Tuesday, May 22, 2012

let the river run

colorado river- horseshoe bend arizona

When you begin to touch your heart or let your heart be touched, you begin to discover that it's bottomless, that it doesn't have any resolution, that this heart is huge, vast, and limitless. You begin to discover how much warmth and gentleness is there, as well as how much space...pema chodron

life is full again. so many good thoughts. so many great  opportunities. numerous kind words exchanged. promise and practice. i didn't know i could let go so unwillingly. of course, i struggle way too much. but i am finding it (finally) to be really quire tiring.

i was to go on a date last weekend but plans changed and i found myself relieved because i honestly can't say i feel date-ready. i am riding a wave of change at my workplace that i somehow had anticipated and channeled. i get to see ideas come to fruition and savor accomplishment. i smile most of the time and it is not about creating reality. this is my reality.

naivete aside, i don't attach any forever here. it is now. it is amazing. it is all the way live.

the pema chodron quote above has snuck its way into my psyche. if i think about the last few years of sobriety, i am immediately accompanied by the onset of ancient feelings that prior to sobriety, i had no real idea existed. but exist they did, and fester they did, deep down inside imprinting furrows and crevasses that petrified and fossilized much of my interior.

if a miracle is a shift in perception as a course in miracles defines, then i find myself opening a shop on miracle boulevard. and i hope to open for visitors soon. something has definitely shifted. i have let go of some fear that i couldn't until just very recently. quietly and without fanfare, the refreshing waters of forgiveness and letting go in many many facets of my life have refreshed the dried up river beds of my memories.

i am thankful today. i am in awe. i am humbled. i believe. let the river run.. and i'm gonna run through it barefoot with laughter in my heart. let the river run.

It's asking for the taking.
Come run with me now,
the sky is the color of blue
you've never even seen
in the eyes of your lover.

Oh, my heart is aching.
We're coming to the edge,
running on the water,
coming through the fog,
your sons and daughters. 
carly simon


post script- when i was in the lgbt chorus here in denver in the early 90's - we sang this song. that show reminded me how much i love to be behind the scenes as on stage. that versatility remains a strong part of my program.

Friday, May 18, 2012

start where you are

image credit.. mark zibert

The slogan "Be grateful to everyone" is about making peace with the aspects of ourselves that we have rejected. Through doing that, we also make peace with people we dislike. More to the point, being around people we dislike is often a catalyst for making friends with ourselves. Thus, "Be grateful to everyone."
If we were to make a list of people we don't like--people we find obnoxious, threatening, or worthy of contempt--we would find out a lot about those aspects of ourselves that we can't face. If we were to come up with one word about each of the troublemakers in our lives, we would find ourselves with a list of descriptions of our own rejected qualities, which we project onto the outside world. In traditional teachings on lojong it is put another way: other people trigger the karma that we haven't worked out. They mirror us and give us the chance to befriend all of that ancient stuff that we carry around like a backpack full of granite boulders.
"Be grateful to everyone" is a way of saying that we can learn from any situation, especially if we practice this slogan with awareness. The people and situations in our lives can remind us to catch neurosis as neurosis, to see when we're in our room under the covers, to see when we've pulled the shades, locked the door, and are determined to stay there....Pema Chodron Start Where You Are

Read more: http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Buddhism/2000/11/Be-Grateful-To-Everyone.aspx?p=1#ixzz1vHK0hieO

i haven't had much time lately to write. besides, i have been un-numbing from the news that my financial situation has become clearer and more focused. if i really look, i see that my many roles in my lives seem to all be shifting. it should be comical.

if there was a situation for the practice of faith, i might be finding myself in the middle of one. my nature revs up and i feel compelled to pull out a packet of dried drama and steep it in my world. this urge beckons me like the spirit of barnabas collins to let it live in my world once again. i am in zones of unknowing on several levels and i am pausing.

this in and of itself is a short miracle. i honestly don't know if i will see it through without recidivism- not substance- just behavior. but i am gonna work at it. it is very much like wearing a new pair of shoes. they feel great, but foreign none-the-less.

it's all nutsy and new, but i am certain that i am moving in a direction i need to go. i move forward in faith not certainty. and with hope.

the 5-points jazz festival is tomorrow and i am going with a friend to see this local band. i have a full day of training new peer coaches at work and then off to the neighborhood next door for some tunes. the funny thing is that my friend thought we would be going to see a european techno-chillout ensemble, but we will be seeing a local cover band. ah well- it's a saturday night..:)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

this year's love (or how i will spend my summer)

Welcome to the logo for the 2012 Rally For Recovery Colorado
Designed by RocketHouse Designs
 11th annual Rally hosted by AFR and held in Denver Colorado
September 8 2012
 Walk For Recovery 
meet up 9am Union Station Denver
walk to Civic Center Park arrive 10am 
Greek Ampitheater Civic Center Park
 City and State Officials proclaiming September is Recovery Month.
Selected family members share recovery experiences.
3 hours of music, fun, food, and celebration.
Resources for people new to recovery.
fun for kids-art, games, bouncy castle
Colorado Recovery Communities Come Together

Recovery is Real
Recovery Works
Recovery Heals Families


and now here's one of my favorites songwriters.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Shirley Horn - "Quietly There"

i have this cd playing in my car right now. every time i slip behind the wheel and start the ignition, i am whisked away to a magical time in a recording studio somewhere and shirley re-teaches me that some things just ain't that important.

here's to life
yet again ms shirley horn..
i truly adore you.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


image credit... ronald n. tan

i have been appointed to sit on a planning and advisory council for the newly formed office of behavioral health for colorado. this system shift is due mainly to the anticipated health care reform shift which is intended to create parity for mental health and substance abuse disorders in the larger health care system.

man- there seems such a distance to travel. the current status quo is sectioned into quadrants and the  players  du-jour are conditioned to fight for their selective scraps.  my interest is twofold i think.

firstly i remember struggling to contain my behavior and my use when i was younger. because of lack of understanding mostly, i believed that something was intrinsically wrong with me which caused me to constantly fuck up. it was as if it was expected. had my small town, my family, and my educators understood bi-polar disorder better, perhaps an intervention early could have saved me from suicide attempts, running away from home, and the lifestyle of a gay runaway that came with heavy drug and alcohol use and addiction, ptsd, and hiv. lgbt youth and adults, persons with multiple occurring disorders, children of single parents, lgbtq families (of all colors) rarely sit at these policy shaping tables.

secondly, i wonder if the veil of aloofness that accompanies psychiatrists is truly helpful for the patients. i know it is to protect the providers and i can accept that. but i think that relationship is one of the main driving forces  behind behavior change and the nature of psychiatrist-patient relationships leaves the one getting paid in the relationship with far more than the one behind the payments. and since my new task involves advocating for people with no money there are very few people minding after their interests. peer coaching and recovery oriented relationships may offer the lubricant that could enable some of our citizens to seek more spiritual ground.

i am curious about the direction the next year or so will take me. i breathe in hope that a more holistic people oriented system will replace the policy oriented system we currently have. my experience was that i had to jump through substance treatment hoops to be assessed for any other mental health issues. the catch-22 there is that i had become accustomed to self medicating my mental well being and it took several years for me hurt enough to be willing to change. this is a provider driven policy. jump through hoop 1 and then you earn a chair at the big table- where you will asked a plethora of questions and then given a prescription. but make sure you find someone else to talk with because the prescriber will remain aloof.  this process took me  awhile to swallow and accept as well. there was no one i remember offering me any guidance during this process. not like 12 step- where a sponsor becomes a cultural guide. i wish i had access to a guide like that for my medication journey as well as my ptsd journey and my shame journey (all of these continuing btw)

and i guess this is where prevention fits in. had there been education about mental health and lgbt issues, as well as thoughtful early interventions including healthy discussions about substance abuse and mental health medications, i might have had a different path. i wouldn't choose it now, but i would like to make it a possibility for those that come after me.

what i hope is that this effort will help shine a greater light upon the idea that our people who get hiv, hep-c, many cancers put themselves in the vulnerable positions to contract these illnesses because earlier behavioral health issues went unaddressed. i am becoming an advocate for a behavioral health transformation- prevention, holistic treatment, and recovery. we might save lives, we certainly will save heartache, and undoubtedly save resources.

i dream that we can move towards a more inclusive system- and philosophy. the sheer numbers of people that  are being shut out is increasing before our eyes. and all the while we are barraged with messages of how more and more people don't deserve to be at the big table. and the rest of us writhe passively, numbed out by the sheer audacity of separatism and the cacophony of shrews.