Why I Only Talk About Weather…

The conversation we had today, I more or less just listened to you talk about your life. You seemed fine to hear about how my neighbor cut down their tree or that they are building apartments at the end of my street.

However, when I tried to turn the subject to my career, current or future plans. I merely shared two sentences. You shut down. You said you had to go to the facilities. And our conversation was over.

At what point did hearing about my life become hard for you?

Does hearing about my job pain you because you have trauma from them letting you go after working there for 36 years?

Does my schooling or my future plans pain you because you had aspirations of your own that did not come to fruition?

When I try to talk about my troubles around my skin, does that pain you because you feel responsible since it is hereditary?

When I had surgery this summery they asked who they should call to provide updates about my surgery. I said no one. They said you have your mother listed as your emergency contact and asked, should we call her? I told them no because she would just be surprised. She didn’t even know I was having surgery today.

You didn’t know because you don’t want to know about those things. You sound pained and you shut down anytime I talk about anything real.

So this is why I only talk about the weather.

It took me way too long and a lot of therapy to learn that this was never going to change. To learn that I need to stop trying to expect emotional support from you.

And even after I think I’ve learned it, I still find myself oversharing at times. Thinking somehow, maybe this time might be different.

I had to have EMDR therapy about the time I sat in the Allegiant airport after the Pulse shooting, bawling, and you sat stone faced next to me.

I had to have EMDR therapy about the times I spent, as a 6 year old, in my room crying and praying to a God who never answered, concerning the fact that I liked girls and thought I was broken.

Small traumas resurface in therapy like the times you’d yell at me for only wearing one of the 10 outfits you bought me for school. I only wore one, because it was the only one that I had managed to be brave enough to get you to buy me that came from the boys department. Because everything you made me purchase from the girls department made me feel terrible in my own skin.

So what is my part in all of this. My part, as I’ve learned in recovery about traumas we experience as children, is how I’ve allowed myself to carry that impact forward in my life. And yes, I do say trauma, although I know many had it worse. It took me a long time in therapy to accept that growing up as an emotional child with a non-emotional mother was trauma. It was traumatic for me.

One of the main ways I’ve carried this forward in my life is with my attachment issues. I tend to have insecure and avoidant attachments.

I have a hard time forming close relationships with others. In general, I feel reluctant to share about my life with friends because I think they’ll be bored or disinterested in hearing about it. Or that I’ll receive similar pained, judgmental, or non-emotional responses like I’m used to receiving from you.

I feel more comfortable sharing on a blog or through facebook to acquaintances or strangers. I suppose because there is no attachment there. I think sometimes this gives people a perception about me that is not complete. I think it provides them a sense of knowing me, without really knowing me. Sometimes I resent that, like, “you don’t know me.” Yet I continue to share, LOL.

I tend to overshare with those who’ve not yet earned the right to hear those shares. Because I don’t know how to set boundaries for that. This has at times placed me in a position to be hurt.

Brene Brown stated, “I only share when I have no unmet needs that I’m trying to fill. I firmly believe that being vulnerable with a larger audience is only a good idea if the healing is tied to the sharing, not to the expectations I might have for the response I get.”

I have absolutely not learned this skill yet.

Having self-awareness is great, but sharing it, when it isn’t something that is fully healed, with the wrong people, is extremely dangerous.

I’ve had situations when I’ve done this where it’s met with judgement or acknowledgement that I wasn’t ready to hear. Met with agreement, like, “oh yeah, you do that. Like when you do xyz.”

Thanks asshole. Another amends I need to make.

I literally just shared with you my awareness of that behavior. What I didn’t need was for you to provide me with examples of how I do it. Can I perhaps just get a bit of grace? I’m fucked up and I’m human.

But how can I be mad? I chose to open myself up to that by sharing it.

Speaking of sharing. I feel like I am done oversharing for the day. Thanks for listening.

Getting What You Want Requires Doing What You Don’t

Getting what you want is hard. Who knew how important the things our parents made us do growing up were. Things like teaching us to not quit or doing chores. Things that teach you the very hard lesson that to reach major goals requires you to do things you don’t want to do, consistently.

Twice in my life I’ve lost over 100 lbs. Getting in shape is important to me for several reasons. When I am in shape I feel better and more confident in my skin, I have more energy, and less pain both in my back and knee. But to lose weight, to reach those weight loss goals, to keep the weight off, requires me to consistently do things I don’t want to do. Like walking in Florida when it is 100+ feels like degrees outside. I hate walking but I especially hate walking in heat. I have a bunion on my foot, a skin condition that doesn’t fare well with heat or sweat, a knee that has had 3 surgeries and is full of arthritis, and a bad lower back. Trust me when I say that I hate walking. But I’ve found at my age to lose weight it requires me to be active. In addition, having fur baby companions requires outdoor activity for them to also be healthy and happy. So I have to talk myself into doing what I don’t want 1 to 2 times daily.

Getting into shape requires me to talk myself out of eating what I want multiple times a day. Would I like to eat pancakes? Yes, that is most definitely what I want, every morning please, but reaching my goal requires me to not do what I want, over and over again. Funny thing about food too, is in the Noom program they teach you that you do need to occasionally “feed the elephant.” Which means that it is important to occasionally allow yourself to have a treat. Which is true. However, this is a slippery slope for me. In fact, the more I feed my elephant, literally, the more vocal that thing gets and the more frequent are its demands. Tracking what you eat on a day where you binged, or facing the scale the next day, no one wants to do that. However, to get what I want, I have to do what I do not.

Getting my bachelors degrees and post graduate degree required consistent actions of things that I didn’t want to do. It required me to spend my weekends researching instructional design theories and writing papers. It required me to take classes I had no interest in taking. It required me to walk through fear every time I got a new course or new assignment that I was certain I could not do. When the easier softer way would have been to just give up. The easier and softer way is alway giving up or not starting to begin with. It is avoiding change. It is remaining comfortable.

I really love the feeling of a clean and organized house. I have more peace and feel more happy when I can walk into my house and it is clean. To achieve this though requires me to do chores on a daily basis. Even on days when work seemed long and I’d much rather just binge some show on Netflix. Could I skip it on certain days, sure, and I do, however the longer I am lazy the less happiness I have with my surroundings and the more work it takes to get it back to that place of serenity. It took me a long time to learn that it is easier to maintain cleanliness and organization when it is consistently looked after. The result of consistently doing what I don’t want to do is a consistent sense of peace from my surroundings.

Financial health is something I’ve been working on for some time. Along with food it is one area in my life that has been hard to control. I like “stuff” and I like nice “stuff”. However, the debt and anxiety of that debt, I do not like. Therefore, to have financial health requires me to find ways to say no to myself. It requires that when I get my tax return and bonus, instead of buying things I want, like a jet ski or new clothes, that I put that money towards debt, or responsible things like a new AC. It requires me to reign in my spontaneity nature of wanting to take random trips and stay at expensive hotels to staying home or finding much lower costing compromises. It also requires me to look at what causes me to want to numb out with purchases and food to begin with.

I really like having nice eyebrows and prefer to not be that woman with a hairy lip. This requires me to pay someone to rip out my hair with either wax or thread. Or if I’m looking to save money for me to sit through the pain of plucking them out via tweezers.

Becoming good at a new skill requires consistent effort even when you suck. Nobody wants to suck. It is very demotivating. I would love it if creative ideas just popped out of my head and got transmitted to paper as a masterpiece every time. Unfortunately, it does not work that way, at least that has not been my experience. If you ask any great artist, regardless of medium, they will tell you that getting to where they are required them to practice their craft every day. To practice even when they didn’t want to, even when they sucked.

Being a person of character requires me to be willing to look at my part in every situation. Even if the other person had a part, a BIG part, it requires me to see my part to bring acceptance for theirs. We are human. It requires me to assume positive intent of other people even though my mind is constantly convinced that others are most definitely out to get me or reject me. It would be much easier to blame someone else. My part sometimes is not letting that shit go. Being a person of character requires me to do what I say I’m going to do even when it is not convenient. Even if I no longer want to do it. It requires me to examine my motives on things and not always just doing what feels good. It requires me to play that tape through and think about how I will feel about myself after or how it might affect other people. It requires me to have compassion for myself when I fail, which I do, frequently. It means even when you can’t be perfect, continuing to strive for perfection.

Back when I drank I didn’t try to achieve goals because it was easier to deal with being an underachiever than a failure. I lowered my standards and expectations for my own life so that I didn’t live with any cognitive dissonance. If I didn’t want to go to work, I called off, or I quit. If I wanted something I manipulated or stole. Getting sober required me to learn how to be comfortable in my own skin and with my emotions. Dealing with emotions has been one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve had to learn how to do. Something that I am still learning how to do. It was much easier when going out on a first date to throw back a few to get past those jitters versus just feeling your feelings and learning how to channel anxiety into excitement. I didn’t want to start a continued pattern of waking up in jail and this required me to do many things I didn’t want to do at first.

Successful adulting is hard. Reaching goals is hard. This is why not everyone does it. But it is worth it. I guess that was the point of this monologue.

Integrity

I’d never given much though to the meaning behind the word integrity. I knew integrity meant having morals and values and abiding by them. However, in reading, “Further Along, the Road Less Traveled,” By Scott M. Peck. M.D., he provides a more complete definition which is, “the state of being whole and undivided.” Basically having all of you be integrated. Being consistently you in every situation. When you think of integrity in this way it is much more profound. You can’t be you consistently if you don’t know who you are. You can’t be you consistently if you have fear of showing that self to others. Many people including myself have played the role of a chameleon at times. It takes real courage to be you at all times. A true level of honesty and vulnerability that most people are afraid to have. Committing to integrity has its price.

Many people I believe mask their emotions to others. Especially in business, it is almost expected for you to do so. To some degree this makes sense as you wouldn’t be successful operating under hysteria. However, as humans, emotions come with the gig. To expect someone to operate without them or to mask them expertly at all times is unreasonable. My honesty to myself and others about my internal state of emotions and thoughts are one area where I display high levels of integrity. This has not always played well in my favor. Especially during the years where my internal state was extremely volatile. My moods still, if I am not consistently using my tools and being mindful, can fluctuate unexpectedly. To some degree this is a part of just being human, moods and such. Having struggled with a mood disorder though for many years, my mood shifts are much more extreme than the average person.

In retrospect, I’ve wondered would I have a less muddled image if I had a better poker face? A better reputation if I were able to better hide my energy and emotions and put on the mask that many people are savants at wearing?

Brene Brown when she talked about vulnerability said:

“Our stories are not meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege, and we should always ask ourselves this before we share: “Who has earned the right to hear my story?”

I’ve always struggled with this sort of discernment though. I’m not sure I’ve ever made anyone “earn the right” to hear my story. My story is always here, accessible, and available. This could leave me in a place to be hurt, if I allow it to hurt me. It feels like I’ve trailed off from my topic a bit, but I think these are connected. My struggle with sharing who I am, my internal state, as a form of integrity. Should I be making people earn that right? Is a lack of discrimination in who I am honest or openness with, integrity? Or just stupid recklessness?

Living with Inverse Acne

I’ve decided to write about the disease that I have had since I was 15. The one that has tormented me and left me scarred mentally, emotionally, and physically. I’ve just recently begun trying to open up about the condition. Today I wrote a blog on shame and one of the ways out of shame that I had researched and read about was to open up about it. This disease causes immense shame, depression, and anxiety due to the ongoing stigmatization of the disease.

What is Inverse Acne you might be asking? It is formally known as Hidradenitis Supporativa (HS). HS is an inflammatory disease which causes lesions that typically form in areas where skin folds exist and where hair grows more significantly. The most common places for it to occur are in armpits, groin, under women’s breasts, and the anal areas. It can occur in almost any area on the body however. It can be hereditary, and it was handed down to me. As with most diseases, obesity and smoking are linked to worsening HS conditions.

The disease typically starts around puberty and thus has been thought to have some sort of hormonal linkage. I myself started seeing flare ups around the age of 15. I remember when I finally got the courage to ask my mother about it, she told me she too got them, and basically that it would go away. I wasn’t provided with any more information on the condition or ways to treat it. I know now this is because my mother has never been provided with that either. It is hard to get a correct diagnosis with HS and even harder to find someone who knows enough about it to provide effective treatment options. Many times it goes undiagnosed because patients are too ashamed to mention it.

There are 3 stages to HS. Stage I is a single bump with no sinus tracts. Stage II is more than one bump but little tunneling. Stage III is multiple bumps with a lot of sinus tracts and scars involving an entire area of the body. People can be in different stages at different times in their life and they can be in different stages in different areas on their body. They may have for example stage I in their armpits but stage III in their groin area.

There are a couple myths concerning HS which I will mention:
1. You have HS because you are overweight. People of all sizes have HS. Weight can be a factor in worsening HS flares since it creates more areas on the body for skin folds to rub but it does not cause HS. I lost over 100 lbs once and I did see a decrease in flares but it did not get rid of the condition. I still had flares when I was my optimal weight.

2. You have an STD. HS is NOT an STD. It is NOT contagious. Because HS regularly appears in the groin and genital area it can cause fear that it will be mistaken for an STD. Because of the area/location for which these occur (in the groin) area it can create poor body image and make sexual relationships challenging.

3. You’re dirty. Cleanliness can help manage HS but it does not cause HS. Because it is a skin condition staying clean can help the healing process but if you have HS it does not mean you are dirty.

HS is an inflammatory disease and there is no cure. Some patients go into remission in their later years, my mom however is 67 and is still dealing with the condition. Therefore, I do not hold too much hope for remission.

There are a plethora of treatment options out there and from my over 20 years of experience very few are effective. The issue with HS is that each person reacts differently to the various treatment options. What is effective for one person is not necessarily effective for others. For years my dermatologist had me on various doses of low grade antibiotics, such as moxifloxacin and doxycycline. Neither of which did much to prevent or lesson issues concerning flare ups. I was once told by an ER nurse who had to lance one of my lesions to be sure to change my wash clothes and towels after every use. Which is a practice I have continued to follow for the last 10 years. Again not by way of helping much.

Over the years I have had several areas that have had to be lanced including my stomach and back. Around 2015, I under went my first surgery for HS. What can happen with HS is the infection if it goes away and continues to resurface in the same area is it can eventually cause tracts of infection that form underneath the skin. When it gets to this point there are very few options of treating it outside of surgically excising the infected area and enough of the surrounding tissue in hopes of preventing its reoccurrence. The area I had my first surgery on was my stomach. The area directly below my belly button. I got flare ups in that area due to my weight and my skin overlapping in that area causing friction with my clothing.

Outside of weight, friction, and tight clothing, other things that can cause flares are excessive heat and sweating. Stress is also known to cause flares as well as some people report food as another flaring agent.

When I moved to Florida in 2016, I didn’t immediately notice a difference in my HS. Then around the beginning of 2017, I decided to really do something about my weight. I started walking very vigorously every day, sometimes multiple times a day. With that I did manage to lose 20 pounds. But between the heat and the weight causing friction in my groin area I developed several lesions which kept reoccurring in that area. Never really knowing how to treat them in the past I continued to exercise and just hoped they would go away.

It didn’t. It continued to get worse. In 2019, I ended up having groin surgery where about a 5 inch incision was made along my groin and labia majora. The whole process was extremely embarrassing and emotionally painful. Having to go to doctors and spread em’ and allow for the area of your body that you are most shamed of, to be seen by others, by strangers. As a female, this is one area you truly don’t want to have to be dissected and scarred.  I would have gladly taken back the 20 pounds I lost if I could have gone back and prevented the lesions from originally forming. That is the rub, not intending to be a pun, but that is it, you want to lose weight to help with body image issues and to help prevent flares but exercise can be challenging as it can cause flare ups. I am fortunate that I have a swimming pool. Swimming seems to be one of the few activities that I can do that don’t cause flares.

After my last surgery, I started seeking additional help and treatment options. I found a doctor in Miami who specializes in HS. I also found a couple of different facebook communities. Between the two I have learned several things I have been implementing over the last 9 months, with some levels of success.

I’ve learned that some of my flare up triggers do come from food, stress, being overweight, and heat/excessive sweating/rubbing. I’ve begun incorporating swimming into my life 3 to 5 times a week (depending on weather) to try to continue work on getting myself into a healthy weight. I now pay someone to do my lawn and landscaping work. I enjoy doing that work myself but with Florida humidity I’ve become too afraid that it could cause new flares. I’ve also changed my diet completely. The items they mentioned as general culprits are dairy, night shades (such as peppers and tomatoes), and grains. I have eliminated most of these almost entirely, with the exception of my occasional relapses with grains. I’ve been trying to practice mindfulness and doing yoga daily to help manage my stress. When I get stress not only does it trigger flares but I am prone to stress eating and when this occurs I typically eat foods known to cause flares therefore, doubling my chances of flare ups.

When I do get a flare up, that experience in itself is stressful. There is a lot of fear that it is going to be the flare that is going to become problematic, the new lesion that will put me back in the surgeons office to have additional parts of my body carved out. More scars. Because of this fear I am generally very hard on myself when I have flares. I blame myself, like, I shouldn’t have eaten that, or I am not doing a good enough job practicing mindfulness. I need to learn to have more compassion with myself. Even though I do fall short in some of these areas, this is a disease, and even if I managed everything perfectly I would still get occasional flares.

Here is my current regimen I am following to try to prevent flares using information I’ve gathered either from the HS support groups or my doctor. This is in addition to the diet, swimming, and avoidance of excessive humidity/walking that I previously mentioned. Every morning I take a daily probiotic, 50 mg tablet of zinc, a multivitamin, and 500 mg of Turmeric. I take a hot as I can stand it bath for 20 minutes, 4 to 5 times a week. In that bath I put 12 drops of oregano extract oil, 12 drops of tea tree oil, and lots of epsom salts. All of these are known for treating inflammation. The result is I smell like Italian food. On days I don’t bath, I shower with my fresh wash cloth using the recommended soap, Dove for sensitive skin, and I use a benzoyl peroxide acne cream wash. I dry off from showering with my fresh towel and then apply Clindamycin to any active flares. Clindamycin is a topical antibiotic treatment to help prevent as well as treat active HS flares.

With everything that I just expressed that I am doing, I report that I continue to get flares. Doing these treatments even with minimal success however allows me to feel somewhat empowered which does provide some hope. My most recent doctor suggested I try Humira which is a biologic that is used to treat things like HS, Psoriasis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is an injectable, and something I’d have to inject once a week. When I researched the side effects they were extremely scary. The reason Humira helps these conditions is because it decreases your immune system which lowers inflammation. I opted not to try it for now and to continue trying to manage it using the regime I described above. I’m grateful that had been my decision because shortly after the Cornoa virus emerged. Many people with HS who were on Humira have had to stop their treatment temporarily due to fear that it will make them more vulnerable to Covid-19. I’m not saying I will never try humira. If managing it through this other regime proves to be ineffective and my condition worsens I’m sure I’ll become more willing to try other options. Fear and pain are great motivators.

The main purpose behind me sharing all of this is because I’m tired of being ashamed. I’m tired of being afraid to talk about it for fear of being judged, pitied, disgusted, and/or rejected. I started opening up about this with my sponsor and my therapist in 2019. In fact it was my sponsor who was kind enough to take me to and pick me up from the hospital after my groin surgery. I then most recently briefly mentioned it in a podcast that I did. I am beginning to share about it more openly. Just as coming out as being gay was painful and scary to talk about initially it was necessary for me to heal and for self-acceptance. I feel like this is the beginning of that process with my HS. Let the healing begin!

Boundaries

What are their motives?
If you learn to listen, they will be made clear,
The healthier I am,
The more I can hear.

Most, simply doing the best they can,
Taking this into account,
As I observe from where I am,
Each person trying to meet their needs,
Even if they are unaware of what they are.

Amazing vessels in which we reside,
Consciously we feel the craving,
Physiologically the body understanding what is needed inside,
Each of us seeking to meet these requests.

Discerning where your energy is spent,
More easily decided,
Based upon others intent,
No longer needing to fill an empty hole,
More thoroughly understanding my own worth,
Puts decisions back under my control,
Able to set boundaries,
Aligning my environment with my long term goals.

Having compassion,
Leaving space for whatever that relationship may be,
But only committing to actions,
Toward the path that always keeps me free,
Free from emotional deflections, limiting perceptions, social bondage, spiritual blockage, energy deleters, and dream disbelievers,
Choosing my circle wisely of spiritual seekers, passionate dreamers, enthusiastic supporters, and tenacious warriors,

Capacity to think more in the gray,
Which provides allowance for others to be how they may,
Non-judging but acknowledging my right to live my best life,
Which may or may not include you today.

 

Sleepy Thoughts

How amazing it feels to not be where you were and when someone is capable of taking you fresh from where you are. How long past impressions linger within others is unfortunate. We like to put people in categories based on our past experiences. We are so flawed as humans, seeing things from where we are. Through the lenses of our past experiences, our desires, our conditioning. It makes acceptance of others more challenging. I used to carry so much with me, anxiety, weird energy, paranoia, and defensiveness. This is what people saw. Now people comment saying, “you seem happy today what is going on?” What’s going on is I am no longer the person I once was. On most my good days, I can live presently without stories, allowing me to have an open energy and lightness about me I didn’t once have. I guess only repeated behavioral patterns over an extended period of time will change the existing perceptions others have of me. As recovery would say, “10 or 20 years of drunkenness would make a skeptic out of anyone.” I can’t fault them as I too judge others. It is just refreshing when I am embraced anew, without having to prove that change to someone.

I am now able on good days to ground myself and walk into situations with a sense of openness and curiosity. Not assuming the worst of others or feeling scared, guarded, or defensive. To do this required me to be willing to journey inward within myself and look at my own thoughts and emotions with a sense of openness and curiosity. When I start feeling some sort of way I no longer need to run from the feelings, numb them, deflect it onto others, or use it to beat myself up. I can simply look at it with space, neutrality, and curiosity.

I’m exhausted but I had an amazing conversation tonight with an incredibly intelligent and beautiful woman. I got to listen as she explained how she observed and broke down the feeling of jealousy. I love that. It was such a big deal to me when I was able to finally see something energetically shift within myself and not get drawn into it. The first few times it happened were in recovery meetings. When I would share and someone after me would share something either in agreement or what I interpreted as disagreement to what I shared. I noticed this very strong stir of emotions would well up inside. I didn’t know exactly how to interpret it other than to just label it as ego. I was attached to my words and others either accepting or discrediting them caused thoughts to generate which would tell me stories about my worth or people’s acceptance of me. This was especially true on topics I felt more strongly about such as spirituality.

Something else I realized while talking to this beautiful woman is something I do pretty regularly in many relationships and in general. Which is comparing. Comparing my life, my activities, my skills, my relationships to others. Which is such a silly thing. We are all so uniquely different in our personalities, our needs, our goals, and overall physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual paths. How can you compare??? But yet, it is still a repeated pattern for me. This I definitely feel is the thing reoccurring the most in my life right now, breaking this will provide tremendous freedom.

For some reason this made my thought process go to Buddhist Monks and the mandalas art they do in sand and then immediately destroy. I think the act of this teaches so many things. It allows for practice of acceptance and letting go. It removes the capacity for comparison.  It is the practice of doing something for the love of doing it without the desire for acknowledgement or acceptance. Doing something without trying to derive your self-worth from it. In the past, much of what I posted and did was for recognition. I do not want to portray that I am free from this quality as I think I still do this frequently today. I am aware of it though. There is so much inside that must come out. Releasing that need for recognition or acknowledgment allows for much more creative expression in your art or craft. The reward is the very act of expunging whatever needs to be expunged whether that be a blog, a drawing, or a speech regardless or not of it ever been seen or heard. You cannot be a failure when you are simply having the courage to share for the sake of sharing. To create for the sake of creating.

Recovery

Peers at work ask me about my plans,
Anything fun?
Yard work, perhaps some homework,
No doubt my life from the outside probably sounds lame,
Perhaps if I told them the whole truth they’d still think the same,
I drive to a church where strangers meet,
To sit in a circle and reflect,
In this divided society,
We sit and connect,
What my peers don’t know,
Is that I’m in recovery.

It was Saturday, talking to a girl from the other coast,
What’d you do tonight she’d ask after coming home late from a party,
I went to a meeting…
The conversation would shift, eventually we drift,
Clearly her night was better?
That Saturday I listened to someone share about their bottom,
Bringing back memories of the things I did when I was blacked out on alcohol,
I went home feeling lighter,
What were my problems? … I don’t recall,
Just another night of rolling around raw in vulnerability with others,
What a blessing,
Truly humbled,
I’m in recovery.

What is it that you do for fun? I assume normal people wonder,
The answer is anything,
I’m no longer encumbered,
Fear does not hold me back,
My fun no longer requires me to numb,
Most days I am happy with a cup of coffee, two people, and simple talk,
I have peace today in this life I walk,
Early on it was, “why’d I have to be this?”
Now I’m ecstatic that I get to live a life of service,
Continued growth and self-discovery,
Each day I get the opportunity to be a better me,
I’m in recovery.

 

 

 

 

Morning Meditation

The dog barks from somewhere outside,
High pitched shrill barks,
A small dog for certain, Perhaps a Maltese…
Clearly unhappy for being left,
Is this an irritation? Or an opportunity to become present?
The cooler which contains the 5-gallon jug of water,
Buzzes and rattles as it seeks to cool the water,
Smacking it will only cause it to reside briefly,
Is this an irritation? Or a reminder to return to the present moment?
The dog stops barking, the cooler ceases running,
Quiet. Lack of noise. Silence seems so profound,
Gratitude for the noise, causing the absence of it to bring great peace.

Sensing the body, how is it today?
Appreciating all the areas that don’t ache,
No tension headache,
The lower back is tolerable, the left knee feels great.
Enjoying a full breath.
The air is refreshing and cool as it flows through the nose,
Expanding the lungs in a fulfilling stretch,
Sitting deep inside this body.

Observing the mind as it tries to find problems,
After all, that is the job it has been given,
To find and fix problems.
The dog begins barking, bringing back the present.
Breathe. Set intentions for the day. Begin.

Compassion?

Where do you find compassion?
Where does it hide?
Why do I have so little?
Why am I so mean to me inside?
Others recommend, treat yourself as you would a friend,
Unfortunately, I am also hard on them.
If I have no understanding of my own mistakes,
How can I have any for yours?
How do I cross this ocean of self-damnation to forgiving shores?

It’s hard to see a future when things will be different…when I will be different,
When you’re in your emotions things feel like they will always be the same,
Looking back I know, that statistically, this isn’t true,
As long as I keep seeking change,
My circumstances will change and I will too.

Someone said recently, that what kept him going was the thought,
That what if tomorrow is the day when things will get better?
Castaway said it best, “So now I know what I have to do. I have to keep breathing. And tomorrow the sun will rise, and who knows what the tide will bring in.”

Vulnerability

I unbutton my shirt and open the window,
Revealing the dirty parts of my heart.
With my words I display my flaws,
Forming a mirror in which is a reflection of you.
Courage departs to doubt,
Did you hear me? What do you see?
Old wounds lying bare, scabbed partially bleeding,
Each disclosure rubbing them ever so slightly.
Am I being helpful or seeking acceptance?
Does it aid in my healing or delay it?
Painful to be seen, but even more so to carry this alone.
Relate and not compare.
Connection only through the removal of masks.
I will continue to expose myself to you,
Will you get naked with me?