TRANSFORMED: A Podcast by Chaplain Michele

In This Installment: What Are You Doing The Dirt? (with Audio and Transcript)


Hi, thank you for joining me for this installment of Chaplain Michele. Actually, I have to get used to saying it transformed a podcast by Chaplain Michele. 

One of the things that I have learned and still am learning, to be honest, and that’s with most things, our journey continues. We should get better at things, but we’re never quite perfect at it or perfected in it. The goal is excellence, not perfection. I say that to say that I had an idea and I think this is a great disservice that we do to each other actually, that other people do to us, that we do to each other, and that, quite frankly we do to ourselves. 

But I had this in my mind. It never occurred to me until I reached a certain age and until after a series of certain events in my, I will say, my mid to late teens all throughout my twenties and thirties, because once you get it, you get it. It never occurred to me that there was such a thing as failure. It never occurred to me that people got divorced or that people that said they love each other hurt each other. And maybe I was just naive. Maybe I was just gullible. Maybe I’m just too idealistic for my own good.


But after I went through my defining moment with the medical situation, if you haven’t heard that, I’m still kind of weaving in. I don’t want to spend an inordinate amount of time talking about my journey through being diagnosed and getting treated for cancer that should have killed me and continuing that dialogue and understand what that feels like. 

So I don’t want to burden the conversation with that in the strictest sense, and yet most of what I share with you comes out of revelations that were taking place during that process and have taken place continually since. But the most painful thing for me was realizing, oh, okay, this is it. And I don’t know about you, but that’s kind of painful when you are believing life, relationships, your career. 

After I get to this certain point, I’ll be here. You’re thinking, you think that these steps that you take are actually leading you to the thing. Hopefully that’s not just me. If not, if it is, so be it. I doubt it. If it is, so be it. I still need to be transparent about this. I think it’s important. Sometimes we just get disappointed in thinking that, okay, if I do this right, based on what we know to be right, if I do this right and if I take these steps, and


After so many years career ladder, I was never really a career ladder person. My thing was more relationships and understanding. Oh, so people can say they love you but not really love you. To me, it still boggles my mind. Man, I understand We all have baggage. We all have things we, baggage wasn’t even part of my vocabulary. I’m like, what is baggage? 

But I understand now because I had some and still have some things that I have to work through. But if there was a point in my life, and I’m saying this to you, there was a point in my life, what baggage. We truly all just here to help each other and love each other. I really believed that. And after I have been married and divorced more than once at a relatively young age, I’m thinking, okay, this isn’t quite how it works.


And I was hurt not just because the relationships failed, but because the things that I thought would make them work failed as well. And you come to the realization that sometimes it doesn’t matter what you do, that’s just not the path that you’re supposed to be on. That’s just not part of the process or it is. Let me correct that. That’s not right. That’s not accurate. 

It’s part of the process, but the process doesn’t take you where you think it takes you. Maybe that’s the best way to say it. The process does not take you where you think it takes you. We learn one plus one equals two. So when we do our one plus one, we think we’re going to get two, not negative two or negative 52 or negative 202.


And this is not to be, this isn’t meant to be negative or depressing. It’s meant to be honest and real. And depending on how long I talk, it might become raw. But it’s just the realization like, man, this thing doesn’t work. Like everybody tells us we think it should work. There’s never enough dialogue around. 

We are so busy living through certain things, good and bad in our lives that we miss the fact that there’s never a real narrative around it until it’s reactive, until it’s after the fact. Well, why did that happen? Well, this happened because x, Y, well, y’all could have said that upfront, not that it would’ve made it any better. That’s not the issue. We’re not talking about fixing. 

We’re talking about just a basic awareness that, hey, look, I can give my a hundred percent. It doesn’t mean that somebody else is going to give their a hundred percent and they don’t even have to be bad people. See, I think sometimes we want to frame people as being unquote bad people. The people we need to frame as bad. We don’t frame as bad, by the way. We need to work on that. We need to understand from a spiritual perspective what is bringing us life and what is not bringing us life that has nothing to do with the person. That has to do with the spiritual belief, the spiritual connection, the spiritual frequency, the spiritual values. Its spirituality at its core.


That was a side note that was a little bit raw. But the people don’t even have to be bad. They can be fantastic people and they serve a purpose in our lives. This myth that I see perpetuated that we have to remove the bad. That’s like saying if I go to the gym, don’t give me any exercise. 

If I’m trying to learn how to, if I’m building my muscle, don’t give me anything to press against. Don’t make me eat spinach because it’s good for me. Spinach doesn’t taste good. Well, I like spinach now, but there was a time when I didn’t like spinach. I like it now because I understand and I’ve developed a taste for it. But if we go through life saying, take away everything that I don’t like and that’s not good, then we’re not doing a disservice to the other person.


We’re not teaching somebody else a lesson. We are denying ourselves the opportunity to become the people that we’re supposed to become. Now, does that mean we sit in abusive, disruptive, disrespectful situations and just enjoy that? No, that’s not what it means. That’s not what it means. 

But we also have to take the tack that part of this, part of the situations that we are engaged in, engaged with, it doesn’t matter the type of relationship are there as a weight for us to press against. I don’t mean to fight against any good trainer will tell you, okay, start out with one pound start out, then you graduate. As that muscle gets stronger, you get more weight to press against.


I cannot tell you, I don’t know your specific circumstances. I don’t know where you came from. I don’t necessarily know where you came from, who you are, where you were born, when you were born, any of that. I’m not judging those relationships. I am not trying to make a determination about any of your relationships or any of your situations and circumstances. 

What I’m sharing with you are principles and things that you have to consider before we just start doing this wholesale. I’m throwing everything out because what we miss in this, yes, there’s a lot of heartbreak, heartache, pain. I’ve been through a lot of it. I’m not going to say all of it. I’ve been through more than some and less than others. So I get all of that. This is not naive me anymore. This is not gullible me talking anymore.


But what we have to realize hopefully before the fact rather than after the fact, is that those person places and or things would not be there if they weren’t meant in some way for us to press against meaning we become stronger. It doesn’t mean you have to necessarily stay in situations that aren’t healthy for you, but you can’t cast them out just like they don’t mean anything. 

They don’t have a meaning and in some ways have a value. I saw many years ago, and I can’t even remember, I don’t know who, I’m not even going to lie, I don’t remember who wrote it, drew it said it. It’s literal years ago. But I have always, when I was at my lowest points, depression, post-traumatic stress, all of these things, oh, Michele, you should be happy. 

Well, that’s why part of what I’m talking about, we have to talk about these things because there are things that happens when you survive something and then other people didn’t.


And then there’s another series of questions that happened, right? So I’ll talk about that a little bit later. But what I’m saying is I’m saying a saying, and it may have been an illustration that accompanied it. I don’t remember where I saw it if you know can put it in the comments on my Instagram. 

But there is a, it said it talks about, and I may be missed not doing any justice to any of it, but it was one of the most profound things in terms of active living, what I’m going to call active living, taking the good with the bad, good, bad light, dark sun, rain, joy, pain, feast, famine. It said, when people are throwing dirt on you use the dirt so they think they’re digging you a hole, right? They’re digging you a hole.


Use the dirt that they’re throwing at you to get yourself up out of the hole. So basically people throwing dirt thinking they’re hurting you, which they might be, don’t get me wrong, but ultimately shift the perspective and shift your energy to a place. Use your values, use your beliefs that you’re going to get stronger and let that drive you to a better place. When I saw that, particularly where I was at the time, something clicked and it took me a while to really get it, but something clicked. I knew something changed in me. I said, oh, okay, this isn’t just about them.


This is about how I’m going to use this dirt. What am I going to get out of the deal? How am I going to use this dirt to be a better person, not just a stronger person? It’s not always about being a stronger person, it’s about being a better person. How am I going to use this dirt to be better? Because when you’re in the dirt hole that someone else dug for you, it’s hard to see that all you’re seeing is you got dirt all the way around. You got dirt coming on, dirt onto you, dirt around you, and dirt still being thrown on top of you. So I get that whole thing.


But when we can get to the place where we can deflect some of that, I don’t mean deflect as a way to cover something up. I mean deflect as a way to look. I’m going to use this dirt. You think you’re throwing dirt at me, but we are going to grow up a garden. We’re going to do something. We’re going to plant some trees. This dirt is not going to go to waste. One of the greatest challenges in all of this is letting go of how we thought our lives would be. I’m going to tell you right now, that is one of the, over the years had been one of the most painful things for me to do because I didn’t feel as if anybody ever made it clear to me that life is not going to be what you think it’s going to be.


That there are going to be some painful moments and they’re going to have some joyful moments. There’re going to be people in your life that just try to turn you all around and make you feel disrespected and not valued, and they’re going to be people that come in and out of your life and you don’t know why and you think they’re supposed to be there forever and for some reason or another, they either leave or they get taken away or we don’t have that dialogue. 

And so we come out of these situations, whatever the situation is, and we’re all traumatized because we’re all talking about the basically in some way or another, we’re talking about the same sort of trauma and hurt and pain for different reasons. It may be because of different circumstances. This is why spirituality is so important because at the end of the day, it’s what we believe that will drive us, drive us forward, make us better people. Yes, it could also make us worse people. That’s why spirituality is important. What are you pulling from? How do you give up what you thought from a child your life was supposed to be?


And even some children that have challenging traumatic circumstances as children, I am grateful. I will say right now, I’m grateful for the childhood I had. I realize everyone does not get the same opportunities. So this isn’t about making those distinctions so much as it is saying we have got to learn to help one another out and help each other understand these circumstances are not meant to destroy us. Let me finish before you shout me down. The circumstances are put there to test us. Everything is a test here. When I say here, I mean on this planet earth, everything is a test. Yes, a lot of it is painful, but there’s also some joyful parts and can I tell you something?


The people that spend the most time trying to hurt you, those are the people that will lose out. In the end, the universe doesn’t tolerate, even though we might tolerate it against each other, the universe is not looking at us and saying, oh, Michele, Michele is so great. Let’s just, that’s not how it works. My spiritual belief system does not work like that. 

And I’m telling you right now, regardless of what your spiritual belief system is, your religious belief system, let me say it that way. There is a God that loves you. Don’t let anybody tell you different. I’m just going to say it. Just don’t let anybody tell you differently. We are all here at the same time for a reason, for a reason, and we all have the opportunity to walk at the same level of transformed transcendent living if that’s what we choose.


By that I mean what are you doing with the dirt? As a matter of fact, I think that’s where I’m going to title this episode. What are you doing with the dirt? What are you doing with the dirt that’s going to come from wherever it’s going to come at any point in time? It could be a little bit of dirt. It could be a lot of dirt, but part of our challenge has to be that we have to have people around us that have been through some things, not who are just saying, Hey, cut them loose. Sometimes that’s going to be necessary. Sometimes you don’t even have to cut. Sometimes you just have to keep walking.


And again, I am not telling you to do anything in your circumstances because there’s too much. That’s the danger sometimes of listening to people, even people in your situation and making decisions. You’ve got to learn how to do this on your own. I don’t mean by yourself. You have to learn how to think for yourself. When people ask me questions, I do counseling here and there, not psychological counseling, spiritual counseling, and they will ask me questions. Well, how do I forgive? Well, you just forgive. It is a spiritual concept, so there’s nothing to do except to agree with the spiritual principle. I forgive.


Now, I will use my personal situation. I’ll tell you how I do it. I do believe in God, so here’s what I say. I forgive. You are going to have to help me make it feel like I forgave because it’s not going to feel like it. See, this is what I’m talking about when I say get real. 

You’re not going to have some, not some angelic choir that shows up, oh, you forgave. No, it’s still going to feel the same. May be worse for a while, and you have to keep reminding yourself, Nope, I forgave that. Not going to take that back. Nope. I forgave and let me throw a little wrench in here. Generally, when I talk about forgiveness, I will say actual or perceived offenses.


I forgive any actual or perceived offenses. You know why? Because the reality is people hurt us some intentionally, some not. The other reality is we hurt people, some intentionally, some not. Hopefully as we get older and we use our dirt wisely, we do less intentional hurting of individuals. 

We should not be at a certain point intentionally hurting other people, intentionally excluding, intentionally diminishing, intentionally disrespecting in any way, shape or form. So there’s that thing going on that we have to resolve. But until we get clear enough inside, until we become self-aware enough and do away with some of the baggage, for lack of a better term, I’m going to try to find something else. I really don’t like the term baggage, but some of the unresolved issues within us. Spirit, soul, body. Part of the issue is that we work body, soul. We don’t hardly talk about the spirit, but the spirit is the most significant part of our existence.


We have to work through some things. We have to get to a place, and until we do, we still, somebody may be perfectly, and I don’t mean perfect, but perfectly well-meaning there’s no innuendo. There’s no microaggression, there’s no bias. They are just coming to you in the way that they know the best way. They know how we want to believe. 

We want everybody to have mercy on us, but we don’t want to have mercy on other people. We want everybody to believe that when we come and do what we need to do or say or whatever, that we’re coming with the best intent. But when somebody does that us, that’s not the case. Don’t get me wrong. We know there are people out there that are coming for you, but there are also people that are not. It’s the self-awareness being in a clear space, having some level of closure and resolution on some past hurts and past pains and past experiences that allows you to see more clearly.


Some people are just looking to offend and some people are just looking for an offense. They’re going to find an offense no matter what you do, some people are going to seek to offend no matter what you do. That’s the spirit that is within them. The challenge for you, the challenge for me is not to be the person that is either always offended or seeking to offend. How do we do that? By forgiving. 

Forgiving is the spiritual more powerful counter to offense. There is a spirit of offense that people walk in either to receive it or to give it, and yet there is also a spirit of forgiveness that people walk in, which is more powerful either to receive it or to give it.


We should be both. We should be receiving of forgiveness, but in order to be clearly and best aligned with the spirit of forgiveness, we have to be have some resolution. We have to have some closure. You have to ask yourself, just as I had to ask myself and I say had, because even though I’m still challenged by this periodically, I’m better at finding my footing. I’m better at it. I didn’t say it didn’t happen anymore. I said, I’m better at it. You have to ask yourself, which one are you always seeking offense or looking to offend, or are you giving forgiveness and also receiving it because you can’t give what you can’t receive. So if we’re not receiving the spirit of forgiveness, then what that means is that we’re then walking in the spirit of offense. There isn’t a middle.


This is important because at the end of the day, what we don’t forgive becomes who we are. What you don’t forgive is who you become. Forgiveness frees you to become who you will put here to be, to live a life filled with love and peace and joy, what I call transformed transcendent living. It doesn’t mean we’re out of touch. It doesn’t mean we are above everything and everyone else and we’re looking down our noses. No, it means actually the opposite, that we are honored to be here, to be able to live with other human beings and to serve them in some capacity.


Transformed transcendent living means that I am working on by grace getting out of my own way. I am working on letting go of those things, not just, oh, you got to get out of my life. You’re not serving my purpose. No, that’s very transactional because there’s nothing worse, or I should say nothing better than sitting in a room or across the table from someone that seeks to offend you. And you can sit there and smile and be quiet at the same time. 

You can leave the room, go to the restroom, go to the car on your way home, go to your bedroom and you can scream your head off. But there is a strength that comes from being able to recognize in yourself enough about where you are, that sometimes you don’t have to let people go.


You just know not to let it happen when it’s happening and you know what to do about it in yourself. So I’m oversimplifying it a bit. I understand. I know there’s one gazillion types of circumstances. There really aren’t. They’re only just a handful, but they each have their own unique twist because we all have the thing or things that make us unique. 

But let me share with you this, we are 95% the same. We’re all human. The 5% is what makes us unique. Each of us has just enough to make us individual, and I don’t mean individual as in individual. We have to do everything alone. There are times we need to be alone, but we also have to recognize even in our being alone, everything in everyone on this planet right now and any given point in time when you’re listening is contributing to something in your life not directly. Clearly.


You have to get ahold of it for you. What are you doing with the dirt? What are you doing with your dirt? So letting go of some things about not only who the other people or are the other experiences, letting go of what you thought your life would be is one of the hardest things you will ever have to do. But once you learn how to navigate that, number one, you’ll learn that what is there for you is even better than anything you could have mapped out, conceived of. It’s better than anybody could have told you, and you have to ask yourself, what are you willing to do to attain that? What are you willing to do to get to that level in your own life where the things that used to bother you don’t bother you anymore?


Where you can literally wish, pray, hope, desire that people intended to hurt you in some way, that you can pray for their healing as well. None of it is easy, but it is necessary to get to a place. It’s cute to say cut everybody off, but guess what? If you cut everybody off, you’re going to be there by yourself. Some of you don’t like being by yourself. I don’t mind being by myself. 

That doesn’t mean I want to be by myself all the time. I know how to regulate that. I know when I need to regulate it, but it’s only because I’ve worked at that. I’ve worked at understanding when I might be triggered, when I’m not feeling well, when I’m a little irritated, when I’m a little agitated, when I’m fully giving. I recognize those things, haven’t perfected it, but I recognize it. I used to not even know it existed.


So I want to encourage you. You’ve got to let go in order to get what you want, know what you need. We think of need in a bad way. There are things that you need that will make you a better person, and once you commit to those things, there’s a whole nother access point of life that opens up for you. 

Forgiveness will open up a whole different view of life for you. It will change your life. It is a transformational, not just a principle. The spirit of forgiveness will open up things in your life that you never knew existed. Open up parts of you to the wonder of your potential and your destiny.


You have got to do it well, what about them? No, never about them. Not in the way that you, it is about them, but what we can think about. I can’t forgive for somebody else. I can only forgive for me. So please understand that we’re not discounting any actual or perceived offenses. That’s not what forgiveness does. 

Forgiveness does not put the offense on sale, right? We’re not trying to sell the offense like it didn’t happen. No, the offense is real except for the perceived ones. If there is an actual offense there, forgiveness does not cancel that out, and I think that’s where people get hung up. We think, let me speak. I’m not going to speak for people. I’m going to speak for this people, me.


If I forgive, then they won’t whatever, get what’s coming to ’em. That’s how we think. I thought like that for a long time, and the fact of the matter is that traps us in our own cycle. If you want an off ramp to some of the things that’s going in your life going on in your life, sometimes it’s not cutting off the people in the way that we think. Sometimes. The off ramp is in the quiet time, in your tears, in your sadness, in your pain, being able to say, I forgive them. I pray the best for them, and I bless them. Now. I’m trusting you.


Spirit of forgiveness, whoever your religious, your higher power, I say, God, I’m trusting you, God, to lead me out of whatever this pain is in a way that is uplifting and encouraging and in a way that I can share it with others so it helps them too. You would be surprised what happens in your life when you decide to do that. Will you have to remind yourself a thousand times that you forgave somebody? Yep, maybe 1,050, but at the end of the day, you will find at some point, all of a sudden you’re healed. 

You’re not feeling that that wound isn’t as open. Every time you forgive, you need to see that as washing over that wound or those wounds. Every time you forgive, the universe comes to your aid. Every time you forgive, the spirit of forgiveness steps in and says, okay, we going to work on this transformation. We’re going to work on helping you walk in your destiny. We talk about knowing our purpose. We can’t know our purpose until we forgive, and even then we don’t know it because we can’t. Everything. We can have a sense of something.


If you only knew how long it took me to actually start doing a podcast that I would publish, I’ve made hundreds of recordings over years, but I had to get some things straight because some of those things were just meant to burn some stuff off, if you know what I mean. Some of them all published maybe, but for you, I want you to be encouraged. You’re looking for a life that you may not be able to find because you are perpetuating your own cycles because you won’t forgive. 

It’s not up to you, and I’m talking about very macro level here. As I said before, I’m not trying to tell you anything about your specific situation, circumstances, any of that. I’m giving you some general principles that can be applied, can be, could be regardless of your situation, circumstance, background, socioeconomic status, gender, religious belief can be applied. Family situation, work situation can be applied, but you have to know what the full context of your situation is and where you are, what the situation calls for. So no, you shouldn’t listen to me or anybody blindly. I will tell you what I tell people that I talk to about spirituality and counseling because a lot of them are in the church. They believe in God, and I will say, this is what you need to know, but make sure you pray about it.


So whatever your form of prayer or meditation is, whatever your way is. Yeah, I believe this will be helpful to you. I know it’s been helpful to a number of people, but at the same time, at the end of the day, don’t just do it. I said it. Where do you find peace? What does the situation call for? You have to put all of those things together or you have to have a support system that’s willing to help you synthesize all of that. If people are always holler, there are some situations clearly that call for safe transport out of a place, but there are other situations that it’s just people are aggravated and they don’t feel like dealing with it.


Don’t let your aggravation. You think so? I’m aggravated. I’m going to leave. That may be necessary. I’m not saying it isn’t. What I’m saying is you better check yourself to make sure you’re in a place where you’re ready for that, and that even in your leaving you can forgive whatever the situation is. Sometimes you just stay and you’re still aggravating. You’re irritated. You live with people. It doesn’t have to be a partner necessarily. It could be children, other family members. There are a lot of caregivers. You’re agitated. You feel drained. 

You’re start forgiving, start bathing your life in blessing and gratitude and forgiveness, and I’m telling you, it doesn’t mean you won’t be tired, but you will be less tired. It doesn’t mean all your problems. This is a magic, so all your problems won’t instantly go away, but things will be better over time because you’ve allowed yourself to stop perpetuating a cycle that’s destroying you or diminishing you. What are you doing with the dirt? 

Thank you for joining me for this installment of Transformed a Podcast by Chaplain Michele. I’ll see you next time. Bye-bye.