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You Are In Integrity

“You are in integrity when the life you live is an authentic expression of who you are.” — Alan Cohen

 

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I Feel As Though I’ve Lost My Way In This World

 

“If you are alone, I’ll be your shadow. If you want to cry, I’ll be your shoulder. If you need to be happy, I’ll be your smile. But anytime you need a friend, I’ll just be me.”  — Source unknown.

 

My life seems so incredibly fucked up now.  Even I have grown tired of the constant, seemingly endless drama that I consistently seem to manifest about me.

I have shared openly and with honest and authentic admission that I have not always lived life as a man of integrity.  Lies, deceptions, illusions, delusions once filled my life.  No one really knew who I was back then.  The pain that I carry, the result of the shame, guilt and true remorse are difficult to still bear.  I make my own best attempts to forgive myself and live by the commitments I have made to a life of rigorous honesty.  I revel in my new, authentic life and the easy cadence it brings.

However there are some who I have hurt in the past that refuse to see me as the man I am today and not the fool I was before.  Rather than try to see my progress, I am forced to swallow the bile of their resentments and my born again guilt.  I reach out to them at times like this for their love and support.  How many times can I hit “rock bottom” and how much worse can it get?  The problems I face in my life now contribute to anxiety and that feeling of being “lost.”  I have people; friends or “family of choice” with one best friend Trish who is so calm, patient and willing to learn, that I truly know what unconditional love feels like. She very well could be that angel I’ve asked for!

When does it ever stop?  What do these “detractors” get from holding their resentments so dear?  When can I be seen as the man I am today, rather than the monster of my past?  How can family turn-off their love and sit idly by while I grow more and more lost, alone and afraid?  I have begged for their help.  Their refusal is like a nightmare; if they needed my help I wouldn’t think twice.  I would do what I could.  I still love them, even now, as they turn away.

I have worked so hard and tried to follow a path toward personal growth.  I’ve learned so much along the way, but now I feel so lost in my fears and find myself dwelling in these feelings of abandonment and betrayal.  These behaviors I know are preventing me from initiating my solution to my challenges.  I want to learn whatever it is I am supposed to from this lesson and move on.  I want a life filled with the love and joy of family and friends.

Please, send me an angel…

 


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How to Get to Forgiveness

One is, as One is.


“One is as one is, and the love that can’t encompass both is a poor sort of love.”  — Marya Mannes

I have struggled to find the way to forgive myself and others.  Forgiving isn’t easy.  Writing this blog isn’t easy.  I am carrying so much resentment and hurt around with me.  In fact, when I’ve been deeply hurt or victimized by someone else, I may feel I can’t forgive. Yet, for my peace of mind and to let go, I may finally try.  It’s been suggested by a close friend that forgiveness is easier under certain conditions: a positive connection with the person we want to forgive, a deep relationship with the Universe, and lots of time.

Forgiveness is often preceded by grieving fully; we must first heal from the harm that was done to us. Through the honesty, power and wisdom gained through personal growth we are gently led through the process of forgiving ourselves and others. Many of us have also experienced the Universe’s unconditional forgiveness which gives us a model.  I acknowledge my responsibility for my actions, I let go of resentment, I grieve, and, finally, I forgive.

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The Mother of all Depressions

It was the “Mother of all Depressions.” For four days I was unable to get out of bed. I couldn’t eat. I didn’t care about anything. I wanted to die. Really; I found myself hating my life so much that I began to think putting an end to it was the answer. A tape with the obscene mantra, “I hate my life, I hate my life, I hate my life” began to play in my mind. The last time I felt similarly was one dreadful July 4th five years ago, when I found myself being admitted to an Adult Psychiatric Unit.

Experiences can sometimes begin to feel familiar to that time five years ago.  Questions from family or friends about drug use, an uncontrollable anxiety over issues that later seem to end up as the small and minor challenges of a life in hyper drive. Family members and friends have no idea how to handle the evil, bitchy side that comes with depression. We fight, scream, cry and make threats. The choices I make when depressed are often not at all healthy and incongruent with physical or emotional well-being. Sometimes, the thoughts inside my head secretly struggle with the ways close friends have changed and seemingly moved on with their life.  I may feel my life, in comparison to theirs, isn’t moving.

When I’m depressed, I want something; a pill, a hit of dope; SOMETHING that will stop my ability to feel. I will listen to recorded pipe organ music for hours and hours on end. The music of Bach, played on a pipe organ usually relaxes me. Those in my close inner circle have involved themselves with attempts to get me to do something to pull myself out of that dark evil place and back into the light. With each attempt I often hand them some bullshit line like, “Sure, I’ll get up and take the dogs for a nice long walk” or, “Yeah, and I’ll eat something.” What did I actually do? I went back to bed, but only after laying some feigned guilt trip about how much I may have missed them lately and how terrible I feel for the things I do that drives them away.

My pathetic actions give them yet another glimpse of how capable I am of beating the fucking shit out of myself for the ways I have hurt them in the past. Sometimes, family and friends threaten to close our relationships.  “I have forgiven you and you should take a look at what you need to do to forgive yourself” a close friend once said.  When this friend said that to me I began to know how familiar my interactions with them could feel. It seems I can be a cycling, emotional train wreck seeking solutions or fixes to my problems, from them.

Gradually, I have found myself coming around, getting back into the light of life and feeling better.  A combination of things has worked.  I began years ago writing or journaling about thoughts and feelings I experience, being as honest as I possibly can be with myself, in my personal journal. This process of sharing has become so comfortable to me, that I often write these same thoughts and feelings in a blog that anyone can read online. I read from many books that have sustained me through some tough times of painful personal growth. I pray.

From loved ones, I have received many gifts: words, though sometimes harsh, have raised my awareness of my behaviors. Love and “big momma type” hugs are a tactile way of feeling alive. Time spent sharing experiences or in quiet contemplation with other loved one’s travelling on a similar path of personal growth brings connectedness, and dilutes feelings of isolation.  The last gift from loved ones has been their understanding and patience.

Tools learned in earlier cycles of depression are known to work and avert another “Mother of all Depressions”:

  • Heightened anxiety is a precursor to thoughts that are not totally based on reality
  • Understand self forgiveness
  • Accept the way people change and move through life; we all must do the same
  • Do not compare your life with anyone else’s
  • Be grateful for the loved ones who have stayed by your side and reach out to at least one of them early on in any future cycle of depression
  • We can learn to re-frame situations and experiences which may trigger negative thinking
  • None of us are ever alone.  We will never be alone

I read a blog that inspired me to begin sharing my journey away from depression. I have linked to it below.  It was blogged by “Hope Despite Depression” at blogspot and is titled “Grateful for Depression?”  http://hopedespitedepression.blogspot.com/2010/11/grateful-for-depresson.html

May we never allow depression to consume ourselves as much as it has in the past, ever again. May we begin to see our life experiences in different ways.

A Moment of Awareness is a Moment of Grace

My inside, listen to me, the greatest spirit,

The Teacher, is near,

wake up, wake up!

Oh, friend, I love you, think this over

Carefully! If you are in love,

then why are you asleep?

— Anonymous

I know when I have met a challenge in my life; when I become suddenly aware of new knowledge. It’s as if a light goes on, and things suddenly make sense. One friend of mine refers to this as “a blinding flash of the obvious.” It’s important to take such a moment of awareness seriously; it is a cue that a lesson has been learned and that it’s time to move on.

In the past, not trusting myself and not in touch with my connectedness to the Universe, I relied on unhealthy ways to make sense of my life. The more I used intellect and will to manage and run my life, the less I accomplished.

A moment of awareness is a moment of grace. It’s as if the Universe gives us a wonderful gift, and we can turn right around and say, “So that’s what this is all about!” Receptiveness to such a moment gives us the willingness to trust where we have been and the strength to go where our life calls us next. I will always cherish the awareness in my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where There Is No Forgiveness

Find Resentment and Retaliation

 

 

 

Without forgiveness life is governed…by an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation.”– Roberto Assaglioli

 

I am well aware of the past harm I have done to myself and others and yet, my life continues to be a breeding ground for resentment.  I may think others have more than me, are better than me, more successful than I have been and I make-up in my mind that these people are looking down at me.  I make-up in my mind that there are people who are out to get me or are trying to harm me in retaliation for some past transgression I may have been the source of.  While there may be times or situations when I truly have been wronged, I have come to understand and believe that most of my resentments are most likely delusional.

Whatever the situation may have been, or stands now, it is so clear to me that for me to grow and move forward, I must learn to forgive myself, those I have wronged and begin a process of making things right.

Through forgiveness of myself and others, I begin to break through the cycle of hurt and retaliation.  I begin to know that there is a way out of the screwed-up, delusional dramas in my head, through forgiveness and acceptance which brings peace and tranquility to life.

If I Fall Today, Would Somebody Please Help Me Up?

“I wish I could fly
From this building
From this wall
And if I should try
Would you catch me if I fall?”
— Chorus from “If I Fall” Barenaked Ladies

Someone very special told me once that, “To continue something when I’m making mistakes takes emotional courage”. He was talking about making a decision to turn his will and life over to something greater than himself, and how it works in his life. To keep turning our wills and our lives over to the Universe’s care moves us into unknown territory, for sure. I know that I will continue to make mistakes; many of them, which is why I need the Universe’s care as I experience each day. It’s hard to keep going after I stumble, especially when I keep stumbling over and over.

With all the personal growth work I try to do every (and share with all of you here on my blog), comes the clarity and awareness to look honestly at myself and my mistakes. I want to stop making them! I want to be perfect. I am one of the most impatient persons to change. But I know also that change doesn’t work that way. Instead, a caring Mother Universe cushions me when I fall, loves me without conditions, and gives me everything I need. I the Universe can forgive me when I make a mistake, how can I not do the same for another?

The Gift of Forgiveness

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“Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.”  — Marie Ebner von Eschenbach

 

One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is forgiveness.  When we remember the past, we often find we were much harder on ourselves than we were on other people.  We may no longer even remember some of our misdeeds, but it’s not so easy to erase the effects of self-punishment on our identity and self-esteem. 

There is no need for us to punish ourselves.  We can apologize to ourselves, just as we do to others.  Then, we can forgive ourselves just as we do to others, and just as we are forgiven by them. 

When we find it hard to forgive ourselves and let go, there are actions we can take: Reach out to someone, or try to find the real feelings beneath the urge to be so hard on ourselves.  We can still be honest and choose gentleness.  We can also keep our perspective, seeing things realistically and not creating a catastrophe where there is none.  We can turn to the Universe, asking for a higher forgiveness and be assured of the Universe’s understanding and love.