Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Waive The White Flag!
Special thanks to Kristy for sharing her story:
A guy named Dean I met at camp came and handed out little white flags, as a symbol of surrendering, or "accepting what we cannot change." I have found it so useful to have a visual in my battle with myself, to give it up, turn it over, or otherwise make myself vulnerable. I waved it all day today, it helped. It's helping me develop a sense of humor about something I really struggle with. If all else fails, glue some white paper to the end of a stick and have fun with something historically difficult for ACA's.
I have several flags in the kitchen area in plain view to remind me to surrender my will, or decide not to get upset when I encounter a trial. I find that I need this tool when I start to feel I am losing my identity and perceive that I don't matter to others. This triggers anger for me. it is a control issue and it has to do with subconsciously trying to protect myself.
The problem is, my reaction of anger creates an unsafe environment for myself and those around me when I let it take over. Surrendering for me means I can feel the anger without letting it get out of control. I have been doing this by articulating to the appropriate person (usually my children) what the problem is and how it makes me feel. I finish by stating what I would like in the future.
The key is to STOP THERE! No more ranting and raving. I tried another method of saying nothing, but then I just held it in and exploded later. Anyway, after articulating, my anger goes away in a minute or two, and I feel like a normal person. I feel I handled a problem in a healthy way and it makes me feel good and hopeful. If my anger is triggered by a rude motorist, I have this conversation with God, and remember to have compassion on the other person, especially when they are screaming and wildly using hand gestures! I think how sad it is they are doing that to themselves (becoming a slave to anger) and remember I don't have to. It works fairly well.
I met Dean at the Fall Mountain Retreat of 07'. We haven't spoken since, but I learned of his flags a few weeks ago when he brought them to an ACA meeting, and handed out what he called, "the last 15" of several hundred that he has given away over a couple years, I believe. He still had a few left after the meeting. Maybe he will make more, I don't know. He said they are about surrendering, and accepting what we cannot change, as referenced in the serenity prayer. Just like the serenity prayer, these flags are profound yet simple.
Thanks for your interest, it is healing to have the privilege of others listening to my story. I feel as though I matter. =)
Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children