Monday, December 1, 2014

I heard someone say last night they had been instructed by their sponsor to be "nice" or to practice the quality. I wanted to say that my experience taught me that being kind is more important. There is a quote that is attributed to The Buddha but there is much internet debate on it's actual origin but the quote is " If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind.”
Another quote is sometimes tacked onto it that states, "It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will"
I would rather people think of me as a kind man, than a nice man. Kindness is a principle of spirit. "Nice", isn't a spiritual principle, it is sort of subjective I suppose. "Nice" reminds me of a first grader being sent of to a birthday party with the instruction of mother to be "Nice".
I wanted to say, "Just be kind", don't crush the earth brutally with your foot steps. I went for nearly a life time not knowing a thing about my true self. I only went by the word of others and assumptions on my part. I know these things to be true, one hundred percent true. I am a gentle man. I am a kind man. I do not crush the earn in brutality when I take steps. I am a grateful man.
Be kind to yourself, be kind to others. Take soft steps.
"Nice" is subjective terminology but "Kindness" is a bonafide , real deal, spiritual principle and a core component of the teachings of The Buddha and of Jesus Christ and of all the great masters.
It is the first day of the last month ever of the year 2014. By living one moment at a time, one day at a time we have collectively just about put on more year in the history books. It seems like minutes ago I was trying to adjust to wright 1978 on my school work as it changed during Christmas break from 1977. You know, I am keenly aware that time on the planet in this body and form is finite. Every time someone I know leaves the party it reminds me of a quote from a time I didn't even know the value of quotes. It was "The things I do today are important because I am exchanging a day of my life for them".
Time is the most valuable commodity we have because it's so limited and it ends for many without a bit of notice. One the surface it may look like the simple changing of the free calendar I got last year from the bank, out with the new calendar I got from Walker's pharmacy, it is not lost on me at all that I have once less set of 365 days of being a spirit being in human form. I was so careless with the gift of time and presence for so many years I know that I am in the "Grace Period".
I am the luckiest bastard on the planet to have been invited to the party and still be a welcomed guest. I find a lot of joy to live that way. I love the old saying in AA "How do you eat an Elephant?" answer..."One bite at a time". 2014 is 30 days away from being consumed by me one grateful damn bite at a time. I'm slack jawed when I think that it is nearly 2015. It sounds like a number in as science fiction script.
I heard someone say last night they had been instructed by their sponsor to be "nice" or to practice the quality. I wanted to say that my experience taught me that being kind is more important. There is a quote that is attributed to The Buddha but there is much internet debate on it's actual origin but the quote is "  If you propose to speak, always ask yourself, is it true, is it necessary, is it kind.”

Another quote is sometimes tacked onto it that states, "It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will"

I would rather people think of me as a kind man, than a nice man. Kindness is a principle of spirit. "Nice", isn't a spiritual principle, it is sort of subjective I suppose. "Nice" reminds me of a first grader being sent of to a birthday party with the instruction of mother to be "Nice".

I wanted to say, "Just be kind", don't crush the earth brutally with your foot steps. I went for nearly a life time not knowing a thing about my true self. I only went by the word of others and assumptions on my part. I know these things to be true, one hundred percent true. I am a gentle man. I am a kind man. I do not crush the earn in brutality when I take steps. I am a grateful man.

Be kind to yourself, be kind to others. Take soft steps. Forgive.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

I get this on a decent level daily, but i wish I fully comprehended the magnitude that, today is a whole new day filled with unbelievable possibility. I've disconnected myself from hoses that kept attached to the stories of my life to a great extent, that honestly surprises even me. I don't think that fully take in the truth of the matter I still have hoses that tether me to outdated ideas.
The things I carry, from early experience, 20 years ago or 30 years ago limit me. I have more freedom of spirit than I could have ever comprehended possessing. My spirit knows there is even more freedom to be had and I feel a little like a greedy child because I want it. I've tasted the drug of Freedom and without apology, I want more. In order to get the "more" I seek, I've got to make room for it and that means more purging of stories that no long serve me.
When the neighboring town has the "Great East Texas Balloon Race" the word "Tethered" always comes to mind and it's such a great word for my life and my freedom. "Tethered" means- tie with a rope or chain so as to restrict its movement. I work toward an "un-tethered" spirit.
There is a line in 'Shawshank' where Red says "Red: [narrating] I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain."
I don't get to go that place of freedom for good until I find the tethers and sever them. I guess my prayer today is to be shown the hoses and tubes that still connect me to old hurts and stories that no longer serve my highest good. Let the story that has been told, rest in the place where old stories go when no longer relevant and be done with it.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

You are inching closer to becoming the intention behind the thought of you that I feel like God had for all of us. I'm thinking we all have a creative intention that breathed us into being and we feel best, we feel most whole when we are just being ourselves and following the passions stored up inside us like secret rooms to be explored only by ourselves.
None of us were afterthoughts. We were designed with precise intention and when I hold true to the fact that just by "being" I am enough, I really start to see some amazing things.
The designer's, Designer.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

I have figured out that there are at least two kinds of gratitude. Like Patty and Cathy on the old "Patty Duke Show" both great girls but one clearly had a little more substance. I reiterate, both are great girls, but these days "hot dogs don't make me lose control".
There is "COMPARISON GRATITUDE". All the do gooders that flood the missions on Thanksgiving and Christmas that wouldn't dare set foot inside the mission walls during the year, get "Comparison Gratitude". It is like a contact high. It would be hard not to stand next to someone, for most folks anyway, who was missing legs and not think, "Gee, I'm glad I had to working legs". For whatever reasons , they are incapable of being grateful for those legs the rest of the year.
"Comparison Gratitude" works from the outside, to the inside. It provides temporary short form relief of self consumption.
What I have found and what has profoundly transformed my life, my spirit and my thinking is the way to produce gratitude, from the inside, to the outside. Growing up we had a pond down in the bottom land that was fed by natural springs. It never stagnated and turned to green thick soup like the other ponds around because it had a never ending force of life trickling into it at all time.
I came to Gratitude Springs, the hardest way possible. I lived the life of a hopeless dead man for decades. I had no tricking spring to refresh, revive or awaken my hopeless spirit. The story is long about what happened to change that, but I count myself the luckiest bastard on the planet because I got to return from the dead.
I've mentioned one of my favorite people before named Kay. She was terribly terribly ill and it didn't look like they were going to figure out what was wrong with her before she took exit. She said she promised if she ever felt well again, if she ever could move without restriction she was going to live at full force. She recovered and she lives and clocks in most days around 75 miles per hour. I can't keep up with her.
There is a color, shade, grade and level of thankfulness that permeates the cellular structures of humans when we are stripped down to raw spirit by circumstances or illness. The moment I realized I had nothing including any reason to go on or to hope, I got everything. A door opened and a stream flowed and I saw life as beautiful party that I was so happy and thrilled to still be invited to. Suddenly everything was something to be grateful for, full bodied, inside to the outside gratitude.
When I can't decide what I want to eat, I remember there are mothers on the planet that search all day, ALL DAY to find enough food to keep her children alive for just one more day. I'm aware of the bitter irony of my needs.
When I go to shower, I am often keenly aware of the people who have to be assisted or completely washed by another person.
I see the lost souls of Highway 80 walkers, with stained coats and plastic bag suitcases and I thank God, not that I have a place that's climate controlled and comfortable, but I thank God because I don't wander highways with no where to go to at all. I know the devastation of not belonging anywhere and I see it on the faces that can't make eye contact and it crushes my heart..
The person closest to me on the planet my whole life has lost both her parents and it makes me keenly aware that mine are only here on loan. I have the opportunity to call both mine up and just say hello, any time I want to and I do. I make those calls and the dinners with them , not because i particular need to see them but because they need to see me. I'm very thankful they get to witness me up and functioning in life. I accept them as they are today mainly because I got to the place I accepted myself.
Full on, spiritual and cellular gratitude to me is experience the breath of the god as I understand it. When I don't stop to think that every thing around me, everything thing I see and touch, every seed and every breeze, would have been missed by me had I not decided it was "time to get to living" I see the wasted opportunities.
My friend Kay and I, and millions of others benefit from being in a very exclusive club, we faced death and chose life. We are the bonded like those people who escaped Titanic in life boats. A feeling of overwhelming, indescribable joy to be present, alive and invited to the party, for me came the hard way. It made me work for it and I had to face the darkest dark before I turned and ran to the side of light.
I was fascinated last week by clusters of ladybugs on the side of the van at work. I'd never seen more than a couple. There were 30 or more. I was delighted in my spirit the way a child gets delighted the first time it sees the lights on the Christmas tree. I'm so full body, full spirit thankful that I have experienced "WONDERMENT" as an adult. I know what to look for and work for now.
I felt the humbling spirit of gratitude breath straight through me as I watched to polka dotted ladies move and take flight. It passed through all my mass and my essence and in it's trail it left gratitude. Simple beautiful, inside to the outside thankfulness to be here, to have one more moment to embody with my heart and soul. The most effective and complete prayer there ever was written:
"Thank You".

Monday, November 24, 2014

I had a teacher,a spiritual tour director of sorts jokingly give me the nickname of "Filler of Gaps With Words". It was funny because I do love words. I love descriptions. I don't want to know that something was red. I want to know the shade and the intensity of red it was and then give it a comparison to other great reds I have seen.
I LOVE WORDS, but.... He also pointed out to me, that silence appears to make me nervous and I start a word spill like a giant oil tanker flooding the Gulf of Mexico. If it is quiet, I'm compelled from bad learning in my history on the planet, to fill the quiet. Part if me thinks if I am talking then I am in control, complete control of the uneasiness of the moment. Part of me likes the sound of my own voice. If there is one thing a drug addict likes move the drugs it's the sound of his voice filling a room. Part of me is in fear of the chaos of quiet in my head and my spirit.
I have to practice the willingness to be wordless, to let the stillness over take me. My experience is that God speaks anytime I listen, but it is easiest to hear when I allow the breathing moment to stay still and quiet. Be still.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Someone knew my name at the new AA meeting I have been going to for a month or so. It was a mark of progress. I've been on one of my first two off days and it's been lonely. I picture an art house film following a man around who goes through his day connecting with no one.  We see him buy a gallon of milk alone, and pick up two ribeye steaks, a twin pack. We see him cook them both and eat them both alone. He picks up his apartment and washes the dishes, even though no one will see any of it. He watches the clock and wait for the time to come when his phone friend 200 miles away might be home from work and willing to talk. He straightens up the comforter on his bed and puts his shoes away even though no one is coming. No one is coming and he knows he has to keep going to meetings and meeting people if the hope of every having companionship is ever going happen. The camera closes in on the finger on the phone pad and he dials his friends number. His friend says hello.
One of my favorite quotes is "What the caterpillar calls the end, the world calls a butterfly". As humans we go through metamorphosis dozens of times in a lifetime. The death of one version or understanding of myself gives birth to the improved version of myself. Unfortunately I don't get to do my changing in a safe little cocoon hiding the awkwardness of change. We not only grow up in public but we change form completely while the world watches. Every time I emerge from my from the dead self, I have manifested a new more purposeful human with more colors on me than I had ever dared hope for. The very nature of life is change. If we are not evolving we are not living.

Unlike turtles and crabs that leave their shells and form new ones, the butterfly has transformed into a whole new and different creature.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Surrender has an under tow. Many times the moment you surrender something you feel a rush of relief and freedom but sometimes, not. Some times when you surrender something you are left with a gulf of emptiness.
The only way past the gulf is to feel it. Struggle will only wear you down and cause more pain when we try to fill the emptiness. You can "unsurrender" the thing you surrendered but we never get past the things we need to grow beyond if we chicken out at the first symptom of " The Gulf of Empty. The the "Tao Te Ching" clearly states the the emptiness of a bowl is what makes it a useful tool for storage. The moment it is filled up, it is no longer useful.
We hold on to things at of habit, even though they have long surpassed the expiration dates of purposefulness. When we hang on to that that has served it's purpose it is most of the time painful for us. It can be a job, a husband or a mind set. We are in a dilemma, endure the pain of holding on or face the fear of the Gulf of Emptiness. Only one of those choices holds the key to new possibilities.
I've surrendered a lot of things of the last two months especially. The silence and depth of the "Gulf of emptiness", is un-nerving. It feels like depression, but it isn't. It's me getting use to emptying of the bowl to make me useful in a whole new way. I like feeling useful. It's great freedom to feel like there is purpose to your being. Frankly, I like to feel good. The "Gulf" doesn't feel good but I have had enough experience of my own to know that I will come back eventually with a fabulous upgrade in style, function and capabilities. That is my experience thus far.

Friday, November 7, 2014

My uncle who is in his 80's had bladder cancer which resulted in the loss of his bladder. They built him an artificial external one. When he wakes up in the morning and gets out of bed, he is attached to several several feet of tubing which follows him as he begins his day, attached.

When I got sober several years ago and did the work the step-work of the "12 Steps" ask me to, it enabled me to "wake without hoses attached". For the better part of my adult life the first thing I did when I woke up was attach myself to the stories i told myself. I attached to the broken child. I attached myself to the misfit of society tube. I attached myself to the lonely brokenhearted lover hose". I attached myself every morning to stories that had already been told, I had no chance of experiencing anything new.

When I woke this morning I was thinking about the small clear, multi-foot long tube that attaches to my uncle. I don't have a single tube or hose attached today. I've managed to sever those attachments and it leaves me free to experience this day in my life, free from the heavy bondage of my past, free from the stories that have already been told in my life.

If you know me at all, then you know I love the power of words. I love to tell a story or paint a picture with description. I cannot adequately describe the rush and sensation of being un-tethered. Picture a hot hair balloon that is aching to take flight, yet it has one rope still attached to the ground. That one rope, that it can't shake loose from is stubbornly denying it, its place among the clouds. One story, one attachment to a tale that has already been told can keep us from the magic of a brand new story trying desperately to unfold for us in the moment of "now".

Color me "tube free" and grateful as I know how to be.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

It's odd we as a society would rather here you admit, "i'm horny" rather than "I'm lonely" so society won't be uncomfortable. We would rather hear you say "I"m an alcoholic and I'm going to rehab" rather than "I have clinical depression". Peculiar what is acceptable to share with the world and what is too personal that makes other people bristle in their seats. People were fine with Robin Williams talking about booze and cocaine problems but no one wanted to hear him talk about the monsters he dealt with daily called "Depression" and "Low Self-esteem" exact same thing for Whitney Houston.
I rarely ever, ever talk about having the diagnosis of Bipolar disorder. I don't partly because everyone claims to have that disorder and a "diagnosis" of it themselves or someone they know does. It's also partly because it's easier to not talk about it rather than having to qualify my illness with examples of mania that are in no way shape or form associated with drugs or alcohol addictions. It's part of my character to not want to make people uncomfortable, so I don't talk about a lot of stuff except for a couple of trusted confidants and even they sometimes would rather hear me say "I"m horny" rather than "I'm Lonely", because they don't have solutions to "lonely" but can easily tell you to "go get laid".
People don't like to hear things they don't have the possibility of offering solutions up for. They don't like to be reminded that in many circumstances they are unschooled and powerless. "How dare you make me look at my own inadequacies!", Sharing the truth as I have mentioned low these many times, either brings out the truth in others or sends everyone running to the fucking hills away from you and your "truths". lol "I love that your honest with your feelings, but can you take them over there please because they might make me take a long look at my personal shortcomings and deficits and I'm just here for the free nachos."

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Heard a kid the other day basically saying he failed to keep his mother safe from herself and it was tearing him up. It made me think back to half my life ago when I thought I had the skills or power to will someone to live who didn't know how or want to. I looked at him and told him flat out. You are 15 years old, you are not suppose to know how to save someone that doesn't want to be saved. It was one of those head scratching moments when the moment I told him that, I told the 15 year old in me that to and I was the one who got freedom. I don't know if he heard me or not but I felt a shift inside my spirit and I understood my self a bit better.
I've mentioned before what a novel concept it was when it dawned on me that just because we are born human, in no way shape or form means we know how to be human. Computers have to be programmed in order to perform task and humans have to be taught how to be human. We have to see what forgiveness looks like in action, what loving someone one even while they are letting you down looks like. We have to learn how do you talk to those you love, what tone conveys that you adore them. I think it's important for kids to see their parents or elders screw up big time and fall apart at the seams, then get to see real life people get up, dust off and try again.
I am responsible for what I know, I am not responsible for what I've never seen or been taught or have no reason to even suspect. There came a point where mercifully I found a way to let myself off the hook for being terribly ill prepared for life. I let myself of the hook and took responsibility for filling in the broken cracks of my coping and functioning skills.'
Why we hold ourselves in contempt, for failure when we weren't even properly prepared to thrive is a very sad mystery. The ratchet it up another painful notch. Parents can't teach and parents can't pass on what they themselves do not know. We cannot out function the level of of learning or our programming.

Friday, October 31, 2014

I had to see it's face. It had been long enough. I had been haunted for decades by a lonesome memory that was bearable most of the time, especially in the light,but at night it often reached to me and would throw me of balance.

It was an old romance, my only one ever. I wasn't a boy looking for love. It was never something that interested me. I have had hundreds of friends that only think of one thing,,,,romance. I guess maybe when I got gobsmacked by it, the fact I never wanted it made it even more impactful. We were broken kids with substance abuse problems and it ended with me fleeing Houston Texas in the middle of the night with some bruises and a nose with teeth marks and scabs forming on it. It was at the end of a night of bar hopping and I really can't tell you what it was about. Even as broken as I was, hitting me was a deal breaker, as if the deal weren't broken enough.

So, nearly 30 years later i have never wanted to be in "love", but whatever that was swept me up and out like a tsunami  decades ago as a college freshman haunted me. It wanted me to remember what it was like when the mention of his name made me go numb. For thirty years people have asked me why I never partnered up, frankly it's because no one has ever made me feel that way, not even close not even thread of tingle.

So I wrote this guy who lives not more than 50 miles from me and made some excuse to stop by and see him when I was passing through. He called and left a message and when I was free I called him back.  I won't go into the details, but by the time I got off the phone with him, I saw things entirely differently. I think I needed to hear that he wasn't that 18 year old anymore and I got everything I needed. I had confronted this emotional monster that gave me fitful dreams that spilled into the waking day.

I talked to my friend and adviser and when I mentioned the dope smoking, wine drinking my only "lover" had been doing the whole time we were on the phone, he said he hoped I was done with the whole thing. I laughed and said "Done"

5 minutes after I said I was done, I knew with all cells and fibers it wasn't over for me yet. I needed to see his face. I don't know why, but I had to see his face. I was so angry at my spirit because I knew it would never be over unless I saw his face. So without telling anyone, I got up the next morning and went to where he worked.

I saw him briefly and hurriedly got in my car. I felt nothing, I didn't laugh, I didn't cry. I just drove. I thought at least I would feel a charge for staring down this emotional monster that came to toy with me when I was down or lonely. I just kind of  felt sad. I felt sad because this once beautiful kid who took my breath away was now a middle aged man too. The joy that used to explode from his spirit is shut down and roughened. I felt sad that if I only got to have that feeling time once, I would really never prefer never to have known what i missed.

I told my sponsor, imagine you had the best experience from the best drug in the world, but you could only have it once. Would you take it? You can't unring a bell and I can't untake that drug.

Two days after I heard the song by Martina McBride called "Independence Day" on the radio and I thought how many young girls I'd see try to sing that song at the little country shows I sang at. They hit the notes but they didn't have the emotional depth to really touch hearts when they sing them. There are songs kids can sing and hit the notes but fail register real feeling with them that makes them look even more like kids singing grown up songs.  A ten year old singing "Stand By Your Man" is cute but no one buys it.  Since I was 18 years old, I had the real heartbreak that let me sell a ballad. This broken heart , massive in size has helped me help others with their failed romance. It gave me an emotional depth that I wouldn't have gotten any other way. It was in every essence my credential to understand the human condition of "HURT".

That was my first benefit of seeing the face of the specter than followed me for nearly 30 years. The second came just now as I began typing. All this time it wasn't him that I was longing for, it was the feeling. I have been wanting love all this time but was terribly confused about where it needed to come from.  Oh shit, I'm that kind of human after all.  It wasn't him.

I would have spent the rest of my life confused had I not listened to the urging of spirit telling me it was time to face this monster. The hour long phone call could have been enough I suppose, but I knew, I had to see his face and for some reason I needed him to see mine. I just reached over on my desk and picked up a red Sharpie. Without thinking I colored a little red heart and wrote the word "love" underneath it on my upper thigh. It is a statement of intention. It is with only a small amount of embarrassment that I make the declaration, on the 7th day of my 47 year, I, Clinton Rolen Gandy have joined the circle of sappy friends and thousand of people I will never meet, for i am in search of GROWN UP LOVE.

The block in the channel has been forced out and I literally can feel life flow where it hasn't in decades. So, my advice is face your monsters and let what happens happen. I have found yet another level of freedom and it excites me to no end.

I work with boys some of which are exactly one year younger than me when this thing when down in the middle 80's. I was just as broken as the lost boys I work with and I can't imagine any of them falling in love and trying to live out this crazy fantasy of what love was suppose to look like from the tv and the movies.

I'm so humbled when my understanding of things is reframed and I see everything clearer and more precisely. I won't be painting sad clowns or kittens, but as of today, I am going to find someone to share myself with who is just as curious as me about the whole thing and hopefully just as grateful as I am. I am grateful to have gotten this far and I know when you put hope and action together you create possibility. I am mastering the possibilities.

There is a huge amount of ego that says to never share this piece, It is my story and it couldn't be truer, and when I am honest I feel better. Don't judge me to harshly if you need to judge just know, that I so believe in being free, I saw this through when it would have been easier to find a shortcut or pretend it didn't happen all together.

Monday, October 27, 2014

This is my story

I got drunk for the first time in the summer heading into my freshman year in high school. I was on the only family vacation I ever had and we were in Newport Beach, California or "Balboa". My relatives were part of a large food supply company and the bosses hosted us in the tiniest restaurant I had ever seen and our table pretty much filled the whole space. I kept getting poured wine and I kept drinking it. After the second glass it felt like my eyeballs were moving back in for in tiny quick motions and I felt warm and free. I got up and went to the bathroom to look at my eyeballs in the mirror. I stared at my face but I did not see my eyes moving , even though they gave me a swimmy feeling. After dinner we walked the streets of the island and it was liking seeing for the first time. Shop windows with lighted displays illuminating pricey fancy things was a dazzling sight.

I did not know it at the time, but the detonation button had been activated for me. Like the countdown clock on the TV show "24", my days had been numbered and my time was running out. So what began in the fanciest, loveliest place I'd ever seen, a place I'd only seen something like on TV, my alcoholism was activated. The year was 1982.

I was set up by genetics , soaked in environmental triggers, but when I felt the effects of those closes of purple colored wine, the disease was activated. There was no turning it off , no going back. The lines of dominoes had started falling and it was going to be a race to the finish. I became alcoholic. I was activated.

On my own i didn't have a single coping skill for life. The warm glow from the inside of me out and the euphoria that alcohol caused, honestly let me feel like for the first time in my life, everything was ok. When you have spent your life, even if it was just the first fourteen years of it on "high alert" the moment you get to relax and break is a profound moment. Even if it was chemically induced, I found relief.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

When I first heard of autism, I thought the cruelest part was watching your once healthy 3 year old boy , quietly turn to go inside himself and never return.
When I first experienced someone with Alzheimer's, I thought the cruelest part of it was to watch someone you have known your whole life , completely disappear into themselves to the point mothers couldn't remember children.
When I first saw depression lock someone behind a glass wall and everyone was forced to watch them disappear in to darkness, to a place they couldn't be reached, I thought how cruel.
There are dozens of ways to lose someone before your very eyes. They are here, but gone. Close enough to touch them physically without even having to stretch your arm yet you cannot reach them.
I guess I've been on both sides of the glass and truthfully even I am a little hard pressed for explanation on how I crawled back out of myself, I had long ago surrendered to it, fully and completely surrendered to it's nothingness.
I was just thinking of some people I know and have known that have disappeared into themselves and just how disappointing being powerless really is. There is a part of me that wants to turn my head and the other part is compelled to watch for any remaining or significant signs of life.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

choose peace

Choose peace. I had dinner with a new neighbor and as I got to know her over the 2 hour conversation I was taken aback at the level of fear she exists in. It seems to cripple her. Not an alcoholic nor drug addict, her fear levels exceed even the level I use to exist in. Here is the thing that confused me. She mentioned her faith 2 dozen times and even spoke of specific passages in the Christian bible. She falls into the same catagory that several of my relatives fall in, those who have faith and don't use to to live a fearless life.
What good is faith, why have it if you don't USE IT? My life transformed when I realized that no matter what happened, I would find a way to be OK. I don't have the paralyzing creepy dread that a catastrophe was going to occur it it was going to consume me. Because of this psychic / spiritual change, I don't fear making mistakes or failing at something I've tried anymore. I have proper concerns about general safety, I still lock doors at night.
Fear is a monster. One baffling aspect of fear is it makes it's victims mistakenly crave more things to fear. The most fearful people i know, even those who are faithful in religion, sit around and watch endless cable news broadcast. As if they don't have enough powerlessness in their lives, they consume stories of terror and of viruses without cures like a kid would consume cotton candy.
My good fortune is that I had an issue with substance abuse that led me to a program thought taught me a way of living which eliminates 90 percent of my fears on a moment to moment basis. I have been known to say out loud when my head/fear tries a hostile take over, "This is not real". Fear lies and it lays in wait.
I was taught worry by the master growing up and she has and still does dedicate her life to worrying about things that a) she has no power over and b) that never happened. I'd rather die than to slip back into a world that is filled with blind fear and abject terror. Running from monsters that only exist in my head and in my sleep and daytime nightmares.
Fear is a product of thought. One fearful thought triggers a chemical response that feeds the next fearful though. It is the anatomy of panic attacks. Panic attacks were what led me to anxiety meds which I quickly learned were great fun to take handfuls at a time.
My hope for my neighbor and all those I know who are trapped in the darkness of fear, or terror is they find away to shine some light into their spirits filled with monsters. My advice is first off, turn off the damn news channel, don't read the paper and stop watching hours and hours of crime shows weekly. Some folks can handle it and some like me just can't just like some people can drink and it not consume them alcoholicly. I haven't watched the news in five years and I don't have news channels anymore. I haven't missed a thing and haven't been caught "not knowing" any vital information that could harm me.
There is a little syndicated show that prides itself on stories "you need to know". "AMERICA NOW- They have stories like, "What is living on your hairbrush that can kill you", "Your baby can die if you don't know these tips". All they do is package little fear bites and tease the fear based people into tuning. They run 2 episodes a day in my area.
America may like to call itself "faith based' but its fear based. Politicians and religious leaders take that fear and use it to herd huge groups of people into "swallowing whatever Koolaide" they are peddling. Five years ago i asked nearly everyone I knew, "If you were going to be hit by a train would you want to see it coming?". My truth was I had spent decades trainspotting and it got me know where. My answer to the question now is, "NOPE", I don't want to see it coming, if something is going to happen, I do want to waste the only moment of life I have waiting for devastation. I choose to live without blind fear and I'll deal with the train when it gets here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

The most destructive habit I've ever had is the habit of "Thinking". For decades I tried to "think" myself to sleep at night and the result was disastrous. I grew up thinking that if I were clever enough, if I thought hard and fast enough that I could escape whatever it was that I wanted to get away from. I mistaking thought I could think my way out of whatever I found displeasing. I found out in my forties that "thinking" is it's own kind of prison. To have thoughts you can't turn off is quite frankly torture. The things that are unpleasant or disruptive on the outside of me are far less frustrating that what goes on inside my head and in my thoughts.
The the key to freedom from my thoughts is to find a way to live in the present moment. When I am in this moment I have everything I need and I have no need to be "Clever". The past no longer exist and the future takes care of itself when I exist in my own breath of being. Anxiety only exist when I am trying to exist in the future. There is no anxiety when I am in the moment, just a mindful state of being. Stress lets me know I am not in the moment.
The the biology of stress is an interesting issue, anxiety causes inflammation. Inflammation causes disease. That is how we make ourselves sick with worry and stress. Worry's cumulative effect over time is disease causing.
The kicker about giving away our moment to worry is, no matter how hard or how good we worry, we can't change the outcome or consequences of events we stress over. We have given away all the possibility of peace because we choose to future trip rather than LIVE the moment we are breathing in.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I mention often, to anyone that listens to me about my realization of just because I was born human didn't mean I knew how to be a human. We have to be shown what forgiveness looks like, we have to be shown how you treat and how you speak to those you love, we have to be shown what to do with anger. We don't simply know how to do these things just because we were born human.
I guess I'm lucky because I have the natural desire to research stuff. I have a curiosity about why I act and react the way I do and why others act and react the way they do. I'm naturally drawn to they "why" behind the "thing". The more I look and the more I find the deeper I understand the whole "being a human" thing. My life is enriched exponentially when I take the experience of being human that others have had and apply it to my own.
When I got off from work last night I watched a documentary called "Hitler's GI Death Camp". I had no idea whether they taught it in school and I wasn't paying attention or if they just didn't teach it at all, but I had no idea that a couple hundred American GI's where in the Nazi death camps as POW's. Endless footage was shown from inside the camps of Jews from every where and our GI"s. You know that feeling, that brief split second when you are about to burst into uncontrollable sobs? I was hung right at that spot for nearly an hour. To say it was uncomfortable would be an understatement of a lifetime.
They had interviewed of 3 or 4 American Service men recalling their harrowing two months in the death camp and my soul hurt so bad from their stories that I wanted to turn the thing off. An American mind, under the age of 60 cannot fathom what hell the people in the camps endured. If there had not been video footage and photos, even I with the most imagination of anyone I know couldn't dream up the Godless terror the people withstood. To be so hungry you ate the lice on your body and leaves from frozen trees is not a thing I would have ever been able to dream up. After the show ended I was completely utterly gutted.
This morning, I realized that because i took the time to watch this show, about the human experience these people had, to expose myself to the story of another, I understand my humanity better. Would I have died or would I be one of the GI's that had such a desire to live they ate lice? How did they find a way to get past all of it when the few servicemen left living got home? How did they not just shut down permanently. how did they not be consumed with anger and hate?
. The more I expose myself to the experience and stories of others, the more I understand about myself. I'm not really sure I ever dreamed I could watch a film or TV show and have and the more possibility I create. You know, it touched the place inside me that I always held behind locked gates but it happens now on a regular basis. When I remove fear and ego and am in a place of connected-ness and centered-ness I can allow your experience at being human to greatly enhance my experience at being human. I can use your experience to deepen and enhance my own. We get to do that for each other when we aren't crippled by self centered fear and hurt.
I looked into the eyes of the living servicemen interviewed in fancy High Definition and you could see the look of a men who will never be able to unsee, unfeel what they saw and felt, yet they moved on and found lives for themselves. As a human, I need to see what is capable, what I am capable of and a great deal of that comes from me finding out the story of others. We have to learn how to be human, we don't automatically know how to do that. Just because i was born with ten pink toes and ten pink fingers doesn't mean I know how to live as a human.
The name of the film on Netflix is "Hilter's G.I. Death Camp" and I defy anyone with any sense of God about them to watch the hour and not be deeply affected by it. It's hard to believe that one human would have the power to do order up such evil. It's just as hard though for me to imagine going through that horror and finding a way to live a life afterward that has any love and light to eat, but it appears they found a way. THAT my friends is TRIUMPH OF HUMAN SPIRIT and that is exactly what I need to see often, regularly and in technicolor. I don't want to waste my limited run in the human experience box office of life.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I really adored Mr. Cogar's thoughts on empathy. It certainly has not been something I set out for in my life as a special interest to cultivate, but the more spiritually evolved I become the more empathetic I become. Empathy requires that we reserve judgment. It was a huge moment for me when I realized I could be very disappointed for a person without being disappointed in a person.

When we recognize the part of us that is spirit/high power/God, it makes it impossible not to see the spirit part in others regardless of how at odds it is with the human part at the time. Humans are so messy. Driven by countless fears and an egoic mind set that insist we be right at all times, we are all, ALL of us very hard to love at times. I guess my own definition for empathy is to be willing to see the spirit trying in someone regardless of their circumstance.

There are different types of empathy and they boil down sometimes to the difference in being "store bought" or "homemade". The "Store bought" variety can be categorized when you acknowledge struggle of another from a brain/cognitive point of view. The "Homemade" variety is when you live in a state of connection to spirit and gratitude that your spirit is producing it's own source of Empathy, the emotional, spiritual connection with others.

Both a valid and both are good, but those who find their way to an empathetic state of being by thinking themselves there, will never experience the power of connection with the story of others through the spirit- empathetic awareness. There has long been detailed the people who take musical lessons and learn the fingering and the counting of the notes but never ever are able to convey the emotions of the pieces they play. There is a component to spirit that is lacking in them. Their dedication and study still is hard work that must have acknowledgment but they cannot interpret the passion of the piece the way that others do without trying. 

Not everyone has the capacity to feel the plight or passion of others. Being empathetic and compassion is very difficult in the aspect that if you don't learn how to manage what I believe to be spiritual gifts, they can easily overwhelm you. 

Every year I get a little angry at all the people trying to bust the door down of the Mission on 80 trying to serve "Thanksgiving and Christmas" to the unfortunate. If I worked there I would ask them, "would you consider June 3 or August 6th, we have all the compassionate folks we need for Christmas and Thanksgiving". "Can u still find it important to serve some Parker House Dinner Rolls when it isn't an act designed by you to make you feel better about yourself while doing the least amount possible".

That is an example of "Store Bought" empathy. It's too planned and calculated. Real empathy is only possible for those of us who know that, "What we have is enough", "Giving you a break" won't leave me without one, "Recognizing your struggle", won't sweep me into it and all of us have monsters two inches from our tails and most of us just no how to disguise the panic better than others.

It's long been said that we are spiritual beings having a human experience and I know personally speaking when I operate from spirit, I have no trouble at all honoring and acknowledging the struggle and pain of others. It is only when my ego and "human" concerns overshadow my gratitude that I forget that judgment is not necessary. I lose nothing, NOTHING by acknowledging your struggle and I gain a connection to spirit that cannot be found any other way.

People want to go immediately to the sick or homeless when they picture struggle. I've been aware and lucky enough to have learned to look wherever I am. I know a single mother starting to work full time for the first time in years. She's frightened and she's doing it. I know a mother who's two children are at an age where they clearly see their father can't stop drinking. I know a teenager who has to go live with relatives he didn't even know he had in order to stay out of foster care. I know old people who can't afford their medicine. I know a young girl who just realized she is obese when the kids at school pointed it out. I know several people who work as hard as long as they can and they can't pay their bills. The stories of the human condition fill the pages and the hours of the history of the world. I haven't forfeited a thing by having concern for them.

I lose nothing by seeing and validating your struggle. The Ego says I need to fix the struggle but the spirit only asks me to acknowledge 

Complex and alternately beautiful laws of God come in to play when I try to explain this inexpiable truth, we are all connected. When I honor your struggle with acknowledgement I honor my own, loving you when you make it very difficult to even like you, I gain my own self acceptance. When I honor the part of God in you, the part of God in me expands exponentially. 

Gratitude, empathy and compassion are the three ingredients that give me a good life today. They keep my spirit growing, my human side (ego) in check and they make me feel almost on a daily basis, it's all worth showing up for.

I'll end with this. When I was young I had a Beagle. It' was a sweet sweet dog without a vicious bone in it's body. One day it got hit by a car and my dad rushed out to help it and it tried to bite my dad's hand off. When we are led by pain and fear, real or imagined, all of us, are very hard to love. Empathy AND Compassion help me look beyond the ugliness of pain and see a spirit in crisis.

That helps me get through my day.

Clinton Gandy
Gladewater, Texas
I spent the whole day doing whatever I wanted to do. Ate some good food, stopped by and fixed my mom's computer and even played some keno for a couple of hours. I had a sobering thought when I sat down at home finally that came from left field, There are mother's, fathers, sisters and brothers who spent their whole day trying to get enough food to survive one more day. I'm very thankful my primary goal for the day didn't have to be find enough food for my kids to not starve to death today. I'm not sure I am built for that kind of survival mode. So what I do or don't watch on Netflix and what temperature I set the air on for bed for the night is just about as high as high class problems as they come. Color me GRATEFUL as I know how to be.
My phone's gps kind of screws me now and then, but I learned something about living more fully and peacefully from it yesterday. For reasons unknown to me, sometimes my gps decides to change languages without warning. I was trying to find a thrift store in Tyler and I was in a part of the city I had never been through. GPS went Japanese on me and I missed the turn I wanted. I fought back the urge to yell at the cheerful Asian voice coming from my phone. I looked down and the gps said, "Re-calibrating".
It was so simple. I missed the turn, I'd have to rely on another way to get to where I was going. It would be fantastic to be a human with the ability to give ourselves freely the permission to "Recalibrate" when it looks like we have missed a turn in our lives. The fact is there is probably millions of ways to get to where i want to go, but I sure can beat the hell out of myself when I miss a turn.
Re-calibrating and re-configuring are super powers we humans when we have the PRESENCE of mind to stop and adjust our little plans. One of my favorite things to tell myself when something doesn't go the way I want it to is "This story is not going to end as you want it to, move on". When I come to acceptance, that place where the fact that things are or not the way I want then ceases to be an issue. It is what it is and I have the choice of growing roots where I am or recalibrating.
Just for today, I give myself permission to re-calibrate whenever necessary and without personal judgement. "This road isn't going to take you where you want to go". Recognize that and look for the alternate route.

Monday, September 1, 2014

In the end, there will be a piece of land. A small strip of land where our lives played out on, the highs the lows, the laughs the tears. Our stories while deathly important to us in the now, in the "then" won't even be a foot note in history. The place where medals were awarded for dreams and work of a life time will rightfully be relegated to being a decaying concrete platform in the middle of an empty field like this medals podium from a former Olympics. How many things in my life that seemed like the most important thing in the world have been laughingly right sized by time and perspective. Life has a way of right-sizing all of us. Take away the TV cameras and the pageantry and human emotion and all you have left is a piece of land where a story played out on. The earth came first and it will truly tell the final tale. One strip of land where the story of Clinton Gandy unfolded, where he clomped and stomped and occasionally chewed the scenery in an epic grand opera revolving his search for significance. I don't know why I find it such an appealing idea of the future stories of strangers that will be told right where my feet are standing now. It does appeal to me though. There is peace is the idea that my story is just another human story that plays out on the planet which is the third rock from the sun. It's my story, I'm happy to have it and I"m interested in seeing how it wraps up but just to know it's no more important than yours or less important allows me to enjoy the moment of being here. I"m thankful to have cast a shadow on the earth long enough to find and accept my place on it. I'm so thankful just to have the time to tell the story, to live the story these days. I guess we all have "decaying medal platforms" where ego and pageantry prevailed. I think of painstakingly carved graffiti in wooden tables. The simple epitaph of "Clinton Was Here" scratched into the surface will be sufficient. The simple fact I got to be here is enough. The idea that billions of people saw gold and silver medals awarded on this platform and it to be now in an unkempt parcel of land really speaks volumes about humanity. I'm good with words but I can't seem to verbalize the significance of this photo to my spirit. I've looked at it a dozen times. It's haunting. I love knowing that someone elses story will play out in the apartment I live in right this minute, someone else will have the job I have this minute, I love knowing that life and land go on when I no longer am cells filled with water casting a shadow. It makes my life on a daily basis much easier to know I am not the end all be all of anything. I am properly, right sized and grateful to be , as my buddy Frank T. used say, "fully clothed and in my right mind".

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Depression is very much the same phenomenon as childbirth. Unless you have actually been through the human occurrence you will never be able to have a breathing comprehension of either of them. All the most talented writers in the world can not accurately depict pain like that with words so average Joe can comprehend. 

If you don't know how someone with money and fame could kill themselves, you should count yourself one of the luckiest people on the planet. I understand completely when people take their own lives. I've been a double winner because I have both clinical depression and an addiction that allows me to use most anything chemical to the point of destruction.

The first time I knew that something was wrong with me was in fourth grade. I woke up and my soul hurt so much I couldn't get out of bed. I had no idea what caused that complete collapse of feelings and hope but it was real and it was profound.

In my teenage years I began to self medicate with food then alcohol. The worst thing in the world a person with depression can do is use a depressant like alcohol. Beyond the temporary euphoric sensations, the use of alcohol sets up deeper darker depression.

In the 90's with the birth of Prozac, I pinned my hopes on the little pill with the big buzz in the recovery world. I can't tell you how disappointed I was when it did nothing for me. From the year of 1992 to about 2010, I was tried out on 33 different medications to alleviate the darkness and pain I carried with me.

In 2010 my psychiatrist of a decade or more looked me dead in the eyes and "Clinton, there is no pill on the market that is going to fix what is wrong with you. The best I can help you do is use medication to get you on stable enough ground that if you want to feel better, it's up to you to do the work to make it happen". H may have said it before or this could have been the first time, but I HEARD it this day.

I realized at that moment, I had been looking for a pill to fix me.  I thought, there was a pill on the planet that would fill in all my cracks, to magically give me coping skills or to make me whole in a way I never was. I heard what he told me and did just that. I got sober, took the meds he prescribed and started crawling out of my isolation. I learned coping skills by going into weekly therapy and joining a 12 step group.

There is a darkness that once it settles inside a human susceptible to despair, that light cannot reach. One aspect of my depression is my mind never shut off. It constantly was trying to produce an idea that would get me out of the misery. I didn't sleep because I tried to think myself to sleep at night. There is a point when no matter what the cost, you are compelled to quiet the mind.

I lost a friend last year to a violent bloody suicide. Some people were shocked. I undersood. I have a weird reaction to suicide. I always feel like nodding my head and saying I understand. I understand not being able to find a way out of the thought storms inside your head. There are millions and millions of people who have no idea the torture of thoughts that won't turn off, a mind that will not settle. For some of us, hope has been a suckers bet. I ache for all those lost in plain sight, a thick glass wall separates some of us unlucky bastards that keeps us from touching all the good stuff.We watch the lives of others like looking at newborns in the hospital. Just out of reach and our nose pressed against the thick last window.

 I say this about Robin Williams as I have said about my friend Rusty's successful suicide last year, I hope that he finds the peace in death that eluded him in life. I believe that whatever put the universe together is merciful.  I know a lot of "early exits" and I nod in understanding to each one. I respect others pain today and I understand despair from the inside out. Just because I have strung some very good days together doesn't mean one day I might be looking for my own early exit. I'm sure Robin didn't dream it would end this way either. The world can be shocked and horrified but I, completely understand.

Just for today, I have a reprieve. I am not cured and the specter of doom and despair always waits for me should I quit doing the things I have to do in order to function like a whole person.

I have a warning to all those people that judge Robin Williams and the "Robins" of the world, until you have been wrapped in another's despair or trapped in a mind that won't turn off, you are not qualified to judge. Pain that doesn't end will drive humans to desperate measures.

The famous line about suicide is that it is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, and I think the person that said it never fought with the monster of Depression. It is hideous, heinous and it robs all of us,those who suffer with it and those who love the sufferer.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Think for yourself, draw your own conclusions.
I've never been a good follower. It seems to me that one draw of gang mentality young people have is that there is seemingly stability and safety joining other lost angry souls banded together to claim spaces and properties. They use hand codes and colors to signal to the world this is who I am. I am gang member X. In theory, there is stability of sorts and safety when we join giant herds of folks. In reality they are telling us what to think and what to wear and who to love and which to vote for.
There are times I have so desperately wished that i could just "drink the Koolaide" and follow the cows in the mindless herd. I wished I WERE Democrat or Republican or a Rotarian or even a Shriner just to name a few ready-made herds to fall into. It is easier to follow than to think original thoughts. It's easy to go with what is popular and ignore all signs my spirit is hurling at me that this doesn't fit me, this isn't for me, this is someone else's idea of safety, someone else's idea of "right" , someone else's idea of what is right.
I wasn't raised to think independently. It's not something I learned how to do in the home or in the school. I sort of came to earth with an immunity to herd mentality. I never fell into a group that wanted to think for me that felt "right". Even in Narcotics Anonymous which I credit solely for making a human out of me, the main goal for members is to quit using and have our own unique, one of a kind experience as a sober human,so that we can share our EXPERIENCE with others.
It suffocates me when I see smart, thoughtful people manipulated by news channels, talking heads, media outlets ran people people who need them to be so frightened and concerned about losing what is already theirs, or not getting what they someday want, they happilly turn over pocket books and votes to the man with the loudest microphone. Fearful people, panicked people can be taught to dance like puppets because they no longer listen to their own production of thoughts and feelings about what is right or wrong.
I don't see how that could be a very spiritually or emotionally fulfilling way to live.Giant religious organizations depend on people not asking questions, our government would rather us not delve into all of the comings and going and financials of them. People have to be held accountable in some form or another and that requires someone to question things.
At the birth of our Nation, someone started the thought process that England taxing the crap out of the Settlers was intolerable. Average people started the underground railroad to get slaves out of hell in the south. My head and spirit cannot wrap themselves around the idea that no one close to Hitler didn't object to his crazy plan and his murderous. heinous acts and kill him when his back was turned.
Edmond Burke wrote "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing".
That happens when no one is thinking original thoughts, no one is coming up with their own ideas about what is right or wrong in their own eyes. I have no desire , to live disconnected from my own experience. If I dress like you, wear my hair like you, talk like you, or vote like you, I would be having YOUR experience and not my own. I am clear about many things, one central one is I am a spirit having a human experience. That experience needs to be my own. No, it has to be. I need medication when I'm not living my own truth. I need medication in order to try and kill off the part of me that says "This isn't right", the part of me that knows the good part of me is comatosed.
The very human side of me knows it would be easier to fall into a ready made identity as a human. It would be too easy for my human part to embrace the identity of being an Aggie or a Longhorn, a Tea Partier, a Christian, a Buddhist and stop there. Like manufactured homes that come with furniture, homes that all you have to do is hang your clothes in the closet and BAM! You are done. Do we Embrace any of the prefab identities and just be done with the hard questions of "Who the hell am i" and "What do I believe"?
If it weren't for the part of me connected to something BIGGER than me, it would be easy to submit to a ready made me. The truth for me is, it isn't fulfilling to be a Lemming. I was born rejecting the categories that humans are suppose to fall into. My instinct wants to say I tried very hard to fit in the shadow boxes that the world created that let others know who we are and what we are about, but I think maybe I never really did try that hard. I understood from the get-go on some level beneath my thought that "this cutout" wasn't me. The real pain came for shoving my big foot into someone else's tiny shoe.
I've learned to love the fact that I have my own perspective. I see things differently that anyone I know. It's great to bump into someone that shares some common views with me but, it isn't my end game strategy. I'm here for MY own strange, trippy, trip. This is my spiritual journey in human form and it would be the biggest waste in the history of man for me to let someone else be in charge of my journey. I'm responsible. I'm responsible for what I know, and one thing I know is no one can think for me, love for me, live for me or learn for me. I am responsible for my journey, I am responsible for myself. Today, just for today, I am responsible.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

In the end, and I do mean the very end, it will not matter what title is in front of my name or the letters and designations that do/do not follow it. It will not matter what a big fine house I lived in or it will not matter what a big fine car I drove. At that end, what I did strictly for me , dies with me.  All that will remain is the ripple effect of the things I  touched with kindness, love and forgiveness.. I hope my ripple effect reflects the touch of peace. the touch of creativity. the touch of compassion, the touch of grace and the joy of laughter. When I lay down in that fateful field of strangers or my ashes take flight into the four winds, I hope I’ve left a ripple, that then became a wave.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

In 5th grade i had a teacher named Mrs. Killion. She was a large chested round southern black woman who had a penchant of saying "I'm from Missouri, You have to SHOW ME" For those of you like myself, who never heard this old saying, it is one of the unofficial state mottoes. It meant nothing to me at the time but I woke up this morning thinking about some of the young boys at the place where I work, specifically when they are hit with a big feeling and they don't know what to do with it. Most of the time whatever the feeling is consumes them like a dry tree in a forest fire. No one has ever shown them what to do with a big feeling.

I've shared bits and pieces of this concept before but I personally keep revisiting it because I'm just not through with it yet. We are born human but people have to show us, model for us what humanity looks and feels like.

Case in point, my dad used to raise exotic birds like Parrots and Macaws. Some pairs would lay eggs and daddy would have to take the eggs immediately out of the nest box, because the birds did not know how to sit on the eggs and keep them warm. Other birds new how to sit on the eggs but the moment the baby birds hatched, the parents abandoned them and they would starve to death because the birds just didn't know how to raise their babies. Those babies were pulled the moment they hatched and fed by my stepmother with a tiny eyedropper every 2 hours for weeks.

The birds had been bred in captivity so long that the parenting/ reproduction skill sets were completely lost. None of them could parent because they never saw it done and the instinct literally left them.

It's a big ass deep thought for me when I see boys of 14 consumed by anger or fear. No one ever taught them healthy ways of dealing with big feelings. No one taught me either and I mistakenly assumed that I was suppose to magically no how to do it. I felt ashamed at my lack ability to function through big emotion, I thought it was a defect of personality on my part. I didn't know that I was supposed to have been shown what do.

I get it now. Kids need to be shown what love looks like. They need to see how you treat the people you love and what your words sound like when you deal with your loved ones. Kid's need to see what forgiveness looks like . They need ringside seats to when compassion is shown to those who can do nothing for you. They need to see perseverance when a dream is collapsing down on someones head and they need to see that feelings aren't fatal. Neither is "failure".

We cannot rise above our level of programming. If we failed to get any quality programming or modeling as a child and lessons in humanity, we aren't magically going to wake up with them as adults. I'm reprogramming myself on a daily basis with a multitude of sources of new ideas, I'm gathering things I either missed as a child or wasn't exposed to. One big ass ugly feeling isn't enough today to shut me down completely and declare Marshall Law. It is only because I have witness friends and associates face the impossible and get through it that I am able to tell myself "My story doesn't end here". My peers and friends "model" those things that make me a good, capable, functioning human today and I learn from everyone I come in contact with.

I may have those moments when I get so mad it feels like i have been doused and soaked in gasoline and lit on fire, but I don't go into "ULTIMATE SELF DESTRUCT" mode when it happens.

How do we teach children that we are not slaves to our emotions, that one bad feeling isn't enough to implode upon ourselves. How do we let kids know, that what your having is a feeling and it will most certainly pass. Just don't take an action where you harm yourself or others and don't let the bad feeling have so much power you give away your future because of the pain of the present.

We all have to be shown. We joke about life not coming with a manual, it's because actions speak louder than words. I guess I'm am from Missouri, "You got to show me" too Mrs. Killion.