Keep the Pieces Coming

I’m fortunate in so many ways  …  Countless ways.  Even the wounds are a gift.  For I I learn from all of this.  Every week or every other, I meet with a wise woman, walking with me for a short season.  I bring a few pieces for the puzzle; I reach down, I reach out, to find pieces that might fit.  Sometimes a piece will fit.   I might want a piece to fit, but it doesn’t.  I just keep the pieces coming.  I call this process “Puzzle-ing”.

 

Going Back? Dialog Series #3

“Holiday, coming.  Are you heading southward, to see your folks?  You have some older brothers, there as well, eh?  And your parents?”

“Parents and my two brothers (a nod), down there, east of Dallas.”

Wood Stove
Wood Stove

Both men sat in the logged house, a small place, in chairs made of gnarled pine posts, smoothed from years of use and exposure to the wood stove heat.  Words were suspended in the air, transformed into vapor and memory.

“I am not going back . . . “

“It is a drive, isn’t it …. What, about 1200 miles?  Twenty-two hours?”

“If I drive straight through, its only about eighteen hours.  And, around 120o.”

“Boy, that is a bear of a trip.  So you’re not going to make it this year.”

“Naw.  I’m not going back.  Its one thing to pack up, load up, head out on a 1200 mile trip…  (pause) But, the trip … or the thought of the trip … is a metaphor for the struggle I’ve had for years: ‘going back’ to the lies I bought into, the l mistakes I’ve made in my life.  In that sense, I’m not going back, or backwards. ”

“So, why is it that we want to … ‘go back’?”

“For me, I think I go back to my past because it is easy, a path of processing that has very little resistance.  I know those apparitions.  I know my past.  I think that I can change it by  going there.  As for what is ahead, I don’t know it because I’ve never been there.  But I plan on going there, soon.”

“Yeah.   Me, too.  There is good stuff happening there.”

How Did We Get Here? (Dialog Series)

How did we get here?

“We”?

depression, man sitting on floor thinking with copy space - stock photo
http://www.shutterstock.com/s/depression/search.html

(Pause) … Well, you are here, aren’t you?

No, no.  No-no-no-no-no-no.  You are where you are at, and I am where I am at.  And believe me:  I wouldn’t want to be where you are at.

How’s the view up there?  Up above guys like me who don’t have it together like you?

(Pause) What are you were asking me?  And, I’m kind of in a hurry, okay?  So, tell me what you need, and I will try to help.

I was asking  you … how we … “I” … arrived here, at this place.

“This place”?

Our relationship?  Fading.  I have become isolated.  My addictions, like work; like books; like fast food.  And, life – – – I do not enjoy life as much.  That’s a picture of what I am talking about.

Okay.  (Pause)  I have to get going, need to be somewhere.  Take care of yourself.

You asked me about “this place” I am in, I told you, and I thought we were going to talk about it.  But, you … are just leaving, now.

(Pause) I am sorry about your confusion.  I can’t help you.  I don’t do well with others’ shame.  I don’t do well with addictions.  Your isolation is something you have chosen; your relationships evaporating  didn’t suddenly happen.  It’s been in the works for a while.   And your enjoyment of life?  Not happening?  I don’t want to have anything to do … with that.  (Pause) On top of all that, you wouldn’t even hear what I have to say.

Why would I not want to hear what you have to say?

http://www.shutterstock.com/s/depression/search.html?page=1&inline=197995073

Because you are right where you want to be.  And if you are right were you want to be, why talk about how you arrived at this place?  If you wanted to change all that, you would.  But, there is no change.  

That’s harsh.

(Pause with some hesitation) Uhhhh, maybe.  

You’ve got me all wrong.

‘Doesn’t matter.  This is your party, not mine. 

END

*

The dialog, above, is like a metaphor, representing some of the relational pain / disappointment that happens … on some level … in the human soul.  Our hearts, our minds … bring about different dynamics of expectations (realistic and / or unrealistic), an arcane blend of intimacy (healthy and / or unhealthy, whether it be physical or emotional or both).  The relationship and dialog happening up above is somewhat of a composite derived from my years working as a psychotherapist with married folks.  Lastly, the nuances / verbal clues accentuate the factors / themes we deal with in our society, and our relationships:

  • “I don’t have the time to have this conversation …”
  • “Don’t blame me for you problems …”
  • “I don’t have any compassion for you, now …”

True, this is a rather cold exchange happening between two people.  My hope is that one can see their thankfulness for being able to transcend such unhappiness, such insensitivity.  We all need help, at different times, and in different ways.  Here is a truth that is disruptive to many, and this truth applies to the “composite” dialog at the beginning of this post:

Something good can come out of this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hiding Writers, Reading

‘Revisiting some (old) lyrics, and a theme, previously posted, perused in one of the blogospheres (I don’t know how many there are) … A different direction emerged while the muse came by.  Two fellas, met up in 1953, the elementary school-scene in Queens (N.Y.) became famous in their school play, Alice in Wonderland.  One was the White Rabbit (Paul Simon) and the other was the Cheshire Cat (Art Garfunkel).  Actually, they did not get famous from their work in the theater, doing Alice in Wonderland.  They continued to be bro’s through junior high school and high school.  Simon and Garfunkel, their junior year, emerged as “Tom and Jerry” playing some good music.  Seriously?  Yes.  Someone in the recording studio brought up the “Tom and Jerry” thing … and it faded quickly.  “Simon and Garfunkle” was the balm, apparently.  Eventually, after “The Sound of Silence” which put them on the map, they put together this song, “I Am A Rock”, with the lyrics … here:

” … Gazing from my window to the streets below /
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. / I am a rock, / I am an island.
I’ve built walls / A fortress deep and mighty … “

I really love these lyrics, for quite a few reasons.  One of my favorite writing quotes goes like this:  “My wife doesn’t understand that when I am staring out the window, I’m actually working.”  I agree.  Productive? Maybe not, but … still … working.  Because a writer is always watching, observing, taking it all in, appreciating (some) details, editing others.  A writer would take time to ” … gaze from (his / her) window to the streets below, taking notice of the freshly fallen silent shroud of snow …”  And a writer is also aware of how easy it would be to become “a rock … an island”, with “walls, a fortress …”  Such imagery.

” … friendship causes pain. / It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain …”

I believe that some writers struggle with friendship more than others.  I actually acknowledge my envy of individuals who don’t seem to struggle at all, ever, with friendships.  They seem to be sufficiently charismatic, cool, and people love to be around these individuals.  Friendships are sometimes hard, and I do think that such struggles contribute to a writer’s persistence in writing, and reading.   And that is why these lyrics, here, resonate for me.  And … a question emerges that I pass your way: would you say, on some level, that you “hide” with books? With poetry? And do you have your armor that you protect  yourself with?  

“I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.”

What is a bit weird is that I really find … asylum … with the spy novels (Thor, Ludlum, etc.) sometimes the Western novels (Johnstone, Lamour), and sometimes the good old mystery-“Who Dunnit”s (Charles Todd, Castle, Craig Johnson).  And there is that great line from Shadowlands (movie): “We read to know … we are not alone.”

So, yeah … I was just curious if you guys “hide” … from time to time … in your books, your poetry, your armor.

 

Door-Door-Door

Someone’s knockin’ at the door /Somebody’s ringin’ the bell / Someone’s knockin’ at the door / Somebody’s ringin’ the bell / Do me a favor / Open the door and let’em in, ooh yeah … “  (Paul McCartney, “Let’em In”)

Thinking about doors, and don’t know why … Stranger things have happened, and I don’t know why.  Stranger things are not always a loss, not always a bummer, not always a washout.  And doors get opened, and doors get closed, and I really, seriously, don’t know why.

“When people keep repeating / That you’ll never fall in love /When everybody keeps retreating / But you can’t seem to get enough / Let my love open the door / Let my love open the door /  Let my love open the door … To your heart.”  (Pete Townsend, “Let My Love Open The Door”)

Below: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/red-door-quote-jamart-photography.html

http://fineartamerica.com/featured/red-door-quote-jamart-photography.html

Someone told me doors are to keep people out, and to keep people in.  Some sojourners are looking for a safe place, a place of rest.  Others may be looking for a non-safe place, where the crazy-talk is, where emotions are hellish.   I like safe places, and doors play a part in all that. Closed doors can really get to me.  Times like that, I ask “What am I supposed to do?  Where am I supposed to go?”  So, if you come by, find the door locked, leave me a voicemail, an EMAIL, a text, a scribbled note with some tape on the door, or a carrier pidgeon.

 

 

 

 

 

Relationships, Reality & Redemption

What do I know to be true?  Know yourself, and I will know myself, and if I come up short in that area, then … then … What?  Then what?  Oh, my!  Maybe the earth will rip off its axis and hurl into the sun!!!!

No, I doubt that will happen.  Here’s one truth about me: I am able.  I am able to do both good, and not-so-good.  I am able to empower (good).  I am able to enable (bummer, not-so-good).  I’ve walked with many folks over the last 20 years in the counseling context.  And in the realm of addictions, I have encountered the “enabling” dynamic a great deal.  And, if an individual is an “enabler”, that does not mean … that their heart is not good.  In fact, with every enabler I have sat with, there has always been a good heart.  We, with our good hearts, are able to miss the bigger picture, to mess up the smaller picture.  And we, with our good hearts, are able to walk with a soul and inspire, without many words.  We, with our good hearts, are able to run races with specific individuals who have come into our world who want to run well, with love in their hearts … a healthy love, an empowering love, a fragrant love, a tough love, a tough love not without honor, a tough love not without integrity, a tough love not without gentleness.

I am able.  I am able to go after myself with rocks and razored insults; rage and disgust.  There is a fancy word for it, I think: “self-contempt”.  Truly, I am not exempt from self-contempt.  And, truly, there is no exemption from redemption.

And, to use the title of one of my favorite films, “When a Man Loves a Woman”, there is an indescribably intense piece of fighting with honor and love and fairness and staying in the place of a safe place.  Not fighting with physical warfare.  Not fighting with psychological abuse; or verbal abuse; or emotional abuse.  No … this is a fighting where, at the core, is a deep authentic love for the other; caring for the other; and choosing to not let the other “off the hook” … because that is the last thing we need, to escape the responsibility of loving well and “doing relationship” well.

And that is all I’m going to say about that, for now.

Keep It REAL ! !

‘Learned about a woman, today, who wants to be Barbie.  Being a guy who lives at 8800 feet in the mountains, chops wood, snow blows, a family man, psychotherapist … I have no interest in Barbie, never have.  My daughter does not even like Barbie!

This story was surprisingly disturbing; my heart heavy, beyond measure for this woman. This story is a vivid, disruptive, metaphor for a fear of authenticity; and one’s fear of intimacy.  Check out the title of the article, published in the Huffington Post:

“Blondie Bennett, Barbie-Obsessed Woman, Uses Hypnotherapy To Make Herself Brainless”

Here are excerpts from the article in the Huffington Post.     (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/19/blondie-bennett-barbie-woman-hypnotherapy-stupid_n_4815495.html)

    • A California woman who describes herself as Barbie-obsessed says she uses hypnotherapy sessions in the hopes that it will decrease her IQ.
    • “I just want to be the ultimate Barbie. I actually want to be brainless,” Blondie Bennett, 38, told Barcroft TV. “I don’t like being human, if that makes sense… Natural is boring… I would love to be like, completely plastic.”
    • Bennett … five breast augmentations … other procedures in the hopes of attaining her goal. But now … undergoing hypnotherapy sessions two-to-three times a week in order to dumb down her thoughts.
    • She says it’s working.
    • “I’ve had 20 sessions and I’m already starting to feel ditzy and confused all the time,” Bennett told the Daily Mail.
    • She … loves her looks, (but) her plastic features tend to turn off a lot of people … friends and family don’t approve of her lifestyle.

I am not able to get past my belief that this story is about a woman who had / has great pain, not so much physical, but emotional … psychological … possibly traumatic.  We can all agree that life is intense, and at times some of us want to hide.  At other times our hiding is found in joining the crowd.  To be so passionate about removing your pain to the point that you don’t want to think, anymore, about anything … It feels tragic to me.  This story is a jagged picture of the deep desires to self-medicate.

I Feel Your Pain

The desperate longing to be someone other than who you are … Why?  Because of the pain.  And when it comes to pain, your pain is your pain.  I have NOT walked in your shoes, I do not know what it feels like for you.   And yet, because of my own journey, I feel some of your pain.

. Ta dah! #quotes #create #authenticity