Too Old to Die Young

“If life is like a candle bright, death must be the wind”

Today, just like yesterday, life has me puzzled.  More specifically, death has me puzzled.  I received a phone call yesterday morning that my cousin Henry had lost his wife the night before due to an apparent blood clot.  Suddenly.  In an instant.  Gone.  Henry went from a happily married father to a widower- father of five motherless children, the youngest of whom is just one month old.  Wow.

Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t close- the loss didn’t strike close to home that way.  In a family of over a hundred cousins, I know very few of them well.  In fact I don’t know if I’d ever even met Evaline.  But the news rocked me from the perspective of the potentially sudden nature of the end of life.

So as I’m sitting here this evening with my girls in their beds, I’m reminded of one of my all time favourite songs.  This song was recorded my Moe Bandy (possibly by other artists through the years, but Moe Bandy’s is the version I have rolling through my head tonight).

Too Old To Die Young

If life is like a candle bright, death must be the wind
You can close your window tight, but it still comes rolling in
So I will climb the highest hill and watch the rising sun
And I pray that I don’t feel the chill till I’m too old to die young

Let me watch my children grow to see what they become
Oh Lord don’t let that cold wind blow till I’m too old to die young

Now I have had some dear sweet friends I thought would never die
Now the only thing that’s left of them is the teardrops in my eyes
If I could have one wish today and know it would be done
Well I would stay everyone could stay till they’re too old to die young

Let me watch my children grow to see what they become
Oh Lord don’t let that cold wind blow till I’m too old to die young

Songwriters- Welch/Dooley/Hadley

Look this song up on youtube or ITunes or whatever your favourite service is, and as you listen to it, just try not to feel it, I dare you! Though probably not recorded as such, today this song is my prayer for me and you, whoever you might be reading these words.

God bless you!
Duey

 

More Than Being Alive

I used to think it was all in being alive.  Now I know it’s about living.

“what???” You might ask.  Let me explain.

In July of 2013, I spent eight days in a beautiful retreat center called “Sanctum” near Caroline, Alberta.  I was there with 26 other people who were all on a journey with me called the”Hoffman Process”.  To sum that up in a few words, we learned to put all of our life in perspective, and to understand the forces that made us who we are.  I won’t go into detail about the process right now, that’s not what this is about.

To get to the point, I was asked one time for a couple words about what the Hoffman Process meant to me after the fact.  I said “it saved my life- I haven’t contemplated suicide since my graduation!”  The day that dawned on me, it blew my mind to remember the thoughts that used to run through my mind, and how I hadn’t thought those thoughts in years.

But then, a month ago, I had a chance to speak a couple words about being a Hoffman grad, and I knew at that point that it was much more than just being on the green side of the grass.  The longer I live in this post-Hoffman life, the more ALIVE I am.  And FREE.  Free of a lot of the bitterness towards others that used to occupy my mind continually.  You see, I came to understand that just as life forces shaped me, and gave me some rather negative patterns- so also, the people that hurt me are acting out of patterns given to them by their past.  Not only by my past, or anybody else’s personal past, but by the pasts of our ancestors as well.

It’s so incredibly freeing to look at somebody’s negative actions as bad actions, not necessarily proof that the person is bad.  I have really gained an appreciation for the pain in others’ pasts, and understanding for the actions (done by others) that can really hurt me.

I’ve been through a lot of crap in my life, which reminds of this fantastic quote I’d like to close this article with:

 “He said “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are REAL, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are REAL you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

from “The Velveteen Rabbit”, by Margery Williams

Understandingly ALIVE,
Duey

Bridging to the Future

Needing a Bridge
Bridge

First a confession. I’ve been selfishly bitter lately. I hid it with intentions of public protection, but really I was wallowing in bitterness to my molester.

The story all started a few weeks ago when I was told that the guy who molested me- who is listed on the Canadian sex offender registry and living under release conditions that prohibit his contact with minors- is now a Counselor. Yes, you read that right. But the info wasn’t quite right- he wasn’t a counselor yet, he was doing a practicum as part of his Masters in Counseling studies. The clinic he was doing the practicum at did a heck of a sales job bragging up how great a guy the rapist is. They bragged about his successful career as a teacher (which he lost due to his crimes), his successful career as a teacher(which he started when he lost his teaching job, and lost when he was convicted and sentenced), and on and on.

For any who’ve read some of my previous posts (like this) this won’t come as a major surprise. I flipped!! I called my brother who’s been with me in this from the start, and over the next few days we called everyone we could think of:
– the police who after a lot of checking said “wish we could stop this cause it’s sick, but he’s not breaking any laws.”
– the counseling clinic who’s owner said “he’s a good guy who served his time, he deserves a second chance, and just wants to help people”
– the university he’s studying at, talked to the dean of the counseling program, who consulted with their lawyer, who then wrote a carefully worded letter saying that they only care about academic performance.

To us, he’s just carrying on his trend of looking for vocations which will put him in one-on-one situations with vulnerable people.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I NEED TO LET IT GO!! I can’t let the bitterness over what happened yesterday ruin my today. And so, as I turn these words over to cyberspace, I turn vengeance over to God. I can’t do anything (legally) about him. And I can’t dwell on it anymore. So now, as I BRIDGE to tomorrow, I need to set boundaries, so that when anyone wants to talk about “him who will no longer be talked about”, I can change the subject of conversation.

So help me God!

Duane

To Love Again

Learning to Love (and Live) Again

We met cautiously, online
Then for a glass or two of wine
There was an unspoken, mutual hope
That we could more than cope

There’s been, for both, heartbreak and pain
Perhaps we can break that miserable chain
Maybe together we’ll learn
And find that for which all yearn

Two souls with mutual trust
Past loves have all gone bust
But all beings crave to be
One of two, loving tenderly

Oh, so slowly, softly, day by day
Learning, trusting, till some day
We may, side by side, partners be
One flesh, one mind, loving tenderly

Wishing love for you all,
Duane

 

via Daily Prompt: Learning

Sitting in S#!t

OK, so this title is not very original- it’s based on a chapter in the book I’m reading (Conversations with a Rattlesnake by Fleury and Barthel). Chapter 9 in that book is titled “Learning to sit with Your Shit”. It’s a fascinating read about a part of emotional healing that I have to really work on.

The idea is to let oneself sit and feel the emotion of what is going on, no matter how shitty (Okay, I’ll try stop using the “s” word now) it is. The concept behind this, and I know it works for me, is that by allowing the emotions to flow, and trying to interact with my own emotions, I can actually deal with and understand what I’m feeling. This tends to- when I remember to use this technique- really help me get all the way through what I’m feeling and why, instead of just quelling it and running from my emotions.

It’s a real STRUGGLE most of the time though. Really, who wants to sit in THAT???
And to be fair, there are many emotions that I am grateful to have had the opportunity to have had professionals force me to “sit in it”. There are some things that I definitely shouldn’t process on my own, although that is a smaller and smaller part of my emotional reportoire these days, as I get more and more comfortable with myself.

I’d love to hear anybody else’s experiences with “sitting in it”

Lotsa luv,
Duane

Written in response to today’s daily prompt:Struggle

Brain drugs

Drugs???

No, not the kind I could put into my body. I’m talking about the kind of natural chemicals that my body produces to help me deal with stress, reward me when I’m satisfied, and keep me balanced. GABA, Dopamine, Cortisol, Oxytocin, etc. I’m in the middle of a book “Converstions with a Rattlesnake” about healing from trauma and addictions, and the last chapter I read was a rather overwhelming exploration of how these different chemicals, produced by the human body, interact with each other to affect my mental health and emotional well being.

It fascinates me to see some of the science behind the awesome high that can be had from human interaction. Simply gazing into the eyes of someone who cares about me can flood me with oxytocin. How much more, then, the rush from an embrace, or my favorite- “heart-to-heart” as taught in the Hoffman process.

I wonder, though, how much of what I need could be fullfilled by self love? As a single, divorced dad who doesn’t get to see his kids enough, can I love myself enough to fill the void of human interaction?

I know that there is a relatively intense satisfaction in writing in my gratitude journal. I also know that getting into meaningful, caring conversation online, like here on WordPress can do something for my well being. There’s so much to learn, I’d love to hear about others’ perspectives on this.

Love you all,

Duane

Random Musings on Commitment

Random musings? how does that even fit into the same sentence as commitment?  I mean there’s nothing random about commitment is there?  Probably not, but musing on a lot of different aspects of commitment today.

First, there’s the frustration that my Clematis can’t seem to commit to climbing the trellis it’s supposed to climb.  I mean that’s what a Clematis is supposed to do isn’t it?  Just climb already!  why do I have to keep tying you up to the trellis?  But maybe it’s about me not being committed enough to have cut away last year’s growth so that the new growth this year would have easy access to the trellis.  But hey, I’m new at this cultivation of Clematis thing.  How was I supposed to know that it wouldn’t climb last year’s growth?  I guess I just have to commit to tying it up!

And then there’s the weather.  I wish the forecasters and the weather could just commit to being on the same page.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that this past weekend we finally got the rain that was in the forecast.  maybe not quite as much as they were suggesting we might get, but still, a nice shot.  Not sure if that makes up for the last three weeks of frustration about getting told to expect rain and getting tiny showers instead.  That’s OK, we love what we got!  Very thankfull!

And then there’s the commitment to pessimism.  I work with farmers, and they have a bad rap for being pessimistic, but does the weather network really have to fuel that pessimism by telling us that we are in for a doozy of a drought this summer?  Ironically, this beef goes along with the last one.  The weather network says we will have a record drought, while their forecast for the next 10 days calls for showers nearly every other day- really?

On a more serious note, I’m beefing about myself.  How come, when I’m lonely, aching for a hug, do I get afraid of potential relationships?  I know I’ve been burned before, but really, freezing up at the concept of a date?  That’s taking it a little far.  Time to open up my toolbox and work on some fears and coping skills, I suppose.

And then there’s commitment to self improvement.  I know I need to work on forgiveness of myself and others.  I know I need to stop a bad habit or two.  I know I need to start a good habit or two- working out wouldn’t be that bad, would it?  Ah, motivation and commitment, I’d love to get to know the two of you a little better!

Truly trying to see commitment as not necesarily a bad word, I remain the man that I am,

Duey 🙂

Bravery

IMG_1701

In the past little while, I have had a couple different people tell me that I am brave for dealing with the hand that I was dealt.  That’s what it boils down to.  Abuse happened to me, and I’m alive, trying to thrive.

And some times, more and more often all the time, thankfully, I do.  Thrive, that is.  But is this really bravery?  I suppose, somewhat, but right now, I want to pay tribute to some people that I know are much more brave than I. (To clarify, not necessarily people that I really know, but I have seen glimpse of their bravery if I don’t know them personally, reading their writing makes it feel like I do)  So here goes.

To Glenna – http://ineverclaimedtobenormal.wordpress.com/ – whose bravery facing what her life has thrown at her recently- Cheers!

To Mia – http://miachard.wordpress.com/ – Your openness in letting it all hang out is so inspiring!

To the many brave men who have shared their stories with the “Bristlecone Project”.  http://www.bristleconeproject.org  Please check it out.

To the students at Duke University speaking out through the “Breaking out 2016” project.  To think that at the age they are speaking out, I couldn’t even admit that I had been molested!

To children everywhere who are surviving, just waiting for an opening to escape and thrive- God bless you with the strength to survive, and freedom from whatever you’re going through.

There are so many more that I can’t list them all, this list can’t possibly be all inclusive, as I’d never get done typing that list.  However, there’s lots of room in the comment section, please feel free to add a tribute to someone you see as brave.

This is Child Abuse Prevention Month.  Please read what you can about identifying, preventing, and helping people- yourself or others, heal.  LEt’s work together so that there might be less need for this kind of survival bravery.

XOXO Duane