23 Adult Truths

Laughing_Out_Loud_with_Myself_by_THEAltimate

Okay… today’s offering is not chock-full of wisdom or inspiring quips to live by. Instead, this list of observations is flippantly amusing and only occasionally insightful. It’s Friday. Time to lighten up and smile at yourself. Then you will be amused through the day.

1. Sometimes I’ll look at my watch 3 consecutive times & still not know what time it is.
2. Nothing sucks more than the moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.
3. I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger.
4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.
5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
6. Was learning cursive really necessary?
7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I’m pretty sure
I know how to get out of my neighborhood.
8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.
9. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind-of tired.
10. Bad decisions make good stories.
11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment when you know that you just aren’t going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.
12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blu-ray? I don’t
want to have to restart my collection…again.
13. I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if
I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.
14. I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.
15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.
16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or
Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Light than Kay.
17. I wish Google Maps had an “Avoid Ghetto” routing option.
18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
19. How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear or understand a word they said?
20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to
prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!
21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty,
and you can wear them forever.
22. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys
In a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey –
but I’d bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time.
23. The first testicular guard, the “Cup,” was used in Hockey in 1874 and
the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important. (Ladies…..Quit Laughing)

To the unknown originator of this fun list… thank you! I am grateful for the grins this morning.

A person without a sense of humor
is like a wagon without springs.
It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.
Henry Ward Beecher

The Occupation of Childhood

Happy child with painted hands

Play is the most important activity in the lives of children.
Sometimes it seems more important than eating and sleeping.
Sometimes play is easy and fun.
Sometimes play is trying hard to do something right.
Play is the work, the occupation of childhood.
L.S. Lagoni

The ‘occupation of childhood’ is just as important to adults, but most of us have lost that knowledge in responsibility, ‘real work’, worry and generally being grownups. It’s been more than a decade since I had playtime regularly with my son as he grew up. I had nearly forgotten the joy of playing and how healthy it is.

Scoff at the thought of playing with finger paint, coloring in a coloring book or making a collage from magazine cut-outs for no particular purpose if you want. You don’t know what you’re missing. A unique and artistic friend and I got together for ‘playtime’ yesterday. We had planned to make collages for a couple of months, but our adult lives gave us excuses to kept it from happening.

We warmed up with finger paints and then moved on to the serious business of cutting pieces that moved us from magazines for our collages. It was interesting that the longer we did that, the quieter we became; each intently focused on finding just the right things to cut out. As we were scissoring stuff from the pages, each was understood completely in the moment by the other. Without speaking hardly a word it was clear between she and I that what we were doing was not just for children. This was serious and meaningful business for grownups: PLAY! We were doing the simple, enjoying the uncomplicated while being completely at home with each other and enjoying the ‘Now’. How very cool!

Play is simultaneously a source of relaxation and stimulation for the brain and body. A sure (and fun) way to develop your imagination, creativity, problem-solving abilities, and mental health is to play with your romantic partner, office-mates, children, grandchildren, and friends.

Play is often described as a time when we feel most alive, yet we often take it for granted and may completely forget about it. But play isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity. Play is as important to our physical and mental health as getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising. Play teaches us how to manage and transform our “negative” emotions and experiences. It supercharges learning, helps us relieve stress, and connects us to others and the world around us. Play can also make work more productive and pleasurable.

Despite the power of play, somewhere between childhood and adulthood, many of us stop playing. We exchange play for work and responsibilities. When we do have some leisure time, we’re more likely to zone out in front of the TV or computer than to engage in creative, brain-stimulating play. By giving ourselves permission to play with the joyful abandon of childhood, we can continue to reap its benefits throughout life. http://www.helpguide.org/life/creative_play_fun_games.htm

Thanks for the play-day K.! It was big fun and the positive effects are still bouncing within now a day later. My collage (below) is still hanging up in the kitchen. I still don’t have a clue what it means, but know what I randomly chose and glued down speaks from my heart and soul. Maybe it all has no meaning except I was able to feel contented like a child. And that’s a huge gift. How wonderful to feel seven years-old again!

What do most Nobel Laureates, innovative entrepreneurs, artists
and performers, well-adjusted children, happy couples and families,
and the most successfully adapted mammals have in common?
They play enthusiastically throughout their lives.
Stuart Brown

IMG_1874CLOSE

Darkness of My Soul

magic_mushrooms edit thanks to image maker

I’m coming up on an anniversary. In 2007 I spent five life-altering weeks at “The Meadows” where I went to finally come face to face with my childhood abandonment and trauma issues. Reflecting back I can see the experience with clarity as only a retrospective perception can give. Those days were absolutely the most meaningful but difficult of my life. It was the journey out of the darkness of my soul.

Six years ago on the evening of October 6th I stood at the admissions counter at the nurse’s station in Wickenburg, Arizona feeling fearful, cautious and in severe emotional pain. I had lost my second wife due to my inappropriate actions (I cheated on her). It was that loss that motivated me, or better stated, it was the almost unbearable pain of that loss that moved me to finally do something about my compulsions.

Some people drink. Others do drugs. Gambling is the choice for many. My compulsion was to seek a woman for sex to temporarily mask the pain. The craziness of frequently having at least two and sometimes more relationships at a time had been a burden I had carried since I has eighteen years old.

The majority of my ‘affairs’ were not causal. Factual or not, I largely believed that love was the motivator. Always searching and looking to find in someone else a way to fill in what was lacking in me. I did not realize fully that I was already well-loved. I lacked the ability to receive love as a ‘normal person’ would. I did not love myself. I blamed two wives and many lovers for an emptiness that was not their fault. I hurt a lot of people. What most probably have never grasped is my compulsions hurt me as deeply or worse than it did them.

While at “The Meadows” (http://www.themeadows.org/) I purchased a copy of Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Eat, Pray, Love”. Reading it I underlined in pencil the passages I found particularly meaningful as is my habit. One particular passage has stuck with me. It’s describes well how I have always wanted to be love and be loved.

I’m here.
I love you.
I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long,
I will stay with you.
There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love.
I will protect you until you die,
and after your death I will still protect you.
I am stronger than Depression
and I am braver than Loneliness
and nothing will ever exhaust me.

That passage moves me to the point of emotional overflow even today. The desire for it is stronger than ever, but there is no definitive knowing if I could yet let it in from someone else. Sitting here telling the world is another small step in my healing.

In hindsight I was loved as Elizabeth Gilbert describes but could not appreciate it. It’s too late now to do anything but learn the necessary lessons from those relationships. At least then the pain was not for naught. To those women who loved me who I could not love enough in return I will always be grateful and deeply regretful for the pain I caused. Without those experiences I would not be the mostly happy and optimistic person I have become.

Forget past mistakes.
Forget failures.
Forget about everything
except what you’re going to do now
– and do it.
William Durant

Any Family With More than One

winniethepooh1

In late 1925, a newspaper in London published a story by A.A. Milne titled “The Wrong Sort of Bees”. The tale introduced a bear named Winnie the Pooh who would become the lead character of one of the most successful children’s stories of all time. Inspiration came to A.A. Milne’s from his son’s meeting at the London Zoo of a black bear from the wilderness of the Canada. The son was named Christopher Robin Milne and the bear was called “Winnipeg” or “Winnie”.

In his stories Milne endeavored to make his character’s less than perfect with the belief it made them more loveable. Most of us have been familiar since childhood with Pooh’s forgetfulness, Tigger’s mood changes and Piglet’s fear of just about everything. Here in plain terms is a list of the dysfunctions I believe A.A. Milne’s gave his characters of Hundred Acre Wood to make them have human likeness.

Pooh Bear – suffers from an eating disorder and food (honey) addiction, episodes of dementia and exhibitionist tendencies (reluctance to wear pants).

Tigger – mood swings from irrational exuberance to despair combined with narcissistic behaviors and A.D.H.D. evidenced by his inability to ever be still.

Piglet – General Anxiety Disorder with a variety of phobias including creaking branches, small streams, gusting wind, his own shadow and other irrational and delusional fears.

Eeyore – clinical depression and feelings of inadequacy driven by his lack of a tail and his need to overcompensate by wearing a fake one made from fabric and a nail.

Owl – narcissistic personality approaching delusions of grandeur fed by anti-social tendencies and an over inflated ego with an irrational need to always be correct.

Rabbit – obsessive-compulsive personality with a side helping of neurosis exhibited by his incessant, exacting attention to his gardening, cooking and keeping things orderly.

Even the Christopher Robin character, patterned after A.A. Milne’s son, could be said to have “issues”. Some have surmised that in the story his playing in the woods all the time while talking to stuffed animals could be looked upon as either just a kid’s story or a form of psychotic hallucination.

You may or may not choose to think it is fairly apparent the benign messaging of story shapes the consciousness of children in a healthful way. I choose to think the characters are not just entertainment, but art in the way the writer poured emotion into their creation.

Having been in depression recovery for years now I can readily think of people I know in self-help groups that match each of the Pooh characters. I am grateful A.A. Milner created such deep characters and meaningful stories that have more significance today than when they were written. To smile, be entertained and be touched, all at the same time, is truly the mark of great work.

You know the definition
of a dysfunctional family,
don’t you?
It’s any family with more
than one member in it.
Sarah Pekkenen

Based on articles found at:
http://thedailyretort.com/on-the-psychiatric-couch-winnie-the-pooh/
http://top4eva.tumblr.com/post/13572677292/acronyms-the-dysfunctional-psychology-of-winnie

Brave Again

boy-peeing

My path was clouded and I was lost for so long I did not notice it. I lost the freedom to just “be” and the natural spontaneity I was born with; from feeling free in a magical world to becoming inhibited, guarded and restricted. Where before was only wonder and happiness, the shadow of fear and worry joined in.

The change of outlook happened in early childhood but exactly when and where I can’t come up with. There came a time then when I thought more about what I did not want than what I hoped for. My mind became clouded with wanting to grow up, escape and get away rather than where I wanted to go, what I wanted to do and having any sort of intentional direction. I just wanted to be a “big boy”. In adulthood it was dreadful to be adrift for so many years and not know it; to be unconsciously searching for what I already had but was oblivious to.

When you are born…

your courage is new and clean.

You are brave enough for anything:

crawling off of staircases,

saying your first words without fearing
that someone will think you are foolish,

putting strange things in your mouth.

But as you get older,

your courage attracts gunk,
and crusty things, and dirt, and fear,

and knowing how bad things can get

and what pain feels like.

By the time you’re half-grown,

your courage barely moves at all,

it’s so grunged up with living.

So every once in a while,

you have to scrub it up

and get the works going,

or else you’ll never be brave again.

From “The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making”
 by Catherynne M. Valente

In trying “to find myself” I became lost in the fogged-up maze of the ‘real-world’.  And it’s no wonder. From my perception my “self” was hidden like a unnoticed parrot resting on my shoulder; one making sounds that were perceived distant, yet so close I looked right by them.

Once I began to focus nearby, I started to see what was hidden in plain sight. What I discovered was not all wonderful and pleasing, but it was real. In discovering the child I had lost, my courage began to return. I was in a sense, truly reborn. The crust, dirt and fear on my soul became thinner as I explored inward. I became brave again. To have relocated the courage of a little boy and a sense of wonder, amazement and beauty that goes with it I am deeply grateful.

You often meet your fate
on the road
you take to avoid it.
 Goldie Hawn

WHY?

chinese_character_weishenme_why long reversed edit

Why? It’s a simple one word question, and the first one we learn to ask as a small child. And we never stop looking to answer it. I certainly haven’t. With age I ask “why” more, but expect an answer less.

“Why”
by Wanda M. R. Garrett

Why was I born?
For whom do I live?
What worth am I?
What can I give?

What will I be?
Where will I go?
What must I do?
Tell me if you know.

There is more to life than what I see,
There is much more of myself deep
down inside of me,
Who am I?

Where do I belong?
These words keep turning
like an endless song,
I feel I have so much to give,

But where do I start?
I feel that I’m special,
No one else like me,
But who am I?

I like feeling good
And strangely enough,
I like sometimes the feeling
of being sad.

I am an emotional being,
So many things move me,
Things I do and what I see,
I am touched by the,
tears of a child.

I feel a sense of freedom,
Sometimes I even feel wild,
I am here,
Yet I am there,

I am still also very aware,
I am sensitive,
And touched by how you feel,
I am loved by God,
And I know that feeling is real,
But still, Who Am I?

http://www.angelfire.com/nc/poetsstreet/

Sometimes there is no “why”. As my life experience has broadened, no answer echoes back more often than one comes.  And that’s okay. But never will I stop asking the question.

Frequently, the reply to “why” is “because”, the same that was said to me as a child. I am grateful that more and more that’s all the answer I need.

He who has a why to live
can bear almost any how.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Oh, Boy… Oh, Boy

image006eThe phrase, “You can do anything you put your mind to,” seems to imply all a person has to do is imagine what he or she would like to accomplish, mentally focus on the task for a while and wait for the inevitable success to take shape. To a some degree that is accurate. Focused intention can be a powerful force. However the phrase is deceptive because it fails to reference the difficulty of staying self-directed toward a particular goal. A little here and a little there usually won’t make things happen.

Most of us don’t know what we really want. We think we do, but we really don’t. We only know what we don’t want. We don’t want a boring job. We don’t want to be poor. We don’t want to disappoint the ones we care about.

Knowing specifically what I want is much different from knowing what I don’t want. As long as I only know what I don’t want, my intentions will never be focused.

Much of what I chased over the years has me now wondering “WHY” in capital letters. In a lot of cases what once mattered just doesn’t mean much to me now. For example. business success and prestige associated with it (yes, and the money) was a primary driver for a couple of decades.

Succeeding still matters, but I seek different things that are in sync with this phase of my life. What was important in my past was not a mistake. Each phase was a step forward, eventually to where I am now.

Today I am seventy-six days away from being done with a long-lived professional life as an executive. Excitement for the freedom to march freely into an unknown future is not scary. Maybe it should be, but I don’t feel the least bit fearful past a few butterflies of anticipation. Being convinced I am doing the correct thing for myself helps, in spite of not knowing exactly what will take shape. Until I can be free of what has been for so long I can’t begin to discover what will be.

Therapist and author Dr. Pat Allen wrote, The only way you know you love yourself, or anyone else, is by the commitments you are willing to make and keep.

What once were only distant thoughts, hopes and dreams are not only possible but likely… at least a good many of them if I am dedicated to staying committed to myself. I have the energy and time to stay focused on moving toward and experiencing some of my greatest hopes and dreams. I won’t be one of the sheep walking blindly uphill anymore!

At an emotional and spiritual level I am taking better care of myself than ever before. Good health and contentment are major contributors to what will be. The child within is jumping up and down saying “oh, boy… oh, boy”. For my prospects and possibilities I say with the conviction of a grateful heart, an appreciative mind and a thankful soul, “Truly I am richly blessed”. Bring it on… I am ready!

There are two types of visions.
Those that will happen no matter what,
and those that can be stopped.
Now more than ever, I wish to tell them apart.
Emlyn Chand

When God Created Mothers

mother-and-childWhen the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into his sixth day of “overtime” when an angel appeared and said, “You’re doing a lot of fiddling around on this one.”

And the Lord said, “Have you read the specs on this order? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic; Have 180 movable parts… all replaceable; Run on black coffee and leftovers; Have a lap that disappears when she stands up; A kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair; And six pairs of hands.”

The angel shook her head slowly and said, “Six pairs of hands… no way.”

“It’s not the hands that are causing me problems,” said the Lord. “It’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”

“That’s on the standard model?” asked the angel.

The Lord nodded. “One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, ’What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows. Another here in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say, ’I understand and I love you’ without so much as uttering a word.”

“Lord,” said the angel, touching His sleeve gently, “Go to bed. Tomorrow…”

“I can’t,” said the Lord, “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself. Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick… can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger… and can get a nine-year-old to stand under a shower.”

The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly. “It’s too soft,” she sighed.

“But she’s tough!” said the Lord excitedly. “You cannot imagine what this mother can do or endure.”

“Can it think?”

“Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the Creator.

Finally, the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek. “There’s a leak,” she pronounced. “I told You, You were trying to push too much into this model.”

“It’s not a leak,” said the Lord. “It’s a tear.”

“What’s it for?”

“It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”

“You are a genius,” said the angel.

The Lord looked somber. “I didn’t put it there,” He said.
“When God Created Mothers” by Erma Bombeck

Although my Mother and I are far from close and will never be, I have no hesitance wishing her a Happy Mother’s Day through the distance that separates us. Without her I would not have been born, nor would I have survived being a small child. Today it is important to be grateful for what she did do. What she didn’t do or mistakes she made belong to the other days of the year. Thanks for bringing me into the world, Mom.

But there’s a story behind everything.
How a picture got on a wall.
How a scar got on your face.
Sometimes the stories are simple,
sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking.
But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story,
because hers is where yours begin.
Mitch Albom

Inspiring His Father

530916_10101173850880323_104345909_nIf a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn . . .
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight . . .
If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive . . .
If a child lives with pity, he learns to feel sorry for himself . . .
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy . . .
If a child lives with jealousy, he learns to feel envy . . .
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty . . .
BUT
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient . . .
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns to be confident . . .
If a child lives with praise, he learns to be appreciative . . .
If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love . . .
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves. . .
If a child lives with honesty, he learns what truth is . . .
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice . . .
If children live with recognition, they learn to have a goal. . .
If children live with sharing, they learn to be generous. . .
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith in himself and those about him . . .
If a child lives with friendliness, he learns the world is a nice place in which to live . . .
From “Children Learn What They Live: Parenting to Inspire Values” by Dorothy Law Nolte

My son will turn thirty-one years old a little later this year, and while I can see his imperfections, none of them keep this Father from seeing the perfection in him. Watching the joy in his discoveries and successes enrich my life. While the bright newness of life wore off for me a good while ago, seeing my son experience it awakens those old feelings within. Through observing his young adult life, old yearnings come alive and dreams from way back drift frequently into thought.

The son is now inspiring his father as he and I more closely connect as adults making the full circle of what we share more complete. There is no love greater than a parent can feel for a child. I am humbly grateful my life journey includes such a wonderful gift as my ‘boy’.

Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
Kahlil Gibran

Innocence Leaves Us Free

2709A friend posted this photo on Facebook last night. I was mesmerized by it. My curiosity to know what the two little girls are looking at is akin to what they must have been feeling when the photograph was made. Apparently they are in a museum’s modern art gallery, but it’s not what’s hanging on the walls that is fascinating the young ones. It’s in solving the mystery of what’s behind the grate.

Unadulterated awe about the mystery of simple things is weak by the time adulthood arrives. Grownups know all too well about what works and what doesn’t, with “too well” being the operative words. In “being big” most forget how to try the impossible and how to absolutely believe in things based only on faith like the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. We lose the majority of our curiosity and forget how to effectively waste time playing.

In a “Huffington Post” article I found suggestions of “10 Ways to Be a Kid Again”
1. Make a silly face at a stranger. Everyone likes a silly face. I bet you’ll crack someone up.
2. Eat ice cream for dinner. The fun part about being an adult is you can do what you want when you want. We are already aware of our immense responsibilities so for one night let it go.
3. Go to bed early. Some kids hate bedtime, but once they’re down they sleep like rocks. Give yourself a ridiculously early bedtime one night this week.
4. Hang out with your friends. Kids have play dates. Call a pal and actually get together and do something fun like go to the park and play Frisbee.
5. Color or draw something. Coloring brings back memories for most of us. Dig up some of your old coloring books if you can.
6. Try to say the alphabet backwards. Kids are great at crazy tasks. They try with all their might. See how fast you can say it.
7. Have a race. The next time you are walking with a friend race them to the corner. It’s fun to see other adults reacting to spontaneous racing.
8. Skip down the hallways at work. Mid-day sluggish getting to you? Skip to your meeting and you’ll probably brighten up the whole office.
9. Wear what you want. Kids come up with interesting outfits when they’re allowed by their parents to dress themselves. Come up with your own interesting outfit one day this week.
10. Try a handstand. Kids do yoga poses naturally, just for fun. Try a handstand and don’t worry about falling over.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tara-stiles/10-ways-to-be-a-kid-again_b_203831.html

Yes, some of the ten things are not that practical, but who cares. No grades will be given on how well done each one is. I wonder if I’ll break something trying the tenth one; a hand stand! Yet, the child in me wants to attempt it and is already badgering me “Come on Dad, can we try? Please, can we try? Please! Please! You can do it. I’ll show you how.”

I am grateful that voice of the seven-year old boy in me is no longer silent. He spent many years unnoticed and unwanted, but in my recovery, he is recovering too. I love my rediscovered whimsical childish side. Writing that makes me want to buy some finger paint. I don’t think I’ve done that since I was eight!

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