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break the ice

Do you remember the game, “Don’t break the Ice”? It was a stage and there were maybe 25 plastic ice cubes wedged into it. There was this red man in a chair that you would put in the middle of the ice. The goal was to knock out ice cubes until someone let the guy fall through the stage. And then you’d laughingly set it all up again and the guy would be perched, unfazed, on the ice once again.

I have this terrifying thought that life is like that. We are set up a foundation for our life, based on expectations, beliefs, emotions, etc. They fit together nicely and fill the stage. The world then chips away at our ice, piece by piece refuted or humiliated. We back bite, cheat, steal, lie, injure. It is a game of chip the other guys ice before yours is broken. We are sanctimonious and rationalize why we chip at the other ice.  “IT is for their own god.” “It is God’s Will.” “I injure you to protect others.”

The ice breaks and we fall. However, unlike our placid friend, we feel the cold water. We plummet in the depths. We struggle to breath as the water and the cold engulf us. We sink or swim. Sometimes the decision isn’t clear and we gulp water as we try and surface. Nearly drowning in the icy water. We crawl to the surface and laughingly rebuild the ice. We perch in our chair, grinning to face another round of the maddening and sickening game, shivering in fear, cold, and isolation.  Never bothering to question why we are out on the ice.

The ice feels solid. The ice feel real. Even though it is cold and cuts the fingertips. Even though it is slowly eroded by the water underneath and the chipping from life on life’s terms, we trust it. We believe in it. IT is tangible in a world of intangible. It is solid in a world of icy water. And so it lends comfort. It lends the illusion of safety. We can even imagine we are warm. “At least I am not in the water right now.” “I have more ice then that guy.”

Stand up, walk off the ice. IT isn’t easy. IT isn’t safe. You will be called back. You will be taunted. You will be told of expectations and rules and limits. You will be told that the rules cant be changed for you. You will be exposed. Its lonely because few people are ready to trust, honor, share, believe in anything but the ice and the water. Few people will ever take this voyage. Most who do, return to the chipping, to the sitting. Most sit in the chair of discontent, waiting for the ice to break.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2017 in journey, life

 

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sure, but it will cost your soul

“Anger is like spending a piece of your soul,” he said.

I am fascinated with this idea. I have dabbled in the dark art of anger. I have seethed. I have had righteous anger. I have held grudges. I have had resentments. I have flipped people off, cussed people out, held it in, let it out. I dealt in anger like a peddler deals in trinkets. I had some for every occasion. I had so much I wasn’t even aware of some of it.

“So when I feel myself getting angry, I ask myself is it worth spending some of my soul?”

Brilliant. Seeing anger as harmful to ourselves, as costing part of our soul. I used it as a commodity for a long time. However, I felt like it was earning me respect, power, stature. I relished the opportunity to wield it like Conan or the Highlander. The anger hid my fear, my hurt, my pain. The anger protected me from being known. I saved it in my reservoir and would relive it , reuse it when I needed to protect myself. I had gotten to the point that all I had was anger in varying degrees.  Even my humor was sarcasm, or passive aggressive anger. I even had anger directed inward, or depression. It had eaten my soul. My soul looked like Swiss cheese. Hard winds of life would whistle as they blew around me. A haunting hollow sound followed me everywhere.

“When you are angry at yourself, does it cost extra soul?” I pondered

“Resentments are like eating rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.” I mused

“”How do you earn the spent soul back?” I asked out loud.

“Forgiveness”thDWQRVD9T

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2015 in journey, life

 

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change, change, change…change of fools

” I AM OK.” I scream at no one in particular. I don’t feel ok, and all I am doing is trying to convince myself. Somedays,  it works for awhile.

I don’t like being this way. I read an article recently that was talking how some people just don’t let themselves be happy. It suggested that they feel unworthy of good things happening and so they sabotage them. Or they dread being happy or content because it means something bad is going to happen. It has been a long time since I felt truly happy for any duration of time. Decades. Am I want of those people? Am I incapable of living in the world letting water flow off my duck like back?3523448240_77823295a9_b I have enjoyed many moments in my life. I have laughed. I have triumphed. I have loved and lost. I have failed and persevered. But, I cant seem to be content.

“I DONT WANT TO BE THIS WAY.” I screamed at no one in particular.

“change,” he whispered back.

“how?” I blubbered.

“Be and Do differently.”

There was a time that I just felt at ease. I drove a school bus for 18 months or so. One morning, the Sun was rising as I checked over the bus. The air was nippy, but not cold. I took a picture and sent it to my girlfriend at the time. It was only a fraction as beautiful as I think she is. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of contentment. I had no money, no real prospects at the time. The love of my life lived 500 miles away. But I was safe, I was warm, I was loved. It lasted all day. I relished the feeling and didn’t want it to ever go away. I held on too tight. It slithered through my fingers like squeezing play doh.squeezing-playdough I didn’t see that I was sabotaging myself and my happiness by being desperate. I lost it.

“It hurts.” I whispered.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2015 in 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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am I serious?

Today is my 48th birthday.

I am 8 1/2 years on the road of Happy Destiny.

I am 3 years out of a bad marriage.

I am 6 months into a “do-over” on my career and life.

I am about 3 days into the recognition that I take myself too seriously re-struck its disharmonious chord with me.

I have had a tumultuous few years and have had to start my life all over a few times before I could gain purchase. I even fell in love since the divorce, but was so panicked about loosing it, I lost it.

When I did a week at a counseling center in Arizona, the counselor suggested to me that I was way to serious and had lost touch with my inner child.  I had never been told I was too serious before. It was odd to me. I had lost my smile and the joy in little things. However, I thought I had been getting them back. I had moved and started teaching. I felt like I would be ok even though I was unsure how. This was one of the steps to get a license in Idaho and restart my medical career. Things were looking up. Serious? me? She thought so and suggested I go to Build a Bear and design my inner child.

“Ummm, really?”

“Yes, you need to get in touch with it and you aren’t.”

“I will, but I sort of think its stupid.”

“All the more reason why I think you should.”

Big T

I did. He rides around with me in my car. This is his, “Are you serious?” look.

Still I have been feeling lost and separated from myself for some time now. I am unsettled and lonely. I have gotten stuck in the quicksand of my past. I have screamed and hollered. I have begged and pleaded. I have not moved on. I couldn’t let go of what I knew for the unknown. I was scared of my life and of myself. I didn’t trust me or God. “You just have to know that God is protecting you, you are safe,” she said. “You will be ok,” my old life said.

I forgot to enjoy the present. I forgot to enjoy me in the present. I am not that miserable guy. I like to laugh. I enjoy to have fun and do silly things. I remembered in an unusual way. I set about the task of making my new house my new home. I was dismantling the shoddy shelving the previous owner built and was holding a jigsaw. I dropped it on my wrist and opened a gash in my arm. I stopped the bleeding and started looking for a needle and thread to sew it up. At one point, I looked at the wound and felt faint. I had to lay down. As I regained my composure, I giggled that I was thinking of suturing myself and I cant even look at it without feeling lightheaded. I called a friend to take me to ER, but said to wait about 5 minutes, so I could eat a sandwich. She giggled and said, “Are you serious?” I took pictures of the wound and posted it on Facebook so all could guess on number of sutures. I had fun in the ER, actually.

When I got home, I was going to hang those tennis balls to know how far to pull into the garage. I didn’t have any, but I did have all these Snoopy toys that I couldn’t figure out where I wanted them to go.  So…

snoopy chain

I giggle each time my windshield taps these.  You will notice that I also hung my old kitchen lights in the garage to spruce it up.

I was feeling lighter somehow. I felt like I recognized me. I had begun to trust that I would be ok. I recognized my perseverance. I recognize my character. I felt hope. On Sunday, in the education hour, we talked about Romans 5:3 and Romans 8:28. “From suffering comes perseverance, from perseverance, character, and from character, hope.” I was comforted and felt the hope. So I went to the mall and rode a motorized dog (it looks suspiciously like my inner child, Big T says).

dog ride

I am serious about hope. I am serious about life. I am serious about God. I am serious about hoping to have fun with my life and with my God.

Wanna race?

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2015 in faith, journey, life

 

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scourge

“How do I get over her?”

“You just do. You allow yourself to feel the feelings. You recognize the good things and the less good things. You look at what you have learned and how you have grown. You don’t ignore it or rush it. You live through it and into it. You may never really be fully over her, but you will always be able to let go of the pain, someday.”

“Part of me doesn’t want to let go of the pain, its all I have left of her. We don’t talk, I don’t see her, and she has moved on.”

“Another emotion you will have to live through.”

“I really screwed it up. I let go of her. I was afraid and needed to prove myself unworthy, I guess. I have fed into the idea that if I reject myself or if I run away, then I wont be as hurt. It was self-sabotage and now I just ache to hear her voice, see her face, watch her blow kisses at the moon and birds.”

“Sounds like you did mess it up, now ask yourself, “Why?””

“I was afraid. It wasn’t perfect and I was scared. I was moving away and knew I’d be isolated and lonely. I thought I wasn’t good enough to want to move with, so I pushed away so I didn’t have to feel the pain of her saying she didn’t want to be with me. I knew she needed to stay and I knew I needed to go.”

“Sounds like it was a choice. There isn’t a right or wrong, just different kinds of pain.”

“I don’t know how to live into this. I am an escape artist. I hid behind beer for 20 years, and calmed my rejection feelings with flirting and pseudo-connections with women. How do people do this?”

“You just do. You allow yourself to feel the feelings. You recognize the good things and the less good things. You look at what you have learned and how you have grown. You don’t ignore it or rush it. You live through it and into it..”

“I heard that somewhere before.”

Transistion and growth is always difficult. I am in a Saturday experience and I feel very lost and alone. I have often spoke of how I think all events in our lives are akin to the Easter weekend. We are going along in our life, either trusting God or pleasing God. If we trust God, we are living that out in our daily life, leaning when things are good or bad. Exploring and growing in relationship. If we are pleasing God, we are faking it. We are doing the right things, saying the right things, looking good, but there is no depth to the relationship. Then our metaphorical Friday hits. It is a life changing event: it can be good or bad, big or small. It is just something that changes us. We have to die to who we were. It is the child birth, the divorce, the job change, the move, the lottery winner, the missed flight. After Friday, we are place in a tomb. That tomb is the time of change. It is the process of leaving who you were and becoming who you will be. I like the image of Jesus sitting in the tomb, considering his wounds, lamenting and forgiving Judas, smiling at Peter, sore and healing. If we have been pleasing God, we end up asking, “Why me?” We delay our own healing. We cant see God with us, even in the darkness. If we trust God, we aren’t alone in the tomb. We can heal and grow. It is only through trusting we get to be resurrected as something new, rather than resuscitated back into our misery.

I didn’t trust God. I wanted to. I even thought I was. I was self seeking. I was willing to give up on myself and my journey to not have to go to the tomb. I was afraid of the cross. I was afraid of the scourging, so I ran. I hid. I gave up on something wonderful, on someone wonderful, in order to not be hurt. It took me quite awhile to get to where I saw I didn’t trust God. I have know been scourged with the chains or despair and loneliness. I have been nailed with the reality of my situation. I have been hung to die. I was carried to the tomb and buried. I am in a Saturday. Sundays coming!

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2015 in divorce, faith, journey, life

 

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walk with purpose

Please don’t say another word.

I don’t want to hear it.

I can’t, I won’t, I shant.

Please listen to my heart.

Please see me.

I can’t, He can, I think I will let Him.

Growth. Learning.

Pain. Love. Wrestling with God.

Terror. Bewilderment. Fear. Despair.

Didn’t know how. Didn’t learn fast enough. Hip hurts.

Please let me see me.

Please let me hear my heart.

Learning, Growth. healing.

Trudge on!

Thus begins a long period of reconstruction. Not mine to do, but His. Mine is to take one more step over and over again.

Walk with purpose. The purpose of being the Best Version of Myself and to keep learning, growing to that end, which has no end.

Walk with me, shoulder to shoulder. watch the birds, the sun and moon. Soft kiss, holding hands.

Loving. Growth. healing. Partnering.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2015 in journey

 

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growth, and worry not

Stretched my mind a bit. I was pondering the belief that there are infinite realities. If every decision we make has only 2 choices (usually there isn’t just 2 choices, but follow me here), then each time our realities would exponentially increase. The decision I make today has 2 choices today, but each of the choices I made 2 minutes ago would also have the same choice right now, thus increasing my realities 4 fold etc. It gets big quick.  Then if my decision now is eliminate by the alternative decision a few minutes ago, then that choice would have its own decisions to make. It is a little mind boggling.

I have been told, “Abandon all hope of a better past.” I have been reminded of it often, as I tend to get stuck in the past wishing I had made a different decision. Or imagining what my life would have been if I chose differently. I wonder if I had not gone to Starbucks the morning my life blew up what it would look like now. I would still be in a loveless marriage, beating myself up over my inability to ask for my needs to be met. I would have continued to lose myself and stunt my growth process. I would still be hiding. However, I would be with my kids, in a town I really enjoyed. I would be nearer to family. I wouldn’t have been through a few years of shame.

I got started on this imagination tour thinking about past relationships. I have gotten to the point that although I would never have chosen the course of how our marriage ended, I am thankful it did. I am not thankful for the pain I caused. However, I am learning to forgive myself for it.

I think about the “what ifs” with the relationships I had since then. There was a period of time that I was thinking I was trying to date, when really I was just looking for companionship. I was aloof and not emotionally connected. I wanted to be saved and to be loved, but I wasn’t ready to be honest and clear in my goals and direction. I thought about some of those. There was one woman who was a hair dresser. She was funny, smart, and very good looking. I really liked her and there could have been something between us. I was in a cycle of dating many women at the same time and after leaving her favorite flowers for her at work, I got back onto a dating site, where she had set up a false profile and felt that getting on and flirting was inappropriate. I wonder if I had been able to be honest with my feeling towards her what would have happened. It would have ended when I started teaching for sure. And I would not have been able to have my first long term relationship as a newly single man.

I knew I would fall in love with her the second I met her 28 years ago. I knew it would be soon the minute I heard she was going to get divorced. I knew it might make me “transistion boy” to date her right after the divorce, but I feared not getting to be with her if I waited. We dated and I learned so much about myself. I learned I feared and craved intimacy. I learned of my shame cycle and drama triangle. I learned I am loveable for me, faults and all. I learned that I can love. I learned that I am a good guy who has made bad mistakes. I learned to trust and lean. Unfortunately, I also learned that I can lean so hard that I slide into the victim role. I learned that my fear self-sabotages me and hurts others. I learned that loss when there is still love hurts much more.

I imagined what it would have been like if either of us had been more secure in our post divorce self. I wondered what it would have been like if I knew my intimacy craving and needs before we dated. I wonder what it would have been like if I was able to express how afraid of loving as strongly as I did. I wonder if I was more relationship able what would have happened. What if I was more secure, more knowledgeable, more loving, more ready  etc etc? I wasn’t and now we are not.

The difference in me? I am focusing on the good. I remember the times I felt free to be myself and loved for that. I remember the fun and laughter. I remember the feeling of physical intimacy engulfed with emotional connection and love. I also try not to over romanticize it and remember some of the difficulties. At the time, I felt like spiritual journey needed to be the same or it would cause friction. I understand now that it is in the different journeys we learn our own. The idea is not understanding or same, but respect and growth. I also felt like I needed to break up with her when I moved out of state. I was worried about being lonely and isolated. I forgot how simply talking to her on the phone or an occasional text makes my heart soar. I thought I needed her to solve my problems. I became the victim, whining about the horrendous things I had been through. I forgot to share and rejoice at the moment of being with the woman I truly, deeply love. Fear strangled me again. Worry.  There is another definition of worry. It is when a larger dog grabs ahold of another dog by the neck, teeth bared, and hold it against the ground. It bites and waits for the other dog to submit. When I worry, I let life circumstances hold me to the ground by my neck. I feel the fear teeth, the panic teeth breech my skin. I fight and the bite gets firmer. I forget to accept life on lifes terms and submit. In my futile wimpering, I lose out on being free. I trap myself by my own worry.

As I submit this time to the life circumstances, I am accepting the lessons learned. I am a better person now than I was even yesterday. I am preparing myself for me. I want to soar. I am hoping not to change the past, but to rejoice from it and live more fully into today with the lessons learned.

I love.

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2015 in journey, life

 

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shatter

My muscles ache.
My heart beats too hard, too fast.
My eyes are strained.
My head spins.
I hurt.

I am a child and I am growing. As I grow, my bones cry out, my muscles scream. I try to drink more water, eat better.  I try tylenol or ibuprofen. I take hot baths. Still my bones moan, my muscles strain. I dream and long to be ‘Big’, but the growth hurts. It is agonizing waiting, and it is agonizing not waiting. I am searching for who I am and how I fit in. There really isn’t a concrete answer, but it is all I will settle for. My head screams, my heart moans.
My muscles ache.
My heart beats too hard, too fast.
My eyes are strained.
My head spins.
I hurt.

I am a beloved child of Christ and I am growing. As I grow my soul cries, and my heart screams. I try and drink in Salvation, eat up Grace. Still, my soul bellows, and my heart thunders. I am searching for me and how I fit into God’s plan. There isn’t just one concrete answer, but I won’t settle for less than that. My heart moans, and my head screams. I want to draw closer and I am afraid to do so. I want to be used in the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth, but I fear I am sitting in a whale. It is agonizing.

My tears fall and I am held.
My heart nutured.
My thoughts quieted.
I hold onto the God around me ferociously.
My heart slows, my eyes relax.
The scales fall from my eyes as I murmur, “Help me.”

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2013 in faith, journey

 

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