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my daughters, I love you

I stood on the mountain top again. I climbed to the top of the world and looked around a bit. The air is brisk and thin up here. There is a bitter wind that seems to leap frog up my spine. The view is breathtaking, but I muse that there isn’t much breath to be taking at this moment. I have already spent the time holding up my fists like a Rocky statue. I have yelled to hear the echo reminding me I am alive and alone. I sit in the crossed leg position and ponder life. I feel like the guru that is rumored to be at the top of the mountain. I sit and consider. I am not considering anything in particular, just musing. I am alive, alone, and have a leaped frog spine as I sit on the mountain top at the top of the world.

I have laughed and celebrated. Suddenly, I feel myself begin to weep. I am not sure where it is coming from and I know this is not a good oxygen choice. I can’t stop. I feel the pain of my daughters. I can feel their hurts and hearts. It screeches like a carrion bird, tearing at my soul. I want to fix it and to protect them, despite how they hold me away. I weep, my heart weeps, my soul weeps. If I had a guitar, it would gently be weeping as well.

I stop weeping and feel emotions from loved ones and loved ones lost creeping up my spine to be leap frogged by the wind. The emotions are bitter and run the gambit. They are foreign only in they aren’t mine. I have had similar feelings, but felt them as I feel them. Now I see these like the recognition of a childhood school mate decades later, familiar and foreign all at once. I am annoyed and embarrassed that I cant screen these out like I usually can. The thin air, the time alone, the wind chill has exhausted my defense and the emotions slither in. I’ve felt them before from these same sources. To be confronted with them again is painful. It is also a relief. It is a reminder I am alive, I am open, I am connected. More importantly, it reminds me that I love.

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Posted by on January 26, 2017 in children, life, Uncategorized

 

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Wonder Wheel

It starts like any other day. The first alarm goes off and I swipe my phone to silence it. I am not sure why I have this alarm set anymore. I started with it thinking I could get up early and go to the gym on the way to work. It sounded like a great idea when the light started at 430 am. I am in North Idaho and, in the summer, the days are very long.  It has become painfully obvious, it is not like that in the winter. However, the alarm taunts me. I must enjoy the teasing because I don’t cancel it. However, there is something very rewarding about getting to go back to sleep and feeling like you stole an hour. I struggle out of bed. I have fleece sheets and this miracle blanket from Bed, Bath and Beyond. It is fantastic, but glues me to the bed every morning. There is a cost: benefit ratio I have to accept every time I go to bed. I have chosen wisely. Once out of the vortex of comfort, I spin the mood wheel. My mood wheel is somewhat like the wheel of fortune wheel. It clicks away with various moods and attitudes on it. The mood spins and I imagine the crowd going crazy. I stand there and think about trying to accept Drew Carey as a substitute for Bob Barker and how unlikely a succession that was.  wheel

Drew then says, ” ok you have landed on 25% sour. Do you want to stay with that or spin again?  If you go over a dollar, you will feel totally overwhelmed all day long, an emotional basket case.  I feel a need to remind you of last Tuesday.” I am eager to not feel sour today, even 30% sour. I am looking for an attitude adjustment, a mood lift. I spin again. The crowd groans as they were rooting for a sour day. “Misery loves company, ” Drew murmurs. anguish

The wheel clicks ferociously and slows to a crawl. It is maddening to hear. The anticipation is thrilling and torturous. The crowd noise swells and dims as various emotions and attitudes flit by. It reaches a fever pitch as vengeful crests the top of the wheel. I gulp, 100% vengeful and 30% sour, I will be pissed and overwhelmed. I begin to worry as worry appears on the wheel. It is a worn out square, grooved from the frequency of the wheel stopping there. I let out an exasperated sigh as I thought I had finished with worry. Close behind worry was resentful. The crushing reality that my sour mood could lead to resentment and consume me into vengence and disquieted plagued my thoughts. I could feel the emotions as they clicked by. They choked me and overwhelm me. Each one I lamented and reflected. It was as if each square illuminated on my soul. It clawed at me. The wheel slowed to a stop. I couldn’t bring myself to look up. I feared the results. I shuddered to think I was doomed to boring and glum at best, and engulfed in anger at its worst. Drew said I should see this. He stammered. I looked up. Slowly. I read the square and read it again. I blinked away the tears. My breath quickened as my heart pounded.

The square said, “Free to choose.” And the wheel vanished. free

 

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2017 in journey, life, Uncategorized

 

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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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Zelda meets the boy

zelda and meZelda the Wonderbus is magical. I knew it as soon as they unloaded her from the trailer. There was something special about her. I imagined adventures rivaled only by Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I jumped in and wheeled around the block. I got a few honks and waved proudly. The horn didnt work or I would have tooted gleefully. It was a few days later that I found out my brake lights and turn signals didnt work and decided the honkers were not waving at me like I thought. I had that fixed and got to work. I put in a laminated wood floor. I stained the cabinets and got new hinges for her. I put in a sound system. I bought seat covers. I sewed a new screen on her tent. We bonded. I think she cherished our time together. She always starts and she garnishes grins everywhere we go. She is even playful, once popping out of gear as I wrestled with the netting. She just wanted to be close to me as I had to scramble to the front to apply the brakes. Zany Zelda.

I have been in a quandry as of late. I find my self romanticizing the past and dwelling on love lost. I have oscillated between feeling like I should live out an 80’s movie and hold up a boom box or some other grand gesture or dive into self remorse and flagellation. I have been doing counseling and trying to learn about myself and why I function like this. It hasnt been easy. What I have found is that I have been unable to really relate to people my whole life. I have not been good at forming attachments or relationships. I, immediately, go to the needy stage and live only as others see me. I had no true self.

My long term relationship worked because she was all too happy to feed me an identity. After I got sober and started to come alive, it disturbed her. She withdrew and I panicked. I did not know myself and I did not know how to be in a relationship. However, I was tired of being dead and couldnt go back again. It crumbled and neither of us knew how to deal with it as evidenced by how nasty it became.

I spend some time trying to understand. I stood strong with my daughters and against some of the slings and arrows. I didnt crumble. I got knocked down a lot and always got back up. Things kept getting worse. I kept soberly moving forward. It started to brighten when I reconnected with an old friend of mine. We dated on and off for about a year. Looking back, I wasnt ready. I still had no idea how to be in a relationship. I had no idea how to love. What needed to start from the inside wasnt there. I quickly saw myself only as she saw me. I wanted to be that guy and was willing to try and be so. When I fell short, I would run away. It became too painful for either of us. However, I still cherish the time we spent together. I did better in that relationship than I had ever done before.zelda with seven

Zelda and I went camping this weekend. She is spruced up and full of style. We decided to stay close but go somewhere I hadnt been before. I have been really pondering who I am and how I fit into this crazy world and taking a break from that would be awesome. Zelda is magical. Not in the fortune telling way like the machine in, “Big”. Or in the fantasy way like in the video game way. She is magical as she just wanted to be with me. She trudged her way up the hill at 60-65 mph (impossible many VW owners say). We found an unoccupied free camping site right next to a stream. We parked and I set up the site. Really, I unfolded the bed and put my memory foam topper on it. I sat with her and read. I listen to her sounds. She listen to me breath. I will neither confirm nor deny that I spent some time talking with her. The magic part is that she allowed me to see what had happened to me and what was happening now. She opened my eyes to the fact that I had isolated all over again. I was afraid. I have ben afraid since I was a kid. I am afraid that someone will tease me. I am afraid that I wont be liked. I am afraid I will be called a coward. I am afraid that I am “less than.” When the bottom fell out of my life, I didnt have to be afraid anymore. I knew that I could survive and be ok with next to nothing. As friends, collegues, family turned their back on me, I saw the truth of who was left. As I scrambled financially, I saw the truth of wants versus needs. As I felt unforgiven and judged by the church universal, I say the loving and forgiving Grace of God. I felt the comfort of Abba. What Zelda showed me is that I am afraid again. I moved to an unfamiliar state, took a different job, left a love interest, set up house in a place 8 hours from anyone I knew. I went to meetings that have a different style and felt wrong. I agreed to restrictions I found silly and misdirected. I was over my head, alone, and without defenses. I was scared. I didnt think I was. I had fought hard to get here. I figured I would just keep fighting. The meetings got wierder, the job prospects unsteady. I wanted to go back to where I was before. I needed someone to tell me who I was and that I would be ok. I was addicted to avoiding my inner self, my true self. Zelda showed me. Under the fear, behind the locked door of my heart, hidden in the corner is that scared boy. He wants to relate. He wants to love. He wants to not be afraid. His arms are outstretched. I hugged that boy this weekend. I told him he was very brave for trying so hard. He was very smart for figuring out a way to get his needs met for so long. He is “just enough.”

Zelda started right up when I headed home.zelda front

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2015 in journey, life

 

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Boris, Natasha– you un-rock

I needed to warn you about my last post. You see, apparently when you acknowledge the swirling spectors around you, it is the same as welcoming them in. Let me tell you how I discovered this. I decided to go on a bike ride after that post. I love to ride and consider it a meditation. I delight in the fatigue of my muscles, the pounding of my heart and the quickening of my breathing. I loaded up my bike and headed to the trailhead.  I am listening to a CD describing Buddhist meditation and mindfulness. The author spoke of recognizing your breathing. I had already been thinking how breath and spirit come from the same word, Ruah, which means wind. I thought of the swirling wind around me and saw it as breath. The exercise was to breath in naming a loved one and breath out asking for peace for them. I started with the name foremost on my mind, my ex girlfriend. I went through names, acknowledging them, their peace, and my own emotion.

Do you remember the Rocky and Bullwinkle show? In with the bad air, out with the good? Natasha and Boris didn’t really have it backwards as the voice over suggested. The opposite is obviously the goal, but it doesn’t always happen like that. The deep breath we take at pivotal moments in our life can cause two different reactions. It can suck in the distasteful and painful or it can begin the healing. The spirit of memory isn’t good or bad, it is how we react.

As I rode my bike, I pedaled as hard as I could. It is very hot here today. I was tired and sweaty. I am also afraid of snakes and had my attention on the brush, hoping I wouldn’t get bit. That isn’t completely true, I spent some time thinking about what I would do if I got bit. I imagined telling those in my life that I loved them. I imagined the hospital. I even imagined that the shock of me being near death would awaken the love from my daughters and ex-girlfriend. Part of me wanted it to happen just so I could be reunited with them. As you can tell, my mind wonders quite a bit when I ride. My breath quickened, heart pounded, and body sweat. I imagined the wind moving in and through me. I have been consumed with memories and regrets as of late. I am practicing acknowledging them and letting them go. I think that sometimes we let the ghosts in and then try and wrestle them or forcibly kick them out. It remind me of an internal greased pig capture. You cant hold on to it and it just runs faster as you chase it. When you are exhausted, you have spent all your energy and time and resources chasing the uncaptureable. I was imagining breathing in the spector and then letting it flow out. The problem in my ever-wondering mind, was that I thought since I was going so fast, breathing so hard, that I was catching up with my expelled breath. Self torment seems to be a hobby of mine.

I breath in and breath out. I try not to label the memories as good or bad. They just are. I let them in and let them out. Sometimes I imagine that I am Boris and Natasha, self sabotaging my breathing. I remind myself to just breath. I opened myself to the wind, and the wind infused. Not sure I was prepared for this. Breath  Sure hope this works.

 

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2015 in journey

 

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so, how long you been dead

I was the dead person the little boy saw. It was a long day, being dead and all. I wasn’t certain that I was dead at first. That made for some awkward moments. You may not know this, but when you are dead the living are not so polite to you. Its really criminal. I have started a petition for the equitable treatment for the living impaired, but that’s a different blog. My first encounter with this was with my ex-wife. Apparently, once you are among the soul less individuals, treating people as people is no longer required. The first step to separate yourself from the recently dead is to send an email to everyone you have ever had contact with. What you need to do is taunt the newly dead and point out all the things that have strangled the life out of the departed. IT is like a game. If you overshoot the victim role, you end up squarely in the perpetrator role. Its the balance beam of subterfuge. The next step is to turn to the family. This is a much more delicate operation. There is more history with the relatives. They understand that the loved one was once living and , in the living, had some very alive moments and some near dead moments. The way to circumnavigate this is to isolate them. You make sure there is no contact with the dead. Changing the locks and having the loved ones refer to the dead by a foreign name helps. Don’t worry about your own soul or about being honest, the dead aren’t welcome in courts and if you slid yourself into the victim role, the departed are now the perpetrator. Make sure that you are caustic and over dramatic each time you interact with the dead. You must keep up appearances at all waking moments.

The second experience was with a woman I dated.  I still had not recognized I was dead and was actually feeling much better.  Maybe I was only mostly dead. I enjoyed a new living with her. I loved very deeply. We played. We laughed. We cried. It was like nothing I had ever experienced in my former life. It scared the living shit out of me. A few months into the relationship, I started to feel my spector self. I recognized my death through counseling and some new friends I had made. The stink of death had not completely left me. I wanted to address it, but it is overwhelming. The spector weaved in and out of my new life. The taunts and humiliation of the past weaved through my being. I tried to talk about it, to address it. The living don’t want to hear from the dead. She pulled away and I panicked. I tried to re-engage in life and living. I feared the return of death. I died all over again. I didn’t like being dead, but I had not figured out how to be alive completely. I have only now recognized my re-death and progressed to live again. However, I am dead to her.

The fascinating thing I learned while dead is that our memories and unresolved traumas stay as ghosts. They are like the wind. The swirl around the living, blocking them from connection with the other living. IF the dark memories, traumas, and insecurities aren’t dealt with, they grow and multiply. The swirling becomes violent. They are isolated from the next step, the light of the world. The living cant see them. They grow slowly enough that the choking is subtle. You grow accustomed to it. The living wonder through a half existence in the midst of a swirl, a dermish. At variable intervals, part of the swirl dives into the corporeal. The ephereal infuses the body and mind. It taints and taunts. The dark diminishes the light. It confuses. IT misdirects. For my new life, it cost me love. IT always costs the price of the moment. IT seems real. It seems like a tangible force. IT feels like being hit by a truck. When it leaves the body, the ghost droppings remain. It stinks up the living. It has to be found and cleaned. Sometimes, the recently departed become part of the swirl. The pain and hurt and other emotions that accompany the memories are darker when compared to the light that was present days, months or years before.

Be Still and know I am God. These words to me quiet the swirl. It recognizes that the swirl and the turmoil are inevitable.  Letting the swirl torment you is optional.  Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. The wind has to be recognized. It has to be addressed. If the pain is too great, too violent, it will be there when the living is able to deal with it. It will infuse eventually, the swirl is constant and unpredictable. Being aware of it, addressing it deliberately, honestly, and compassionately is the key to knowing God.

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2015 in divorce, journey

 

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dig dug

He dug deeper.

He really didn’t know why, but felt a need to dig into the rich soil. He had a question about what made up the ground. He stared at the surface for a long time. He thought if he understood everything from the outside, the inside would also be clear. He admired the outside, and showed it to everyone else. He garnished praise and applause. He thought that made it more valuable. The surface was very well defined. It had absolutes and margins. It was clear what was and what wasn’t. There was no gray.dig

He dug deeper.

He asked the question, “What is under the surface?” The answer seemed obvious, but he hadnt thought of it. “Dig deeper and find out.” There was a sense of foreboding. Trepidation filled the air. Anticipation. He dug. He used his fingers and scratched the surface. There were no more answers, just more questions. The tiny crack was a window beyond and ,in it, he saw the much larger world. Fear and longing. He couldn’t ever be the guy who didn’t know there was more through that window. He was afraid and consigned. He dug around the crack. He climbed through into the vastness of the deeper world. The edges seemed to blur. There were hints of grays. The questions lined up. He tried to relate to them as he had on the other side of the crack. It failed and the answers laughed at him. The questions taunted him. He learned to handle some ambiguity. He learned he couldn’t learn it all. He became more open to less absolute.

He dug deeper.digging

He opened another crack, crawled through another window. The answers were more ambiguous. The margins less defined. He kept digging and the more he dug, the less the answers were clear. The questions mounted and became overwhelming. He felt lost and lonely. He screamed and cried. The pain was excruciating. He crumbled in uncertainty. He cried out, “What is the answer?”

There was a whisper, a wind, a sound. It spoke in breathy absence. There is no “the” answer. The answer you seek doesn’t exist. As you dig deeper into the foundation of yourself, of your world, it grows in wonder and amazement, but also in ambiguity and margin-less freedom. You are free to ask and answer and question again. The answers are accepting the lack of “the” answer.

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2015 in journey, life

 

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