Wednesday, August 31, 2011

rolling stone

image credit... denis darzacq

here i am on wednesday evening after finalizing the agreement to list my townhouse for sale. it has become embarrassingly evident that the loss of 28 percent of my annual income has taken a toll. i am a mixed bag of emotion- shame, sadness, worry to name a few, and have been scattered and detached for awhile. once i came to the decision that i did, i have felt myself pulling back into the present.

i have changed my job duties, my job title, and the department i work for and now am beginning a transition for my residence and my financial life. i have been in the middle of a storm of sorts in my life and by the grace of a power greater than myself, i have managed to maintain a spiritual life. sometimes the ordinary can appear so very extraordinary.

it is sad to think of leaving my comfort zone. i have been here for 4 years and have grown up quite a bit emotionally here. i first truly came to feel and recognize how stunted my emotional life had been before sobriety. i never understood how toxic shame really is until i found an ancient seed germinating after reliving a drama. it has taken almost 4 years for me to learn how to begin to soothe myself when someone i trust does not  continue to be trustworthy. and it does continue to happen. and i am sure i trust much less easily.

with all this in mind, perhaps this residence shift is a metaphor telling me it is time to move on. moving on is not the easiest task for people with trauma. my experience is that i am much more comfortable when terrorized than i am when things are unknown. and today, i feel confident that moving on will reap some rewards and offer me new insight and a new focus for my future.

my friend jim chandler passed away this week. he had been staying at a hotel in ohio (on kaiser's dime) waiting for a liver transplant. something went awry and he was in icu for 21 days and the whispered away. jim was a minister at the denver church of religious science. he contributed fairly regularly to the newsletter we publish. jim was always  wearing a positive message with spiritual undertones.

i remember when my friends and i wanted to start a gay men's 12 step meeting that focused on meth, he offered space at the church. there were already other meetings there, however my understanding is that many board members did not want tweakers roaming free in the building in the evening. jim advocated for the meeting, citing the outrageously high number of gay men who had meth issues, as well as the hiv transmission rates that involved meth. he never boasted about this, he just did it quietly- and potently.

i watched part of the 2011 vma award show and particularly liked russel brand's tribute to amy winehouse. he pointed out succinctly and lovingly that although amy lived with a very evident drug and alcohol issue, that there indeed is a solution for this. and he wanted to remind all the patrons of the show that a solutions did exist.

i have remarkably come to believe that living with an active faith is far more prudent than not. i love my atheist friends, but i am more enamored with the safety net that faith provides. i never wanted to have to rely on anything like faith when i was young. it seemed so weak. but as the gray antiques my temples, i realize that i struggled with relying on anything because i didn't grow up with a lot of that around. i believed then that a rolling stone was less prone to heartbreak and i lived much of my life that way.

and here i am on the move again.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Birthday Beauties

went to maroon bells in aspen this year for my birthday. it's a beautiful place as i hope you will see by the pics. there are also a coupla pics of my mom who drives me insane and makes me feel normal at the same time-not an easy feat. there is also a pic of my friend alex. he had coffee with me on this morning and was regaling me with tales of his adventure to nebraska to photograph and film a firebird for a new piece he's working on. - consider buying something from him won't you?

for breakfast this morning i made scrambled eggs with diced tomato, cream cheese, and fresh tarragon. served with homemade hash browns, sliced peached and sliced rocky ford melon.. yummmmm

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

i am changing

image credit.... paul mahder 

All of my life I've been a fool
Who said I could do it all alone
How many good friends have I already lost?
How many dark nights have I known?
Walking down that wrong road
There was nothing I could find
All those years of darkness
Could make a person blind
But now I can see

i didn't really watch the glee project much this season. it seemed contrived and i have been preoccupied and in quite a bit of transition this year. my primary job is shifting, my finances have shifted, i left my second job (which connects to the prior), the funding for ryan white is beginning to shift, and i think that some of the dreams i have for my life have shifted as well.

it's been a tough couple of years, actually. as i grow in my clean years, i continue to unearth old bones that need to be handled. self-esteem issues, ptsd, inner child crap, a small yet very persistent and annoying porn fixation, internalized homophobia, shame based trauma- just to name a few. damn- it continues to make sense that i chose to get high... who in their right mind would want to deal with this list of cuckoo?

but deal with it i try. and as i try to ride out the current state of mercury in retrograde with almost white knuckle precision, i tuned in for the last couple of segments of glee project. and the very last show captured my fascination. what a complete (yet short) birds' eye view of young adults realizing their dreams. no doubt they will not turn out as they dream, but they are connected to these dreams of theirs and weaving in the reality of glee to create a tapestry for themselves. at 18 -22, life is so very less complicated. so very more concrete. the possibilities and experiences tend to be rife with black and white, not yet revealing all the shades of gray that more years of living unveils.

so i watched, captivated, as alex did his rendition of "i am changing". i felt stunned as a deer might as he is caught in a set of headlights. i confess i watched the performance several times because it made me feel comfortable or safe in a way i couldn't really pinpoint.

but then i thought back to the 1st time i heard that song. i was living in chicago, working at an after hours club, and partying exponentially, avoiding grief and fear, and nano-recovering as needed. there was a gay video bar on halsted named sidetracks which was unequivocally popular from its inception. i really dug the vids, but i didn't care for the nipple pony, jock-a-like clientele. gay men offered me my first real taste of shame based trauma. i just didn't realize it back then. anyway, dreamgirls had been playing in new york for a season or two, when the vid of jennifer holiday hit the circuit. i first beheld her linebacker-like choreography and drank in her complete command of words and melody in that song at sidetracks. and i first noticed that the people who were actually lip syncing or singing along were the buffed-up jockabees and the muscle boys. that particular irony is with me still.

i found all that broadway show tune business uber-syrupy back then. i couldn't connect to similarities in the guys who listened to this music, or the clones in the gay community and myself then. i was certainly queer, but i had also branded myself as alternative and worked hard at maintaining boundaries about home, in bars and social settings,  i had heard and  felt the sharp tongues of gay men steeped in self-loathing and it had pierced my heart and left a dark empty space. i carried that wound for many years. it was toxic. it had made me wanna run for a long time.

i remember that when i first heard it, and i saw so many cute butchie-boys celebrating their inner dreamgirl, i became less afraid and felt just a little less apart that night in sidetracks. but as i listened to it today, with that sweet and complicated young man standing on stage in 9-5 drag, i understood that my heart is in a very different orbit.

i believe in possibility today. i am with fear, but not swimming in it. today i work to see an individual's human qualities first. i continue to struggle with sharp tongues, but mostly my own. i want others to succeed, even if i don't. i continue to struggle with many of the same issues, but now i struggle- i don't ignore.  i am so happy that things are different. and blessed. i certainly found life very frothy when i was young, but i know things are in a much better place now. happy birthday to me (friday).

and to alex newell.... work it..

Monday, August 22, 2011

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

happy 10

happy 10th birthday
The years teach much which the days never know.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

an online friend celebrates his sobriety birthday this week. i would humbly ask that you visit his site and savor some blessings that 10 years can bring.. happy birthday jeremiah... and thank you.

DELPHINE VOLANGE "Sirènes" (featuring Bertrand Belin)

Friday, August 12, 2011


image credit... alex ibsen

Trust life to hear and respond to your positive words. Say these affirmations every day and your whole world will change for the better.....Louise Hay

i first learned of affirmations in 1985. i had recently tested positive for hiv and my best friend was drifting towards lift off from this life. i was more than willing to try anything at that point, because what was happening around me was mayhem. pure and simple and overwhelming.there was a woman named louise hay who was working with gay men in los angeles who were dealing with aids. she was tossing around ideas like we had the ability to reverse the direction this virus was taking us. that we had allowed the space for aids to move into our lives. we deserved to heal from the terror that was seeping into our spiritual foundations. these were radical ideas at the time. i remember feeling somewhat intoxicated from the audacity of her words and her beliefs. and i would humbly submit here that the affirmations i folded in to my own belief system then have so very obviously contributed to the miracle that i am here to post anything.

i have been asked this year to chair the committee that is producing colorado's 2011 rally for recovery. it is hosted by the organization called "advocates for recovery" and i also author a blog for them. the rally will be held in september (national recovery month) at ft. logan. there will be 2 hours of speakers and thank you's, followed by 3 hours of a resource fair, music, fun, and a picnic. we are even working with denverflashmob to produce a flashmob in the middle of the day.

There is a voice in the Universe urging us to remember our purpose for being on this great Earth. This is the voice of inspiration, which is within each and every one of us... Dr Wayne Dyer.

My hope is that the rally this year is indeed a celebration. the relief and peace that has come into so many lives because of recovery is very real, very powerful, and not often very visible. when we think of addiction we have become accustomed to picture the messes and dramas and we look last to the miracle of recovery. recovery does happen. it happens every day. it happens quietly and powerfully and restores order into a chaotic heart and mind and life. this is a fact worth celebrating. 
this year's rally for recovery colorado is powerfully healing, connective, and celebratory. it will surpass expectations of all the participants in its ability to reach across cultures and communities.

Perceive it. Believe it. Conceive it. Receive it!
Process Pain, Passion, and Purpose for Personal Power.
My thoughts are filled with pure love.
I am love and I live my life in love.
I am not alone. I am separated from all that is, only by the thoughts I choose.
I am loveable.
I am loving and kind.
I am whole and perfect, and my seeming imperfections are what make me beautiful.
I am worthy of love.
My life has purpose and meaning.
I take back my power to make the unknown, known.
I nourish myself everyday.
I give and receive love unconditionally.

Why affirmations work

By choosing to think and say positive affirmations as true, the subconscious is forced into one of two reactions - avoidance or reappraisal. The bigger the issue the bigger the gap between the positive affirmation and the perceived inner truth and the more likely that one is going to experience resistance. This is where the subconscious finds it easier to stay with its perceived inner truth and avoid the challenge using any means at its disposal to avoid examining the issue. You will recognise this reaction by a strong negative feeling inside as you state the positive affirmations. Equally if your experience a sense of joy and well being, your mind is instinctively responding to something it believes to be true. When you get this emotion, you know your affirmations are working!
Continually repeating affirmations with conviction and passion will chip away at even the strongest resistance. However there are a number of additional techniques you can use that will super-charge your affirmations and magnify their effectiveness many fold. I will outline these techniques for you later. Once the resistance is broken, your subconscious is able to re-examine the core belief and patterns you have been working on. The effect can be startling and things can change very quickly as the dysfunctional beliefs get identified and replaced by your own new inner truth. Depending on how deep into your consciousness these beliefs lay, every other learned pattern and belief that relied on the original belief as a premise, becomes unfounded. The subconscious has to re-examine them all, this can lead to a period of introspection. If you find yourself experiencing serious resistance or have identified an area of trauma in your life, I strongly urge you to seek professional support, the journey you are embarking on will release you from the past but having proper support around you as you go through the process will make it so much easier.
Because affirmations actually reprogram your thought patterns, they change the way you think and feel about things, and because you have replaced dysfunctional beliefs with your own new positive beliefs, positive change comes easily and naturally. This will start to reflect in your external life, you will start to experience seismic changes for the better in many aspects of your life.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

mercury in retrograde

image credit- stephen beckly

MERCURY RETROGRADE: The purpose of Mercury retrograde is to review and revise our life and our connection with reality. The timing of this universe is geared toward the Sun as it moves through the zodiac. Mercury has an orbit that at times gets ahead of the Sun allowing us to look into the future toward new and innovative ideas. However, we cannot continue in that vein until we come back to the present designated by the Sun and put our new ideas into manifestation. During the time that Mercury jumps ahead, we ultimately have to bring the ideas back into the present to test and evaluate to see how they fit into our life. As Mercury retrogrades back into the present, the connection with the Sun happens as we test drive our ideas and re-align with reality and the natural timing of the universe.
Mercury itself rules how we think, we will be adjusting everything related to thoughts, concepts, ideas, and communication, especially how technology and material elements play a part in the physical manifestation of ideas. When Mercury retrogrades, we find that many parts of our life are being revised. Often these revisions can be a surprise or throw us back a step. However, these revisions which occur during a Mercury retrograde, are a "course correction" and provide a stop gap measure until we can review situations. During this time of revision, change is compounded and confusion is created by our reactions to the ever-changing situations. Thus anything started during this time will ultimately be taken back or even revised further, making for a high-frustration time. This will be especially true with changing our minds, reviewing new ideas and our communication being improved and honed so not to be misunderstood.... read the rest of this post at alphalife

in 2011, mercury went into retrograde just about august 3rd and will start its arc back around august 26th. the technical insanity of my weekend would attest to the inside out quality of this phase. so many things seemed to cease operating and i found myself drifting into a communication void. it was frustrating, humbling, and overwhelming. nothing but surrender led me to peace. now 3 days later, my life is once again connected and at peace, but the nightmare that was this weekend left an imprint. 

i have so many very big changes in front of me and i am completely leery of making a decision during this retrograde period. i am often so fueled by impulse and do not think out my moves. this is precisely one strong explanation for the financial predicament i find myself. i have been told that fear of economic issues will fade once sober, but i believe i have to grow up emotionally before that will happen. and i hope that is what i am doing. 

i have started working with the hep-c+ patients at our clinic. now the intakes are being testes for most sti's and i will be delivering the test results. surprisingly most have remained sti-free through all their marauding. but every now and then, as in today, there is a person who has no idea that they have been exposed to something and need to consider taking care of themselves in a new way. the woman i informed today teared up as we talked. it didn't seem as if she were devastated, but perhaps more that this was one more trauma or burden that she found herself having to bear at this point in her life. i am scheduling follow-ups with all the positives in 1 month and then 1 month later. it is my experience that a person's brain goes numb when they are told, and are unable to take much of anything else in. a month should give that numbness a chance to subside. 

i continue to wait to hear about my transfer at work. it always seems to be such a long wait for these transfers to happen for me. waiting is not my strong suit. and yet i have been doing it for at least a season every year for the past 3. there must be deeper lessons here. 

i read about this remix at andy towle's site. it's a remix of poly styrene's "ghoulish"  with hercules and the love affair. it's etheral and i  really kinda like it.

 Poly Styrene 'Ghoulish' (Hercules & Love Affair Remix) by Poly Styrene 

Monday, August 1, 2011

love come down

i have a friend that i used to work with in another incarnation. she sat next to me in a call center for several years and we laughed and cried our way through our work lives together during those years. i transferred out to san francisco at the turn of the century and we went our own ways. when i returned to denver in 2003, she called me up, got me a job, and loaned me some money to get a house going again. never mind that i was still fucked up with tina. never mind that i blew thru the money and pissed on the job. she remained a true friend and has a secure place in my heart.

about 7 years ago, she was diagnosed with parkinson's disease. naturally it was mind-blowing for her, but i also know it was incredibly strange for all of us who care about her. she stopped working about 4 years ago and her health has been deteriorating since. she trembles religiously and her speech seems to be turning inward. as a friend i discussed earlier this evening, it is becoming impossible to connect to what is happening in her mind. she is feeble, she weighs 92 lbs, and she cannot care for herself at all. she painfully renders a memory of the incredible shrinking woman and it is nothing less than hard to ascend.

i have struggled with  a way to spend time with her without having her sense my uncomfortability. i can't understand her when she speaks, and she likes to chat. she loves to talk and i don't comprehend and i wince when i ask "huh" too often or reply "oh" like i am following. it has been easier to avoid than confront my awkwardness. i haven't allowed myself to cry about my friend for all these years.

yet tonight, i am told that she won't be leaving the care facility she is in, except to transfer to a 24-hour place. her mother has been acting as caretaker, but is nearing 90 and that no longer makes sense. the physicality needed to care for someone losing their muscle control is plenty to underscore the need for a change. but i also realize that not coming home has a deeper relevance. my friend is drifting further away and she seems lost to me. and i haven't been the friend i would like, i've just been the friend i can be right now. i have loved her, but have not shared that with her.

the story is not over. it's simply going on. i am praying that i can tie up some loose ends and give away the feelings i have here. what may truly be a blessing here (all the way round) is if my love would come down. down from my head and flow thru my life.