Posts Tagged ‘Relationships’

Sitting in my office, jamming to some tunes suddenly from a far I hear feet shuffling on the freshly waxed floor. A smile comes across my face, because I know soon I will see my best friend Dale Brown. 
Through the Taoist point of view Dale had reached the rare state of enlightenment, where he was able to see the world through the eyes of a child. I am aware that this state was partially contributed to his illness, but none of that mattered. The brief moments where we were able to interact was always the highlight of my day. It is amazing how we seem to appreciate things so much more when they are gone.

It was the day before Thanksgiving 2009; I spent most of the day by Dale’s side. His biggest fear was being alone I held his hand, and tried to tell him that he is not alone, and everything is going to be ok. I feared that he was so far in the process that he was not able to hear me.

 Dale had just recently been taken off hospice, so he did not have someone by his side, on this day he seemed more alert then the days before. He had spent most his days just laying in bed, on this day Dale was moved out in the common areas in what I call the “death chair”. I call it this, because the residents who sit in this chair pass soon after.

When the day came to an end, I saw him sitting there, I said my goodbye’s knowing in my head that this would be the last time I would see him. There was so much I wanted to say to him, for some reason it did not come out.

I received the text on Thanksgiving eve that he had passed, looking back there are so many things I wished I would have said. I wish I would have given him a hug, and told him exactly how much he meant to me. I wish I told him he is loved.

I still hear shuffles coming from the hallway; I look up with a smile waiting to see his smiling face. I never see it, it has almost been two months and I still have not talked about it, accepted it, or discussed my feelings.

I did not intend on forming any relationships with the residents I work with.  Dale came into my life at a point where I needed a friend. The conversations we had were delusional, yet very personal. I could be myself, I did not need to hide my disease or who I really was, and neither did he. His smile was infectious and always brightened up my day.

He was here my first day at work, and in my mind I thought he would be here for many years to come. I hate that I never took the time to just sit back, and be mindful of the moment. I am angry and sad that I will never get that chance again. I am regretful I did not let him know the impact he had on my life. I wanted him to know that even in death he will always live on in my heart. Even as I write this my eyes well up in tears, yet I refuse to feel through it. I refuse to accept and let go.

Since his passing my days seem empty, and my heart breaks every time I hear the shuffling, only to look up and see that it isn’t him.

Repost. I still miss Dale, and know he had very few people in his life that cherished and loved him for who he was. I know Dale would pass no judgments on my own mental health. Miss and love you.

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Dreams is All They Are

Dreams Is All They Are

Its late at night, I drift off to sleep

Dreaming I wake the man you want me to be

When I awake, my dreaming didn’t take

Seeing your unmatched beauty

Lost in your eyes

Mesmerized by perfection

Truly it could take only a God

To bless us with you

It’s late at night, drifting off to sleep

Dreaming I wake to a day where you see me

When I awake my dreaming simply didn’t take

I notice you light up a room

Lost in your eternal light

I walk by with childhood nerves

Hoping you will shine

Your light upon me

It’s late at night, drifting off to sleep

Dreaming I wake to a day I hear you speak

When I awake my dreams simply didn’t take

I hear your voice on the phone

The sound of trumpeting angels fills the room

My body filled with such excitement

Excitement over the chance

Those trumpets will be directed at me

It’s late at night I drift off to sleep

On those lucky nights when I dream

It is about you

Caressing your cheek, a gentle kiss

Smiles and laughter

Embraced with love

Our suffering freed by a dove

When I awake my dreaming simply didn’t take

These are dreams I know I shall miss

It was you who washed away the dirt

Giving me hope to a brighter future

A chance at what love was meant to be

Dreams

This is all I have

Dreams

Is all they are

By: Tim Lundmark

Signed Drawing and Poem Available at

http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheRandomArtist

 

What We Learn From Failed Relationships

Posted: May 27, 2014 in Absolute Truth, Abuse, Anxiety, Arguments, Blog, Blogging, Change, Childhood, Children, Coping, Crisis, Culture, Dating, Debates, Depression, Diary, Dilemma, Divorce, Dreams, Emotional Abuse, Ethics, Evil, Faith, Family, Fatherhood, Fear, Forgiveness, Freedom, Fun, Greed, Grief, Growing up in abusive homes, Health, Humor, Inside My Mind, Journal, Kids, Learning, Lies and broken promises, Life, Lists, Living Your Dream, Logic, Love, Lust, Marriage, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Misc, miscellaneous, Moral Theories, Morals, Motivation, Mourning, NA, Opinion, Pain, Parent, Parenting, Personal, Philosophy, Poems, Poetry, Published Author, Quotes, Random, Random Thoughts, Rants, Rejection, Relationship Issues, Relationships, Sadness, Self-esteem, Self-Help, Self-image, Social Anxiety, Social Debates, Society, Sorrow, Spirituality, Stress, Suffering, The Invention of Lying, The Philosophy of Lyrics, The Philosophy of Quotes, Things That Give Me Anxiety, Thoughts, Top Ten Lists, Uncategorized, Unity, Verbal Abuse, Writing
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I would first like to start off by thanking all of my readers and subscribers. I learned today; I have readers from 61 different countries. I think that’s pretty bad ass. I am aware that my readership grew from the topics of philosophy, theology, and madness. So bear with me as I stray a bit from those topics. Today I would like to release that which has been permeating in my mind. I would like ponder for a moment the importance of learning from our mistakes in a failed relationship. Through all of this I am trying to maintain a positive attitude and outlook. So here we go.

The one thing I can say with out a doubt is I am far from sainthood. I have made my more than my fair share of mistakes, and bad decisions which played a role in the overall destruction of my marriage. I am ashamed and consumed with intense guilt because of this. This combined with my wife’s lies, and infidelity has allowed me to see the light. I am sure I could write a 200 page paper on this topic, but I will try to keep this short and sweet.

There are 10 main things I have learned in my failed marriage. Now mind you there are far more than 10, but as I said this is not a 200 page dissertation on my failed marriage. I will do my best to not place blame, because it doesn’t do anyone any good. Some things on this list will undoubtedly overlap, even though this is the case I feel each one deserves to be mentioned. Without further ado here is my list of 10 things I learned from my failed marriage.

  1. Never Lie: I did a lot of research after I found out about what my wife did. I learned that in humans our first response when we know we have done something wrong, that will ultimately lead to a negative outcome our immediate response is to lie. We do this for two reasons one we want to avoid conflict, and two we don’t want to get in trouble. Since I am a proponent of the tabula rasa theory (mind being born as a blank slate.) I feel this is a trait we learn as children, which carries over into adulthood. Lying to your partner no matter how small is a terrible idea. We can overcome this childish trait, by knowing our partner as well as ourselves, focus on understanding and know that mistakes are actually learning opportunities.
  2. Never Cheat: I think this one doesn’t need further explanation. It’s a painful and shitty thing to do to those we love. Even if (insert some attractive famous person) wanted to be with you, nothing is worth hurting the one you love.
  3. Trust: it should go without saying that if the two things listed above are followed then trust shouldn’t be an issue. Unfortunately we all carry the baggage of past hurt, what we need to realize is who ever we are with now is not the person who caused us hurt in the past. I would imagine it would be a good idea to be open and honest about these past hurts. A relationship that is not built on trust is like trying to build a house of cards on a windy day, neither of these two examples will be successful. The perfect advice one can give in fostering trust in a relationship is this; if you would not say or do something if your partner was there with you, then you definitely shouldn’t do it.
  4. Accept and Love Each Other For All Their Good Qualities, As Well As Their Flaws: let’s admit it people, no one is perfect, and those who claim to be are probably the most screwed up of them all. Initially I am sure that we all fall in love with our mates good qualities. During the “courting” or “honeymoon” phase of a relationship, it is kind of like interviewing for a job, you really are not being completely honest your just trying to get the “job.” As the relationship progresses and begins to become serious is usually when we start to notice each others flaws. The important thing is that we learn to love that person regardless of their flaws. In fact I believe our flaws can become the most exciting part of a relationship. When you love the good qualities along with the flaws you know you have found true love; when everything seems to fit like a glove.
  5. Never Put Your Partner Down and Break Their Will: this topic has a lot to do with item number four. There are just two things I would like to add. The first is from an article by John Gottman, PhD in an article titled “4 Signs of A Troubled Marriage” Here is the link.http://affiliatedpsychologicalservices.com/4-signs-of-a-troubled-marriage/ Gottman talks about “The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse” which are clear signs you are headed for a divorce. The first two he brings up is “Criticism” and “Contempt.” If anyone out there grew up in an abusive home where as a child you were faced with these two horsemen, having to deal with such things in a marriage is a key ingredient in a divorce. If you tell someone something negative about them enough times, with the right amount of nastiness it is only natural the other party will believe what they are being told, and inevitable this is who they will see when they look into the mirror. I don’t think people are aware of how serious the long term damage can be. My second point comes from a line from the song “Weight of The World” by Blue October. “Don’t bother changing things that won’t give into changing.” It is one thing to help your partner grow and become the best person they can be, but in the process don’t try to change who they are inside. If you are hell bent on trying to force someone to change, there is always medication. If this is your goal please take to heart one of my quotes “Medication is to fix the people we don’t like.” If you feel you need to medicate your partner, it’s time to call it quits.
  6. Freedom: As your relationship grows, it is imperative that you do not take away your partners freedom. When I say freedom I am not referring to allowing your partner to go out all the time neglecting the relationship, and engaging in behaviors which fall into the first three categories I listed. When I say freedom, I say that it is clearly healthy to share and be with each other, but it is also healthy to have a respectful life outside of the relationship. I have made this deadly mistake in one of my relationships, and I have now been on the receiving end of how damaging smothering and isolating your partner can be. If your relationship is built on a strong foundation of trust and respect this should be something you encourage each other to do. I have always admired the relationship between my best friend of 26 years and his lovely wife. I will not mention names, but I truly hope one day I can figure out whatever their secret is, and apply it to my future relationships. I am going to encourage them to write a book.
  7. Support Their Dreams: There is nothing more precious and sacred than some ones hopes and dreams. For some our dreams appear to us when we are young, others do not fully realize their dreams until they discover who they are. When I was young I had the normal boyhood dreams to become a professional football or baseball player, unfortunately like normal boys those dreams were not meant to be. Beyond those two options, I really didn’t have anything else that drove or inspired me, until the 5th grade. Long story short I ended up doing many writing assignments and I remember my teacher signing my year book, saying she could one day see something I have written being published. I was not a very well behaved child, so positive reinforcement from the teachers I tormented was rare, but from that moment my dream changed. I wanted to become a professional writer. As I grew older I held onto this dream, and wrote in private. I never thought anything I would write would be read let alone published. Again long story short one of my poetry books was published, I started this blog, wrote two children’s books, and two other poetry books. Needless to say this was the greatest I had ever felt about myself, because I accomplished something I never thought I could… my dream. I did not receive support from my partner, and in fact was highly put down and discouraged from continuing to write, until finally I had no option but to stop writing. The details behind this are not important at this moment.
  8. Open & Honest Communication: You would think this is a no brainier, but for my marriage and I would imagine many others this proved to be too challenging to overcome and sowed the seeds to our divorce. I feel if you have all seven of these things listed above then number eight would be a given, but if you take out one or two of the above it makes communication a challenge. I avoided and ran away from open and honest communication. I could make a laundry list for why, but this is already becoming too long of a post. Mainly I was afraid to honestly look in the mirror, I was scared I was going to receive an unhealthy dose of items four and five. Regardless of those reasons it is on me for failing in this aspect of our marriage. I need to take ownership for this, and like everything listed learn to not make the same mistakes. It is very difficult and challenging for me to be social, and communicate even with those closest to me. I know this is something I need to work on, but what always ends up playing over and over in my mind is the Pink Floyd lyrics from the song “The Final Cut” which I will add at the end.
  9. Be A Selfless Lover: This is actually one area where I have and feel the most accomplished. I felt I needed to add this, because in my experience men in general put their intimacy needs, or the final “outcome” before their partners. I will not go into detail in case my mom is reading this, but as men our primary focus and goal when it comes to being intimate is placing our partners needs before ourselves. Any man can do his business and be on his way, but this is a man who has failed. When it comes to intimacy your only goal and desire should be the feelings and ultimate “outcome” of your partners needs. Everything else should be secondary.
  10. Find Your Genuine Light: Tomorrow I am going to post a quick poem describing the meaning behind this comment. I do not believe in soul mates. I do not believe there is only one true love for everyone. I believe for everyone, there exists many individuals who could be considered your genuine light. I believe they are rare, but they are out there. My advice is if you feel you are holding your genuine light, don’t let them slip away because you cannot be certain another one will come around to light up your life.

 

“And if I show you my dark side
Will you still hold me tonight?
And if I open my heart to you
And show you my weak side
What would you do?
Would you sell your story to Rolling Stone?
Would you take the children away
And leave me alone?
And smile in reassurance
As you whisper down the phone?
Would you send me packing?
Or would you take me home?”

Pink Floyd

These lyrics describe perfectly why it is so difficult for me to open up to people, which hinders my ability to effectively communicate.

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??

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
Scott Adams 

This makes me think of the movies “Pay it Forward,” and “Evan Almighty,” which happens to be two of my top 200 movies of all time. I know you may be thinking 200 is an odd number to have, but it is what makes the most logical sense. “Pay it Forward” is great, because it shows the ripple effect over this one boys acts of kindness. It amazed me how many lives were changed over those three little actions. “Evan Almighty’s” primary message, is how we can all change the world with one act of random kindness at a time.  These movies made me think of what role I play in acts of kindness; besides “The Bucket List Foundation” I do very little to better my fellow man. I write about how greed keeps us from thinking about the needs of others in our society. I do not consider myself a greedy man, but I wonder why I do not practice what I preach.

I think one of the reasons for this, is I have not been in a position to really execute these acts of kindness. I am aware, that what I am in a position to do is acts of kindness towards my family, but I even find myself having trouble with this. My doctor says this can be attributed to my Anti-Social Personality Disorder. I actually had an opportunity to display an act of kindness, but I passed on the situation.

I went to get our morning coffee, and there was this younger gentleman with a makeshift duffle bag made from a bed sheet tied on all four sides. He said he needed a ride to Mystic Lake Casino, so he could catch a bus into downtown Minneapolis. He said he only had ten dollars on him, which wasn’t enough for the cab fare. He went on to say he had a pretty bad fight with his girlfriend, and he had to quickly get out of the house before there was a domestic violence issue. I honestly told him I just didn’t feel comfortable giving a ride to someone I didn’t know.

As I was preparing my coffee I kept thinking to myself that I should give him a ride to help him out, but then my other side was telling me this was a bad idea, because he could take my car and rob me, or possibly worse. I think this is a key reason why people hesitate to help out those in need. It saddens me to say but the society we live in today is violent, and void of morals. You really cannot tell who you can trust and who you can’t. I think because of this people are hesitant to do the right thing. It would have been so easy for me to do this guy a solid, but this voice in my head was telling me he can’t be trusted.

What interests me the most is the ripple effect random acts of kindness can have. It is amazing to me how the smallest things have such dramatic effects way beyond what we even realize. This makes me think of the butterfly effect, and how the most minor trivial changes can drastically change the future as we know it. It would be amazing to do a social study on what would happen if every citizen made it a priority to do one act of random kindness a day. Would this mass ripple effect alter the outcome of the human race? How much would our society be altered if we all made this a priority?

I want to do my part and better society and my fellow man, but I am at a loss for how to do it. I suppose this can be done through my foundation, or I can start looking for the smaller things. I believe the message in “Evan Almighty” was focused on how the main characters acts altered his family. Evan was so focused on his work that he neglected his family. In the end his journey was one of creating a stronger family unit. I stated earlier, how I am in a position to give these acts of kindness to my family. I think this is a great start, and in reality should be my top priority over anything else. I would imagine these acts towards my family would have a massive ripple effect, even more so than giving that guy a ride.

Now that I think about it, I do perform random acts of kindness, anytime I am on the floor in the nursing home. I go out of my way to interact with the residents here, and I always leave them with a smile on their face. I know I leave them with a feeling that they are valued. You would be amazed at how this vital human need is lacking in our nursing homes. I can do my part everyday I come to work, and in all my interactions throughout the day. I can do my part by strengthening my family unit, and by nurturing an environment built on unconditional love. Maybe this is the simplest way to change our world.    

God asks Evan “How do we change the world.” Evan answers “one single act of random kindness at a time.”

 Evan Almighty

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.

My daughter is in the sixth grade, and she has now started to “date” boys. Nicole thinks she is way too young to be having boyfriends, where I feel it is normal and harmless behavior. I remember when I was in sixth grade, I had girlfriends and it seemed to be, a normal practice at this time. Sixth grade is just a time where boyfriends/girlfriends are just the in thing to have. She has taken the next step in life, and this is part of that next step. The question I pose today, is if she is too young to have a boyfriend?

I think the whole thing, is all innocent at this time in her life. The biggest events, which seem to happen, when you are boyfriend and girlfriend at this age, is hugging and holding hands. She did have one boyfriend, this year who wanted to take that next step and kiss, but she was not ready to do that, so he broke up with her. I am happy that my daughter knows her own comfort level and boundaries enough to say no. I have noticed, that they tend to throw the word “I love you” around the day they start to date, which at first bothered me, but then I thought back to when I was young, and that word was thrown around all to casually. These kids have no concept of relationship love, so I am not really concerned over them using the word, because it means nothing.

I also think, dating must be normal at this age, because they have started doing school dances. I again, think back to when we started doing school dances, and one of the thrills was asking girls to go to dances with you, which is what they are doing today. You would think as her father, I would be freaking out over all this, but I am really okay with the whole thing. It is not, that I am not protective of her, because papa bear syndrome runs rampant with all my children. I guess, I just see this as normal innocent behavior for a sixth grader. When I think back I was actually “dating” in the fifth grade, and I am sure things have not changed much from then to today.

I am sure as time goes by, I will be less and less okay with her having boyfriends, considering as how things progress physically as they age. I was a bit nervous, but excited when she had her first kiss, but I will not feel the same when it comes to her first French kiss. Anything after the French kiss completely terrifies me. I think I may get her a chastity belt when she turns thirteen. I may think this behavior is all innocent and fine now, but I can guarantee you as she gets older I will become the dad who holds a shotgun the first time I meet with her boyfriends.

So, which one is it, should she be allowed to date, because it is a normal right of passage at her age, or is this completely inappropriate? As I have said, in looking back at my childhood, this was all normal behavior, thus I am totally okay with what she is doing.

“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.

“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.