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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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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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closer to fine

I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains
And we go to the doctor, we go to the mountains
We look to the children, we drink from the fountains
Yea we go to the bible, we go through the workout
We read up on revival, we stand up for the lookout
There’s more than one answer to these questions
Pointing me in a crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
(The less I seek my source)

Closer I am to fine
(Fine)
Closer I am to fine
(Fine)
Closer I am to fine
(Fine, yea)

Indigo Girls – Closer To Fine Lyrics

I love the Indigo Girls. My favorite concert was at the Albuquerque Zoo when they played. It might have been the company, might have been the atrocious opening act. Might have been the strange juxtaposition to jungle animals in tiny habitats. I don’t know, but it was great. I wonder how much of my life I hear in Indigo Girls songs. I haven’t listened to much of the new stuff, but the 80’s and 90’s songs echo in my mind, recalling and calling out parts of my journey. They mark time, they encourage growth, they speak to me about not living in the past and being present for my life. Currently, this song is ringing in the hollow halls of my brain. I have been on the warpath to healing for several years now. I have been trying everything I could think of. I have be to counselors, doctors, spiritual guides, sponsors. I have taken trips to sacred places (ok Moab, Utah might not be sacred to you, but it is to me.) I have tried to be light hearted like a child, tried to be youthful forever, dated younger women to prove I was young. I turned back to church and small groups. I tried to get a view above everyone else. Tried to stand back. I have prayed, questioned, beckoned, heralded, and begged. I want an answer. I want comfort. I want peace and serenity.

However, serenity isn’t the absence of the storm, its peace within it.

I just want to be ok, I just want to be closer to fine. When I stopped focusing on the answers or the problem and just live…I am closer to healing. I am closer to God. I can hear the birds, see the colors, appreciate the moon. The less I beseech, beckon, herald, beg…and expect the final answer, the better off I am at living.

 
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Posted by on June 8, 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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