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the G is for Gangsta

I have a thought. I know that doesn’t sound as eloquent as Martin Luther King,,” I have a dream,” but I had to be honest about it. It is just a thought. I wasn’t asleep when I had it, so its not really a dream. It is fantasy like and might be considered a dream with the definition of it being a hope, a wish. But really, its just a thought. I have been thinking about boundaries and being able to state needs and wants directly. I work in addiction. I talk about boundaries and “staying on your side of the street” often. I have practiced the phrases. I have given talks to large groups of people. I have joked about it, cried about it, discussed it, and generally preached it ad nauseum. And yet, it is a fantasy, a dream, a curious thought.

I have a puppy at my house, Dexter G Smalls. “You are killing me Smalls,” is a phrase that I say often. Dexter is not known for his boundaries. He is the canine version of a close talker. He licks. He jumps, He hugs your arm with his paws until you rub his belly. His attention span is somewhat akin to the long abundant life of a fruit fly. However, as far as his side of the street is concerned, he states his needs and wants. The buckin bronco imitation style dance means I am hungry. The covering look and following you around the house means I am sorry that I got so excited I peed on the couch again. The arm hug means, “umm pet me dufus.” But boundaries by social norms are really not in his wheelhouse.

My thought is I wonder what it would be like if I was more like Dexter G. Smalls. Not the licking part. I mean, not specifically like Dexter, but more generally. I did try and dance when the waiter brought my food to the table yesterday. IT was largely misunderstood. I did make a few dollar bills. The people I was with really never got the hint to scratch my belly as I hugged their arms, but I think the certainly paid attention to me. Im reminded of a previous post where I talked about my youngest daughters giraffe like tongue. She is one of those people that can touch the tip of her nose with her tongue. I mentioned it because during communion she would tongue out every last drop of the grape juice. I mentioned how cool I found it that she was “slurping grace.” It seems like I should be able to embrace life and slurp it up like grape juice with a giraffe tongue. Imbibing every minute of the miracles life has to offer. Asking for connection and touch from those nearest to me. Celebrating the basic needs,: food, water, shelter. I think it would be wonderful to be able to play at life. To laugh and dance at the background music.

The boundaries I am learning over and over to set are both outside and inside. Outside, I am learning that nothing outside of me has anything to do with who I am. That is a bizarre thought process for me. Nothing outside of me defines me. Not my job, not my loves, not actions, not my impressions, nothing. I grew up with that external locus and so that is a very foreign thought process. ITs a work in process. Inside, I am learning that I am not my thoughts or emotions. My brain and heart (yes I know the heart doesn’t really house emotions, I am a doctor) are reflex organs. They are responding to the outside stimuli that are also not me. I am that Dexter within. I am my daughter slurping Grace. I am so much more and simply me. My needs and wants have value and can be expressed. I probably wont dance at that restaurant again, but I will on the inside.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2019 in journey, life, Uncategorized

 

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Fear the Buzz

I really love the Fall weather. No matter where I have lived it has been my favorite season. I’m not sure why it is: the chill in the air in the morning, the leaves changing color, the balloon fiesta in Albuquerque, it just is. I dislike October. Not al of October, just anything to do with Halloween. It really makes no sense to me why I dislike Halloween. I just do. In high school, I was in drama. I even lettered, twice. The character thing never bothered me. But there is something about being in a group of people pretending to be something they are not that gets to me. Its like being in a locker room. Everyone scared to death they aren’t as manly as they should be. As a kid, I did see IT and it terrified me so bad, I haven’t watched much in the way of horror since then. I saw Jaws and was afraid to swim in a pool after dark for a few weeks. Perhaps I am “on the spectrum” (by definition a spectrum includes everyone, so we are all on the spectrum. This is a really poor way to describe this problem, but I digress). I need to see faces and try and understand the real person I talk to. I just know I don’t like to be distant or afraid.

All that to say, I am afraid and feel distant. Its different than Nixon masks and being faked out. I am afraid of taking an inevitable next step. I have been in addiction medicine for the last few years. I am much better at it than I thought I would be. The first week they gave me the nickname of, “Dr. Buzzkill.” I talk to people and cajole them to honesty with themselves and maybe with me. I insist on working on introspection. I insist on motivation from the inside. I can be a real ass, I know. However, in my heart, I believe in recovery and that recovery is for those that want it. I get teased a lot that I am too harsh sometimes. One of my close friends reminds me that precontemplation is a stage. I remind him that if someone doesn’t want what recover has to offer, if I force it by keeping them there, I might ruin the next opportunity they have to change their mind.

Again, I digress. I’ve been suggested strongly, that it is time to start my own business again and not be an employee. ITs been a long time coming. The time I spend with people and the work I do isn’t necessarily as billable. There have been changes that will further limit what the hospital could bill for my services. I was given the option of eventually being unemployed or currently being unemployed with some preservation of what I do. I will open Buzzkill, LLC in October.

OK that was the longest preamble I have ever written. I am afraid and isolated. That is the whole point to this post. Let us continue. I am isolated. Its not good enough isolation that anyone would make a movie out of it. I don’t own a volleyball to talk to. My puppy is to hyper to really listen. He doesn’t seem to care anyway. I grew up being isolated. We had this pencil machine at my elementary school. It had the names and colors of every football team on pencils. So boys would save their ten cents, scrounge couches and washing machines to buy pencils, with the hopes of having them all. They’d proudly display their knob turning acumen joined together with a rubber band. They traded and discussed which teams were better and which pencils the most difficult to hunt down. My pencil was yellow and chewed. I still don’t care about sports. I never felt quite right around groups. I truly didn’t fit in. I thought I fit in AA when I started. I did in that first group. And then several people told me that I shouldn’t be at a group, but should go to the medical group. IT took me a minute to realize they were focused on their pencils.

I am afraid. I have spent a lifetime without identity. CS Lewis describes Men without chests. I was that boy. No heart, no life force, no soul. I didn’t have self esteem, I had reflective esteem. I only knew who I was by what you told me. I needed to perform to convince you I was worth it, so you could tell me I was. Id like to say the pencil debacle taught me it was ok to be myself. I lied, I had ten team pencils. I told everyone we couldn’t afford even the dime so I could get more. The chiefs were my favorite because the colors were the coolest. I hid. Drama was an obvious choice for me. I could try on different personalities. The costumes came off, and the support was for the empty costume not for me. The fear worsened as I grew. It was harder and harder to convince people to cheer me on. So, I drank. A lot. I traded me for the illusion of a chest, a heart, a life, a soul. It wasn’t mine, it wasn’t real, but it had great colors. Unfortunately, the fear got worse. What if people didn’t believe I couldn’t afford the dime? What if they saw through the façade? IT rode me around like a dark passenger. The same alcohol I had sold out to, whispered in my ear about how diminutive I was. It taunted me. It screamed in my face like the gym coaches of old. It scared me like only rage in a mask can do. I vanished as the rage screamed and my ex grew weary of having to connect with me. The fear won. I thought it was the alcohol, but even after that was gone, the fear loomed and whispered on. It defeated me at the age of 44. I ceased to exist. I couldn’t fake it anymore.

Fear leaves a dead body. As I rose from the chestless, heartless existence I once thought of as life, I began to see me. I met me and I was ok. I understood me. I generally liked me. When I would stray from being me and reach for a mask, I could see why I feared the unreal. I could be honest. I enjoyed, but didn’t need the support that was my backbone before. I walked. I returned to medicine, doing addiction. I didn’t have to perform in a certain way. I just had to be who I am . I didn’t have any idea how to do this job, nor did anyone else. I was making it up as I went, And it went well. I didn’t notice until right now that I had started to slide into the idea of becoming Buzzkill to please everyone. I am very straight forward and I care about people in addiction who are suffering. But, I had begun to transform to what people said about me. The reason for my fear is that I will only have me to trust on what is my identity. I fear because I am unsure. I have let myself become Dr. Buzzkill as a costume. I wear it proudly, all the time knowing that people don’t really know me. In many circumstances, have no desire to know the real me. But I am named. Not from others, not even from me, but from God, the higher power, cosmos, Universe, whatever. I had forgotten that me is not defined by what I do. If this practice works, fantastic. I do this job well. If it doesn’t, ok I don’t have this color pencil in my pile, move on. I will still be me.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2019 in faith, journey, life

 

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reverberation

reverberation

What cuts your soul?

It seems like the death of a soul is apparent. Suddenly, there is no life. The will is moot. The shoulder slump as if the weight of living is overbearing. There is no chance of continuing on the same path. Movement has stopped. Direction is absent. The soul is dead. Its very apparent when you see it when someone has crashed down. The rock bottom reverberates with excitement as it claims another soul Bewildered and lost, the soulless corpse tries to gather up the misused and recently departed soul as if they were guts spilled in the savages of war. The soul will pretend to return and the corpse will walk again, aimless and lost. The darkness engulfs the being. They become a black hole of existence. A vacuum of life force consumes them and many who get around them. The silence is deafening. They search for giving souls, the extreme light. They devour the light until it cant be repleated, clamoring for more. The rock bottom reverberates some more.

It isn’t the desolate who hold a monopoly on lost souls and rock bottoms. The more adept at living without a soul are the individuals who have more to lose. The successful, rich, famous, beautiful people are much more likely to scoop up the lost and departed soul and try and run.  They scramble and grab whatever is near to fill the whole left. They stuff money and popularity into the vacuous inner self like packing peanuts. The density of the soul is tainted by the empty offering. The Soulless mill around life accumulating more packing peanuts to fill an ever empty soul. They orchestrate large health care deals and billion dollar business deals to fill the dead space. It leeches the light from others around them, gathering souls for the reverberating bottom. Sooner or later, to exist in a world of vacuums, one either absorbed or escapes.

But what cuts the soul?  Death or absence can be easier to see, but what of the injured? What of the ones who ae losing parts of their soul in a long battle to survive and fight the absorption? We try all kinds of things to fight it, we get angry, we get drunk, we get depressed, we isolate. IT becomes paranoia, loneliness, addiction. We have lost the will to fight. We have lost the ability. The soul takes a beating. The soul is cut and bleeding. It cries out. It cries when love ones are hurt and draining. It screams at injustice and pain. It bellows as it hears, feels, sees the receding of the light. The soul fills its own space, but the life warrior is tired. “He walks around like Charlie Brown, full of Hope, eyes to the ground.” . If the bleeding isn’t addressed, the wounds dressed, the soul will weaken. Through the wounds, the soul is vulnerable and drawn out by the vacuums around it. The soul needs nurtured. The soul needs rest. The soul needs fed. The soul needs remembered. The soul needs LOVE.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2017 in journey, life

 

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ghosts

I’m sitting here alone in a much too big house, starting yet another year, watching the snow fall on a foreign and unfamiliar place. Ive done this a lot over the last few years. Nothing has been familiar or trustworthy. I have tried to find a solid to hold onto. I find myself grasping air, ghosts, at the best, liquid. When particularly afraid, I try to hold on tighter, which just makes me tired and more desperate. Ive been chasing ghosts, spectors, illusions, dreams, and lies.

It started a long time ago. I have always wanted the dream. I wanted to be happily married. I wanted to be popular, successful, brilliant, and tall. I led a façade life. IT was play acting. I was a good actor, well good enough to believe my own performance. I thought that was me. I pretended I was popular, successful, even brilliant. I never did get to be tall. As the turmoil of not being who I really was began to rip me apart, I ran. I was in full flight from reality. I hid. The separation of who I was grew from the truth. I chased the illusion of becoming what I wanted to be. I believed I could be what others wanted me to be. I kept running. I kept grasping. The wind ran through my fingers as I sank more and more into despair. The ghosts haunted me. They teased me. The pointed out how I failed. They showed me who I really was. Over 10 years ago, God spoke to me in a church basement through a group of people that also ran to ghosts. HE told me, “Find me or die.” He said I had a choice to keep moving away, or to stop and change directions. I have tried. I wanted life. I wanted to be whole. I wanted to be a real little boy. I learned. I clamored. I sought. I keep trying. But it feels lie chasing ghosts again. I feel the presence of the Spirit. I can see His hands, feel His love. When I try to hold it, it vanishes.

Since the original message, I chased several ghosts. I tried to chase the ghost of love. I asked for a time to heal my family. I sought real connection I was rejected and tried to seek heart through different ways. IT failed. The host turned on me, biting and hacking. IT was nasty. IT reminded me of the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, when they open the Ark and the beautiful angel turns into a ugly spector. It kept getting worse. My screams and pain only fueled the vengence. The venom, the hate would leak from my wounds. I would lose my life, my kids, my illusions. I would be erased. I held onto the ghost of love, hoping that the love of the kids would outweigh the hate and hurt. It didn’t. I keep sharing my heart. I keep putting the whisper in the wind. I speak love. I speak connection. I speak truth and solid. MY wind is not as strong or present at this point. It aches.

I chase the illusion of success. I have struggled to rebuild a life and a career. I make decisions that I think are the right ones. It all seems to fall in line and then crumble. The illusion is maddening. It taunts me that the success of being who I am is not as important as what I do. I know it to be a lie, however it would be easier to give in to the lie. It would be easy to surrender to the false self again. Chasing the ghosts has worn me out.

I search for the ghost of love. I panic when it eludes me. I open myself to its wind and am met with cold and heartless breezes. The breeze hurt, it leave icicles on my ribs, shielding my heart from the warmth. I close myself again, deciding to not open up again, only to find myself aching once again. The world is so worried about being hurt, we cant open, we can no longer love without fear. Again, I am confronted by the same condition, “Find God or die.” I can fight for that connection to God’s Spirit or die, existing for chasing ghosts. The same ghosts that my heart and mind crave, desire, ache for.

I’m sitting in a foreign land, watching the snow fall, covering the world in ghosts. I’m afraid.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2017 in divorce, journey, life

 

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sucking chest wounds

I am made of Velcro. I seem to let fear hump my leg like an annoying dog, then attach itself to my chest. It is almost like I believe that if I have fear, at least I don’t have pain. Its a lie I tell myself.

thP3MIVBJH

I have spent a huge amount of time over the last 8 years, and more so over the last 3, digging into the muck and filth of my heart and soul. I have surveyed, considered, addressed, dispensed of so much pain, so much turmoil, I had thought I was done with it. About 3 years ago, I discovered some more pain and more filth. The fear that hid it from view was tenacious, a yellow eyed, heavily armored demon. The implosion and explosion of my life and soul was just barely able to shake it loose. It left me with a sucking chest wound.

The sound was deafening. All of the horrors I had dispelled came back with such force and such glee. It was a homecoming of terror, bewilderment, fear, and despair. The yellow eyed demon of fear scampered back to cover the wound. I had learned to use it to protect myself as I grew up and hid. It was only then that I recognized it as holding the pain inside, not protecting me from more. The noise of the inner turmoil, the cacophony of despair was louder than the sucking chest wound and felt comfortable. It was something I knew.

I went back to work, allowing God to remove the fear. I sorted, surveyed, considered, addressed and asked God to dispense the character defects once again. I thought it was over. I felt relief. I seemed to feel the warmth of the Spirit of the Universe working in and through me. I started to rejoin life. But Fear and Pain are like a foreign body in a wound. It isn’t really going to heal while that is present. In fact, the wound festers. Eventually, all the healing is for naught.

th5CKMUA0U

When my fears laughingly deflated my life again by ending the relationship with my girlfriend, the wound opened and festered. The wound opened and sucked in the Panic and Despair. The wound roared a horrible roar, and gnashed its awful teeth. As I saw the relationship deflate, and I heard the whirlwind, I knew the Pain would return. It did. I have been trying to work on it again, and thought I was approaching the feeling that I could pray for her to just be happy and content with or without me. I prayed the same thing for my ex wife and my estranged daughters. I felt the emotions. I allowed healing.

I was getting better, but the final blow on parental alienation. I am having to make a decision to let my daughter go and not pursue the legal wranglings that would just reinforce her resistance. I am having to accept that this is what my ex wife wanted and has attained. The wound opened. The sound returned. The fears, the pain, the insecurities attached to me like Velcro. They were gone. They were removed. But when I felt the rejection and pain, I invited it all back again. I let the Velcro adhere. I panic and try and cover the whole. The closest items are fear and the hurt. It makes it worse but dulls the noise. I scream in pain. I ask God for help. He is there, he begins to pull the fear away. He strips the despair. He whispers and it is louder than the wound.

JesusvsDemons

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2015 in children, divorce, faith, journey, life

 

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live, life, and love

At first, I was afraid. I was petrified.

I am not sure why this song keeps ringing in my head as of late. I have been on both sides of that song, I have been the survivor and the one who hurt with goodbye. I have even been both at the same time. I don’t like either role, however.  don’t get me wrong, I admire my perseverance and ability to survive for some nasty life circumstances. However, that isn’t really the crux of that song.

I have some odd intimacy issues that I am working through. I would even say that I was dangerously close to a relationship addict. I was certainly in a 20 year marriage that had a multitude of addictive characteristics.  After I got out of the marriage and started dating a wonderful woman, I slid right back into some of those destructive habits. It is all I knew and a coping mechanism for some very hurtful internal struggles. I am so thankful the experience revealed some pretty core issues I needed to work on. I am also pretty remorseful that it cost me a love relationship and my best friend in the process. My fear was of being alone. I “kept thinking I could never live life without (you) by my side.” I was petrified that I needed someone by my side to tell me I was ok or I wouldn’t be ok. I feared being alone and clung to people.  However, I also was smart enough to know that would eventually be annoying and smothering. I was afraid of attaching and I was always on alert for who I would date next if the person walked out the door. My fear and internal chains led me to feel sorry for myself and state false bravado. Id push women away, desperately wanting them to stay.

When they got sick of it and left, Id go the other way. Id be in a panic that I was alone. Id start to fear loneliness. What if I never loved again? What if I was never loved again? I’d see myself as unworthy, unlovable, undesirable. My chains would get tighter. Id choke.  If someone did come back, Id fear the hurt more than desire the connection. Id send them away, proving to myself that I wasn’t worthy. Laying down and dying would have been less painful. I had crumbled, and pieces have much more surface area to accumulate pain.

I used to think that survival was the goal. It sounds so strong in the song. Follow that up with I will stay alive and I heard power and hope. The truth for me is that neither one is all that worthy of a goal. Both imply existence, which is a good start for sure. However, they are not dynamic. Survive and live are akin to existing. You can exist and sit on the couch. You can exist and not grow. You can exist in a shame marriage. You can exist and wear a mask, cowering from interaction and your true self. You can exist in darkness, blotting out existence. You can exist and be afraid. You can exist and be petrified, solid and frozen forever.

The goal is living. Living into each moment. Embracing growth and change. The goal is living who you are and who you are becoming. The goal is perpetual journey into a better and better version of yourself. The goal is to know that when we are alone, we are the same person as when we are not. The goal is to not be afraid of true intimacy with ourselves. I needed to embrace me. I needed to know that when I sent me out the door, I had lost my best friend, my true companion. I needed to know that I could exist without my true self, but I could never live. If I was willing to be accepted or rejected by someone else and maintain my journey, I would grow. I would be able and available for a dynamic, truly intimate relationship.

I do have all my life to LIVE and all my love to give. It has to start inside.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2015 in journey, life

 

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