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color the marsh mellow

I want, I need, Im doing the work, Im baby stepping.

I want a participation trophy. I want an honorable mention, I want a pat on the back, an “atta boy”. trophy

You see, I have been tying my own shoes for nearly 45 years. I have even taught other people this magnificent talent. I have passed on the dexterity and desire to have a bow on the shoes. I would like some admiration for this. And then there is this learning to walk thing. I remember clapping and cheering when each of my daughters learned to walk. With my youngest daughter, she has some motor delay and I teared up when she walked with her braces in place. They are teenagers now and it has been years since I cheered about them walking. I cannot remember once being told that I was doing a good job strolling.

And what is the deal with underwear? When I kept my big boy underwear dry for a full day, there was much rejoicing. I am sure that I have kept them dry for many days and not a single celebration has commenced. When I learned to use the potty, my mom would give me little colored marsh mellows if I pooped on the potty. I cant even find colored marsh mellows anymore. potty

I spent a lifetime wanting to hear the applause. I needed to hear I was ok, admirable, appreciated, attractive. I longed for the external feedback. Who I was and my worth were completely based on the marsh mellows that I would be rewarded with. If I couldn’t find them or see them in my hand, I deflated.

I lived this way through a marriage, through addiction, through childhood and into adulthood. There came a moment in time that the Universe echoed my mom when I protested not getting my sugary treat at age 12, “Sometimes pooping is its own reward.” I had to learn that I wasnt passing on knowledge or skills or talents to get applause, but because it was its own reward. I had related to someone, I had shared myself. I had to learn not lying around in the muck and waste of difficulties of the past allowed me to flourish, to grow. I had to see that cheering on those I loved was much more rewarding then begging for reinforcement. I had to learn that the gift was to feel the reward and to cherish the insides. I had to live into self and let the God within me to shine out. marsh

I still miss colored marshmellows

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2017 in 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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snow angel, my @$$

I spent Christmas with my Dad. We were both going to be alone for the holidays and have our own reasons for not enjoying the holiday season. So, we decided to just hang out together. He is from New Mexico and has occasionally been heard to say that it gets too cold there. I live in Idaho, very close to Canada. And we had a cold snap. And we had snow. Lots of snow. I will never forget the look he gave me after I had to go out and buy a snowblower. It was an interesting combination of pity and disgust. It might have just been he was cold because we had to drive with the hatchback open to get it home. I didn’t ask because I was thinking about how fun power tools are. (It stops being fun after you have to do it three times within 12 hours.)

snow

We had a very mellow good time. We even went grocery shopping. We made meals and watched Sons of Anarchy. We laughed and just enjoyed each other. I was looking in the pantry this morning and I cant find my cereal. There are 2 very large onions, some potatoes, and I think a box of pasta helper I didn’t buy. I also have a new toaster but I am not sure what happened to my frying pan.

He is a little hard of hearing and has a knack for starting conversations as you leave the room. I found myself holding my pee several times while he asked about something or told me a story. I also find myself whispering throughout my day because I find myself talking very loudly whenever I am around him. I slip into interpreting and repeating when we are out at restaurants or in stores. The day after he left I turned on the TV and panicked as the loud explosion on the show reverberated through the house. There was a brief minute, right after I nearly wet my pants, that I forgot that I could turn down the volume. deaf

My Dad has this knack of questioning things he disagrees with. It is very subtle. “So, you like to use crescent wrenches when you put together machinery?” Its not necessarily condemnation, but it is clear that a box wrench or even a gosh darn socket wrench would be better. I have developed two habits when questioned about anything in my life. One is to just say, “Yep.” The other is to have ready a complete explanation and rationale, complete with cited references and quoted statistics as to why the use of a crescent wrench is superior in agility and adjustable functionality.  For the snowblower, I just said, “Yep.”

snowblower

We drive each other absolutely batty sometimes. We are good friends and enjoy each other most of the time. I am baffled by him frequently. I am amused by him as well. There are few people in this world I trust and respect as much as him. Its nice to get to pee when I need, recognize the food in my cabinets, and not feel the need for prepared answers when I use the lazy tool. I can have the TV at a volume that wont frighten airplane pilots.

I miss him.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2017 in 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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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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walk about

I have gone walkabout. Yes, I am quoting, “Crocodile Dundy”. I am a product of the 80’s. I ponder the question, “What IS so funny about peace, love, and understanding?” I secretly hope that a mullet will once again be in fashion, and I can break out my white sports jacket and hang out with a guy named, Crockett. I am not embarrassed to say that I have put a message in a bottle. It was only this year that I figured out that Sting might have been a Sage and the message in a bottle is internet dating. Everyone does it, and everyone who still does it is still lonely. I ponder keeping my knit ties, just in case. I think “Every girls crazy about a sharp dressed man,” and wished I wanted to dress nicer.

Back to the topic. I have gone walkabout. I was in a mope. I couldn’t see any of the positive surrounding me. I was melancholy about the past and my obvious failures. I had morphed into becoming the failures rather than having them. It had become apparent to me that I was destined to living life as “The Dude,” and my soul purpose was to have my rug not peed on. Beck sang in my head, “I am a loser, baby, so why don’t you kill me.” I had lost my smile, my joy, my love. I hadn’t lost it, I gave it away.

I had a few experiences, recently, that bitch slapped me awake. I had a patient complaint filed. Sounds odd, but it was sort of a nuisance complaint. Complaining about a doctor giving you medication and when you filled it, took it, and 3 days later had an unrelated side effect, isn’t all that sound. Still it bothered me. I like being a doctor, just not being punished for being a doctor. Our current system punishes medical people for trying to help. Nasty system. Then, I had more than one person tell me to choose my path. I just needed to decide where I wanted to be headed, they proclaimed. Novel concept, choose to be happy or growing. Then finally, my ex girlfriend told me to leave her alone. I miss her and love her, always will. However, her setting a boundary made me aware that I had slipped back into the idea that it is all about me. I could only see my side of things and had gotten so lost in the darkness, I had forgotten to enjoy the light. I had to let it, and her, go.

So I went walkabout. I decided to just disappear for awhile. I got books on tape and got in my little car and headed out. I decided to visit a friend from high school. We were glued to each other for years and years. I drove down from Idaho to California. My overnight stop was going to be Las Vegas. I had visions of the Rat Pack and figured the people would be the same as 25 years ago when I had last been there. They would scream my name, a la Norm from Cheers. I would have some funny quip and then win so big at the 2 dollar black jack table, I would get comped a room. Umm, not so much. I stopped and watched the slobbering drunks try and stay perched on the bar stools, smelt the cigarettes and alcohol, and recoiled. I hopped in the car and head on down the road. I stopped in Baker, California. I was pretty tired and pulled into the first hotel I saw. It seemed safe, and the rooms were cheap. I was handed the key to room #7. Yep, the key. I pulled in and opened the door. I was transported to the Caribbean, and not in a good way. There was a bed, an 80’s TV, with a cable line attached that draped over a bare wall. The tile floor was clean, but dingy. There was a bed and a chair, that in 1983 must have been brand new and very nice. There was that round table that you had in your first apartment next to the bathroom. The bathroom had a bare bulb and pink tile. There was a mirror that I could see my chin in if I stood on tiptoes. It was the lap of luxury. I laid down on the most uncomfortable mattress I have ever been on. I wondered if the bedbugs would carry me off the bed in the night. I giggled for 30 minutes as I fell asleep.

I got up in the morning, luckily unbitten by the bedbugs and rats that haunted my dreams. I headed down the road and stopped at a 50’s diner in the middle of nowhere. It was great. Campy as all get out, but great.

I watched my friend with his new wife and their baby. We hung out and did nothing. We talked. We just were. Today we will go to a beach, strolling around A town in California. I will go and meditate on a beach North of here for a few days tomorrow. I am not bad, or lost, or “less than.” I just am. I am the guy who giggles at cheesy hotels. I am the guy who rejoices in the campy. I am peaceful and loving. I am the guy who grows and learns. I am the guy who can weather the storms. I am me.newport

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2015 in journey, Uncategorized

 

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precipice

The crowd gathers, staring in the sun, shielding their eyes. They gaze up. Thoughts and emotions vary.

A young man looks worried. He is full of hope. He dreams of a life soaring. Yesterday, he played with Matchbox cars. He dreamt of adventures and a life unknown. He thought of a wife and kids and a job. He dreamt of riches and glory. He never thought of pain or fear or suffering. Even watching now, he couldn’t fathom that.

An old man looks up, not impressed. He has seen the world. He has forgotten the dream of delight. He is jaded. The hurt is deep. The pain severe. He is alone, scared, and sad. He navigates the pain and winces as it surges. He hurt yesterday and will hurt tomorrow. He in uninterested, and yet curious.

A middle age woman yells for the man on the precipice to jump. She is angry and hurt. She ignores the journey. She ignored the crowd, she focuses only on the man and yells, “Jump.”

Surrounding her are kids, desperately trying to get her attention, clamoring. They echo her voice and look at her from an approving glance. They mistake her sneer for a smile. They confuse that with acceptance and love.

There are others: some ignore, some disdain.

The man is on the precipice. Yesterday, he heard the voices and felt the stares. He knew the faces. He remembered living a life in the crowd. He recalled smiling and pretending the fear and voices didn’t hurt.

Today, he remembers the journey. He recalls the ones who helped him climb the mountain. He revels in the sweat and tears. He feels his aches and enjoys them. He listens to the voices from bellow. He weeps at the woman and the kids. The pain returns. Suddenly, he feels the sun. He giggles. He isn’t there to jump. He is there to soar.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2014 in journey, life

 

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