stream of consciousness: unlock the mind

You write because you have an idea in your mind that feels so genuine, so important, so true. And yet, by the time this idea passes through the different filters of your mind, and into your hand, and onto the page or computer screen — it becomes distorted, and it’s been diminished. The writing you end up with is an approximation, if you’re lucky, of whatever it was you really wanted to say.

– Author Khaled Hosseini, “How to Write,” the Atlantic

i have been thinking a lot about this quote. it is such a truthful statement. i can’t tell you how many times i have sat down with an idea and felt like i am getting no where in expressing what it is i am truly trying to convey despite continuing to write about it. in realizing i am not alone in this struggle, i started laughing to myself about how naive we really are. we like to think we know a lot. our senses deceive us to believe that because we can see, hear, smell, feel and even taste things that we can understand. but there is really so much that we don’t know. especially when it comes to people. we trick ourselves into believing we understand situations, conversation and people but all we know is really what we want to know of what has been shared with us. we have no idea of the experiences that go into someone’s thoughts, feelings and decisions. there is a great chasm between what we think we know and reality. there is so much held beyond our reach, even in complete honesty. we can only hold our truth. but when i think of what could be accomplished just in acknowledging our own ignorance, it breaks my heart a little. i know that pride will keep us from true understanding. i know no one likes to admit that they are wrong and the more i think about this i realize that we are probably wrong more than we would ever care to admit. we can only have our ideas.  we can only examine what is given to us. but I think true understanding, enlightenment, is a worthy cause to attempt to unlock the mind, to stretch and expand our horizons. after all, what else in life is more worthy of such an effort?

The Work

Im currently reading ‘How To Be Sick:A Buddhist-Inspired Guide For the Chronically Ill and their Caregivers“. It teaches various Buddhist practices in application to the trials faced by those, like myself, who are chronically ill. As you might expect, there are many other practical everyday life applications that could be used by anyone. 

I just finished reading a chapter about Byron Katie and her work in encouraging us to question the validity of our thoughts and ending any suffering that may accompany them, using what she calls “The Work” or inquiry. This inquiry practice begins with us asking whether the thought is true. Then, asking whether we know absolutely that is true. Third, is to note our reaction when we believe the thought is true. Fourth, reflecting on who we’d be without the thought and finally to come up with a “turnaround”, a statement in the opposite form of the original thought. 

It struck me in reading this that there are many thoughts, illness related and otherwise, where this work would do me some good. So without further ado, I will tackle the thought that has been plaguing my heart for a good bit of time in what will likely be the start of a new blog feature called, what else?, The Work:

Thought: Im tired of being misunderstood by people who offer no benefit of the doubt or resolution especially in constrast to my continued grace and forgiveness with the same people. 

Is it true? Yes, I absolutely hate not being given the benefit of the doubt, having the good brushed under the rug and a perceived flaw focused upon without being given the chance to explain or remedy the situation. 

Is it absolutely true? YES! 

My reaction: I feel wounded, hurt, maybe even betrayed. Unimportant. 

Without the thought I guess I’d just be a person who continues to extend grace and forgiveness. 

The turnaround: I love not being given the benefit of the doubt! Now I dont need to offer an explanation. Those who really know me, dont need one and those who don’t would probably not believe me anyways. This has to do with their thoughts. I cannot control someone’s elses thoughts anymore than I can control my own. I dont have to tiptoe around on glass trying not to re-offend. I conserving time and energy. I can be myself. 

And there you have it, folks. 

All better. 

DBT & Gino

I started DBT today, but only made to the last processing hour of the day. I ended up having to talk to a psych nurse for the last 2 hours discussing my reasons for being there. Not much to say about that that hasn’t already been said here though.

My Jedi saw Gino today for the first time since … well, since the decline started. I guess if I’m honest he’s been a decline since January.

This is where I get fucked up about shit. This is that part that boggles my mind. IF there is a God, no, I believe there is a God. That is not the problem. The problem is that if God is so loving and merciful, how exactly does this happen to a child. I understand that I can’t blame God for this. I believe there is as much evil in the world working to destroy us as there is good, if not more. I suppose just as there is a leader/ruler fo the good/peaceful/light side, there must then be an equal of ruling the bad/evil/dark side. Yes, just like Star Wars.

I only bring that up in the of the entry because Gino has always been “Jedi Gino” to me and everybody in the community and he is a whole force to be reckoned with. Such a spit fire and Jedi Gino has one I the best laughs I have ever heard.

So what’s plaguing me here is: Why God doesn’t intervene on his behalf? That’s what gets me fucked up. NO MOTHER should bear the weight of the loss of a child. It’s cruel. What’s more cruel is that not only does this child have to suffer, and there is no doubt he has, it’s an unimaginable suffering for anyone, much less a child. But last September, this child, this mother, this family was relieved to know that the cancer was hone. Jedi Gino has defeated the evil, merciless cancer he nicknamed “General Grievous”. BUT it came back, with vengeance and has totally ravaged his little body.

My Jedi, Gino’s best friend, finally got to sit with him today for the first time since not only his “Make A Wish” trip to Disney and the beach, but also 3 brain surgeries. He hardly resembled anyone we know but my Jedi was unphased. To him it’s his best friend through and through.

His Mom was so moved by Jedi’s actions and was brought to tears when she saw Gino responding to his mere presence. Gino even had the willpower to stay out of his room, awake, smiling and even laughing. What a gift Jedi gave to not only Gino, but his mother and whole family.

Words cannot express my pride. What an amazing kid.

The offspring of riches: Pride, vanity, ostentation, arrogance, tyranny

I’ve become rather taken back with the world within which we live lately…mostly the people in it.

It is very rare that you find anybody who takes a moment to think outside of themselves, much less take accountability for their actions. Oh no, most everyone is certainly willing to take credit when it will serve their purposes, and everybody seems to have this sense of entitlement, the likes of which I’ve never seen, but when it comes to taking accountability it is everybody else…anybody else’s fault but their own.

Without focusing on the specific person or situation that has led me to my current funk…so that I don’t become totally consumed with anger….and because examples of what I am speaking about are so abundantly available in today’s society and I’m pretty sure anyone can grasp the gist of what I’m speaking about in their own lives, maybe by even taking a look in the mirror…I’m just going to move on to where I need to be.

This kind of thing always reminds me of the story in the Bible when the disciples are going to meet Jesus and they start to argue about who amongst them is the greatest.

Can’t you just picture it?

When they finally get to Jesus and he asks them what has happened – they are too embarrassed to tell him. I guess I would be too.

Jesus says to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

For whatever reason, this story, this verse, has stayed with me since I was a child. It is my eternal compass. I need it now more than ever.

I could do what others have done. I could be selfish. I could have it easy and I might also be as empty. I could look around and ask “Why me?”…”When will the score get evened?”…”Haven’t I sacrificed enough?”…”Shouldn’t I have this/that?”…”Don’t I deserve this/that?”…”I deserve more”…”I deserve better”

But, I think back on this story and I think this was the Son of God, a man of power for all intent and purposes. There was a point when he really could have had everyone bowing down at his feet and eating out of his hands, bringing sacrifices of whatever he wanted, gold, women, bribes…he was a rock star for that era, but, he had no throne. He practiced what he preached, he was a servant of man, a prophet of hope, who died on a cross, with a crown of thorns on his head.

From that prospective, I have everything I need, much to be grateful for and much more to give. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it hundred times more. You might think this is crazy, but I would rather be unemployed, bankrupt and foreclosed on with nothing but my family by my side, knowing that I helping my kids become better people, helping my parents as they get older, helping people in our community, with the schools, at our church, than to be like the self-serving, unconscious people I see roaming around everywhere.

Id rather be full of spirit of helping others, than full of myself.

I just needed to remind myself.

Compass reset and off I go.