life on life’s terms
i have come to understand yet another layer of how i operate in my part of the world. maybe i knew this before, but with the latest turn in the road, my nature drifts yet again from the mists. i feel gratitude for this renewed awareness, but i would trade this gift for one of unknowing- sadly even if for only a short while. but the decades have rescinded my right to deny.
someone shared at a meeting today about feeling lost. they are hoping they can find something inside them to offer to a newcomer who comes into the rooms. right now he feels he has nothing to offer.
i stopped by a small clinic to help a friend who is a counselor there. he has been ill lately and i will make myself available to help in any way i can. he runs groups for parolees, most of whom have done 8 years or more inside. he sweetly refers to his guys as the ones nobody else wants. it is obvious he has a real and defined connection here.
there are about 14 guys who slowly arrive, make their nest for the hour, and settle in. there is also a sense of something else, although i’m not sure what. the respect and the love that is felt for him in here is concrete. it is a rag tag bunch of fellows. all are working, and working on staying out of the joint. 2 guys are graduating tonight, so the protocol is that they will run the meeting, starting by sharing their process and their progress with the group.
but before this takes place, my friend starts the group off by introducing himself (there are 2 new people who don’t know him). he apologizes for not being around the last month or so, but has had some stuff going on.
he continues with “here’s the deal guys. i have been diagnosed with 2 types of cancer in my abdomen. they don’t even know what kind it is. i was told i have about 6 months to live. i have started chemo to arrest these tumors in my stomach and they don’t even know if it is going to work. if it is effective, i may have 2 more years, but if it doesn’t, it falls back to the 6 month diagnosis.
naturally you could hear a pin drop. there is not a sound, nor a movement for a short while as these rugged and tender witnesses absorb what they could of the information just laid down. not a stir. it was almost like one of those science fiction films with individual cylinders keeping bodies alive, all in the same room, but each one so separate and needing its own life support.
my friend continued with the group and introductions.
this was a very spiritual happening for me. i can’t remember when i have felt quite so humble. i don’t ever think i will forget either the silence or the power in the presence of it. nothing more to be said really.
my friend is living life on life’s terms.
whew! what a month this march has been. as i start to look back it definitely feels as if march aggressively blew in like a lion in my life. and it ripped the blindfold i had been wearing about who i am. it’s sobering to be reminded of some weaknesses, especially when it involves my judgement and ego. sobering indeed to find i am still impulsive to a fault at times and let my decisions be dictated by my pride.
but at the end of the day, this simply underlines my humanity. my head understands all this but there is this part that expects so much more from me. if you follow me here, you know this is a broken record. comfort is here though because i am human. flawed, average, vulnerable. no biggie.
i met a guy who spent 23 years in prison. he was released about 5 years ago for a couple of years only to find out he was hiv positive. for some odd reason he went back to the joint after 2 years and is now back out and trying to put together a life. he is homeless, has been smoking crack no doubt because it numbs everything out, and i’m sure he’s weighing the options of being on the outside versus going back in.
my impression is that he may not know he is doing this. he’s been locked up so long that he may not have the skills or the cojones to carve out a new life. this was a heart-opening meeting for me and i am pulling for him. i guess i am pulling for him in the sense that whatever decision he makes, it won’t be too tragic or painful for him. i’ll bet he has suffered enough in his life.
the dark side of benzos keeps creeping onto my pages. there are folks who take meds for pain. now many people who do this don’t run into negative issues, but there are some who can’t seem to moderate themselves. more, more more becomes the battle cry and lying, drama, and greed often follow. and trying to assist in picking up the pieces at this stage can be a roller coaster. air bags not included.
i cried at the conclusion of american idol this week. casey’s reaction to being saved was reality tv at its very best. everybody needs a moment or two like that in their lives. and actually, this season seems to be a little more gentle and easy as far as the judges go. maybe simon brought an unnecessary critical edge. i guess we’ll see.
meth is still cutting a swatch through the field of young gay men’s dreams in my town. guy after guy keep turning up with broken lives, dessimated hearts, and hollowed out eyes in need of some tlc. don’t know if we have all they need, but we have redefined our focus on how to help. knowing this and living this offers me reprieve. i just hope others get some, too.
i came across a guy named mike posner ‘cuz he did a cover of adele’s “rolling in the deep” (embedded in sidebar) which immediately became a favorite. his album debuted in august ’10 and i think he is probably one to watch – or listen for…
had dinner at parallel 17 last night with friends and then went to Vintage Theatre to see their production of “Equus”. quite a full Saturday evening for me. dinner was very very good as has come to be expected from p17’s upscale vietnamese offerings. the company was sweet. there were three people who share in a community garden so there was lots of talk about seeds, vegetables, and cooking. all things that i love dearly.
the play was memorable. maybe partially because the space is so small and we sat front row. but i think more memorable because the lead performances were steeped in truth and the play itself is compelling and reigns you in as it methodically unveils the workings of a psychotherapist and his dance with a young man who has developed a toxic theology to protect himself from the real world he inhabits.
both provided a lovely distraction from my routine and gave me distraction from my current disappointment. i must say i am highly confused about where i am right now. this feeling of let-down has rolled onto my life very much like the most recent tsunami, tainting almost everything in its path. i find myself trying to figure how where to start shovelling up and digging out. frankly, not only does it feel as if the wind is knocked out of me, but i am afraid of what i am going to find when the clean-up begins.
last week i remember watching the footage from japan and trying to find faith in all that disaster. and i find that i am juggling the same concepts today. i haven’t necessarily lost faith. i just have to rekindle my connection to it. no doubt, on reason i find myself feeling as i do now is a result of disconnect.
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.