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hmm

“I’m scared.”

“Of What?”

“Everything”

I was pondering this morning on how often I have had this conversation with God and with everyone I have gotten close to or paid to listen to me. I never really thought of myself as a coward, but each time I have that conversation, I flash on all the times I felt fear.  I was 11 or 12. There were a set of twine, boy and girl, that lived down the street. The girl, Carla, pushed my younger sister down and I stood up for her. I pushed Carla. Well, now Andy wanted to fight me. I was not much of a fighter. I was in shape, because round is a shape. I ran in my house and hid. My Dad came home and I explained my plight because he wanted to know why 10 kids were standing outside calling me a chicken and making clucking noises. He told me I don’t have to go out there, but if I did, he would never call me coward again. That sounded good at the time. Years later, I would realize he never called me that and I don’t think I ever heard him use that word before or after. I did fight Andy and both of us would claim victory.

My fears have varied over the years. I have always been afraid of physical confrontation. I quit karate because we were going to have to hit each other. I was 40. I am not weak and could probably do pretty well in a fight. I don’t run and hide, but am adept at defusing a situation now.

I fear rejection. I fear isolation. I fear fear. I fear being lonely. I fear being a failure. I fear not being liked. I fear not being loved or loveable. I fear loss. I fear pain.

Today was a fear laden morning. I feel rejected on many fronts, but most tangible in my consciousness is my ex girlfriend and my daughters. Two very different situations and yet very similar fears. I miss all of them so much. I think I set myself up to feel this pain. I say it that way to make myself feel better. I know I did. I don’t know why except that the fear list paralyzes me. With my kids, I hurt their mother and ended up leaving the home, destroying the dream life and family. They were very confused and angry and decided to stop all communication with me. I failed their expectations as a father. I felt rejected, isolated, unloved and unloveable. I hurt.  I am getting more able to cope with that pain.  The realization that instead of feeling the emotions, I slid into suffering them, helped me dramatically.  Somedays, I do very well. Today is not one of those days.

I am meeting my fear with perseverance. I am learning to trust myself in the face of adversity. I am letting myself be aware of the fears and stepping up to the plate. I am learning to love me first.

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Posted by on April 16, 2015 in journey, life

 

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LET GO

“Dating is like crossing the monkey bars, don’t let go of one until you have grasp on another.” I was told this by another prepubescent boy in 5th grade. It made sense to me. I had just been dumped by Sharla and was feeling crushed. We had “gone out” for almost 3 days, a record in my short dating career. We were meant to be forever, or so said the scrawlings on my notebook. And when I tallied the letters in our names as they added up to the letters in True Love, it was supposed to be inevitable we would be together. Now three days later, I was picking up the broken pieces of my heart.

I was never all that good at dating. I was a bit chubby, had low self esteem, and didn’t like all the things the jocks (who seemed to have all the girls attention) liked. I repeated the “Sharla cycle” frequently through my adolescence. I rarely, if ever, dumped someone, I was always the dumpie. That isn’t meant to be a pity thing, looking back, I would have dumped me too. I was needy and fake. I tried to be whatever the girl seemed to want. I was in love instantly. However, I was so worried about being dumped, I couldn’t talk to them. It is tough to “be going out” and never say hello. I had a chance in 6th grade. In a moment of incredible courage, I asked Kristi to the dance. She was new at the school and was (and still is) one of the most beautiful people I knew. We got to the dance and the macho guys met her and I felt about 2 inches tall. I slunk away.

I continued this trend into college. I started to date and hold back my feelings, or decided beer seemed to be the ticket. It seemed to work. I fell in love still. I got hurt. But I just ignored the feeling or drank them away. I didn’t seem to be able to perfect the aloof. I couldn’t be totally detached. I would want to be, even pretend to be, but it still seemed to result in pain. I used to wish I could just be the Fonz, and drift from woman to woman. But I would get over attached and needy. I believed the lie of someone completing me or needing someone else. So, I kept loosing more of myself and feeling more and more empty and panicky with lost loves. My 5th grade playground profit echoed in my head. I started to serial date. It was rare that I was without someone. I never allowed for healing. I never allowed for growth. I didn’t break up with dates, I just sabotaged the relationship or became less attentive until they broke up with me. It allowed me to not have to be honest and to play the victim role and feel sorry for myself. It was the beginning of my self victimization role play.

In medical school, I met a wonderful woman. I still faked who I was and tried to be what she wanted. I changed my religion, I didn’t have sex with her, I drank less, and changed my friends. I even stopped being so judgmental, well I stopped talking about it out loud. I would marry her. A few days before I proposed, I tried to flirt with my resident. I told myself that if she wanted to date me then it was God telling me this wasn’t the right move for me. She didn’t and so I asked to be married. I was still in the mode of not letting go of the cold steel bar and kept flirting with other women. I even asked one to a movie. I was still wearing my wedding ring when we went out. She figured it out and ended the date early. I had a one night stand in our first year of marriage. I told my wife about it, half thinking and hoping she would ask for a divorce. She didn’t and we did counseling once or twice. I recommitted to the relationship and flirted continuously with other women, explaining that I was just outgoing and nice. I see now it was “coat checking” the next Monkey Bar, just in case. I am disappointed that was me at the time. I have forgiven myself for the craving for intimacy. I wanted it, feared it, and didn’t know how to do it or get it.

As the need resurfaced when I stopped hiding behind alcohol, I was more frustrated at not knowing how to do it. I felt desperate and more lonely than I had ever felt before. I felt lonely and isolated in my marriage even when we were right next to each other. I tried to fix it. I remember the day that my ex wife told me that she didn’t feel intimate to me anymore. We had just returned from a marriage retreat weekend. In hindsight, I panicked like I had done as a 5th grader. I went into full “Sharla mode”. She repeated it a few years later and I reacted by trying to find another monkey bar. It was weak and panicky. I know it was dishonest and creepy. I wish I could take it back, but I cant. All I can do is tell that scared, lonely boy, “Thank You for doing the best you could do.” I tell mid-schooler, “You are good enough and thank you for doing the best you could do.” I tell me as a high schooler and a college student, “Thank you for doing the best you could do with the tools and knowledge you had.” I tell myself that I did the best I could do, I made mistakes and caused pain. But I have addressed myself honestly and compassionately. I accept me. I am intimate with myself. I love me right where I am, but too much to leave me here.

I will learn. I will grow. I will accept. I will communicate I will love. I will be accepted.  I will be loved.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2015 in divorce, 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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intimacy burn

I am an intimacy addict, I think. As I trudged through this time in my life, I have been treated to some introspection. I believe we all have a God Spark. I think we are all given a Spark that set the foundation of who we are. IT is warm and attractive. It glows and seeks to unite with other Sparks. Its job and function is to relate to others, ourselves, and God. As soon as we are able, we start to hide it. IT makes us feel vulnerable to have it exposed. People seek to extinguish it. It is fragile, but real and so we protect it. WE hide it under Shame. We bury it under Hurt. We choke it with Fear. WE escape it with addiction.

I had lost my God Spark. It wasn’t ever out, it cant be, but I couldn’t see it. I didn’t think it existed. I had hid it so well, escaped it so thoroughly, lied about it so completely, I didn’t recognize it anymore. And since it didn’t match what I had lied about, I didn’t respect it when I saw it.

However, the Spark was there, clamoring to relate. It wanted interaction with its true self. I lied about what it was and sought interaction. I wanted intimacy and affection, but had no idea how to get it. MY ex-wife had learned to relate to my mask with her own mask. When I tried to take mine off, I broke the rules of our interaction and the rest is history. I texted women outside my marriage. I rationalized hat it wasn’t physical, but it was still cheating. I have no real excuse except for I just wanted my Spark to feel warm again and I hadn’t learned that I was actively trying to snuff it out by holding onto my Shame and Fear. I had been working on my escapism and didn’t have that defense mechanism anymore, and so was left confronting my heart and soul and mind. I found them freezing to death for lack of the Spark.

I pray for connection. I work on intimacy issues. I avoid addictive relationships. I am learning to be intimate with myself and to really love myself completely. I am up to a strong like.

My prayers were answered in a very different way recently.
I saw what it feels like to learn that someone you love is working on affection to another person. I needed to know how that seems to lessen the honesty of my words.
I felt the pain of knowing that I might not be the last good night or the first good morning. I needed to know that connection to a loose wire is difficult and exhausting.
I understood that I am not more wonderful, but just as wonderful. I need to remind myself that I am not too big or too small. I am just me. We all have a God Spark and mine is one just like everyone else, but also wholly different.
I felt the loss of deep intimacy for a lesser version. Not any less real, but less central to my core. I needed to know that connection is a life force. It is who we are and who we are meant to be. The connection is more important to protect and honor and respect. I needed to know to give it away delicately and with purpose.
I learned I am not special and that I am special. I am not the end all be all, but I am uniquely myself. When I uncover that Spark, I connect very well. I delight in me and in the Spark I share space, time, and warmth with.

I hurt and I am lonely. I am growing. Melt me, Mold me sounds painful, but wait until you experience it. I am tired. I am lost. I have learned a multitude of lessons in the last few years. I am being prepared for something wonderful, I hope. I wont let myself get stuck in a mask tete a tete again. I seek intimacy…true intimacy. With me, With God, and with another.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2015 in journey

 

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in a maze and a haze

I saw “Maze Runners” recently. It was an ok movie, but it really got me thinking. In the movie, several guys are trapped in a park in the middle of the maze. They have created a society within the maze and have been mapping out the maze for several years. A select few are chosen to be maze runners. The trick is that the maze changes every night, amidst horrifying noises. Near the end of the movie, we discover they have mapped out the entire maze and its various changes. They think they have discovered there is no way out of the maze, but have made the decision not to tell the others for fear of stealing hope.

It hit me this weekend, the movie is an allegory for my life. I was placed in the middle of a maze. Periodically, I add new facets to who I am. Together we have made a society. I have the runners, the enforcers, the scared boys. I have boys that rail against the system and ones who meekly keep working. There are boys who seek the bigger answer and those that are content to trudge along. In the movie, and in my heart, there is a time that a new facet arrives. He is different. He thins different, he is inspired by some different knowledge of a greater force. He resolves to figure a different solution.

However, before that. I imagine when there was just one person, who even a few. The decision to venture into the shifting maze would have been a tough one. In the movie, at night creatures arrive at nightfall as the entrance to the maze closes. Occasionally, someone is exiled to the maze at dark or gets trapped there. I imagine being the first one to be caught there. The darkness falls and the noises continue. You see the creature and run. Dead-ends and moving walls make it harder to hide. The terror and bewilderment begin to close in and panic ensues. I have felt like that rat, ramming my head against a wall again and again. I was afraid and confused. I was separated from any potential goal and just trying to survive. The creatures claimed part of me that night too.

I have felt like the boy consigned to be a hanger-on. I never ventured into the maze, figuring I deserved the isolation and disorientation. I pretended it was all going to be just fine living inside. I ached for the outside despite not remembering what it was.

I have been the warrior, bound by the rules. I held strict guidelines, never to be broken. I did the right things, said the right things. More to protect me from myself than the outside world. I wouldn’t leave the maze either, unless to enforce some rules.

I have been the maze runners. I see the changes. As I think I figure out my maze, my consciousness, it changes. As soon as I know a turn or twist, it morphs into something else. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out who I was. As I captured it, it changed. Walls and barriers shifted. Heart delighted, and heart defeated. Running from the creatures of the night, feeling brave and triumphant during the day. I was as confused then as any other time.

I have been the new person, unconcerned with the shift. Seeing the maze as one overall picture, rather than pieces to be explored. I confronted and defeated the creature. I used that experience to forge ahead and develop a plan. I returned to myself and took the braver parts with me. I found a way out of them maze.

Like a rat picked up from the cheese, I longed at times to return to the familiar. The force lifted me above the maze and I could see what it was. I was not to be in the maze. It isn’t the plan for me. It was a self created barrier. I thought it kept me safe from the world, but it was my prison. The creatures, the shifting walls, I designed to keep others out. I saw it now, and I thought I was free.

Another force announced there would be another test. I have more to learn, more to face, more to love.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2014 in journey, life

 

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over it?

I thought I was over it.

I really did. I felt over it. I vocalized the right things. I said I was better off. I knew I couldn’t go back.

I thought I was over it.

I have been reading “Parents are Forever.” I was reading to help improve communication with my ex-wife. In the back of my mind, I really wanted her to just realize how bad the parental alienation is and to stop it. IT backfired a little. I saw some of the stuff I have been doing to stunt my own healing. I have reached out with memories of good times. I have picked fights. I have threatened lawsuits, subtly. I have felt rejected and humiliated. I reacted by fighting back ad retaliating instead of understanding and responding.

The book talks about the stages of grief. I have gotten stuck in bargaining and then depression. I was angry for awhile, but it honestly didn’t make me feel good. My ex is stuck in anger. (oops, that’s mindreading…it appears she is stuck in anger). However, the holding on to memories. The seething at her anger. The reaction instead of responding. Letting her control my emotions and set the tone with my relationship with the girls has held me down from healing.

I am not over it. I ache for my children. I really want to be with them and to be “Dad” again. I have done everything I could. It is time for me to reach acceptance in that relationship as well. They have made a choice I cant change. All I can be is who I am. All I can do is love them the best I can. Maybe, someday, they will come back. If not, I am still me. and I still have to live.

I am not over it. I need to let go of my ex. I need to know that her anger is hers to deal with. I need to lead a separate life in the healthiest way I can. I need to claim my mistakes, name my defects of character, and move on. Yes, it is scary. Yes, I need to do it alone. Yes, God will guide me.

I am not over it…but I will be

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2014 in divorce

 

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