The Grand Funk

It’s like a train, going to nowhere
This down feeling I need to share
Nothing really wrong
Just living a sad song
But yet there’s nothing feeling right
Life feels grey, though the sun is bright.

After a week of being short fused
And a good weekend, I can’t get enthused
Two days with the daughters I love
And a morning in church feeling God’s love
Still I feel like I’m dragging myself around
My head is just not sound.

I know the drill- “cheer up!” they’ll say
Anyone who’s never felt this way
I wish I could, I know I should
But my heart seems made of wood
Just not feeling anything happy
All around feeling crappy.

So I’ll ride this Grand Funk Railroad,
Hoping that the gloom will just unload
Right around the next curve or two
Or maybe right after the tunnel I’m going through
Maybe tomorrow morning, after a good night?
So here’s hoping, praying, for the light.

I’m not trying to bring anyone down, just needed to get some of my feelings out into cyberspace to clear my own head. The rookie prose above is pretty accurate for today.

God Bless!
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

Are You F’ing Kidding Me?

Some things boggle my mind.  I’m listening to sports talk radio this week- the Jim Rome show- when he reads throught the Penn State Nittany Lions’ list of promotions that are happening this season.  And there, on September 17, it reads “commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of coach Joe Paterno”.  SERIOUSLY????  Where do they have their heads stuck?  Do they read the news?  Do they pay any attention at all to what society thinks of Joe’s reputation?

If you don’t know what I’m writing about, google “Paterno” or “Sandusky”.  In a nutshell, Joe’s employee, Sandusky, abused children in his role with the program for many years.  There are allegations in court documents that suggest Joe Paterno knew of, and HID, these crimes starting way back in 1976.  Ten years after he started at Penn State.  So maybe there celebrating the Fortieth anniversary of him starting his cover up for a pedophile?

What does this tell the victims?  Or other victime of similar crimes who haven’t dared to speak of their horrors yet?  A couple years ago, they took down Paterno’s statue from in front of their stadium, now they’re going to commemorate him.  What they should be doing is building a monument to all the victims of the crimes he covered up, or having a moment of silence before the game for victims of sexual crimes everywhere.  But don’t expect that to happen.  Paterno is their hero, and they will ignore his crimes and those who were hurt by his crimes.

“His crimes?” you ask?  Yes, his crimes.  If anyone knows about crimes against innocent children, and doesn’t stop those crimes, then covering up and allowing the abuse to continue is just as evil as actually doing the abuse.

I don’t seriously expect this little post to make any difference in the grand scheme of things, but I needed to vent, so thanks for the space to do that.

Just my opinion.

Duane

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

Language- You vs. I

Ah, the power of words.  I, as a graduate of the Hoffman Process, had the use of “I” drilled into me again and again.  I might not be a quick learner, but I do learn.

Huh?  What am I talking about?

Let me explain.  If I am talking abaout the effects of childhood abuse on the brain, I could say “when you have been abused, you tend to have a hard time understanding love”.  But when I say “I was abused, and therefore I have had a hard time understanding love”, and own my own experience, it makes a personal connection with what I am saying.  And isn’t that personal connection what I need most of all?  In order to move from “Post Traumatic Stress” to what Theo Fleury calls “Post Traumatic Growth”,  I need to own where I have been.  I have been through a lot, and I’d like to think I have owned it.

But was that mean in each of our own daily lives?  Well, the same thing can be said for these two statements, both referring to a mistake by one member of a team, as I like to think of my workplace as a team.  “HE forgot the cost of those extra parts” vs. “WE forgot the cost of those extra parts”.  See how easy it is for me to blame some one else for the mistake, versus taking ownership of it as a team, and sharing the blame?  Which way of dealing with my co-workers or children- yes, this can be applied to family life as well- is likely to get a greater positive result going forward?

Just my random OCD musing about grammar, making it onto the web this time instead of just floating around my head.

God Bless Y’all, and may love fill each of OUR lives.

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 🙂

No Pain, No Gain!

Great words from Auguste Rodin-

“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely”

Which is, by the way, very good advice for me personally today.  “Why?” you might ask, well I’ll tell you why.  I must throw a word of caution out there first, though.  The first part of this post is much lighter than the second half- that might be a little raw.

So, I met a girl.  Ok, lots of people meet new people on a regular basis.  But this was different, very different, I’m sure.  I mean, who falls in love at first sight anymore these days?  Especially at the relatively mature age of 40?  (I’m still trying to convince myself that it’s OK to not be grown up yet at 40- It is possible to grow physically, get gray hair, but still be a kid, right?)  Well, maybe I didn’t all the way fall in love, but pretty darn close.  And then reality set in.  She said after a weekend’s reflection that she wasn’t ready for me.  Or something to that effect.

So, what do I gain from that experience?  Well, I just so happened to have a call scheduled with my awesome coach (you know who you are, Barbara) for this very morning, and she helped me see that I need to learn to just go with the flow, and not set my expectations on trying to see if every new girl I meet might be the right one.  Great advice- Thanks a lot!  So I try to learn and move on from that.

See?  I told you the first part would be boring!

But then, the harder learning came tonight, as I worked deeper into some of the topics that were discussed this morning, and read part of a book about trauma recovery.  (For those reading this who don’t know, I was molested as a child for a long time by a man who was not family.  Now, I’m trying to use my experiences for the greater good.  My crap was not all bad or wasted if I can help somebody heal from their own garbage or prevent even one other child from being abused.)  I read some very thought provoking stuff tonight.

  1. I learned that while I was being molested, while I knew that I survived by freezing and tuning out what was happening, while my brain left my body temporarily so that I could survive, that survival instinct allowed the abuse to last longer, and the abuser to keep me under his manipulative power long after the abuse stopped.  How?  Well, because my brain “left” while I was being abused, it took a lot of time and effort to peel away the layers and fully understand all that had happened when I started to work on healing.  A survival strategy “split personality”.  What do I gain from knowing that?  As parents, I think if our children suddenly start acting differently, or having memory lapses, that might be a sign that we need to ask some hard questions.
  2. I learned a bit about my personality and how it was formed in early childhood.  My parents loved me, but their lives were very hectic- trying to get a farm and a family started from nothing- way too much to do, way too little time.  I seem to have learned how to get way too attached to any connection I could get, but tune out then already if I wasn’t getting any.  I would alternate back then already between a chatterbox, trying to stay the center of attention, and a recluse, holed up with my toys or a book.  That same silly clash between my type “A” and type “C” personality sides has affected me all the way through life, and it really enabled my abuser.  Still has an impact today on relationships, I know.  So what good does it do me to see this?  Awareness of the clash within is key to being able to moderate my actions.  I won’t pretend to be a psychologist and apply that to child rearing- attachment science is not my field.

There’s so much more I have to learn, but that’s today’s education.  If it meant anything to you, please let me know.  Feel free to share this post if you’d like.

Cheers, Duane

Bravery

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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