded soul.

Who would guess, who would think that the way to heal the soul’s anxiety is “to be still”, to rest in the tree, to be…

A thought emerged that day, that this is the “zero of God”, that this moment, this moment of resting, listening to the crinkle of leaves in the brushing of wind is the stillness of healing, calming the anxiety, dropping our hands, stopping, moving to zero, and being held.

May we move toward zero.

Everything Happens for a Reason?

“Everything Happens for a Reason”…

by Dr. Royce Fitts

Spiritual Counselor, DreamWorker, Psychotherapist

Ever say that?  Believe that?

Many, many people do, really do, believe in that phrase…

Maybe you are one?  Maybe not?

OK, please follow me.  Here is the scene:

I was watching last night (4/26/11), a bit of Dancing With the Stars,  you know, THAT show on Fox TV?

Well, one of the (superb, of course) entertainers appearing to sing was a beautiful, young woman, a talented singer, named Pia, who was rejected from American Idol just last week.

Fair enough.  Well, in the gentle “give and take” banter between the host and Pia about the irony/oddness of her being rejected by American Idol and now, just a week later, is appearing on Dancing With the Stars, she blurts out her belief system!

Yeah, really she did!

How do you blurt out your belief system in a brief instant on nationwide TV?  Well, she said in response to the host about the irony/oddness of her being rejected by one, and then included by another, as:

“Well, everything happens for a reason…”  And in her gracious, giddy, perhaps, ego centric manner, went on to describe that “all this was meant to be…”.

Really?

There is a lot of that going around these days.

Now, I was also watching a bit of CNN at the same time…channel surfing the news and entertainment stuff.  Not a good habit, but, so what?  It is fun, sort of.

I was watching the coverage of the awful Syrian government reaction of violently attacking and killing common, freedom-seeking Syrian citizens…

Tragic, painful, depressing.

I had in mind, too, this day, of being with some of my amazing clients, those ones who, against the tide, are working towards healing their souls.  One of whom, when she was barely two years old, believes she saw her mother murdered…and, some forty years later, is doing her best to be a healer for self AND others.  Amazing, she is…(I use her experience here with her permission.)

I had in my mind, too, this day, of experiencing one of the scariest moments I have ever had while driving my Nebraska highways…OUT OF NOWHERE I ran into a highway flooded full of snow/slush/water/ice and spun, fish-tailed, sled and, finally, stopped in the borrow-pit, along side the road, unhurt, undamaged and stunned with the crazy question of “What WAS that???”

So, last night, while watching TV, I listened to Pia’s thoughts…everything happens for a reason…???

I tried them on, her thoughts.  I thought Pia’s thoughts.

So, in the five or so BILLION years of Life, God, Creator creating this little part of the universe, this little part of the solar system, that, after all that amazing creativity and patient evolving of life and form and rock and sea and molecule and cell and light and dark…Life, God, Creator planned and intended for Pia to, first be rejected from American Idol then “move across the hall to sing with Dancing With the Stars”…?

Because, everything happens for a reason…?

Because, the people who are fighting oppression were killed today in Syria…

Because, my client’s mother was murdered…

Because, Royce does NOT have a car accident…

And Pia has wonderful music…

In the five billion years of creation-to-date…

Everything happens for a reason

Really??

(Let’s dialogue about this…I will value your comments.)

Big Cowboys Do Cry…

A Prairie Meditation

4/2/2011

He pulls his cowboy hat down, covering his eyes.  I barely can see his chin, then it quivers.  He’s silent.

He’s crying.

He’s seventeen.  Embarrassed.  A big seventeen.

It has been a tense  counseling session and it just started.  His mother, sitting close by, wants to do mom-things, parent-things, tender things, like reach out and touch, say something, caring.  Understandable, of course.  But, I signal, awkwardly, to stop, to wait, to not disrupt him.  Let him be, let him feel, let him quietly cry…

I have known him for years, maybe since he was twelve or so.  Watched him grow.  Watched him through his mother’s eyes, mostly.  Began to hear, little by little, secret by secret of the awful pain and horror living in their home.

A daddy who wasn’t a daddy.  A man who wasn’t a man.  Who lost his manhood, his fatherhood, his husbandhood through his cursings, his threats, his assaults.  He would not stop, chose not to stop until he was slowly, painfully evicted by the woman who hated to quit, hated to give up, who wanted a family like a family should be…and it was never to be, not with him, couldn’t be with him.  She quit.  Finally.  But, not before a toll had been taken, on her, her children, on this handsome, ornery, playful…and very angry, wounded seventeen year old cowboy.

“I am becoming like my dad”, he quietly weeps…and he tells us how he is ashamed, feels his self-described worthlessness, failures and his torments of being trapped to “be like him”.  His awful dilemia.  He needs a daddy.  He can’t have one.  And he can’t, doesn’t want to be like the one who made him.

He’s brave to face this within himself.  Brave to stop, we hope (!) this “easy” slide, this easy choice to “just be like my dad”…this young cowboy has hard, hard choices to make himself different, to grieve the loss of his birth dad, to move himself through the horrible, dark swamp of pain, anger, worthlessness and into fresh water, fresh choices of a new self and life.  He seems so determined, yet the mistakes he has thus far made frighten him and he quits, gives up time and time again.  But, this day, this day that he silently weeps is different.  And our prayers, his mom’s, mine and most importantly, his own, for himself give him hope.

Will you join in this yearning for him, for all the weeping cowboys who have this unfair, yet, hopeful path to create a new self?

Walter and the Meaning of Life

www.LivingWithMeaning.com

April, 2011

Monthly Newsletter

by

Dr. Royce Fitts,

Spiritual Counselor, DreamWorker, Psychotherapist

drfitts@livingwithmeaning.com

Tel: 308.436.2224

In this issue:


1) Article: Walter and the Meaning of Life

2) Spiritual Counseling, DreamWork and Psychotherapy Services

3) Retreats, Workshops and Speaking Events

4) Announcing: Dream Retreat with Dr. Jeremy Taylor (http://www.jeremytaylor.com/) and Billie Ortiz in Loveland Colorado, April 29-May 1, 2001

For more information click here: http://wakeuptoyourdreams.com/services.html

5) Please join the discussions, read more essays, meditations, prayers and explore additional dreams by visiting my blog. I try to post often. You may sign up for my RSS feeds to be notified of new posts. Blog: www.LivingWithMeaning.com/blog.

 

 

1) Article:

Walter

and the

Meaning of Life

(part I)

D. Royce Fitts, D. Min.

 

I’m surprised I remember him.

It’s not like I spent a lot of time with him, probably less than two hours total. In many ways, Walter is just like the scores of some other men with whom I’ve dealt. He’s a good guy, pretty screwed up, lost in his life, and just wants to make a living, go home, chop some wood, have a beer.

But, something about Walter (not his real name) would not let me go. He looked intriguing enough. Big, very big, full beard. Unshaped, untrimmed, hid most of his face. Walter was scruffy, very scruffy. Kinda dirty, too. “Worked since I was fourteen”, he said, in his breathy, growley-can’t-breathe-very-well voice. “The longest I ever went without a job was, maybe, ten days.” He was proud of that, you could hear it in his voice. And, he was 59 years old.

Now, though, life had taken a toll, extracted a toll from Walter.

We went around the circle of men and asked each man to share, the best he could, what beliefs he held about himself. “Like, what?? What do you mean? Beliefs?” Every man said this by looks, by sighs, by words. “Yeah, beliefs. What do you believe about yourself? What beliefs do you have about you?”

It was a strange question and exercise. A hard question. Who of us could ever ask and answer a question like that?

The men, as would you and I, stumbled, fumbled and bumbled through awkward answers. Walter wanted to avoid it, too, like all of us. Then he just said it… “I don’t expect to live long…I figure I am going to die sometime soon. My brother died two years ago, my father died when he was forty-eight. I am next. I wake up in the mornings and hurt like hell, can hardly walk. My joints ache. I can’t breath. I have diabetes. I try to watch what I eat, take my meds. I got fired from my job two months ago and proud I got another one in less than a week. I figure since I knew I was going to die, all I wanted to do was to be left alone, drink my beer. Now, can’t even do that.”

That’s all. All he wanted.

‘Cause I’m a shrink, I thought I’d challenge him. No, on second thought, not because I am a shrink…I will be honest. He got me. Right in the groin of meaning. Yep. Can’t say it any clearer than that.

I wanted to challenge him, challenge his thinking, challenge his beliefs. “Is that all there is, Walter?”, I wanted to ask him…for me, for you, for us:

What if there were some changes you could make in your thinking, in your beliefs about your self, about the “script” you were given, or sold, or inherited. What if you could change your diet, change your life, just a bit, and it made you healthier, just a bit healthier? Would it be worth it to you?

It was a strange, sobering moment for me. Walter just accepted it, this script of life…this script of death. He just wanted to live and die like he knew he would, was told he would.

Something about his “fate by choice”, believing he had no choice gripped me. Still does. This, of course, flies in the face of all my spiritual, humanistic and existential belief systems. C’mon, I wanna believe we have some freedom, that, in the face of what looks like fate and stark determinism, IT does not have a lock on our souls.

It is not that I do not believe (now, be patient and follow me, please) that Walter had no choices…it is that Walter BELIEVED that he BELIEVED he had no choices. That, as they say, goes deep to the bone. And my soul could not, does not want to accept that. Because, then it becomes about me, about you, about us.

We, with all our might do not want Walter to be right. We want to believe that we have some power in this life, in this death. We fear that if we run and crash into the mirror, what we will see is a shattered and cutting illusion, a mere reflection of our psychic inventions, that life, indeed, is fixed.

Walter hooks all my old evangelistic zeal to fight off that which I fear most: We, I can’t do it, can’t be free, can’t make meaning and purpose. The fear of being trapped. Can you imagine?

Whoa, if that is true, that sucks.

 

Beer anyone?

 

Or comments? (This link will take you to my blog site. Scroll down to the end of the article to post a comment.)

 

(part two next month)

 

2)

Spiritual Counseling, DreamWork and Psychotherapy Services:
Your Meaning of Life

Are you longing for a life rich with meaning and purpose?

Are you disturbed or curious about the meaning of dreams and open to dream work?

Are you spiritually exhausted, experiencing depression or anxiety in your soul?

Are you missing fulfillment or direction in your life?

Are you in a mid-life crisis?

 

I offer seasoned spiritual counseling and dream work to assist you in the most important journey of your life.

Contact me at drfitts@livingwithmeaning.com

or call

308.436.2224

I love to work with people wherever you live!

I offer local in-office sessions, long-distance telephone and video therapy, dream retreats and workshops.

  1. Are you trying to create and discover your meaning of life?
  2. Are you needing to resolve life conflicts, heal from grief, divorce recovery, or wounded relationships?
  3. Are you struggling with mid-life crisis?
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3)

Retreats, Workshops and Speaking Events

Are you seeking to understand dreams, how dreams heal and always move us toward health and wholeness?

Would you would like to help sponsor or attend a retreat or workshop?

Please call me at 308.436.2224 or email drfitts@livingwithmeaning.com to learn more about retreats, workshops and speaking events.

The Howling of the Soul

Free Monthly Newsletter
January 2010
.
The Howling of the Soul
by D. Royce Fitts, D. Min., LMFT

always, it seems, as the winter winds whips across the prairie, i am drawn to wonder about her…i wonder how she is…what she ended up doing…did she heal…enough?

i recall, one day in a session…she was quite, emotionally frozen…weeping softly…it seemed that any movement i did would startle her beyond repair…in her silence, i thought of a scripture story…a jesus story, one that today, eludes me as i am writing…something about gentle compassion, i am sure…something about the yearning and healing of a soul….

so, i quietly say, “i am going to move to my bookshelf…get my new testament and read you a story”…in whispering movements, i walk across the room and take my favorite, wrinkled paperback new testament and let the pages fall open to this now forgotten story…i remember reading to her…wanting her to just stay still and know…what?  that she is more than the anguish she feels…that she is accepted just as she feels…that someone, maybe me, maybe jesus, maybe herself most of all, will accept her wounded, yearning soul to become alive again…

and that is how she described herself, not alive, but dead…

dead in her soul…

and, now as i am writing, i remember the jesus story!!

the story…lazarus!

the dead guy that jesus rose from the dead, that jesus cried about because, it seems, jesus was a good friend of lazarus, maybe even a cousin, i hear…

and, the story goes, that when jesus heard about his friend dying, jesus wept…that’s all…

just wept,

simple, painful, beautiful tears…

jesus wept…

“the shortest verse in the bible”, we were taught in sunday school…

of course, as the scripture legend goes, it does not end here, or there…that jesus broke the rules of life and death…that jesus went to the tomb, perhaps, sobbing…and jesus bellowed out his grief…”lazarus, come here!!”…and the folks around, family, friends, others yelled back, “no! he stinketh!  for he has been dead three days!”…but, it did not matter…the rules of death, and the rules of family, friends, others did not matter…

lazarus came forth, from the voice of a loving friend and cousin…

“unwrap him!” jesus yelled…for he was all wrapped up, as a mummy…unable to freely move…breathe…live…

one deep winter night when she could not sleep, when, even in indiana where she lived, the winds blew fierce through the forests and across the farmlands…she wrote in her journal,  “i can’t sleep…all i hear is the howling of the wind…it feels like my soul…”

“the howling of my soul…”

haunting, haunting this was to me…and that was near twenty years ago…

and, now, the howling of the winds blows across this january land…bringing wonders and prayers for her…

and for all of us who know what it is like to die and come back to life again…

before i left indiana to come here to this priarie land, she renamed herself…unwrapped the bonds around her soul…she created a new family, new friends, new rules to live by…she called herself from her own tomb, with a new name, a new self…she called herself (and this is not her full new name, for her privacy and identity are preserved)

“free”…

yes, free…

and, on this deep winter january day, to her, i bow…


Dr. D. Royce Fitts
***********************************
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Thanks!
D. Royce Fitts, D. Min., LMFT
Spiritual Counselor and Psychotherapist
email: drfitts@livingwithmeaning.com
PO Box 363
Gering, NE 69341
Tel: (308) 436.2224
Cell: (308) 631.2398

November 2009 Newsletter

Free Monthly Newsletter
November 2009

Mid-Life At The Oasis!
Dreams And Our Longing For Meaning

by Dr. D. Royce Fitts,
Spiritual Counselor and Psychotherapist
Tel: 308.436.2224

In this issue:

1) New! “How To Survive The Holidays” Video!
2) Upcoming Dream Workshops, Retreats and Speaking Events
3) Counseling and Consulting Services
4) Newsletter Archives
5) November’s Newsletter Article:  Dreams And Our Longing For Meaning
.
.

NEW! – “HOW TO SURVIVE THE HOLIDAYS” VIDEO!

Happy Holidays?? Who Are You Kidding?
Learn how to survive all those holiday expectations and live to smile about it! It’s f.ree and waiting on you to view by clicking here.


Upcoming Dream Work Events:

November 6-7, 2009, Denver, CO: Rocky Mountain/Plains Fall Regional Meeting of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.  Royce will be leading an introductory workshop on Projective Dream Work on Saturday, Nov. 7.  For more information, email drfitts@livingwithmeaning.com.

New! Please register soon! January 15-17, 2010, Pendle Hill Retreat and Conference Center, Wallingford, PA (near Philadelphia). This beautiful and historic Quaker center serves as the perfect winter setting for dreaming and deep dream work.  The warmth of a fire, the trust of a circle of Friends invites us to experience a weekend of spiritual growth, healing and restoration of our souls through the gentle process of Projective Dream Work.  Royce leads us through the weekend entitled:  In Your Dreams!!  Let the Dreams of Your Life Create the Life of Your Dreams! For more information, go to this Pendle Hill web-page: http://pendlehill.org/workshops/winter-2010/217-in-your-dreams, or email drfitts@livingwithmeaning.com .


Counseling, Retreat and Workshop Services:


Are you disturbed or curious about the meanings of your dreams? Are you spiritually exhausted, experiencing depression or anxiety in your soul? Are you missing fulfillment or direction in your life and work? Are your relationships wounding and difficult?

I offer face-to-face or telephone sessions to explore with you and help you create healing through these difficult situations and experiences.
Or, if you are seeking to understand dreams and would like to sponsor or attend a retreat or workshop, please call me at 308.436.2224 or email drfitts@livingwithmeaning.com to learn more about retreats and workshops.  You may also click here for more information.

Newsletter Archives:
Have you ever wished you could locate a previous newsletter that contained an interesting article?
I am pleased to announce you now have access to previous month’s newsletters on my web site at http://www.livingwithmeaning.com/newsletter_archives.php

November Newsletter Article:

Mid-Life At The Oasis!
Dreams And Our Longing For Meaning

Mid-life, as they say, is a crisis!  Sometimes one big crisis.  Sometimes a whole mess of ’em.  No matter how often we are reminded that the flow of life demands we fire our retro-rockets to take the necessary corrective actions to stay on course, or, perhaps, more often, to take a new course–alas, we forget!

Sure, we are told time and time again, it is a time for soul searching, this mid-life thing.  It will make us better; a better woman, a better man.  It will make us more honest, have more integrity.  Our inner self will more match the outer self, or visa versa, or something like that.

It, also, as one man recently told me, sucks.  “Mid-life hurts”, he said.  “It takes way too long to get better…”.

I had worked in therapy with a family for several years, each partner exploring the various and important stories of their respective families of origin, seeking to “make it better” for their children, seeking to heal some of their wounds in order to not “accidentally” inflict these wounds upon their children.  It ain’t easy, is it?  One of their children cooperated enormously by misbehaving in some very creative ways to keep her parents in therapy.  I owe her.  Her parents owe her much more!

One day, when the children were not in the session, the husband and wife sought some “adult time”, as I call it.  The dad, Daniel, as I will call him, was depressed.  He was a health care professional at the top of his game.  He had the respect, admiration and even some envy of his colleagues.  The people he cared for deeply appreciated his professional knowledge and caring skill.  He was a kind of artist in his craft.  In fact, one of the loves of his life was to relax by playing classical music on his old grand piano.  A-hhh…such a life of meaning…maybe.

What was it?  What drove him to work all those hours?  What never let him say “no” to the increasing demands from his work?  Why was he angry at times for no, or little, reason?  He felt taken advantage of by the “powers that be”, not being listened to, even challenged that he was not holding up to his end of the bargain, the contracts.  “What?!”, he would exclaim,  “me, not doing my share?”.  And he was, doing more than his share.  But, something was amiss. He was not being accredited for all his work.  “Productivity”, as they called it, was down.  No matter what, he could not please “them”, his superiors, his bosses, and even worse, his inner self.

Depression.  It is a good thing.  No, really, it is.  I sometimes tell clients, after they describe their life situation to me, that if they weren’t depressed, they’d be crazy!  What they are describing is depressing.  Depression is a healthy response to an unhealthy situation.

And then, one night Daniel dreamed…

I am in the living room with my father, visiting…he is younger, maybe in his 50’s… I am present age …suddenly, I hear a loud racket and into the room bursts a small boy, maybe 5 or 6 years of age… I do not know him… he skirted through the living room, through the door of the adjoining kitchen…the child appeared strong and fast…his steps were deliberate and loud … I turned toward my father, in amazement,and asked, “who was that?” … my father, perplexed, responded, “ I don’t know”…we trailed behind this determined child into the kitchen…the minute he spotted us, he bolted out the door into the hallway and up the stairs … amazed, I stated, “that little guy is fast”…as we were staring at each other, I asked “what is that kid’s problem?”…

at the next moment we both heard a loud banging noise from the upstairs…we scurried up the flight of stairs and found the young child in one of the bedrooms…as we entered the bedroom it seemed we had him cornered…this is when I was able to get my first look at the boy…he was a handsome, well-featured child but with a sad, hallowed look and pale, sunken eyes…as we approached carefully, much to our dismay, the little youngster skirted between the two of us into another bedroom in the house…he did this at least three more times…the second level of this house was becoming all to familiar … I wondered, as my father did, when would the resolve of this little one finally wear down?…

at last, at the end of the long hallway, the little boy was trapped beneath a modern-looking chair with thin, metal legs…he crouched beneath this chair, almost in a fetal position…we approached, with utmost trepidation, this desperate boy….the first question I asked was, “what do you want?”…as the tears quickly welled-up in his eyes, he calmly stated, in a mostly flattened tone, “I just want you to love me”…in utter disbelief, of my own ignorance, a spark of recognition tugged at my soul… I realized this little boy was me…immediately I  swooped up the child into my arms and stated, most emphatically, “of course I’ll love you!”… my father, who was looking on, said nothing, but also had tears flowing down his cheeks…then I awakened…

“I began to make sense of the dream”, Daniel said, “and apply it to solving my current life-issues.  I had to embrace this journey, as unpleasant as it was.  I learned that I must begin the process of accepting myself.  My  contentment in life had to have a deeper meaning, not like the fizz and pop from opening a can of carbonated cola….The aftermath of this dream led me down a path often muddy and full of potholes.  It forced me to see myself as I really was and to share this with my best friend in life, my wife.   As difficult as it was, it was at this point, I began to reassign my priorities in life and make some meaningful changes.  It has been a long two year journey…In my darkest hours I sometimes pondered whether it was all worth it, but, I knew in the end, my efforts at self-cleansing and forgiveness, it would eventually pay off with substantial dividends. Through the demands of my work, I realized that I often ignored the emotional needs of my family. I hoped they would forgive me, but most of all, I had to forgive myself.”
Yes.  Yes.  Yes. What more could be said?  There are, of course, numerous avenues to explore this amazing dream.  You know that.  I call a dream like this “a big dream”, “a medicine dream”, that truly comes to heal, to change the dreamer.  Only through the brooding moods of searing depression can the soul burn away the stuff that doesn’t matter, the matter that blocks, clogs the spiritual flow of life.  Burning purifies.  It makes us long for our heart’s deepest desire.  It makes us leap beyond our assumed capability.  The dream invites us to love, our self, our little world of life…and, to break the rules of the distorted, wounded world called “productivity”.
.
Let’s be in gratitude for this dream, this longing, this Thanksgiving…

Royce

October 2009 Newsletter

Free Monthly Newsletter
October 2009
Venus Rising
How Curiosity and Wonder Changes You, Me…and God (?)

by Dr. D. Royce Fitts,
Spiritual Counselor and Psychotherapist

email: drfitts @ livingwithmeaning.com
Tel: (308) 436-2224
Cell: (308) 631-2398

“The meanings of our lives and the meaning of our dreams are mirrors of each other.”
– Dr. D. Royce Fitts


In this issue:
1) Upcoming Dream Workshops, Retreats and Speaking Events
2) Counseling and Consulting Services
3) Newsletter Archives
4) October”s Newsletter Article:  Venus Rising, How Curiosity and Wonder Changes You, Me…and God (?)

Upcoming Events:

October 15-17, 2009, Casper WY:  Wyoming Counseling Association Annual Conference.  Friday, Oct. 16, Royce will be speaking and leading an experiential workshop entitled:  In Your Dreams!! Let the Dreams of Your Life Create the Life of Your Dreams!  If you are a Health Care Professional and need to get more Continuing Education Units, check out this website for the full and exceptional agenda of this conference:  www.wyoca.org.  For more information, go to this web-page or email drfitts@livingwithmeaning.com.

New! October 24, 2009, Gillette, WY:  First Presbyterian Church of Gillette.  Royce will be leading an all-day Saturday workshop open to everyone entitled:  In Your Dreams!!  Let the Dreams of Your Life Create the Life of Your Dreams!  For more information, email drfitts@livingwithmeaning.com or Rev. Peggy Brown revpeg_gw@yahoo.com

New!  November 6-7, 2009, Denver, CO:  Rocky Mountain/Plains Fall Regional Meeting of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.  Royce will be leading an introductory workshop on Projective Dream Work on Saturday, Nov. 7.  For more information, email drfitts@livingwithmeaning.com.

New!  January 15-17, 2010, Pendle Hill Retreat and Conference Center, Wallingford, PA (near Philadelphia):  This beautiful and historic Quaker center serves as the perfect winter setting for dreaming and deep dream work.  The warmth of a fire, the trust of a circle of Friends invites us to experience a weekend of spiritual growth, healing and restoration of our souls through the gentle process of Projective Dream Work.  Royce leads us through the weekend entitled:  In Your Dreams!!  Let the Dreams of Your Life Create the Life of Your Dreams!  For more information, go to the Pendle Hill website or email drfitts@livingwithmeaning.com.      

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Counseling, Retreat and Workshop Services:
Are you disturbed or curious about the meanings of your dreams?
 
Are you spiritually exhausted, experiencing depression or anxiety in your soul?
 
Are you missing fulfillment or direction in your life and work?
 
Are your relationships wounding and difficult?
I offer face-to-face or telephone sessions to explore with you and help you create healing through these difficult situations and experiences.
Or, if you are seeking to understand dreams and would like to sponsor or attend a retreat or workshop, please call me at 308.436.2224 or email drfitts@livingwithmeaning.com to learn more about my counseling and consulting services.  You may also click here for more information.

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New! Newsletter Archives:
Have you ever wished you could locate a previous newsletter that contained an interesting article?
I am pleased to announce you now have access to previous month’s newsletters, click here.

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October Newsletter Article:

It is October and I must share an autumn wonder with you…before it goes away.

Perhaps some of you know I live in an area of western Nebraska that is a kind of “secret place”.

It is hidden, invisible to most citizens and travelers who generally think of Nebraska as that vast ribbon of highway, Inter-state 80, that goes careening 500 miles, boundary to boundary, across the oh-so-flat priarie and river bottoms of the North Platte River.  This river has always been a pathway for travelers, for ancient and contemporary nomads seeking, for good or ill, their adventure and livelihood.

But, somewhere north of I-80, I shall not say exactly where, is a region of rugged sandstone bluffs and deep canyons that, for the few who know about it and call it home, is filled with beauty and wonder.  The eastern and western skies are forever.  Stand on a bluff and you shall see…yes, that”s it!  You shall see…!  See.

And so, I invite you to see.  I ask you to join me in this ancient land for a moment.  I invite you to take this moment to experience a wonder that, I swear, will affect you, make you wonder, will rip boredom and complacency out of your life for a second or two…will give you awe.

Venus is now the morning star…and will be for a while yet, then will become the evening sentry in a few months.  But, now get up with me at 4:45 AM.  Drag yourself out of your dreams! and spend an hour staring at the eastern horizon…at a place without trees.  You will see… wonder rising in the east…

Venus Rising – How Curiosity and Wonder Changes You, Me…and God (?)

I wonder…


does Creator notice tiny moments of Creation?  Does Creator, perhaps, through our soul, experience moments of wonder and beauty?  About you?  Even me?  And, so, on this October morning, hours before dawn, I wonder…I gaze at the eastern horizon and see Venus rising.  I am filled with wonder.  I, without trying, begin to pray…



Good Morning, God,

early this morning, caring not to sleep, I see


Venus rising…


across the rugged canyons, beyond the open prairie, barely above the ponderosa pines,


the brilliant orange/white light touches her sister, Earth…


and me.


Do you know of this, God? Do you see what I see?


Does Venus rising


touch you, too?


I wonder about the wonder,


the vastness of T’unjkasila,


the Lakota words for


all that is…


I wonder about you, God,


the all that is…


Can a tiny moment of light, a simple reflection of the sun bouncing off a piece of planetary rock


delight you?


the all that is,


like it delights me?


Does Venus rising


inspire you, change you, make you see and feel this moment of wonder?


like it does me?


I hope so, God…


I hope that Venus rising this early morn


touches you,


makes you feel the wonder of


all that is


and reflects this light of oneness of you, me and


all that is…



Autumn blessings to all we are…


Royce

Copyright Dr. D. Royce Fitts 2009.  All Rights Reserved.