Positation-the new positive-thinking

Shit happens, but shit does not define me ~ I have Positation [hands off it’s my new word]. Or at least I’m trying to damn it?!

 The health benefits of  [Positation] from the Mayo clinic.com

Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:   

  • Increased life span
  • Lower rates of depression
  • Lower levels of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress

How to’s of Positation also from the Mayo Clinic

  • Check yourself. Periodically during the day, stop and evaluate what you’re thinking. If you find that your thoughts are mainly negative, try to find a way to put a positive spin on them.
  • Be open to humor. Give yourself permission to smile or laugh, especially during difficult times. Seek humor in everyday happenings. When you can laugh at life, you feel less stressed.
  • Follow a healthy lifestyle. Exercise at least three times a week to positively affect mood and reduce stress. Follow a healthy diet to fuel your mind and body. And learn to manage stress.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Make sure those in your life are positive, supportive people you can depend on to give helpful advice and feedback. Negative people, those who believe they have no power over their lives, may increase your stress level and may make you doubt your ability to manage stress in healthy ways.
  • Practice positive self-talk. Start by following one simple rule: Don’t say anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to anyone else. Be gentle and encouraging with yourself. If a negative thought enters your mind, evaluate it rationally and respond with affirmations of what is good about yourself.

Examples of typical negative self-talk from–you guessed it–Mayo.com, and positive altenatives.  (With personal edits in blue, because Mayonites don’t use bad language, but I f****** do. Ok so I’m having a tough day with positation-eat me!) 

Negative self-talk Positive spin
I’ve never done it before ~ so why the f*** should I do it now It’s an opportunity to learn something new.
It’s too complicated ~ I don’t even know how to change the channel on my new TV I’ll tackle it from a different angle.
I don’t have the resources ~ I’m SOL and broke Necessity is the mother of invention.
I’m too lazy to get this done ~ Where’s the damn remote? I wasn’t able to fit it into my schedule but can re-examine some priorities.
There’s no way it will work ~ and neither will I. I am having a major case of anal blindness. I just don’t see my ass going to work today. I can try to make it work.
It’s too radical a change ~ just sounds completely pointless, I’ll never be able to Let’s take a chance.
No one bothers to communicate with me ~ no one loves me, boo hoo I’ll see if I can open the channels of communication.
I’m not going to get any better at this ~there’s always death by chocolate I’ll give it another try.

So, why bother with POSITATION? (These are my thoughts not Mayo’s. Actually mine are more like mustard, the sharp kind with lumpy bits in.)

  • Because your friends, if you have any left, are sick and tired of your “poor me” attitude, and you used to be a fun kind of person to hang out with
  • Because your life really does suck and something needs to change, and the only thing you can really change is yourself
  • Because shit happens, will continue to happen, and is usually outside of your control
  • Because life actually can be better than it is
  • Because the alternatives suck more

 The whole theory in a picture — for you dumb asses who can’t be bothered to read the above –from theawareproject.org.



Jesus was a victim too

I am very angry with my church. I have been angry with my church in different ways since 2002. Sadly, this Easter season I was given new reasons for my anger. Yet this Easter I have also received a gift of grace; I met Jesus again on the road to his cross and I found in him a victim, too.

Jesus was made an object of public scorn. Catholic victims and their advocates, while championing the rights of children and petitioning for the release of documents that would provide clear evidence of the presence of serial child abusers in the clergy and serial conspirators in the hierarchy, have likewise been made the objects of public scorn. The comparison continues:

  • Jesus spoke up against injustice in his faith community.
  • Jesus recognized children, spoke to them, and condemned anyone who would harm a child.
  • Jesus was rejected by the leaders of his faith community. He no longer “belonged” because he had dared to speak the truth and challenge their hypocrisy and immorality.
  • Jesus was innocent of a crime but was judged responsible for his arrest and execution because he had incited the crowds by telling the Truth.
  • Jesus was mocked, vilified, humiliated, and ultimately abandoned by his community.
  • Jesus knew the pain of injustice and abandonment. But unlike many abuse victims Jesus did have a mother and a friend who stayed faithful and continued to believe in him despite what the authorities and community members had accused him of. At least in that way Jesus was blessed. Many victims have lost even those last vestiges of support. But we do not have to carry our crosses on our own.

I believe Jesus would willingly wash the feet of abuse victims, weep over them, and anoint them with oil, in abject sorrow over the sins perpetrated by those exercising authority in his name.  I believe that Jesus would willingly take up our crosses and walk in our shoes in an attempt to express his love, in an attempt to convince us we had not been abandoned. I believe that Jesus already has.

 What would Jesus say to the Catholic Church today? What message of hope would he share? There is nothing he could say to defend the indefensible behavior of the Catholic leaders, from local bishops to Vatican officials. I think he would speak to the victims and their families and to the ordinary, faithful and disillusioned Catholics. I think he would tell us to support each other, to reach out to each other, to share our pain, to create a community of faith, to continue seeking justice against oppressive and corrupt organizations. To really be “ekklesia” a people gathered with a common purpose and a common faith and commitment to God, Truth, Justice, and the marginalized. And I think he might remind us that we don’t need a certain building or a certain form of religious government to do this.

This resurrection season may victims and their advocates continue to rediscover the message and person of Jesus of Nazareth in hopeful and healing ways. And may the voices of truth and reason continue to be heard above the voices of hatred and anger.

by Mona Villarrubia

Learning about the extent of abuse: a two-edged sword

When the extent of the abuse in America began to hit the news it was a double-edged sword for victims. On the one hand it felt very affirming – I am not crazy, I am not alone, people might believe me now. On the other hand it felt overwhelming, devastating. Ironically many of us had remained in the Church, believing our abuse was an aberration, our perpetrator a criminal unknown to his (her) superiors, and we still experienced the beauty and solace of our faith tradition. But the other side of the sword was the realization that not only was our perpetrator not an aberration in an otherwise healthy community of priests but one of many such men whose predilections had been the subject of jokes among fellow clergy (I heard this from a priest). And their superiors, far from being unaware, had been complicit in their protection from civil authority and their reassignment to unknowing parishes whose children became the next prey. This was the knowledge that robbed us of our faith in our church. And robbed me of my vocation to teach religion in the church: the behavior of the hierarchy was indefensible and I would not attempt to defend it to my students.

Someone asked me, did you know how widespread the abuse was?

Concerning whether there was an awareness of the extent of the abuse, in my experience within my immediate family and extended family, and in the victims community in SNAP, it is common for people to say they believed that their experience was an isolated one. And if they reported it to the diocese, they were told that theirs was the first such report against their perpetrator. In a number of cases these victims later learned, as the result of other victims coming forward, that they had not been the first, and that at the time of their reporting there had already been other – sometimes numerous – complaints. So it is clear to me that the issue was very well-known to the religious authorities within many dioceses. But the victims for the most part continued to believe it was isolated. Of course the requirement of secrecy regarding any settlement meant that they could not share their information.   I never knew about my siblings or my parents’ abuse until after 2002.

Dear Pope Benedict…it’s not just a sin, it’s a crime!

“[D]espite my bad experiences with certain Catholic priests, and despite my anger over how the Church has dealt with the issue of abusive priests in general, I owe much to the Catholic community and have great respect for a number of individual priests and religious. In fact, my own youngest brother is a member of a religious order. It is because of the respect I have for many Catholic priests and religious and the debt I feel to those people, and to the lay Catholics who have nurtured and educated me since childhood, that I believe my story should be told. The Catholic Church is better than the headlines; it is more than the sum of its mistakes. Pedophilia is not just a sin; it is a psychological disorder. It is not just a mistake; it is a crime. And the victims deserve to see justice served. But not all priests are pedophiles and not all bishops are liars.” From Hurt to Healing, 2004

I wrote this some years ago. I still stand by it: not all priests are liars and pedophiles. However, I have also learned that the evil of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church involves bishops and cardinals as well as priests. And the knowing and intentional policy of cover-up and denial includes popes. Today it is difficult to call to mind the good in the Catholic Church, but then I remember my brother, a religious and teacher who just returned from a mission trip to Africa. There are still good and holy people in the Catholic Church, sadly it becomes harder and harder to see them through the anger and tears.

The pope may be trying to get the message right, but he doesn’t recognize the “sin” for the crime that it is. And he doesn’t recognize that the solution is not sacramental or spiritual. The Church organization needs to be deconstructed, criminals need to be brought to justice, regardless of their age or infirmity. The church should support the suspension or removal of the statutes of limitations for the crimes that have already been admitted but cannot be prosecuted. A case in point: there is in my community a “retired” priest who was found guilty of multiple counts of sexual abuse of minors in a church investigation, but because of his “advanced age” has not been laicized. Instead he is supported by the church and still carries out his priestly functions when invited. He lives within a block of a Catholic Grammar school. His neighbors do not know of his crimes; local Catholics did not know of his crimes. His crimes were committed in another diocese. A close friend of mine, and one of his victims, took his own life last year. Perhaps he was overwhelmed by his inability to protect other children from the man who had already been “credibly accused” of child rape. This is a broken system. No number of apologies, no amount of penance, no degree of sadness on the part of the pope will make any difference. The system needs to be broken open; it is already broken.