Friday, June 03, 2011


The battle that has been the first 30-something years of my life is no longer. I sit here in the thick of it all... things strewn everywhere; electronic and musical gear piled to the ceiling; dishes piling up in the sink; unpaid bills, and more. I look at it all with mixed feelings, some compassion, and some disgust. Why did I do what I did? Because it's how I knew to survive, no matter what the cost in any aspect. Avoid and Isolate - that's what I did best. The world outside was too much to deal with for extended periods of time.

I now enjoy being in the company of others, and this place is dangerous for me. The memories, the triggers, the "episodes" are all very much alive within the walls of my physical domain. Of course, I don't blame the very building itself or the things contained within it, but what's connected to those things is what is painful...what meaning I've attached to them. Is it time to move again, and this time live with others in some kind of commune?

I know very well that even if I did move somewhere else, those feelings, thoughts, and unanswered problems would follow me wherever I went. Putting a band-aid on the situation only helps for a short time; eventually the truth reveals itself, and I feel as if I had never left. The "mess" would propagate itself somewhere else, and possibly be worse, until I decide to address it, accept the lesson, and learn from it.

The mess I am dealing with is mostly on mental, physical, financial, as well as spiritual levels. I tried running away from everyone and everything that distressed me, made me feel uncomfortable, or didn't like. That was my answer for a very long time....just run away. It was one coping skill that I mastered. In the wake of it all, I left quite a mess behind for others to "clean up," or try to fix. I was very irresponsible and impulsive. I didn't want to learn anything, and I rebelled against anyone or anything that tried to teach me. I just wanted to be "left alone." But did I? Maybe for the short term...

but not forever...

Something happens to living creatures when they are alone for a long period of time; they begin to accommodate themselves for a life where there is no chance of letting anyone in. Certain behaviors are instituted, impulses are acted upon almost immediately, and they become hard-wired. They isolate and cut themselves off from the rest of the world, living in an ivory tower of sorts; a safe haven where no one and nothing can harm them.

For a while, this seems like not too bad of a life, especially if you have suffered what seems endless torment, depression, anxiety, and fear. Everything seems to be not so bad at all! There's a momentary feeling of freedom, allowing you to feel it's OK to be yourself. You make it "yours," and you do everything you were told you couldn't do as a child. "I can do what I want now! I don't need ANYONE! I can't trust people; they'll only hurt me! Everything is just fine like this!" Everything is "perfect," and you truly believe you don't need anyone. You give into your impulses, and accept them as fact, no matter the consequences.

Sometime later, a different feeling awakens in you; you start feeling "bored," and your mind starts to wander. The distractions of the trappings of this perfect life are no longer enough to satisfy you. Thoughts like "Why are we here? What is my purpose in life? Why was I even born? Was I a mistake?" start to do their work on you. If you have a history of depression, the questions weigh upon you 100 times more than most. That "emptiness" starts to pervade you, and you start to look for ways to ignore it, or distract yourself from it.

Soon, you're caught up in a lot of activities, doing your best to suppress those "voices," but you realize that you aren't very comfortable in social situations, and you struggle to keep your head above the water as best as you can. You make friends, you do some fun things, but you still find yourself acting the way you did through childhood when things and people don't do what you expect them to. You find yourself reliving those old feelings, run back to the safety of your "tower." Safe at last!

Yes, you're safe from that potential threat, but now what? How long are you going to stay here? Long enough for the "voices" to return and start their interrogation progress yet again, this time a bit more intense. You sit there, detached, depressed and isolated, desperately hoping to find the answers to these questions someday. You know that distracting yourself doesn't work any longer. Still, you try it again and again, only to fail each and every time. You buy things that you think will make you happy, or maybe buy things you always wanted but couldn't as a child. "Now what? Maybe if I get this thing, I'll be happier..." The lesson takes some reading between the lines to find. It says, "No matter how much you own, it will never make up for the pain in your heart." Slowly, this lesson is learned, and you see it to be true.

You find yourself getting outside more and more as the years go by, but like a child, you compulsively return home, as though it's what you're supposed to do. You know now that you're not as happy with your life as you once it's become more of a prison than a paradise. You allow yourself to remain there on days when you have no plans with anyone else. "It's what I always do," you say to yourself as the days pass.

You still feel uncomfortable being with others, yet you desire the companionship. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages, and you see this for yourself. Still, you return home by default, not knowing what else to do. The behavior became a pattern, and the pattern became a habit. Habits can become addictions. Isolation becomes a way of life that you no longer enjoy, yet you lock yourself away because it's so deeply ingrained within you. Oh yeah, and while you were enjoying it, lots of not so great things happened because you chose to ignore everything outside of your world.

friends stop talking to you

family loses touch with you

debts pile up

obligations aren't met

promises are broken

chores aren't done

bridges are burned

opportunities are missed

money is wasted

people pass away and you never know

...that and several other things. You also ignore what's going on with you physically. You tend to...

have a poor diet

sleep too much

sit too much

watch too much tv

spend too much time online

forget about personal hygiene

let medical problems worsen

indulge in damaging habits and impulses

develop addictions

lack structure and/or a plan for the day

push people out of your life

...just to name a few.

A good friend sees that you are struggling so hard within your life, and just asks one day "What do you want out of life?" You ponder that question for a long time. At first, it doesn't take hold completely, yet it is still in the back of your mind. As time passes, it slowly makes its way to center stage of your thoughts. One day, it's all you can think about. You ask the question, and another part of you awakens, reminding you that you were a selfish child, you cared not for the consideration of others, and you fought life every step of the way. And so, a tug-of-war starts and the very fabric of your being is challenged, tested, and at times, feeling ripped nearly apart. In response, you do what you've always done; retreat back to safe and familiar surroundings, severing ties as needed, and you go into "hibernation" yet again.

You feel those familiar "trapped" feelings yet again, but this time you choose not to allow them to overtake you. Instead, you start to look somewhere that you've truly never have before in your life; WITHIN. You sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk with yourself, as painful as it may be, and you say that you can't live like this anymore, and suicide is no longer an option. You feel the pain and just let it out, no matter how much it hurts. You decide to seek guidance from several sources, as well as listening to your heart. You delve head-first into spirituality, not looking for salvation, but for answers, advice, and some basic groundwork. Slowly, answers start to surface and they make sense. Sometimes they hurt because they appear to be attacking what we believe; nonetheless, you stay focused on them.

Down the road, you begin to share your findings and discoveries with some friends, and they understand the meaning of what you are going through. They share some of their own knowledge and recommend books to read and to share with others. You experience feelings that have not previously been a part of your life; the desire to contribute, to love, to share, and to grow. It's then you realize what that "hunger" was that bothered you for so reach out and connect! Every day, the urge grows stronger, and you do the best you can to maintain and make new friendships, healing broken ones, and letting go of abusive ones. You remain true to yourself and to others, to the best of your ability.

...and then you come home again, and you look at the "aftermath" of this "war." You look around and you see someone who was desperately trying to figure out his life in so many ways, leaving many unfinished projects, failed attempts, commitments unanswered, debts unpaid, invitations unanswered, friendships faltering, and obligations not met. He's not a bad person, just very a very confused and scared one. His life was that of a battlefield, every step perilous. The world was out to get him it seemed, so he bunked in for the long term, not realizing what would happen later. He was only trying to protect himself, nothing more. The war is over now, and so the clean-up and rebuilding piece at a time.

The consequences of my actions may yield some difficulties down the road, but I will work with them to the best of my ability. I may never own a home, buy a new car, or get out of debt. I made a mess and it has to be cleaned up. My actions had an impact upon others, and I will do my best to help them, even if it means giving up what I thought was so important within my life. I stand here now, looking at things from a different point-of-view, seeing more clearly than I ever have. These "things" don't mean as much to me now, and as time goes on, they will slowly disappear from my by one. Maybe someone else can enjoy them for a while, and pass them on. That's my hope anyway.

Awakening from the sleep and getting out of the war was the best thing that I could ever do for myself. No material thing or other person could have given that to had to come from somewhere deep inside. It took getting through a long war to finally see that.

Let the healing begin.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


What do we know?
How do we know?
Most importantly, WHY do we know?

The role models of our lives taught us what we know. Role models, such as parents, relatives, teachers, authority figures, etc. have passed on bits of knowledge and wisdom to us. At least that's what happens in an ideal world. We impart the lessons given to us, and take the knowledge for what it's worth. Many times, the value of that "knowledge" and the "lessons" learned are not helpful to us at all. Despite this, we accept it as fact, and go through our lives, limited by this belief that is instilled within us. We accept it as fact, and believe it as if it were true.

Cycle of Doubt
We've all had people in our lives, supposedly meaning well, telling us that they think we shouldn't do this, or that we're not capable of it; maybe it was one or both of our parents, seeing the difficulty we were having with something, and so, in an effort to "help" the child, they end up doing the very thing that the child needs to see and do for himself, no matter what the outcome. They cushion the bumps for the child, in essence reinforcing the belief that he or she cannot do for himself. This also creates a dependence factor on someone else in the child's (and later adult child's) life, requiring someone to help, and ultimately, due to the child's learned manipulative tactics, ends up doing it altogether. This also strengthens the belief in the one who is assisting, that the child can't do for himself, further perpetuating the cycle. "I can't" becomes a reality, and becomes the modus operandi for him or her. This belief stays with them because it is perpetuated through several behaviors and manipulative actions.

Wait...are you saying...
No, I'm not saying that the Law of Attraction holds true all the time. I can say it does because I see where it does hold true in my life quite a bit. Financially, I could be considered a bit down on my luck, but I did make the choice to be this way. Yes, I gave up and walked away many times in my life, and the reasons were almost always the same; "I can't do it," was my motto, stemming from childhood. Maybe Freud was right in some respects, but he fails to suggest that we can change, that we are "stuck" in whatever it is that we believe.

This is where different variables come into play, such as those role models who did not take the time to show us how to do what we needed to do, or maybe in my case, that role model didn't have enough patience to show me, getting easily frustrated. So what does a child do when they are frightened? They back away, they clam up, or retreat to their room to safety. Of course, said role model also finished the work of the frightened child, leaving nothing for the child to learn, only hard-wiring the fact that he or she can't do this "thing," adding it to the pile of failures. In that child's mind, one thing is clear...


I believed this for so many years, due to a steep learning curve, strained relations with my family and friends, and the disposition I had come to live with. Positive feedback was something that was rarely a part of my life, and when it did come, it was fleeting, with almost no meaning attached whatsoever. The inner focus was on what I can't do, versus what I CAN do. I was very quick to point out the things that I couldn't do, didn't want, and didn't like. It was difficult for me to see things in a positive light. In this way, I was a product of my childhood. I hold no malice anymore toward anyone for this; perhaps it was just the way they might have been brought up, and/or decided to deal with situations within their lives.

Coping mechanisms do just that and only that -- they help us cope. Coping is not truly living, folks, and if left unchecked, could lead to an empty and very unfulfilling life. Couple that with chronic depression, or bipolar disorder, and you've got a mean cocktail! Existential thoughts start talking to you, and you begin to listen to everything they tell you, even if it means going to a different world.

"You know, you can't..."
I am told "Well, you know you don't take good care of blah blah blah." Gee thanks for the vote of confidence; how about you HELP me to LEARN, rather than berate me, and then insist on doing it for me when I have difficulty. Rather, than point out the faults, give me a hand, or explain something to me; and don't even use that excuse of no patience anymore; I have no patience for that cop-out. LET ME STRUGGLE AND FAIL! It's how I learn when something works, and something does not. When I don't learn, I just crash and burn through life, as I've been doing for as long as I remember. You know what? I'll pass on the help, and ask someone who can truly help me. Someone who will work WITH me, be PATIENT with me, no matter how many mistakes I make or if I fail to grasp a concept in a short amount of time.

Look in The Mirror
It does anger me that a parent seems to be unwilling or unable to try and find a way to control their anger, resigning to the fact that "it's hard," and just living the same way from day to day, reacting to everyone and everything. Want to know where I got my temper from? Look in the mirror and you'll figure it out! That's right; YOU.

For so many years I ran in autopilot mode, reacting to everything, and usually in a negative manner. The end result? "Stop complaining! If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all! No one cares what you have to say..." Negative feedback, time and time again. Shortly after, someone else would complain, and the cycle would perpetuate. Eventually, this built up rage within me and I would lash out violently from time to time, because it's the only thing I felt I could do. I saw that it scared people away from me, and being alone seemed to be the only time that I could be the closest thing to happy. Whenever things weren't going my way, I would react violently. No different than having a bout of road rage every five minutes, right? Every time I reacted before I thought about my actions, it cemented the fact in my mind that it was the only thing that I could do to:

1) Protect myself
2) Make people see things my way
3) Cope with life in general

The Sum of The Parts
It all adds up to a life that was mostly spent trying to be safe and stay out of danger, no matter what the cost mentally, physically, financially, and spiritually. Yes, I did very well in a few special areas, but in menial jobs entailing things that seemed to me that everyone else could do, I was clueless and lost. This reflected on my behavior and created problems such as misunderstanding what I was told to do, or being humiliated because I couldn't do said "simple" thing. When no one shows you anything as a child, you don't learn how to do said thing, right? Look, I could lament about how I missed out on so much as a child, and that I wasn't a perfect kid and all (taking responsibility for my actions,)but that's not the point here. The lack of positive role models/feedback was more than likely the catalyst for all of this.

Fortunately today, things are different. I have positive role models in my life in the form of some very good friends who see that struggle within me, and rather than become impatient and shoo me away, they work with me to show me just how to do things. They won't let me get upset and storm off. I see now that is not the way to learn how to do things. Also, if I'm unable to do something immediately, it doesn't mean that I am resigned to complete and utter failure; more practice may be needed. Even then, if I give it my best and still fail, at least I tried, and that's OK. We need to fail, and learn from our mistakes, rather than be intimidated or discouraged by them.

I used to say that these few things that I'm very good at were the only things that I was able to do in life, because something was wrong with me.
There is nothing wrong; I never asked questions because it seemed imposing upon the other person, so rather than ask questions and learn how to do something, I would just throw myself out there and flop like a fish out of water. Today, I'm learning that it's OK to ask questions and repeatedly ask if I don't understand something, no matter how "simple" it is.

Wake Up!
The days of sleepwalking through life and just "getting by" on all accounts are over. It's time to see life through the eyes of a child who wants to listen, learn, love, and teach. My inner child went into hiding several years after my mother passed on, wanting nothing to do with life. He's slowly emerging, learning, growing, and just being. Every day. Doing the best that he can. No more, no less.

It's good to know that he can start all over again.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Remember This...

If you do find that path in life that speaks to you, and you wish to share it with others in your life, remember this; there will always be those who will denounce, deny, and be skeptical of what you say, believe, and do. Don't let their words hurt you in any way; they are only trying to protect what they perceive as reality. In their eyes, your path is a threat to their reality; see this, and treat them as the injured souls they are, extending genuine compassion whenever possible, and then continue on your way.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I was grocery shopping last night, paying very close attention to the things that were on sale and sold out, and coming up on the cookie aisle, it really told me something about people in general right now:

1. They want their desert first.
2. They don't have their priorities in order.
3. Oreos are the most popular cookie ever.

Yes, I bought a package too, but the peanut butter cream variety; the original and double stuff were sold out, and I really didn't want the mint ones. Am I being presumptuous here? I just couldn't believe that there was NOT ONE package of the original OREO left! Is it effective marketing, or are people really that much asleep in their lives that they will buy anything the the mass media monolith tells them to?

Upon further analysis, the thing that was sold out of most in the store was junk food, milk, and bread. For me, it set a precedent of how people have their priorities in line. They see a big TV and "gotta have it!" They see a new car and "gotta have it!" They see a big honkin' wristwatch and "gotta have it!" How about a big house with a big BBQ grill? "Gotta have it!" Having things is the answer to a happy life, according to the media. I've been harping on them for years, and I was caught up in it all, without realizing it. I wanted me desert first too.

I grew up in a materialistic household; we always had "things." Things would keep us kids quiet and happy, at least for a little while. As we grew older, things we wanted cost more and required we give up some part of our time to acquire them; some more than others. We get said "thing" and it's all new and shiny for a while, but then as time goes on, it becomes old and the novelty has worn off. It goes on the shelf with the other "things," and so the quest begins for yet another "thing." Sometimes the cycle lasted a few weeks, sometimes a few months or years. I started to see a pattern and asked myself a very important question:


This so-called "American Dream," where you get yourself into debt just to have a "happy typical American family life," just all seemed such a big lie to me. Too many folks are trying to live like or outdo their friends and family, and try to be like the people they see in the media; it doesn't make them good or bad, but it does make them one thing; LOST. They don't know who they truly are, so they try to emulate what they see and hear, at the cost of selling their souls.

Maybe they have asked that same question at some time in their lives, and they don't know how or where to look, so they resign themselves to a life of quite desperation and live the lie. They may be unhappy, but to go out into the unknown is far too scary. To leave their comfort zone is entirely too painful. I never quite achieved the American Dream, but I did find a comfort zone of my own. I did get to do the things I loved in life and follow my passion.

Several years later, I started to feel empty, and that my life held no meaning unless I was doing the things that I loved, or bought something to ease the pain, or got involved in another abusive impossible relationship. Once again, a pattern was revealing itself and more questions surfaced:


Soon after, I had a heart-to-heart talk with myself, which brought on a mental meltdown. I didn't go to the hospital (although it might have been a good idea at the time) and just slowly lost grip with my perceived reality. I hurt deeper than I ever did before, and I was terrified. I felt I was lost in the dark, and that no one could help me. It was in that darkness that I discovered new teachings and began to adopt them (the ones I discussed in the previous post.) Slowly, the darkness lifted, and life began to have purpose and meaning, even on days where I felt under the weather.

Giving up the endless mindless pursuit of material things and seeking happiness from within was one of the best decisions that I've ever made in my life; I had to please no one else, it didn't cost money, and it's a gift that keeps on giving, with every breath. Learning to meditate and take care of my body was an important step in moving forward. Thoughts of the past and of the future were clouding my mind endlessly, showing me nothing but "bad movies" the entire time.

In this present moment, I am safe, everything is already here, and it's easy to just put a smile on my face, breathing deeply. I can smile and truly mean it, for once in my life...

Back In The Saddle...Again

Renovation Complete!

Now that I've cleaned out the cobwebs, let's get back to doing some blogging! As usual, my posts may be concise, or they may be long and detailed. I reached a point in my life where I thought I didn't need or want to do this anymore...then I got a Facebook account, and starting writing "notes" on it, so I thought, why not go back to my blog, make a few changes, and just refer people to it? That way, I can make it look the way that I want to, and I'll get use from it once again? That makes perfect sense.

What's Happening?

Well, I'll tell you LOTS has been happening as of late, and in the several years that have passed writing this blog. I made some necessary changes in my life, and it just gets better every day. This will give you an idea:

A few weeks ago, I was in a funk for 5-6 days non-stop. It seemed to appear from out of nowhere, and I just couldn't quite figure out why it did. It made no sense to me; I was doing my best to be positive and see the lighter and brighter side of things, no matter what. "That's easy," I thought to myself, "From here on out, life is going to be a piece of cake." I was shown otherwise.

For the past year and some change, I've been a devout student of Inspirational, Spiritual, and Self-Help authors, because I felt that there was something wrong with my life. It just seemed that my life was empty and meaningless, stuck in the past, and I had a constant fear of the future. I truly didn't know the meaning and purpose of my life, and all I could think about was running from everyone and everything. Living life itself had become a threat in so many ways, and I only knew to fight it every step of the way.

A few friends suggested that I try going to church. I chickened out several times before deciding to finally do it. I went with an open mind and heart. Something happened to me that day that never happened to me before in my life; a feeling of immense inner peace that brought me to tears. They weren't tears of sadness, but of joy. I felt a tremendous burden being lifted from shoulders and heavy heart. I opened up to everyone, and was sociable in ways that I never thought possible. It felt so "right." Despite all of this, I didn't go back the next week, or the week after. I had excuses as to why I never returned. Yet, I couldn't forget that feeling that overtook me that Sunday morning.

Sometime shortly after, I discovered the teachings of Dale Blackford. He hosted a program on (the online radio station for the Unity Church) called "The Heart of Being." His message was simple; Live in the NOW. I listened intently to his words and followed his advice to the best of my ability. His thoughts and views struck me so much differently than anyone else. Sadly, due to reasons I don't agree with, removed his program from their lineup. I tried listening to other shows, but it wasn't the same. They didn't appear to carry the same passion and intensity that Dale's show did.

Right around the time I discovered Dale, I found someone else. I remember surfing the net, looking for a station that I used to listen to for years on AM radio and online, called Personal Achievement Radio. It seemed to be gone at the moment, and I found instead. I thought, "What the heck, I'll check it out." I noticed that the program lineup consisted of a lot of psychic and so-called Spiritual things, but what I heard coming out of my speakers was much different. I had found someone talking about life in ways that once again, I'd never heard before.

I had stumbled across a program called, "Letting Go With Guy Finley." I thought to myself, "This must be a special of some kind, and it's not always going to be on." I looked in the program lineup, and I was pleased to see that his program was on every week, and was replayed several times over the course of week! I went on a frenzy, gobbling up everything that I could find on this man; podcasts, writings, videos, etc. I read several of his books, The Secret of Letting Go, The Courage to be Free, Let Go and Live in the Now, among others.

At first, I listened only a few times a week, trying to keep the lessons that I had learned fresh in my mind. It wasn't enough; I started buying audio tapes and books (that came with free DVD offers.) I found him on Facebook and Twitter, always looking to see if there was a new podcast or writing available. I amassed a huge collection of podcasts and radio shows, and kept them always with me on my mp3 player, so that I could listen whenever I left my home. I felt good to be listening and learning all the while. I started to see things in a different light, and began to feel different than everyone else around me. I have long since thought that the human race as a whole is asleep in many ways, and this just fueled the fire.

I began to feel justified in my status updates and responses to people that if only they would wake up, things could change. Sometimes I could come across as arrogant, condescending, or just plain rude. Some of my friends pointed this out to me, yet I still persisted. My radio show rants morphed into sermons about what is wrong with humanity, extolling the virtues of Spirituality and that if only you could "let go," life would change for the better. I was becoming a fire-and-brimstone preacher of sorts, in my own way. At least that's what I thought it to be. I let this all go to my head, and was starting to see someone who was very much like the me who had a mental meltdown. On the outside, it appeared that I "had it together," that I had "finally seen the Light." On the inside, I started to feel troubled and confused. It was easy to say the words to someone else, but to truly implement them on a daily basis? You know how that goes!

This past Christmas, I received a wonderful book from my friends called "The Way of The Peaceful Warrior," by Dan Millman. They had read it in the past and told me of a few of the principles within it. I wrote it off as yet another self-help book, until I sat down and began to read it on Christmas Eve. I didn't rush through it, but I didn't exactly take a long time either. I attest that it did in fact change my life. I felt that "light-hearted" feeling come back to me once again. The wise words of Socrates (the teacher in the book,) were once again unlike that of any I'd ever known. He helped me to realize that I was not on the road in life that I wanted to be on. The "path" that I started on was a result of this book. Even though the journey I speak of from time to time is far from complete, I still feel that I'm "home."

Shortly after, I was introduced to "The Music Lesson" by Victor L. Wooten in audio book form. Again, I had my doubts to some degree. I knew Victor was a super talented musician, but I never realized how much he was into Spirituality. The book focuses on music concepts, but once again much differently than I'd ever imagined. Each character had something to teach, sometimes really challenging my paradigms about music and life itself. It was an intense and deep time as I listened to that book. As a result, I fine-tuned my playing and listening abilities. I felt so good inside!

I had dabbled with meditation for a short time, and had been successful with using guided meditation to relax for short periods in my life, but I never was able to make the feeling stay with me for more than an hour. My therapist had given me a Jon Kabat-Zinn Beginning Mindfulness Meditation CD, and I tried it a few times. I thought, "I'll never be able to do this on a regular basis." As time went on, I started using it more and more, until the days I meditated outnumbered the days that I didn't. One of the great things about meditation is that if you practice it frequently, it will start to take over every aspect of your daily life. I don't mean that it will put you in a dream state or turn you into a zombie, but it will help you relax, and allow you to look at your life in a different way, no matter what life demands of you.

A friend I had met recently, Greg Bandfield, sent me a tape of some of his thoughts on life, and I listened intently, finding that we do have a lot in common in our search for happiness and peace. I felt a warmness in my heart that I had written off as non-existent. Thank you, Greg for sharing this with me.

Soon, I started to believe that the reason I felt stressed out all the time was because of "things." I had always been a rebel, going against what everyone else believes, and does, so this fueled another inner fire. I started looking into Buddhism and the possibilities of monastic life (becoming a monk.) It all seemed so simple; give up everything and start a new life. If it worked for the Dalai Lama, it can work for me too. Piece of cake, right? Sure it is...

All the while, intense turmoil was beginning to build within me, questioning the very fabric of my being, existential thoughts once again coming into play, and it was scaring the hell out of me. My first reaction was to resist them, saying "No, you can't do this to me! Everything was perfect! I had it all figured out! You can't take this away from me! I've found ZEN!" I started to hold tighter and tighter, not listening to everything that I was taught in such a short time. I began to become weary and weak, losing my grip on life itself, and many of those old habits, thoughts, and feelings came rushing into my mind, the floodgates being busted open! Even though I chose not to act out those feelings consciously, they somehow seeped into my life once again. The old familiar feeling of anxiety first thing in the morning greeted me as though it had never left; I began to get angry at things and people once again, just like before. I started to indulge in old habits and buy things again. The only thing that was different was that the rage was gone.

As you may have seen in my past writings (or if you have known me personally for some time,) rage was a dominant force in my life. If I didn't like something or someone, I would get angry; very angry, for I felt that it was the only thing that I had to protect myself. I had to take apart my ego and my beliefs, and see just what made them tick (or tick me off, for that matter!) Letting go of that part of me was like turning myself inside out, and standing outside in a rainstorm naked. I realized that rage was indeed tearing me apart inside, and I didn't want to be The Incredible Hulk and David anymore. I wanted that more than anything in the world.

I've grown to realize that I will experience feelings from time to time, no matter what. Resisting them will only strengthen them, and trying to put sugar on them to make them taste good will only leave a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. Ignoring them is like turning off my personality completely. Only recently have I seen that I was resisting so much all the while when I thought I'd reached Zen. Condemning others for their choices in life, no matter how petty they may seem to me was FAR from Zen. I had just found another way to be angry at things outside of me, blaming them for how life is.

So, my "living for the moment" consisted of taking a deep breath, immersing myself in that water of life, and going underwater as fast as I can without looking at anything, making it to my "destination," and coming up for air, frustrated because I didn't like the view that was around me. I never saw those feelings and emotions, because I didn't want to; I wanted to push them away, as I thought they could do nothing for me anymore. I'll be an Olympic swimmer of sorts, taking "risks" like I never have before. Was I really doing that? No, I was pushing away natural parts of my being, mistakenly believing that they were worthless. I allowed everything I was learning to numb me, to intoxicate me.

For the record, no one has ever implied or told me that feelings or emotions are bad things to have, but it is important what we do with them. They need to be used merely as a "barometer" to check how we are dealing with our lives. They are not facts! For instance, even if I wake up with an anxious feeling inside, I can still have a great day. That feeling or emotion does not have to dominate the span of 24 hours; it can be maybe 24 seconds that you ponder something, weigh its importance, and even if it is truly something important, you have a better perspective of it because you don't see it as a threat anymore; rather just as something that is a necessity of day-to-day life.

Those thoughts of impending doom are not our friends; they are the manifestation of a constantly chattering thought-mind. You can't turn off that thing, but you can sure take everything it tells you with a grain of salt. Think of it as a TV set that is always on, and the channel is always changing, the volume is going up and down, and the picture goes from total static to absolute razor sharpness. With a lot of inner work, you can find those "hidden controls," and watch it from as far of a distance, or as close as you like. Once again, not all thoughts and feelings are bad; sometimes a great idea springs from these inner workings! Ask any inventor, artist, musician, writer, or engineer! The key as always, is to stay awake in the present moment, seeing things as they really are...just being.

Once I decided to let go yet again, the funk slowly lifted, and things became even clearer than before. Life is an amazing thing if you allow yourself to experience it, and the lessons that it wishes to teach. I still embrace the teachings of all I've discovered, but I am truly working to implement them within my daily life, more and more each day...


Friday, March 18, 2011

Oh yeah....I'm here!

It sure has been a while hasn't it? I'm still kickin' around, and things are always improving all the time. I've taken some much needed steps in my life. Spirituality was something that was I skeptical of, and even somewhat frightened of in the past. Embracing it was the best thing that I have ever done, and so each day affords me a brighter outlook, no matter what.

This blog was about my struggle with mental illness and the trials and tribulations of life in general. I still plan to continue discussion of this, but rather than focus on the darkness, I wish to bring along the Light as well. Life is full of light and dark energies, thoughts, feelings, etc. How we handle them is what is most important.

So many times I've said, "Gee, I really need to write in my blog!" I do miss writing, as it is still very cathartic, and is a great way to reach out to others. Not much on my mind at the moment (it's too early for that!)

Until next time, be well friends!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lots of dust here...

Wow it's been a few years since I've written in this blog. Admittedly, I lost interest in the whole blogging thing for a while, and felt that I said all that I had to say. I ran out of steam and brilliant ideas! I'm still not brimming with ideas, but I will write once in a while anyway. I've lost the few followers that I had, and that's OK. From here on out it's new and different. You may read the archives if you like, but keep in mind they were from a different time in my life, and I am past that now. I have moved on, yet still a very passionate person. I see a pattern already...the word "but" keeps showing up in nearly every sentence. That's very weird. It's hard to write a non-compound sentence!

More to come in the very near future. Stay tuned!

Friday, November 17, 2006

More Puzzle Pieces...

Back again, Folks!
I'm back again and I apologize for the long hiatus - I just couldn't find the inspiration to write, let alone be truly creative. As creative writers/musicians know, it goes in spurts. Sometimes the well just runs dry, and we need to let it fill up again. In my case, I needed to have a few more experiences in my life to give me inspiration to ruminate about. The time has come.

More Changes...
Loyal readers will notice that I have yet again changed the subtitle of this blog. Why, you ask? I've had quite a bit of free time on my hands lately, and I started to put together some thoughts. Given the facts of my past, prior diagnoses, and the like, they all started to head into the same direction. What I experience in my life is only part of the picture as to why I have so much difficulty coping, understanding, and accepting things, events, and even people that come my way.

Questions and Answers...
Recently, I was out with a friend, and she began talking about how one of her loved ones had this "problem." I had that peculiar feeling that there was much in common between myself and this person. I began quizzing her hypothetically about it - it didn't take her long to realize that I was referring to myself. I gleaned a lot from that conversation, and the wheels started turning in my head again. I did some more research, and took a few unofficial tests online. One said that I scored a 40 which meant that it was highly likely. The average was 32.

I couldn't help but think that this is the "piece of the puzzle" that has been missing. I had often wondered why I have this intense urge for quests of "useless" information, collecting certain things (often many of the same one) and assorted difficulties (relationships being the BIG one.) For the longest time, I have resigned myself to the fact that "that's just me and how I am." But now it is beginning to become clearer as each day passes! There WAS a reason why I was taken to a university hospital in the late 70's and given PET scans, brain scans, lots of tests, and why I was put in several "special" reading groups even though my reading, grammar and spelling were perfect. Why else would I have a college reading level even before leaving elementary school (somewhere in 5th or 6th grade,) and have such a hard time with simple concepts (common sense) and ideas, as well as grasping humor?

Here's The Kicker...
But the BIGGEST one of all was "Oh, so that's why my dad told me that the doctor said I was mentally retarded!" It was probably autism - A highly developed form of it, known as Asperger's Syndrome. In summary, I didn't act right, and they didn't know what to do with me, so they put me with the other children imprisoned in the Special Education program. For them it's like being trapped in a mental hospital, and on display for all to see.

What? My Kid? No Way!
My dad was in a rage. He wanted to strangle the doctor - No one likes to be told that their child has a disability! Maybe the doctor didn't mean it that way, but didn't know how to express it. I am pretty sure of this though - when my mom passed away (I was three years old at the time,) It CHANGED me! That trauma took a lot out of me, and disguised itself as "hyperactivity," and later manifested itself in extreme bouts of rage and sadness, with the occasional "hyper feeling," which appeared as bipolar disorder. Now, I'm not saying that I do not have bipolar, but that it was only one part of the picture, the other (and hopefully final) part was Asperger's.

What Does This All Mean?
Now, keep in mind that I haven't been officially diagnosed with Apserger's, but I'm very certain that it's there. I'm not looking to use this as a crutch or a label, but as a tool to help my better understand myself, the world around me, and to feel closure to my uncertain past. I have used the "tools" that were given to me through this disorder (analytical thinking, incredible mimicking abilities, and deep comprehension,) as survival mechanisms to get through life. I truly think that if I didn't have those, I would still be in some sort of special program today, not living on my own, and not being able to pursue my dreams. I don't feel regret - rather I feel grateful for what this has given me - I have many assets that I am able to use every day not only to help myself, but to help others as well.

Thank you , Lord.