Saturday, July 29, 2006

Paying the Price of Poor Self-Discipline.

CyberGal has gotten buried in my church's website maintenance. My duties are not unfair, or overbearing. But, when you do nothing for a month, it takes a great deal of time and effort to catch up. Oh, I am teaching myself the lesson about self-discipline. I'm near completing the duties of the website. I want to scream, never look at it again and pretend I know nothing about it! In short, I'm weary of this task.

I am learning the joys of keeping up with my email and RSS news feeds. Done daily, these things don't stack up to that overwhelming point of fifty newsletters to read. I am current with my personal and professional news and information. I've learned to keep that inbox empty, even in the face of being tired. I am forcing myself to stop making excuses. I now will maintain the church website with the same diligence.

Due to getting so far behind, my other two projects have been put on temporary hold. I have begun the research on my writer, but have not begun the reading for the in depth articles for this blog on the Mentally Ill Care Taker. My goal for today is to get back on track with these two projects.

I am teaching myself that it IS POSSIBLE TO CHANGE. As they say at church, there is no power on earth that can defeat a made up mind. The business of taking care of one's business as an adult, and not like a raging six-year-old is not glamorous. I never fantasize about this transition. Who day dreams about repenting of immaturity and resolving to really solve the problem? We fantasize about the rewards that come AFTER the hard work (we conveniently ignore).

I am learning to "possess my own vessel". Last night at church I was corrected on a minor issue of how to address one of our church elders. I got immediately angry. I let myself relish all the little things which bug me about on-going church involvement. I was getting ready to do a serious in-church pout. Thankfully, I remembered some advice I'd heard from another member battling the temptation to "have a snit". Even though I didn't "feel" like doing it, I forced myself to fully participate in the prayer, singing and testimony activities. The "snit" gave way to my normal contentment with our church. A member has just been told she has bone cancer. I can pray for her, thanking God for her healing, as well as, her beautiful and courageous spirit under trial.

Once again, I realize, that not everything in church is centered around little old me. I truly desire to leave the world of the "fool" to join the world of the "Wise". Let me fall in love with rebuke, feedback and differing opinions. Let me embrace the dismantling of my base character, so others can see more of Jesus and less of me Let me grow up God! Funny, I prayed those thoughts at around 12:30 PM and God was beginning the process of reclamation by 7 PM. I am thankful I still want to stay in the fight.

For me, religion has given me the structure for growth I missed as a child. I have tried to embrace maturity via secular means and failed miserably. Even though Christianity has problems, I have found Jesus to be worth the effort of investigation and continued pursuit. Even though I may be tempted to pout, from time to time, I know that God's plan seems to work a whole lot better then CyberGal's plan.

I hope you all find some hope and comfort in my musings. Recovery is real and on-going, but it is effortful. May we all learn to stop resenting that part of the process.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Not All Parents Need To Be Brought To The Attention Of Child Protective Services.

When I get overwhelmed with reading about someone's recovery battles, or my own struggles, I take a break and refresh my spirit with stories of HEALTHY families. Depending on where you are in your recovery, this post may make you jealous, angry, sad, or soothed. Understand, all of those feelings must be honored. Your small person probably didn't get comfort. You, as a big person, may still be struggling to learn how to re-parent yourself.

I truly am soothed by this kind of account. I don't remember ever being glad I ran to an adult when frightened. I came away from the encounter vowing I'd never be that stupid, EVER again. Thankfully, with God's grace, I have experienced the loving arms of my pastor engulfing me as I cry. I have experienced the love and honesty of friends, standing beside me through a storm. I know how good it feels to know that "God has my back". I spend far less time being scared out of my mind.

Enjoy this post

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Best Part of Being "Dad"
from: "MetroMan - Confessions of a Metrosexual Dad"

You know, there are probably a lot of "best" parts that I haven't mentioned, but there is one part that can only happen late at night that leaves you with a feeling of love and of responsibility that makes being dad worth being dad.

Tonight, I had one of those moments with daughter number three: Chloe. Was it a big thing? Well, to a three year old it was. She woke up suddenly, scared and calling for me. Not mom, me. Yup, good old dad. So, there, on the stairway, in the dark with the wind whipping all around the house, Chloe found comfort in daddy's arms. With blankie by her side, twiddling her "pony hair" and cuddled up next to me - Chloe found a place of safety, a place of peace. And boys and girls, that's when you know as a parent you've done a good job. When the babies are ready to run to your arms and trust you. Sure, kids always WANT to do that with their parents. They hope for it and yearn for it. The thing that's great is when YOU know that you've really provided it for them.

Thanks Chloe. It's great being your dad.
posted by MacPhilly at 10:27 PM

Monday, July 17, 2006

"I didn't ask for, or need your advice!": Hello Codependency!

Names have been changed to protect privacy.

One night, in a dream, I saw a group of people. These people were deserving, lovable people. The problem was, they didn't know it. They were stuck, confused - reacting to some crazy stuff that happened long ago.

They were running around in adult bodies, but in many ways they were still children. And they were scared.

These people were so busy protecting themselves and trying to figure out what everything meant, they didn't do what they most needed to do: relax, be who they were, and allow themselves to shine.

They didn't know it was okay to stop protecting themselves. They didn't know it was okay to love and be loved. They didn't know they could love themselves. When I awoke, I realized I was one of them."

From: BEYOND CODEPENDENCY And Getting Better All the Time by Melody Beattle, Copyright 1989 By Hazelden Foundation Page V.

I fell back to some panic-behavior I truly thought I'd gotten over in the last few years. The above introduction made no sense to me, when I bought this book two years ago. It sure makes sense now. I got good news and bad news for all of us abuse refugees. The good news is that your need to constantly talk about and process memories of the past will lesson and end. The bad news - we ain't all well yet...

You will graduate to "acting out" parts of your past, in the hope of "getting it right" this time. Oh puppy droppings! Before, you knew when your past was screwing up your present. You were crying, or raging and generally unable to function. Your friends hung with you, because it was obvious to them you were fighting really hard to recover. Oh dear ones, I just wandered into the next phase of recovery and it can push your friends to levels of frustration, confusion and irritation neither of you have shared up to this point.


I discover a feeling of shame and sheepishness, I've not experienced for a long, long time. The following will demonstrate why CyberGal is not seeking an intimate relationship. The closer a survivor feels to another person, the more "old stuff" leaks out.

Just one short example. Back when I was sleeping around I was involved with this guy and we'd had wonderful sexual encounters. At some point, I felt it was safe to deal with some of my still unexpressed pain. So, in that moment after we've exhausted ourselves, I suddenly got very hysterical and blurted out: "Do you think my mother's in hell?" My lover, not the most compassionate being on the planet, found himself attempting to comfort a very hysterical CyberGal. Being I was #15 for this clown in 5 months, I was dispatched with post haste!

I hate how stuff done to me as a child seems to still keep re-appearing to mess up my "today"! I did not have any emotional damage of any consequence from casual friends. The damage was from those close to me. If you do something which makes me feel close to you. You may get to experience what a cherished friend of mine was dragged through last week.

Please note, when it comes to the alternative health movement, I'm completely irrational, unreasonable and pretty much unteachable. I LOATHE it. I was raised by narcissistic caretakers and have no clue as to where "I" end and "you" begin. "I" is you and "you" is me. (I know that is really wrong, but when upset, that is the map I return to, as it is the only one I had as a child.)

A scary example of this kind of process. I was speaking to my male psychologist and seriously shared the following:

"Well, you know how it is when you have to change a tampon." oops, if he'd agreed, I would have had another problem! When I'm not panicked, I can usually catch this erroneous thinking and try and construct who "you" is, vs who "I" is.

Phillip, has been a consistent, fair and loyal friend for over a year. As friendships go, we have shared increasing levels of 'risky' information, dreams and faults with one another and discovered safety and comfort. When the insistent gay guy, Mr. Pink Flamingo, exited my life, it really rocked my world. I will be doing an in depth walk-through on why his exiting my life was so difficult, when I deal with The Mentally Ill Caretaker.

It was a good thing that Phillip's preferred method of communication is instant messaging and not by voice. I had posted my blog about Mr. Pink Flamingo leaving my life. Phillip shared several observations about the situation. Short version: "You were wrong, but he was more wrong then you were". I began to cry upon reading that. I can literally count on one hand the number of times someone has stood beside me and not kicked me, when I was already down.

I didn't realize it, but Phillip took up residence in the most sacred part of my heart. That place where Maria and my mother reside. The place of my deepest love and loyalty. In short, Phillip has moved into that territory of someone I do not ever want to lose as a friend. (In retrospect: oh, you poor bastard!) In spite of all the pain my mother caused me, she was also in that sacred place. I knew she was really sick. I begged her to go to the doctor, at the tender age of six, and several months later, she was dead. If I really love you, I will try to "save" you. This is plainly and simply re-living and re-working the pattern of my mother's death, with the "correct" outcome (this time). There is nothing rational about this process. Phillip, thank you for not walking away. For sure, you are no fair weather friend.

Phillip had emailed me with the happy news that he was getting back into his normal health mode and was using a new diet. He has good reasons for being serious about his health, just as I have good reasons for faithfully taking my psychiatric medication. But, as I said, due to my particular run-ins with the alternative health movement, I go right to "contempt". He sent me seven audio segments to listen to. (oh sigh).

I managed not to laugh until I hit the middle of the second clip. This is another body detoxification diet: whole foods, no sugar, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol or gluten. Okay, that I can go with. I'd have to resume drinking to do it, but, what the hey! Then the guy left the planet. Here's the theory and my slap-stick reaction.

When you eat something, the food, or molecules, or whatever "talks" to your genes and your DNA. The food commands the "fat genes" to turn "on", or "off". So, since this MD never intended to "discover" a new diet, he bumbled his way into this "revolutionary" new theory. (oh, expletive deleted!)

My imagined conversation with my HMO's Psychiatric nurse:

HMO: "Psych. What's your medical number please?"
CyberGal: "012-345".
HMO: "How can I help you?"
CyberGal: "Well, I've started talking to my DNA and my genes. I can tell them to turn off my fat storing chemistry"
HMO: (Slight pause before almost yelling): "...Get in here. Get in here NOW!"

I know I'm being really unfair, irrational and immature. So, how to speak of my thoughts without raining all over Phillip's health food parade? I admire Phillip's gift for politeness, and tact. When he can't be supportive, he usually says nothing, or suggests a different, new idea. I opted for saying as little as possible about his now talkative genes. (Oh, Pa-lee-se!)

He then posted about getting a rash. (Here's where I just completely lost it). Now, apparently, for Phillip, rashes aren't serious matters. For me, a rash is a VERY serious experience. So, forgetting that "I" ain't him, and "he" ain't me, I leapt to the conclusion that his damn new diet was killing him!

When I get sick, I do the cold, fever and lung thing. I don't even start to pay attention to it until after eight continuous days with a fever, or the gunk turns green. I know my way around bronchitis. This is how Phillip is with a rash. But CyberGal's experience with a rash was serious and very scary. At the age of 25, I got a bad case of measles. It is no lie, that in an adult, that little sucker can kill you. It was BAD.

So, I swung into action I'd normally not engage in. I left a screaming-meme message on his business line which very clearly could be summed up as: "Okay, now I've let you play long enough with this health food crap, but now you are in trouble. STOP BEING A JERK AND GO TO A DOCTOR!" I am not subtle under the best of circumstances, and when trying to save my friends life (which, by-the-way, was NEVER in danger), I'm like a run-away-train.

This is also an example of being broad-sided by demonic attack. I had prayed and studied the Word, before I began this day, but I forgot to ask God to keep me from sharing my puppy droppings with friends. All a demon had to do was give a little tug on my "Now that you love him, he's going to die...AND IT'LL BE YOUR FAULT!", yarn and the entire sweater came apart.

What irked my friend was my erroneous assumptions. He was wrapping up a business trip and I'm sure this episode was something he could have done without. He posted a response to my call, but I didn't read it, as I was too busy frantically trolling the net, getting my information together for my next attempt to get his attention. A bulleted-list email.

Phillip answered my objections on his blog, in a general, gentle manner. Keeping his focus on who he is and making it quite clear, that maybe I was missing something. But I didn't read this creation until after sending my email masterpiece.

I am what is known as a generalist. I know a little bit about a large range of topics and am good at putting things together from very little information. Phillip referenced being a hygiene freak, as a joke. I came along and decided to list all the symptoms of an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. (A fine example of: "hello, this is the pot, calling the kettle black). I ran down every possible thing I could think of that might conceivably be wrong with Phillip. I reduced this poor man to: "STOP! STOP! STOP!" He alerted me to the accurate observation that, he had no idea where I'd gone, but it was based in fear. He suggested that the next time I freaked out about him, to keep my peace of mind and speak to my pastor.

I know how to act as though I can take rebuke, so I shot off a quick response saying that his observations were noted. I was completely scared to speak to him at all. I totally believe in the proverb which says that even a fool who keeps his mouth shut is accounted wise. I then was angry. How DARE he bring my pastor into this? Wisely, I prayed for him and didn't communicate.

It took me almost three days of a lot of extra sleep to return to some semblance of normalcy. Philllip was not trying to hurt me, or be sarcastic. He truly saw my hysterical attitude and referred me to a local source who could (hopefully) calm me down. Then I realized, I'd tried to "save" my mother from dying, yet again. I was finally able to cry over the real issue and felt myself righting emotionally. But, now, how in the hell to deal with Phillip?

Re-written lyrics to "Welcome To My World"

Welcome to my world
Won't you come on in.
Insanity, I guess still happens, now and then...

I had this sheepish, confused feeling, like I'd blown it, but still couldn't really put it into words. And I wanted to make sure that I wasn't still off in naw-naw land before communicating with Phillip at all! I just kept praying for him. I figured, he could see I was on line. So, I waited.

Phillip text-messaged me, and I began attempting to apologize. I still feel really awkward inside. I may need to be returning to a very difficult psych group at my HMO which works on codependency issues. I sincerely pray I don't drag anyone through such an absurd adventure, again.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Take "The Forty Day Challenge: from "Healing Is A Choice".

My special thanks to Steve Arterburn, of New Life Ministries, for permission to republish this material.

I am going to post an entire email I got from New Life Ministries. They apply Christian principles to problems of healing and wholeness. For those of you who aren't religious, you might try doing this challenge anyway. I'm on day three, and it really seems to make a difference, as it gives me something new and simple to think about.

--------------------- Email from New Life Ministries to Cybergal---------

This Week's Resource

Changes That Heal
Dr. Henry Cloud

This book focuses on four developmental tasks--bonding to others, separating from others, integrating good and bad in our lives, and taking charge of our lives--that all of us must accomplish to heal our inner pain and to enable us to function and grow emotionally and spiritually.

This Week's Tip for Life

40 Days of Healing Daily Affirmations
Excerpted from "Healing Is A Choice" by Steve Arterburn

If you accept this challenge, I believe it will change your life forever. I believe it will implant in your heart and soul the words you need to persevere on the path to healing. I believe it can change the way you think about yourself and the way you think about life. It will take less than five minutes a day, but it could change the rest of your day. Throughout Scripture forty days pops up over and over again. It is significant to me that Jesus fasted and prayed for forty days and forty nights. So I am going to ask you to start your day, each day, for forty days by reading the following words out loud in some quiet corner of your world:

Opening Prayer:
Lord, I am broken and hurting due to the brokenness of others and mistakes of my own. Please use Your powers to heal me and give me courage to make the choices I need to make to allow Your healing in my life. Forgive me for standing in Your way of healing for me. Thank You for allowing my past to end one second ago, and my future to begin right now in this moment with you.


  1. * Today I choose to heal.
  2. * My healing begins right now, in this moment.
  3. * I am no longer bound by my sick past.
  4. * There is healing in my future.
  5. * For the next twenty-four hours, I choose to live free and heal.
  6. * I choose to let go of past hurts that I cannot undo.
  7. * I choose to forgive myself for wrong choices in the past.
  8. * Today I will dwell on what is good and right, not on the darkness I have experienced or the darkness others invite me to live.
  9. * Today I will live beyond myself and live for God.
  10. * On this day I will choose to feel my life rather than live in denial.
  11. * I will not medicate away my pain, sorrow, or anxiety.
  12. * I will allow each negative feeling to lead me to greater depths of healing.
  13. * I will not drown out or ignore my negative emotions.
  14. * I will work through these feelings and move out of them.
  15. * I will not project them onto those around me.
  16. * When I am unaware of what choice to make next, I will choose to do the next right thing.
  17. * Today I will not hide or run away.
  18. * I will connect with those who love me and with those who need my love.
  19. * Throughout this day I will stay connected to God and ask Him to guide me and lead me.
  20. * Today will be an adventure for me.
  21. * I will take a risk and enjoy the unpredictable.
  22. * I will not be governed by my fears.
  23. * I will choose to do something uncomfortable that might lead me to know the truth about myself or live life to the fullest.
  24. * I will not lie to myself today.
  25. * I will seek the truth and will ask for help when I need it.
  26. * Today I will reestablish some boundaries that will protect me from unhealthy people and unhealthy situations.
  27. * I will tear down some walls that are keeping some wonderful people from knowing me and loving me.
  28. * If there is some ungrieved loss, I will grieve it as much as I can today, and then put it away.
  29. * Today I will choose reality and embrace it.
  30. * I will accept my life and pick up my life right where it is.
  31. * I refuse to wallow in self-pity.
  32. * I will not focus on what I do not have or what might have been.
  33. * On this day I will not give up.
  34. * No matter how difficult the struggle, I choose to persevere.
  35. * I will not let any excuse be strong enough to derail my path to healing.
  36. * I will never give up or give in to an old life that did not serve me well.
  37. * I will allow no one to discourage me.
  38. * Today I will heal and rely on God to deliver me through the choices I make.
  39. * Today I will allow God to control my life, and each choice I make, I will make with God in mind and love in my heart.
  40. * On this day, I choose healing.
  41. * I will do what I can do to heal and accept the limitations God has placed before me.
  42. * I will see every limitation I encounter as an invitation by God to do for me what I cannot do for myself.
  43. * I will accept that healing is sometimes slow and delayed and will grow in character in the meantime.
  44. * Today I will step outside of myself and serve others.
  45. * I will find a need and fill it.
  46. * I will find the hurt of another and help heal it.
  47. * I will not become self-absorbed or filled with self-obsession.
  48. * I will reach out to someone in need and do what I can to meet that need.
  49. * Today I will ask for GodÂ’s help to live out His purpose.
  50. * Today I will live for God and not myself.
  51. * Today I choose to live.
  52. * Today I choose to love.
  53. * Today I choose to heal.

If you take my forty-day challenge, I would like to hear from you. I would like to hear about your life before you took the challenge, while you were doing it, and afterward. Did it lead you to make healing choices? Let me know with an e-mail to I may not know you personally, but this will give me a glimpse of your life. Please know that I am loving you and praying for God to bless you with new levels of healing for you and for your relationships.Campaign for Integrity

Every Soldiers Battle
July 14 - Every Man's Battle Workshop
July 21 - Lose it for Life Workshop
July 21 - Every Heart Restored Workshop
July 21 - Healing is a Choice Workshop
August 4 - Every Man's Battle Workshop
August 11 - Every Heart Restored Workshop
September 8 - Every Heart Restored Workshop
September 14 - Singles - The Power of One Seminar
September 15 - Every Man's Battle Workshop

For more information or to register for any of these workshops:
Call 1-800-NEW-LIFE
More From New Life Ministries
Listen to NEW LIFE LIVE! at 10am to 11am PST (Mon - Fri) as Steve Arterburn addresses issues concerning your spiritual and mental health.

Every Soldier's Battle is a campaign of New Life Ministries to provide military personnel (soldiers), both home and abroad, with resources that will help those soldiers who choose to maintain sexual integrity and sexual purity.

New Life is pleased to offer the Every Home Protected internet software filter.

Support New Life

New Life Ministries depends on the support of you, our listeners. Please consider a financial donation.

Or, perhaps you're in crisis and need to find a Christian counselor in your area. Call us, toll-free 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-NEW-LIFE (639-5433)

Monday, July 10, 2006

Recovery: My Changing Focus.

I suddenly discover I have become one busy human being. I basically have three major projects ongoing.
  1. Updating my church's website and other duties related to the website.
  2. In-depth research on a writer in preparation for interview within thirty to sixty days.
  3. In-depth research in preparation for my final large series on recovery: The Mentally Ill Care-Taker (Tentative, working title)
How in the world did all of this happen?

I am learning to actually express my hopes and dreams to the outside world. I am excited that my writer-acquaintance has said "yes" to my interview request. It was a bit scary to actually email him. He not only took me up on my request, but checked out this blog and responded positively. Remember: when going after a goal involving another, the worst that can happen is they will say "no", or "wait". Be ready for the very real possibility of receiving a "yes"!

One of the patterns of recovery I've really become aware of, is a need to stop and ENJOY your real gains. This is a natural outgrowth of the hard work of looking back, acknowledging and accepting the pain and losses of the past. As you grieve you clear amazing amounts of energy to do something with your "NOW". I am discovering old dreams and because I'm not playing strange manipulative games with people, they have a clear idea of whether or not they want to become a part of my proposed plan. Amazing!

I love in-depth reporting. Not looking for scandal, as much as just showing the detail of a subject. I want to expand the knowledge base on various subjects and people. Using my writer-buddy, as an example. He has been interviewed in print and via audio by many people. I want to summarize the interviews and biographical information publicly available and ask more and different questions. I want to explore. The joy of realizing I am actually on my way with this adventure is so exciting!

I sense I've pretty much demonstrated all I know about recovery, at this time. I want to change the emphasis of this blog, more of the world at large, and less of my personal life and memories. Although, I will always share my opinions and observations. Recovery is change, and get used to this, it feels strange at first.

I have to constantly remind myself that my gains are real, I'm not sitting around just daydreaming anymore. The only thing standing between me and my dreams is the temptation to stop DOING.

There is real work and effort involved in making this new life of success happen. Research can be hard work. Sometimes entering data for the website, or interacting with the city to get permits for activities is tedious. When all I did was daydream, none of the hum-drum stuff was ever envisioned. Ever find yourself daydreaming of being temporarily bored? If I let laziness, fear and or depression stop my actual effort, I will fail. The day-to-day effort is not always reassuring of success. I have to leave the consequences of my actions with God and concentrate on ACTING! (Anyone else want to join me in saying: "ouch"? Yes, I realize I can and have been my biggest enemy, on this road to success. I have made many "excuses". Here are some pithy sayings I have found helpful in staying on point in the here and now:

  • Winners never quit and quitters never win.
  • Success comes in cans.
  • Fear is a lie: False Evidence Appearing Real.
  • My excuses encourage me to stop striving toward my goal.
  • Not setting a goal guarantees it will not become reality.
  • My reasons encourage my continued effort toward my goal.
  • Honest re-evaluation of a course of action is different from an 'excuse' for failure.
I will attempt to demonstrate this concept of reasons instead of excuses.

I have set three goals for myself. The website is ongoing and a continuing commitment, at this time. My two research projects have definite end-points and completion markers, so I have to prepare for their completion and replacement with new goals.

I have to evaluate how I'm progressing with the research projects and my performance as a webmaster. I may discover I've taken on too much work for the hours I have in a day. I can use that last idea as a good place to hide out in fear, excuse-making, or blame. Honest evaluation will alert me if I have to make schedule, or priority adjustments.

  • I have to include an hour of "God time" every day. 30 minutes in the morning and at night. This is the time I just sit before God, to let His influence heal and calm me. I have found this exercise to work wonders against the depression which seems to show up as I dare to actually try new things. The old fear and shame show up in nasty depression. Sitting before God and letting Him help me to be accepting of change calms this down almost immediately.
  • I have part-time paid employment considerations. I am doing this entry early in the day, before leaving for housework starting at 8:30 AM.
  • I need "down time". I need time to just listen to music and relax, where I'm not doing anything.
  • Research takes time. I cannot wait until day 29 to begin research on my writer, or my proposed blog entry concerning mentally ill care-takers.
  • I have email, RSS news feeds and pod casts I desire to listen to daily. While listening, I sometimes eat meals, but not always.
  • I have to leave some slack time, for unexpected happenings, such as a social opportunity, or a meeting I wish to attend.
  • I have a heavy church schedule of events I choose to participate in.
  • Over the next week, I'm going to work on all of these things daily and see if I've taken on too much work for the hours in a day. If I'm falling behind, I can re-adjust after making that discovery.
  • I have this blog to continue. I hope to post something reliably, once a week. It appears Mondays are my day to post, based on past patterns of actual postings.
These lists are examples of how I begin to lay out my world. I've not doctored them, or made them pretty and tidy deliberately, to show you how this activity is a process. As I progress through this week, I'll have more to say about my goals and priorities.

This is how I believe a healthy life actually operates: desires and dreams become goals which get ordered into levels of importance and commitment. Said goals turn into accomplished reality over time. Not every goal is met, but the process of not setting a goal, guarantees you won't accomplish it.

Please note. This is one person's organizational thinking. You may or may not operate in the same manner I do. But, making wishes into accomplishments does include some form of the steps I've demonstrated. Now, as I leave you all to eat my breakfast:


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday, USA.

We've all gotten so cynical. It took me a moment to remember that a) today is a holiday and b) the reason for the holiday. Yes, I hear you all scream, wee have many problems and things SHOULD be better! With the recent row concerning Google search modifications made for the government of China, I believe we should also remember what is still right and good about The United States of America.

As long as I don't slander, threaten, or coerce our President, or anyone else, I am free to write what I please in this blog and even to actually correspond with the president. When President Clinton was about a year-and-a-half into his first term, a clergy person wrote yet another 'tell all' book about Mr. Clinton. I was not then, nor am I now a political fan of Mr. Clinton. I know how valuable things religious can be. I have complete confidence, that, if I become famous my former and current pastors won't break their promise of confidentiality to write a book. I was so outraged I wrote the President and even composed a prayer. I realized the odds of my letter actually getting to Mr. Clinton were small, but I'd rather try and fail, then not to try at all.

I was completely shocked, when about a month later I received a letter that had all kinds of stamps, initials and check boxes all over the outside of the envelope, from The White House! I got the distinct impression, that part of the reply was a standard form letter, which was added to by President Clinton. I am glad I live in a country like that.

I am free to travel. Next year I'll be doing a week in Boston. I eventually hope to visit England and France. All I have to do, to go abroad, is to obtain a passport, pay a fee and I'm off across the Atlantic. I do not fear being picked up by the authorities for anything, real, or imagined.

Because our world has gotten progressively crazier, when one does write the White House, the correspondence may be checked by the Secret Service, in case your letter is a threat. I'm sure the Secret Service never saw my correspondence, as I was just a regular citizen expressing an opinion. I do know a mental patient, who sent President Reagan, a full frontal nude post card of himself. He has correspondence from every police and governmental agency in the country! When I saw his postcard to Reagan, I wondered if he has a Secret Service file, he does. They have to keep track of mentally unstable people in the event that they turn violent. A sad commentary on our increasingly chaotic world.

In smaller towns parades and fairs are still to be found. Oakland California used to have a wonderful event called "festival at the Lake". Ringing Lake Merritt would be booths with food and all kinds of crafts. A stage was also set up, where various acts would perform over a period of three days. Oakland had to stop this event because of gang violence and rioting. I personally don't enjoy large milling crowds, but I am sad that Oakland had to shut the event down.

So, I'm glad this country exists, even with its faults and problems. Enjoy your barbecues, parades and fireworks. Remember that there are places on our planet right now, where it would be illegal and dangerous to assemble en mass for anything.
Happy Birthday USA.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Problem of Forgiveness.

I find myself in a very angry black mood. The exit of my x-gay-touting-friend has stirred up some issues I though I was actually done with. Suprise, suprise, Suprise! Before I get into what forgiveness is and is not, in relation to us abuse victims, I'll show you how to know when you need to use forgiveness.

When you discover you are back in a black rage. You close your eyes and discover you are entertaining yourself with violent revenge fantasies. You are really depressed and it responds to none of the normal things that break you out of that depression. When you are sitting on rage, it feels like depression. When you actually can admit that you are enraged, your depression leaves and then you only have to deal with being madder then you've ever let yourself be. Believe it, or not, this stage is also part of recovery.

If you have any fear of actually acting out that rage, get help immediately. Do you need to do time in jail because you are still mad at 'them'? This is no joke and can set you back badly, if you need help with anger and refuse to get it.

For me, I know I am not in danger of finding someone and doing violence upon them. I do have to be very careful, how I handle this episode. I do need to acknowledge the real damage done and how it has hampered my personhood. I also have to find someone I can really talk to. Break down the insane ugliness and fears. I am thankful, that my current pastor isn't bothered by my background. I gave him enough information to gage his reaction. I cannot and will not visit this painful territory alone. It is a very bad idea to try to heal in isolation.

Forgiveness is not a synonym for 'forget'. When you go bankrupt and are 'forgiven' $8,000 in debt you simply can't pay, this means two very separate and different things. a) Your former creditors 'forgive' the debt. They take a loss and don't try to get you to repay the money. b) They keep a record of how you stiffed them, and you will have a really difficult time convincing them, or other potential creditors to trust you with more then a monthly bill, in a small amount. Notice, you don't get out of the consequences of bankruptcy, just the actual debt collection process.

When I think of forgiveness, I think of a legal process. I give up my right to demand 'justice' from those who have wronged me. For me, I let God handle it: "Vengence is mine, sayeth the Lord". I try and pray for the situation, or person. I have ranted very insincere prayers at the beginning of this process. It is a PROCESS. Praying that my 2nd mugger would get AIDS felt much better, then pleading for his eventual salvation. Praying for his salvation, however, helped me to let go of my rage and chronically replaying memories of the mugging. My entire desire to react to him one way, or the other has gone away. I put him and his life out of my immediate consciousness and GO ON WITH MY LIFE.

Remembering the period I lived with my aunt is an ugly job. She was far sicker, then just a garden variety alcoholic. I had to get into some really bizarre reading, before I even discovered her personality type. I can't even bring myself to ask God to help me 'forgive' her yet. All I can do at the moment is tell God what I remember and pray that He will help me handle it responsibly. I refuse to suffer without being able to turn it into something on this blog. I know how lonely, isolated and confused so many 'survivors' are. I ask God to prepare me to let go of my anger, as soon as possible. I do want to go back to being at peace. Right now, if my aunt were alive, I'd slap her senseless and rage and rage and rage.

By-the-way, I realized I was having a depression problem, when I just couldn't engage in my normal chit-chat with close friends. I am not in a mood to joke around, and laugh and don't have the energy to 'fake it'. I have had the wisdom (thank God) to alert a few folks as to why I'm not around as much. To me, that is just courtesy. For me not to talk and joke is a real shift. I know it won't last too long, but I have to process some real dreck. I hesitate to actually document some of it, because it is so over-the-top for 99% of even "survivors".