Two Companion States



…to be alive on another Monday…

…to have great health…

…to have a son I am proud of…

…to have the love of a beautiful woman in an honest “no secrets” relationship…

…to be completely in love with the woman who loves me…

…the wisdom and desire to make my love relationship really work, no matter what…

…to live in a home I enjoy very much…

…to make a home with the woman who has my heart…

…to have good friends…

…for the pretty bushes, trees, flowers and grass in the yard…

…for the light rain coming down today…

…for a new car ( to me) that I love to drive …

…to have a healthy curiosity and desire to learn, to know, to experience…

…to be where I am today knowing every heartache had a hand in shaping my path…

…to believe there is a God takes care of me even though I don’t understand God…

…to love living even on the most difficult of days…

…to laugh more than I ever have…

…to have a life filled with possibility…

…for all the people who take the time to read my ramblings…

…for a full pantry and fridge…

…for music that is almost always playing in the background…

…to be happy…

…and the greatest amount of hope for the future I have ever had!

Being consciously grateful is essential to a happy life. It keeps you positive and optimistic, which are two of the most important things you can be. Never forget that you get what you give, and being a positive person will bring more positive people, events and opportunities into your life. If you honestly think there is nothing to be thankful for in your life, you’re not trying hard enough. Marissa A. Ross

I am filled with happiness and gratitude; two companion states of being that almost ensure a good life. They are powerful weapons against depression, lack, uncertainty, difficulty, sadness and grief. Being happy and glad with gratitude unlocks the bounty of life.

Walk as if you are
kissing the Earth with your feet.
Thích Nhất Hạnh

Real Love


Your heart races every time he calls and your palms sweat whenever he’s near. You think he may be “the one.” But how do you know if this is the real thing?

Dennis Neder, author of Being a Man in a Woman’s World (Remington Publications, 2000), says love has three stages: the infatuation stage, the bonding stage and the familiar stage. Dr. Neder, an ordained minister and doctor of metaphysics, says it helps to consider all three stages when determining if you have the real thing.

The infatuation stage is when you can’t wait to be with the other person. This is the romantic stage of love, says Dr. Neder, who warns that this is the stage when people thinks it’s “the real thing.” But this stage lasts only a short time.

The second stage, says Dr. Neder, is the bonding stage. During this stage you get to know the other person and you start planning aspects of your life around them. If you continue through this stage you eventually enter the third stage, or what Dr. Neder calls “the familiar phase.”

In the familiar stage you’ve established a pattern that involves the other person. “Your lives become intertwined and merged,” Dr. Neder says. “You know foundationally how the other person feels about almost everything. And interestingly,” says Dr. Neder, “you also become refocused on your own life, direction and goals.” Dr. Neder says this is where most professionals believe “real love” starts.

Love doesn’t use a fist.
Love never calls you fat or lazy or ugly.
Love doesn’t laugh at you in front of friends.
It is not in Love’s interest for your self-esteem to be low.
Love is a helium-based emotion; Love always takes the high road.
Love does not make you beg.
Love does not make you deposit your paycheck into its bank account.
Love certainly never, never brings the children into it.
Love does not ask or even want you to change.
But if you change, Love is as excited about this change as you are, if not more so.
And if you go back to the way you were before you changed, Love will go back with you.
Love does not maintain a list of your flaws and weaknesses.
Love believes in you.
Love is patient; Love does not make a point of showing you how patient it is.
It is critical to understand the distinction.
From “This Is How” by Augusten Burroughs

It’s not fully possible to tell you how, but I know what love is. I came by that knowledge the hard way over time. Much I learned from what love isn’t. There’s nothing like spending years of one’s life in a relationship wishing to be somewhere else to teach what love is not.

Today all my life experiences fall together to cause me to think and feel the way I do… and I like me… a lot. My heart is open and I can love to the full extent. So even the time past I used to call wasted with someone, I know see as teaching me how to love. I am grateful for that hard lesson.

Love is not a maybe thing,
you know when you love someone.
Lauren Conrad

Memories of a Dear Friend

From “A Wish” by Victorian poet William Winter
Think of me as your friend, I pray,
And call me by a tender name:
I will not care what others say,
If only you remain the same?
I will not care how dark the night,
I will not care how wild the storm:
Your love will fill my heart with light,
And shield me close and keep me warm.


You’ve been gone almost four years and I still miss you “Banger” .
The following blog was originally posted on August 20, 2011

This morning I woke up thinking of a dear friend of 30 years who passed away last year about this time. Ultimately not taking care of himself combined with bad habits and the unmanaged stress of a challenging life did him in. If he cared about someone he would do just about anything for them. Like the photo above suggests, he was great fun to be around.

His nickname, “Banger”, began in reference to his first car which was a “beater” and did not fire on all cylinders consistently. Hearing the car nearby back firing, his friends would say “here comes the banger” which over time became adapted to be his nick name.

I met Bill at a radio station where he came to work as an Account Executive. He was good at selling, even selling himself. A funny story about getting the job was the listing on his resume of spending a year and a half on the road as a wholesale ceramics sales person. That is a true statement, but lacks the detail to show that job was for a ceramic company that made bongs he peddled wholesale to head shops in the Midwest. What makes this even more ironic is Bill never used a bong or anything of the sort in his whole life!

Within less than a year of meeting ”Banger” I was at his bachelor party. He and his future wife had been living together and now that she was expecting he deemed it time to get married. That was the night he introduced me to something called “purple Jesus”. I remember clearly him showing me a good-sized new plastic trashcan about a third filled with red liquid with sliced fruit floating in it. I asked why the name “purple Jesus” and Bill said, “drink enough of this and you’ll go see Jesus”. After a half a glass of the stuff put me into orbit, I stopped short of going forward to test his prediction. What was it? A concoction of red Hawaiian punch and grain alcohol with sliced oranges and limes floating in it.

Bill would never say exactly, but I have always wondered in what measure was love his motivation to marry as compared to a sense of doing what he thought was right. I do know he had a high sense of honor and he loved both his children. By the time he had two sons a few years into elementary school he was divorced. He never remarried.

The heart wrenching part of Bill’s life was when his youngest son was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy. The boy was six or seven years old when the doctors made the determination. Clearly I recall over time watching the disease progress. One scene vivid in memory was when Bill came to visit one afternoon and both his boys were playing with my son. All three had gone up stairs which the son with MD negotiated with some difficulty going up, but to get down my friend had to carry him. Soon the boy was in a wheel chair.

Within a year or so Bill was the parent the boys lived with full-time. He took good care of them as best he knew how and was especially devoted to the younger one bound to a wheel chair whose disease progressed slowly but steadily. The young man was smart and always quick to smile. He had a bunch of friends, of which one or two were there just about always when I dropped by. He shook hands with two presidents and was a “poster child” for MD twice. What he told his Father consistently was when things got to where he could not breathe unless hooked to a machine; he wanted Bill to let him go. That time came when the younger son was around 20 and in the hospital only able to breathe with mechanical aid. He told his Dad it was time and within two days the young man was gone.

Bill had always been a drinker and as his boy’s illness grew worse, Bill’s intake grew. He was not someone who got sloshed in public and got into trouble. Instead he did it quietly mostly in the evening, often after the boys were asleep. ”Banger” smoked and did not watch his weight and became heavier and heavier as the years passed. By the time he accepted his health was in trouble it was too late except to buy a little time. Quitting smoking and drinking did extend his life a while, but living with 10% liver function did not present a lot of hope. Bill was on a transplant list, but was never healthy enough for the surgery.

For over a decade my friend and I lived hundreds of miles apart, but stayed in close touch mostly with frequent phone calls and I visited him about once a year. He drove out to see me twice. The last year of his life hospital visits were frequent, but he always came through . Some of us close to him swear it was on pure stubbornness!

Bill passed away on a Tuesday and late the week before my mobile phone rang and answering I heard a soft and weary voice say “how you doing boy?” I told him I was doing well and he replied “I just needed to hear your voice Brother”. I asked how he was doing. His said he was struggling and that even getting up to get to the bathroom was a major chore. Bill did not give me a chance to say much more. He said he was very tired and had to go. Then again he told me he called to just hear my voice. Some of his very last words to me were “I love you Brother” to which I replied “I love you too “Banger”. Then with a couple of “talk to you later’s” the less than 60 second call was over. I know now what Bill did, but probably didn’t consciously know himself; he called to tell me goodbye. My gratitude that he did exceeds my ability to express it.

He that is thy friend indeed,
He will help thee in thy need:
If thou sorrow, he will weep;
If you wake, he cannot sleep;
Thus of every grief in heart
He with thee doth bear a part.
Richard Barnfield

Points One through Five

402f7d9f0b7641d517b28962e3218719An insightful and kind friend I used work with and reconnected with through Facebook posted an article today titled ” 30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself…”. Great stuff! Here’s the first five:

#1. Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot. Never, ever insist yourself to someone who continuously overlooks your worth. And remember, it’s not the people that stand by your side when you’re at your best, but the ones who stand beside you when you’re at your worst that are your true friends.

#2. Stop running from your problems. – Face them head on. No, it won’t be easy. There is no person in the world capable of flawlessly handling every punch thrown at them. We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems. That’s not how we’re made. In fact, we’re made to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall. Because that’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, adapt, and solve them over the course of time. This is what ultimately molds us into the person we become.

#3. Stop lying to yourself. – You can lie to anyone else in the world, but you can’t lie to yourself. Our lives improve only when we take chances, and the first and most difficult chance we can take is to be honest with ourselves.

#4. Stop putting your own needs on the back burner. – The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too. Yes, help others; but help yourself too. If there was ever a moment to follow your passion and do something that matters to you, that moment is now.

#5. Stop trying to be someone you’re not. – One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else. Someone will always be prettier, someone will always be smarter, someone will always be younger, but they will never be you. Don’t change so people will like you. Be yourself and the right people will love the real you.

Thanks Julie! What you posted was exactly what I needed today. I’m grateful.

No friendship can cross the path of our destiny
without leaving some mark on it forever.
Francois Muriac

In the Silence of My Soul

man-sitting-on-rocksIt’s late morning. The house is quiet. I slept very late because sleep began early this morning, not last night. My partner is still sleeping. She has not yet fully adapted back to a regular day and night schedule after tonsillectomy surgery week before last. Returning to a regular sleeping schedule remains elusive. So if she is up at 2am, I am glad to be right there with her.

My companion has felt much better the last three days and is finally able to eat, albeit slowly, food other than Jell-O, pudding, mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs. Her latest proud achievement was being able to eat pizza Saturday evening. That was a happy time!

Having one’s tonsils removed is a difficult surgery for an adult patient to have, but given time recovery is all but certain. Knowing that does not make it easy to see a loved one endure it. I am more of a spiritual man than a religious one. However, I can tell you when they wheeled the woman I love away for surgery my heart, mind and soul was calling on every source I thought might look after her. There are few non-believers in hospital waiting rooms or surgery suites!

The only specific prayer I could remember parts of is credited to Saint Francis: “…where there is worry let there be hope; darkness, daylight; sadness, joy…”. I got the general meaning correct, but some of the words were not stored away well mentally. My Higher Power did not care and heard me just the same. The woman in my heart is healing well.

Since as a kid being made to go to church three times a week by an abusive stepfather, God and I have been tenuous friends at best. Then I prayed for the abuse to stop and when it didn’t I came to believe there was no God. If anything, I decided I had to be my own god. And that kind of worked for a long time.

Eventually through life changes, heartache and recovery from depression and a host of childhood junk, I came to believe in something beyond myself. I can’t regularly give him/her/it a specific name except God, Higher Power or Einstein’s “the great cosmic mystery”. But I know there is something powerful beyond my comprehension working behind all things.

This morning it is with wet-eyed thanks I express my gratitude for my partner being safe and healing. That she is sleeping comfortably this morning is another of my life’s miracles I will not ever forget to be thankful for.

In the busy-ness of my day, I sometimes forget to stop
and say thank you for all that is good in my life.
My blessings are many and my heart is filled
with gratefulness for the gift of living,
for the ability to love and be loved,
for the opportunity to see the everyday wonders of creation,
for sleep and water, for a mind that thinks and a body that feels.
I am thankful, too, for those things in my life
that are less than I would hope them to be.
Things that seem challenging, unfair, or difficult.
When my heart feels stretched and empty,
and pools of tears form in my weary eyes,
still I am grateful for my next breath
and that in the midst of turbulence,
I am growing and learning. In the silence of my soul,
I thank you most of all for your unconditional and eternal love
and the care taken of all those I love and hold precious,
particularly today my dear Tania. Amen.

Adapted from a prayer found at

“The Rules” From The Male Side

Toilet Seat Flow Chart larger1. Men are NOT mind readers.
2. Learn to work the toilet seat. You’re a big girl. If it’s up, put it down. We need it up. You need it down. You don’t hear us complaining about you leaving it down.
3. Sunday sports: It’s like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.
4. Crying is blackmail.
5. Breasts are for looking at and that is why we do it. Don’t try to change that.
6. Shopping is NOT a sport. And no, we are never going to think of it that way.
7. A headache that lasts for 17 months is a problem. See a doctor.
8. Ask for what you want. Let us be clear on this one! Subtle hints do not work! Strong hints do not work! Obvious hints do not work! Just say it!
9. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.
10. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That’s what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
11. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become Null and void after 7 Days.
12. If you think you’re fat, you probably are. Don’t ask us.
13. If something we said can be interpreted in two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one.
14. You can either ask us to do something OR tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.
15. Whenever possible, Please say whatever you have to say during commercials.
16. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.
17. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have NO idea what mauve is.
18. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.
19. If we ask what is wrong and you say ‘nothing,’ we will act like nothing’s wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.
20. If you ask a question you don’t want an answer to, expect an answer you don’t want to hear.
21. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine… Really!
22. Don’t ask us what we’re thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as Sex, Sport, or Cars.
23. You have enough clothes.
24. You have too many shoes.
25. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!
26. Thank you for reading this; Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight, but did you know men really don’t mind that, it’s like camping.

This list has been posted many times over the years, but I could not resist putting it up again. A good bit of it does not fit my feelings well (particularly numbers 3, 15, 16, 18, & 22) but a lot of it is just plain common sense. I am grateful to have lived long enough to be able to express to any woman what I do and don’t like (well… most of the time). That was one hard learned lesson!

Men marry women with the hope
they will never change.
Women marry men with the hope
they will change.
Invariably they are both disappointed.
Albert Einstein

Thoughts “A through F” and Their Antidotes


A – I wish I had not lived so much of my life for what I thought others wanted me to be. I chose mostly wrong and ended up pleasing no one.

B – I regret hurting so many people and know my dysfunctions at the time were no excuse. I’m truly sorry. I was lost within myself.

C – I wish I had not blamed my parents for so long. Even the bad job of parenting they did was the best they knew how.

D – I regret I broke the heart of the woman who within her grief found a way to forgive me and then taught me what love really is. I will never forget the kindness you showed me.

E – I wish I had been a better parent. I was a good one, but would be a great one now.

F – I regret living so much of my life hurrying always towards something uncertain in the future. I missed a lot.

1. Let go of the past. Learn your lessons. . . never forget them, but move on. Learn to forgive others and, (this is a biggie!), learn to forgive yourself. It’s difficult to move forward and take advantage of second chances if you are stuck in the past. Let it go.

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt creep in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense. This day is all that is good and fair. It is too dear, with its hopes and invitations, to waste a moment on the yesterdays. Ralph Waldo Emerson

2. Develop a positive attitude and awareness. Expect the best and look for the good. Become conscious of opportunities and very often you will find them right under your
nose. Second chances can be quiet and disguised — one has to be on the lookout for them. Develop the right attitude for you and see what happens.

Thomas Jefferson said, “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal. Nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong attitude.”

3. Persevere. Keep on. Figure it out. Press on. If one approach doesn’t work the way you would like it to, then try another. Do what you gotta do.

One of my very favorite quotes is from Ann Landers, who says, “If I were asked to give what I consider the single most important piece of advice for all humanity, it would be this: Expect trouble as an inevitable part of life and when it comes, hold your head high, look it squarely in the eye and say, ‘I will be bigger than you. You cannot defeat me.'”

Let Go + Positive Attitude + Perseverance = Second Chances
by Beth Burns

I’ve had a great life and so much of it is left to live! I am excited about the future and am truly happy in the present. I am deeply grateful, never more so than at the moment I sit writing this.

Sometimes life gives you a second chance, or even two!
Not always, but sometimes.
It’s what you do with those second chances that counts.
Dave Wilson

The Source from Which Self-Respect Springs

A relationship without basic trust has no security. Lack of trust creates anxiety. When we can’t tolerate anxiety, we resort to blame. And blame kills relationships. Anxiety is at the core of blame. When we’re upset, disappointed or angry because of another person’s behavior, we often use blame to discharge our feelings. To say it bluntly, we dump our negative emotions onto another person. Carl Alasko, Ph.D., the author of the book “Beyond Blame”.

John is rushing through breakfast. There’s no milk. He’s upset and says to Mary, “Darn it, Mary, why can’t you at least keep some milk in the house?”

In essence, John is criticizing Mary of being too domestically incompetent to even keep track of the household’s supply of milk.

Instantly she gets angry. “You know, John, I work too.” Frequently an accusation follows: “Since when are you so important that you can’t buy some milk yourself?”

Mary’s accusation angers him even more. “I almost got laid off at work and you expect me to stop and buy milk?!” Clearly, this argument is only going to get worse.

The antidote to blame is simple: state your complaint without criticizing or accusing. Admittedly not an easy thing to do.

But here’s how it works. John says: “Oh, darn, there’s no milk.” Not a word more.

Since Mary is devoted to John and committed to their success as a couple, she takes on the responsibility. “Really? I’m sorry. I forgot.” Nothing more needs to be said. Mary already feels bad. Carrying on about it won’t add anything to either the discussion or the reliability of the household milk supply.

To ensure trust, avoid blame. It’s a simple formula that helps keep relationships together.
A decade ago I might have been able to grasp the concept that Dr. Alasko writes about, but I would not have been able to practice it consistently. My anger about the past and fear about the future would have prevented it. How very grateful I am today that storm has dissipated though acceptance, hard work and growth. Today ‘I get it’, thankfully!

The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life
is the source from which self-respect springs.
Joan Didion

The majority of what is above comes from an article by Carl Alasko, Ph.D.

Originally posted here on May 22, 2012

May Wounds Become Wisdom


Through yesterday, contains one thousand and three individual posts in Eighty-four categories; some inspired, others filling space and lots in between. One hundred eighty-six thousand thirty-six unique individuals have visited since late April of 2011.

I thought I was tired of writing GMG or had simply run out of material. In recent months I have been guilty the majority of mornings or either avoiding posting or filling space with something borrowed. I lost my way.

After having held back for a while, I realize how much is missing from my daily existence when I don’t share. Certainly there are days when the best thing I can do is wait till the next morning or the one after to share, but to go much longer is not a healthy thing for me.

Since my healing from codependence, childhood trauma and compulsion began in earnest in 2006 (thankfully addiction never spun into my issues), a big part of my recovery has been a Codependence Anonymous twelve step group. There my open sharing of what I had never spoken about before and being accepted without judgment was more than half of mending. And likewise, so has this blog been part of my cure.

Now I see just how important emptying my heart, mind and soul are, not just at my regular CoDA meeting, but here as well. What is shared, is made more bearable. What is shown to the light of day loses most of its force as a monster. It is the bearing of my deepest self that has healed me and keeps me healing.

And so, it is with knowledge that rejuvenation of this blog is not a “can’t not do” I recommit myself. That’s how recovery works: get a little lost sometimes, re-find the way and begin again. Or my CoDA friend Carl likes to say, “Fall down, get up and try again”.

For whatever bit of good my sharing might do I am thankful. But much more of my gratefulness is for other’s acceptance of me as the imperfect being I am.

May Light always surround you;
Hope kindle and rebound you.
May your Hurts turn to Healing;
Your Heart embrace Feeling.
May Wounds become Wisdom;
Every Kindness a Prism.
May Laughter infect you;
Your Passion resurrect you.
May Goodness inspire
your Deepest Desires.
Through all that you Reach For,
May your arms Never Tire.
D. Simone

Shortcut to Happiness

what makes you happy

If the title of this blog sucked you in, I apologize…, well kind of. It was a harmless little piece of deceptive flim-flam to get your attention. There is NO shortcut to happiness. However, here are six quick sign posts that have served me well in adding more “happy” to my days.

* THE NOW – There is no happiness to be found behind you or located with any certainty at a future time. Happiness can exist only in the present moment and no other. Savor it.

* THE PAST – What has happened in your life previously is a recollection that is somewhere between partially accurate and delusional. What you recall did not happen exactly the way you remember. Let go thinking your memory is accurate.

* THE FUTURE – The only certainty about what’s ahead is it will NOT wholly unfold as you imagine it might or hope it will. Some things will. A lot will not. Plan; hope; pray; dream. BUT leave life plenty of room to just happen.

* FORGIVE – Let go of finger-pointing and holding on to ill feelings; most of all those you hold against yourself. Mistakes and the trespasses are the greatest teachers, but only when seen through a rear view mirror. Screw up. Size up what happened and move on.

* SLOW DOWN – One can not be present in the now, if most of life is spent moving from one point or another. Yes, almost all of us are dementedly busy, but everyone can grab a few minutes to top and take stock. Taste and savor being alive.

* IT WILL END – Everything ends; pain or changes or both; good times, struggle, joy and even life. What does not end, changes. Gratitude unlocks the “sweet jelly” in the hard roll of life and allows adjustment to “what is”. Thankfulness is the sweetener of existence.

Buddhism and psychoanalysis teach us that the very ways we seek happiness actually block us from finding it. Our first mistake is in trying to wipe out all sources of displeasure and search for a perennial state of well-being that, for most of us in our deepest fantasies, resembles nothing so much as a prolonged erotic reverie.

The root cause of our unhappiness is our inability to observe ourselves properly. We are caught in our own perspective, unable to appreciate the many perspectives of those around us. And we are unaware of how insistently this way of perceiving drives us. Only through the uprooting of our own self-centeredness can we find the key to happiness. Howard S. Friedman, Ph.D. Psychology Today

Eventually when I was able to truly accept disappointment, heartache and grief as a natural part of life, I became changed for the better.  Just as light and dark work together to make a beautiful world, life’s good and bad strike a balance. Only by living in harmony ‘tween the two does happiness become possible.

If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day — go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.
Chinese Proverb