Friday, July 27, 2012

What's Love Got To Do?

image credit.... dd mag

You're the only one who knows when you're using things to protect yourself and keep your ego together and when you're opening and letting things fall apart, letting the world come as it is - working with it rather than struggling against it. You're the only one who knows.....Pema Chodron

the strangest discontent seems to have settled over me as of late. i find that i am tired more than i remember. i feel helpless with regard to my good friend who is getting sicker. i have sensed some things change around me where i spend most of my day and angst whooshes into the vacant space created by the changes.

i am reminded of buried thoughts and beliefs and they create unease like whisper of rumors by ghosts of those lost. my nature and my shortcomings  circle back into my daily life like jehova's witnesses knocking with inconvenience.

there is no fanfare here. there is no depth of despair. it is merely inconvenience and what i call the mirror of cruelty. sometimes in my living, i will catch glimpses of myself and the image i see in the shop window i am passing or the mirror across the room while in the loo and be gobsmacked. i won't want to see the image in front of me but i do. i recognize the image clearly, but am disconnected from the possiblility that i  resemble that image. these reflections i encounter can only come from a mirror of cruelty. it's hard truth, and it ain't pretty- at all.

the gift in this though is humility. i completely believe there's a gift in this. i still get inspired to a high degree in my life and i think that a sense of entitlement and impenetrability entwine my reality. so maybe the recurrence of  my former self helps to tether me to earth.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

that's life

image credit...

That's life(That's life)I tell you,
I can't deny it
I thought of quitting, baby
but my heart just ain't gonna buy it
And if I didn't think it was worth one single try
I'd jump right on a big bird and then I'd fly
I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king
I've been up and down and over and out and I know one thing
Each time I find myself layin' flat on my face
I just pick myself up and get back in the race

i don't really know quite how to begin this post. so i guess i'm just gonna let her rip. just past midnight on thursday morning in a movie theater located in the outskirts of aurora colorado, a mysterious and angry gunman burst through the exit doors and starting blasting his automatics in the seats. panic ensued and the agitated one started using the fleeing audience members as target practice, like this killing 10 non-provoking movie-goers and injuring 70 others. bullets even pierced the walls of the theater and hit 2 or 3 persons in the next theater over.

many many coloradans have been shocked like this before at columbine. and most of the people i know who  were around during the famous school massacre have had an ache reopened that was hoped had been buried forever. trauma may actually never go away though. as much as i hate it, i must acknowledge it exists. and it takes up space.

i am picking up this post a day later. there sure have been some things that have transpired since yesterday.  i took my mother to see "to rome with love". it was so forgettable and bland. but i did it to support her really. she had called me in the middle of the day on friday to talk about the shootings. i was busy and didn't really feel like talking, but i shifted gears on purpose and made myself available to listen. it actually helped me a little i think to be available. and i decided to follow up with a film because she mentioned that she was leery of the theater experience now. we went, and i think she moved through something.

i shared today at a meeting about what i know now about myself. i grew up in a house where my mother drank too much way too often and had several dysfunctional, often turbulent, and sometimes violent relationships. i learned early on to turn a cheek to fear and terror in order to survive. otherwise i would have been over run by fear a good amount of the time.

my belief is that i am good to have around in a crisis because i have learned to surf the fear and the crazy pretty well. i fall apart when things are calm, but when there is an incident such as the shooting on thursday, i turn outward and don't look in. that my first response.

after a few weeks, i saw my sponsor today. he has been very ill and is struggling with finding balance and emotional safety. i realized that my first response is handy, but is not what is needed in this situation. i need to be pushy, i need to be loving, and i need to be around him. this i think i can do. at least i hope so.

i have written once or twice on how busy i have kept myself and how confused i become about the direction in which i am traveling. all that continues to be. i am realizing that my expectations and my ego do get in the way of the work i am doing. i am trying to ignite culture change at my workplace, and i find that my intention gets muddied over credit and acknowledgement.

who'd have thought that i am just as human as the next guy? i guess that's life. and honestly, i am blessed to be here. so i guess i'll just keep moving forward.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

somebody that i used to know

image credit... giampaolo sgura

                                               Now and then I think of when we were together
                                               Like when you said you felt so happy you could die
                                                        Told myself that you were right for me
                                                           But felt so lonely in your company
                                               But that was love and it's an ache I still remember

                                                You can get addicted to a certain kind of sadness
                                                     Like resignation to the end, always the end
                                                 So when we found that we could not make sense
                                                       Well you said that we would still be friends
                                                    But I'll admit that I was glad that it was over…. gotye

the last couple of weeks have been the slowdown after a couple of months of a whirlwind in my life. i had been so very occupied all 7 days and most nights for most of the spring that i hardly had time to catch my breath or get any perspective. recently though, i am steeping in some uncertainty, a strained relationship or two, and a general loss of direction.

part of me is worried because i generally thrive on being inspired and do well when i don't take time to reflect. but these recent days and this downshift offer me a not so easy but necessary peek at the road now traveled. a dance or two with serenity have graced me with a deeper understanding of my own nature and biology.

it has mostly been my style to inspect my feelings and my struggles and certainly there is that natural bent today. it is not where i need to take my introspection at this time. i need to apply the technique i suggest to so many others so very often. i need to zoom out.

i sit on the board of a recovery organization and there is so much to do with not enough know-how. i have to accept that my best is good enough, even though everything won't be perfect in my eyes. and i have to let others take leadership roles, help out, and make mistakes. all this imperfection does not translate into a poor job or a failed me.

at my work, i do not get to make the decisions. many of the rules and policies don't seem to be geared toward the goals i have with my work. this creates conflict for me. i have a tendency to feel useless and want to give up, rather than stay in the game and work towards change- including compromise and defeat. i want to face a defeat with abandonment, because that is what i have always done. maybe i have never felt connected enough to anything or anyone to work through conflict. it's always been less complicated to leave. even if i lose a piece of my heart.

as i write, i lean toward thinking how fucked up i really am. that phrase, albeit applicable, isn't the story. it isn't all me. it's just the damaged part of me. the part that continues to lose influence as i walk with the light. creating change in my life is in process. i am patient. i am impatient. i have faith. i struggle to remember faith. its all jumbled and it seems so clear.

i have fewer close friends than i have ever had in my life. but the friends i have are simpler and more honest than i ever imagined. i am gobsmacked at times by the clarity that my intermittent interactions with friends provides. and i have never felt more comfortable by myself before.

To undertake a genuine spiritual path is not to avoid difficulties but to learn the art of making mistakes wakefully, to bring to them the transformative power of our heart.......Jack Kornfield

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

people like us


after reading a couple of reviews online, i had shied away from bothering to see this film. prior to that, there had been only anticipation on my part. but the review that soured me was from usa today and said something about mawkish cliches featuring unreal people yada yada.

those words and that sentiment are biting and offputting. for some reason- probably chris pine- i decided to see it anyway and boy-o-boy was i surprised. just like a really incredible birthday present surprise - one that really fits and looks good. i had no idea "people like us" would give such a sweet and endearing look at the frailties of modern american families. i didn't find alex kurtzman's sweet and tender film a bit mawkish- only the reviewer seems mawkish.

i got hooked pretty early on. any movie than jon favreau takes time to participate in,  usually works for me. the story seemed real- at least most of it. the connections and the disconnections between these two siblings is very familiar to my own story. i have two siblings that i have not connected with much at all. the very few encounters i have had with both have been rife with hurt and rivalry, fear and mistrust, anger and denial. this is my truth and i watched it being played out on the big screen so very adeptly.

michelle pfeiffer's performance i think might be my favorite of hers to date. she was stellar. imperfect, quite flawed actually, and tough. elizabeth banks is so perky as a recovering alcoholic bartender who is adrift in her life. and of course i loved the 12 step bits. but chris pine really stole the show. he has a tendency to breathe life into his lines (and the story) in a way that seems so very fresh and organic. loved him in star trek, but this one made me a fan.

without a doubt, the young man's role- the son, nephew, and grandson is perhaps the glue that binds it all. we find him in the throes of acting out his frustration, but his shenanigans (and more) are so very transparent and penetrable that i couldn't resist believing that i wanted to help this kid somehow. and the characters in the film must have felt the same way. his behaviors never overshadowed his feelings which are at the heart of this film. i guess it is "people like us" that still connect to all the things that were f'd up in our childhood and our families.

if you haven't seen it, i am not gonna give you the plot or the bits. suffice it to say that it seems to me that no matter what the "focus on the family" folks try to sell at the carnival, american family life is splintered and disparate in enormous ways. we have again become nomadic and gypsy-like, technology and commerce leading some of our choices, while libido and lust still  bring us to howl at the moon.

the loveliest thing i took away was hope in our spirit. our human ability to cope with things that are not easy to cope with. we lie, we cheat, we are greedy, we manipulate to get what we want, and yet we hope for the best and we can often find a way to make good of a very very difficult situation. of course i have no choice in the matter, but i am glad i am "people like us"

i have included the liz phair song written specifically for this movie as well as an interview with her about that process. all in all, a thoughtful and introspective time was delivered by this movie. i needed a look back and a look in. and i did it with some kind thoughts in my heart.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Come In From The Rain

it's finally raining here after almost a month of 90+ degree weather and fires burning all throughout colorado, wyoming, and new mexico. during this drought, i have felt parched and arid emotionally as well. i have been working a lot at a lot and putting in hours and thought into quite a few projects and almost crashed.
but then the rain came. it has slowed things down. it has made me stay in. it has cleaned the smoke from the air and offered respite. and i have taken it.

when i take the time to remember that i will be okay with or without any success or failure, i feel better. sometimes there seem to be so much riding on my decisions. this idea is true, but it is my decisions about serenity and priorities that are crucial, not my business decisions. it's so so very easy to lose sight of what's important.

and when i catch myself- it must be time to come in from the rain.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


The Star-Spangled Banner

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner - O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.