Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

Yesterday I was told to move out immediately, and to go live at who was ever house I have been going to at night. I explained again as I have in the past that where I goes work. I sit in my office that is what I do. So I say no I’m not going to move out because I have no place to go. Things are said as they always are feelings are felt, and then a new day begins. When I get to work this morning I received an e-mail saying I need to move out now. My response was okay. She knows I don’t have a place to go, thus technically making me homeless. Now let me add that she expects me to pay half of the bills for June, July, and, August. Finally let me also add that she wants me to set up a visitation schedule. Visitation where there is no home. Stay with me here for a minute, because if what I am about to say makes perfect sense, then perhaps I am truly that mentally ill.

She wants me to immediately move out, with nowhere to go, because the wake of the destruction I am leaving behind by the thing said to her and the kids are irreversible. I know and admit I have not had nice things to say to her. This is not a byproduct of mental illness; this is a byproduct of her cheating on me. I know and admit that I used poor judgment in something I have said to my daughter. I have heard her use poor choices and say things that should not have been said to our kids. I am sure many parents out there have said something to their child that they regretted saying. But for me this is a byproduct of my mental illness and I am causing irreversible damage, and therefore need to leave immediately, thus becoming homeless. Does this make sense? Am I crazy because I do not see the logic or reasoning behind this?

She talks about making poor decisions and actions that are causing irreversible damage. Was her decision to be unfaithful a good decision, and didn’t cause irreversible damage to me and our children? Was her decision to throw all my clothes in the basement where our children could clearly see a good decision that isn’t going to cause irreversible damage? During this whole process can she truly say that she has not said or done things that haven’t caused irreversible damage? Because of this I need to leave immediately, and be homeless. Will her decision to throw me out of the house with nowhere to go, not cause me or our children irreversible damage? Does this make sense? Am I crazy because I do not see the logic or reasoning behind this?

I am going to move out immediately. I would rather be homeless, then beg to continue living there after everything that has happened.

My intended focus this week was to break down, analyze, and apply my methodology to three single events with the intended outcome of making the correct choice. Do I stay or do I go? I have repeatedly replayed the same haunting moment of seeing my son still and quiet on his bike as he watched me get in the car to go to work. In that moment I could see in his eyes the internal conflict between acceptance and denial that his dad is slipping away. I could see and understand all too well the sadness he was trying so bravely to hide.

It is difficult for me to release my sadness and sorrow through the shedding of tears. The only time the outside world can see what I try so hard to hide, is when I cannot hold back my tears. At that moment, just as in this moment writing about it I cannot stop the tears. Many people say that crying is supposed to be this wonderful release of pent up emotions. It’s not like that for me. Tears feel like razor blades running down my face, slicing through self-denial and exposing my weakness and vulnerability. Regardless of how many times I have been told I am selfish and only think of myself, at the end of the day my meaning in life, and my purpose is to not break his heart. I am well aware I will never win the father of the year award. To be honest with you I don’t even know if I’m a good father. Despite what I am told I know I have always tried to be the best dad I could be.

After the series of events that took place yesterday, or would it be considered today? I haven’t slept for days so time holds no logical meaning. After said events the only answer to my opening question; is to go. There are only so many pieces someone can be broken into before they are unable to be put back together. I now need to come to terms with the sobering reality that I will become in my own eyes everything I ever swore I wouldn’t. I will become my fathers son. I am desperately seeking, yet fear I will be unable to live with the guilt, or forgive myself.

Children are not stone, nor are they steel. They are dirt and clay, molded by the hands of experience. There is no way to reconcile the loss of my son’s happiness and hope due to the harsh reality of my life, which I have viciously infected upon my family. Despite my frequent mental transformations I made the decision to get married and have children; in that single moment I destroyed their lives. I suppose I was caught up in the perceived human need for significance, by my own sense of insecurity. Here is where I cannot deny my selfishness. Broken dolls are meant to walk alone.

In moments like this I want to hide within the minds of Soren Kierkegaard and Albert Camus covering myself in the blanket of Absurdism. Believing all struggles for life is for nothing. There is only birth and death, and everything in between is our feeble attempt to find meaning and purpose. This concept is wonderful, but in the back of my mind I’m burdened with this question. What if birth and death were only two points, that they were inconsequential compared to what happens between them?

I am currently burdened with this increasingly ticking clock looming over my head. I hear it every second of every day; sometimes it’s as soft as a pin drop, other times it’s so deafening it impedes on my ability to function. Loud or soft there is no escape it’s always there tick, tock, tick, tock. This metaphorical clock terrorizing my mind is the count down leading to the single most important decision I have had to make thus far in my life. Do I stay or do I go?

Regardless of how hard I try not to have this internal battle; I would question my humanity if I didn’t. I have spent 15 years of my life with this person, and raised three children with her. I would delusional to think, after 15 years there would be only happy times; that our relationship would be void of heartaches. I figure the best way to analyze this problem is through a Utilitarian view point. Which decisions creates the most happiness while simultaneously creating the least amount of sorrow. I have quickly learned that making a decision as a utilitarian when there are so many people involved is damn near impossible. What I have been doing is treating each situation as a single event. I observe how I feel inside; I try to imagine how those involved feel inside. I then proceed to estimate how many times such an event has happened in the past, and then apply the probability of this event happening in the future. This is the method I have been using to try and silence the ticking clock by making my final decision. Will this methodology sentence me to a life filled with tormenting regret, or will it be the key to unlock these shackles of hopelessness I have been chained to most of my life.

This week I plan on taking some of these single events; breaking them down as I have described above with the hope of discovering the answer to my question. Do I stay or do I go?

It has been over two years since my last post; in fact during this time I haven’t written anything. The reasons for this abrupt end are inconsequential at the moment, but will most definitely need to be examined in an attempt to uncover how and why my life has completely unraveled. The life I have known for the last fifteen years is about to come to an end; like all endings there is the inevitable re-birth. This is the saddest ending I have had to endure in my life, and the most terrifying beginning I have ever had to face. I am trying my best to understand and process all these intense emotions, but I find myself drowning unable to find the surface for a much needed breath of hope and understanding. For the last year or so I have been trapped in this painfully unsolvable riddle, and it has been eating me alive. I have experienced undeniable betrayal, but I have chosen to wrap myself in the comfort of lies. I want to believe the lies, so I don’t have to experience this gut wrenching sadness. In the end I was willing to suffer an eternity of sorrow just to hear the whole truth. I could at least begin to forgive and trust, unfortunately this was not the outcome. Ever the fool I would have stayed, but it was the unrelenting daily reminders of these lies and betrayal as if I was the guilty party that ultimately destroyed everything. I can’t sleep or eat, and I have been rotting away with each passing day. The only viable solution I can find to help me through the coming storm is to attempt to write again. I can say that a piece of me died when I stopped writing, yet ironically my writing also played a major role in some of the other pieces of my life to die. I need to return to this medium, because if I don’t I will never find the surface. Each day will continue to be more painful than the last; I need hope that tomorrow will one day hurt less than today. I believe this is my only chance of surviving this re-birth. My fear is discovering I have lost the ability to express myself.

<a href=”http://www.hypersmash.com/dreamhost/&#8221; id=”wH806″>DreamHost review</a>

Satan,

I feel we need to put to rest the issue of our daughter (B,) her sisters, and F**k Face (FF). When B was in therapy, she opened up her true feelings. She has not worrying what she would say to us or to you. From those sessions the child psychologist gave her recommendation that B should not have anything to do with FF. When we sat in front of the referee in court and he asked you what future you saw with B, you indicated you wanted to work toward more time with her and you wanted her to be part of your family including FF. Referee M clearly stated that you need to focus much of your energy on you and B, on B and her sisters, but seeing FF was not an important piece to that, furthermore referee M indicated that if you wanted to create a better relationship with B it would be in your best interest to find a therapist that specializes in reunification, then down the line possibly FF could be involved, and only if B herself ever felt comfortable.

It is unfortunate that you feel you need to control B by using one of the worst times of her life against her by forcing her to have to “patch things up” with the person who caused her so much fear and pain that she no longer wanted to live in your home. If FF had beaten her, would you still feel she should work things out with him in order to see her sisters? If FF had raped her, would you still feel she should work things out with him in order to see her sisters? But because the pain he caused her was emotional and mental, that should simply be forgotten and swept away in order to please your and FF’s wants? By telling B that she will not see her sisters until they are 18, if she does not work things out with FF, is manipulative and just as emotionally hurtful to her as the original harm. You are simply de-validating her hurt and feelings by forcing her to be around someone she truly does not want to. What if you could only see B if my wife (N) and I were there with you the whole time, would you feel comfortable with that? Or you can see B once the three of us have sat down together worked out all our differences and all became best friends, then you could see her with us there, would that feel like a good compromise for you?

I wish B had the courage to tell you her truest of feelings, but she doesn’t. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell her she can be honest with you, she has made it clear she won’t do it. She told me about her phone conversation with you on Monday, and then her talk with FF. I have made it clear to you several times that she is to have no contact with FF. B Has made it clear she wants nothing to do with FF, yet you corner her in a situation where she has no choice but to speak with him. She fears that if she told you no that you would stop coming to see her. When we were talking to B she said well I guess it kind of makes sense a little if mom wants me to see her and FF first. Hear that “IF MOM WANTS ME” not what B wants, not her needs first. If in fact FF, and you, have changed why is it still what FF wants before your daughter? If in fact he has changed so much, what exactly is the harm in B seeing her sisters once a month for 4 hours? If he in fact changed and was sorry and loved her so much why would he still keep her away from her sisters? This does not sound like a man who has changed, or a man that loves her.

The things you BOTH are doing to B does not show remorse or love, it shows something so far from those things, yet you both still do it. Letting her see her sisters is not a separation of FF and his daughters that is the reality that you have a daughter that leads a separate life, should you choose to be a part of her life, then it is HER life you are entering it is not her entering YOUR life. You may want your whole family together Satan, but in reality that is not what B wants. After I quietly listened to B tell me the whole conversation with you and then with FF I asked her one thing, I said if your sisters did not exist would you WANT to see and work things out with FF. She looked at me, smiled a bit and said well NO. I find it funny how the minute I mention taking you to court you all of a sudden want a relationship with B, after you had just written her off. I find it funny that once child support became a reality all of a sudden FF wants to talk to B. My personal opinion is if it were not for child support FF would still not want anything to do with B, and I am sure you would still be out of her life. One of my theories for why you are manipulating her in this way has nothing to do with FF being “sorry” and “loving” B, but has everything to do with child support. I have a serious question to ask you; if I agreed to no longer collect child support from you in exchange for you never seeing B again would you take it? Or if I changed it and said I will suspend child support in exchange for B being able to see her sisters, and a guarantee she would never see FF again, would you take that? This is an honest serious proposition.   

B simply wants to know her sisters, I can not for the life of me, understand how you can feel it is right to keep that form her, dangle them in front of her to entice her to like your husband, that Satan is yet another example of why we are so very protective of B when it comes to all of this.

As her father and her sole physical guardian at this point in B’s life I am put in a position to make a decision, I don’t like to do this, I want B to feel like she has choices and learns how to make the right choices, but she is so easily manipulated by you and so badly wants to see her sisters that she is stuffing away all those hurt, sad, angry feelings in order to achieve this. I know this because she lets all those stuffed away feelings out to us, and we are the ones holding her for two hours while she sobs, and hurts, and hates you, and hates all of this, and worst of all hates that she was ever honest about FF, because if she had just taken it from him then none of this would have ever happened and she could see her sisters. She said something to me on Sunday that will stick with me for a very long time. She told me she hated her life. As a parent this is the worst thing you can hear coming from your child’s mouth. To me this broke my heart, but you will read this and think nothing of it, because you have only shown that you and your husband’s feelings come first and B’s last. You wonder why I have so much “hate in my heart” towards you, it is because your and FF’s actions has caused my daughter unspeakable pain. I love my children, and as a result I can hold no respect for somebody who has caused them so much suffering. As her parent I have to step in at this point and put a stop to this.

B is not allowed to be around FF at this point. Until either she attends some therapy, or we see that she and her feelings are being put first, and she is more emotionally stable on the situation. I will determine when that is based on what B shows us. It would be a very big gesture of change and love for B to be able to see her sisters once a month for 4 hours; this in no way will cause any damage to your daughter’s relationship with FF. I would assume the girls know they have a sister that lives with her dad, so seeing their sister once in a while is not some crazy emotionally harmful event; many many kids out there have the same type of family structure. If you decide that she can see the girls, please give us advanced warning of when you will bring them. If you decide that you still believe she should not see them then we will deal with that as B expresses her feelings about it. And if you decide she can not see them then I ask you, for B sake, do not discuss her sisters with her anymore, as she always comes home very upset after those discussions.

B is NOT allowed to speak to FF. You should have run that by me before you did it. If that happens again, or you continue to hang her sisters over her head in order to manipulate her, we will be going back to supervised phone conversations. If you continue to manipulate her using her sisters to see FF, then I will cut off all communication between you and her. Yes you were awarded to see B two Sundays a month and you can take me back to court, but I am sure Referee M will see your tactics for what they are. I wonder what he would think about you not letting her see her sisters for two years, after he chastised you for that very same decision. I wonder what he will say when you use her sisters as a manipulative bargaining chip in order for her to see FF, who is the last person she ever wants to see, and who her therapist and family members have stated she shouldn’t see him. I wonder what he will think when B asks you what if she doesn’t want to see FF, and your response is she will have to wait until they are 18. When she said she doesn’t want to see FF your response is “well you will just need to wait?”  I no longer want to continue this merry-go-round subject, make your decision and then let’s be done with this.

As for mothers day Satan, just because you are her biological mom doesn’t mean you are the “mom” in her life. N has and always will be the mom she turns to for anything and everything. You really need to earn that title, because you tossed that away long ago when you tossed aside your daughter like trash. You know very little about her life or who she is. You are not the one holding her when she is hurting; in fact you are the one causing these hurt feelings. N has been there for all those things, and N is the one along with me who needs to console her pain caused by her own mother. N knows everything about B in every way. This is what makes a mom, and sorry but you haven’t cut it for many years. The B you see for 8 hours a month is NOT the real B.

Finally you and FF claim to be religious, but what would Jesus or God think of what you are doing to your daughter which according to things you have said or wrote was in His name. Would God/Jesus approve of your and FF’s behavior??

I was going to write about my oldest son today, but I am just filled with to much internal conflict, and yucky emotions. My daughter (B) had one of her monthly visits with her mom yesterday, and as usual it didn’t go to well. I am disturbed over this whole situation. I know I have written about this several times, but just writing about it eases some of my intense emotions over this subject. I am also frustrated over the next “Dylan Thomas” book I am writing, which is causing me to feel torn over what I want to do with this blog. I think I may need to take a step back and focus on this book, but I have a hard time letting this blog go.

Last night when B was dropped off from her visit with her mom, she ended up crying for over two hours, because she was so upset and hurt over her moms’ refusal to let her see her sisters. I am not really sure how the conversation over this came up, perhaps B just asked her mom again why she can’t see them. When her mom started seeing her again she told B that she wouldn’t be allowed to see her sisters until she agreed to see her step-father (Fuck Face.) B wants nothing to do with FF because of all the shit he has done to her. The excuse she gave B last night was she can’t see her sisters because she doesn’t want to “separate” FF from their two girls. This probably means the same thing, just worded differently, but that is not how B understood it.

B told her again that she doesn’t want to see FF, so does this mean that she can’t see her sisters until they are 18. Her mothers’ response was “well looks like you will just have to wait then.” She couldn’t stop crying, she said she doesn’t even know what they look like, and if she saw them walking on the street, she wouldn’t even recognize them. She said she doesn’t understand why her mom is doing this to her, and she can’t deal with how painful this is. She then uttered a phrase I had hoped none of my children would ever say; she said that she hates her life. I know pre-teen and teenagers utter that phrase often, but I could tell by her pain that she truly meant it.

Needless to say this caused me to see red. I am very protective of my children, and the fact that someone is causing my little princess deep emotional pain, just doesn’t sit well with me. I have grown so sick and tired over how much agony her mother has caused her over the past six years. I just simply can’t understand how her mother can so easily hurt her without even a second thought. B has been put through tremendous pain over this situation, but I have never seen her cry and hurt so much as I did last night. I was enraged over this; I did the impulse thing and texted her mom. I told her “I hoped I was wrong about religion, because I know there is a special place in hell for sick twisted people such as yourself, and hell is exactly where you belong.”

It is bad enough that her mom shows no interest in her life beyond there two four hour visits a month, but not allowing her to see her sisters is just plain evil. B is so sick with depression she didn’t even want to get out of bed this morning and felt so sick she didn’t even want to go to school. I am waiting for a call from the nurse to come pick her up. I really should have just let her stay home. I feel so powerless over this, and I want to fix this for her, so she doesn’t need to hurt so much.

I am also torn and frustrated over the “Dylan Thomas” book I am working on. I had already decided to not write a blog post everyday so I had more time to work on this book, but I am finding this is not curing the problem. Writing these books is rather difficult, and requires much more time then I have. The problem here is, if I have time and I can’t find the magic then I end up just staring at the computer. I need this magic to write these damn things, and it frustrates me that I cannot just summon this magic at will. I am only four pages in and even this has taken me four hours. The “Dylan Thomas” format is written in four or more line stanza’s where the last word always rhymes. Writing a learning book in this style is very difficult. I captured the magic yesterday, but lost it in short order. I was devastated over this, because I have been trying to conjure up this magic for over a month. To have it, and then lose it is tearing me apart.

I am thinking I may need to put my blog aside, so I have more time to work on this book. I will still try to write posts when they come to me, but I am not going to make this a priority right now. This makes me a bit sad, but I need to get these books off to an agent. I have a better chance of success with the DT series than I do with this blog. I apologize to my regular readers, but I promise I will write at least one post a week.

I am a Staffing Coordinator at a nursing home in Minnesota. My main job function is to ensure we are fully staffed twenty-four hours a day. One of my many other responsibilities is managing our lodge employee program. Lodge employees are people who work at the nursing home and live in one of the lodges on our campus. This lodge is a housing unit for people in recovery, many of which are homeless. These individuals, after their first thirty days of sobriety, are then allowed to come up and work at the nursing home as monitors. I can name about a dozen people who are here for a few months, try to go out on their own, then relapse and come right back. Then there are the guys who I see once and never see them again. I feel for these people, and the lives they have chosen. I grow fond of some of them, and try to be there for support, and tell them about my own personal recovery. I root for them hoping they can beat their addictions and enter back into society with a place to live. I look at their lives and it makes me grateful for who I am and what I have accomplished in my life thus far.

I had one of my lodge employees come talk to me over the winter. This guy has been one of the best employees I have had in over three years. He came to me one day to ask me for advice. His dilemma was whether he should leave the lodge and grab his fiancé from another sobriety/homeless shelter in Minneapolis, take the money he has made working here, and go back to St. Cloud to live in a motel. Being that it was winter, he was concerned about what he would do when he ran out of money. He told me it would be almost impossible to find a homeless shelter to live in up there. He said he felt content and safe at the lodge and is going on two years of sobriety. His fiancé, on the other hand, was staying somewhere in Minneapolis where they will hold a bed for her as long as she volenteers as a bell-ringer for the Salvation Army. She does not like where she is and is trying to pressure this guy to leave. He wants to stay here until springtime because he says it’s a lot easier to be homeless when the weather is nice. I offered some programs he could check into but I really wanted to shake this guy and tell him there are so many options out there for him, he doesn’t need to be homeless. I advised him to stay where he was at and encourage his fiancé to do the same.  

This got me thinking of my own life and how truly lucky I am. I have a beautiful, healthy, and wonderful family. I have a stable job, although not what I dreamed I would become; it pays the bills. I live in a beautiful home, there are times I just stop and take a step back in awe seeing all that I have. There is always food on the table and we feel blessed knowing our kids will never starve. Although I do not place a high value on possessions, we have many things people only dream of. We are able to spoil our kids for Christmas and even though we live check to check, we manage to survive month in and month out. These are all blessings I have been given, which I am sure any of the guy at the lodge would give anything to have. The problem is, I don’t always realize how truly blessed I am, it is as if, I almost forget how great I have it (this is usually when ego takes over.) I will at times take for granted the life I have and the people within it. I just grow comfortable with my situation, I do not take the time or energy to realize and reflect on what I am thankful for. In this situation I  take for granted the things and people I have in my life. I do not express enough how grateful I am to have everything that I do.

Considering my severe mental illness, and my personal battles with addiction, I could realistically be any of these guys over at the lodge, or perhaps even much worse. I wish I could take all the credit for this, but my beautiful wife has been my guiding light. Even in my darkest hours her love, compassion, and just plain giving a shit, has always lead my way home. She has always seen me for the man I can become, even though I have shown her the opposite. My children give me the motivation to become a better father than I have ever had. I have wonderful mother, supportive siblings, regular readers, a killer children’s book series, a great home,  cool shit I never thought I would have. I have kids who love and think the world of me, a great dog (not my first choice but I have grown to love him) and I am one of the few people out there who can say they found and married their soul mate. I may not always see it, but I love my life, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  

As for the gentleman I mentioned earlier; sadly he did not take my advice. He left two days after we had our conversation, and I haven’t seen or heard from him since. Wherever he is, I hope he can find the same happiness I know today.

“Reading your own material aloud forces you to listen.”
Stephen Ambrose

When I first started blogging back in January 2010; I thought everything I published was a masterpiece. I would smile from ear to ear knowing I just gave the world a literature masterpiece. I figured because of my lyrical rambling I was going to change the world one reader at a time. It wasn’t until I started working on my book “The Life and Mind of No One Special” when realized just how bad my early writings were. This book was based on one year’s worth of my blog posts. I thought the concept was pretty good, and I have never heard of someone trying this before. I remember when I first started the editing process; I was shocked by just how bad my writing was. I was astonished anyone who read my early writings ever came back for more. It was in reading these writings which caused me to see the shortcomings of my ability. Even though I am no longer doing this book, I am happy because it opened my eyes causing me to work harder on what I put out there. I hope the stuff I am doing today is a far better product.

I was working on this doing some editing and adding new content to my older posts. I think I stopped editing around posts from April. I was already 78 pages into this project and realized this could turn out to be a three hundred page or more project. I am not known for writing the shortest posts, so I apologize if my stuff can sometimes be long winded. I had to take a step back and ask myself why I was doing this. What was my motive, and what was my ultimate goal.

I suppose my motive and goals was to get another one of my books out there on the market. I wanted to provide my regular readers with an opportunity to have all my posts at their fingertips (does this sound conceded?) I wanted to hold a year’s worth of my work in my own hands. I wanted to have a product for new readers who would like to read my stuff without having to do it on the computer. I looked at this and felt my goals and motives were not enough to waste my time finishing this project. I loved the idea, hate the time and effort needed only to appease myself.

More importantly than writing I think this quote can be applied in our personal lives to reveal some much needed insight and truth. Normally when I am in an argument with my wife, or angry about something I will let it stew inside of me consistently adding fuel to the fire. I will go analyze the issue over and over again only seeing things through my narrow minded selfish perspective. One night I was particularly bothered by a certain event which was just eating away at me. I didn’t feel like talking with anyone about it so I started having a conversation with myself.  In turning my irritation into vocalized words I discovered what I was upset about was really stupid and trivial, and yes dare I say this I may actually be wrong. In doing this I was able to clearly see what the problem was, how I was feeling about it, and how others were feeling. I discovered the problem was not other people as I previously thought but was indeed my stubbornness ego which was wrong. I was able to find fault and selfishness for why I was mad, and I gained a better understanding to why my wife was mad at me. In speaking it out loud I was forced to listen to myself and in listening to myself I found clarity. For the first time this situation finally made sense to me.    

I also applied this to my performance as a father. If I am in the midst of playing Madden, writing, or entranced by the television I will get annoyed when I am interrupted by the children. I was confronted with my behavior when I spoke this situation out load. To hear myself say I am angry because my children want my attention or they just needed help with something breaks my heart to actually see my behavior. This verbal self analysis brought light and understanding to my shortcomings. Like my writing I have truly been forced to listen.

“Forget the past- the future will give you plenty to worry about.”
George Allen

Forget the past; wouldn’t that just be so wonderful? Imagine if we could all go to sleep tonight and wake up with our past pain and worries wiped from our memories. I wonder how much differently we would look at life if we were not shackled to our painful past. I imagine we would live life to the fullest not being afraid to try new things, and experience once missed joys. I think our past define who we are and as a result defines our future.

I understand the future will dump on us just as our past has, but this future will soon become the past and before you know it that ball and chain we carry around just seems to get heavier and heavier. The only way to cure the past is through the power of forgiveness.

“Forgiveness is the fragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
Mark Twain

I don’t think we can ever forget our past, but we can forgive. By practicing forgiveness we can eventually move beyond our past pains. I wake up every morning and say “today I choose to forgive.” I do not direct this towards any direct individual or situation I just say it. In saying this I am not only forgiving those who have harmed me, I am also forgiving myself. This little daily exercises has really helped me chip some weight off the ball and chain of a painful past. Try it sometime.

“Good listeners, like precious gems, are to be treasured.”
Walter Anderson

How many of us actually take the time to truly listen to someone? I like to think of my self as a good listener, but after further inner analysis I am very poor in this area. I have hundreds of things going on in my head and it is very hard for me to focus on one thing, and be in the moment. I think inside we want to believe we are listening to someone, but most of the time our minds are either elsewhere or we are thinking of what to say back. If this is the case then we are not really listening. One of the things the Tao tries to teach is listening and being receptive to what is being said. In this process we are open minded and are able to receive the speaker’s feelings and opinions. When the speaker sees we are open minded and receptive then they to become open minded and receptive.

My greatest sin when it comes to listening is if I need to defend or explain myself. If I am in a conversation where this is the case I immediately shut down to what the other person is saying and instead just keep repeating my response before I forget it. This whole time I am repeating my response I have now just missed a vital part of the conversation. I need to practice listening to the entire point, and then formulate my response. If I am listening without thinking of ways to defend or justify it leaves my ears and my mind open to what is being said. Perhaps I will process criticism in a better way, and be receptive to change.

When entering into a conversation with another person decide to approach these interactions involving other people with a completely fair mind-set, which you allow and trust to guide your response. I think the key word here is a “fair mind-set.” If we approach all of our conversations as an empty level playing field we can be better receptive to hear what the speaker is saying. We can do this because we are empty of judgments or personal opinions. By becoming empty we can truly hear what the person is saying, and perhaps we can actually hear their feelings and opinions instead of hearing our personal feelings and opinions.

Try to listen to someone express an opinion that’s the opposite of yours. Refuse to impose your position, and instead remark “I’ve never considered that point of view. Thank you for sharing your ideas with me.” By allowing a contrary position to be heard, you’ll dismiss ego’s attitude and welcome the flexibility of the Tao. I think when we are listening to someone it is important to acknowledge their opinions or feelings. By validating these feelings and opinions the speaker then feels comfortable and as a result becomes more receptive to what you may or may not say back to them.

I am sure there are hundreds of other ideas on how to become a good listener. I think this is an important trait to have yet difficult to achieve. I have worked for years on ways to become a better listener. There are times I am great and others not so well. This for me is an ongoing quest to achieve perfection in this area. If I were to be completely honest I think my major roadblock in achieving this is selfishness. I need to improve on placing others before myself. Hold on; I think I just cracked this code!! The way to become a better listener is to be selfless and put the speaker’s feelings before your own.

 It’s always nice to talk things out.