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

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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

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

Did I hold Juanita Yesterday?

Today’s post is prompted by the Daily Prompt: Fifty, but totally inspired by the great Alberta Singer/ Songwriter Ian Tyson.  This old song of his titled “Fifty Years Ago” rolls through my mind every once in a while, and the soundtrack played instantly through my mind when I saw the word “fifty”.  Maybe I have an old soul, ’cause I sure don’t remember anything from fifty years ago.  Heck, I don’t even know if my dad had dreamed of having a boy named Duane fifty years ago yet.  But yet, the almost haunting reminiscent tone of this song has caught me since I was not even half of fifty yet.  And now, 80% of the way to fifty, it still speaks the same.

Here is the Chorus:
And the sighing of the pines
Up here near the timberline
Makes me wish I’d done things different
Oh, but wishing don’t make it so
Oh the time has passed so quick
The years all run together now
Did I hold Juanita yesterday
Or was it fifty years ago.

And if you’ve ever heard the song, I bet you were singing it in your head just now.
I’ll include a youtube link for anyone who wants to hear this tune:

Cheers,
Duane

 

via Daily Prompt: Fifty

The Youth in Me.

Only “as old as I act”? Or is it “as old as I feel”?

I prefer “As YOUNG as I wanna be”!

I’m too young for questions that complicated. Ya right!  But I did have a lot of fun hanging out with my kids this week, and not acting my age.  I guess to someone in their fifty’s,  in forty is the prime of youth anyway, right?  It was a lot of fun to go on amusement park rides that my logical mind told me I’d have to be insane to do.  It’s a lot easier to keep up to a seven year old who’s not fond of crazy rides than it is to keep up to a thirteen year old who thinks “the crazier, the better”.

Go out, and celebrate your youth, in whatever way you can, with whatever youth you have in your heart!

Cheers,

Duane

via Daily Prompt: Youth

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.

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