Dates with God, Chapter 3, Part 4: Lauren’s Letter #3

Oh my, with two kids home from college and my regular brood of 5 still at home, August birthdays for two of my boys, and reliving my Nauvoo trip, life is very full and hectic. I did not get to the computer as much as I had hoped last Friday and Saturday. Here’s the intended post from last week to complete Chapter 3 of Dates with God. It’s Chapter 3, Part 4: Lauren’s Letter #3, in which Lauren comes face to face with her Dude Moments and Stupid Conversations. She confesses to herself that being online affects her negatively and finds scriptures to support the satanic spin.

Lauren’s Letter #3

 

Dear God,

 

So, I’ve been thinking about the Chemical Scale levels, especially my dude moments and forget-it moments [see Chapter 5 of Like Dragons Did They Fight by Maurice Harker and Lucas Reynolds]. I’m still having a little bit of a hard time accepting that satan can get into our heads and cause the chemical spill

 

It just seems like it’s taking away our agency. It doesn’t seem right or fair. It is like saying that we are standing in a battle blindfolded, being a wide-open target to the enemy, all the time, never having a clue when he’s going to strike. Then when he does strike we are too dazed to know what hit us.

 

Is this really how life works? I don’t want to believe it. It’s too out of my control. But then again maybe it would explain why I feel so grouchy and out of control so often! In that way it’s good news, kind of. It means I’m not totally at fault for feeling crappy. Does this really square with the teachings of the prophets? Hmmm…I don’t really know. Will have to research that.

 

All my law school training is coming out, the desire to logically analyze all of this. I’m willing to look at all angles before I judge. So I have been doing further reading. What has helped me is a book the mentor recommended call Mindsight by Daniel Siegel, MD. What Maurice calls Level 0, Dr. Siegel calls “mindfulness.” What Maurice calls Level 5, he calls “mindlessness.” I can certainly relate with those terms. I hate to admit it but being on the computer all day can get me to that state. But don’t tell my family. That last thing I want is for them to call me on it. I finished reading Mindsight yesterday. Some of the ideas are similar to what Maurice wrote, just dressed up in sophisticated scientific garb.

 

The mindlessness can start innocently enough with me checking my blog, not being mindless, seeing what comments have appeared since I last checked. Then I want to reply back to the comments my blog readers made. Then I want to see if they have a blog and go comment on their blog. Often I want to check facts and sources so I can quote them when I make comments. So then I start doing research and read articles. I get sucked in and want to read as much as I can on that topic. Then I want to make comments on all of the comments in the blogging world that pertain to that subject. I want to set the record straight.

 

Then I get a whole new idea for a blog post. Then I have to go looking for a graphic to go with the blog post. Or I have to create my own graphic. By this point I have strayed far from original intent of just checking comments on my blog. So I guess in that sense you could say I have reached some kind of state of mindlessness. I got in trouble a few months ago with some negative comments on one of my blogs. If people want to be wrong and stupid, that is their choice. I always have this irresistible urge to go write a rebuttal to them and tell them off.

 

Then there is my Pinterest baby-name spoof page where I have pins of things I like for my imaginary kids with their outrageous Utah names. As a midwife I have heard some real doozies. For example, Drakkar. That was one I heard when I first started midwifery training. Seriously? Parents would really name their kid after cologne? Then there was Vanity, and Skid. When you have parents who would give you names like that, who needs enemies? After hearing so many, I had to vent about it, hence the Pinterest spoof page. I update it daily because I get so many laughs out of doing it.

 

Well, on with the business of homework. Here are some dude and forget-it-moments of my life lately:

 

Dude Moment: “Just do the kids’ jobs yourselves. Don’t follow through with the kids. It’s so hard to get them to come.” We do have a housekeeper but I do have a few jobs assigned to each kid. That one doesn’t have to do with any of my goals. I’m realizing that battles can be for our Girl Goals or other, non-official l goals.

 

Dude Moment: I heard Riley coughing and hacking her throat out during the night a while ago. I was going to get up and get my essential oils and my diffuser out to help but I didn’t want to get out of bed. Here’s what I heard in my head: “Just lie here for a few minutes, then get up. You can get up in a few minutes.” The next thing I knew, my alarm was going off in the morning to get up. Ugh, more mom guilt. She was coughing all day and I kept her home.

 

Stupid Conversation: I found a ridiculous comment on my girlfriend’s blog attacking moms who breastfeed in public. I kept thinking about it all day. I kept telling myself not to respond, but it was bugging me. I told myself, “Just go on there and see if Jennifer has replied.” “No, stay away, you’ve met your limit for screen time today.” Then, “But I just want to see what she said,” The next thing I knew it I was publishing a sarcastic reply.

 

In my research I found some scriptures to support the concept in this class that satan works on us.

 

3 Nephi 6:13-15

“Some were lifted up in pride, and others were exceedingly humble; some did return railing for railing, while others would receive railing and persecution and all manner of afflictions, and would not turn and revile again, but were humble and penitent before God. And thus there became a great inequality in all the land, insomuch that the church began to be broken up; yea, insomuch that in the thirtieth year the church was broken up in all the land save it were among a few of the Lamanites who were converted unto the true faith; and they would not depart from it, for they were firm, and steadfast, and immovable, willing with all diligence to keep the commandments of the Lord. Now the cause of this iniquity of the people was this—Satan had great power, unto the stirring up of the people to do all manner of iniquity, and to the puffing them up with pride, tempting them to seek for power, and authority, and riches, and the vain things of the world.”

 

I noticed that when it said that some people started turning away from the church, a pocket of Lamanites did not do that because they were “converted to the true faith.” So is it possible to be converted to the “untrue faith”? It also says that the cause of the iniquity of the people was satan “stirring up the hearts of the people.” Is that the satanic spin? Even though it uses the word “hearts” not “minds”? Could what we think of as the heart, the center of emotion and desire, actually be in the mind? Is the “heart” really in the frontal lobe of the brain? When satan stirs people into iniquity is he spinning them out of their frontal lobe? I think so. It fascinates me that the frontal lobe is both the place of values and logical thoughts. Could the untrue faith be the belief in the lies that satan is telling us?

 

I’m thinking of  all the times I’ve gotten in arguments online and in person. I am definitely not at a Level 0 when that happens. Hmmm…I really want to catch myself at a Level 2 so I don’t get sucked into making negative comments again. The more I think about it, I can’t remember being at a Level 0 for a long time. I feel like I’m critical and defensive, at the same time, all the time. Like I marinate in those two states all the time.  I bounce between feeling stressed and critical, ready to pounce on others, and… hey, wait,  I do remember a Level 0! It was a few nights ago when I was cuddling with my girls and reading Little Women to them. I would like to create more times like that with them.

 

Love,

Lauren

 

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