From the Twisted Metal


Every morning I make a posts on two other blogs I keep other than this one. With the description “love is so short, forgetting is so long” is centered on the pain and sorrow love can bring. On the flip side is my blog which celebrates the sweetness of love at its best (“Passages from Poetry, Love letters and Expressions of the Heart”) .

Do I love “love”? You betcha, but if I ever was lost in the fantasy and make-believe of it, I am over that. However, I am grateful for the reverence I hold for love that is possible between a man and woman. “Once upon a time…” still has meaning!

I have not loved often, but I have loved deeply with all my being. To have felt such deep emotion once is a blessing. More than once is something I never imagined possible, but have experienced.

With each heartbreak I learned about the value of love. My mistakes have been great teachers. The lesson that hurting one I love left great pain in my heart and was an important teaching to suffer through. In my pain was forged a faithful heart.

I dreamed I spoke in another’s language,
I dreamed I lived in another’s skin,
I dreamed I was my own beloved,
I dreamed I was a tiger’s kin.

I dreamed that Eden lived inside me,
And when I breathed a garden came,
I dreamed I knew all of Creation,
I dreamed I knew the Creator’s name.

I dreamed–and this dream was the finest–
That all I dreamed was real and true,
And we would live in joy forever,
You in me, and me in you.
From “Days of Magic, Nights of War”
by Clive Barker

Healthy love” is the warm cherishing of another person without expectation and clinging. This love “accepts” all aspects of another person and “requires” nothing from them. This love is something we create in our own heart and give as our gift, freely, willingly. With a compassionate, open heart, we truly, sincerely, authentically want the best for the other person: the best seat in the restaurant, the best of ourselves, the best job, the most fulfilling life they can have. We create this contentment in order to share it; we don’t depend on the other person in order to feel it. This “unselfish” love doesn’t need the other person’s happiness in order to exist, but it knows that when we increase someone else’s happiness, everyone’s happiness, satisfaction, and contentment multiply exponentially. Love is an essential part of life. It is the expression of inner happiness and contentment. Karuna Cayton

And so my once dysfunctional love affair with love, is no less strong than before, but has morphed into a positive presence within me. No longer the untrained steed, loves power can take me safely upon its back.  I am grateful for each woman I have loved and who loved me. Each one was a blacksmith of my heart who helped burn, shape and forge the faithful heart within me from the twisted metal it once was.

Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find all the barriers
within yourself that you have built against it.

My History of Anger


Every destructive emotion bears its own harvest, but anger’s fruit is the most bitter of all. Uncontrolled anger is a devastating sin, and no one is exempt from its havoc. It shatters friendships and destroys marriages; it causes abuse in families and discord in business; it breeds violence in the community and war between nations. Its recoil, like that of a high-powered rifle, often hurts the one who wields it as well as its target. Anger makes us lash out at others, destroying relationships and revealing our true nature. The history of the human race is largely the history of its anger. Billy Graham

Years ago my anger was a crutch; a habit and a bad one. My temper would get loose the easiest when slighted or left out by people I cared about. In hindsight, most of the time I simply needed to be understanding toward an unintentional act. But letting indignation give flame to anger, I volleyed back with spiked words hurled with intention to hurt another. Being sorry later did little to calm the hurts I often caused. The end result was usually ending up mad at myself.

Finding out some people were afraid of me, or at least reluctant to be in my company, was humbling. It’s wasn’t that I was an intentionally hurtful person, but rather I was a powder keg that did not need much agitation to go “boom”. I know now that my anger was only fear turned inside out.

A Hindu saint who was visiting river Ganges to take bath found a group of family members on the banks, shouting in anger at each other. He turned to his disciples smiled and asked, “Why do people shout in anger shout at each other?”

Disciples thought for a while, one of them said, “Because we lose our calm, we shout”.

“But, why should you shout when the other person is just next to you? You can as well tell him what you have to say in a soft manner?” asked the saint.

Disciples gave some other answers but none satisfied the other disciples.

Finally the saint explained, “When two people are angry at each other, their hearts distance a lot. To cover that distance they must shout to be able to hear each other. The angrier they are, the stronger they will have to shout to hear each other to cover that great distance. What happens when two people fall in love? They don’t shout at each other but talk softly, Because their hearts are very close. The distance between them is either nonexistent or very small…”

The saint continued, “When they love each other even more, what happens? They do not speak, only whisper and they get even closer to each other in their love. Finally they even need not whisper, they only look at each other and that’s all. That is how close two people are when they love each other”.

He looked at his disciples and said, “‘So when you argue do not let your hearts get distant, Do not say words that distance each other more, Or else there will come a day when the distance is so great that you will not find the path to return”.

In recent years I am a calm person who rarely gets agitated and when I do it’s a fairly rare occurrence for me to express it externally. Those who have known me ten years or less say they can’t imagine me being a person with hair-trigger anger. I am grateful that’s true and for the guidance and intention that has put anger mostly behind me.

Anybody can become angry —
that is easy,
but to be angry with the right person
and to the right degree and at the right time
and for the right purpose, and in the right way;
that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.

Franklin’s 13 Virtues


1726, at the age of 20, Benjamin Franklin created a system to develop his character. In his autobiography, Franklin listed his thirteen virtues as:

1. Temperance. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
2. Silence. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
3. Order. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
4. Resolution. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
5. Frugality. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
6. Industry. Lose no time; be always employed in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
7. Sincerity. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
8. Justice. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
9. Moderation. Avoid extremes; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10. Cleanliness. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, clothes, or habitation.
11. Tranquility. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
12. Chastity. Rarely use venery (sex) but for health or offspring, never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
13. Humility. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

Seems a tall order to live up to this list every day, but then Franklin said he never did. Ben admitted that he was never able to live the virtues perfectly, but felt he had become a better and happier man for having made the attempt. It occurred to me if I pick one each day and focus on bringing more of it in my life I will benefit. I am grateful to you Mr. Franklin for the idea!

It’s about living in the moment
and appreciating the smallest things.
Surrounding yourself with the things that
inspire you and letting go of the obsessions
that want to take over your mind.
It is a daily struggle sometimes and
hard work but happiness begins
with your own attitude
and how you look at the world.
Gretchen Rubin

Where Wisdom Grows

School of hard knocks EDIT

Misfortunes make us wise.
Mary Norton

I learned a lesson yesterday, taught a few times before but without me getting a passing grade. Like a child held back in school, it took repetition for the insight to sink in. It does not matter what the particulars are of what I learned. The jewel of knowledge that sparkles within now, came with a great deal of pain and difficulty; the ground and fertilizer where wisdom grows.

The best teachers have showed me that things have to be done bit by bit. Nothing that means anything happens quickly–we only think it does. The motion of drawing back a bow and sending an arrow straight into a target takes only a split second, but it is a skill many years in the making. So it is with a life, anyone’s life. I may list things that might be described as my accomplishments in these few pages, but they are only shadows of the larger truth, fragments separated from the whole cycle of becoming. Joseph Bruchac

When we search for “ourselves” in the eyes of others, we have imprisoned our own-selves in believing that our self-worth is nothing unless others validate who we are. Unless we approve of whom we are, what we are, and what we are capable of doing as an individual, only then we will have released “ourselves” from our own imprisonment. D. A. Isley

The names of my best teachers are Grief, Pain and Heartache along with their half-brothers Hurt, Sorrow and Anguish and their half sisters Misery, Sadness and Despair. In hopelessness, misfortune and depression each has been my hard, but honored teacher. When I get tired of repeating the same mistake and falling into the same dysfunction those instructors of the “hard way” school show me the best path when I let them.

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Kahlil Gibran

If only I could have stronger belief in my abilities; show greater self forgiveness; and love myself more. Then most anything would be possible. Gratefully, I can, I will and I shall so that I might.

Experience is the hardest
kind of teacher. It gives
you the test first, and
the lesson afterward.
Oscar Wilde

Unrestrained Innocence


When we are children we seldom think of the future.
This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can.
The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.
Patrick Rothfuss

Before there was maturity, adult ways, sexual attraction and worries of the world the uncorrupted simplicity of childhood filled me. A good while prior to “liking” a girl, studying for tests, giving book reports or choosing sides on the playground was the beautiful naivety of a child.

I am reminded of myself long ago by stories I am told by my best friend about one specific grandchild. This young man daily exhibits the unrestrained innocence of the first few years of life better than most. One particular habit of his is laughing fits before bed, brought on especially when he is tired. Over time it’s been noted when a strong laughter episode overtakes him before bed he sleeps even better than usual. I suspect the world would be a better place if all of us had a genuine laughing fit before nodding off each night.

Clearly I recall how ‘grown up’ and happy I was to take breakfast to my father. I was four years old. My Dad, Mom, little Brother and I lived in the country where my parents operated a small store and gas station. The little two room house where we lived was down a dirt road about a hundred yards away. That day I had the honor of walking breakfast over to my Father who opened the grocery very early each morning.

In a small box with the sides cut down to about four inches high my Mother had placed a plate with aluminum foil covering scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. Black coffee was in a pint canning jar. I was told to be very careful and walk slow. That’s exactly what I did and felt so very proud to be trusted with such an honor as taking my Dad his breakfast. Carrying the box hid the immediate view in front of me and I stubbed my toe badly. I dropped the box and the coffee jar broke. I was so disappointed and humiliated plus my toe was hurt and bleeding.

The breakfast was held on the plate by the foil and that is all I arrived with to give my Father through my tears. No one got on to me. I was not in trouble. I was only disappointed with myself. It was the first of such a feeling I can remember and a little of my innocence was lost that day.

I am grateful to remember…

I miss so much the person
that I was before the world
tore me up in so many places.
C. Joybell C.

Into the Void

voids DARK

If life is so short,

why do we do so many things

we don’t like

and like so many things we don’t do?

I looked into the image and let my mind, heart and soul rest while the unguided remainder of me went into the void. There a response came without my intentional help and amazingly it was clearer than thought, emotion or feeling.

My answers to the BIG question are personal and matter primarily to me, so I won’t list them. What matters is I am becoming able to put my ‘self control mechanism’ into neutral at times and allow solutions to come from the outside in. Like a randomly caught virus that can bring healing, more often than I thought possible I find a remedy floating outside me.

Or maybe it’s from a Higher Power… Or maybe it’s the power of allowing solutions to manifest them self… Or maybe it’s my subconscious… Or maybe it doesn’t matter how.

I am grateful to realize that sorting out where needed answers outside me come from is irrelevant. What does matter is an awareness that guidance can come from beyond me if I humble myself and realize I don’t have control of everything. For a person used to controlling everything and everyone, the realization that I am not my own God is a break through.

A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘universe’,
a part limited in time and space.
He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings,
as something separate from the rest –
a kind of optical delusion of consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us,
restricting us to our personal desires
and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison
by widening our circle of compassion
to embrace all living creatures
and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Albert Einstein

Knowledge, Wisdom, and Insight

knowledge 001

Knowledge is really about facts and ideas that we acquire through study, research, investigation, observation, or experience.

Wisdom is the ability to discern and judge which aspects of that knowledge are true, right, lasting, and applicable to your life. It’s the ability to apply that knowledge to the greater scheme of life. It’s also deeper; knowing the meaning or reason; about knowing why something is, and what it means to your life.

Insight is the deepest level of knowing and the most meaningful to your life. Insight is a deeper and clearer perception of life, of knowledge, of wisdom. It’s grasping the underlying nature of knowledge, and the essence of wisdom. Insight is a truer understanding of your life and the bigger picture of how things intertwine.

In a nutshell: If knowledge is information, wisdom is the understanding and application of that knowledge and insight is the awareness of the underlying essence of a truth. Sadly we can gain a lifetime of knowledge, yet never see the wisdom in it. We can be wise, but still miss the deeper meaning.

Knowledge is knowing how to manage your money, budgeting, spending, saving.
Wisdom is understanding how money impacts the quality of your life and your future.
Insight is realizing that money is simply a tool to be used, that it has no inherent meaning beyond its usefulness.

Knowledge is learning how to paint and using that skill to cultivate a livelihood.
Wisdom is expressing your passion through painting and understanding that art is a form of communication that touches the lives of others.
Insight is perceiving that all things can be art and that creating your art contributes to the understanding and the expression of the essence of the world around you.

Knowledge is knowing which things, practices, people, and pleasures make you happy.
Wisdom is knowing that while those things may bring you pleasure, happiness is not derived from things or situations or people. It’s understanding that happiness comes from within, and that it’s a temporary state of mind.

Insight is knowing that happiness is not the purpose of life, that it’s not the marker of the quality of life—it’s merely one of the many fleeting states of mind in the spectrum of full emotions. Those emotions don’t make up our lives; they are merely experiences.

Knowledge, wisdom and insight all are valuable and all have a place in our lives. The difficulty lies in the fact that many of us are unclear as to their differences, often perceiving the terms and their application to be interchangeable. Being clear and consciously aware of how our minds are engaged may be important to getting the most out of all three. While acquiring and applying information is valuable in and of itself, we also need to distill and judge that information, and ultimately find the deeper meaning and relevance to the whole of our lives. Perhaps the truest form of knowing is in acquiring all three, and understanding how they each enhance the quality and experience of life. Taken from an article by Royale Scuderi,

Ever read something that was stunning in its clarity? Did every word seem like it was written for you? Did the message alter your way of seeing things? For the better? The words above did just that. The writer is Royale Scuderi who specializes in cultivating human potential for happiness, health and fulfillment. I am grateful to have come in contact with her thoughts. They truly widened my perspective and sharpened it at the same time.

I am strong, because I’ve been weak.
I am beautiful, because I know my flaws.
I am a lover, because I’ve been a fighter.
I am fearless, because I’ve been afraid.
I am wise, because I’ve been foolish.
And I can laugh, because I’ve known sadness.

How To Tell If Somebody Loves You

Screen_Shot_2012-12-29_at_12_19_39_PMNEWnew new

Somebody loves you if they pick an eyelash off of your face or wet a napkin and apply it to your dirty skin. You didn’t ask for these things, but this person went ahead and did it anyway. They don’t want to see you looking like a fool with eyelashes and crumbs on your face. They notice these things. They really look at you and are the first to notice if something is amiss with your beautiful visage!

Somebody loves you if they assume the role of caretaker when you’re sick. Unsure if someone really gives a shit about you? Fake a case of food poisoning and text them being like, “Oh, my God, so sick. Need water.” Depending on their response, you’ll know whether or not they REALLY love you. “That’s terrible. Feel better!” earns you a stay in friendship jail; “Do you need anything? I can come over and bring you get well remedies!” gets you a cozy friendship suite. It’s easy to care about someone when they don’t need you. It’s easy to love them when they’re healthy and don’t ask you for anything beyond change for the parking meter. Being sick is different. Being sick means asking someone to hold your hair back when you vomit. Either love me with vomit in my hair or don’t love me at all.

Somebody loves you if they call you out on your bullshit. They’re not passive, they don’t just let you get away with murder. They know you well enough and care about you enough to ask you to chill out, to bust your balls, to tell you to stop. They aren’t passive observers in your life, they are in the trenches. They have an opinion about your decisions and the things you say and do. They want to be a part of it; they want to be a part of you.

Somebody loves you if they don’t mind the quiet. They don’t mind running errands with you or cleaning your apartment while blasting some annoying music. There’s no pressure, no need to fill the silences. You know how with some of your friends there needs to be some sort of activity for you to hang out? You don’t feel comfortable just shooting the shit and watching bad reality TV with them. You need something that will keep the both of you busy to ensure there won’t be a void. That’s not love. That’s “Hey, babe! I like you okay. Do you wanna grab lunch? I think we have enough to talk about to fill two hours!” It’s a damn dream when you find someone you can do nothing with. Whether you’re skydiving together or sitting at home and doing different things, it’s always comfortable. That is f@&king love.

Somebody loves you if they want you to be happy, even if that involves something that doesn’t benefit them. They realize the things you need to do in order to be content and come to terms with the fact that it might not include them. Never underestimate the gift of understanding. When there are so many people who are selfish and equate relationships as something that only must make them happy, having someone around who can take their needs out of any given situation if they need to.

Somebody loves you if they can order you food without having to be told what you want. Somebody loves you if they rub your back at any given moment… Somebody loves you if they don’t care about your job or how much money you make. It’s a relationship where no one is selling something to the other… Somebody loves you if they’re able to create their own separate world with you, away from the internet and your job and family and friends. Just you and them. Somebody will always love you. If you don’t think this is true, then you’re not paying close enough attention. Ryan O’Connell

I love this piece and am grateful for its blunt clarity. Love is not a special one or two things, it is everything.

Individuals who want to believe
that there is no fulfillment in love,
that true love does not exist,
cling to these assumptions
because this despair is actually easier
to face than the reality that love is
a real fact of life
but is absent from their lives.
Bell Hooks

Focused Intention and Effort


In looking backwards life mostly can appear as a single line moving from point to point while looking ahead is a something of a confusing muddle. So I settle comfortably into ‘today’ where there is clarity of purpose. Life is so much easier when I center myself in the ‘Now”.

Up high on my ‘list of things to do” is to ‘continuing to grow as a human being’. American Spiritual leader A.W. Tozer’s wrote down his “Rules for Self Discovery” around seventy-five years ago. His inquiries are as contemporary today as when he created them. (Off the top of my head my honest answers this morning are in parentheses).

1. What we want most; (peace and love)

2. What we think about most; (personal growth, romance and travel)

3. How we use our money; (mostly to indulge myself)

4. What we do with our leisure time; (write, listen to music and be with loved ones)

5. The company we enjoy; (intelligent people with kind hearts)

6. Who and what we admire; (thinkers of all ages who left their wisdom behind)

7. What we laugh at. (Natural silliness of children or dark humor about living)

So, in paragraph form: Peace and love is what I want most. Romance, travel and growing as a person take up the most space in my thoughts. I use money mostly to indulge myself. My leisure time is spent writing, listening to music and hanging out with friends and family. I am drawn to intelligent people with kind hearts. My admiration is greatest for thinkers of all ages who teach by what they left behind. Children being children make me laugh the easiest, but dark humor can bring relief about the absurdities of life.

I’m pleased with my answers EXCEPT “money: to indulge myself”. While it’s not a complete negative, a good bit of my tendency to spoil myself is not a positive thing. That inclination is rooted in feelings of lack and insecurity that I am grateful for being made aware of (again). With focused intention and effort a man grows.I will!

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically.
We grow sometimes in one dimension,
and not in another; unevenly.
We grow partially. We are relative.
We are mature in one realm,
childish in another.
The past, present, and future mingle
and pull us backward, forward,
or fix us in the present.
We are made up of layers,
cells, constellations.
Anaïs Nin

NOW, it’s your turn to answer the seven questions.

In Doing, I Find My Way


“Everything I do is a step on a path to where I end up”. That’s an almost too obvious statement and maybe the reason most know the words but don’t grasp the full meaning. A million course changes, intentional and not, make up the route of this ship of life I ride in. Each happening, choice or splinter of destiny set me in the direction of exactly where I am today.

In retrospect, a lot of time slipped by before the wisdom of forward motion soaked in. Often I thought, “I’ll decide/make a choice/figure it out” tomorrow, next week or after so and so happens. The days came and went with no insight or inspiration arriving. Instead frustration grew.

Some of my best decisions have been rooted in the illogical notion Sir Richard Branson frames as “screw it, let’s do it”. When something feels right, it usually is, even if logic can’t reassure that. My breakthroughs come from making a choice and just getting on with it. Conversely, logic and reason have pushed me into a lot of decisions that in hindsight were mistakes.

More often than not waiting for inspiration has meant letting time expire without much to show for it. Revelation has usually come while I was busy implementing some uninspired choice. Insight has rarely come while sitting still and instead usually shows up while I am busy painting myself into a corner. Need is a rapid and prolific incubator of concepts, ideas and possibilities!

The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case. Chuck Close

“In doing, I find my way”. That sums up one of the more insightful pieces of wisdom life has taught me. In movement, no matter how uninspired, purpose is found. Sitting motionless in one spot trying to decide is akin to being partially dead. I am grateful to realize living is always in the trying, even if I fail.

The only thing standing
between you and your goal
is the bullshit story
you keep telling yourself
as to why you can’t achieve it.
Jordan Belfort