Beyond Thunderdome

I didn’t know I had fear of camping in the desert until confronted with the reality of its stark dry silence. The solemn landscape loomed with limestone and clay towers. Canyons leftover from a former ocean.

Approaching the desert, I suddenly became claustrophobic, small, and unsure. Surprised by my reaction, I thought,“those feelings happen in the city. Not out in the sanctuary I’ve found inherently in Nature.

I took a puff from my emergency inhaler, long breaths. AC on blast. Windows down. Whispering affirmations. Just real sexy adventurer stuff going on.

My personal wilderness street cred crumbling. A mild panic attack creeping on the edges and being quickly held at bay. Then a thought flashed: “OMG Furiosa would’ve left me out on Fury Road.” A laugh bringing a brief return to normalcy, grounding, and humbling of self.

Hurricane Flats, Utah

After two years of living in a lush pacific rainforest, I was struck by the seemingly barren landscape outside Zion National Park. The vegetation and landscape across southern Utah swiftly becoming arid, cracked. All moisture was sucked from the whipping 50 mph winds. From my breath. It’s like Earth had suddenly shed her brilliance and exposed the fragility of life just a few exits down the highway.

On a conscious level- I knew I could survive in the forest for several days if stranded or lost. I’ve picked up wilderness skills the past couple of years and could survive out in the mountains for several of days if needed. (Pick me for your Zombie invasion Team!)

The desert is a different ballgame. It’s you against the elements. There’s no direct access to water. No forests to provide protection or berries, fish, or other immediate food sources.

What you bring is all that you can carry. What you don’t have you will not find it in here. Was I ready or responsible enough for that? It is okay for a moment I was too in my head about all this?

And there was no one else who could help me were I to need assistance. I was camping solo. Just me out in the wilderness. Just as I have been a lot of times since leaving Texas. Mostly due to necessity and convenience. I travel the way I live: with a loose knit plan going a million possible directions at once.

Yet, in those anxious thoughts one can remember to access our mental health toolbox: mindfulness, meditation, medication. As well as employing holistic coping strategies like actually calling your support system and being open to guidance.

Some of the strategies which work for me may also work for you: reaching out to my support system, affirmations, remembering how much I’ve overcome while also being present, letting the feelings wash over, not attaching myself to thoughts or outcomes, radical forgiveness, attempting unconditional love, forgiving myself when that doesn’t happen.

I called my sister for reassurance. She said she could talk, but was on her way to pick up her son from daycare. I told her just hearing her voice was enough. She spoke affirmations to me. She told me I could leave the desert. That it would be okay if I kept moving. She told me I would also enjoy it if I gave it a chance. I listen to her talking to the daycare as she picks up my nephew, placed him in the car, and while she goes to pick up the dry-cleaning. She kept apologizing for having to interrupt our conversation. I told her it was perfectly fine- to just keep me on the phone. It was comforting to hear her perform these every-day tasks. It grounded me to Earth to myself to family.

Even with our recent disagreements and misunderstandings- our love for one another transcends the differences. I listen to the sound of family in a different room. Because that’s all that we are when we’re away from each other right? We’re on the same channel just on a different frequency.

Maybe that was one of the lessons I was supposed to learn in the desert. This part of the Earth is still the same Earth. Life and landscape existing and abounding in different ways. I needed to adjust my perception and unpack fears of the unknown.

Take the break which life is giving to you in the moment of your discomfort. A pause is just an opportunity to prepare for your next adventure beyond things like fears, and desires and personal Thunderdomes.

Angel’s Rest at Zion National Park

Setting the Record Strait

I was sat in meditation upon a plateau full of rock labyrinths in the sacred heart of mysterious Mt. Shasta. Asking the Universe for answers, as always, and waiting for a sign that I was on my path. Knowing this time I was not the crafter of my life disaster. This time the fuck- up truly was not my fault.

Setting the Record Strait

It’s no small irony that April Fool’s marks both my 2nd year of life on the American West Coast; and the closing of my chapter in Portland & the job in social work I started two years ago, today.

It’s a fitting reminder that things aren’t quite what they seem at first. For a fool’s heart can lead you onto paths of great adventures, broad exhilarations, and deep despairs.

Tomorrow I leave for Mt. Shasta and a 2 week trip to California. I find myself being beckoned back to this legendary mountain. I’m reminded of the surreality of an experience that occurred there late last September, within riddles and stone labyrinths.

In the wake of the California wildfires, and amidst several personal and societal devastations, I received a message from something higher than myself. Thankful for reasons and second chances to fly.

The mountain itself was parched but unscathed from the flames which had vociefrously consumed so many of its neighboring forests. The scorching of the West seemed symbolic of the combustible state of America. George Floyd couldn’t breathe when he was murdered by police.

Many populations across the West breathing in masks and the worst air quality in the world. The tyrannies of systemic injustice and police brutality were punctuated by Covid, and continued collapsing of civil liberties and crises.

I was sat in meditation upon a plateau full of rock labyrinths in the sacred heart of mysterious Mt. Shasta. Asking the Universe for answers, as always, and waiting for a sign that I was on my path. Knowing this time I was not the crafter of my life disaster. This time the fuck- up truly was not my fault.

Like our embattled country, My heart had been healing from twin aftermaths: the events surrounding my first book. And more intensely the accompanying fallout from being drugged by gay white supremacists after a Black Lives Matter rally in June 2020. Yeah, I know how crazy it sounds.

I looked up from my perch and saw the answer in the form a dark long-haired woman walking 1000 feet away, along the horizon of Mount Shasta. Little did I realize pieces of my future would soon come clearer into view.

Perhaps we are briefly guided by signs from another realm. Maybe our trials double as secret Talisman readying us on the next leg of our journeys. And as I set out on a new one, it’s time to clarify my truth which has been misconstrued. It’s finally time to set the record strait.

The Long Ride Home pt. 1

In 2017 I told myself, “When I move to Portland, I’m going skiing after work.”

I moved here one year ago, and for the past 2 months I’ve been gratefully skiing on the Earth’s mirror, scarcely believing this is home now.

It was one of those dreams we all have like building a house, visiting some far-flung land, getting married, working a great job, wanting to be happy. Often the dreams we most want start from a small place of desire without resistance and without knowing how or if it’s all going to come together.

Initial desires seem far-fetched at first, but the mere possibility that a dream could actually come into being has spurred on almost every piece of music, and war, building of homes and skyscrapers, each knitting together of a family that has ever existed.

When you’re young you must depend on another to provide your needs and desires. What if there’s no one there you can trust or depend on to make this happen? What if you grew up without a suitable parent to trust? And those of us who did have that initial trust wish we grew up with a trust fund. As we get older all of the responsibilities lay on our shoulders.

Doubt in our ability to attain goals, and relationships, our states of being, begin at a young age because certain experiences ended in a bad way for us, or we watched it end badly for others, or were told of it in Bible stories and political propaganda.

Or because of dead-end jobs and life in dead-end states or series of failed dates and families have shown us that we don’t get what we want. That dreaming is wasteful. That it is easier to live that life you were born into and the chip on your shoulder you’ve been given. The kids and parents I work with often feel this way and they’re not wrong for feeling so. They’ve been betrayed by family members and country for generations.

When I moved here a year ago, my life had recently devolved into chaos and loss. A published book and traveling adventures came at a huge cost. Mental health issues that had been wading in darkness were finally brought forth into light. That glaring light shone upon the frayed sutures holding my life together. I discovered they weren’t there at all.

Relationships fell apart at seams that seemed unbreakable. Upon reflection I was trying to keep together a life that had not been fulfilling with some relationships where I was pouring into others without much in return. It felt like I was pouring myself into others whose wells were bottomless and insatiable. The water ran dry within myself until there was nothing left to give and finally snapped.

I came up here not knowing what was going to happen or if I was actually going to make it. “What if none of this works out?” I asked myself. I could not handle another devastating blow in any sense of the word.

There was literally nothing physically left in my physical possession save my car and everything I had taken on my cross-country road trip and to Mexico. The plans made and money saved to make a smooth transition from Texas to Portland were unintentionally torn asunder by my own two hands and addled mind.

The first 2 months of 2019, were spent in Texas taking stock of what was left and what had ended. Most of what was still true of my life actually remained. Family and friends still loved me. I still loved to hike and be amongst open-minded kind people.

With the proper diagnoses you can then utilize the tools which can help you live a vibrant and authentic life. Medication, therapy, being enveloped with nature, starting almost completely from scratch were some of the tools in my new wheelhouse.

The West had been calling me forward for a long time. Years before the recent schism. So I asked myself, “What if moving to Portland actually does work out?” Some callings are greater than our circumstances.

Slowly, the same two hands and a properly medicated mind created the life I now find myself living. Everything brought me to Now, and I am happy. What good is it to curse the former difficulties?

I strive to make decisions for the highest good, maintaining boundaries I had so easily let be taken of advantage of in the past, pouring into others while keeping enough in my own well. Positive friendships and relationships have blossomed and have begun to flourish. And as is the way of life New challenges are always on our horizons. Sometimes the horizon itself has literally shifted due to where we find ourselves geographically in the world.

PNW winters challenge the hardiest of souls. To go weeks with cold rain and without sunlight cause many of to withdraw inward. The respite was welcoming at first. But as the perpetual gloom lingered I went into nature less and less. Being in nature was part of my healing process and I stopped going outdoors because of the wet and weary weather. Then I went skiing for one of my roommate’s birthdays and remembered how much I loved this winter activity.

At the end of January, I took new stock of my situation and realized “this life up here is working out and I like it.” When you have recovered from difficult periods you begin really appreciating the reasons that make you live. The shift happens when you begin to seek them out.

So I bought my first ski season pass, skis and gear, and it’s unexpectedly changed parts of my life. Skiing has become a passion and one I often do on my own. Learning new skills help to imbue oneself with confidence that translates into other areas.

I’ll be speeding 40 mph down a black in exhilaration and wondering how the hell I didn’t crash.

Then I tell myself, “I’ve done this before, I know how to ski on piste, and how to talk to this client, and I know how to get out of bed and out of debt. I’ve done each many times before.” And I get out of my own way.

There are times I do bite it, are not as scary as the first time and it happened and now I know how to more easily correct myself when shredding powder or craving on ice.

Skiing is a fluid conversation with the mountain. It’s a mind-body, seasonal and multi-elemental connection. Finding ourselves upon mountains, to ski upon them, is honors the mountain within.

There is nothing more alive than when you feel the thrill of living. It’s as close to flying as we can come. The closest to breaking the bonds of Earth- of our frailties and also of our courage.

Reflecktion of Reflections

The reflection of a mountain lake is changed by ripples of kayakers, canoes, fish, and wind. Mirrors cannot be fully trusted, even in nature, for they do not present the subject as it truly exists. What we see is the inverse reflection of an image but not the actual image itself.

In that way we never truly see ourselves as others see us and we do not fully see each other because of the images we are trying to outwardly portray belies the depth within ourselves and to ourselves.

Seeing this lake reflect Mount Adams, “The Forgotten Giant” in choppy patterns made me think again about how much of the world we really don’t know- presented by MTV True Life: True Life and the meaning of existence.

Millenia of human history has gone undocumented or painstakingly reassembled by anthropologists, doctors of paleontology, linguists, people charged with studying the ancients. We are still far from complete understanding of the Universe, of dark matter, dark places of human experience.

In his famous allegory, The Cave, Plato presents several chained prisoners who are forced to look at a fire casting shadows/images reflected on the back of a cave wall. He said, “On the walls of the cave, only shadows are truth.” We see mere reflections of the Forms- beauty, truth, life but do not actually ever see “Truth,” “Love,” “Mercy,” as they exist on their own. Everything is just a reflection of an ideal and we cast our own assumptions, experiences, desires and label it good, love, bad.

Objectivity of the material world becomes more apparent in nature. The riddle of “if a tree falls in a forest” becomes more clear when you’re the only one in the forest to hear its silence.

Almost all of us live this way to some extent. Not asking questions which would shake the foundations of our societies, are homes, relationships, and selves. I’ve literally known self-actualized people who said they don’t want to ask the hard questions because they don’t want to know “the answer.“ Often I wish the desire to ask these questions did not burn within my heart because life would be a lot easier to take at face value. It also would be boring and predictable.

As much as I value harmony and living well- I would rather live exultant highs and crushing lows than be bound to a life of tradition never leaving a small town filled with mediocre experiences. And I’ve lived life in both versions. Bipolar, bicurious, but never bi-boring.

A major flaw with theists and atheists is that both camps posit theories of the existence or non-existence of god. They stay firmly planted in their beliefs because it helps them make sense of the world and is an understandable premise because existence is incredibly vast and unknowable.If a creator exists and really wanted humans to know a secret important message that will affect your life for eternity would it not be encoded in our DNA? Would there not be writing on the actual walls, reminders everywhere we turned that we must follow?

The more time one spends in Nature you come to see that the purpose of Life is to live, to continue experiencing the stunning variety of this world, to enjoy life, to reflect on our experiences, and then to evolve based upon what we’ve learned so we can pass the evolved knowledge through art, sciences, thought, the gene pool etc.

It seems to me that the answers to life’s hard questions, (like what is the purpose of life? Is there an after-life? etc.) can never be fully answered and that must be for a reason.

The purpose of life may be that we are to find our purpose and follow where the journey leads. Maybe the point is to Live the best life you can, make life matter for yourself & others while not changing your behavior just to please one another due to outdated modalities of thinking and ways of being.

We think this world is permanent yet it too will burn away billions of years in the future. Life feels like it will last forever and there are many who have contemplated leaving their own- some have succeeded in this arduous endeavor. All of our religions come from some “divinely-inspired” individual who rarely ever wrote down anything they actually said and are disseminated out through thousands of years of translated texts by people with various agendas.

What we think we believe about the world has often been carefully sifted and manipulated through centuries of people gripping to power with the goal of keeping the masses sedated and satisfied. Obviously this isn’t working when so many people throughout various societies are still killing themselves or wanting to die and in America- killing each other with guns on a daily basis.

There is no statistic I know of that measures how people have been aggregately affected because of religious indoctrination and pacification throughout their lives. The millions who are walking a slow-trek to the grave aren’t counted on the census. What about refugees- people who are hoping for a better life and are imprisoned at America’s borders, the children crying out in terror in their own homes, the people who are self-medicating just to get through the day? Rousseau said that humanity became poisoned when the first person claimed the land was their own. We come into this world without and we leave without.

The clamoring for status, possessions, certain relationships is a big Western civilization pissing contest to prove our own worthiness to others, but it’s mostly done in effort to subconsciously prove worthiness to ourselves. How’s that working out for us?

We are born into this world seemingly without knowing anything until consciousness finally appears in early childhood. The way we are programmed to believe about life, god, science is very much dependent upon the geographical space and time of our existence.

Most people who believe that the way we are living is the right way the only way to live have never left their states let alone their country.

How can we look at a refugee or on anyone and pronounce them unworthy. Somehow as less human than us because of an imaginary border we don’t want you to cross? But what if he’s gay and a migrant worker or not a shiny piece of eye and arm candy? We’re human to you because we help you look better and vice-versa. If you actually put into practice what your Bible stories say-you’d be baking that wedding cake with dildos and fireworks galore. Jesus met people where they were at and was not one to fault anyone.

The election of Trump is the last gasping death rattle of a white once-majority blinding their eyes against their own desperate nakedness and clutching gnarled hands onto the threads of an unclothed emperor’s train. A vote against the Future may momentarily deter progress but the Future is coming anyway.

We can be the catalyst of action or churn in the dry rot wood of complacency. My eyes are fully opened to see the Future meet us here while tyrants in various guises will forever eventually fall away exposed, unraveled by their own undoing, and with no subjects left to rule.

What were we thinking during those formative years before the impressions were made upon us the time before memory of which we have no memory? How different would each of us be had we not been collectively fucked over since the beginning of human history?

The ego- the separated consciousness the part of the self that gets scared and insecure is not entirely against us. For in those moments we think life is closing in around us, when our reflections get shattered, we realize how much of life was lived in the wings, in the attempts to prove we have it altogether in the safety of our beautiful homes and children.

Most of us are not used to being loved wholly for who we are with our blessings, personality quirks and imperfections. I finally allowed myself to experience unconditional love during last year’s breakdown. My father, my sister, my mother each came to my rescue even as I was cursing my parents and others with similar vitriol of what I was protesting against.

When I needed love the most my parents and best college friends came to my rescue. We finally let ourselves be loved when we break the walls within us.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to find all the barriers you have built up against it.”- Rumi

We are all contributing ideas, experiences, transmitting messages with our dna without even knowing it. We all have the potential to beam like the sun or devolve into massively powerful black holes. An awakening in the morning is a destruction of the dream life.

Sometimes we get jolted into the reality we wanted we just didn’t expect to wake up to it so quickly. A tearing away of shade and the shock of being flooded by the Light. We never think we deserve the ruby slippers. That only perfect people in fake fairytales and bible stories get to live that life. The belief that myths are fiction is akin to believing that miracles can’t come true. I get driven to great depths of despair and despondent frustration about this.

But That’s still my egoic self sifting through the darkness imbedded in the false sense of safe realities. I’m not kidding when I say im not afraid of anything. I can’t even began to explain that exultation into words and I’ve seen the darkness within that blessed anarchy. Its like the Power of the dark Phoenix being wrapped inside a rage a tempest in a teapot. The capacity for creation will always be greater than our capacity to destruction. Just look at how powerfully we’ve created and destructed through the best and most destructive days of your life.

SOCRATES: Do you think the one who had gotten out of the cave would still envy those within the cave and would want to compete with them who are esteemed and who have power? Or would not he or she much rather wish for the condition that Homer speaks of, namely “to live on the land [above ground] as the paid menial of another destitute peasant”? Wouldn’t he or she prefer to put up with absolutely anything else rather than associate with those opinions that hold in the cave and be that kind of human being?GLAUCON: I think that he would prefer to endure everything rather than be that kind of human being.

I am returning to the light and to living and loving well. My nephew was born three days ago and I couldn’t think of a better time in my sister and brother-in-law’s lives to be parents, my father to be a grandfather, and in my own to be an uncle. May we each be faithful in our charge as we continue to love and guide this precious being to life. Ashes to Ashes we come and go through this world reflecting on our deeds and Reflecting life back to the world. Little nephew, you are highly loved. May you see that example reflected back in our words and actions. May you have the best life has to offer us all.

Nothin’ But Time part 1

It’s almost been one year since embarking on the eloquent adventure/disaster that changed the landscape of my life. I keep coming back to Mount St. Helens- a mountain who is no stranger to spewing new effigies upon the land.

It’s the geographically closest and most accessible of the great 5 mountain peaks of I now live by. The gem of the PNW mountain range has now been reduced to 2/3 of its original height and glory. Magma began filling the mountain increasing its mass for a year and eventually reaching 400 yards a day prior to the explosion. How oddly relatable.

Mt. Saint Helens Before & after 1980 eruption

The pressure rose in St. Helens’ until that fateful day in 1980 when this sleeping giant hurled lava, pulverized rock, a side of the mountain outwards, killing 57 people, melting several glaciers and created the largest mudslide ever recorded.  Calamities millions of years in the making only took seconds to raze foundations entire ecosystems and collapse empires.

Yet 40 years later this mountain is now replenishing itself. Life is returning with hundreds of new habitats, ponds, and waterways in this ancient place.  

Which version of Mt. Saint Helens is the real mountain?  A gem reduced to ashes. An antagonistic foe looming in the distance biding time until its next eruption? A ticking-time bomb drowsing until the pressure builds to a crescendo and Saint Helens wildly flings destruction to all in its vicinity? A haven for life, a peak which glacier water flows down providing the source of many rivers? A mother, a place of beauty, a liability a home?

Are you the you who had it all together or are you now the person that is left after blasting your life into fragments? Are you something else altogether?Each perspective is valid but binary conclusions fail us so much of the time. The mountain, the aftermath, the you before and after are all of those things the good, the ugly, and the authentic self.

The volcano where I was unknowingly rapid cycling through a manic-depressive breakdown is also the mountain that has brought me back to life. A cataclysm of eroding glaciers within oneself.

Just as this mountain has done countless times over the centuries. Re-shaping and forging the land through destruction and setting the stage for new creations. Sometimes caused by brutal natural calamities, at the hands of others, at the hands of yourself.

Nature vs. nature is an antiquated paradigm. For It is within nature we find nourishment and true being as we have since time began.

The more we connect to the Earth the more we begin to connect to our truest selves. The false self begins to peel away the false self the egoic nature craving and never at peace.

You realize aspects of your personal identity – the job, the relationships, the home, coping mechanisms, habits, and patterns of self were aspects of the false-self. How many of us cling to externalities to validate and explain who we are?

The egoic nature craves and screeches to satiate desires- to fulfill the idealized version of yourself. Buddha said, suffering is caused by desire. Suffering is also caused by looking for things outside of us to determine our self-worth.

The dizzying thrill of an unrealized manic high was exhilarating. I felt like a rockstar. Everything all my dreams were within reach and anything was possible. Nothing and no one could stop me. Mania is the closest thing to being a superhero and a supervillian at the same time.

Mania mirrors some narcissistic qualities. Writing a book that partially included my life was misinterpreted by some as overly ambitious or egotistical. Those who judged my first book as a vanity affair didn’t even crack the cover.

Yet my personal worth began to be increasingly tied to social media, gaining followers to build a writing platform, and with each gain I began validating myself and experiences with things outside of myself. But mania causes a sort of inner Stockholm Syndrome daring you into climbing stratosphere’s into mountain peaks you would not dare to travel in your right mind.

And when it all stops and you’re left to confront the emptiness and then to build your life the way you really want it. With the first step, the first trickles of snowmelt you begin again. If you’re still alive you still have time to forge the life you want.

When you’ve reached bottom the only way is up from there. We finally start seeking out the people, places, activities & thoughts that are good for us the more we believe in our own worth.

Sometimes it takes losing everything to find who and what is really worth fighting for. And eventually time will reveal the things, the people, the mountains left standing after the dust has settled. You’ll be surprised about how much remains and how much space you have to gain.

Running Up That Hill

She spoke out of the side of her mouth on a sunny Seattle morning,  “I lost 4 kids to the state. I was the one who wasn’t supposed to make it, but I did. It took two decades and finally my fifth child to get it all together, and now I help parents who are in the exact place I was in. I went to rehab and all the classes. I did everything it took to get my son back. I was clean and sober but still toxic inside for a long while.” #relatable

A room full of social workers sat quiet and stunned by this woman’s incredibly powerful story. Her vulnerability was buoyed by the steely strength reflected in the angular ridges of her sharp cheek bones. She was made of true grit, borne with cards stacked against her, and full of personal tragedies scattered throughout her life.

She didn’t talk about many generations of societal oppression, decades of prejudice, inequality, poverty, denial of rights, betrayed promises, lack of resources that are disgustingly common to so many Americans & people around the world.

And If she only could, would she make a deal with god? Would she want to shout profanities to the mountains too? How many of us have done the same only to hear the resounding shrill of well-meaning Christians but not the voice of god. The void of silence is deafening. At least it is quantifiable. As much as it sucks at least silence is real.

The hardest part about social work is that there are just too many underlying factors that have brought families to their lowest points. There is often a lack of knowledge of the resources available not to mention the Manila and brown folder bureaucracies sidestepping the way to freedom.

Parents and caregivers are often depicted and treated as villains– when in truth they are often using substances to self-medicate, to just get through the day, to function in a world that sees their disabilities and mistakes as another reason they are unsafe, unfit, worthless, unsalvageable. There are those who have committed unspeakable acts against vulnerable children and who should have no access to their children.

Washington has a ton of resources available to aid parents and children- related to housing, mental health, medical care, counseling, dietary needs, summer camps, and programs that work to strengthen parental skills and personal development. The strengthening of our most vulnerable populations should never be seen as a handout. There are millions of people who have not been afforded opportunities that so many of us have taken for granted because we lived in two-parent households and graduated from school districts that reflected a certain tax bracket- or those of us who barely made that echelon and have been trying to keep up with the Joneses and the Richers, who often live a very guarded and gilded lifestyle- putting the blinders on to the plights of people living across town and sometimes just across the street.

But now I have felt the harsh judgement from people who used to be closer than family. The darkness enclosed like a coffin, like an abusive lover holding you down along with your shame. And then I held myself in the lair of guilt and self-recriminations. I will make sure my clients don’t go it totally alone.

I’m the one who made concessions and apologies but have not gotten any in return. I didn’t hold certain people accountable for being there for me when I needed them. I let them off the hook now. This bitterness does not serve me. The reminiscing over the wounding only infuriates the healing. It takes a while to get your life back on track. Especially when you’re the one responsible for the fuck up.

Part 2: A deal with God

Not gonna lie, this transition has been amazing, but quite solitary; it’s not terrible it’s just different than I imagined. It’s also just the beginning.

I had been living in patterns of devolution for months. A persona unrecognizable to others who knew me well. I hit upon a rage that had never been expressed and a volatility of shockwaves that rippled beyond the bounds or intentions of my person. It all had to burn away before I would have accepted a bipolar diagnosis and that I needed help- that I needed to change some ways of living.

Moving is an inherently solo journey- one I’m so fortunate to be complaining about. Things could be seriously so much worse. I’m very thankful they are not. I’ve been lucky to have a lot of amazing people & friends physically present in daily life.

I wish could take back and redo a lot of last summer. I wish I was over it all. Most days I am. For awhile it was all I could think about. Now I’ve accepted that it’s all part of the ebb & flow of healing.

Sometimes you wonder if you’re alone because you want to be or b/c you’re the problem. Maybe it’s your time to “work on things,” but when does the working cease? When is someone finally worthy enough?

The annoyingly spot-on answer- You’re the only 1 who can determine that for yourself. And in case you want to argue spoiler alert- the fact that humans and this Earth even exists is a 1 in a quadrillion chance miracle. *don’t @ me on that math. 😂

A client told me if he had known what would have happened he’d have done it differently. Wouldn’t we all? He strangely didn’t seem completely remorseful couldn’t figure out why at the time. Then it hit me- he’s accepted the reality of awful circumstances that led him here and apart from his family. I’m grateful the stakes have never been that high for me.

This current journey into social work is much different than it was in Texas for many reasons. I now know what it’s like to feel out of control, embarrassed, regretful, alone, sober, forgiven, in treatment, and finally becoming the best version of oneself.

The ones who have seen the error and changed course- those are the ones who are worth fighting for, and deserve the resources to get their life on track, to get their children back.

How many times have you regretted an action and let it play out over and over in your mind? You remember the events that led up to certain actions and thoughts. Your body revs with anxiety as you relive the event in your mind. When recounting or thinking about a trauma the human body cannot qualify whether that action occurred in the past or present.

Whatever you focus upon will also reflect in your body as your neck tenses, heartbeat increases, etc. In essence we are reliving that past trauma every time we talk about it which often causes involuntary physical reactions. It feels like a haunting at first but distance from a problem or a helps one to see things w/ perspective. Never underestimate the power of your breath in a chaotic situation & therapy to address everything else.

It’s true you can’t win every time. You can’t save everyone and there are some relationships not worth saving (which is tough b/c I’m a life long friender.) My sister gave me the gift of being present while I confronted the personal beasts raging in my head and heart. She gave me the gift of family. My dad gave the gift being there without me even knowing it. So many friends have done the same.

All we really need is someone who will stand with us between the raucous & silent phase of darkness. Western skies are filled to the brim with nights made of stranger diamonds.

There is a beauty in new beginnings- wildflowers blooming in wind. Fragile miracles embedded in the tomb of dirt and earth. We are plants bursting through soil. That initial thrust must have been initially painful, but so worth it now that everything has bloomed. Trust the process for if you are trying- the harvest will eventually bring its bounty.