letting go

epiphany

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Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things.
Better it is to live one day seeing the rise and fall of things than to live a hundred years without ever seeing the rise and fall of things…Buddha

unless i’m mistaken, life has shown me a curious mental twist that i may inhabit. there is an underlying and primal urge to blow into the face of calm. this probably stems from a history of trauma and drama. mebbe i feel more at home with chaos than with serenity. this sounds insane. i understand however that this is a coping strategy. better to create chaos than fall into it while i am looking at the stars.

although depression is not the force majeur, i am now led to believe that it could be possible to rewrite the program. there is definitely an “ugh” beyond this “aha”. but beyond this “ugh” there is hope.

for this long term survivor, hope is not always in abundance. gratitude yes- hope- well not so much. the train has left the station is a mask i wear frequently. fear not here. there is no magic in this. i am naive, but not to the level that i might believe knowing a thing is the same at all as living and breathing a thing. i have to inhabit this idea of rewriting my emotional program now. for the last few years i have spent much time recognizing it- and some would say still working on it.

the break of dawn here is that moving forward may have opportunity. not just to recognize, but to galvanize and reappropriate and redistribute. hella lotta work. something worth working for, i’d say.

 

rewriting your emotional program (click here)

 

Well, I’m hiding my eyes from the morning sun
And I keep on working till the work is all done
But a voice in my head keeps ticking away
As the sweat’s hosed down from yet another day

Well, he works hard
And he lives hard
And he breaks his back without nothing to gain
While the boss man sits around and drinks champagne

All day
In life, there’s just one transition
All day
In life, there’s just one decision

Well, I’m peeling the blisters off a working hand
Is that what it takes to make you understand?
That it’s something you read, not something you meant
To be slaving away without a shred of integrity

He worked hard
Oh, and he lived hard
And he broke his back without nothing to say
While the man in control was just laughing away

All day
In life, there’s just one transition
All day
In life, there’s just one decision

In life, there’s just one transition

Was it something you read?
Was it something you meant?
Was it something you said?
Or was it Heaven sent?????

 … Al Jourgensen

 

budapest- a labyrinth of friendships, spirals, and touchstones

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“In the past, when gays were very flamboyant as drag queens or as leather queens or whatever, that just amused people. And most of the people that come and watch the gay Halloween parade, where all those excesses are on display, those are straight families, and they think it's funny. But what people don't think is so funny is when two middle-aged lawyers who are married to each other move in next door to you and your wife and they have adopted a Korean girl and they want to send her to school with your children and they want to socialize with you and share a drink over the backyard fence. That creeps people out, especially Christians. So, I don't think gay marriage is a conservative issue. I think it's a radical issue.”  ― Edmund White
“In the past, when gays were very flamboyant as drag queens or as leather queens or whatever, that just amused people. And most of the people that come and watch the gay Halloween parade, where all those excesses are on display, those are straight families, and they think it’s funny. But what people don’t think is so funny is when two middle-aged lawyers who are married to each other move in next door to you and your wife and they have adopted a Korean girl and they want to send her to school with your children and they want to socialize with you and share a drink over the backyard fence. That creeps people out, especially Christians. So, I don’t think gay marriage is a conservative issue. I think it’s a radical issue.”
― Edmund White

 

realizing that i have conducted a “lean” process in my life and changed my workload drastically, it is advised that i make contact with friends and support as much as possible in the near future to buffer the transition. i have been actively making this adjustment.

today was a quick and delightful lunch with my oldest and intimate friend. we’ve known each other over 50 years and there is very little need for back story or for validation it’s already embedded. found myself working out the choreography of my next main event. it was comforting as much as it was directional. being an established survivor, i became clear that the skill set survivorship requires needs to be included in the next portfolio. while the value of crunching numbers and coloring within the lines bears credo, resiliency and adaptability remain the legend that defines this journey’s topography.

the life lessons that emerge from daily encounters routinely seem as obfuscated as the sunday nyt jigsaw clues. the answers are there, but do not bubble up with the initial introduction. time, spirals, and steeping in the juices of trial an error are required for a rich and flavorful brew. perhaps the morning cuppa is directly related to the ongoing task of distilling the ever-changing landscape of perspective.

friendships are like touchstones. they provide memory and spiritual connection in almost any brief exchange. today’s  lunch excursion did not disappoint. a reminder of a connecting thread beyond the recent employer side-show grounded me from regret and tethered me from rising into the fog of self-doubt.

as i watched a recent episode of norton graham, i became enchanted with a singer-songwriter george ezra. he has received accolades about a tune he penned by the name of “budapest”. some personal experience parallels  his claim that the song has nothing to do with the city of budapest other than his inability to complete his plans to travel there because he missed his train. this resonates and is totally relate-able to me. i remember itention of going places and have repeatedly found myself not there at all.

go figure

. not knowing is a radical issue and requires divining some radical acceptance.

Give me one good reason
Why I should never make a change
Baby if you hold me
Then all of this will go away

Give me one good reason
Why I should never make a change
Baby if you hold me
Then all of this will go away

My house in Budapest
My, my hidden treasure chest,
Golden grand piano
My beautiful Castillo…. george ezra

slam dancing redux

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If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating, And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;If you can dream – and not make dreams your master; If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with triumph and disaster And treat those two imposters just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to broken, And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breath a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch; If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you; If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run – Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it, And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!!!!.... Rudyard Kipling
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!!!!…. Rudyard Kipling

“i don’t feel as if im set up to succeed here. i have a brief manual to go by, but i don’t feel comfortable asking you questions because when i do,  i feel shamed  with your responses.”

shame is your word. i understand that there are many components to your job. it’s 12 pages after all. but everything is written down. the people you have interacted with are very happy and feel very good with the style you work with. but we are not a counseling agency. the other employee has made herself available to answer your questions. but i just don’t see an effort from you. 

“i feel good about the job and the many different aspects of it. but this (hand motioning towards one then the other) doesn’t feel good to me. i am considering what to do. you need to let me know how much time you need if i decide to move on.  it would be better to leave this in as positive a light as possible.” 

this parceled jumble tosses round and round in my head. the string of it that remains tethered to my soul is best described by the concept that i talk with someone in an authority role about my feelings and i receive a hybrid of criticism, discount, and blame for expressing them. let me be clear here- lives do not depend upon my decisions. the actions which affect the direct quality of life would be those that i am interacting with outside the confines of the office. no- the actions i speak of are documenting and reporting issues. and i’m certain you can deduce from my description that these aspects of the workload do not come before people in my mind.

i honestly cannot decipher whether this is real or a reduction of my own personal drama or simply my truth which i must shoulder.  in any case, i recognize these dance moves through cellular memory. i have promised myself that i don’t need to live within the confines of this brand of oppression and dismissal. i can do the waltz or a slow dance. i can dance by myself or be still.  i deserve more. and so i seek more.

We are tired of your abuse
Try to stop us; it’s no use!

Society’s arms of control
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!
Think they’re smart; can’t think for themselves
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!
Laugh at us behind our backs
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!
I find satisfaction in what they lack
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!

We are tired of your abuse
Try to stop us; it’s no use!

We are tired of your abuse

Try to stop us; it’s no use!

We are born with a chance
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!
I am gonna have my chance
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!
We are born with a chance
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!
And I am gonna have my chance
Rise above! We’re gonna rise above!!!.. black flag

while my life ….gently weeps

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I had spent years adjusting to the idea of dying. I made piece with dying as I sat beside my dying lover’s bed and gave him permission to go. When I was dying and everyone around me was dying I had a purpose. My crisis came I realized that I might live another 25 or 35 years. It also felt like we were being swept under the rug. People wanted to forget about AIDS and we survivors were reminders. But I took a handful of pills everyday to keep alive. AIDS was and is a daily fact of life for me. Most mental health professionals treat depression, anxiety, sleep disorders as unrelated and not the natural response to a long, sustained trauma. Living with so much death while preparing to die young for a quarter of century fucks with your head. I remember the day that saw a piece on TV about vets and PTSD. I couldn’t stop crying. Could my reactions be post traumatic stress-related? After years of feeling out of control things began to make sense. My therapist thought I might be on to something. It was not until I began sharing my story that I realized that I wasn’t the only one stumped by survival.... spenser cox
I had spent years adjusting to the idea of dying. I made piece with dying as I sat beside my dying lover’s bed and gave him permission to go. When I was dying and everyone around me was dying I had a purpose. My crisis came I realized that I might live another 25 or 35 years. It also felt like we were being swept under the rug. People wanted to forget about AIDS and we survivors were reminders. But I took a handful of pills everyday to keep alive. AIDS was and is a daily fact of life for me.
Most mental health professionals treat depression, anxiety, sleep disorders as unrelated and not the natural response to a long, sustained trauma. Living with so much death while preparing to die young for a quarter of century fucks with your head. I remember the day that saw a piece on TV about vets and PTSD. I couldn’t stop crying. Could my reactions be post traumatic stress-related? After years of feeling out of control things began to make sense. My therapist thought I might be on to something. It was not until I began sharing my story that I realized that I wasn’t the only one stumped by survival…. spencer cox

late october some 29 years ago, i was a very different guy. i had just spent a couple of years helping a group of friends open an after hours club in chicago and had on of the biggest rides of my life. within this framework, i also spent a year witnessing one of my best friends get sucked into the void by the omnipresent eradicator of our generation.

melancholy sweeps over this guy every year at this time because there was a reckoning. a tsuname. a volcano eruption. an earthquake. the aids holocaust is well documented and there seems no need to duplicate that here.

besides, i am not well-equipped nor prepared to discuss any  facts or data because i was in the middle of them all and way too close to be impartial. what i can be sure of is my ongoing surprise and humility at survival. also what remains is a braided tapestry of emotion, memory, impression, and broken dreams.

beyond the idea that “life is what happens while you’re busy making plans”, there is the “alice in wonderland” metaphor. once one makes a decision to go down the rabbit hole, i am now convinced that one can never go back. not really.

i continue to struggle with survival and success. partially i resent even struggling at all, and at the same time have grown an outer shell that whittles “average” struggle into grist for the mill. i may have felt the heat of dante’s inferno and developed a thicker skin.

let’s acknowledge here that we have all survived- certainly not just me. mine is merely one tale. it is only one dot within the enirity of the work of george seraut. all of this rambling reinforces for me the idea that we don’t know where we are going at all. we think we know so much when we are younger. we are damn sure that life is just as we see it and as we understand it. but life has a way of revealing to us in its own time that what we know is dwarfed by what we don’t know. the revelation of what i didn’t know is what brought me to my knees in this life. it woke me up and invited me to feel again.

late october some 29 years ago, i fainted in the middle of an aerobics class. in my heart, i understood that the plague had entered my life. i thought i knew what the outcome would be. but i had no idea.

I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping
Still my guitar gently weeps
I don’t know why nobody told you how to unfold your love
I don’t know how someone controlled you
They bought and sold you.

I look at the world and I notice it’s turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps
I don’t know how you were diverted
You were perverted too
I don’t know how you were inverted
No one alerted you.

I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
Look at you all . . .
Still my guitar gently weeps.

 

when it doubt ….. try backtracking

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“There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”
“There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.”

a brush stroke

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“We habitually erect a barrier called blame that keeps us from communicating genuinely with others, and we fortify it with our concepts of who's right and who's wrong. We do that with the people who are closest to us and we do it with political systems, with all kinds of things that we don't like about our associates or our society.  It is a very common, ancient, well-perfected device for trying to feel better. Blame others....Blaming is a way to protect your heart, trying to protect what is soft and open and tender in yourself. Rather than own that pain, we scramble to find some comfortable ground.”  ― Pema Chödrön
“We habitually erect a barrier called blame that keeps us from communicating genuinely with others, and we fortify it with our concepts of who’s right and who’s wrong. We do that with the people who are closest to us and we do it with political systems, with all kinds of things that we don’t like about our associates or our society.
It is a very common, ancient, well-perfected device for trying to feel better. Blame others….Blaming is a way to protect your heart, trying to protect what is soft and open and tender in yourself. Rather than own that pain, we scramble to find some comfortable ground.”
― Pema Chödrön

 

once in a while i become aware that the flow of life is really happening without my input. the sun rises, the sun travels across the sky, and the sun recedes from the sky and not once have i been consulted or my opinion sought out.

the thought of this used to frighten me immensely, but now it’s a reality that gives me comfort. it connects me to the knowledge that i am only a part of the painting that is life not the painting itself.

 

it’s such a big relief to not be in charge.

roads

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“You never know what's around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you've climbed a mountain.”  ― Tom Hiddleston
“You never know what’s around the corner. It could be everything. Or it could be nothing. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and then one day you look back and you’ve climbed a mountain.”
― Tom Hiddleston

just another day of trudging…. and a big glass of grateful…

“Roads”

Ohh, can’t anybody see
We’ve got a war to fight
Never found our way
Regardless of what they say

How can it feel, this wrong
From this moment
How can it feel, this wrong

Storm.. in the morning light
I feel
No more can I say
Frozen to myself

I got nobody on my side
And surely that ain’t right
And surely that ain’t right

Ohh, can’t anybody see
We’ve got a war to fight
Never found our way
Regardless of what they say

How can it feel, this wrong
From this moment
How can it feel, this wrong

How can it feel, this wrong
This moment
How can it feel, this wrong

Ohh, can’t anybody see
We’ve got a war to fight
Never found our way
Regardless of what they say

How can it feel, this wrong
From this moment
How can it feel, this wrong

10 years in recovery

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The Four Reliances First, rely on the spirit and meaning of the teachings,  not on the words;  Second, rely on the teachings,  not on the personality of the teacher;  Third, rely on real wisdom,  not superficial interpretation;  And fourth, rely on the essence of your pure Wisdom Mind,  not on judgmental perceptions.
The Four Reliances
First, rely on the spirit and meaning of the teachings,
not on the words;
Second, rely on the teachings,
not on the personality of the teacher;
Third, rely on real wisdom,
not superficial interpretation;
And fourth, rely on the essence of your pure Wisdom Mind,
not on judgmental perceptions.

i pulled the following from my profile on LinkedIn. it summarizes some of the things i have been privileged to do within the grace of sobriety these last 10 years. needless to say, recovery as changed my life and it completely changed the direction in which i traversed. there are so many unexplained circumstances along my journey that i am certainly at a loss to explain how i have survived so many treacherous and dangerous situations, yet here i find myself with an almost higher-powered directive to give back.

Certified Trainer of Peer Recovery Coaches using CCAR curriculum and philosophy.
Developed peer-to-peer quarterly newsletter “On The TEN” for HIV Community 2008-present
Established Peer Advocacy 501C3 organization named TEN – Treatment Education Network in 2009
Recognized as Advocate of the Year 2010 by Advocates For Recovery Colorado
Implemented Meth Treatment and Recovery Program for Englewood Agency 2012
Created and maintained recovery oriented blog “The Climb” for AFR Colorado 2011-2012
Served as Recovery Rally Chair for AFR Rally For Recovery 2011 and 2012.
Co-Facilitated HIV+ Recovery Support Group as peer in tandem with LPC at A.R.T.S. 2005-2006
Implemented a peer support group for LGBT seeking recovery from methamphetamine 2006
Co Chair Denver Office of HIV Resources Planning Council 2006-2010.
Strength In Numbers Colorado Moderator 2007-2009
Managed Cicatelli & Associates training for Peer Mentoring and HIV One on One Colorado in 2009

i certainly don’t begin to represent that i have created and completed all these on my own, but i was able to participate to the level that i feel some stewardship and some accomplishment. without the input of a community of recovery, i would doubtfully have found my way to 6 months recovery let alone 10 years. the above definitely represents input that can easily be compared against the years of my life before recovery. i spent the life i was given taking and taking and complicating.

i submit a very humble and very heartfelt “thank you” to all the beautiful and the impossible individuals i have met along the journey thus far. you have given me a feast.

life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.

 

so many of us

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“I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.”
“I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.”

 

there is a hefty risk involved with letting go. it becomes necessary to weigh the risks of the price of letting go against the price of holding on.

 

hey now

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What is like a smelly fart, that, although invisible is obvious? One's own faults, that are precisely As obvious as the effort made to hide them." His Holiness the 7th Dalai Lama in 'Songs of spiritual change'
What is like a smelly fart,
that, although invisible is obvious?
One’s own faults, that are precisely
As obvious as the effort made to hide them.”
His Holiness the 7th Dalai Lama in ‘Songs of spiritual change’

there are times that a guy just needs to let go of his conscious self and act on instinct. i believe i am at one of those personal milestones. no guarantees. no safety net. just fear. and faith. no doubts. and no regrets.

hey now. hey now. it’s gotta be now. it’s gotta be soon. it better be now.

Hey now, letters burning by my bed for you
Hey now, I can feel my instincts here for you, hey now
By my bed for you, hey now, hey now

Uhu, you know it is frightening
Uhu, uhu, you know its like lightning
Hey now, now,

Hey now, letters burning by my bed for you
Hey now, leave it to the wayside like you do, for you
Imagination calling mirrors for you
Hey now, hey now

Read more: London Grammar – Hey Now Lyrics | MetroLyrics