changes

smattering

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image credit… pieter heinket


“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” — Kahlil Gibran

i have been working as a counselor for a few years now. it is not the samo samo thing at all, really. i mean, most of the people i encounter are stuck somewhere in their lives. many have been stuck for a very long time. what i am learning about my work is that it continues to be more about helping them see that there may be another way, and not necessarily about helping them find it.

in someways, it seems that if they can actually “see” that there is another way, or a way out, they will muster the where-with-all to journey forward and do things a little differently.

but as humans, we are definitely creatures of habit. this being true, we without fail love our own pain and discomfort. if stuck, we have probably been numb to our own pain for some time and have forgotten that it it even hurts. often, not hurting is more frightening than hurting.

it continues to be fascinating to me- this process of education and counsel. there are definitely successes as well as distinctive misses. there is a mosh pit of unclarity sometimes around boundaries, professionalism, and my own human-ness. this doesn’t appear often, but it does appear. people who are in flux or stuck are often rife with drama. and drama is compelling for me. it makes life interesting. it makes the days go by. and i am comfortable with drama, because i grew up with so much near by.

i have let myself forget once or twice that i am on my own journey. those i work with are on a journey, too. part of the work is allowing these two arcs to play themselves out without trying to steer. oh this is without doubt part of the work. 


these days, it is my fashion to discuss the infusion of loving-kindness meditation when working with others. this concept resonates with me because it is frothy with empathy. we breathe in loving kindness for ourselves when we are struggling, and conversely we breathe out loving kindness for the others in the world who are also suffering  as we do. this exercise seems to have the power to remove fear and the “victim” mentality and replace it with inclusion and connected-ness. 


Loving-kindness is a meditation practice, which brings about positive attitudinal changes as it systematically develops the quality of ‘loving-acceptance’. It acts, as it were, as a form of self-psychotherapy, a way of healing the troubled mind to free it from its pain and confusion. Of all Buddhist meditations, loving-kindness has the immediate benefit of sweetening and changing old habituated negative patterns of mind…. reprinted from www.buddhanet.net

“The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes. ”
Pema Chödrön

remain in light

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image credit … pascal meunier

Week 4: Smart Things 10 12 and A vision for you 

  • When you are hurt or upset, what do you do to comfort yourself?
  • How has your recovery helped you develop a personal compass in your life?
  • The Ninth Step promises in Alcoholics Anonymous, page 84, indicate that “we will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us.” How has this manifested itself in your life?
  • How do you respond to conflict or tension in your relationship?
  • What perspective would you need to take in order to see the tension in your relationship as an opportunity for you to work on your emotional sobriety?
  • What would it mean to you if you started to look at the real problem as how you cope with a situation rather than the problem being the problem?
  • Emotional sobriety creates emotional resilience. This means that we can stay clean and sober regardless of a difficult situation or circumstance, regardless of health or illness, regardless of success or failure. Is your recovery this stable? Do you have this kind of faith in yourself? What idea would you need to give up to have this kind of faith in your recovery?

from “12 smart things to do when the booze and drugs are gone” by allen berger

with the continuing change going on in my daily work life, i find myself perpetually moving or shifting or adjusting or waiting for any or all of those. the clients i work with have expanded to well beyond hiv. i am working with opioid replacement clients, with hep-c positive patients, and with dually diagnosed patients- all of which i certainly worked before, however the challenges and the life experiences are more diverse.

adding to this, i have been asked to chair a board for a recovery advocacy organization. this is a request which i am not quite ready to provide an answer at this time. i am waiting to hear a response from the lender who holds the note on my townhouse, because that transition will affect my life the most primarily. and to add to the shake-ups, i have applied for an additional counseling position to replace the 12K that i dropped this last year- which set some of this current richter scale action in motion and i continue to wait to discover if this is a good fit.

i am in awe of the confidence i have rendered in all this chaos. and i feel comforted by the lack of panic. i don’t know what is next, but i am moving forward with faith and trust in my relationship with the world. wow- did i even write that? but it’s true. i feel connected and i welcome tomorrow.

i don’t always satisfy the expectations of those around me. i still often judge my actions very harshly at first. i stumble in new situations and misspeak and misstep as often as i get it right. but what really keeps me going is my fairly newly acquired sense that i am okay. nothing great certainly, but nothing broken. for all my life, i felt-no believed- that i was flawed- twisted and warped. this is a belief that has had a metamorphosis into something else and been carried away with the winds. this is definitely an easier way to live.

image credit- bob jagendorf
i have recently heard some sets played by this dj named nick warren. i like him very much. it sounds so contemporary to me. i hope you like it, too.

happy 10

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happy 10th birthday
The years teach much which the days never know.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

an online friend celebrates his sobriety birthday this week. i would humbly ask that you visit his site and savor some blessings that 10 years can bring.. happy birthday jeremiah… and thank you.

housekeeping

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image credit-diego diaz marin

i am pretty sure that i am looking around for options as i have presently in the process of applying for a new position. i stumbled across a career horoscope reading and found it hopeful that it advised looking outside my immediate sphere for options. i have felt i might need to do this anyway for a variety of reasons, however there is that inner-critic that tells me i can’t get anything else and i need to hold on to what i have.
coincidentally, i have put out a couple of feelers and do have an idea or two. i think though that it is important for me to exercise my brain in this way. otherwise i remain stuck.

i wonder which would be tougher- being passed over for a position that might allow me to grow professionally and personally, or simply moving to position that may not offer me much change at all. tomorrow waits to explore what will take place. i know what i would like to do, but i am unclear about my motivation and my drive.

August 2011
Career Horoscopes

Dot your i’s and cross your t’s during mercury retrograde

reprinted from dailyhoroscope.com
Creativity is a key to career success for most of this month, with the Sun outgoing Leo until August 23. Instead of limiting your professional choices to the ones that are already in front of you, taking time to think outside the box may help you discover ways to improve your current working situation or to find a new one. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong in Leo, which is also a sign of leadership. Of course, there are risks in having your own business but that’s true of just about any line of work these days.
Another important factor now is that Mercury, the communication planet, will be retrograde August 2-26. This backward cycle tends to mess with information and messages, making it especially important to double check facts and to make sure that you and those who matter understand one another. The upside of Mercury’s reversal is the possibility to retrieve old concepts and reconnect with people who can help you professionally. Just be careful about any tendency to oversell or to buy into someone else’s inflated plans.
On August 21, attractive Venus’ shift into efficient Virgo puts a premium on competence. Refining your job-related skills and developing new ones can increase your value and, perhaps, your income as well. The Sun’s entry into Virgo on August 23 underscores the importance of being a competent and cooperative worker. Mastering tasks that require concentration may not be flashy and gain immediate attention, but can upgrade almost anyone’s professional status.

so i came across this german ensemble named “lovebirds” on beatport. they are so house-y and i swim easily in house music. always have. there is a much more popular version featuring stee downes, but i like this version, too. it’s a little more pared down.  when i am inside house music, i find drama, rhythm, melody, percussion, harmony, playfulness, and color- all of which really make my heart smile. here’s to making good decisions.  bon weekend 🙂

recycling

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DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THAT GOOD NIGHT
by Dylan Thomas



Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.


Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.


Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

it is unavoidable to become aware of the power of nature at times in our lives. on the plains in colorado, we have been kissed by our first winter storm this season. for several days this week, we had been heralded of its coming with all sorts of snippets as to its magnitude. it arrived yesterday afternoon and slipped in quietly without much fanfare. there were some howling winds, but the attachment to the holiday meant the traffic was down to a minimum as was the disruption.

but this morning as i wake, i look out upon an additional layer of silence as the sky has been quietly shaking down flakes for 14 hours or so. not big wet ones, as in some storms, but a dusting of dryer icier snow that blankets without being too weightbearing.

we sit on the eve of the next adventure amid the quiet of this storm and its impact. introspection, meditation, and pausing are the actions called for. internally, i have felt the stirrings of change in my world. determining whether this is pattern or insight remains to unfold.

i know that the image accompanying this blizzard is one of the spring thaw. the loosening of ice and the flow of new energy. perhaps what i sense is simply the next season. however, i also know that the image and sensations i have are core. evolution is happening in my life, whether it is subtle or it is blatant.

i have found myself severed from some family and some acquaintances. i convince myself there are boundaries involved. i know, however, that avoidance is my safety net and i use it in lieu of growth sometimes. i have had conversations recently with a relative that i haven’t really spoken with since i got sober. it has been quietly powerful for me. i realize my feelings have not stopped around our relationship. they have only been blanketed with quiet.

maybe that is part of the spring thaw i am sensing.

notes from the equinox

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Autumnal Equinox Special Nonetheless

The length of day and night may not be equal on the equinox, but that doesn’t make the first day of fall any less special.
(Related blog: “Saturn Equinox Arrives.”)
The spring and autumnal equinoxes, for starters, are the only two times during the year when the sun rises due east and sets due west, according to MacRobert.
The autumnal equinox and vernal—or spring—equinox are also the only days of the year when a person standing on the Equator can see the sun passing directly overhead.
On the Northern Hemisphere’s autumnal equinox day, a person at the North Pole would see the sun skimming across the horizon, signaling the start of six months of darkness.
On the same day, a person at the South Pole would also see the sun skim the horizon, beginning six months of uninterrupted daylight…. from nationalgeographic.com



the thing about autumn in colorado is that it comes a couple of weeks earlier than the rest of the nation. because of the altitude, the aspens are already changing color and will probably be done by the beginning of october. native coloradans always make their fall treks to the hills in september because that’ when nature’s paintbursh is in high tide.
on the drive up highway 40 on thursday evening, i almost cried as the sunset was so amazing as i was about to enter winter park. a distinct yet pale pink orange sky was the backdrop for the gold and rust hues of the aspen leaves that speckled the hills on the westward drive.  as is usually the case, words can’t seem to even echo nature’s wonder.





grand lake is a beautiful setting. we are staying at shadowcliff lodge which overlooks grand lake and and pays homage to shadow mountain. there are 14 of us here this year. i know about half and not quite sure where the other half hail from. i keep forgetting that denver is a larger city than i think it is. not huge, but humbling none-the-less, because i certainly don’t know everyone. i have been taking photos of texture and color this time around. i don’t consider myself a photographer at all, but i want to extend my activities and put more of myself on here. i actually love photography and have been hijacking photos found on gayya kuyusu.  the soul who shephards that blog has an incredible eye and a vast outreach. i am consistently amazed at the images i see.  but mine do not and most likely will not measure up to the offerings there. taking photographs is an art and i am not even in the infancy.

autumn is always a powerful time for my heart. i have come to realize that major changes happen in me at this time of the year. it’s as if some hard shell on my exterior cracks and out from the inside comes the beginning of a stronger creature. i feel as if my heart is opening to a level i have never really known. i am allowing myself to feel anger when i used to deny it. and in this allowing comes a grace i never knew existed. because the receding of anger brings with it a calm and a release. something that stifling that feeling never revealed. and just as the tide uncovers new patterns and artifacts left on the sand as it rolls back to its ocean home, so does the absence of anger reveal so much in its wake. this is a true gift for me this september.

i don’t remember if i mentioned watching irina bettencourt on oprah this week. she had been held captive in the mountains of ecuador for 6 1/2 years, but managed to stay alive. the interview was compelling to me as she didn’t come across angry or bitter, even after all her trials and tribulations. she somehow had gotten to a place of acceptance and forgiveness. some of her fellow captives had even done interviews vehemently claiming that she was the worst person on the earth and yet she was blanketed in kindness and warmth. for me, it was remarkable and inspirational. i believe that i want to live in this light. many miles left to travel, but i know there is a direction in which to go. gratitude, peace, love, and light.

i have finished the autumn issue of the TEN newsletter. You can read it on the “On The Ten” blog. Each edition seems to evolve and even get perhaps more grown up- definitely  more inclusive. i do find myself feeling pride with regard to how far it has come in the last 3 years. if you are interested, you can see the history of the issues at OnTheTen 

a friend from work burned a copy of the new santana cd “guitar heaven” for me. i love, love, love it.. this is definitely one of the standouts for me…. high school, led zeppelin, and head banging… baby…



remix

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 i received word today that my department transfer would go through. i will be at a new desk in a new office on monday- at least for half the day. the other half will remain the same. now as change draws near, the butterflies begin. not because i don’t want to move on.. i have to for sanity’s sake. no causes me a little shakiness is the uncertainty ahead. i have interviewed with my supervisors, but i really don’t know what to truly expect day to day. i know i will be all right, but i want more than all right. i want happy. i want joy. i want symbiosis. time will tell. and don’t be fooled. i don’t think i’m living in a fantasy. i found out another patient has terminal liver cancer and probably won’t live thru the year.

i have posted pics of the landscaping changes we made to our building. i had been going slowly crazy looking at some old junipers that were overgrown and swimming in dead underneath. they would cackle at me every time i would go in and out of my little place. i forget how persuasive i can be, but after a few months of campaigning with the other owners, we spent a weekend (18 hours) pulling out all the dead and putting in new plantings. this included moving rock from the right of way, removing old fabric that had been sadly compromised by a flood 2 years ago, replacing the fabric, and putting the rock back. it was all impressive and exhausting. But $1100 and 90 man hours later, we have a whole new vibe there.
the music today is definitely a “sound” from my 80’s. you could hear it in most of the big boy clubs in 81. that clapping sound was everywhere. even al jourgensen from ministry did a cover of this song for his 1st song in chicago.