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talking to myself

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personal stuff

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In the face of eternity

Absurdity at times seems to rule,

The days pass in a rapidity unstoppable

Death moving ever closer,

The past growing ever longer,

Then one day the future is short,

Time once seeming to be abundant

Shows it scarcity

As the end comes into sight.

Seeing the cliff that will propel over into darkness

Eternal our exit from this life

All our pains,


Sorrows and fears

Meaning nothing,

Gone like vapor,

Like the blossom of the rose gone in a few days.

In the darkness and loneliness

Buried deep,

Often hidden from sight and feeling,

Leaving emotions cold,

A fire burns placed by the unknowable,

Infinite and other,

Drawing us in spite of our selves

Towards union with its flame,

The journey dark true

But love is stronger than darkness and death

Making them a mockery,

Mercy showing them naked and helpless

In the face of eternity.

The dimness of faith only hides for a time

The overwhelming light that is always present,

Since it is the only thing truly real and eternal.


Locked within a small cell the first time offender sat

Longing to look out the window to high for him to view

His punishment harsh but deserved


There was hope for change when his time began

The jungle he now lives in has other plans for him

Beat down

Abused and raped

A gang the only way to be safe

Bonded strong

Loyalty deep

A family adopted and loved

All others enemies outside to be used or killed

Whatever is convenient at the time

Humanity slowly dying

In the cement world he finds himself in

Soon to be reborn into a new life

A life of a hardened criminal loyal to his clan

Until either in or out he gives his blood

Spilled by knife or bullet it matters not

Another life truncated with talents lost

The true seed of life never blooming

For others to sit in its benevolent shade.


God's will

God is such a funny term,

So generic and easy to use,

It slips off the tongue smoothly

Either in praise or in a curse,

Easy to make trivial,

To seek to box in

By certain theologies or beliefs,

Thinking that the mind of God can be known,

Expressed shamefully

By simple quotes,

Thereby damming those who are different;

Who see the eternal with different understandings.

God's image is what we are made in,

The eternal not in ours,

Though in reality that is what is most worshipped,

A deity yet finite,

Making holy what is willed,

Hence the cruelty and madness of religion

In the hands of those who think they understand,

When in fact they worship a deity tribal,



Used as a reason to live out the darkest fantasies

Calling them God's will.

The seeds of this madness reside in the human heart.

In my heart this weed is sometimes felt

Causing sadness that I am so far from living out what I know I must.

Only those who know are aware of inner conflict,

The rest assured that they are right in doing God’s will

The flowing blood giving honor to Moloch the eater of children.


Then they understand

Treading is what people often do,

Just trying to keep the head above water,

Struggling to stay afloat

With no surcease in sight.

Often alone with no one to say a kind word

Or offer a helping hand.

They are all around us,

Passing our way on the street,

Our neighbors,

Even friends,

Yet often they are not seen

Since it is hidden away.

Their hearts heavy laden

With life’s burdens;

They are often experienced as a pest

To be avoided,

Since to truly see what is underneath

Would be too disturbing

So each is left alone,


Not knowing how to ask for help,

To let others in,

Until the day comes and fatigue overwhelms,

They sink beneath the waves.

All that is left is a slight ripple,

An absence quickly forgotten,

Perhaps relief that the disturbance is gone to bother no more,

Until the ones disturbed

Began to tread;

Then they understand and mourn.


The critic

I think my harshest critic is myself, perhaps which is why I am not overly concerned about what others think of me. They could never be as hard on me as I am. I often get stuck in the same old rut over and over again. Perhaps that is why I am always writing about the wheel, and trying to simply either get off or to stop the cycle. In some areas I have done that, while in others I am still strapped to the outer rim going around and around helpless to get off. One reason is that I don’t want too on some level; perhaps I am afraid of what I will become or who I will be if some things are taken out of my life.

I remember one day years ago talking to a friend of mine. Her name is Susan, and she was always venting with me about her family, her job, her friends etc. So one day I said that one reason for your being angry all the time is you fearing what it would be like for you to simply be at peace and not have all this drama in you life. I did not say it in a serious tone, but in a joking one. When I saw her next, much to my surprise she told me that my comment hit home and she has been thinking about it all week. She decided that I was right (at this point I did not want to tell her I was joking), and she was going to start working on her anger issues. She did and is much happier today, though not perfect of course. Perfect people are so uninteresting.

So I am stuck with myself with some problems that seem to stick to me like glue, like being in a maze, or sitting in front of an impossibly high wall and just waiting for the chance to climb over to the other side towards more freedom.

I think it makes me understand my dependence on God’s grace for certain areas in my life, and perhaps it is in my weakness that God reaches me, in areas that seem to have a life of there own, and were willpower is not enough. When there have been breakthroughs in my life it seems to happen from a point outside of my own struggles. At times I find myself on the other side of that high wall without having to climb at all, and I am always amazed by that and grateful.

I simply need to continue on the road, not give up, and give in to despair, but continually have hope and trust in the love that God has for me.

I have many strong points and gifts that I use well, and while I am thankful for them, they do not bring me to the realization of my need for God, and also for others in my life who are there when I am in need of support. It is my weakness and my sins that bring me to that point. I think St Paul is right when he says “ all things work out for the good for those you seek God ”.


We are all teachers

We pass each other every day,

Nodding and smiling

Then forgetting the face of the one just pasted.

Like a river people come into our lives,

Some part and flow around us

Others come ashore in one way or another.

Some to bring joy into our lives,

Others sorrow,

Still a few to bring great suffering,

Teaching us how to deal with anger;

Resentment with it unrelenting pain,

Grabbing by the neck and shaking without mercy

Until the lesson learned and the cycle broken.

Each leaves a mark in the others life,

Some for good,

Others for ill,

But each plays a part in choices made after the fact.

In the end we are all teachers,

The most difficult having the most to teach,

Making pain the medicine that wakes up the one suffering

Seeking a way off the ever turning wheel

That none can stop.

The only way off is in,

To the center were all motion ceases,

Where peace and clarity reign

Rooted in the eternal Presence

Ever faithful,


For the seed to take root and grow.


One thought

One thought,

It grows slowly at first,

Then it spreads,

Takes root;

Its tendrils encasing the soul

Allowing no rest from the inner chatter.

Thoughts become obsessive

Overly focused,

Until the act is done

And a life ruined.

A story often repeated

With no lesson learned

By those who hear

The sad tale so often played out


The dance

Joy and sorrow are partners in the dance of life

A tango or perhaps a two step who knows,

One leading and then the other

In an interplay of happiness and loss

Both needed for the other to exist at all.

For joy alone becomes nothing,


Like the ocean without waves,

So calm that life lessens,

The intensity gone with only boredom remaining.

In this world both must be present

For the pilgrims journey to continue,

Over the mountain

And thru the dark valley

That each must tread alone.

The wheel is always turning

Nothing points to a stable state

Only the constant changing of life around us

With its challenges and tasks

That none can escape.

It is the center that is unmoving

That place of pure light

Often hidden and forgotten,

Nonetheless it is our root,

Our rock,

Even if unknown.


Something eventful

Carl Jung coined the word “synchronicity” to denote an experience that so coincides with a need that it seems to be somehow part an parcel of reality. Most people have these experiences, some so outlandish that those who have them are convinced that there is something greater than they are involved. There is one book out call “when God winks” to discuss this phenomenon.

I suppose I have had my share, and I would like to relate one of these experiences that happened to me many years ago, and I would expect that the person who had this episode with me could say the same thing, that the event was significant, if not so important that it was life changing.

It was in 1970, I was almost 21, and in the Navy, stationed at Whiting Field Naval Air Station, and I worked in personnel. I received my orders that I was being transferred to a CBU battalion that deployed down to Antarctica with an extended lay over in New Zealand. I was very excited about this and was looking forward to the trip; also it was going to be my last year in the Navy which was also something I was glad about. I did not dislike the Navy, but four years is enough, at least for me.

I also decided it was a good time to go home and visit my family, most of whom were still at home; only Skip, Robert and I were away from home. There was an Air Force base not far from where I was stationed, and found out that they had regular flights to Panama, Canal Zone, and that I should have no trouble getting a lift down there, and since I was not rolling in money I decided to take that route home.

All was going well for me, I arrived at the Air Force terminal, the flights were leaving on time; three flights a day left for Panama, and I felt that I should hopefully be able to get a flight home very soon. As I walked through the sea of Army green, with my white Navy uniform on I felt a little conspicuous, but no one seem to take notice. I went up to the counter and made my request, expecting an affirmative answer to in my inquiry about being able to get a flight home. The clerk looked at me with some sympathy and informed me that huge convoys of soldiers were being shipped down to Panama, going to Ft. Sherman for jungle survival training, and that there would be no vacancies for at least a week. So sadly I turned away and walked back into the sea of green.

To say I felt bad was an understatement, but being a realist I soon come to the conclusion that I would not be able to get home, and was trying to think of some alternative. Just when I decided it would be best to go straight up to my next assignment I heard a voice behind me say, “hello sailor”, as I turned around I saw my brother Robert who was in the Air Force and it seemed was trying to get ‘somewhere’ the same way I was. I was so stunned that I did not really feel anything, I just stood there looking at him and he smiled and asked me what I was doing there. I explained my situation, not expecting anything, since I did not know where he was going. He smiled again and stated that he was going home also, and was glad to seem me. It seemed that he had a lot of money on him and was afraid to go to sleep, and he was very tired. So he said that he would be glad to pay my way home, which I readily accepted.

As the shock wore off, my happiness in seeing him started to come to the surface and we happily started our journey home. We both wanted it to be a surprise, so no one at home knew we were coming. We got to the Miami airport, and decided to drop in to one of the bars there and get a drink. Robert was so tired that right after the waitress gave him his drink, that when he attempted to pick it up, he knocked it over instead. It was funny the way the waitress looked at him, but said nothing and just got him another one. After that he fell asleep in one of the waiting areas, after I promised that I would not sleep also.

The trip home was uneventful, and when we got off the train at Gatun and took a cab home, the surprise that it caused was worth it. The visit was a good one, and I was able to hook up with a couple of friends who were still there.

Now years later, this coincidence continues to amaze me, was it just a blind occurrence, well it may have been, but I doubt it. So Robert, thanks for being there brother !


Dr. George G. Ritchie,

Dr. George G. Ritchie, a psychiatrist who, as a young man at Camp Barkeley in Texas, "died" for nine minutes during a horrible bout of pneumonia and claimed to have been shown the afterlife by none other than Jesus. You discern. We wrote about him a while back and feel compelled to revisit aspects we could not focus upon back then, for the experience was powerful at many unexplored levels.

When he saw Jesus, wrote Dr. Ritchie, it was a far more masculine power than he expected, not the meek image so often presented to us through artwork and yet at the same time a Presence filled with "astonishing love."

"A love beyond my wildest imagining," wrote the psychiatrist.

It's that love -- often such an alien concept to masculinity -- that we want to focus upon.

"This love knew every unlovable thing about me -- the quarrels with my stepmother, my explosive temper, the sex thoughts I could never control, every mean, selfish thought and action since the day I was born -- and accepted and loved me just the same," recounted Dr. Ritchie.

"Every detail of twenty years of living was there to be looked at. The good, the bad, the high points, the run-of-the-mill. And with this all-inclusive view came a question. It was implicit in every scene and, like the scenes themselves, seemed to proceed from the living Light beside me: "What did you do with your life?"

That was the main thing Jesus wanted to know. That was the "bottom line" of accomplishments. How would we respond?

The question could also be phrased: what did you accomplish with the precious time you were allotted, those passing earthly moments, notes the psychiatrist -- who after his experience founded the Universal Youth Corps.

What was lasting in your life? What was important?

What was done with purity -- the purity of selfless love?

What have we done for God and the glory of Heaven instead of ourselves?

Those are questions, says Dr. Ritchie (in a dynamite little book called Return from Tomorrow), that are on God's Mind. It seemed to Dr. Ritchie, who ended up practicing medicine in Richmond, Virginia, that it was more a question about values, not facts.

"What have you done with your life to show Me?"

For many, our accomplishments will be with children, friends, and family.

"He wasn't asking about accomplishments and awards," said Ritchie. "The question, like everything else that came from Him, had to do with love. How much have you loved with your life? Have you loved others as I am loving you? Totally? Unconditionally?"

He saw his life from infancy up -- the way he related to others, those he had spurned, hundreds, thousands of scenes, "all illuminated by that searing Light, in an existence where time seemed to have ceased.

"It would have taken weeks of ordinary time even to glance at so many events, and yet I had no sense of minutes passing," says the doctor.

There was the time he turned away as his stepmother leaned over to kiss him. There was the time he flew into a rage at a three-year-old who broke his model airplane. There were episodes from high school years -- dates, exams, running the fastest mile in his school, graduating into the University of Richmond.

And there was also that constant question: What did you do with your life?

As he reviewed his life with the Lord, said Dr. Ritchie, what he was shown was a wholly new perspective and "an endless, shortsighted, clamorous concern for myself." When he mentioned that he had been an Eagle Scout, for example -- trying to indicate a good deed -- the Lord dismissed this seemingly worthy achievement by saying, "That glorified you."

When they reviewed his religious practices, Ritchie was shown that those practices had turned routine with a smugness and self-esteem that made him think he was better than others because he never missed a Sunday, when he was not praying sincerely.

What else had he done with his life?

It got tough.

"I started to point out my pre-med courses, how I was going to be a doctor and help people," recalled Dr. Ritchie. But visible alongside the classroom scenes were the material rewards he looked forward to as a result of his profession -- "that Cadillac car and that private airplane, thoughts as observable as actions in that all-pervading light."

It was not good enough. Christ saw everything -- from every perspective.

In a way, said the psychiatrist, it was like arriving at a final exam and discovering that he was going to be tested on a subject he had not studied.

How was he to know, he cried in his mind? How could he have prepared?

"I told you by the life I lived," came back the words from Jesus. "I told you by the death I died. And if you keep your eyes on Me, you will see more..."

The love that came from Jesus was like nothing Ritchie could describe. Others say the same. The Lord was not judgmental but rather displaying the Truth of the Light.

We will all enter that Light, and we will all see our lives in review. We will all feel the incredible kindness of Jesus yet also His strength. "Far more even than power, what emanated from this Presence was unconditional love," said Dr. Ritchie, to repeat.

It was a selfless love. It was a pure love that we are to emulate. It was putting God above everything and everyone and as the goal of every action. This is the key to Heaven!

This is what elevates us.

This is how we all "levitate."

And what we seek to rise toward is the Being of Jesus -- Who, as Dr. Ritchie found, is different than we think in the way of goodness, in the way of selflessness, and certainly in the way of what love brings: power.

"This was the most totally male Being I had ever met," noted Dr. Ritchie in his splendid little memoir. "If this was the Son of God, then His Name was Jesus. But... this was not the Jesus of my Sunday school books.

"That Jesus was gentle, kind, understanding -- and probably a little bit of a weakling. This Person was power itself, older than time and yet more modern than anyone I had ever met."

resources: Return from Tomorrow


Philips life review

He lies peacefully in his bed

Now his permanent home

Where he rules all he surveys

Often entertaining many who drop by

With smiles and laughter

Pointing and non-stop talking happy with the attention

From the many he knew in years long passed

Many come and he welcomes them

Though no one else can see.

Nonetheless the attention that he favors them with,

Is real,

Patiently listening to what they have to say

Reliving past episodes,

That brings forth tears of joy and sorrow

Going over and reviewing his life.

A good life it seems since he is often at peace with his living memories

One day he laughs and cries at the same time

Pondering something done to him

Uncomprehending of the meaning

Or the why of it all.

I held his hand

Then embraced him until it passed,

Once over

It was brought up no more.

A quiet man gentle to a fault

His voice always soft even when angry

Which soon passes replaced by his smile.

Again open to whomever I represent

An image from his long colorful past.

One day he introduced me to many of his friends

I responded with my hello

With only silence my greeting returned

Nonetheless honored that he would think me worthy

To be known by his friends present only to his inner sight.

Most of the time he is at peace

Smiling as if he has a secret that no one else knows.

Present to a reality hidden from those like me

Since it is not yet my time

To enter the world of reviewing my life

With the living images from my past.


A walk by the sea

The bright sun on the white sand and rocks

Reflected a strong glare causing the eyes to water,

The blue sky empty of clouds opened up to infinity,

The cool breeze with the sweet smell of the salty water

Allowing calm to descend were just a moment ago was missing.

The sound of the waves pounding the beach,

So soothing its crashing upon the sand

Its rhythm allowing the mind to rest in peace deeper than sleep,

A refreshing break from simply existing apart,

Drawing into the oneness of nature and it endless cycle

Of repetition without boredom

The soft sound of birds calling,

Sea gulls with their dance above the waves,

White wings spread expansively

Gliding without effort over the waters,

Seeking the silver gleam below the surface

That gives strength for the dance to continue.

The levy with its large rocks,

Causing the waves to seek to dissolve,

Spaying those lucky enough to be there

With the cool mist from the sea,

Refreshing to the skin

Lessening the sting from the hot white sun.

A place were speech is unnecessary

All that is needed is a listening heart

With eyes that see,

Filled with wonder at the beauty of it all.


The price paid

Loss is a silent companion,

Its cold embrace,

Empty of all that was before

Fits like a black vest,

Tightly zipped,

Forced up to the throat

Blocking breath,

Clinging in its need to feed.

With no where to go or hide

Since it is in the heart,

The center of life

That the void is felt.

Unrelenting in its lovemaking,

That leads only further down the road of loneliness,

Where all fears are felt to be true,

In a place that is shorn of all color or vibrancy.

To dare love is to invite this intimate other into ones life.

A price is to be paid for love,

Be it for a mate,



A bill well worth the price.

Since without love all of life would be a cold artic wasteland,

Inhabited by those dead but who do not yet know it.

The wound heals

Slowly over time,

Without it how can wholeness occur?

There is only stagnation for those who allow fear to rule them.

Fear of pain,

Exacts a higher price than love does,

It is just felt in smaller doses

Over an empty and bleak life

That seems to go on forever no matter how short it really is.

It is better to seek and not find,

Than not to have sought at all.

The seeking without despair no matter what the pain,

Enlivens the soul as it makes it journey towards its destiny,

Where what we seek waits.



The frog sat without movement

Blinking in the mist laden air,

Surrounded by fog and padded silence;

Its color a bright green

With eyes large and dark

Lending a serene beauty

As it patiently waited for whatever it needed

Food or a mate I did not know

As it sat unmindful of its perfection,

Or the effect it had on me.



Had lunch with Leo this Wednesday, and decided to try a new place for lunch. Probably did it more for me than for him, since I am not sure he remembers our trips, at least in a detailed manner. He always responds positively to the new images that he gets from his surroundings, and also likes the music that is played over the speaker system. That day they were playing R & B tunes which he seems to enjoy very much. As usual I had to show him how to use his straw for the tea, but he caught on fast and did alright. As usual I ordered food that he could eat with his hands, and put the silver ware aside except for a fork. Too many utensils confuse him, at least they do when I take him to a new place. After we ordered our food he tried to talk to me. One thing that came thru very strongly was his frustration about not being able to say what he wants to. His stuttering over words, or saying words that he does not mean, is a great source of pain for him.

I know for some people it is best to be forthright with them; it works for William for instance, but I have never tried it with Leo. So I decided to try that approach and see what happens. If my telling him the “whys” caused him more confusion or pain I would drop it and he would soon forget it, so no harm in trying. So I began to tell him about his Alzheimer’s and how it is the cause of his not being able to say what he wants to, also why he can’t name things like he used to do. I also told him that his disease will not go away, but he will always be taken care of, and we will always be able to go out to lunch together.

After I made my little speech, he responded by showing me how happy he was over the explanation, and how it made him feel better. It came out jumbled but I understood. So I then began talking to him about his life, trying to discern if he remembered anything from his past. I brought up his artistic ability, which I think was immense; he did metal sculpture. He let me know that he did not remember, so I told him how much I loved his work, how his sculptures seemed to flow with it smooth edges and caused the eyes to move upward, at least it did for me. Described to him one of his large candelabra’s that was about six feet tall, that had the candles fastened to one piece of mental that gently wound around a center pole, and ended open at the top. It was one of my favorite pieces. I also told him about some of the wall sculptures that he made, also about a show he had in Philadelphia when he was a young man. He became very excited about this knowledge and loved hearing about the part of his life that he had forgotten.

He is so much like a child now, living just in the moment, but happy none the less, and like a child he is open to the truth of the situation, even though he may know that ‘this’ moment will soon be forgotten. I suppose I will have this talk with him every week since it will seem like the first time, but I am glad to know that he enjoys knowing about his now forgotten life. It does not matter that he will forget, what is important is that for a few minutes he was happy before the memory sinks into the ocean of forgetfulness.

One thing that has remained stable with Leo, he was always a very gentle soul, and that remains.


The end of a conversation

Failure stared him in the face

Mocking all that he has ever tried to do,

Seeking to lead him down the path of regret,

That eventually can mature into despair

Leading into the world that is colored ever so softly

In shades of grey.

Easy on the eye but lifeless and silent,

The wrong kind that leads into nihilism,

A world in which nothing matters

Nothing last or is important.

The man was used to the world of soft shadows

Knowing well the dust filled land

A drought that chokes out all life,

The water of life elsewhere, far distant, that could wash the dust away.

A place that he knows exist from his younger days when hope flourished,

Ideals high and the good sought in a land of bright colors filled with life

That is until his weakness and inner conflict became something more real than life itself

The wheel has turned many times always returning to this conversation

The man knows this place well

This time he smiled

At the insults slung

Finally coming to the point of seeing what failure really is.

A simple chance of listening to the right voice

And the faith and courage to continue and simply move on.

He reached out to whom he knew not

The light came quietly

Softly whispering hope

The future bright if only his heart turned

From mediating upon his failure,

Toward the light

That sees all.

The divine presence that is love

That brings good out of all things.


Joy is there

Joy is there

The light ever present enveloping

Upholding the one loved.

Often hidden but at work none the less even if in secret.

Slowly bringing to light the fruit long in coming

Overcoming the darkness of fear



That often haunts those who seek the good

The conflict often wounding

Forcing the broken to choose to move forward

To trust

That Joy will win out in the end

No matter how bleak it seems.

Life is not dark

Though at times it seems so

Suffering and evil seemingly strong

Covering the world in its viselike grip,

Will one day end.

The light is slow in its work,


Allowing life to takes it course

Until one by one we are called home

Into the light

Where the mystery answered in part continues to unfold,

To dive deeper into this love is our eternal joy,

Our calling

To always plunge deeper into the center we have never left.


Each day

Each day so much like one before it

Just little differences

That make some stand out,


Even pondered,

While the rest sink into forgetfulness,


Never again to see the light.

Memories hide,


Buried in the cave beneath thought,

With roots deep,


Influencing in secret

That makes us a mystery to ourselves

In how we sometimes are.

Am I my past or am I my thoughts at this moment?

What will I be in the future?

Perhaps I am none of these.

Something simpler,

Deeper than thought,

Or past and future,

Greater than the present

Deeper than time?

Am I truly who I am only in the present?

This moment,

This thought or experience?

Is the present all I have to stand on?

God’s present is all time

Mine this instant the doorway

Where I truly connect

With the All.


With its depth

The pain of the world,

Its sorrow,

Weighs heavily in all our hearts,

Some more in touch than others

With its depth.

Many hide from its sting

Becoming tough,




Anything to keep empathy,


At bay,

That if allowed to grow

Will make the heart bleed,


Moan for all their brothers and sisters,

Suffering with no one to help,

Or to be with.

Does God weep?

Being present to all,

No way to deflect

The agony

Of all the children created.

Since love embraces pain.

The price paid high beyond all measure.

To walk with,

Be one,

With those who struggle

Thru life’s long road,

Leading eventually to healing,

That only God’s love,


Seemingly unkind,

Can accomplish.

It is love that gives life,

Any other road taken

Deadens the heart,

Reducing others to objects

To be used,

Then discarded,


Easily replaced,

The only price asked

Is the death of the soul,



In its loneliness.

Free from the burden of caring

Or feeling for others

Who are icons of Christ in the world.


Trust the process

There is a proverb that always seems to speak to me…..”Trust the process”…..a simple statement no doubt, but when meditated upon when going thru some change in life, can be very helpful, and even comforting.

Change can bring to the surface many conflicting emotions, and feelings; excitement, fear, and anxiety, with each flowing thru the conscious awareness one after another, sometimes perhaps being experienced all at once. Causing a swift experience of “ups” and “downs”, that can be unnerving, and exhausting, to say the least. Sort of like being on a roller coaster with no end in sight, to an already unpleasant ride. Yet there are times in everyone’s life when this has to happen, since so many changes need to be made, in order to move on with one’s life.

It can be starting a new job, getting married, moving, getting promoted, or simply taking on some new responsibilities that will take a lot of energy and time to learn. Like a person who is more intuitive, and global, in their thinking, taking on a job that is more detail orientated. Something that can seem daunting, but in reality can be learned with patience, all it takes is learning to slow down and take one aspect of the job as it comes up, the over all picture will come later.

The trick is, to really “trust the process”, that whatever needs to be gone thru is allowed to happen; with the desire to move forward and learn still intact , and the possibility of failure always there, but excepted as part of the equation. I think the possibility of failure adds a little spice to the whole experience. Not knowing the outcome is what brings up the emotional roller coaster ride in the first place, it is an ego thing.

Life is about expansion, either in our relationship with the world outside of ourselves, or with our own inner world. Both are entwined, so there are times in our lives when we need to be able to move outward and learn, at other times to go inward and grow in that direction. Not to do so is to start a life that…. “Does not trust the process”…. and that can cause a lot of restriction and blockage in how life is dealt with.

Trying and failing, is far superior to not trying at all because of some supposed fear of failing. Failure is just as much a part of life as succeeding, both are important in allowing us to get over the fragile ego syndrome.

Fear is there to warn us of some threat, which is good, it keeps us safe. There are times however when feeling ‘safe’ is just an excuse not to step out and take a chance. I suppose the only way I can deal with fear is to face it, probably a temperamental thing, I can’t do otherwise, the regret is too great if I don’t.


The two step

Learning a new job is like learning a new dance step. I remember when my sister-in-law tried to show me how to do the 2-step. Looks easy, and it is, but learning to do it without counting takes some time; meanwhile the actual counting also makes it hard to do, since it interferes with the actual rhythm that is needed to do anything right, be it dancing or not; to do it properly

Right now I am so busy trying to get all the “details” right that it takes me twice the time that it took Theresa to do any one task, but hopefully my rhythm will kick in the next few weeks, and my self consciousness will lessen a tad.

I am glad for the new responsibilities, since it is making me to deal with some of my under developed aspects in how I relate to what is simply around me. I am not good with detail, sort of drive me crazy, but now I have to slow down enough to simply “do it”. So in the long run it is going to be very good for me.

I have a good crew working with me, who know me, and let me know when I am about to flub up, which in the last few days has been a lot. However over all I have dealt with the literally “thousand and one thing to do”, ok.

I am very good at delegating, but that comes with pitfalls and weaknesses, something that I will have to try to correct. It seems that our gifts also come with an underneath that needs to be dealt with, and it seems that I will not deal with that underneath unless I am put into a actual situation where I have to.


Like an infant

He is like an infant now

In his geriatric chair

Table up so he cannot fall,

If he tries to stand up on his own.

He does not know he cannot walk

He stills smiles when his name is called

Laughs at jokes

Loves music

Is present to those around

How much no one knows

He leans to his right

Almost over the arm rest

Nothing can be done to make him straight

When ask if he has pain

He responds he is comfortable

Eats only soft foods

Stating to have trouble taking meds

He swallows on good days

With hot oatmeal which he loves,

Soon he will not be able to do even that.

I caress his face

We talk in our own way

His eyes still shine with humor

And responds

When I say I love him and kiss him on his forehead.

He fights when we clean him

Does not know what we are doing

Takes two to do this tango

But it gets done

All happy when it is over.

He just sits

Quiet unless addressed

Sometimes restless

Most of the time not

Unless he is in bed

He will be missed

His presence here long

Seven years

Swiftly pasted

With a shorter future every day

We each for a short time

Shine our light on those around us

Some lights are brighter than others

Some more loving

He is one of those


Early years (2 years Old) put in foster home

Became hyper self aware (still am)

No one to depend on

Just myself

Hyper alert in a dark lonely place

This is abandonment

Something every child has to face at one time or another

Mine came sooner rather than later.

Had to be done

Rent problems

Parents came every weekend

I withheld my affection knowing they were leaving again.

Became self contained

Impersonal towards others

Unable to break this

As the years stacked up.

Even knowing my parents did not mean to abandon

Still as a 2 year old that was what it was

A lot of rage from that time

Not rational,


That inner fire

Can erupt at any time.

This is my path

Simply dealing with this issue

Not letting it consume me nor my life.

I am not a victim

That would be too easy

Leading downward.

In thinking of nature

I am fire

As a force

A volcano

Slumbering for the most part

With magna deep down


Wanting to express itself

Find relief

From the inner pressure.

My path not allowing this to control my life

Not making others victims of my anger

Seeking to not scapegoat anyone

Or if I do

To apologies

Own up to it

Then move on.

Saw a psychologist at 40

He asked me

Mark what can I do for you?

Doc I replied I am dying

I can feel it

My anger

My constant companion is destroying my body

I have trouble breathing

(Still do all these years later).

Am always angry

Though so far I have been able not to take it out on anyone.

I suppress it

Try to deal with it in a way that is not destructive to other

But perhaps I need help

It seems to be hurting me

I feel it now that I am older.

I am wearing out.

Loseing the battle

No matter how hard I try.

It was a struggle

I disassociated at lot

Frustrating for both me and the Psychologist

In the end he did help me to voice things that I already knew

Just needed to word it in front of somebody

Who could reflect it back for me.

This helped

Thought my anger is a constant companion.

At times I feel like

St Francis and Ghangis Kan

Are sitting across from each other

Unable to communicate.

At times it shows itself as raw power

Erupting from my deepest most hidden part of who I am

Or think I am.

It is painful

Tears my soul

Worse than physical pain

At times I wonder if I will ever be free of it.

Perhaps being fire means just that

Dealing with this inner power in a way that is life serving.

It is simply my path

That I must see to the end.

Each person walks this road

If not with rage and anger

Then it is something else.

An inner wound

Perhaps hidden

Seeking to be noticed

Dealt with


To not deal with it

Face it

No matter what the road walked

Is to invite chaos into life

A slow death over many years.

To run from the problem

Is to only make it worse.

Letting go


Is the only way to break free

To allow the heart

To be a channel of God’s healing love

Not only for myself

But also for others.

Resentment and hatred

Are intimate,

Just as profound as love,

In the attachment

It has for the one hated or resented.

Not to forgive is to carry a heavy burden

To give power

Mostly unasked for

To the ones

Focused upon


Choosing my battles

Choosing my battles

In taking care of the sick, there are two things that I have learned. The first is to choose my battles, to know what can be dealt with for the benefit of my patient, and what needs to be let go off, since to pursue it would only cause more harm than good. I suppose diet is one of the hardest things to deal with. For many of us our eating habits can be a bit compulsive and our choices bad for us. I have a man I am taking care of at this time, who is rapidly gaining weight, has diabetes, which is worrisome, and his kidney’s are starting to go, and he may soon have to start taking dialysis. It is obvious his eating is compulsive and we have talked several times about the danger he is putting himself into. He listens and then ignores us. After a meeting we decided to continue to encourage him, but not to push it, since it something we can’t constantly monitor, and in the long run leads nowhere.

He also has some emotional problems, with serious issues in dealing with his anger. In the past he went to therapy about this specific problem, and since this is an issue that has to be dealt with, I was told that I needed to deal with it, and talk to him. One of the reasons for this is that this particular man trusts me, and he will listen to what I have to say, and hopefully understand how serious his situation with his anger is becoming.

We talked on Monday, it went well after I explained the reason why we wanted to call in a therapist for him to talk to, and we would start off doing it once a month and then go from there if more time was needed. When the therapist came, I was at the first meeting. I explained to him that his outburst of anger, that sometimes lead to violent behavior, needed to be addressed, and here I have a few examples. The first one I brought up was his tendency to push patients in wheelchairs away from him violently, if they got in his way, his verbal outburst that many find intimidating; even some of the nurses working here can’t handle this. He does a good job in presenting a very intimating façade, that many can’t see as that and are therefore afraid of him when he is in that condition.

Since this seemed to be accelerating, it was time to do something about it before something extreme needed to be done. Changing his meds only helped a little, what we felt he needed was for someone to come in so that he could not only vent his frustrations, but to also hopefully get some insight into what he is doing (like I said he did well in the past), so that it could be deflated, if that is the right term. He was also notified that this was a form of family therapy, since while in the home he was part of an extended family, so from time to time I could be called in to be part of the process.

So in this instance more assertion was needed because his behavior was having a detrimental effect on the home, and also the possible harm it would do him if he was asked to leave, or worse if he had to be placed in a home that dealt with this kind of problem. We also did not want to use medications that would lower his quality of life either, so we felt that this may be the best course of action. He did listen, and wants to work with us on this issue, much to my relief.

At times a certain kind of bluntness, done with compassion is needed. Francis for instance just got over a serious illness and would not eat. I encouraged him, but he would not listen to me. So I asked him if he wanted to die, he thought for a moment and then said “no, I want to live”. So I continued that if he did not eat, and perhaps force himself, he would surely die. He would get weaker, and become bed ridden, and with his heart condition it could lead to complications. He thought about it again, and now he is eating better, we are trying to serve him foods that he likes, good for him, and will hopefully keep him on his present plateau for a while longer.

When to become assertive and when to let it be, is not always simple, but people have rights, and if it does not interfere directly with their care we give them their freedom; our most precious possession, in other words, we strive to treat them as we would want to be treated if in their position.


I wonder

I often wonder what it will be like for me when I get old. As I take care of my patients I often picture myself in their position in the not so distant future, and wonder if I won’t be saying over and over again “so that was what it was like”.

Last night trying to clean Edmund, he got very angry at me, since he had no idea what I was doing. He did not want me to take off his wet clothes, or clean him. I spent about 30 minutes just talking softly to him, explaining what I was doing, which at first did no good whatsoever. It is difficult to sometimes do what must be done when the one being helped does not understand. He finally calmed down, and even helped me; I guess his short term memory can sometimes be helpful, since I am sure the memory would be a painful one for him if he retained it.

Old age is a challenge for all involved, the relationship complex and trying, but at the same time enriching for the care giver and at times for the one receiving the care. One learns to let go, if that is possible, the other, the caregiver, learns patience, and hopefully the ability to try to listen on a deeper level, that is often needed for those who have not yet reached that stage in life, where everything has to be done for them.

Edmund at this time can only eat soft foods, he is starting to have trouble swallowing so he needs to be hand fed. We give him oatmeal, eggs, mashed potatoes; well anything soft and easily chewable, will little chance of choking, and he does not seem to mind the change in diet. As usual his appetite is still good.

I will continue to wonder what it will be like when I am there needing help. Sometimes I am peaceful about it, at others times fear rears its head to sneer at me. Such is our journey, being a pilgrim is not easy, but that seems to be what we are.