I have decided to move on from blogger. it has been a friend for many years, but my belief is that wordpress will offer new advantages and challenges.
please look for future posts at www.afterthepop.wordpress.com
There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.
firstly, ii would request that all readers also read mark olmsted’s blog regarding the passing of phillip seymour hoffman at question marxist. mark olmsted – aka the trash whisperer- touches on the very core of a major challenge with living in recovery- emotional sobriety. people with addictions – both active and arrested- remains the most complicated and treacherous path that I have walked and that those ii walk with encounter.
What is the appropriate behavior for a man or a woman in the midst of this world, where each person is clinging to his piece of debris? What’s the proper salutation between people as they pass each other in this flood?
there are moments in which the clarity and cruelty of feeling are so uber-pronounced and omnipresent that frozen only begins to describe the fear and uncertainty that follow. sometimes an exchange of words or ideas will give a glimpse of unknowing that feels just like the chill of a visiting spirit. someone may something to me that ii am not clear how to take and ii will panic- not because of what was said, but more because of the not knowing how to proceed.
it may turn out that I struggle with emotionality for the rest of my days. it gets easier and the frightful crazy part lasts shorter periods of time. but as mark olmsted points out, it is not how we feel that creates problems, but more how we think we should feel.
There is no feeling without a thought. There is no feeling or thought without a corresponding physical response. We are not many. We are one.
It is a mistake for any of us to so divide ourselves into segments that we lose the sense of ourselves as holistic beings. There is no thought without a feeling. However by singling out a specific aspect of how we as people function, in this case the emotions, specific care can be given on that aspect. Feelings have the power to both take us to heaven and pitch us into hell. Feelings are perfectly capable of telling us the saving truth as well as sending us on the road to destruction. Feelings are powerful. As with all powerful things the task is to control and manage that power so it works to the person’s benefit.
Feelings must be understood for what they are and where they originate if the person experiencing them is to gain a life of sobriety, balance and serenity.
Topics covered in our various products dealing with emotional management:
a friend and ii went to see “lone survivor” yesterday on the big screen (thankfully). it was definitely a bracing experience. ii’m sure there have been enough reviews written about its being based on a true story by the survivor of a mission in afghanistan although ii haven’t ready any of them. ii saw a short trailer of the actors- mark wahlberg, taylor kitsch, ben foster, and emile hirsch along with the director speaking with the author and main character marcus lattrell in a loft somewhere and ii was hooked.
ii have absolutely no desire to compare marcus’ traumatic and heroic journey to any other specifically. his abilities, determination, ingenuity, grace, and most of all his bravery are a gift he continues to share with us through his tale and his living. the human spirit that carries us along the thread of this life is so often much more resilient than our egos every allow us to be. in my opinion this is the case with marcus’ journey.
his story left me speechless (or speckless as someone had posted on facebook) with awe and humility and not at all sure of my real ability to keep trudging forward in the face of this level of adversity. there seemed to be a few layers to this story, but the intimacy of friendship and family leaps out front. our hearts adapt and change to mirror our circumstances and ii never realized what a survival mechanism this is. becoming a part of the military sector requires adaptation in order to stay alive. training is hard, but it is only practice for the actual work which can be both waiting and actual combat. ii walk from the theater quietly back to my life, but this film and it’s stories remain running in the background of my mind.
the glaring hypocrisy involved in the national mindset around how much we ask of them and how little in comparison we are willing to give them after they have given me a fresh perspective on my own participation in my own views. ii don’t believe ii have ever contemplated this with required focus.
then there is the monolithic trauma that is depicted here. my belief is that the actual event involved much more hypervigilence, fear, and confusion that was able to be captured on film. those emotions and the chemicals that race through our bodies and its receptors leave a deep dark impression like a large lightning strike on the landscape which may take the remainder of a lifetime to get beyond.
littrell’s telling of this story is one way he has addressed his demons created on that mountain on the other side of our world. my heart, our lives, and hopefully his- are stronger and wiser because of it. lone survivor – marcus littrell, his journey, his book, and the film feel like a quietly immense and abundant gift.
These people live again in print as intensely as when their images were captured on old dry plates of sixty years ago... I am walking in their alleys, standing in their rooms and sheds and workshops, looking in and out of their windows. Any they in turn seem to be aware of me.
i saw the film “12 years a slave” yesterday and was (and am still) completely gob smacked at its intense beauty and the ferocious and insipidly ignorant evil that weaves through it like a poison gas. the images of beatings, ownership, and poverty still haunt me like a thousand bites of bayou mosquitoes.
when ii was in my late teens, ii read “metamorphosis” by franz kafka which had a similar effect on my heart as well. as ii watched the lead character solomon northup rolling on the floor of the dark dank cellar trying to maneuver with his newly acquired leg irons, ii was reminded of gregor samsa on his bed the morning he woke in the body of a cockroach. he attempted to roll to and fro on his bed just as our hero did.
this similarity caused me to ponder the arc of these characters and perhaps the universal quality that both these stories portray. in no way do ii mean to make light of mr. northup’s situation or journey. quite the contrary actually- it was nothing less than heroic. ii remain awestruck at his ability to remain peaceful amidst such violence and strife. it is a serenity ii may only strive for.
but there is a universality to these written journeys of transformation. life does have a way of landing a house on top of us without our permission or knowing and often we find ourselves thrown into situations that we had no awareness or agreement with. yet it is our path to either survive or surrender. and often- as with our northup character he did both which in buddhist lore is how we find our answers.
there may not be a bigger than life character offered up in film this year. solomon northup’s heart and courage exceed any ii have seen to date. it is not a loud and bombastic cinematic offering with special effects and layered soundtrack. it is at once a small quiet story that screams for retribution and justice to the inner workings of our souls.
this film should be seen by the entirety of our nation and placed in the classrooms followed by discussions. there is human nature represented here that would benefit us all if it were aired out to dry and put on display.
make it an imperative to see this film.
ii found myself eerily feeling violated yesterday as a group ii was involved with finished up. it was a full group and was the final get together for this particular group of individuals. my cellphone was sitting on the table we sat around, someone picked it up and said “whose is this?” ii informed them it was mine and asked to please leave it as ii would retrieve it at the end of group. at the end however, the phone was gone. it required me to call the phone company, call the insurance company, call the people with whom ii had plans later, and drive home to retrieve a second phone then drive to the phone provider to see if they could activate the older phone temporarily.
all the while, ii found myself wondering who was sending me this silent message. concurrently, ii felt that because ii have been working on interventions to interrupt some subtle pharmaceutical (and non) exchanges going on, ii have prolly been creating some animosity. there ii was- at the end of this 12th session ii had spent with most of these people and my cell phone had been lifted. ii am not as savvy as ii like to see myself. ii am not as respected as ii would like to be. ii still have much work to do.
image credit… www.alexibsen.com
one of my good friends moved from colorado to philadelphia 2 years ago. every once in a while i realize that i miss him madly still. he sent a link to his most recent work and ii have posted a few that struck a chord within me. i love that his eyes see things so very differently than i.
“When you open yourself to the continually changing, impermanent, dynamic nature of your own being and of reality, you increase your capacity to love and care about other people and your capacity to not be afraid. You're able to keep your eyes open, your heart open, and your mind open. And you notice when you get caught up in prejudice, bias, and aggression. You develop an enthusiasm for no longer watering those negative seeds, from now until the day you die. And, you begin to think of your life as offering endless opportunities to start to do things differently.”
― Pema Chödrön, Practicing Peace in Times of War