Beyond Thunderdome 2

Get out of your thunderdome! You get to create the rules and tools to get you to the next part of your life. Beyond the ideas we’ve been programmed to believe. Past our personal and societal impositions.

Belief in your future before it has happened is the most powerful instrument in your toolbox of creation. When you continue to walk in the direction of what you want and what you are being called to the way presents itself to you. You are always walking on your path.

I’m coming to learn the detours just means you are in the process of creating what you really want, and hopefully finding the fun of it all along your way forward.

So I began to settle into the beauty of the desert. Letting go of the fears of possible outcomes I cannot control. Realizing my brief fear of camping in the desert was also symptomatic of unconscious fears of my upcoming future.

Much of our anxiety comes from previous trauma or unprocessed past events. Once you are able to pinpoint the source of uncertainty you can be guided to a solution.

I am leaving my career soon. Moving from Portland at the end of June. Taking a break before moving to San Francisco. Again the next steps of my journey unclear. Ready for this record of unsure futures to be taken off of repeat.

I reminded myself that are many subtle signs from the Universe I am going in the right direction even if I can’t perceive it all right now. The unsure are new steps to pathways I haven’t crossed yet.

This is true for all of us. The more we learn how to communicate with the Universe and are open to guidance- it will be revealed to you. Our finite understanding says more about us than it does of Universal limitations.

I sat present in a Utah desert canyon. Watching with the land as sunlight fades. Being present & mindful wherever you are guides you to finding beauty in places you would not have dared to go.

I did some grounding work. Deep breaths and opening of the root chakra. Opening of the mind and heart. I was reminded we are part of this planet and we each have a right to here. The anxiety began to fade as I watched the sunset slip beneath the horizon.

Out here you see the Earth for who she is without a facade. Rugged, unyielding, resilient. Life goes to incredible extremes to exist. Without the assurance of trees, water, and trappings of civilization you also see yourself for who you really are in that moment.

The desert teaches anyone who takes time to be present with her. You find love that transcends the physical and material world. A love that one must take time to observe, to appreciate, desire and allow.

The more purposeful you become in your expansion- you can attain most anything you desire or put time into creating. For I found that there were trees, and scrub bushes, and small animals- rabbits, lizards, even deer living out here.

If the smallest of creatures can find a way to survive- how much more prepared for survival we humans must be? There is much brilliance in this world of which we are also a reflection.

The challenges you face may be larger than a desert or more long term and discouraging. Systemic injustice is so prevalent and larger than anyone of us alone. How can we achieve our goals and societal transformation with so much outward oppression?

There is no simple solution or answer to our ceaseless quandaries. But we must know that we are always part of the Earth even if it seems she has forgotten us.

When we feel this way it just means we need to take a breath, let go of the fears, use the tools we have to get us to the next moment, remember our true power, rinse, and repeat as necessary.

When you surrender into the acceptance of your present reality- that’s when true freedom comes. Releasing the resistant thoughts and feelings about your own life and about others will free you in ways you didn’t even know were holding you back.

The journey to our freedoms have all been individually tarried and carried often alone. Those of you who are on difficult journeys remember your light. Be encouraged that life exist everywhere.

The edifice of true beauty will always remain even after the surface is washed away. It is in the crucible, the mortar pestle, you find who you really are. Isn’t that a great place to be?

Once I let go- camping in the desert ended up being my favorite part of this roadtrip from Portland to Texas. A reminder that your whole life is out there waiting to be lived and great possible futures ready to expand into reality.

Chain-Chain Change

Hikers used the chain at Angel’s Landing because it was a 1,488-foot fall to the ground, but also because the chain existed. Simply looking at the chain caused many people to become fearful. For inexperienced climbers- having a “safety net” of sorts was important.

Of course I went off leash most of the time. Not for a contrary purpose. I just didn’t need the chains to guide me. I barely have a grip on this version of reality, but I have a grip on nature & treading where angels dare to go.

We often hold to the things we’ve outgrown out of duty and familial obligation or material security. It’s okay and important that chain, the religion, the support exists. Sometimes we need that validation and security these things offer.

Still when we are attached to our expectations, relationships, professions- anything outside of us we can become chained in forms of mental and emotional slavery.

These sentences of servitude are subtle and reflect enculturation of societal norms. They are not easily broken and often take years of meditation, therapy, and re-education. Just desiring liberation is one of the most important part of “the work.”

There is more knowledge readily available to humans now than there has been in any other time in recorded history. Yet our cultures are not up to speed with the technological breakthroughs which have come at such an advanced pace. The proliferation of hints about misinformation are almost worse than the actual misinformation itself.

Propaganda from all sides keep pointing out false ideologies. Take your pick of soups and conspiracy theories du jour. But there is no inherent sense of fascism in this type of soup nazi. A problem with taking in so much information is that we don’t know where all to put it. That at the end of the day- people are forced into camps and baskets of good and bad.

We praise logic and lucidity when it matches up with the general consensus of the day. Scientists and theologians start out with the intent to discover something new or to come to greater understanding of their chosen discipline. Yet many observers, of both spiritual and scientific leanings, tend to maintain the status quo- to becoming maintainers of the knowledge instead of advancing it further.

It’s been proven throughout all of history that those in power attempt to maintain that power by adhering to the science and religion that best benefits the perpetuation of that culture’s ideals and motivations.

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. But to stay in this false safety net would be boring, predictable, and antithetical to the propagation of life on this planet.

We spend half of our lives deprogramming ourselves from the bogus agendas of lack based mentalities that were socialized into us. But now that we know this- we have a chance to create the life which works for us and for the greater part of human civilization.

I used to think I was in the craggy places because of judgment and worthlessness. I was too precious to be planted in a garden but my heart would not be content alone in the alpines. Hearts have a way of wandering around until they find each other.

Brave hearts are not made for fences, chains, or cages. When we become less dependent on the chains we have grown accustomed to we move into bolder power.

We have the freedom to taking art, thought, life farther than it has been before. Keep following the freedom which is calling within you.

Unchain yourself from relationships, expectations, governments, and jobs which do not serve you. For each step forwards expands creation farther than it has been before and closer to where you want to go.

Within You Without You

Joseph Campbell explains the hero’s journey as a circular cycle of polarities common to all human beings. The call to adventure spurs one to leave their home and travel into the wild. The hero encounters many obstacles on the journey to their destiny.

Traversing through the dark roads filled with various real and imagined terrors & foes one begins to doubt their calling. Some even abandon their quest altogether and question the gods and themselves for a way out. Clarity comes during a period of introspection and acceptance of mistakes and losses which have occurred.

Eventually help is given in the form of “supernatural” or subtle aid enabling the hero to return to their goal much wiser and reinvigorated than before. Each one of us is the hero in our personal narratives. There are many years have some have lived the song of the downtrodden. Some never get a second chance or become to afraid to venture out again. Some succeed and arrive at their destination immediately (i.e. Billie Eilish & all overnight sensations.)

For most of us mortals it takes a longer more arduous route to get there. We are being forged while in the inky darkness.

Chipping away chunks of marble eventually reveal the intended sculpture.

But we are not marble. We are beings of light in corporeal forms. The chisel strips away excess on an internal level.

The work happens in our hearts our minds; in quiet corners where we cannot objectively peer deeply nor can others wholly understand. We are even mysteries to ourselves.

This start over in Washington state feels surreal and is very welcomed. It takes a while for the new normal to set in. I find myself wanting to go back to a sense of normalcy, but there is only going forward- at least in the traditional Newtonian sense. It’s been hard to reconcile certain events that occurred during my recent travels but I have come to accept everything as it is without too much romanticizing or self-critique.

I let the world in on my life and in some ways feel the distance this openness has allowed. Private battles and past challenges have been disclosed in hopes of helping others own their journeys. The one-sided judgments on the other side of the tablet and cell phones are not known yet I have felt the sting of silence too. Vulnerabilities begin to harden the longer they are exposed to the elements of time and social media.

The brightness of the world has dimmed in some ways. The bushy-tailed optimism still intact but more myopic in focus. Broad reaching hope for people to live their truest selves will never diminish in my heart. Despite my own failings & disappointments I still believe that we are good and worthy to be fought for.

I didn’t try hard enough to find a literary editor to publish Break the Violent Fetters. I’m more in the business of build it and they will come than the other way around.

Yet over the past few monthsI found there exists a stigma when you release art or self-publish on your own. It’s almost as if self-publishing delegitimized the gravity of my message.

As if these words were not good enough to be traditionally published- which was not the case at all. I just didn’t want to wait upon other people to judge and evaluate my life’s content. I had already lived through the threshing ground of societal judgment. 

Or maybe people felt like I hadn’t lived a hard enough life worthy to write a book about.There are billions of people on this planet that have experienced physically, environmentally, emotionally harrowing events in their lives. I speak of an experience that is unfortunately almost stereotypical for LGBTQI+ people throughout all societies and most time periods.

Putting pen to paper about my experience is an honor because so many other people have been silenced and never given the opportunities to share or live their truth. My first book is for those who haven’t gotten to tell their story and for those still figuring out their own.

We are not fair judges to ourselves but what happens when others are also unfairly judging you? The most shocking aspects of it all were people forgot to look at my heart as I blew up in minor crises for miles across America. I don’t recognize aspects of the person I was last summer/fall while in the throes of mania. My sister told me that I won’t ever be able to separate the manic behaviors and my true self. She’s right. They are bound to one another in a chemical compound that was its own venomous form. That also means I don’t have to stay the same.

The personal toll taken in telling this story is still yet to be determined but at this point I don’t think I would do it again. At least not in the way this all unfolded. Sometimes I cringe when I think about certain personal details I’ve allowed to disseminate into the masses, my friend and peer group, people I will never meet on various ends of the world and its wide web.

The dismantling of a life in progress at the height of its young successes has been hard. I was going to buy a house. That was the original plan, but this wanderlust would not be tied down or settled. I still find the wanderlust fighting and resisting the urge to stay. But maybe my stubbornness wouldn’t have allowed it any other way.

I was not ready to settle down until the pieces all fell apart. What is it in our wanderlust hearts that keeps us wanting more? This call to adventure is not so much a running away from problems as it is a hopeful, somewhat nebulous, expansion we are running towards. The saboteur and hero are one in the same. Dualities cannot exist apart from the other. Within you Without you.

It is tempting to judge yourself and present situation while you’re in the midst of a shit show. How can you see anything else when your present existence, one you’ve worked so hard to create backfires and your left with scarce remnants of what once was. Some friendships left in fragments. Others joined in the sea of so many little regrets.

Writing about the psychological, societal, and emotional chains I had broken in turn broke me all over again. It’s a cruel irony. It has spawned a new slew of regrets. I’ve wanted to press the reset button on my life so many times this past year. There was a way out of it all that kept calling. An unholy echo bidding me to an undug grave, yet again. I hope that call has been silenced for the last time.

You can’t see the way out when you’re mired in the reality of the shitshow you’re digging out of. We will not know how our actions truly affect another person, our families, our own lives, generations of people we will never meet.

The present is a confounding experience and difficult to describe. For we are not impartial to ourselves. We each possess a degrees of unreliable self-narration because it is difficult to remove yourself from the reality of your present circumstances. An exhausting difficult period of your life feels like it slowly spreads to all aspects of your psyche. Clouding your vision and hope of ever escaping the dungeon of regret.

A lot of times the current sorrows will not matter in the long run. Epitaphs aren’t filled with credit scores, or how shiny and straight your smile was. Even still, there exists a compulsion that drives me to write and to share that is insatiable. Our lives aren’t often remembered for the mistakes we have made- unless an egregious act was committed.

How many times have you regretted an action and let it play out over and over in your mind’s eye? 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. The human body cannot qualify whether an action occurred in the present, past or future.

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 AND have an involuntary reaction. It feels like a haunting at first but distance from a problem or a situation helps you to see things with a broader perspective. 

A tragedy, an ordeal by fire smolders long after the flames have been extinguished.

Sometimes there is little to retrieve back from the ashes. In that case the embers of a former period of life are the beacons. They are the guides on our way forward. You can only see what’s up ahead when you are nearing the destination.

We are our own maps. Each day a thread running through paper folds.

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.

I’m almost back to my normal self and personality. Now the dust has settled. The scattered pieces have been recollected. Some pieces and people will never fit again. There many more pieces that are still here and ones yet to find.

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive,”Joseph Campbell.

Life is no longer stuck in a long looped waiting room. I’m finally where I wanted to be. There’s still so much left to explore, to enjoy, to live.

Queer and Bloating in Wyoming- “Bipolar’s Coming at you like a dark horse”

Don’t you kind of hate it when people say something happens for a reason? It’s a pretty great rationalization technique for a crisis after the fact. A “god in the gaps” defense to explain that this particular suffering has a purpose and to quell grumblers and complainers mulling around physical deserts or the ones we erect to explain our own undoing.

The Undoing will come one way or another, but how this process comes depends on the right amount of variables clicking into place. Bipolar’s Coming at you like a Dark Horse. (See: Pegasus; Katy Perry)

There were so many clues and inconsistencies within my life that went detected, criticized, shamed but the root cause was never identified. If I drove you crazy at times, how do you think I felt not being able to explain a certain action when I didn’t know either?

I am not excusing behavior or thoughts or patterns of living because of misdiagnosed mental health. It’s not a get out of jail free card. But it is bail money. It’s enough to get me back in the right direction and away from the very litigious self-castigation team working in my own thoughtsicles.

I kept coming back to and searching myself for answers. I had a whole fucking house, thousands of dollars in furniture, paintings, books, clothing in storage. How did I miss paying my storage bill? The payments were on autopay, so how could I have missed it? I literally lost everything because I couldn’t even see past the filter mania had involuntary unleashed upon my own mind and emotions. And I couldn’t forgive myself for it.

My debit card got eaten by an ATM in Colorado 1.5 weeks into my road trip. I used my credit card for all expenses and paid the balance off every day. By the time I got a new debit card, and another check for $10,000- I had already been suicidal and my sister had to come rescue me in Seattle. I just figured it would work itself out and my bank would know to pay them. I didn’t look at my bank account for about two months. I was going to get a book deal and recording contract and or win the lottery and would just buy all new things.

It was months later that I found out my father had also flown to Seattle in secret. My mouth dropped open when my sister told me this on MLK Jr. Day. “He came because he wanted to be close by in case you needed him.” But I didn’t once ask for him. I was completely floored and started sobbing. What a selfish prick I am.

He flew to Seattle and rented a car and followed my sister and I down to Portland, and then to Crater Lake, and finally in San Francisco. My sister had told me, “Josh, dad is willing to come meet you and you guys can finish the trip together.” I thought about it and decided to ask him to come meet me at the Grand Canyon. The symbolism was not lost on me. The great chasm between my father and I would be summited in the desert of Arizona. I told her that this sounded really cool and that I would ask him when I got closer to Arizona.

“Why didn’t y’all tell me he was there?” Jess replied to me in her direct but tender way, “you weren’t ready to see him and we thought it might set you off.” She’s probably right of course, but I don’t think I would have stayed so mad for so long if I had been able to reconcile with my dad at that time.

I wish I would have dropped everything and called my dad and asked him to meet me right then. It was never to be though because mania resurfaced the day after I dropped my sister off in San Francisco.

And it didn’t end until months later when I was in Mexico feeling like the world was collapsing around me. It is my biggest regret I didn’t reach out to my father or to anyone. It’s hard to break past your own blockade of isolationist policy of breaking down in solitude.

I was still paying over $1,400 a month in bills during my travels. Then my car got towed in San Francisco- a $555 fine for parking one foot away from a curb. I went on Instagram live that night and decried the ills of Western greed and the lack based mentality we’ve been conditioned into believing. That fine only proved my point but it was also the last great warning that I needed to reassess my actions before things got even more out of hand. That was the first week of October.

I ticked off nearly every symptom of the mania checklist but was still sure I was just experiencing a break because of ptsd, cessation of medications, and a whole score of other situations I’ve already discussed. I would have resisted and refused a bipolar diagnosis had it just been the mania.

But after my wallet was stolen, and my book didn’t take off as I thought, when my belongings were auctioned off and then my phone was stolen- My spirit was nearly broken. I couldn’t understand how I had said so many harsh and hurtful things and was acting completely out of character. I couldn’t figure out how I let myself down by blowing through my savings.

I was wrenched with hopelessness and suicidal almost every day for two months. Racked with guilt and so confused by my actions. How did I get so out of control? It was the crushing depression that led me to seek out more answers and professional help.

There were three more months of exhilarating highs and 3 of the hardest lessons I’ve ever experienced to occur before any reflection occurred.

If this sounds like a twisted morality tale of unfortunate circumstances- it’s not because I got the wrong fairy godmother. When I realized there was a mental health connection so many of the loose marbles started to find their place again. Having a general answer gave me strength to confront myself.

To be continued….

Second book in progress: Queer and Bloating in Wyoming

I apologize for the radio silence of late. I’ve been reflecting on some deep truths and adjusting to life after a half year of traveling. I am excited to be moving to Washington state in two weeks! Back to the working world of 8-5 but still writing!. This is a short post with an excerpt from my second book in progress-

Queer and Bloating in Wyoming: an American Manic Roadtrip.

“You’re probably bipolar.” Three words and a contraction. Full diagnosis for half of a life’s sentence. I’m introspective as fuck. How the hell did I miss this? Tack that on to the quantum list of ceaseless questions gaining traction in my mind grapes every day. It’s like finding out you’re adopted after always suspecting you weren’t born into this family.

This is not a death sentence it’s a relief to know there was a method behind the madness. #stopmakingsense

Looking back at my life and the past 9 months or so I see bipolar littered throughout my life. Things make so much Fucking sense seen through the lens of bipolar mood disorder. I was manic for the first time in my life at least 4-5 months. How did it take me so long to realize this?

This is also the longest I’ve ever been sober in my adult life.

6 weeks might not seem a lot, but it’s enough to get a report card in school or have a wild fling or to reflect in silent locked solitude. #soulittude.

I’m sober because this has been the longest stretch of depression in my adult life. Which was preceded by the longest period and first full blown mania I’ve ever experienced. 5 months of mania and I didn’t see it until my depression kicked in.

Coming off of my medications proved to be more destructive than ever expected. And my support system had lost a lot of its legs. I don’t think I would have found the link to bipolar had everything gone perfectly to plan.

There were points in my trip I was a madman chugging down miles of interstate; casting off vestiges of former friends & life. I was radically free for the first time ever. But how much of that was real? I’ll never really know.

Photographs, a journal, and new diagnosis will help light the way.

I put a lot on my plate. More than was intended. The brilliant adventures I was seeking occurred almost daily. Writing a book in the midst of moving while on a roadtrip definitely checked a few boxes off the bucket list. There was an undercurrent of proving myself that occurred at the very onset of my leaving due to several friendships ending within the same week I received a lot of unexpected attention 3 days after publishing my website. The financial, emotional, mental stabilities I had worked years to achieve began to unravel. I had money to burn and institutions to scorn- thumbing my nose at the traditional relational levels.

As a mental health professional I know that on paper it’s not normal to feel suicidal. I have intervened on the behalf of clients, friends, and family members who have reached that point in their lives.

The Eureka moment came when I realized I had been suicidal every day for a month and it clicked, “oh that’s not a normal reaction.” Yet the many times I have gone there in the past it’s become second nature to spiral down so quickly.

I speak of Suicide prevention yet have been be dealing with those same thoughts off and on for a while.

What would my life have been like if I had been diagnosed as a teenager? How many hardships and years of substance abuse would have been avoided if this was caught back during the days of teenage wasteland?

It makes me wonder how many other people are misdiagnosed or overcompensating or not compensating for unseen and undiagnosed factors in their lives.

This is the longest I’ve been sober in my adult life.

Mania started in June and didn’t end until December 2018. This was the first time I’ve ever had a full blown manic panic. The first depression in a decade began at the end of April. I see that now.

This past summer was the most free I have ever been. no medications, no job thousands of dollars in hand, and a point to prove I had nothing left to anchor me.

I’ve always had a reason to come back to sanity before.

The mania was in full swing in July but I didn’t know it. Still I flew off the porch unhinged and wild. I railed at the nails on the floorboards of the life and some people I loved whom I was leaving behind.

I was out of control and didn’t know how to stop.

Past actions each a bead of water pregnantly paused in a spider’s web. All connected but still retaining their structures and individual forms. Then down comes the web and washed the spider out. Scarcely aware of the razor-thin tightrope this itzy-bitzy was walking. Figuring out you’re bipolar at America’s most recently active volcano while 33 years old.

The signs were there but they went into hiding and were manageable or I explained them as just reaching my breaking point. The thought of bipolar had crossed my mind, but I never had a full blown manic episode until this last summer.

My former depression could always be explained with circumstances- angst due to combatting unwanted sexual desires with Jesus to no avail, or the loss of a relationship or goal. I never considered it could be chemical or genetically related.

The severity and length would last depending upon the circumstances too. If things were generally going well for me I could snap out of a depressive episode in a jiff. I haven’t experienced the lows of a depression so intense since I was suicidal in China.

The confusing aspect of mania is looking back and wandering if you ever lived a happy moment or was each moment just a flicker of the filtered mental ethers. It all laid out like a wick of a long fuse a Jungian subterfuge weaving its way around the bipolar possibility. Self-aggrandizing in so many moments. I’m tired of talking about myself. It’s so hard not to condemn yourself or previous actions. I don’t want to be selfish or cause someone to bear the brunt of my pain. I use this as an execution ground. Dying to parts that no longer serve me and nurture the people and strengths that are in my favor.

After the Goldrush/Lost inside the Forest

True to nature I chose the complicated hike that found me lost and turned every which way around. Stuck for hours somewhere in a long wilderness loop in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Colorado keeps calling me back, an unintended disciple. The lessons becoming easier to learn as I let myself be broken to the teaching. It’s like we’re always on the cusp of knowing, like that point in your day drinking a coffee and laughing with your best friend, or on that cerebral scatterfying acid trip when you figured out the universe, or close to climaxing- the constant verge of almost knowing. Then all is ephemeral again. Wisps of genius flowing back into the void. The curse of peering into secret ethers is forgetting all we weren’t supposed to learn.

The Tioga trail is nestled a couple miles westward of the Continental Divide. There was only one other car in the trailhead’s parking lot. It was height of summer and temperate beauty. Tourists and amateur hikers flocked to the best morning trails. Mosquito swarms had followed suit. Being alone in nature is the truest of all holy rituals. A sojourn I wanted to walk through alone, unencumbered, spirited away from fellow hikers or any pair of probing human eyes.

The solo wanderer’s mantle is one I needed to carry that day. One that has followed me since.

This solitude has served me well. How is it in the subtle pursuits of adjacent tasks, we often get exactly what we asked for?

The path started down by a picturesque lake, two distinct mountain peaks rising in the distance past a winding two lane road.

I gathered my belongings, boots double-tied, my heart loosening its notches.

Quickly the hike turned steep. The path was made zigzagged to lessen the sudden intensity of the arduous climb and to sidestep giant trunks felled by beavers, others downed by the National Forestry’s army of rangers.

My breathing found the rhythm of the mountain, and I let my cares go. A week-and-a-half away from the unexpected turmoil my leaving of Texas had created.

A few miles in, I found a clearing overlooking an adjacent mountain. Flowers and green swept across the one hillside. I walked in a little further and sat to breathe in beauty- this wide open serenity I was lone witness to. The tinkling of an unseen stream could be heard cascading seasonal life throughout this ecosystem.

I felt free, calm, inspired. I took my Canon Rebel out and snapped frames of the wild chill-tinged air. Then I put on my camera’s timer, leaping in ecstasy and in a blue dream and mountain haze. I took a photo that would later become the cover to my first book. I meditated and mindfully sat in joy, soaking in a sunlit gratitude, enjoying the call of blue jays and cardinals singing, the bees and butterflies breezing beside my yogic form.

And in the joy, as we often do in states of bliss, I felt the time was now and to move forward.

I sat up and gathered myself, deciding to take a separate path. One led down the mountain I had just traversed, but instead desiring the path suddenly unfamiliar. True to nature I chose the complicated hike that found me lost and turned every which way around. Stuck for hours somewhere in a long wilderness loop in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Colorado keeps calling me back, an unintended disciple. The lessons becoming easier to learn as I let myself be broken by each teaching.

Cell service had not worked for days. The trail map in hand made no sense. Summer rain began falling and the sky grew darker. Two hours of daylight were left. I sought refuge within a clearing and canopy of Pine and grove of Aspen trees.

Aspens are connected by an underground root system. They are able to communicate via this bio-psychic link. “Aspens, god, Steve Jobs- can you please lead me out of here?” It’s funny the ones we cry out to when we need saving.

There may be no atheists in the foxholes, but I’ve come to believe that everything is connected. A pantheist in panic is either delusional or onto something. I’m still out to find that answer.

It’s like we’re always on the cusp of knowing, like that point in your day drinking a coffee and laughing with your best friend, or on that cerebral scatterfying acid trip when you figured out the universe, or close to the vital orgasmic climaxing- the constant verge of almost knowing. Then all flows ephemeral again. Wisps of genius coursing back into the void. The curse of peering into secret ethers is forgetting it all. Truths we weren’t supposed to learn.

The winds picked up and they began swaying together in a primal dance. A pattern choreographed by an ancient unconscious evolution. The years that have brought these trees, this breeze, this wind blown self to now.

The path out of that forest was not straight. The signs had fallen into disrepair and disuse. They were eroded by the sheer artifact of time. A path alone indeed. Perhaps this was part of the path, or at best a brief panacea- a way to come to peace with a journey that seems so unsure and unguided. I got what I wanted. I sat and ate a sandwich I had packed before my hike.

At least I have food and water, an emergency poncho, a hatchet, flashlight, journal, an iPhone, and a joint. My own bewitching self-determined survival guide.

I tell myself “this loss and lostness is temporary. I have learned that from all the times I’ve lost my way before.” Still I wanted to give up. Not so unlike where I feel my life has now brought me to today. Back into America. A book I am proud of but brought me to a near penniless state and no direction nearer to where I want to build a home, yet again.

We must lean into the thoughts and feelings that align, that are contributing to our desires. The greatest predictor of survival in the wilderness is your mindset. If you let yourself get tangled in the mire, in the fear of not surviving your chances of making it out plummet to 50%.

There were lessons in the losing of my way. But I thought I had already been through all that. Maybe finding yourself is never finished. I’m still searching until the day I’m not.

This setting forward, breathing the pristine mountain air, thick with pine. I was breathing in life in pure thin oxygen. Exhilaration pulsing in each expanded artery increasing with each mile in my trek. The sinews of the rooted forest trees were formed steps in an upward direction due to the sheer genius of seeds grown along the natural incline of earth.

So I waited and breathed, and smoked a joint. I looked for signs of flattened straw, quiet openings in the brush.

I retraced the steps and boulders I had climbed until I came to a misshapen sign post pointing in two directions.

One leading me back through the wilderness camping I had already surmised was a dead end to my purposes this evening.

The other pointing downwards- the white painted markings had peeled away offering no specific guidance.

The infernal teasing of being human.

Life offers us half-shapen sign posts when we are searching for a billboard to scream to us the way. But would we even listen?

We, the frequent rebels, to ourselves. Arguing, blaming away our greatest joys. We don’t set out with it all completed for us already. Figuring life out is the most human-being thing humans beings do. And we can only do it by trying.

Within our nature lies a tendency to err. In that same body rises a desire to rectify and put right to wrong. Even on a cellular level all things are breaking down and fixing. We don’t guilt our cells into cells of their own when they fail us.

You have to forgive yourself when you lose the way. Seldom do you fail yourself on purpose.

We live in sullen tyrannies constructed by our societies, but we individually bar our own windows. There will be no freedom until we tire of unloading and reloading the restraints we put upon our backs w/ distorted self-talk.

I gathered my belongings, boots double-tied, my heart loosening its notches. In that moment the sign post was all I needed. I had already trenched the arduous climb in the wrong direction. I just needed to see that there was something up ahead without the faulty guidance of unreliable self-narration.

Hope upon the horizon is enough to light through seas of trees. Shreds still bleed through even After the Goldrush is long over.

Why must I always choose the hardest of these journeys. My stubborn tenacity has mellowed out. I’m seeking the path of clarity, the easiest way to get to where I am going. The complicated adventures, I leave those for another time.

I seek simplicity and grace and the things inside of me that make those around me know that they are loved. To reflect this love to others’ and shine back their brightest light to you.

The Rolling Stoned/ Halfway Home

I’m halfway through writing my second book, re-planning my move to the PNW, & waiting for 2nd interviews. The words flow much more freely this go round, but will they see the light of day? It’s been difficult to get out of bed since the end of December, but I’ve been getting out and up each day all the same. Looking forward to the future with a much tempered hazy optimism.

I wish I could be a plastic. That I could fake it. That I didn’t have a heart which feels and cares so deeply. Call me Blondie. She breaks like crystal glass these days.

It’s been a decade since I’ve experienced long term depression. The deception of depression is making you think that the real things aren’t there any longer and that you will never escape.

Sometimes I wish I could just be a corporate sellout, make a shit ton of money, and live happily ever after with a six packed boyfriend in an easy-bake oven life. But then I wouldn’t be me. I am here & who I am for a reason. Aren’t we all?

The only thing worse than not pursuing your dreams is to achieve them and realize that it was probably all for nothing.

This wasn’t part of the plan. Neither was MAGA. A great many unplanned things have come and gone in the world that weren’t supposed to. I wish these mistakes could all be rectified.

Clawing forward is proving to be more insurmountable a challenge than I thought because the wind in these sails have lost their fury and also some of their desire. But claw ahead we must.

I must have been delusional to think that people cared to hear what I had to say, at least enough to finally make writing my chosen profession at this time.

Why did y’all lead me to believe you wanted to hear my words? Or was it intriguing to watch from the sidelines hidden in sheep’s clothing? The wolves are out for blood most nights.

To quote the Talking Heads, “and here am I the biggest fool of them all,” and the only one to hold responsible. Perhaps I’m being too hard on myself, or just brutally honest. The truth lies somewhere in between.

The signs were there and I didn’t heed them. I should’ve left Mexico the day my wallet was stolen, but I had a book to publish, and a new life as a writer with fantasized royalties to earn.

The pouring of my life story and message of encouragement for other people to live their truest lives went mostly unnoticed and without interest in book form. I posted a chapter from my book to a newly purchased website for 7 days in July.

Why did I get so much appreciated and unexpected attention 3 days after launching my blog site? That was the most crushing blow of all. I was fed a cruel deceit and lapped it up thankfully.

Tears pooled into an endless stream of gratitude for weeks. I would have been way more responsible with my heart and savings had that not happened. But I was so confident that writing was/is my destiny. Just didn’t realize Ms. Destiny wasn’t going to pay the bills at least not right now.

Control is illusory. We are at the helm of our ship but no amount of skill or years at sea can steady the ocean’s waves. After all, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”

The difficulty is discerning if the roadblock is an obstacle to surmount or a wall dead-ending the future. I’ve always preferred smashing through than waiting out the resistance.

Perhaps I have perfected the art of subconscious self-sabotage because I was taught to hate aspects of my core identity since childhood. I lost focus on the things and people important to me. I spiraled briefly out of control when I tore my foundation asunder.

I looked into the abyss and found the abyss. I toppled over the edge and plunged downwards. What happened to finding mountains instead? Cloud cover isn’t limited to sky alone.

The deception of depression is making you think that the real things aren’t there any longer and that you will never escape. Depression feels like this state will always last. It is a caustic companion that seeks to snuff out all joy and promise of better days to come.

I’d rather take the long road ‘round than sit in gridlocked traffic. Maybe there is still hope upon the horizon. How long will it take to find it? As long as it takes to find yourself or until you settle. Maybe it’s a little of both.

I have to trust this will all turn into something really grand, and if not, at least I tried my hardest. At least I tried at all. A mountain is still a mountain.That’s got to count for something even if the haze won’t let me see it now.

Hope is the great unknown. Kingdoms have been overthrown by less. Some days it’s the only thing I have more of.

How long will it take to resolve this existential quandary? As long as it takes to find yourself or until you settle. Neither have yielded fruitful thus far. Forward marching I will go. Trying to accept grace along the way.

The Rolling Stoned-

The stoned days are over. I dropped mine in the sand.

You looked at your own Then outstretched your hand.

An opulent few once parted a river. The ancient practiced craft of a Summer Indian giver.

Two seasons have gone by. You’re a little bit closer. I’m farther than crows fly.

A whipping wind sears across this prairie-crone.

All’s been begged and borrowed. Nothing to call your home.

Islands traded for beads. Wasteland riches spoil the hands that feeds.

Black gallons slither round a corporate greed.

You can’t always get what you want. You don’t get to see me bleed.

I cashed in our love for a jettisoned heart

The leaf scattered oracles herald defeat & then depart.

Magdalene had time to lean. Blood’s never made anyone clean.

A Tomb rolls open. Just a spin of the dice. What’s left for white-washed Jesus Christ?

Here I wait amongst setting sun.

Sleep folds in waves a coarse blanket, shadow-spun.

What becomes of dreams once followed and dreams undone?

Days of nightly wondering and the promise of days to come.

Back to tha Future/Final Reflections part 1

Traveling may as well be a time warp because Mexico feels a world away from 8 days ago. I finally see the full picture- all the pieces and posts which have concluded to now. The past 7 marvelous confounding months were influenced by the last couple of intense weeks, and soul-searching couple of months in Texas. An epicene road trip through the American west was underscored by a silent rage tapped for the first time in my life. A legitimate frustration always brewing under the surface of this choppy swoop and clairvoyant waters.

Traveling may as well be a time warp because Mexico feels a world away from 8 days ago. I finally see the full picture- all the pieces and posts which have concluded to now. The past 7 marvelous confounding months were influenced by the last couple of intense weeks, and soul-searching couple of months in Texas. An epicene road trip through the American west was underscored by a silent rage tapped for the first time in my life. A legitimate frustration always brewing under the surface of this choppy swoop and clairvoyant waters.

In the throes of writing the most difficult chapters of my book- I coincidentally uprooted my life, quit my job, cashed out my savings, and went off my medications because I no longer had insurance.

I didn’t realize that I was acting manic, that my body and mind were going through withdrawals from AD/HD and recently prescribed anti-anxiety medication until a breakdown at Mount St. Helens, Oregon.

If there’s any place to have a mental meltdown, America’s most recently active volcano was a touch too on this Jewish nose to have it. 😆💆🏻‍♂️

Just like that 1980 eruption, a swirling configuration of factors led to this unintentional unraveling. Secondary trauma associated from aspects of my career in social work, and the loss of my dog, some of my closer friends, the death of two friends in 2018, the political nightmare of America, and a flurry of immediate attention days after publishing the first chapters of a personal narrative, added their respective weights that broke me.


I felt this message that had been written in my heart for 20 years and onto paper for ten was bursting forth- finally ready to be shared. It seemed that people wanted to hear it. I was expounding upon a greater phenomenon (coming out) that people some probably feel is cliche at this point.

I was floored by the response and cried tears of gratitude and disbelief for three days. It came literally out of nowhere, and I don’t even know where or how it happened and I was not expecting to receive any of that.

It also served as validation from the unsupportive members of my inner circle who were probably upset with me leaving and felt that I was getting a big head- maybe I did for a little bit- and really for the first time in my life.

Perhaps they felt the spotlight was stolen or shined a mirror to their own insecure ambitions or some combination of a lot of things and relationships that had run their course.

More anything it felt like confirmation that I was on my path. That I am on my path, although the direction isn’t as defined as I had intended.

Like so many in my generation I was also mad at America. So proud of my friends and generation for voting for protesting for standing up for Universal rights. For waking up. So disappointed and frustrated at the older generations’ selfish and fear-based hoarding of resources, empathy, and compassion.

Angry at people groups and social classes who have had relatively, collectively easy lives AND STILL lacked compassion, grace for their fellow human beings while toting a Bible and Rifle in each hand.

That anger is justified, but I’ve realized responding with rancor brings no good to any of us.

The tipping point of it all was my family’s continual descent and voting into Republican madness. My response was in response to being the lone wolf in a pack I resented being part of.

I screamed “Fucking cunt of America” to the mountain walls of Mt. St, Helens. “Fuck you all, fuck you god, my parents, fuck everyone who doesn’t give a shit about others,” along with a lot of other tirades that literally reverberated and echoed through the valleys.

If there was anyone else out there that night they made no sign of it. Still, as always, Nature offered no judgment or condemnation. Earth is unconditional- casting rain and sun on us all.

First rule in nature- best not cross the path of a beast in the midst of a tempest. And there was just so much bullshit in the American china shop.

I woke up in the morning realized I had drank almost an entire bottle of gin and flooded social media with a bunch of screenshots of telling my dad off and ending a relationship with yet another one of my former best friends.

That was the 6th week off of Adderall.

The Crushing depression, the guilt, the forlornness I felt seemed so strange and sudden.

It was the perfect combination for the storm that led to Hurricane Khatena re-emerging years after having been downgraded to a tropical storm.

But “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”- MLK

My purpose is to be an agent of love. Anger has been sent out to sea.

I set a goal to have this published by the end of 2018 and as that personal deadline loomed closer I jumped the gun and self-published. In the process I lost focus and sight of the life I was building for myself. By then it was too late to leave Mexico- affordably.

Plane tickets were $500 and living expenses were relatively cheap in Mexico so it made more sense to stay there.

Like so many of us I was also so fucking mad at America and in no hurry to return home.

Now here I am gone from full to concentric circles. Loops around mountains and lassoes. This time I am finally ready for the last dismount. 🙏

Bridal Veil Falls- Revisited

Orbits swirl through swans’ long nests
their ivory planets clothed in down.
Tens of talents left ungathered
pearl yolks- the taste of gold.
Revelations ripe abandoned
Miracles unhatched,
and fucking undersold.

Bridal Veil Falls- Revisited

Lost within an alpine forest

hours spent outside of sound.

Dawn breaks the night worm’s seeking

Life propelling ceaseless rounds.

Orbits swirl through swans’ long nests

their ivory planets clothed in down.

Tens of talents left ungathered

pearl yolks- the taste of gold.

Revelations ripe abandoned

Miracles unhatched,

and fucking undersold.

Was this all a fruitless offering?

Letters plucked a century too old?

Nets sliced opened to free a people

who recoil from every verb & noun.

Worms are born already banded

Why then, was my neck so also bound?

What becomes of unwed wearers

Of Hope broken from her shells?

Plumbed the farthest depths,

and I have braved the highest sails.

Who then weaves for free-born spirits,

Brides who never don their veils?

50,000 miles traveled

There is no where left around

30,000 dollars earned

All was spent to every pound.

20,000 worldwide-people met.

No one is bothered to be found.

I saw one red rose reaching through the snow.

Life always finds a way to rise above,

to thrive,

to astound.