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

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

Through the Glass(less)

Looking through the glass(less) windows.

Near my home town, there’s a little ghost town called Dorothy, Alberta.  It has two churches and a grain elevator.  About fifteen years ago I found this town, and all of these pictures are from that trip.  I’ve been back a few times- now the churches have been fixed up and the elevator has lost it’s roof to a wind storm.  Back then, however, the church that I took these pictures from was very decrepit, and, might I add, photogenic.  Someday, for a different post I’ll show the outside of what I’m talking about, but for “frame“, I had to share these.

Enjoy,

Duane

 

via Photo Challenge: Frame

Such Sweet Mistakes

Sweet Mistakes, Such Sweet Mistakesmistake.

As a divorced dad, there’s people who ask what I’d do different if I could do it over.  They suggest that having married my kids’ mom was a mistake.  And maybe in a lot of ways it was.  But, Oh, what a sweet mistake.  Because of that “mistake” I have three beautiful, sweet daughters that I love deeply and I know they love me too.  Besides that, there was a lot of good to that marriage, and never minding the things that ended it, I try to remember with pleasure the good that came from that “mistake”.

But, let’s set me aside for a couple minutes here.  I’m sure all of my readers know somebody who was born as a “mistake”, right?  I mean, some people say they were a “surprise”, or an “accident”, but we all know what that means- their mom made a mistake, and had a child.  What a sweet punishment for having a mistake, right?  I’m not seeking to minimize the hardships of unplanned pregnancy, or single motherhood, or any of those things.  We all know that is an incredibly tough row to hoe.  But who can hold a baby, then watch them grow, and call that precious life a “mistake”?

I’d love to hear it if you think I’m nuts…that would just be another mistake to lear from, eh?

Duane

 

via Daily Prompt: Mistake

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

It was so good…but…

I’ve been on holidays for a week. Well, I guess this is the eighth day away from work now and I don’t go back till Monday morning😊

And what an awesome week. I’ve hung out with my kids for most of it. Amusement park. Museums. Swimming pools. And food. Lots of delicious food- some of it cooked at home out of my own garden, and some of it prepared by others for us when we were on the road. 

Even with my seven year old having a flu for a couple days and the eleven year old fighting a cold the last couple days, it’s been an awesome week. 

But now…  I sit hear feeling sorry for myself as the girls watch tv, knowing that tomorrow morning they go back to their mom. It’s like having my heart ripped out knowing it’ll be a couple weeks before I see them again. And so I sit, trying to get my feelings under control so I can enjoy the rest of this vacation. 

Divorce sucks. I pray that those of you who’ve never been through that never have to either. 

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