Wednesday, March 30, 2011

we walk

jean paul gaultier 2011 men's spring collection

"Your life is a sacred journey. And it is about change, growth, discovery, movement, transformation, continuously expanding your vision of what is possible, stretching your soul, learning to see clearly and deeply, listening to your intuition, taking courageous challenges at every step along the way. You are on the path... exactly where you are meant to be right now... And from here, you can only go forward, shaping your life story into a magnificent tale of triumph, of healing of courage, of beauty, of wisdom, of power, of dignity, and of love." Caroline Adams
daily bread is a concept that has shifted drastically for me. it used to be just a thought or a phrase that i heard when i heard the lord's prayer- mostly at meetings- and never really had any personal connection. but now i  am realizing just what might be meant in this prayer and it has everything to do with one day at a time.

each day, i must engage in and complete tasks in order to continue living. of course i have to go to work-sometimes 2 jobs in a day. and at those jobs i have to try to keep myself balanced and my relationships at work in tact and healthy. most days this requires simple maintenance, however some days it seems like so much more. i need to have balance in that life if my life is to remain buoyant. additionally, i have the influence of my personal life, my financial life, my spiritual life and not necessarily in that order. the spiritual influence for me is felt across all those borders. and understanding and keeping balance in all these quadrants.

letting go of naivete requires the understanding that balance, serenity, and happiness are a process not a point on a graph. a process that (for me) includes self reflection an assessment, adjustment and readjustment, healthy doses of amends and forgiveness, and definitely the fortitude to keep moving forward, if only one sunrise at a time. of course, there are definitely some days that require much more tenacity than others. these are the days that perhaps the best we can do is what we always do. we walk.

Monday, March 28, 2011


photo credit: annie liebovitz

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others

with all my mumbo jumbo spouted on my blog, it remains quite clear that some parts of me still struggle with living within the wisdom of the stepwork. it is continually revealed to me that my ego is always using its muscle to re-establish dominance- and it often prevails. i am still running the race to become honest.

i have been increasingly stressed about some financial issues in my life. refusing to take action when they first appeared last year, they have not gone away, but instead festered until it became uncomfortable. my addiction worked in just this way-me not paying attention to the signs that uncomfortablility and possible damage imply, but doing what i want despite the possible consequences. and what follows is my inability to be emotionally available for the people in my life, as i am too busy numbing my feelings.

this pattern, although didn't involve me using drugs or alcohol, has caused harm to others in my life. and it in turn has caused me pain. if only i could just recognize this about myself, tell the truth, and move forward. this is how it is supposed to work. i am not necessarily built that way though. i have thicker skin and i may have a deeper layer of self-protection that needs to be first understood and then worked with to move past this old behavior. but like a bulldog that doesn't want to let go of a plaything, letting go of defensive behaviors is not at all easily come by.

what i know is that i grew up a very effeminate boy in rural illinois in a single parent family. eager for intimacy with men, i became sexually active at a very young age with guys who would then ridicule me publicly about being a sissy and a slut. shame dominated my life and the only way i survived was to develop an outer layer of courage that didn't let any of the insults or gossip in. i pretended not to be touched by all this, because deep down i was sure that if i did acknowledge any of it, i would have broken completely inside. what i now know is that i did break, but that's another story---- no wait... that IS the story- this is behavior that is ancient for me and when i behave like this, i miss the boat because i am not present in my life- i survive some  immediate, but i create more damage and pain downline.

part of this current truth has been reflected in my dealings with a very dear friend. i have recently become so pre-occupied with my own stuff that i have not been present for our friendship. i have not been able to listen, or to be there, or to have the compassion this friend deserves. i have been caught up in the echoes of my own mind.

paul- i am sorry for my terse behavior as of late. it is not my intention to put myself first, but i resort to putting up a front when i am in fear and it has a tendency to hurt others as it works to protect me. i will continue to work toward recognizing this about myself when it happens and not step on the accelerator.  you have never been anything but kind and supportive of me and you deserve the same. it causes me pain to think i may have dismissed or hurt you. if there is something i can do to make the situation better, please let me know. i am sorry. you are very important in my life and you don't deserve to be treated like this.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

removing the blindfold

wherever you go, there you are.
now.. to be brave enough to see yourself

whew! what a month this march has been. as i start to look back it definitely feels as if march aggressively blew in like a lion in my life. and it ripped the blindfold i had been wearing about who i am. it's sobering to be reminded of some weaknesses, especially when it involves my judgement and ego.  sobering indeed to find i  am still impulsive to a fault at times and let my decisions be dictated by my pride. 

but at the end of the day, this simply underlines my humanity. my head understands all this but there is this part that expects so much more from me. if you follow me here, you know this is a broken record. comfort is here though because i am human. flawed, average, vulnerable. no biggie.

i met a guy who spent 23 years in prison. he was released about 5 years ago for a couple of years only to find out he was hiv positive. for some odd reason he went back to the joint after 2 years and is now back out and trying to put together a life. he is homeless, has been smoking crack no doubt because it numbs everything out, and i'm sure he's weighing the options of being on the outside versus going back in.

my impression is that he may not know he is doing this. he's been locked up so long that he may not have the skills or the cojones to carve out a new life. this was a heart-opening meeting for me and i am pulling for him. i guess i am pulling for him in the sense that whatever decision he makes, it won't be too tragic or painful for him. i'll bet he has suffered enough in his life.

the dark side of benzos keeps creeping onto my pages. there are folks who take meds for pain. now many people who do this don't run into negative issues, but there are some who can't seem to moderate themselves. more, more more becomes the battle cry and lying, drama, and greed often follow. and trying to assist in picking up the pieces at this stage can be a roller coaster. air bags not included.

i cried at the conclusion of american idol this week. casey's reaction to being saved was reality tv at its very best. everybody needs a moment or two like that in their lives. and actually, this season seems to be a little more gentle and easy as far as the judges go. maybe simon brought an unnecessary critical edge. i guess we'll see.

meth is still cutting a swatch through the field of young gay men's dreams in my town. guy after guy keep turning up with broken lives, dessimated hearts, and hollowed out eyes in need of some tlc. don't know if we have all they need, but we have redefined our focus on how to help. knowing this and living this offers me reprieve. i just hope others get some, too.

i came across a guy named mike posner 'cuz he did a cover of adele's "rolling in the deep" (embedded in sidebar) which immediately became a favorite. his album debuted in august '10 and i think he is probably one to watch - or listen for...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

invisible light

I'll call you anything you want if I can say it's mine.
This story's never ending.
My footprint's been erased.
Here you are, kiss of Evil,
I see your mouth, Or is it really...

had dinner at parallel 17 last night with friends and then went to Vintage Theatre to see their production of "Equus". quite a full Saturday evening for me. dinner was very very good as has come to be expected from p17's upscale vietnamese offerings. the company was sweet. there were three people who share in a community garden so there was lots of talk about seeds, vegetables, and cooking. all things that i love dearly.

the play was memorable. maybe partially because the space is so small and we sat front row. but i think more memorable because the lead performances were steeped in truth and the play itself is compelling and reigns you in as it methodically unveils the workings of a psychotherapist and his dance with a young man who has developed a toxic theology to protect himself from the real world he inhabits.
both provided a lovely distraction from my routine and gave me distraction from my current disappointment. i must say i am highly confused about where i am right now. this feeling of let-down has rolled onto my life very much like the most recent tsunami, tainting almost everything in its path. i find myself trying to figure how where to start shovelling up and digging out. frankly, not only does it feel as if the wind is knocked out of me, but i am afraid of what i am going to find when the clean-up begins.

last week i remember watching the footage from japan and trying to find faith in all that disaster. and i find that i am juggling the same concepts today. i haven't necessarily lost faith. i just have to rekindle my connection to it. no doubt, on reason i find myself feeling as i do now is a result of disconnect.

having a sense of direction seems a great relief when contrasted with
 disillusionment and disappointment.

Friday, March 18, 2011

mirror of cruelty

“My upbringing made me as I am now. But I can become merry and happy at once. There were many years I was feeling at a loss about my life or how I grew up. I couldn't understand what is right or what is precious. At that time, I was so miserable and self-defeating. I was feeling angry with various things. My anger came up to the surface then. I don't say such tendency has disappeared. Even now there are anger and the dark side in myself. But it's the first time I've been so close to the light.”... Johnny Depp

i hit a small professional milestone recently and today it culminated in a review, a diagnostic, and a repositioning. somehow recently amidst a lost of shifting around me, i got the impression that i would be shifting, too. alas, i have been sprinkled with disappointment. actually, today i even feel a bit drenched.

part of me knows that my wilted hopes are all my own design. bittersweet headline at best. knowing that i arranged my own pain has really not made the sting less sharp. my ego is all wrapped up in this mess. i love so much about where i am, but there is some not-so-love in here too. i find the reflections of myself startling me out of delusion more frequently than i prefer.sometimes, much like when i catch a reflection of myself in a window as i am walking, or as i slip by the bathroom mirror in the morning, and what looks back at me seems a bloated,  distorted. and deformed me, the realization that my hurting today is  an offshoot of an overestimated expectation planted by yours truly stinks.

photo credit Itzhak Ben-Arieh

i wanna scream out loud-"when is the world gonna give me more than i have?".."why am i not appreciated?"
without doubt, this is ego insanity. i am only suffering in my mind. i imagine i need certain "things" in order to feel loved. i need prestige to determine my worth. and i want things to assure me i am lovable. all this crap is just like an addiction. always needing more to try to be happy.

yuk.. i don't find fun in looking at the not-so-pretty sides of myself. i so would prefer to think myself as close to perfect as possible. sadly though, perfect is not even part of the truth. i am average. greedy, egotistical,  power-hungry, and no-better-than average.

love, love, love pixie lott

Sunday, March 13, 2011


John Lennon

i cannot really tell you just why asking for help is such an enormously difficult thing to do sometimes, but it is.i
have just come out the other end of re validating this fact. more than anything else, i understand it mostly has to do with my ego and my aversion to appearing weak. of course, this makes little sense when at every turn i secretly remind myself of how i don't deserve this or that, and i love nothing more at times to underline and highlight all the mistakes i make. so why allowing this perception out into the world seems so hypocritical, yet on that insane landfill is where i repeatedly plant my flag.

i would like to say that i fear being told "no", which may have some whispers of truth, but mostly it's me, trying to be an island. but i managed to swallow my pride- with several big gulps, and asked someone for help. they told me they were unable to assist me in the way i wanted, but could manage it another way. i felt grateful, but not relieved. so i had to ask another sweet soul for help.  whew! this time it was a go. and i was thanked for asking.

I will always remember a quote from leslie j regarding help. he said he had written H-E-L-P on his bathroom mirror in soap and everyday as he readied himself for the world,  he would be reminded
HELP = His Ever Loving Presence. I must remember that I can always ask for H.E.L.P. because He is always here :

Thursday, March 10, 2011

about to fall....

photo credit andrea vecchiato
When I'm not afraid to fail, I wont. When I'm not afraid to fall down, falling down won't feel like failure. I have fallen down enough to get more comfortable with it, to know how productive it can be, how necessary it is to growth. Still, when I sense the ground beneath me giving way, I have to remind myself that it's OK if I falter. I have to remind myself that it's more than OK!

falling down has so much to teach me. if only i could learn as quickly as the needs arise. i find myself in the middle of a fairly grand fall n my life. it's not so much my outer layer of security that is affected, but it definitely is wearing out my ego. i am reminded vividly by my circumstances that i am not without flaw, i am far from fault-free, and i have much to learn about collaboration and teamwork. i misread my colleagues, i move in and out of trust too easily, and i am not as smooth or seamless as i like to think.

if this weren't sobering enough, i cannot run and hide as my imperfections flare up. instead, i must keep moving forward with a smile and a healthy helpful attitude, as this is the person i have committed to become. swallow my fear, comfort my inner child who is mortified yet again at my lack of perfection, and have faith that i will live through it.

all his seems jumbled somehow as i type, but i know that what i am struggling with is ego. plain and simple i am terrified of looking stupid, making a misstep, or looking foolish. and no doubt there is a lesson here to be won here. it's almost like i am playing musical chairs and i am praying that the music won't end. such a crazy way to live.

i am hoping more than anything that i can get to the place that i am courageous enough to just let go (and let god). free falling is the space i believe that grace is cultivated. long way to go..

i am reminded of pema chodron here ... mostly because i need to learn more deeply how to walk the walk.
"Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found." — Pema Chödrön


Friday, March 4, 2011

the biggest mess

today i sat in a room full of gay men with hiv who are working through some issues in their lives caused by substance use and watched a short video called "the biggest mess". it is an educational film about party drugs done in the format of a campy beauty contest with the same name as the title and speaks about how absolutely ugly messy some people get when the overuse. It's dated now (produced  in 2003) but it makes a clear shot as it illustrates the dark side of the party for gay guys. 

it is hard not to laugh at some of the obvious jokes in the film. it lasts about 26 minutes and no doubt it stirs the hearts of those who can identify even in the slightest with the subject matter. Party drugs and recreational approaches to getting high are a cultural standard for gay men and the activities can slip into being competitive or obsessive as they often provide direct lines to pleasure and validation. and having some personal experience with being a mess, if found myself sitting in a room of contemporaries of a sort. so many of them at random places of transition in their journey from the ends of their respective tethers back to some semblance of stability. Putting some order back into one's life after having been blown apart is hard work.

as i listened to them share their impressions of the film and relate it to their own stories, it was evident there was more than the lion's share of guilt and self-judgement among them. they seem to be trying to figure out what paths to follow and what voices in their heads actually have meaning and guidance that might have merit.

what i could not help but absorb with the telling of stories was the construction of a poem or perhaps a cantata. the subject was sounded so clearly just like those that have been written about since man's experiences have been catalogued. many of them may very well be on the path of the spiritual warrior. they have travelled hazardously into places unknown and somehow lost site of their way. and here they gather, with a common goal of recapturing grace in their lives. and what beautiful stanzas were devised.

there are now times in my life that i am dumbfounded by the grandeur and the simplicity through which my life meanders. here i sat with these magic men, storytellers, and travellers and saw a glimpse of a miracle. small and quiet and unencumbered, it was a day to remember.

Happiness is every person’s choice, but few make an effort for it.

The Spiritual Warrior is a person who challenges the dreams of fear, lies, false beliefs, and judgments that create suffering and unhappiness in his or her life. It is a war that takes place in the heart and mind of a man or woman. The quest of the Spiritual Warrior is the same as spiritual seekers around the world. The Spiritual Warrior faces this challenge with the clarity and awareness that this war is fought within himself and that Truth and unconditional love are on the other side of these battles....reprinted from

Thursday, March 3, 2011

wheel of fortune

well it has certainly been a full week of bruhaha. the wisconsin governor and his blatant attempt to raid the ark, the call to impeach obama over the defense of marriage act, and the images of a very sallow charlie sheen spouting insanity from his hollow-rehab pulpit. sometimes the absurdity of life in sobriety seems more muddled than those drug-infused days gone by. but then there is the blessing of a sober perspective.

after mr. sheen's interviews, it has become increasingly clearer that he is not simply full of himself and lying through his teeth. in my estimation, this is a thin veneer masking a much more serious illness. his ego is so entwined with some chemical changes that have happened in his brain, that he is driven by some f**ked up impulses and not operating on any logic at all. watching his carcinogenic diatribe was surely like witnessing an execution of a relative through the silence of bullet-proof glass.

what gets lost with all the pundits spouting there sharp criticisms, is that what i really witnessed was the howling of a wild animal in pain. this man has an illness. yes, it sparks really shitty and very toxic behaviors both for himself and those around him, but i glimpsed a suffering soul underneath those behaviors. there is deep pain there and it should have the right to heal. this is the harsh reality of the science of addiction and recovery and it takes a hold on him.  i will reserve this idea in my head and my heart for him. his world may have to fall apart even more, before he lets go of his delusions. hopefully this process won't strip his family of their dignity as well as often can happen. but the wheel of fortune is already in motion. we'll simply have to wait to see where it lands.