transitions

space is only noise

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Be a lamp unto yourself. Work out your liberation with diligence.
…from Daily Buddha Wisdom

inspiration comes from many places, often times very unexpectedly. i came across a dj from chile called nico and found his brand of beats almost invitational. just what the invitation is for, i have not quite determined. but that is some of the work in life- moving forward without knowing.

i am in the midst of transitions in so many parts of my life. i am shifting to a new team at my workplace which will certainly herald some evident change. i have helped  friends implement a new meth treatment program at their small agency in englewood (denver suburb well known for aod problems). it is an eop (extended outpatient program) which is 3 days/ 8 hours of contact per week. we also helped start a 12 step program at that location on the 3rd night of the itinerary. i have started back at my favorite gym, although i have injured my knee during cardio and am taking a break right now. and i have let go of a volunteer position which i had been initially very enthused about. this took a lot more time and energy than first anticipated and i walked away feeling frustrated, wrung out, and sadly with tethered relationships. finally, i have lost my sponsor and i have been remiss (avoiding) moving forward quickly on this- just not my way.

what i have noticed taking place along with these shifts is an interesting and almost foreign development. i have felt a sense of calm and peace gently waft around me.  i have wanted to take part in  social activity, have dinner with friends, be close to others, mellow out at home listening to tunes. these are not my habits for the last several year. i have been on the go and driven to stay focused and inspired. it could be compared to changing gears on a manual transmission, i have changed gears.

i have re-engaged a relationship with my cousin recently as well. over the last 3 years we have spoken maybe once or twice a year. there was a drift and i had felt betrayal. i am sure that some of the effect was prior emotional baggage as has been a common experience for me in recovery. it feels good to reconnect.

i am working at the local professional gay men’s professional organization halloween party tonight. i
am looking forward to a few laughs. i have done this a couple of times over the years. laughter and tears are both good lubrication for transitions.

Space is only noise if you can see
See I want to write a story about two long lines
Two pretty lines that fall in love
Two little spaces they’re filled with echoes
Did the lines ever intersect one another, at a moment in time?
moment time”..
have you always cross like this
have you always cross like this
have you been this way all the time
have you been this way all the time or were you always trying to get you with me?
with me? with me? with me?
you used to check the weather
now you stopped that
you used to look at time
now you stopped that
you used to wear red
now you wear white
what happens all the time it happens all the time
replace the word space with a drink and forget it
space is only noise if you can see.
grab a calculator and fix yourself
grab a calculator and fix yourself
read the news baby read the news
watch your clock baby watch your clock
watch the weather baby on tv
its all to get if you can see
grab a calculator and fix yourself
space is only noise if you can see
See I want to write a story about two long lines
Two pretty lines that fall in love
Two little spaces they’re filled with echoes
Did the lines ever intersect one another, at a moment in time?
moment time”…nicolas jaar

bear hug

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In the winter of 2004, I dropped into a Sunday service of The Denver Church of Religious Science at 1420 Ogden. To my surprise, there was a small dark room peppered with normal looking folks all hugging teddy bears  of all colors and sizes, some bears in bow ties and some bears in leather vests and chaps. Everyone was listening to this guy (turned out to be Jim Chandler) giving what must have been a sermon.  It was the bear-hug service. It felt as if I had stumbled onto the set of a “Will and Grace” taping. It was completely surreal and I hope I never forget it. Here’s a tiny blurb I found about Bearhug Service.
On Valentine’s Day, our little messengers will make their final trip to Hospice.  Each hospice resident will have the opportunity to select their special bear – a bear to be there even when their family or caregivers cannot.  A bear to give them comfort on their journey from this life expression.  The caregivers at Hospice who give so much from their heart will also choose their bear, to fill their hearts again with our love.  And, any family members or friends of those in care may choose a bear to help mend their hearts at this time of loss.
The next time I saw/met Jim Chandler was when a friend and I were looking for a space to house a recovery meeting for meth users. There was another genre of recovery meeting that has just moved into the Ogden location and it seemed perfect. Jim was a complete advocate to get us clearance to use the space. He talked about how many of his gay male church members continued to struggle with meth issues, many to the point of devastation of their lives. He indicated he felt it was like a plague and wanted to help with more than just lip service. It turned out he took quite a bit of flack from his board. Many were not at all happy that tweakers would be roaming the halls of the church in the evenings unsupervised. Those meetings that started in those days are still going strong and it is not completely known how many Denver gay men (and others) that have been supported in finding their way back into a healthier lifestyle. He would never have acknowledged it, but it was because of Jim Chandler that gay men in recovery from crystal meth had easier access to find their own sober voices.
These are my experiences with Jim Chandler. He did a lot more than this for our community without fanfare and without a calling card. He didn’t always require grant money and he didn’t require research strategies to do outreach and help provide services. He was not perfect by any means, but he was a valuable and colorful member of the Denver central HIV community.
When I started this newsletter, I immediately asked him to contribute. He always did, without reservation- something I struggle to get service providers who get paid very good salaries to care for HIVsters to do. He sent article after article peppered with his own brand of idealism and religious science. I was truly saddened to hear about his transition. And I am still sad. I feel for his longtime companion Steve.  I guess I will continue to have a bear hug service for the both of them. 




rolling stone

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image credit… denis darzacq

here i am on wednesday evening after finalizing the agreement to list my townhouse for sale. it has become embarrassingly evident that the loss of 28 percent of my annual income has taken a toll. i am a mixed bag of emotion- shame, sadness, worry to name a few, and have been scattered and detached for awhile. once i came to the decision that i did, i have felt myself pulling back into the present.

i have changed my job duties, my job title, and the department i work for and now am beginning a transition for my residence and my financial life. i have been in the middle of a storm of sorts in my life and by the grace of a power greater than myself, i have managed to maintain a spiritual life. sometimes the ordinary can appear so very extraordinary.

it is sad to think of leaving my comfort zone. i have been here for 4 years and have grown up quite a bit emotionally here. i first truly came to feel and recognize how stunted my emotional life had been before sobriety. i never understood how toxic shame really is until i found an ancient seed germinating after reliving a drama. it has taken almost 4 years for me to learn how to begin to soothe myself when someone i trust does not  continue to be trustworthy. and it does continue to happen. and i am sure i trust much less easily.

with all this in mind, perhaps this residence shift is a metaphor telling me it is time to move on. moving on is not the easiest task for people with trauma. my experience is that i am much more comfortable when terrorized than i am when things are unknown. and today, i feel confident that moving on will reap some rewards and offer me new insight and a new focus for my future.

my friend jim chandler passed away this week. he had been staying at a hotel in ohio (on kaiser’s dime) waiting for a liver transplant. something went awry and he was in icu for 21 days and the whispered away. jim was a minister at the denver church of religious science. he contributed fairly regularly to the newsletter we publish. jim was always  wearing a positive message with spiritual undertones.

i remember when my friends and i wanted to start a gay men’s 12 step meeting that focused on meth, he offered space at the church. there were already other meetings there, however my understanding is that many board members did not want tweakers roaming free in the building in the evening. jim advocated for the meeting, citing the outrageously high number of gay men who had meth issues, as well as the hiv transmission rates that involved meth. he never boasted about this, he just did it quietly- and potently.

i watched part of the 2011 vma award show and particularly liked russel brand’s tribute to amy winehouse. he pointed out succinctly and lovingly that although amy lived with a very evident drug and alcohol issue, that there indeed is a solution for this. and he wanted to remind all the patrons of the show that a solutions did exist.

i have remarkably come to believe that living with an active faith is far more prudent than not. i love my atheist friends, but i am more enamored with the safety net that faith provides. i never wanted to have to rely on anything like faith when i was young. it seemed so weak. but as the gray antiques my temples, i realize that i struggled with relying on anything because i didn’t grow up with a lot of that around. i believed then that a rolling stone was less prone to heartbreak and i lived much of my life that way.

and here i am on the move again.