• “You Have No Enemies.”

    “You Have No Enemies.”

    “You have no enemies.” my girlfriend said to me from across the cold patio… except at that moment, she was my ex-girlfriend.

    Four words.

    So simple.

    And yet… she pierced my life-long outer shell so precisely and entered the stony chamber of my heart.

    Ten Hours Earlier…

    A week ago, I had just come home from what to all appearances was a fulfilling night of fellowship with my local recovery group.

    It was about 10PM.

    My phone rang…

    Why am I getting a call from a health provider in Oregon at this time of night?

    I missed the call…

    The voicemail was the pressured message from my youngest child saying in their usual way, I want to talk, but you don’t have to call back… I’ll call you tomorrow.

    I know how it feels to want and need to connect and being so afraid to ask for it…

    Because I’m not worth it.

    I immediately returned the call to discover my child was in a mental health stabilization unit experiencing post-partum psychosis.

    My poor child… so happy to hear from their father was literally out of their mind.

    And yet, was with it enough to throw out a plea for a life-preserver for connection with a man who loves them no matter what…

    It broke my heart into a million pieces to be able to love and grieve for this child’s predicament all at once…

    My training and affection for this child kicked in and together, we held space…

    Space for the mania, fear, desperation, and relief of it all…

    What will happen to them?

    What will happen to their baby?

    What will happen?

    “It’s going to be okay, sweetheart… You’re right where you’re supposed to be.”

    “I’m so proud of you and am here for you… no matter what.”

    Now What?

    I hung up the phone and as it approached 11PM, I called my dear friend and sponsor.

    His phone went to voicemail.

    Can I call someone else?

    Probably.

    I turned to my ex-girlfriend as a flood of thoughts and feelings overcame me.

    “What’s going on with [your daughter]?”

    This amazing woman, whom I was still sorting out how we were going to live together as somewhat estranged former-fiancés over the last few days, whom I barely spoke with that last week, reached out in concern for the wellfare of my child.

    This woman, whom I had hurt with harsh words and accusations of not being able to hear my feelings, set everything aside to be the shoulder for me to cry on.

    “Can I have a cigarette?”

    “Of course.”

    Upon Awakening

    We slept in separate rooms for the fourth night in a row–me on a leaky air mattress.

    I came outside onto the patio to feel something…

    What am I going to do for my child?

    Where am I going to live?

    Am I going to lose my cats?

    Am I going to lose my motorcycle?

    Am I going to lose my job?

    Am I going to lose my sobriety?

    Am I going to lose my mind?

    Am I losing my mind?

    I’ve lost my mind…

    Am I going to lose (forfeit) my life?

    Rapid-fire fears pummeled me from all directions like lightning in an echo chamber searing the very fabric of my sanity.

    Defeated…

    I cried.

    I remembered a scene from a movie where a man in a rowboat starts to panic as black water and cracks in the hull engulf him…

    And his Savior standing there saying gently, yet firmly… “Look at Me.”

    Don’t focus on the fear.

    I saw another scene where the same man handed over the body of his deceased daughter to his Loving God, crying out from bended knee, “Please take her. I can’t. I just can’t.”

    I sobbed.

    I became aware of the huge knot in my throat choking the will out of me to manage my own life anymore.

    I just can’t.

    My own way of doing things has led me to a place where I can’t manage my own life–my relationships, my job, my finances, my home… none of it.

    “Please take it. I can’t. I just can’t.”

    Four Words

    My ex-girlfriend came outside in her white bathrobe and beanie to shield her from the cold.

    I think she may have avoided making eye-contact with me.

    “May I have a cigarette?”

    “Of course. You should probably go buy yourself a pack. I’m almost out.”

    “You’re right.”

    From across the patio I whimpered, “I miss you.”

    Cautiously perhaps, yet softly she whispered, “I miss you.”

    I thanked her for being there for me last night and began to tell her that I was wrong for how I’ve been treating her.

    I can see how she is and has been a very loving person, and I was wrong.

    She listened.

    Then she said the four words that would break through the barriers of years of trauma and hypervigilance…

    “You have no enemies.”

    Why did I hear those words so profoundly?

    How is it with the precision of a heart surgeon, that this woman, whom I had so harshly judged, could see right through me to the crux of my problems and pierce me… to my core?

    Do the why and how really matter?

    Her simple statement began a domino effect of loosening layers of fear, anger, and hate I had been carrying for so many years… 47 to be exact.

    I cried.

    “May I have a hug?”

    “Of course you can.”

    And we stood there in the Sun of a new morning, and amidst the cold of a frosty January day, Light enveloped us anew.

    All of “my plans” for the day seemed unimportant all of a sudden.

    “Would you like to go for a motorcycle ride today?”

    “Really?” she queried with that little twinkle in her eye that resembles a child-like innocence and excitement–a lilt to her voice I’ve become especially fond of.

    “Yes.”

    Conclusion

    For years I have been living under the delusion that I am unsafe.

    As a child, I was frequently unsafe.

    However, as an adult, I have been trapped as a small terrorized child running amok in a man’s body.

    The delusion and coping strategy of hypervigilance has assured me through a regular feedback loop that everyone close to me or not will hurt me.

    I push away those I love.

    Out of habit.

    Out of fear.

    Out of sometimes I don’t even have the slightest fucking clue why…

    Trauma probably.

    I push away people who love me.

    Although trauma may be the reason, it can no longer be the excuse to abuse those I love, love me, and keep everyone at arm’s distance.

    Since my beloved Tricia uttered those four simple words, my life has been set on a vastly different trajectory.

    She’s right.

    I have no enemies.

    And since I have begun really embracing that, my outlook on life and especially how I regard others has changed significantly.

    The compassion modelled by Tricia to me and that I gave my child opened my eyes that everyone in the world is hurting in one way or another.

    Perhaps, when other people lash out with aggressive driving or harsh words, there’s a lost and scared child buried deep within them that’s crying out to feel loved and safe?

    Perhaps, they are not my enemy?

    Perhaps, there are no enemies?

    And if everyone is not my enemy, I am safe.

    And when I am safe, I am free to love.

    To love myself.

    To love Tricia.

    To love my child.

    To love the angry drivers on the highway.

    To love my life.

    I cannot overstate the dramatic impact this shift in my consciousness has had from those four simple words…

    You have no enemies.

    In the words of Tool’s song Pneuma, “We are all one spark…”

    Since the Spirit penetrated my heart through Tricia’s simple sentence, “I have no enemies” has become my mantra.

    My entire attitude towards myself and God’s children has been dramatically altered.

    This paradigm shift is one I must nurture from moment to moment with repetition because I easily forget I have no enemies.

    To the angry drivers, I have been praying, “God be with you.”

    I’ve stopped blocking aggressive drivers.

    I sheepishly waved and smiled at someone who was honking out of their own possible trauma-rage.

    I have had the most productive and inspired week at work since I started there.

    I am fascinated and deeply moved by humanity again.

    I have been an advocate for my child and grandchild while they discover their own hero’s journey.

    Tricia and I have been closer this last week than we ever have.

    Our first date was six months ago today.

    It brings me indescribable joy to share my life with this beautiful, loving woman.

    I have laughed and cried a lot this week.

    I am in love with Tricia again.

    I am in love with my cats.

    I am in love with those about me.

    I am in love with myself… possibly for the first time ever.

    I am in love with life.

    I have no enemies.

    Be well, my fellow travelers…

  • On Gratitude… and stuff

    Far be it from me to seize upon an obvious topic to tackle (like Winnie the Pooh – see post https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/10/08/tackling-trauma/) like gratitude (not Winnie the Pooh) on the eve of Thanksgiving.

    But here we are…

    ***And another thing – I do so love when I corner myself literally by date stamping a post to invariably finish it another day… (yes, the *** means something — you’ll understand later…)

    So, it’s quite fucking possible I will actually finish this post on Thanksgiving, and even more fucking (gratuitous use of “fucking” – ’tis the [fucking] season, after all) likely I will finish this post post-Thanksgiving…. Evidently, there’s a gratuitous use of “post” in this post as well…

    As is my yoozh… I digress…

    And speaking of gratuitous and the gratuitous use thereof, which apparently means either, “uncalled for; lacking good reason; unwarranted” or “given or done free of charge…” I gratuitously offer you the following uncalled for thoughts to chew on with your turkey… free of charge – except for the cost of your time and possibly your faith in subscribing to coherent blogs.

    You’re welcome. 🙂

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    And if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving because it is borne out of the oppression and deception of North America’s native peoples as well as millions of mis-treated turkeys, then I humbly apologize on behalf of the colonial bastards who helped form this allegedly great country of ours.

    Yes, I benefit from such colonialism as a white man, I wasn’t there at the time purging with the Puritans, and my overall influence on social justice as a whole is minimal at best…

    However (not to deny the previous statements), I hope that by naming such societal and historical circumstances, it will at least make Thanksgiving that much more meaningful (and awkward) for you.

    It’s not much…

    But it’s a start.

    Again, you’re welcome.

    Yes, I couldn’t decide on a gif, so I went with three of them.

    It must be the greedy colonial blood…

    Except I am the grandson of German and Austrian Jewish immigrants circa the 1930s… but you get the gist.

    Oh Yeah! Gratitude!

    Wow! This post went off the fucking rails in a hurry…

    Or did it?

    Perhaps it’s all part of the evil (I mean enlightening) plan?

    I find it incredibly ironic (funny, really) that gratuitous, which clearly has the same roots as gratitude, means uncalled for, unnecessary, AND given freely.

    The Latin root for gratitude is gratus, which means “pleasing; welcome; agreeable” (Google search).

    Although gratuitous derives some of its meaning from gratus, evidently, it also comes from the word grātuītus, which means “free.”

    Why, you might ask, am I splitting hairs (not hares – save the bunnies for Easter splitting – is that a thing? Oh, never mind…) on the nuances of this nomenclature?

    I haven’t the foggiest idea other than I’m hoping a point I can run with will emerge.

    AND!

    I love words… especially when they can inspire gratuitous discussion of how to get along on this spinning rock in the vastness of space and time…

    Free? Yes.

    Unnecessary? Perhaps…

    Pleasing, welcome, and agreeable? Well….

    That depends on you, fair reader.

    As for me…

    I am very grateful for this little existential elucidation through etymology…

    So yeah…

    Gratitude…

    There have been debates abound about the nature and expression of gratitude…

    I feel for those whom need debate this topic… They’re probably members of a well-known 12-Step program (oh yeah, I am one of those people doing exactly that–except it’s a one-sided debate because this is my blog, after all…)

    And I’d like to think of it as less debate and more mental masturbation in the hopes of inspiring others to… you guessed it – thrive beyond motherfucking trauma!

    *** (remember these?)

    Well…

    Let me take you on a little trip down memory lane…

    Remember when I said I would (and I quote), “invariably finish it [this post] another day…”?

    Yeah, me too.

    So, the day after Thanksgiving, I spent over two hours furiously tapping away at ye ol’ keyboard of dreams developing a masterpiece for you all.

    I extolled the virtues of feeling and showing gratitude, gave real-life examples, included a few South Park and “That’s what she said” gifs, and I’m pretty sure I casually mentioned bestiality (and my regret for Googling such to check my spelling since WordPress denies it’s a word… oh never mind. It turns out I was misspelling it. I’m grateful I don’t know how to spell that).

    Any-who….

    Perhaps calling that work a “masterpiece” is a bit grandiose and self-generous (is that a word?).

    Nonetheless and by and by, I placed a draft (so I thought) upon the Ether that basically said I (I mean you) need to let go of using labels such as “good” and “bad” and be fucking grateful for EVERYTHING.

    I felt fairly self-gratified whipping out such wisdom…

    And then it happened…

    I noticed Old WordPress kept saying I could not post pictures because of some bullshit about me not having permission to post on this blog (maybe because of Googling morally questionable words).

    Meanwhile, I had been saving my work all along… Or so I thought…

    So in my wisdom (yes, the same I whipped out earlier), I decided to log out of WordPress hoping that would fix the issue.

    That is the extent of my IT prowess… Turn it off and turn it back on again…

    WordPress did ask me if I REALLY wanted to log out because I may lose all my unsaved work.

    Long story long, I thought I had been saving all along, but Nooooooooo….

    I lost my delectable diatribe on gratitude.

    Yes, I went through the well-known stages of grief, including but not limited to denial and especially anger…

    I did everything I could to check my post’s version history and browser history to recover the lost work.

    It was not there.

    Then my grief shifted gears into a big fucking slice of humble pie…

    I could only laugh (I was still pissed) at myself because it felt like the Universe was giving me a dose of my own medicine.

    The Universe said, “Great work, David (yeah, we’re on a first-name basis… no biggie). Here, let’s see if you really believe and practice the shit (I mean spiritual wisdom) you’ve been spewing out for others to swallow….”

    And swallow it, I did…

    I’m Sure There’s a Lesson Here

    Yes, there’s a goddamn lesson here!

    Pay attention to notifications that WordPress gives me when it says it’s not saving my shit, and oh yeah… be fucking grateful without beating your beloved readers over the head with spiritual platitudes etched in ego…

    So yeah…

    If you’re a praying person, perhaps you could thank the Almighty for sparing you that post that never was via my personal humbling and humiliation.

    However, if I were to express gratitude (without lecturing about how you should do it — see, I’m learning), I would express gratitude to the responsiveness of the WordPress support staff for showing empathy for my situation, clearly explaining what happened, and giving me instructions to correct (or avoid) the problem from happening again.

    They were very helpful.

    And as you may have guessed, I followed their instructions, cleared my browser history, cache, and cookies, and it fixed the problem.

    Regrettably, bestiality found it’s way back into my search history–again for spelling purposes only… Fuck, I’ve done it again…

    Don’t worry… What I wrote was mostly tasteful, and I do not advocate for nor condone harming animals… Okay, maybe turkeys… humanely.

    Fuck, there’s no way to explain my way out of this one so I’ll just let your imagination fill in the blanks.

    I’m a work in progress, and I’m damned grateful for the grace of these little life lessons.

    And the way I express my gratitude is by demonstrating to you fine folks that I fuck up regularly, I get opportunities to clean up my mistakes, and I am damned grateful for the joy of this experiment we call life…

    Conclusion

    Everyone’s an example…

    Smart people learn from their own mistakes.

    Wise people learn from others’ mistakes.

    Be wise.

    Use the wisdom I whipped out and lost.

    Life is a journey, and there’s literally something to learn from every experience we have.

    Sometimes the learning process is painful and humiliating as hell.

    Sometimes it’s… oh never mind… learning sucks!

    But just because it sucks doesn’t mean you can’t be grateful for it.

    I’ve learned a few things through this latest adventure in literary lunacy.

    Sure, my ego is still fairly intact, but I’m grateful for that, too.

    It reminds me I have more growing to do and a host of friends and support to help me.

    Plus, I think my ego-etched writing style is just edgy enough (lots of “e” words) to be…. entertaining… exceedingly so. Okay, maybe that was too much.. Perhaps even exorbitantly so…

    The point is….

    Gratitude, like everything else, is a practice to ease the pain of this journey of life.

    Although I am certainly not qualified to give advice, I suggest adopting a regular gratitude practice.

    Practice an attitude of gratitude.

    Make a daily gratitude list.

    Share it with others…

    Demonstrate your gratitude by paying it forward to those in need.

    Embrace all that is as a gift to help you grow into the best version of yourself.

    And when all else fails…

    Be grateful anyway!

    I so want to find a way to finish with a “That’s what she said” gif…

    Alas, I think this time I shall spare you the pain of my perversion.***

    Be grateful…

    Be well 🙂

    Thank you once again for tuning into the mad rants of a would-be mental healthcare worker (except I am one 😉 ). If you’ve enjoyed reading this post half as much as I did writing it (except the part where I lost two hours of work), then please follow, like, comment, complain, or unsubscribe…. hell, it’s up to you.

    Believe it or not, I am actually a very happy person and have learned a thing or two about trudging this trail of thriving beyond trauma. I’d love to partner up with you and coach you into living the life of your dreams. I am. So should you!

    Reach out via email to davidgreenleaf4life@gmail.com or check me out on the socials on IG @greenleaf_4_life and TikTok @greenleaf4life.

    But wait, there’s more!

    If you want to hear what the voice behind the words sounds like, check out my podcast. It’s on all major platforms. Here’s the Spotify link if you’re so inclined. Be sure to stay tuned for Season 2 due to premier next year!

    Also, be sure to check out a recent interview I did with Leela Davis on What I Didn’t Tell My Therapist. It’s the Season 2 finale, episode 18, and we take a deep dive into Love Addiction and Codependency. If you’re struggling with relationships or find yourself avoiding them altogether, this episode is for you!

    ….

    Yes, there was one set of four dots above…

    Made you look!

    Byeeeeee! 🙂

  • The Waiting Game…

    Of course, I know what I mean by “The Waiting Game.”

    However, looking at the date of my last post, evidently, it also applies to me sitting my ass down to once again regale you fine folks with my thoughts on thriving beyond trauma.

    The last post doesn’t really count because I mostly just copied-and-pasted the intro chapter to my new book (which I have not been writing either).

    So, as I become aware of the glistening nail in the board of which I am currently beating myself with, it’s been over a month since I wrote a post of real substance.

    Whew! The shame swamp is murky today!

    Somewhere, someone told me I get a certain satisfaction out of self-flagellation and self-pity…

    To wit: “We [I] wallow in this messy bog, often getting a misshapen and painful pleasure out of it” (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, pg. 45).

    So, we (again, I) will kindly greet the inner critics, embrace them, and bid them adieu.

    So, in a word… Welcome…

    And thank you for tuning into another installment of how I try to make meaning out of my madness and illustrate that despite my grosser handicaps, life and my attitude are going very well… or as well as I allow them to.

    I think…

    Hurry Up and Wait

    No, not really.

    Don’t do that.

    The “hurry up” part I mean.

    I mean, if you really want to hurry up, by all means, have at it.

    Who the fuck am I to suggest what you should and shouldn’t do?

    I just know that by gaging the barometer of my own current mental health, this hurry up and wait bullshit has not boded well for yours truly.

    And what, pray tell, have you been hurrying up and waiting for, David? You may be asking yourself…

    Well, young Bucky, that’s exactly what I intend to expound upon.

    So just hold your fucking horses and…

    wait…

    See how fucking good that feels?

    With all of this patience I’ve been practicing, you’d think I was a fucking doctor.

    Yes, I realize the pun works better spoken than written, but you get the gist.

    Yes, a fine question indeed, curious reader.

    Why are ANY OF US here?

    And where is HERE?

    These are perhaps thoughts for another, more philosophically comforting post.

    For now, I’m merely stalling whilst I think of what to write next.

    Ah yes, this hurry up and wait shit.

    Since I have not written for a skosh*, you may be blissfully unaware that I have been in pursuit of a new job.

    *The word skosh comes from the Japanese word sukoshi, which is pronounced “skoh shee” and means “a tiny bit” or “a small amount” (interwebs).

    Despite my best intentions to become a world-renowned writer and would-be Life Coach/CrossFit coach/behavioral health tech, the Universe has steered me in the direction of working for the State serving elderly vets (veterans, not animal doctors… I suppose I could’ve just written “veterans” to begin with and eschewed obfuscation – don’t distract me).

    Three plus weeks ago, I interviewed for said position and was given reasonable reason (not sure if that’s redundant) to believe I will be offered the job.

    It would be very helpful to have a career with good benefits and pay while I plan world domination, er… I mean inspiring the masses into self-actualization via thriving beyond trauma.

    After the very encouraging interview and reassurance from a friend already working at the facility, I was advised that the Human Resources department would begin vetting me…

    I was also warned that HR’s process would likely take some time.

    The friendly suggestion from my soon-to-be-I-fucking-hope-so-boss and my friend was to….

    ..

    be patient.

    Did you notice one of the dot series above was only two dots?

    Did you go back and look…?

    Yeah, that’s kind of what the last three weeks have been like for me.

    I have heard from the friendly HR lady about four times requesting information from me to conduct her background check.

    Granted, I have a fingerprint security clearance card with the State of Arizona, so I feel reasonably sure the State’s background check will go through…

    Or will it?

    I got an email from said friendly HR lady stating I omitted a couple of my past employers (which I did due to job relevance [and embarrassment]), and I was reminded I needed to include ALL of my former employers on the application.

    Great. Now they think I’m a fucking liar.

    And…

    My resume, although filled with job-relevant qualifications, definitely has some holes in it.

    Not to mention (except I am), some short terms at said jobs.

    Then, what about my references?

    Are they responding to the HR requests?

    What about my credit, my Facebook, and the phase of the moon?

    It is said in some book, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” (Proverbs 16:27).

    However, my hands have been far from idle…

    My hands have been fiddle-fucking with my iPhone every five-to-fifteen minutes ad nauseum checking my email for news about this job.

    If you’ve never been there, you may not relate to this level of obsessive/addictive thinking…

    But the chronic checking of my email is akin to waiting for the dope-man to call (or more importantly, show up with the fucking dope since I gave him my money and he’s been gone for four fucking hours – yes, I’m speaking from personal experience).

    And in case the State’s HR department is reading my blog, I haven’t done that shit for over 20 years. And I disclosed it on my resume and application… sort of.

    No, I’m not the least bit rattled right now…

    The coup de grace (which of course, I did to [for] myself) was quit my tree trimming job.

    My reasoning made sense except as it eliminated my income.

    I was tired of working in unsafe conditions and experiencing constant pain.

    From that stand-point, leaving my job was a sound decision.

    Ceasing to make money was perhaps a teensy-weensy bit insane.

    So, while coupling fear of (and perhaps actual) financial insecurity with sitting on my ass and waiting to hear about this job, if there is a devil, he’s had me strapped down (tied by my idle hands, I suppose) in his workshop of worry.

    And yes, I’ve been hurrying the waiting…

    Or something like that…

    Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There!

    At first glace, that heading may not make much sense…

    Perhaps like most of my writing.

    And, as usual, more will be revealed.

    Although it feels like my activities have mostly consisted of staring at my fucking phone (yes, the email) as well as social media, I’ve actually done a few things with my idle hands.

    I visited my children and met my first granddaughter…

    The experience of meeting my new grandbaby was nothing short of spell-binding. Upon meeting, that wee one stared into my soul for a solid minute and stole my heart (you know, the black shriveled one). Meeting her was such a powerful experience, my eyes even changed color!

    You can think what you want about that last statement…

    The point is, meeting my child’s child was a spiritual experience I am eternally grateful for.

    Seeing both of my children was the temporary emotional and spiritual jump-start I needed.

    I also showed my sweetheart some sights in Oregon…

    Ran the Rugged Maniac obstacle course…

    Trimmed our trees…

    Took my sweetie on a motorcycle ride to a ghost town…

    And I have released a litany of cat TikTok videos…

    So, my hands haven’t exactly been “idle,” per se…

    And yet, I find plenty of reasons to beat myself up for not being productive nor good enough whilst I await the commencement of my new career.

    Oh, and to minimize the crazy, I’ve stepped up my recovery efforts; I got a new sponsor, increased my meeting attendance, and have taken on some service positions.

    So there’s that, too.

    But what about this business of NOT just doing something and choosing to stand there?

    What I mean by that is sometimes in the fray of discomfort, one tends to keep themselves busy and distracted in a feeble attempt to shortcut or outright eliminate unwanted feelings.

    While distraction has its merits, and doing things we need and want to do are infinitely better than ruminating, sometimes, (most times) we need to sit still and feel the uncomfortable feelings…. At least for a little while…

    That which we resist (or ignore) persists.

    So, as of late, I have found myself mindfully sitting with the feelings and thoughts I’d rather avoid.

    By speaking them out into the Universe and sharing them with friends and the Almighty, I have been able to (mostly) allow the yuck to flow through me.

    When I consciously focused on feeling the feelings, I felt some relief.

    Whilst mindlessly grasping for the email I yearned for, I stayed stuck.

    I felt so stuck that my creativity was stunted – hence no blog posts.

    Today and yesterday, I watched little birds searching for seeds in our backyard.

    I contemplated a part of the Bible that basically says the birds don’t worry about where or when they’ll get their next meal, so why should we?

    Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life . . . Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them . . .  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 25-27).

    Yes, I cherry-picked parts of that excerpt for my own convenience, and if you know me by now, I am certainly not telling you you need to believe everything (or anything for that matter) in the Bible.

    However, it was comforting for this Buddhist neo-pagan to remember that particular verse.

    By taking my feelings to my Higher Power, sitting with them with as little judgement as I could muster, and seeking guidance from the Universe, the birds inspired me to practice faith and patience.

    I felt assured that our needs would be taken care of (and are currently taken care of), regardless of how the job circumstances worked out or not.

    I knew I have everything I need, and more will be revealed.

    So, don’t just do something, stand there!

    You gotta feel to heal!

    What a Twist

    So, because the Universe has impeccable timing and certainly a twisted-ass sense of humor and irony, something amazing happened while I was writing that last section…

    I got the call!

    Yes, THE call I’ve been waiting (and hurrying) for.

    The HR department just called me and offered me the job!

    I find it incredibly ironic that as soon as I finally got off my ass (except I am technically sitting on my ass right now – don’t confuse me with the facts) and began writing this blog about my meandering journey of surrender, I got the fucking call.

    Ha ha, God….

    Good one.

    So yeah…

    I’m fucking ecstatic, humbled, and feel a bit lightheaded.

    I would be lying if I said I never had a doubt about getting the job…

    I mean, if you’ve made it this far into this post, you know damn well I had plenty of doubt.

    Waiting does not come easily for me – especially when I place my self-worth and sense of security into the hands of others.

    My inner revolutionary shudders that it’s actually the State I gave this much power over me to.

    Regardless!

    This exercise of writing and waiting once again illustrates an important point…

    “It means that this damn thing doesn’t work at all!” –Doc Brown

    And of course, by “this damn thing,” I mean my fucking head.

    I cannot think my way into better living, only live my way into better thinking.

    Every step of this blessed bloodbath was necessary to (hopefully) teach me (remind me) of the ever important lessons of surrender.

    So, you’re welcome.

    Hopefully, whilst reading about my flailing, you can pick up a thing or two about not taking yourself (or life) so seriously and practicing patience.

    Or not…

    More will be revealed…

    Conclusion

    Well, folks, this brings us to the conclusion (hence the heading aptly named “Conclusion”) of our latest lesson in surrendering to the flow of life…

    What have we learned here today?

    That the author (me) is a madman and clearly has an on-going reservation at the padded-room hotel.

    One jacket, extra long sleeves please. Oh, and do make sure there’s plenty of buckles in the back…

    I, for one, feel better for having made it down this meandering path of mania somewhat intact.

    I’ve hurried…

    I’ve waited…

    I’ve stood still…

    I’ve felt the feelings…

    And put my idle hands to work…

    I do wonder if my regular readers tire of the repeat gifs…

    However, wonder does not quite enter into the realm of care because I do so love them!

    The gifs, that is… And yes, I love the readers, too!

    Just like my growing library of kitty TikToks…

    Here’s a small sample… Enjoy!

    They make me smile.

    And at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want?

    To smile?

    Despite my apparent difficulties with patience, faith, and dare I say, emotional maturity, I know who I am and what I want…

    And when I am pursuing my passions, I smile.

    No, I don’t smile all of the time… Just ask Tricia.

    It’s unreasonable to expect to be happy all of the time.

    Except I think most people I know want constant happiness and certainly strive for it.

    The thing is is I cannot enjoy the positive feelings if I don’t allow myself to lovingly (flailing like a wounded animal) feel ALL of my feelings.

    There is not a drug or instant fix for me to change my mind and feelings.

    I mean, sure there are… and I’ve done quite a few of them.

    However, the consequences of running away from myself are no longer tolerable.

    The high cost of low living is not worth it to me anymore.

    I’d rather feel authentic and grow through my discomfort rather than mask what’s really going on.

    I know from my own experience (as mentioned earlier), that which I resist persists.

    The only way out is through.

    I used to have a sponsor whom frequently said, “Lean into the pain.”

    When I take evasive maneuvers to avoid my feelings and pretend like everything is okay, those feelings will get stuck and come back later.

    I must allow all of it to flow through me.

    Don’t get me wrong…

    Mindset and deciding to practice gratitude and happiness are essential…

    But (And) there must be balance…

    And so this latest episode (and it won’t be the last) of coming to grips with waiting and detaching my self-worth from my accomplishments and others’ approval is but another stepping stone in the journey of thriving beyond trauma.

    I come by my neurosis honestly. (see posts: https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/06/22/the-phoenix/ and https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/10/08/tackling-trauma/)

    The rub is that today, I do not get to blame others for my current choices.

    I am not a victim. I am a volunteer.

    I am accountable to take care of my own emotional wellbeing and mental health.

    No one else is!

    Sure, my childhood afforded me several downloads of damaged goods…

    But that was then. This is now.

    And goddammit, I’m doing the best I fucking can!

    So, as I gleefully remove the nifty nail from the board I beat myself with, I pause and remember I have a lot to be grateful for…

    Including the shit storms inside my head.

    All of life contains lessons in increasing my awareness and self-compassion.

    And from that place, I realize, others aren’t out to get me… (I hope)

    Fortunately, for today, the “they” that are out to get me are only in my head. (Again, I hope)

    And I can tolerate and even love the “they” in my head.

    And when I can do that…

    I am free to love you…

    I’m resisting the urge to set up a “That’s what she said” gif here…

    Perhaps I am maturing?

    See that wasn’t so hard…

    wait for it….

    ….

    And yes, there was an extra dot in the above dot series…

    And maybe you looked again? 😉

    Be well 🙂

    Thank you, thank you, thank you… I’ll be here all week. Unless, of course, a meteor takes us all out… But alas, I’ll try to keep my nihilistic demented dreams to myself.

    No, I won’t.

    I came across a gif earlier that sums up what I want to say about liking, following, commenting, etc. on this blog…

    You know where to find me… (see previous posts for contact info…. if you dare!)

    Peace! 😎

  • A Book is Born…

    A Book is Born…

    Or at least, inseminated…

    Okay folks, this may be officially my laziest blog post yet.

    A writer-friend of mine as well as my beloved Tricia encouraged me to start writing a book.

    Yes, the wisdom of these fine people must surely be questioned because isn’t it bad enough I spew my salacious soliloquys online?

    Well, young Bucky, I thank you for your concern and kindly ask you to mind your own damned business…

    I’m a mission from God, goddammit!

    And speaking of young Bucky…

    The Book.

    My first book henceforth shall be known as Darth Vader

    And don’t call me Shirley either…

    No….

    The book shall be called (is called, but it’s not written yet) Letters to Bucky – From Confusion to Evolution.

    Rather than explain what the hell that means, I am simply going to copy and paste the book’s introduction below for your reading (dis)pleasure.

    So, it’s not really laziness…

    It’s more like a form of self-plagiarism and self-promotion sprinkled with a little accountability for flavor.

    I’ve only written the intro and who knows where the hell the book will go…

    I’m super excited to write it, am having fun doing it, and believe this is the next step for thriving beyond trauma for yours truly.

    So clear you palate, kneel down, and open up for a teaser of what’s to come…

    Bon appetit!

    I present to you the beginning of a new era… (if I humbly say so myself)

    Note: Disregard the bullshit about the font below because I couldn’t figure out how to make WordPress match the Google Docs formatting I used.

    Yes, I spent more than five minutes trying to make a letter A look different…

    Say hi to Bucky for me!

    And So It Begins..

    And… Go!

    That’s the closest I can come up with to a starting point for this book… A book which I have not written yet.  However, I do have a big fancy “A” in the beginning so that’s something.  It’s in “Lobster” font, too.  Never heard of it, but I like it.  It looks official… and snappy.

    And the “A” is in 26 point font… So that’s a double 13!

    Yes, gird your loins for plenty o’ cheesy puns and 13 references in the following pages of semi-factual, self-revealing letters to Bucky.

    Perhaps, these things will make more sense to you (and me) later.

    More shall be revealed…

    But before we get too far ahead of ourselves, you may be asking yourself, “Who is Bucky?”  Or maybe you’re wondering, “How did I end up in this padded cell holding this book?”

    Excellent questions, curious reader!

    The good news (is there really good or bad news?) is… Allow me to rephrase that.  The news is I may or may not actually answer your inquisitive inquiries [yes, brace yourself for gloriously repetitive redundancies—it’s kind of my gig].

    And…

    I have yet to title this section because I’m not sure if it’s a preface, prologue, or introduction.  Why limit ourselves with labels at this point, right?

    I know it’s not a forward because supposedly, someone else who has read and liked this book will write that.  And since no one has read this unwritten book (except God… dun, Dun, DUN), this shall not be the forward.  Perhaps, someday a forward will exist, but heretonow, none shall pass…

    Oh yeah, I will probably get sued for many-a-pop-culture references as a lot of my life seems to have been formed by TV, music, and movies (in no particular order).

    Oh, and I tend to meander and digress tangentially (yes, more redundancies) on this pilgrimage of writing.

    It could be undiagnosed ADHD or the (past) use of psychedelics, but I prefer to think of it (my cascading thoughts/writing style) as akin to Dr. Evil’s (yes, THE Dr. Evil) description: “The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament.”

    So, in a word (or many at this point), welcome!

    Ah yes, there was a reason for writing this labeless beginning…

    Oh!  That’s it!

    Who the hell is Bucky, and why the fuck am I writing this?

    Yes, I do use profanity… quite a fucking lot of it.

    That’s what this section is…

    I’m giving you all of the reasons you should not read this book.

    Perhaps you’ve already discovered them on your own and haven’t even made it to the second page?

    Hello?

    Are you still there?

    [tap, tap] Is this mic even on?

    You know.. The imaginary mic I’m using as I type to my imaginary audience.

    Anywho…

    Fuck it!

    I’m here, and we’re gonna talk about Bucky, goddammit!

    Well, I’m going to write and maybe someone is going to read about Bucky.

    Yes… Bucky.

    That motherfucker!

    I do mean that in the nicest way possible.

    So…

    Bucky, Bucky, Bucky…

    The concept (or person) of Bucky comes from a line I stole from a movie I cannot remember.  Otherwise, I would gladly reference it.

    The line is brief.

    And it isn’t even a full line.

    Somewhere, someone finished a sentence or included the words, “young Bucky” in the middle of a sentence.

    I’m thinking the intention was somewhere between condescending and as a term of endearment.

    Maybe it was Chevy Chase?

    That sounds like something he’d say…

    Nonetheless, I have become quite fond of addressing my audience and myself as young Bucky whilst writing in my blog.

    Oh yeah, there’s a blog, too.

    And really, that’s where the idea for this book came from.

    I have been writing a blog about my own personal journey of thriving beyond trauma.

    The blog is rife with examples of coping with and thriving beyond the effects of trauma, mental health challenges, codependency, and addiction.

    Not to mention (except I am mentioning it), an exorbitant amount of “That’s what she said” gifs and other memes and such I feel punctuate my points (which as you can probably tell by now, my points digress and meander).

    As I felt the creative juices flowing (they taste like Bang Energy drinks—watermelon flavor), the seed which is now germinating and growing into this book took root (and other tree metaphors).

    While my life’s story is certainly not spectacular, writing my blog for the last few months has revealed to me some folks relate to my tales.

    And it is through the power of story where we connect as human beings.

    The shared journey bridges the chasms between us.

    When we relate, we remember our humanness and cease to flip each other off on the freeway… or at least less so.

    Human connection is paramount to anything I can think of (besides Divine Purpose), but we’ll get into that (possibly) later in this book.

    Ah fuck it!

    Let’s get into that right now!

    I believe that my lived experience and insights are gifts to be shared so that others may relate and feel better about themselves.

    Sure, you may relate, or you may think, “Geez, this fucker is fucked up!”

    Nonetheless, I grabbed onto the idea (or it grabbed me—that’s what she said) that through sharing my story, I can help people heal.

    I know this because I have begun my “hero’s journey” by listening to and relating to others’ stories.

    I hope what I write helps someone.

    That’s my Divine Purpose… I call it my Sacred Calling.

    And yes, I’ll expound upon that in a future chapter that hopefully I’ll follow through and eventually write.

    So, again, David… What the hell does Bucky have to do with this?

    Well…

    Thank you for reminding me.

    This book shall be formatted as letters to Bucky (hence the title).

    It’s my intention to write letters to Bucky from various stages of my life.

    And yes, Bucky shall serve as not only my imaginary friend, my conscience, my inner-child, my inner-critic, or whatever serves me literally as I make this shit up.

    I mean, most of it will be based in fact.

    But as you read on, you’ll soon discover, especially at certain points in my life, the person in the chapter (me) is not actually able to write a letter to Bucky (why will be obvious as you read on).

    I’m hopeful Bucky sheds some insight, hope, direction, and compassion as we meander down this path of self-revelation.

    So, sit back.

    Relax.

    Grab your favorite beverage (no judgment) and fur-baby (to hold, not drink), and step into the wild world of Letters to Bucky: From Confusion to Evolution.

    Conclusion

    What’d ya think?

    Maybe reserve your judgement for after I write (and you buy/read) the whole book.

    I, for one, am very excited to write this book.

    For me, the joy of artistic expression lies in the creative process.

    This book, although it’s for me, is also for any poor soul whom may relate.

    I feel very alive and like I am… how do you say? Thriving like a motherfucker when I am in the flow of furiously tapping away at the keyboard!

    This book shall be a labor of love and fun.

    Thank you for reading…

    And until next time, I bid you adieu.

    Be well 🙂

    Blah, blah, blah… yackety-yak… you know the rest. Show some initiative, read my shit, tell me you read it somehow, and we shall live happily ever after…

    You know how to find me…

    And I know how to find YOU.

    Peace!

  • Tackling Trauma

    Oh no… he used the “T” word!

    Yes, young Bucky, I did.

    And here is your trigger warning for what may follow…

    Since this fucking blog represents itself as various rants regarding thriving beyond trauma, and I’ve written 40 some-odd (mostly odd) posts about that, perhaps we’re due to discuss this trauma business.

    There are many more qualified experts than yours truly to “tackle” the subject of trauma, and many have.

    However, what I offer here is my limited understanding and experience for you to chew on.

    And speaking of “tackling,” I mostly chose that word because of the “T” alliteration with trauma.

    It’s the poet in me…

    Said that, she hath…

    The interwebs (they NEVER lie) say that tackling is to “make determined efforts to deal with (a problem or difficult task).”

    Of course, most folks in this culture of mixed cultures may think of tackling someone in football (American or otherwise).

    Regardless of your chosen definition, I seriously doubt I’ll make a determined effort nor slam trauma to the ground.

    I humbly (not so humbly, for I do use the f-word frequently. You know. Fuck. I think you knew. I just wanted to write fuck) submit to you the following (fucks)…

    I think it’s important to not only acknowledge and discuss trauma, but rather than “tackle” it, we shall walk right up to the motherfucker, eye it with cautious curiosity, take a sniff, embrace it, and then slam that bitch down behind the line of scrimmage, hopefully, in the end-zone.

    This is me trying to sound like I know shit about American football…

    Well, and approaching trauma.

    Okay, maybe that was an unclear example.

    Permit me to eschew obfuscation…

    Imagine you’re walking up to a grizzly bear (trauma). You’re terrified (angry, nervous, or what have you).

    As you get closer, you discover it’s a person in a Winnie-the-Pooh costume.

    You gently remove the Winnie-the-Pooh mask (don’t tackle Winnie-the-Pooh… I shouldn’t have to say this)…

    And the person you find under the mask is you!

    Kinda like Luke and Vader…

    Wait, I am MY father? I’m so confused…

    Make sense now?

    Good.

    Perhaps, it’ll make more sense later (to both of us).

    A Tale of Ts

    Yes, that was another “T” alliteration.

    Isn’t poetry fun?

    Once upon a time, a daddy T and a mommy T sat down to have some tea. The mommy T asked the daddy T, “What kind of tea would you like?”

    The daddy T said, “Tih, please.”

    The mommy T, unsure of what Tih was, inquired, “Tih?”

    The daddy T smiled and said, “Yes. I’d like some “Tih-Tea.”

    And nine months later the baby t was born….

    Now you know the Tale of the Ts.

    This no cookie!

    Okay, not really…

    That may be a tale of Ts, but mostly just one to amuse myself….

    What I really mean is trauma is often categorized into two types.

    Big T trauma and little t trauma…

    Possibly one of the most unnecessary pics I’ve posted…
    Nope… THIS is the most unnecessary one…

    Okay!

    Stop distracting me!

    Since earlier I said I won’t be making a determined effort (tackling), I’ll let you check out the following definition of big T and Little t (see what I did there?):

    To wit… “In addition, acute psychological traumas, such as the death of a parent, are part of the big T trauma definition. Chronic (ongoing) trauma, such as repeated abuse, can also qualify as big T trauma. Little t trauma refers to events that typically don’t involve violence or disaster, but do create significant distress.” (Interwebs)

    So if big, horrible ongoing shit occurs in someone’s life, that’s Big T trauma.

    If one suffers some less significant loss, that’s little t.

    And…

    Trauma is highly subjective.

    In other words, what may be very traumatic for one person may be not-so-traumatic for another.

    I won’t attempt to conjure up the why for this subjectivity.

    It could have to do with temperament, social supports, ideologies, etc…

    Okay, I just conjured up some potential whys.

    The point is, as a starting point (repetitive points), it’s important to understand that some events are significantly distressing to some folks.

    And said events are significant enough to have long-standing effects such as feeling unsafe, fearful, enraged, hyper-vigilant, anxious, depressed, overwhelmed, a need to over achieve, and in this case, over explaining… to give a few examples.

    And…

    The motherfucker of all this is “trauma is not the exception; it’s the expectation” (Source unknown).

    Many, many people (I’m hesitating to say all, but I think all people) have experienced trauma.

    And…

    Trauma is not the event…

    It’s our reaction to the events.

    And…

    We are not necessarily in control of our reaction to said events…

    In many cases, denial and shutting down emotionally to a traumatic event is a protective measure to keep our heads from exploding… Well, not literally.

    So before you beat yourself with the board and nail, remember, be gentle with yourself whilst approaching the Grizzly-Winnie-the-Vader.

    No tackling!

    It’s okay, Mr T. Let it out…

    Before I go on to bore you with more explanations, consider the following examples from my own life…

    Big T Trauma:

    My father repeatedly abused me mentally, emotionally, and physically.

    He screamed, yelled, threw things, chased me, told me I was stupid, beat me with a black leather belt, ping-pong paddle, or whatever was convenient.

    He made it clear I was not wanted.

    Little T Trauma:

    I lost my tree trimming business, and my ex-wife left me (while I was struggling with the effects of the Big T trauma through my poor choice to self medicate with weed).

    Now it could be argued that my little t trauma could be a Big T trauma, but again, it’s subjective.

    To me, although distressing, business and marriage loss were not AS traumatic as the on-going terror I lived with as a child.

    Which brings me to my next point…

    When one experiences a single significant traumatic event, they are often diagnosed with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

    Imagine being in a near-fatal car wreck. That’s one event.

    In the case of my abusive childhood, that was an on-going series of traumatic events.

    When trauma is experienced as repeated events over a period of time, that is referred to as a Complex of Post-traumatic Stress, or CPTSD.

    My ex leaving and the business failing were PTSD-inducing, whereas dear old dad gifted me with CPTSD because it was on-going.

    So, if you’ve lived in an abusive relationship, chances are you have CPTSD.

    Let me qualify this information… I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.

    Keep talking. I’m diagnosing you…

    No! I’m not diagnosing you!

    But hopefully the limited information I’ve provided gives you a little more insight (or at least curiosity) about what you may or may not be experiencing.

    So if you find yourself over-reacting to situations, and your emotional level doesn’t fully match the significance of a current event, you may be reacting from your trauma.

    Sometimes, shit that reminds us subconsciously of feeling unsafe in the past gets the full blast of that past reaction today.

    Just because someone criticizes me today (as I perceive it), doesn’t mean that I am going to get a beating.

    However, understanding that a strong reaction to a current event may be linked to unresolved past trauma can aid in letting that shit go and learning to respond more calmly.

    But wait, there’s more…

    She Blinded Me With Science

    Just in case you weren’t around in 1982 or just want a little nugget of music history from 40 years ago…

    I thought the 1980s were 20 years ago… D’oh!

    Briefly, I will attempt to give you a layman’s explanation of what I think I remember from school about the physiological science of trauma.

    [Cracks knuckles and neck]

    Give me a second…

    I’m way better at the softer sciences and poorly written titty jokes…

    Or so I tell myself.

    The primitive part of our brains are referred to as the Limbic System.

    Yawn… 🥱

    Bear with me…

    Contained within the Limbic System is a gem called the amygdala.

    This beaut stores our emotions.

    All of our emotional memories, particularly trauma, are linked to this part of the brain.

    It’s part of our survival instinct and where our Fight, Flight, and Freeze reflexes live.

    When we perceive danger, the signal goes straight to the Limbic system.

    The information bypasses our rational brain (the prefrontal cortex) and goes right to the emotional survival brain that’s linked to part our adrenal (adrenaline) system.

    That’s why when I see a snake, I don’t have to fucking think about it. I just jump and get the fuck away from it.

    It’s automatic and has worked very well for millions of years.

    So, when I perceive that someone is threatening me, it’s more likely that I am reacting from the old threat of my father than the current circumstances.

    And when one experiences a particular trauma over and over again (or any thought pattern for that matter), there’s little highways formed between the neural transmitters (sends thought signals—again, laymen’s explanation) called neural pathways.

    Cerebral Super Highway

    The more frequently a particular thought signal is sent, the stronger the neural pathway gets.

    So when my little brain repeatedly experienced a sense of danger, I grew thick-ass neural pathways that triggered the trauma button.

    And as neural pathways get stronger, they develop thick walls (kind of like the plastic coating on a wire).

    And…

    As the neural pathways get bigger, they become the default route of thoughts and feelings.

    The brain likes to take the path of least resistance for sending signals.

    So when my brain established these well-used neural pathways, it became a habit for the brain to send signals down the trauma chute.

    They (whoever they are) say that “neurons that fire together, wire together.”

    The more we think or feel something, the more it becomes our brains’ habit to think and feel that way.

    It’s not a moral failing on your part to lose your shit when triggered.

    It is a PHYSICAL condition in your brain.

    You are literally WIRED that way.

    Yes, young Bucky, the brain is PART OF the body.

    So, gently remove the nail out of the board you’re beating yourself with and cut yourself some slack…

    So, David (you may be wondering), does this mean we’re fucked and cursed to always react from a place of trauma since were “wired” that way?

    Oh, good question imaginary reader!

    I have a simple (not-so-simple) answer to that…

    It depends… (stock psychological answer 😜)

    We’re All Fucked…

    Not really…

    Whew, I don’t know about you, but that last section hurt my brain.

    Maybe not as much as the Jim Carrey gif (yes, I wanted to make you imagine that image again—just trying to shake the mental Etch-A-Sketch to help us move on to the next sciency explanation.

    Ask your parents or grandparents what this is…

    Speaking of hurting brains…

    Here’s a concept that may blow your mind…

    When you learn something new, you are literally growing new neural pathways.

    Yes, your brain is PHYSICALLY changing.

    That’s why it’s often uncomfortable to learn new shit.

    That’s why it can also be exhausting to learn new stuff.

    When you learn new things, you are using energy to physically change (grow) your brain.

    This phenomenon is often called neuroplasticity.

    By introducing new thought and feeling patterns (usually through consistent effort), you create new neural pathways.

    And the motherfucker of this is, when you have well-established trauma highways in your fucking head (thick-ass, well-protected neural pathways), forming new thought and feeling patterns is arduously slow and difficult work.

    Are we there yet?

    And how do we do this work of creating neuroplasticity and minimizing the number of times we flip someone off for tailgating us?

    You’re number one, buddy!

    Again, another brilliant question, curious reader!

    The good news is there are many methods for forming new mental habits and changing your brain.

    Without bogging you down with too much information(oops… too late 😬), I’ll tell you about some of the things I’ve tried with some success.

    I have tried a few therapy models including EMDR, EFT, psychotherapy, CBT, and Somatic Experiencing Therapy.

    I’ll let you research them on your own and won’t go too thick into the weeds describing these various modalities (maybe I’ll feel more motivated to re-research these and elucidate in a different post).

    I will lightly touch on (that’s what she said), Somatic Experiencing because it fascinates me.

    I’ve heard “our issues are in our tissues.”

    In other words, trauma is often stored in parts of our body.

    When feeling stressed, I use to have a tight stomach and my right shoulder hurt.

    One could say I stored my trauma there.

    Maybe you feel pain in your back, or jaw, or God forbid, your genitals.

    It’s often linked to where you experienced the trauma.

    In Somatic Experiencing, a therapist guides you through tuning into and manipulating the parts of your body where you feel trauma.

    It’s not talk-therapy.

    You move your body and release the stored trauma.

    If you’re curious, I encourage you to watch this video and check out Dr Peter Levine’s book, Waking the Tiger.

    It’s 27 minutes long… And amazing!

    I also cannot stress the importance of developing a mindfulness routine and finding a support community (of fellow trauma survivors) to lessen the blow of over reacting.

    And, although this isn’t for everyone, I’d like to give an honorable mention to the use of psychedelics.

    There is a lot of compelling research out there right now proving psychedelics used in a controlled environment with a skilled clinician can greatly reduce the effects of trauma and promote healing.

    Again, I am NOT a doctor nor am I giving medical advice. I am merely sharing my own experience.

    So if you decide to drop some acid and trip balls, don’t tell them I told you to.

    Conclusion

    Good job!

    You’ve made it this far.

    And no, we didn’t tackle Winnie-the-Pooh.

    Remember when facing your trauma (and yes, you need to face it, it doesn’t just go away), you’re facing YOU.

    For fuck’s sake, be gentle with yourself.

    It’s a rough ride…

    Thank you, Assistant to the Manager, Dwight.

    Allow me to share a recent example of coping with trauma.

    Mind you, I’ve been through a lot therapy, worked the 12 Steps in trauma support groups (for years), counseled people with trauma, studied it in school, practiced mindfulness, meditation, and affirmations (for years), exercise regularly, and have taken heroic doses of psychedelics.

    Does it mean I’m cured?

    Fuck no!

    I’ll probably be coping with this shit (I mean gently, of course) for the rest of my life.

    However, it has gotten easier.

    Last week, I faced a potential conflict with a coworker over drug use at work.

    I got the idea in my head that this individual may become violent were I to confront him about violating work policy.

    I felt extreme anxiety and agitation over the possibility of this conflict.

    I couldn’t sleep, I was bitchy with my beloved Tricia, I obsessed furiously about the conflict, and ultimately chose to quit my job rather than face this individual.

    Not really David Goggins, do hard shit stuff.

    But wasn’t it?

    I was fully aware at the time that it was a trauma response.

    I was reacting with a disproportionate amount of terror about a potentially physical and/or aggressive altercation.

    I could not WILL the feelings to go away.

    So I meditated, felt the feelings, consulted with Tricia, a friend in AA, my brother, ruminated, bitched, whined, and complained.

    As I said, I ultimately left the job because it seemed healthiest to leave that toxic environment.

    Perhaps, I overreacted.?

    At the same time, I remained mindful that I was experiencing a trauma response rooted in childhood, was gentle with myself, allowed the feelings with self-compassion, and chose to take care of myself while trying to be considerate of all affected.

    I did not beat myself up for having a trauma response.

    And now I am sharing this with you in the hopes it will serve you in dealing with your own episodes.

    I encourage you to pay attention to your reactions to life. Educate yourself in trauma, PTSD, CPTSD, and recovery therefrom.

    Fear of facing these things is normal.

    Facing them will not kill you.

    You will not cry forever…

    But you gotta feel to heal…

    Continuing to live with untreated trauma is a motherfucker. It’s hard on you and those around you.

    You deserve to be happy.

    And remember, you can’t do this alone.

    We’re in this together.

    Help is out there.

    Today, you get to choose you.

    Be well 😊

    Thank you for tuning into another installment of how to avoid tackling Winnie-the-Pooh. Be the Pooh. Live the Tao of Pooh

    As we embrace the Pooh within (that sounds wrong), we thrive beyond mother-fucking trauma! Perhaps I should dispense with the use of mother-fucking when describing trauma in order to be more respectful of our trauma and mothers? Maybe next week…?

    Be sure to follow, like, and comment on this blog. You can email me at davidgreenleaf4life@gmail.com for tips on thriving beyond trauma. Act now while supplies last! The supplies being my brain cells, of course… 🤪

    Be sure to check out the podcast Greenleaf4Life on all major platforms. We’re taking a brief hiatus between seasons one and two, but there’s plenty to listen to!

    Season One Finale <—click here

    You can also check out me, Tricia, the kitties of House Panther Manor, and other random shit on Instagram and TikTok:

    Instagram @greenleaf_4_life

    TikTok @greenleaf4life

    Thank you for reading! Have a wonderful day! 😎

  • Surrender to Win

    I used to have an AA sponsor who often said he was waving his little white flag.

    I surrender… 🏳

    I’ve also heard that surrendering is not admitting defeat, but choosing to join the winning side.

    Now whether you want to be restrained or not by such social constructs as winning and losing (since we live in a fairly competitive society), that is up to you.

    The point, however, out of years of personal trial and error, is that by surrendering, or rather allowing what is, I’ve learned freedom and happiness naturally flow when I let shit go.

    Pretty sure that’s a direct quote…

    And what, young Bucky, you may be wondering, should I let go?

    Oh, that’s simple…

    EVERY FUCKING THING!

    It’s also been said it’s “Simple, but not easy.”

    But since when has life and thriving beyond trauma been fucking easy?

    Anything worthwhile in life certainly is worth (yes, I used a derivative of “worth” twice) enduring some pain.

    I heard in high school that life is pain.

    That seems bleak and definitely does not paint the whole picture.

    But as patron saint, David Goggins, illustrates in his book Can’t Hurt Me, freedom lies beyond the pain.

    When we change our relationship to pain, and I submit to you to death (https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/05/27/let-old-things-die/), our lives open up to incredible potential.

    David Goggins says when we think we’ve reached our limit, we’re only at 40%. We have 60% of untapped resources within.

    The key is to surrender to the hard stuff….

    Good ol’ reliable Michael…😉

    Let There Be Life

    As mentioned at the end of last week’s blog, I have some big news to share with you all…

    I know, the suspense is killing you.

    And far be it for me to milk the situation and draw out the

    Antici…

    -pation… 😜

    I’m all about the moment before the moment!

    I mean, isn’t the anticipation of getting something almost better than actually getting it?

    You know what I mean, ladies…

    Have you ever gotten so excited about something, and the build up was amazing until the actual event occurs?

    I swear this never happens…

    Okay, okay…

    I know.

    Get to the fucking point, Greenleaf.

    The fucking point (as you so eloquently said or rather, I wrote into your mouth—that just sounds nasty) is that anticipation of pain is pointless.

    Sure, it’s great to feel excited about stuff, but what good does it do us to pre-feel pain?

    As the great philosopher, Mark Twain said (or wrote… maybe he said it and wrote it. I don’t fucking know)…

    So…

    In a long-about-wordy-meandering-tangential way (this amuses me 😆), I submit to you to stop fucking worrying.

    Feel the pain once.

    And let there be life.

    You may be wondering at this point if I’ll ever tell you the big news I alluded to earlier.

    I haven’t forgotten.

    I just wanted to make a point about waiting…

    Point made.

    SO!!!!

    The big news is that my amazing oldest child gave birth to my first granddaughter last Sunday!!!

    Out of respect for their wishes (the parents, not the baby’s), I won’t post pics with her face or name on the interwebs.

    But here’s one they posted, so I think it’s safe…😇

    And yes, since you were wondering, the beautiful baby was born at 11:56 weighing 7 pounds, 6 ounces.

    That’s two 13s, motherfucker!!!

    If you don’t get the 13 reference, read last week’s post…

    I am indescribably (but I’m going to try to describe it) grateful mother and baby are healthy.

    Our newest family member was born eight days after their due date, and yet, right on time.

    My child had planned for a natural birth, and due to genetics and the will of the Universe, after several days of pre-labor, Little Baby came via cesarean section.

    I cried when I found out.

    I felt such extreme joy and relief.

    The joy and love I experience over my child, grandchild, and this whole experience is greater than anything I’ve ever known.

    The depth of feelings I experience over this often surprises me.

    It’s like a part of me opens up I don’t often feel I have access to.

    Overcome with joy is the best I can say about it.

    Although, I surrendered to the timing and outcome several times, a part of me was worried.

    In talking with my child prior to the birth, they revealed to me not only their plans, concerns, but also their own surrender that things will play out how they will.

    They anticipated the pain and planned to lean into it through mindfulness.

    I am so proud of my child’s perseverance, adaptability, and empowered voice as the birthing events unfolded.

    They and their husband are the epitome of loving parents, and I am in so much awe of these amazing people.

    They inspire me.

    And yes, I am a proud Papa.

    We get to see the new little one at the end of this month.

    And yes…

    I’m very

    ex-

    -cited… 🥰

    House Panther of Pain

    As I waited with bated breath for the birth of my grandbaby, I decided to invest (loose use of the word “invest”) some of the motorcycle sale proceeds into some new ink.

    And by ink, I mean a large fucking chest tattoo of my beloved black house panther.

    Perhaps it wasn’t the wisest way to spend this money, but the coverup work and homage to my heart’s desire was long overdue.

    At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

    And the tat’s already done, so it’s moot at this point.

    Anywho…

    If you’ve ever had any tattoo work done, the vast majority of people know the process is painful as fuck.

    Not to mention the chest, collarbone, sternum, armpit, nipple areas tend to be sensitive.

    No, I didn’t get my armpit or nipple tatted, but close e-fucking-nough!

    The thing about nerves in the chest is pain travels.

    So when he was tatting my collarbone, it felt like it was on my neck. Near the nipple, it felt like on the nipple, and so on and so forth.

    I just wanted to see how many times I could write nipple before it got weird for you.

    I think five nipple mentions (now six) is sufficient to achieve the weirding-out effect.

    I resisted posting an actual nipple… Oh, that’s seven!

    And speaking of seven… (not nipples—that’s eight, well technically nine because it’s plural, unless it’s an infinite number of nipples…)

    That’s ten or infinity.

    I don’t know.

    Math is hard.

    That’s not what she said, Michael. Calm down.

    Anyway…

    I spent over eight hours at the tattoo shop, and seven hours actually under the gun.

    The thing about getting tattoos is it requires commitment to a long drawn out and frequently painful process.

    In the years I’ve been getting tattoos, I’ve tried distracting myself with music or conversation, taking ibuprofen and Tylenol before hand. Hell, I’ve probably even been stoned. (I don’t recommend that).

    This time, rather than resist the pain, I focused on deep breathing to let it flow through me.

    I focused on something in front of me (a black chandelier 🖤) as well as taking long inhalations and exhalations.

    In yoga, I’ve learned what I think is called pranayama breathing. Maybe I haven’t learned it, since I’m unsure that’s what it’s called.

    Nonetheless, by focusing on inflating my diaphragm (also to keep my chest as still as possible so the artist wouldn’t fuck up) and then constricting my throat (like fogging a mirror) whilst exhaling, the pain (while still painful) was much more bearable.

    The onlooking tattoo artists assured me the real estate of which my tat was located is extremely painful.

    Yes, I fielded some stupid questions like, “Does that hurt?”

    Of course it fucking does!

    But my response to the pain was veiled in a focused stoic stance of breath work and determination.

    I chose to fucking do this.

    I committed to it.

    I surrendered to it.

    I transcended it into an altered state of consciousness.

    And I endured.

    The reward was a beautiful tattoo and the gift of knowing I can withstand extreme pain for several hours.

    It’s a right of passage to me.

    Nothing worthwhile comes without enduring, embracing, and surrendering to pain.

    Just ask my child and the house panther.

    As seen on TikTok @greenleaf4life
    Tú eres mi corazón, pantera de la casa 🖤🐈‍⬛

    Conclusion

    So, young Bucky…

    What have we learned here today?

    Well, let me tell you.

    The point of life is NOT the avoidance of pain!

    Clearly, if you’ve read this far, you’ve endured a little pain your damned self.

    Congratulations!

    Welcome to the human race!

    When we build up our lives with the sheer goal of avoiding pain, we suffer.

    Period.

    Pain is mandatory. Suffering is optional.

    That which we resist persists.

    Feel the pain!

    Embrace the pain.

    Understand that freedom lies in surrendering to the pain, and yes, letting that shit go!

    As we change our relationship to pain and learn to embrace it and let it go, we truly live.

    Strength is achieved in surrendering.

    If you don’t believe me, keep trying to avoid pain.

    Sooner or later you’ll surrender that approach too.

    You deserve to live fully, and the only way out is through.

    If you’re walking through Hell, keep walking.

    You can do this!

    It’s all about mindset.

    Mind over matter.

    If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.

    What have you got to lose?

    Good luck and be well. ☺️

    Thank you for reading the latest installment of the memoirs of a house panther manor man. We are here to thrive beyond trauma! If you enjoyed this little post, be sure to like, comment, follow, and read my other fucking posts!

    I also offer life coaching services. When you decide to get off your ass and do some hard shit, shoot me an email at davidgreenleaf4life@gmail.com. We’ll get you where you want to go in life!

    Be sure to check out the podcast.

    https://open.spotify.com/episode/2c7akRMZBMQuMkEYgd4O3V?si=8fL7WWmMRLGUlH6efvcHOw

    You can also find me on the socials—

    Instagram @greenleaf_4_life

    TikTok @greenleaf4life

  • The Miracles of Marriage and Motorcycles

    Strap in folks!

    You are about to go for one hell of a ride!

    Off to a strong start so far…

    This week in the life and times of yours truly some major shit has gone down!

    That’s also what she said…

    Okay, okay… Enough fucking around (also what she said).

    Let’s try to get a coherent thought out that doesn’t contain profanity or a euphemism.

    Hmmmm….

    I’m drawing a blank.

    Ah, fuck it! I’ll just write and let the fucks and inuendoes [in your end… oh!] flow feely…

    It is my style, after all.

    Okay, no pressure.

    It’s Sunday afternoon, my beloved is taking a nap, the kitties are stirring in the distance, and I’m grateful to finally sit down and write.

    In fact, I love writing so much that I rarely do it these days.

    Try understanding it from the inside…

    Right now, I’m at a stage of life [insert bullshit self-justification] that I am too busy to write as frequently as I want.

    And…

    The very act of planting my happy ass in the chair to scribe such philosophical tripe seems to take an act of God.

    And I’m okay with this…

    #okaynotokay

    The bullshit part is that I tell myself I am too tired and busy to consistently pursue what I love because of working my ass off in the Phoenician heat dragging tree limbs and heaving log chunks.

    So there is that.

    If David Goggins were here, he might just bitch slap me for all this excuse making.

    Except, he’d look like a gremlin.

    You know the ones in my head?

    That paints a picture.

    So yes, the motivating voices in my head (some shame-based) look like (sound like?) David Goggins and the evil gremlins.

    I doubt the interwebs even has a picture of such for me to post, but you know I’ll look for one.

    Maybe I finally had an original thought?

    David Goggins Gremlins…

    Fuck yeah!

    David Goggins GIF - David Goggins - Discover & Share GIFs
    That’s what she said, David…
    Brain Gremlin GIFs | Tenor
    Hmmm… Yes, Stay Hard indeed…

    Okay, that’s the best I can do without any photoshop skills, but I’ll work on it.

    Anywho… my point is…

    What the fuck was my point?

    Oh yeah! I’m making excuses for not writing more often because I’m tired, in-love, and distracted as a motherfucker.

    However, the dream is still alive, and here I am clicking away at the keyboard of dreams for your and my edification and pleasure.

    So, come inside.

    Make yourself comfortable.

    And welcome to the light at the end of the tunnel…

    Living the Dream

    Aside from making excuses about not writing more frequently, if you’ve been following the blog or know me personally, then you know some big changes have happened in my wonderful life.

    Since the subtext of this blog is about thriving beyond trauma, I think it’s important to note that’s exactly what the fuck I’ve been doing.

    In just nine short months, I have regained my sobriety, lost about 25 pounds, transformed my mind and body through regular CrossFit participation, met the love of my life, got a couple kitties, moved into a house, and am happier than I ever remember being.

    I’m not just thriving…

    I’m thriving like a motherfucker!

    And one could say I’m manifesting like a motherfucker, too.

    Everything, and I mean everything I wanted when I moved to this god-forsaken desert wasteland… I mean gorgeous oasis called Phoenix, has occurred.

    I credit that largely to the benevolence of the God beyond my understanding, consistent work, and a shift in attitude.

    Ironically (or paradoxically) the actions created the attitude and vice versa.

    In AA, some say, “Bring the ass and the mind will follow.”

    It’s simple Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) shit.

    Make a decision, and do the damned thing!

    One’s attitude changes enough to start taking new actions, and the new actions reinforce the new attitude.

    For instance…

    It’s Sunday, and I have a long history of hitting snooze and struggling to get out of bed in the morning.

    Today, the alarm went off at 5AM, and I sprung out of bed ready to go!

    When the alarm used to go off, the first word out of my mouth was, “Fuck!”

    When I shared this information with my beloved, she said it’s because I am happy.

    And she is fucking right!

    Everything I’ve been through up to this moment–the subtle and not-so-subtle actions I’ve taken, and the grace of my higher power transformed me to live the fucking dream!

    So you may be thinking, “Well that’s nice, David. I’m sooooo fucking happy for you…” [yes, you were meant to read that as a sarcastic tone]

    Or (hopefully) you’re thinking, “What the fuck do I have to do to acquire this happiness?”

    Maybe you’re wondering what drugs I’m on?

    Just creatine and caffeine… I assure you.

    Okay, and fucking nicotine… You got me.

    Are you fucking happy now?

    If not, maybe, just maybe, you’re wondering how could things get any better?

    Well, young Bucky, let me tell you a couple stories of how things have unfolded for yours truly over the last couple weeks, and maybe you’ll gain a nugget or two for how to live boldly, and yes, thrive beyond trauma!

    Amazon.com: Fortune Favors The Bold, motivational poster print: Posters &  Prints

    She Said Yes!!!

    The biggest and happiest news I have to share is my beloved Tricia accepted my proposal in marriage a little over a week ago!

    I think it’s important to share this first because of the sheer importance of it [yes, that was redundant], and I am running out of descriptor words for her besides “fiancée” to use for this blog post.

    The word “miracle” appears in the main title because I was starting to wonder if marriage might be a fantasy I may never experience again.

    As I’ve mentioned, years ago, I wrote out an intention for the ideal mate.

    I had certain qualities I was looking for, and even though I am in the business of manifesting dreams, I was starting to lose hope.

    If you’ve been reading this blog, you know my dating history has been less than ideal.

    I also take a lot of responsibility in that because, as you can probably ascertain from reading this, I am not an easy person to love.

    Unless you are Patricia “Panelicious” Shoemaker!

    By trudging my way through the murky waters of online dating and a series of trials and (mostly) errors, every single step along the meandering path of love led me to her.

    None of the past relationships were a mistake.

    They all happened when and how they needed to to bring me to this lovely place by Tricia’s side.

    Yes, I am still growing and learning how to be a healthy and loving person…

    And…

    I found the person who checks the boxes I drew nearly four fun-filled years ago.

    I cried out to the heavens to find my bride (yes, that is a bit dramatic), and she appeared…

    Fear of the Dark – Life Less Ordinary

    Tricia was worth waiting for.

    She is my best friend, my partner-in-crime, my lover, the mother to our kitties, and I cannot imagine life without her.

    As the flow of our relationship continued to blossom (does a flow blossom?), I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.

    And yes, that’s asking a lot of her…

    As loving and charismatic as I can be, I have certain quirks that make cohabitation (I imagine) challenging at times.

    However, I know she’s the one to live and grow with me.

    We both have a growth-mindset and enough humility to admit our mistakes and forgive one another. (She’ll get a lot of practice in forgiving me… I fuck up regularly).

    AND!!!

    That’s the spice of life!

    That’s what I was looking for!

    Tricia is the perfect partner for walking hand-in-hand through the ebb and flow (the blossoming one 😉 ) of life, leaning on love, recovery, and you guessed it, young Bucky, thriving beyond motherfucking trauma!

    So, you may be asking, just how did this wily writer drop the bomb of matrimonial bondage on this unsuspecting sweetheart?

    Well friends…

    Lend me you ears…

    Or eyes, rather…

    Unlike this current post wherein I revealed to you upfront about the proposal, on my podcast, I saved that tidbit for the conclusion.

    In fact, on episode 13, the season finale, I interviewed Tricia and proposed at the end.

    It’s getting resized, otherwise it would be on her finger.

    If you’d like to hear her amazing story, strategies for thriving beyond trauma, and of course, the proposal, check out the interview posted below.

    She gave a wonderful interview, and her reaction to the proposal was priceless!

    It is a very happy memory we will not soon forget.

    Plus, we can listen to the podcasted proposal anytime we want.

    And we have…

    Several times…

    It makes us smile.

    Post-proposal celebration selfie…

    A Side Note About Synchronicity

    I believe the Universe leaves me breadcrumbs as signs I am on track.

    Figuratively, not literally – except I wrote it, so it is literally, too. 😉

    As soon as I left the parking lot with the engagement ring in hand, whom should I pull up next to on a very busy road?

    Tricia!

    I was driving down a major street in the Glendale area, and coincidentally, she pulled out of a driveway and ended up right next to me.

    The odds of that happening are astronomical as there are easily over a quarter million people in the Glendale area, not to mention Phoenix’s population.

    That, my friends, is synchroncity.

    Of course, I was busted as she knows I never take that way home from work, and I always text her when I’m en route.

    But I played it cool.

    She asked what I was up to after I followed her into another parking lot.

    I merely said I was following her.

    That was true, vague, maybe even a teeny bit deceitful…

    But I was on a mission from God, and I solemnly swear I am up to no good.

    I Solemnly Swear Im Up To No Good Wallpapers - Wallpaper Cave
    Mischief Managed…

    Nonetheless, she didn’t pry, and my scheme was afoot.

    I kept dropping subtle hints and worried about her finding the ring, how to go about the proposal, et cetera, etc.

    As I led up to the big question, I read her the following poem I wrote the morning of the proposal.

    What words would I use

    What words would I choose

    What way would I say

    Today is the day

    I choose you

    Lost & found

    Through slings & arrows

    As the poet sings

    Our focus narrows

    And I choose you

    Lost & found

    Through trial & error

    Every step we’ve taken

    Brought us nearer

    And I choose you

    Lost & found

    And grounded

    In synchronicity

    In loving lucidity

    I choose you

    Lost & found

    Lost in each other’s eyes

    Found in each other’s arms

    Lost, we’ve found our way home

    And I choose you

    Lost & found

    A symbol for forever

    I choose now

    And eternity together

    I choose you

    Lost & found

    Will you walk

    With me through the flames

    Take what the heart claims

    Will you choose me?

    Because God as my witness

    I never want to miss this…

    I choose you!

    —I Choose You

    Coincidentally (I prefer synchronistically–and yes it’s a fucking word, autocorrect!), during the interview, she said, “I choose you.”

    AND…

    She found a song for our wedding by the same title!

    Oh…. the breadcrumbs are a-flowing…

    You know what I mean.

    Maybe you don’t.

    Then, while we supped celebrating our new engagement, we thought it would be fun to go buy a Powerball ticket with our first date and planned wedding date as our lottery numbers.

    You may know that my favorite number is 13.

    I told her it would be cool if we found a 76 station on 67th Ave to buy our lottery ticket (yes, I know you can do math… never mind) because they equal 13.

    And BAM! There it was! A minute away from the restaurant.

    She thinks I knew it was there, but I really don’t remember there being a 76 on 67th otherwise, that’d be the only gas station I ever go to.

    Then, the Powerball jackpot was $238 million (yes, another 13). No, we didn’t win. If we had, I would’ve written this blog days ago because I would’ve quit my fucking job.

    Nonetheless, that’s a cool little coinkydink. (It’s a word, autocorrect. Look it up!)

    Oh yeah, and the price for our meals totaled $90.31….

    Yes, another fucking 13!!!!

    I’m glad Tricia sees these damn 13s with me, otherwise, I’m sure there would be a padded cell waiting for me as I crawl around on the floor, wearing an extra long-sleeved jacket strapped in the back (a very wordy way to write straight jacket, I know) whilst looking for a corner in a round room mumbling something about the 13s.

    A final note about this synchronicity business…

    To-date, (which has only been just over a week), everything Tricia has said she wants for our wedding décor is exactly how I envisioned the perfect wedding.

    When she played the song we will walk down the aisle to, I just stood in the kitchen, held her, listened, and cried tears of joy.

    She and everything she brings to this union is perfect.

    It is all aligned with our hearts’ greatest desires, and yes, thriving beyond trauma.

    Motorcycle Miracle? Really?

    Recently finished season 6 of Sons of Anarchy. And then watched the final  scene without watching season 7. I feel like this was definitely the best  way to watch it. : r/Sonsofanarchy
    If you’ve seen this show, that’s not quite what I mean… But I like the pic…

    Okay, the use of the word “miracle” is a bit heavy handed to describe the following adventures in selling my Honda motorcycle.

    Certainly, it’s a no-brainer that Tricia agreeing to marry me was a miracle (as well as finding her to begin with).

    But motorcycle miracles? Really?

    I think so…

    The interwebs (and they know everything) say that a miracle is “a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore considered to be the work of a divine agency.”

    Now, I’m sure the point of scientific laws could be argued here as relevant to motorcycles and the sale thereof, but to me, the motorcycle and the selling of it are pure fucking magic….

    So, the miracle moniker stands.

    My blog. My miracle.

    When transphobes say trans people aren't real : r/traaaaaaannnnnnnnnns

    Now that we got that cleared up, I’ll attempt to get back to my point…

    The point is, since you asked, is that the same day I proposed to the lovely Tricia, I also (finally) sold my Honda motorcycle.

    I may have mentioned in a previous post (you’ll have to read it to find out–https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/09/04/the-only-constant-is-change/) that I sold out and bought a beautiful Harley Davidson. Since Tricia found it, I think it’s good Joo Joo to have sold my soul to the HD gods.

    Well…

    As a result of such mechanized necromancy, I decided to sell my Honda.

    I’ve had that bike for five years.

    I loved that bike.

    For a mechanical neophyte such as myself, the low maintenance and zoom-zoom of it made it a perfect bike for me.

    It was my self-care via throttle therapy after my life fell apart in 2017.

    I’ve ridden that bike from Phoenix to California and up to Oregon and back on more than one occassion.

    AND…

    It was a black 1300!

    I know, right!?!

    It was made for me!

    The fact that it was a black 1300 (and I could afford it) was reason enough for me to buy it to begin with.

    But, alas, parting is such sweet sorrow because until Tricia learns to ride and we become independently wealthy, we need to be a one-bike family for now.

    I am grateful for the memories, Black Beauty….

    Awww… True Love (ménage à moto)

    Well, friends, you’d think as the weather cools down in the greater Phoenix area, more people would be in the market for purchasing a little two-wheeled freedom.

    And they are!

    This, however, young Bucky, is where the fuckery and practicing of spiritual principles intersect at the crossroads of Craigslist, OfferUp, and Facebook Marketplace.

    My bike actually went up in value since I bought it!

    Yay!!

    Sure, it was a little high in miles (because I rode the motherfucker). But it is a 16 year old bike. It should have some miles on it.

    Nonetheless, the aforementioned fuckery began with the Harley dealer. Those assholes (they take pride in that label, I mean the asshole part, and I suppose the Harley label, too… I digress) offered me less than half of what the bike was supposedly worth (because it’s a “metric” bike… where’s my eyeroll emoji?).

    Then, after deciding to sell privately, I received a litany of lame bids for my beloved Black Beauty.

    I was selling it for nearly $1,000 less than the (supposed) value.

    People either flaked, lowballed me, wanted to pick apart what was wrong with it (the miles), etc.

    Not one of these sons-o’-bitches actually came to look at the bike over the two weeks I was trying to sell it.

    It was akin to online dating, except with dipshit would-be biker-buyers.

    I wasn’t desperate to sell it, but I wanted at least $3,500 for it.

    That seemed fair because it’s solid and fun as fuck to ride.

    So, as my patience wore thin with the surplus of stupidity chiming away on my phone, I decided I have a bottom dollar, and I’m taking no less.,

    For inspiration, I referred to the late-great bard of boldness, Bernie Mac, to help me stick to my guns whilst negotiating with fools… I mean perspective buyers.

    Masterful negotiating…

    So, whenever anybody gave me a ridiculous bid for the bike, I merely messaged $3,500 back to them. I imagined my beloved Bernie Mac saying “half” over and over until the point was made.

    Then…

    A wonderful man who seemed interested in my bike came along.

    He took his time.

    He researched.

    He test drove other bikes.

    I merely made myself available and trusted in the divine agency (miracle) of letting shit go whilst manifesting like a motherfucker <— secret of life shit here!

    You’re welcome. 🙂

    This person came to look at my bike after riding others that day. He complimented me on how clean it was (since I shelled out money to detail the bitch, it made me happy to hear that.) He test drove it and came roaring up to our house with a big grin on his face.

    He asked me how much I was selling it for. I told him $3,965 (as listed) and that I am willing to negotiate (Bernie Mac welling up inside of me–that sounds wrong since I just typed it).

    I know better than to name a lower price, so I let him go first.

    He asked with sincerity, “Will you take $3,500?”

    I felt like the loch ness monster in South Park.

    But instead of getting “three-fitty,” I got the number me and the Almighty agreed upon (not the buyer, the Universe).

    I smiled, extended out my arm, slapped him hard in the face, and said, “I need three-fitty.”

    Just kidding. I’m just amusing myself right now.

    I shook his hand and said, “Deal!”

    I even accepted a personal check from this guy because to all appearances, he seemed nice, drove a nice truck, he loved the bike, and he named my magic number for the purchase price (besides 13 or three-fitty).

    Wait For It

    The miracle of the two stories I told you comes down to waiting on the Universe to present what your heart desires.

    Sometimes, I think with all of the patience I practice, I should be a doctor. (That joke works better said rather than written.)

    I knew in November of 2018 the kind of woman I was looking for.

    I set the intention, surrendered it to my Higher Power, went out and made a mess of things for awhile, and eventually found out I need not settle.

    Again, I had boxes that need checking, and all I had to do was be patient as I found the woman who checks said boxes.

    I knew I wanted a certain amount for the motorcycle. I ignored the offers that did not check my boxes (or box–the price) and did not settle.

    The point is DO NOT SETTLE!

    As trauma survivors, it can be difficult to determine what we want.

    It can be easy to allow shit we’re not okay with.

    Through a process of letting shit go, healing, and getting in-touch with our true selves, we get to figure out what the fuck we really want.

    The key is to hold out for that.

    Yes, life doesn’t always go our way.

    As we speak (me write and you read), I am retyping this fucking blog post for the second time because due to operator error, technological glitches, and the Matrix, this post got deleted.

    Evidently, if I start writing through WordPress on my phone and then pick it up on the laptop, two versions are created, and yes, it reverted to the original phone version with only two sentences, a Michael Scott and Kevin Hart meme.

    You’ve read how long this fucking post is…

    It’s taken me nearly three hours to retype this fucker.

    Fortunately, when I realized my mistake, through other inexplicable technological fuckery (probably cache or something), the finished version still showed up in my browser, so I took 50 some odd screen shots to recreate this.

    Yes, shit doesn’t always go our way.

    However, if you have dreams and desires, there is a way to bring those things into existence whilst letting go of the outcome (or screaming at your laptop for losing your long ass post).

    It may seem paradoxical (or insane) to consider going for what you want while letting go…

    But there really isn’t a better way without driving yourself or others crazy.

    When I proposed to Tricia, I figured she’d say yes.

    However, a part of me also surrendered to the possibility that she may say no.

    If she had, we would’ve figured out what to do next, if anything.

    The point is that I let go of the outcome WHILE pursuing my heart’s desire.

    Chase what you love. (Not in a stalker way–I shouldn’t have to say this… I hope.)

    But while you chase what you love, accept that the path meanders and will not go as you plan.

    You may find yourself recreating a blog post from 50 screenshots…

    Or from memory… That would’ve sucked, but I would’ve done it.

    It does not mean you need to change your goal.

    It just means now is not the right time for your intended outcome to manifest.

    Keep to your vision, be patient, trust the process, let the fuck go, and you will accomplish what intention you put out into the Universe.

    See how simple that is?

    SURELY YOU JEST - Aristocat meme | Meme Generator
    No, I jest not, Mister Whiskers… And don’t call me Shirley…

    These verbal puns don’t quite work in written form.

    Regardless of my punny sense of humor, if you got anything from this, DON’T FUCKING SETTLE and BE PATIENT!

    Conclusion

    Thank you for following along my long-winded (written) rants about thriving beyond trauma.

    Sure, it may be a stretch to say my life adventures and attitudes are thriving beyond trauma, but as a trauma survivor, I am leading a charmed fucking life right now!

    I firmly believe every story contains at least one lesson.

    Everyone has a story, and the more we take the time to listen to (and hear) each other, the more we learn and connect.

    The next time you find yourself judging someone (I know, I know, my readers don’t judge people); okay, the next time I find myself judging someone, I’m going to try to remember everyone has a story, and I don’t know what that person has been through or is going through.

    My life is an example of living on borrowed time.

    I could’ve easily died before I reached 18.

    Through the various trials and errors of my life, I believe I’ve learned a thing or two to maintain a basic amount of self-esteem, contentment, and usefulness.

    I have learned that what my heart longs for matters.

    I have learned that it’s okay to say no when I find myself close to settling for less.

    Without repeating myself too much, I want to reiterate redundantly and repetitiously: WHAT YOU WANT MATTERS!!!

    I mean, don’t be a total self-centered, self-seeking dick like I can be from time-to-time.

    You know, think of others first.

    But not at the expense of always sacrificing what you want.

    You are worth it!

    Look in the fucking mirror and tell yourself, “What I want (and need) matters!

    Say it until you believe it.

    Figure out what those things are (wants and needs), and fucking do something about it!

    Don’t wait for someday.

    Someday will never come.

    Today is someday!

    You got this!

    I believe in you!

    We’re in this together!

    So do it again until you get it right!

    That’s also what she said.

    Be well 🙂

    Thank you for reading another installment of as the engagement ring turns. We are here to thrive beyond trauma! No one said it would be an easy or straight road, but we are committed to manifesting the life of our dreams!

    Since I already posted the link to the podcast where I proposed to Tricia, I won’t post it a second time (but you know I am tempted to…)

    Also, I am ready to help you find the love of your life, get the job you dream of, lose weight, get in shape, get along better with your spouse, get a fucking cat (or dog, I suppose–just kidding, I like dogs, too.)

    As your life coach, we will team up to get some shit done! Drop me a line (no cocaine, thanks) at davidgreenleaf4life@gmail.com.

    Be sure to subscribe, like, comment, follow, throw tomatoes, or whatever with this blog. It’s your life. Regardless, I thank you from the bottom of my blackened heart for reading!

    Stay tuned for my adventures in thriving beyond trauma!

    I’ve got a great post brewing for next week!

    You can also check me out on the socials:

    Instagram: @greenleaf_4_life

    TikTok: @greenleaf4life

  • Adventures in Domestication

    They say (whoever they are) cats domesticate humans, not the other way around.

    Dogs, on the other hand, give it up for anyone.

    They just ooze love and attention.

    But cats require a certain je ne sais quoi… A certain finesse.

    As for yours truly, I lend myself to the feline purrrsuasion.

    Not that it’s ever a good idea to quote Andrew Dice Clay, but in his esteemed words, “I don’t play hard to get, I play hard to want.”

    Fortunately, over the last several weeks I’ve found a partner willing to ride this rollercoaster I call life, and she has a certain finesse about her, too.

    I’ve found my match, and we have kitties.

    We’ve all moved into a house, and the adventures in domestication have ensued.

    And yes, young Bucky, you may be asking yourself or screaming at your screen, what the hell does this have to do with thriving beyond trauma!?

    Well hold on to your tighty-whiteys as I elucidate on the finer points of living in a mad realm… I mean our happy abode. 😇

    Two Cats Walk Into A Bar

    Tricia just told me if you die while having an orgasm, you’re both cumming and going.

    Should I be worried?

    Should I even be writing right now?

    I’m trying to formulate (somewhat) coherent thoughts whilst blogging on my phone after working strenuously in the Phoenician heat and sitting patiently as our landlord replaces our water heater.

    Yes, today’s adventure includes getting a call from my exasperated beloved that our house flooded due to our ancient water heater bursting.

    All I did was comfort her, come home, and start cleaning up water.

    She, on the other hand, got the shock of not only finding the soggy mess but also getting slightly electrocuted by her computer power cord.

    And yes, the kitties are fine. Thank you for asking.

    They took to high ground on the couch since no ark was built.

    Tricia, however, was not a happy camper.

    And rightfully so.

    Now that the dust (or water) has settled, she is doing much better.

    Fortunately, our landlord was mostly responsive (once he called us back), came over and has fixed the issue.

    Sure, some of our boxes and electronics got soaked, but we lived and things appear to be moving along.

    Don’t get me wrong. It was an ordeal.

    I’m just glad Tricia (and the kitties) are okay.

    You Don’t Have to be Crazy to Live Here… We’ll Train You

    You still may be asking yourself what the fuck this has to do with thriving beyond trauma…

    Or maybe you’re wondering why you subscribe to this blog or if you left the oven on.

    Regardless, in a roundabout way, I think describing the domestication of trauma survivors (the cats included) is in and of itself, thriving beyond trauma.

    Last week we quit smoking.

    This week we started up again.

    And by we I mean I did and Tricia followed suit especially in the wake of house flooding.

    Is it an excuse?

    Nope.

    It’s two people seeking clemency through nicotine addiction rather than flipping the fuck out.

    So yes, there’s still some room for growth.

    I can understand after her day today wanting a cigarette.

    My reasoning was much less justified.

    I thought I lost my precious Beats ear buds.

    Yes, I can be that superficial and shallow.

    I was pissed about losing my overpriced electronic doo-dads and basically threw a fit of self pity and nihilism.

    No, the house flooding didn’t get me going.

    It was something as meaningless and simple as losing a toy that threw me over the edge.

    And…

    I found the fucking earbuds today in the work truck.

    So….

    [dramatic pause]

    I started smoking again over nothing.

    Yes, the gremlins are loud right now.

    I can’t hear you over all this shame…

    In an attempt to take the nail out of the board I beat myself with, I will say thriving beyond trauma is not linear nor am I perfect (nor am I expected to be—except by those fucking gremlins).

    So yeah…

    There’s that.

    I’m sure I’ll quit again.

    I mean everyone quits smoking sooner or later.

    I’m just planning on it being sooner.

    Than later…

    People are just dying to get in here…

    So during our eight cigarette-free days Tricia and my new-found domestic life experienced some challenges.

    Learning to live with another adult in an intimate environment is definitely an adventure.

    It’s an adventure I’m grateful for.

    However, I heard in a meeting a while back that getting in a relationship is like adding MiracleGrow to your character defects.

    It also reminds me of the Parable of the Porcupines…

    In order to survive the harsh winter conditions (wherever the hell porcupines live—probably north of here), they need to huddle together to stay warm.

    However, when the pokey beasts close in for comfort, their quills prick (and hurt) one another.

    If they retract from each other because of the pain, they won’t survive the cold conditions.

    So to survive, they need to tolerate each other’s pokes as they huddle together.

    Just a little prick…

    So if Tricia can live with this prick, I think we have a chance at a real warm winter.

    As our relationship blossoms, we are learning each other’s triggers and tender places (some more tender than others 😈 but that’s for a different type of blog).

    And it’s a fucking adventure in thriving beyond motherfucking trauma!!!!

    And I’d have it no other way!

    So stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

    And smoke some for me too because the streets are safer if I don’t smoke it.

    House Panther Manor

    Facebook wouldn’t let me call our home La Casa de Los Gatos, so I’m guessing that’s a euphemism for something else.

    The point is (if there really is one) that this domestication gig requires give and take.

    It requires intention and attention.

    It requires being present, not sweating the petty things, and petting the sweaty things…

    Or something like that.

    There are times to practice boundaries, anticipate the needs of my partner, honoring my needs, and sometimes just letting shit slide.

    Neither of us are perfect, and we both have a trail of broken hearts in our past (particularly our own).

    So we practice every day an assumption of good will.

    When one of our quills pokes the other, we don’t keep score or bite the other’s fucking head off.

    We remember we love each other and give the other the benefit of the doubt.

    I say (write) this to be instructive and as a reminder to yours truly.

    When one grows up as a child of chaos raised by wolves, the business of scorekeeping and resentment meant power and supposed safety.

    In a relationship where two adults choose to thrive beyond trauma, we practice admitting our mistakes and forgiving quickly.

    I’m not perfect at this and screw up regularly.

    However, Tricia and I communicate beautifully, and we try not to let things fester.

    Intimacy and vulnerability are absolutely necessary for creating a long term happy relationship.

    And when you (I mean me, young Bucky) choose to shack up with someone, you are given choices moment by moment.

    And today, I choose to practice being in a loving relationship.

    I am here to love Tricia.

    I am not here to fix her because she isn’t broken.

    And let’s face it, anyone who chooses to live with me in relationship should be given a fucking medal!

    You’ve read my blog…

    Imagine living with this day in and day out.

    At least you can close your browser or unsubscribe.

    This lady has me unfiltered every fucking day!

    I will say in my defense, she says I’m a beautiful man.

    And she’s right.

    And I agree with her.

    She sees my heart.

    Shriveled and blackened though it may be, it beats fiercely for love and purpose.

    She is my partner, and she is a beautiful woman inside and out.

    Conclusion

    I think May West said, “A hard man is good to cum by.”

    Yes, Michael… we all thought it, too. 😉

    I don’t know how else to end a blog on the fly…

    In order to see your life as thriving beyond trauma, frame it as a motherfucking adventure!

    We get to do this.

    Stop saying you HAVE to do things!

    You GET to!

    Everything!

    If you haven’t shit your pants today, it’s a good day!

    It’s like I tell Tricia… I choose to be here with her.

    There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

    Life is exactly as it should be right now.

    True happiness is found when we stop resisting what is.

    That bears repeating…

    True happiness is found when we stop resisting what is.

    These would’ve been good words for me to remember when I decided to start smoking again, but even that was meant to be.

    Everything contains a lesson, and every adventure is worth living.

    If you want to thrive beyond trauma, decide right fucking now that everything is as it should be and make it what you want it to be.

    Throw yourself in the deep end.

    Find the person of your dreams.

    Move in with them.

    Get some fucking cats.

    And live!

    Or do whatever the fuck you want. It’s your life.

    No one’s coming to rescue you.

    Now’s the time to just fucking do it!

    Thank you for the assist Hell-Mo 🔥

    Be well 😊

    Thank you for tuning into another episode of as the Harley tire turns. This is a first for both of us that I should write a blog entry via mi teléfono and you should read said blog á la phone.

    If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out my other entries as well and be sure to like, comment, and follow.

    But wait, there’s more! I also offer life coaching services! Are you ready for a relationship or some kitties? Shoot me an email! davidgreenleaf4life@gmail.com

    You can also check out my podcast. Coming soon is season one’s finale! Episode 13 where I interview Tricia! You won’t want to miss that!

    You can also check me out on Instagram @greenleaf_4_life or on TikTok @greenleaf4life

  • The Only Constant is Change…

    In AA, I’ve heard some folks say the only two things alcoholics hate are things changing and things staying the same…

    Well, young Bucky, gird your loins ’cause some major shifts are a-happening!

    And of course, music always heralds the coming of a new age, or at least a “hark” so the herald angels sing…

    David Bowie, the herald angel…

    I think that’s about as strong of a hook as I can create at the moment for this post.

    I have so many things to catch you up on since I posted two weeks ago.

    AND…

    This is Day Two without a cigarette, so I am technically, clinically, legally, and existentially insane.

    But (or AND), if you know me and/or are a devoted reader, labeling myself as insane is a bit trite, redundant, overstated, unnecessary, and goes without saying…

    Ahem… 😉

    However, my occasional lapses into self-deprecation and flying the flag of Captain Obvious do lend a little pressure release and written lubrication whilst I conceive my intended course for this post.

    So, yes….

    I’m stalling.

    Thank you, Captain Obvious!

    Where to Begin?

    Since this blog is geared towards demonstrating principles of thriving beyond trauma by sharing my own personal adventures, it stands that I shall catch you all up on some shit.

    And I use the word “shit” playfully and affectionately here because the changes in my life since last we spoke (I wrote and you read), have been the furthest things from excrement.

    Does that make them food?

    That’s about as far from shit as you can get, methinks?

    At least, in the whole digestive spectrum, I suppose?

    So yes, the events of the last two weeks have been akin to the sweet nectar of the gods–inasmuch as being the nourishing, life-changing experiences we’ve absorbed since then!

    Wow! What a mouthful!….

    Wait for it….

    Wait….

    IT’S COMING…

    As glad as I am to be at ye ol’ keyboard of dreams, I am frickin’ exhausted!

    One week ago, Tricia and I moved into a house!

    Yes!

    That’s right!

    A motherfucking, ain’t got no damn roommates, I can walk around the house buck-ass fucking naked if I want to, motherfucking house!

    BAM!

    Tricia and I have mutually had roommates for a few years now, so the fact that we are renting a house for just the two of us is so indescribably fucking awesome, I may only be able to use cat gifs to adequately describe my joy!

    I do need to back up a bit because I realize I just lied a little, too….

    No, we did not rent the house for just the two of us.

    Part of the master plan for many-a-moon has been to get some kitties back up in this bitch.

    And by “this bitch,” I mean my life… again, affectionately.

    The VERY night we started moving into La Casa de los Gatos, Tricia fortuitously found two kittens online.

    Before I go down the road to that story, I need to back up a bit more…

    Everything wonderful that has happened lately has been as a result of Tricia finding things…

    For instance, she found this house online.

    She found the kitties THE MOMENT they appeared online. (We were the first of many to respond to the Craigslist ad.)

    And… as I shall reveal later, she found something else that we are very happy about.

    I think I need to hit her up for some lottery numbers because she clearly has the touch.

    A Series of Fortunate Events

    I want to continue writing right now, but as mentioned earlier… I am fucking exhausted and my brain sans nicotine, day two, is a bit blurry…

    I’m headed down for some self-care (AKA a nap) and shall return to regale you with the events of the last two weeks in hopefully a close-to-coherent way.

    No more coherent than normal, but at least to where I can follow it.

    BRB, young Bucky…

    Okay…

    And we’re back!

    A couple weeks ago I did some hard shit…

    And I don’t mean heroin or cocaine.

    I faced my fear of climbing a fucking palm tree, worked around mesquite trees with thorns almost as thick as pencils, and survived humid and over 105 degree work conditions…

    So yeah, I saw and did some cool shit.

    Working in and around trees with boot-puncturing thorns makes one’s mindfulness practice very important.

    I was very impressed by the crew I work with because I heard minimal complaining despite the pokey conditions.

    Every step and limb grab had to be intentional lest one finds themself skewered by a mesquite spike.

    Nonetheless, the mixture of potential punctures, palm trees, and the picturesque made two weeks ago eventful and satisfying at work.

    Again, I showed up and did hard shit and felt grateful to participate.

    A Moving Experience

    A few weeks ago Tricia and I decided we wanted to find a place of our own.

    We both had similar ideas of what we wanted for our living situation, and they included not having roommates nor a live-in landlord.

    And…

    We both wanted to have the creative freedom of landscaping our own yard.

    The most important thing for me, however, was getting a couple kitties.

    Ever since I left Oregon in 2019, I have been without my feline friends.

    Perhaps to those who read this and are not predisposed to the level of feline infatuation I live with on a daily basis, this point may fall flat.

    However, for me, I felt like a huge piece of me was missing living without them damn kitties!

    Yes, they are very much a part of my happy place, self-care, or whatever the fuck you want to call it.

    The point is, I was overdue for getting some kitties, and fortunately, the Universe provided them at just the right timing!

    So as I mentioned earlier, Tricia found this three bedroom, two bath house, and the very night we started moving in, she found these two online:

    Meet Pneuma & Luna
    Kings of the Castle

    We found littermates on a dark Saturday night and rescued them from the rough hands of an overzealous child in Scottsdale.

    That might sound a little dramatic, but one of their (the kittens’) siblings seemed a little slow, and by the way one of the owner’s children was shaking the kitties, we felt good about adopting these two from potential shaken kitty syndrome.

    On the way to Scottsdale, we heard the songs Pneuma by Tool and Luna by The Smashing Pumpkins, and thus our house tiger and pantera de la casa received their names.

    Besides our kitty acquisitions, we also ordered a cat tree which resembles more a kitty megaplex! And they took to it immediately. This thing is taller than me (which isn’t saying much)…

    But they love it and that’s all that matters!

    Every day they are growing larger and more affectionate.

    They are purrrrfect! 🙂

    So amidst the excitement of it all, last weekend we moved all of Tricia’s and my stuff with the use of my boss’s truck and trailer.

    A good friend of mine lent a hand with the move for a couple hours Sunday morning.

    Our new neighbor hooked up a hose to our front yard spigot so we could have running water, and we slid in safe to our new digs…

    And just in-time.

    My living situation wasn’t so bad except the occasional drama I overheard from my roommates. Fortunately, I practice the fine art of minding my own fucking business, so it’s impact was minimal.

    Tricia, on the other hand, had some first-class bullshit to contend with leaving her former place. So I am grateful to have assisted her with leaving the land of drama llamas!

    Let’s just say this in case you’re ever considering renting from “friends.”

    Get everything in writing to cover your ass if you’re a renter or rentee.

    And… If someone routinely calls you names and changes the terms of the agreement with you, THEY ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND!!!

    [Steps off soap box and puts it away for another day]

    At least, until next time…

    So let’s just say the move is a win-win-win-win-win.

    It’s a win for Tricia, me, the kitties, and our new landlord.

    Fortunately, for us, our landlord appears to manage by neglect, so we have the freedom to put in a flower/vegetable/Zen garden. It came with a firepit and possibly has room for a small pool.

    There’s a couple sheds, ample parking, we’re near a lot of businesses, the freeways, my work, the gym, AA meetings, my family, a park, and the neighborhood is decent.

    We did alright on our first move together, and it feels wonderful to have some fucking autonomy again.

    We can be as loud as we want to (and you know damn well what I mean)!

    I actually can use my tools, play my guitar, and listen to loud music.

    In fact, I could have a loud motorcycle if I wanted….

    The Cherry on Top

    So thanks to the commercials I heard on the local rock music radio station, my overdeveloped ego, and Tricia’s blessing, the fertile ground for having a Harley-Davidson germinated my idea and took root unto growing a scooter-scheme.

    Since I just used a Michael Scott gif, I won’t say that was a mouthful, but you know what I mean… Oh wait, I just did!

    After getting the greenlight from Tricia to trade in my Honda for a Harley, my obsessive mind took over and I began finding ways to manipulate my minimal resources to manifest said machine… manically?

    Probably maniacally, but nonetheless, I went down the rabbit hole of trying to make a bike appear whilst simultaneously letting go of the outcome.

    The goal was to upgrade to a touring bike that would seat Tricia more comfortably for longer trips.

    And to upgrade my fragile self-esteem with a Harley so I’d feel cool again.

    Yes, I admit my lower nature succumbs to such nonsense. It’s hard to be an enlightened person who still likes shiny stuff.

    It is what it is…

    Prajnaparamita with loud pipes…

    So after a day or two of disappointment dealing with the local Harley dealership (i.e. they were not going to give me much for my trade, and I was declined for a loan), I figured well, either I’m going through a private seller or just not getting a different bike right now.

    When I told Tricia this, within a minute she found this bike on Facebook marketplace…

    1996 Road King

    We messaged the owner and he said someone was coming to look at it the next day. I told him that if he changed his mind, we could be there within the hour with cash to buy it.

    He changed his mind.

    We ran right out to meet the owner of this bike who had put all kinds of extras onto it including a tuner, loud pipes, an assortment of leather bags, an extra windshield and seat, et cetera, etc.

    He and his wife clearly loved and took care of this bike.

    It’s just what I was looking for.

    I own it outright, and I can sell the Honda to make some money back.

    Tricia said Jeep owners wait 500 miles to name their rigs, so I’ll give it some time to name this beaut.

    And a sufficient seat for my sweetheart…

    So yeah… Tricia’s running three for three.

    She found the house.

    She found the kitties.

    She found the Harley.

    I’d say she found me, but I think I found her.

    And I’m fucking grateful I did!

    Whether we buy a ticket or not, she and I won the lottery…

    Because we have each other!

    I found my person…

    Adventures in Domestic Living

    Prior to moving, Tricia and I decided we were going to quit smoking once we got settled into our new place.

    Well, we are more-or-less settled, it’s Labor Day weekend, so now’s time to put up or shut up.

    I, for one, have felt troubled about smoking since I resumed it.

    Not to mention the health implications, the shit’s fucking expensive! The brand I smoke runs upwards of $12 per day. That’s roughly $360 per month in fucking cigarettes!

    Plus, I know Tricia and I want to lead healthier lives.

    And since I’ve been smoking, I sit around on my ass a lot…. smoking.

    It’s such a waste of time, resources, and health.

    So we quit yesterday morning.

    I quit cold turkey.

    So far, we haven’t killed each other.

    We have had a couple tense moments, and as I wrote earlier, I am technically insane right now and forming complete sentences is challenging.

    However, I am willing to rip off that scab and get through this because I do hard shit that leads to a better quality of life.

    Tricia joined me for CrossFit yesterday for the first time and she did great!

    I am grateful she got to meet my peeps I’ve known for the last seven months.

    In eight days, I’ll have nine months sober again.

    Friday night, I went to a meeting in Mesa with nine of my AA buddies.

    I have a daily routine of texting several men three things I’m grateful for… And the list of guys is growing!

    I have found the life I am looking for.

    The key is to be grateful for it one moment at a time.

    So far, I’m off to a good start.

    Conclusion

    Writing a blog about thriving beyond trauma and choosing to use my lived-experience as an example feels like a double-edged sword sometimes.

    I think it’s absolutely necessary to relate to each other in order to heal, recover, and thrive!

    And the only vehicle I know for conveying that message to you all is my life.

    My thoughts about this life matter, but not as much as what I do.

    Today, without a doubt, I am happier than I have ever been!

    Yes, I have the nagging feeling of nicotine withdrawal that feels like my body is craving something while my mind has erratic spikes of emotionality and confusion.

    I also feel the slight whisper of shame and imposter syndrome that says, “You’re only happy because you’re getting all these things you want, and so you’re selfish and don’t deserve them.”

    And to that old voice, I say thank you for sharing, now shut the fuck up.

    I know where that voice comes from…

    That script was downloaded into me by a man who wasn’t okay with his own feelings and right to have them…

    His shame is not my shame though.

    Even if I am fucking up by shacking up with Tricia, getting some kitties, and buying a Harley, I am living my best life and am enjoying the hell out of the adventure.

    I am sober today because I want to be and choose to be.

    I am facing my demons and chasing my dreams.

    I quit fucking smoking yesterday.

    I go to work every day.

    I try to be of service to others.

    I practice being a loving boyfriend and admitting when I fall short.

    I am living the fucking dream today!

    And I’m writing this motherfucking blog when every other scrambled thought of mine includes a nicotine withdrawal or urge to eat something.

    Life is good because I am living it fully awake to the ups and downs of it.

    I am thriving beyond trauma by choice.

    And if you are reading this, so are you!

    Show up for your life.

    Find out what you want and go for it.

    Find out what holds you back, and let that shit go!

    Everything you want is within reach…

    Just reach out and grab it!

    Thank you and be well 🙂

    Thank you for reading this epic chapter in my life of soooooo many wonderful changes. I am grateful for the turn of events in my life, and I feel like I had a hand in manifesting this stuff. Every thing that has happened, I wanted. I decided to set the intention, point my feet in the direction I wanted to go, and fucking went there with an open mind. This is the essence of thriving beyond trauma!

    If you want to start realizing your dreams, follow, like, and comment on this blog, and email me at davidgreenleaf4life@gmail.com. We will figure out how to get you the job you want, that special someone, or even maybe a cat and a Harley?

    Also, check out my podcast. This week will be the season finale where I interview Tricia! Be sure to check out episode 13. For now, here’s the link to episode 12 (because I haven’t recorded #13 yet).

    Found on all major podcast platforms – or at least Spotify, Apple, iHeart, Stitcher, and maybe Google?

    You can also check me (and Tricia, the kitties, and the Harley) on social media:

    Instagram: @greenleaf_4_life

    TikTok: @greenleaf4life

  • Letting In Love

    Oh shit…

    Now the boy’s gonna tell us what he thinks about love.

    Yes, young Bucky, that’s exactly what the fuck I intend to do!

    [interlaces fingers and cracks his knuckles awaiting words to spew forth]

    Lucky for you the clothes dryer just went off so I have a few more minutes to let the love percolate as I attempt to inspire the masses…

    Or at least, eschew obfuscation…. 😉

    Yes, and my take on love may not either…

    So strap in, muthafuckas! (I mean that in the nicest way possible.)

    How Did We Get Here?

    Before I elucidate the various ins-and-outs of love…

    I think it bears discussing what the fuck this love business has to do with thriving beyond trauma.

    It’s only what this fucking blog is supposed to be about, so I’ll attempt to stay somewhat on track.

    Ah yes…

    Trauma, trauma, trauma…

    That motherfucker.

    Trauma can be a real buzz kill when it comes to allowing love to flourish.

    Before I take THAT deep dive, let me further digress within another digression.

    Or don’t… It’s my blog, I’ll do what I want…

    I realize there are several types of love, definitions of love, flavors of love, et cetera, etc.

    And you know damn well the only one I really give a shit about right now is romantic love, so let’s just set the expectation there for context.

    Okay…

    Yes, for at least an honorable mention, we have the classics as illustrated below:

    Some say love is a feeling. Some say it’s an action, an attitude, and on and on it goes.

    There’s a plethora (since we’re going Greek today) of philosophers, poets, and pirates (argh, they’re always after me booty) out there who have pontificated (another “P” word – and yes, I’m thinking of a couple more. And now you are, too 😉 ) on el amor.

    Case-in-point, a lot of folks talk, sing, and write about it.

    The only thing I offer here of substance that hasn’t been covered on the subject is my humble (not-so-humble) experience and thoughts on this matter.

    Now!

    Back to that fucking trauma shit we’re here to thrive beyond!

    Love for folks like me has been historically tricky.

    It wasn’t exactly modelled consistently to me as a child.

    In fact, if there is such a thing as unconditional love, the love I received as a child was conditional as fuck.

    My dad used to say “it takes 10 ‘atta-boys’ to make up for one ‘aw shit.’”

    When I asked him how many atta-boys I needed to catch up, he said there’s too many.

    Love was dished out hot and cold like a lazy line-cook’s lukewarm lunch.

    Sometimes it was spicy, sprinkled with affection and praise, and other times my very existence was cursed like undercooked bacon.

    If I was upset, I was in trouble.

    If I was happy, I was in trouble.

    If I complied, I was in trouble.

    And if I cried, you bet I was given a reason to cry.

    I’m still not sure about the logic on that last one, but it’s effect was felt.

    It shut me the fuck down.

    I did not trust my own thoughts or feelings.

    People who were all-too-willing (or perhaps unwilling – seemed deliberate at the time) to hurt me were my caretakes, and their love was contingent on some random-ass code I could not quite break.

    So without a clear barometer of my own feelings and thoughts and a constant drive to be whatever people wanted me to be, this love business was murky at best.

    I can see clearly now the pain is gone…

    Oh, don’t get me wrong…

    As a child of the 70s and 80s I saw plenty of movies that molded my impressionable mind. Not to mention (except I just did) the impact my dad’s Playboys had on me that I found when I was 10 years old.

    As the budding romantic forged in the crucible of toxic-masculinity, I formed some skewed ideas about love and romance.

    Dad kissed my mom regularly, patted her on the butt, and would also tell her what a fat bitch she was…

    Oh… so romantic…

    But…

    Poor PeeWee… Yes, his public “self-love” impacted my childhood, too…

    When I discovered girls (I think in kindergarten), I knew I wanted THAT kind of love.

    Fortunately, for yours truly, and the amazing woman in my life today, I’ve learned a thing or two besides “that’s what she said” jokes…

    Heart-Shaped Box

    What this song has to do with love is beyond me. Ask Kurt.

    And since we’re posting random “love” songs… here’s another…

    The challenge or luxury (I haven’t decided yet) about picking up a couple days later to continue writing where I left off on this blog is the caffeine-fueled creative vibe has invariably changed.

    Let’s see if I can get back on track (if I was on track to begin with).

    After reading what I’ve written thus far, I think I was going to talk about this matter-of-the-heart stuff.

    I’m hoping that’s where “Heart-Shaped Box” was leading.

    I guess we’ll never know as those ideas are floating somewhere in the ether of two days ago, and I lost my time-machine.

    Somewhere along my journey of forming the fantasy (or ideal) of what love should look like, I discovered various things about myself.

    I’ve read several (a few) books on the matter.

    I developed a knack for writing poetry.

    I learned about love languages (https://5lovelanguages.com/), astrological alignments, and sex. Yes, let’s not forget about the sex part.

    Over the years I’ve learned what to do and what not to do in relationship thanks to several failed attempts and a shit-ton of couples’ counseling.

    But were they really “failed” relationships?

    Today, my attitude is they were not.

    Without the trail of broken hearts (mine included), I would not be where I am today to appreciate the dance that is romantic love.

    Anyone who is successful at anything had to fuck up a lot to find the sweet spot.

    The point is, if there is one, is that without coming to grips with the fact that I have several character flaws preventing me from experiencing true intimacy, I could not enjoy the fruits of connection today.

    And when I say (write) “intimacy,” I mean a willingness to be vulnerable.

    And by vulnerable, I mean the willingness to be fully seen and heard as I am.

    AND…

    The willingness (and follow through) to fully see and hear another person without an agenda to change them.

    Yes, folks…

    Intimacy and vulnerability equals love.

    But Wait, There’s More!

    This is the benefit of writing stream-of-consciousness. I had no idea this is where we were going.

    As a person who has historically struggled with self-esteem, this business of letting down my guard has not been easy.

    And whilst on guard protecting ye ol’ heart-shaped box, it has been difficult to hold space with others without judgement.

    From a basis of fear and defense mechanisms of self-centeredness, a lot of time was spent pretending to be someone I was not.

    It’s exhausting building up a false-self and maintaining it.

    And the insanity of trying to feel loved as I am while not actually presenting that person is… well, insane.

    And while buried eyebrow-deep in identity management, actually being present for another person is often impossible.

    So, young Bucky, once upon a time, wee David decided to let some shit go, learn to love himself (fully see and accept), and set down the façade.

    I also went so far as to write out an intention for the ideal-she my heart longed for.

    And I wrote that fucker (the ideal, not the actual person) down nearly four years ago!

    I decided that with 330 million people in this country (roughly half are women), I did not need to settle.

    I wanted to find someone who sees me and loves me just as I am.

    And beyond just sees and loves me…

    I want to be adored.

    And I, in-turn, wanted to find someone I adore.

    Someone with a few loose screws (like yours truly) who is also an intelligent, spiritual, passionate sex-machine.

    Raised Eyebrows Napoleon Dynamite GIF - Raised Eyebrows Napoleon Dynamite Kip GIFs

    I wanted to find someone who is and can be vulnerable and powerful.

    I wanted someone to laugh and cry with.

    I wanted someone who has dreams and wants to ride the magic carpet ride that is my life.

    And ohhh… did the Universe deliver!

    Is It a Controlled Fall?

    They (whoever they are) say you always find what you’re looking for in the last place you look…

    That’s because when you find what (whom) you’re looking for, you stop looking.

    And I, my friends, need look no further.

    Upon meeting Tricia (on an online dating app), we instantly connected.

    From the very get-go, we found an ease to our communication, mutual interests, and common desires.

    We both agreed that to solidify the deal, we’d need to meet in-person to see if we passed what I call “the smell test.” Did our pheromones match our psychic connection?

    We met at a roller skating rink and the mutual-magnetism was instant.

    She hadn’t skated in probably 30 years, said she felt disheveled from a last-minute work emergency, showed up a little late, and was beautiful and right on time to me.

    We met each other where we were and played together that night in the awkward and romantic revolutions of the roller rink.

    There was risk and trust dished out in equal servings.

    I found a friend.

    As we spent more and more time with each other, we shared various stories, music, tears, and laughter.

    After the first date, my old friends showed up in my head.

    Despite a wonderful evening of fun and connection, the next day my fears reared their ugly heads…

    Yay, trauma response!

    I called a friend of mine and regaled him with all of the prior evening’s events, my thoughts, and feelings.

    He patiently listened and then proffered his sage feedback and advice.

    He reflected that it sounded like Tricia and I had a lot in common, really liked each other, had a wonderful time together, and that I should just keep it simple and enjoy the unfolding without overthinking it.

    He reminded me of the principles of honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness.

    At that moment, I surrendered to this new adventure that would carry me into a free-fall like Mr. Whiskers.

    And like Mr. Whiskers, although I initially looked down and felt the fear, I decided to let go and fucking fly!

    Vulnerability and intimacy are choices.

    They require a certain letting go.

    At the same time, as Tricia and I got closer, it felt more like I was falling.

    And yes, grab your barf-bags… I mean falling in-love.

    Letting in love is simultaneously an act of will and a letting go.

    As fond as I am of her (which is very), I hold this relationship with a loose grip.

    There is no fear or need to make it happen.

    There is no people-pleasing.

    There is simply being who I am and appreciating who she is.

    Some may say we’re in the pink-cloud phase of this relationship, and maybe we are. We both intuit, though, that our mutual adoration will last the rest of our lives.

    Besides, all we have is right now, and the future doesn’t exist or matter.

    We have found a pattern of partnership, fun, romance, and excitement that keeps getting better by the minute.

    Both of us have histories and yet, we see beyond that.

    We have fallen in-love with the person right in front of us.

    And with a connection like this, the sky’s the limit.

    For the first time in a very long time (if ever), I feel very optimistic, free to be myself, and so very grateful to find such a magnificent woman to share space and time with.

    It isn’t that all of my relationships in the past were completely “bad” by any means.

    They just didn’t check enough of the boxes.

    And quite frankly, I wasn’t ready or checking the boxes either.

    She checks the boxes.

    And I check hers.

    She’s said she wishes we met earlier in life.

    I can appreciate (and agree with) the sentiment of wanting to have more time with each other and avoiding some of the bullshit we experienced before meeting.

    And…

    We met EXACTLY when and how we were supposed to.

    We wouldn’t be who we are today without those experiences. (She also agrees with this.)

    And I dare say, perhaps we wouldn’t appreciate what we have as much had we not grown into the people we were when we met.

    I trust the Divine Timing of this union, and am so grateful to be present for it.

    Such a happy couple!

    Conclusion

    A part of me (the fucking inner-critic gremlins referenced in the gif above) feels a little neurotic writing this blog post.

    There’s still that part of me that feels like I don’t deserve love and am incapable of adequately giving it.

    And…

    At the same time, the empowered me that thrives beyond trauma says this post is due for publishing.

    If you’ve been following my blog (and podcast), you know that I have struggled in the dating arena as well as with self-love.

    This is the dance of thriving beyond trauma, and you need to hear about it!

    We sit down between the little fucking gremlins in the theater, put an arm around each of them, and say, “What’s up motherfucker? You ready for the show?”

    Yes, I embrace my demons and expose them to the Light so that I may love and be loved in return.

    My name, David, means “beloved” in Hebrew.

    I used to think it was a sick cosmic joke because not only did I hate my name, I felt anything but loved, lovable, or loving.

    I wanted to feel and be all of those.

    And with consistent work and surrender, I have embraced the reverent nature and influence of Love in my life.

    I have embodied what it is to be loved and be beloved.

    I love you tailgater!

    Although a lot of my rhetoric around thriving beyond trauma includes doing hard shit and not making excuses (and “that’s what she said” jokes), love is and always has been the foundation.

    Love for self, love for others, and love for the world.

    Ah hell, I’m feeling charitable… And Love for God, too!

    I’ve had several spiritual experiences, and the one constantly emerging theme is that love connects everything.

    The vibration of life energy feels like love to me.

    The very act of creation and the humming of electrons provide proof of the loving force in our lives that is everything and holds everything together.

    Okay, I’m going down a woo/Star Wars rabbit hole here, but you get the gist.

    Without learning to love and be loved, I would not be the happy person I am today.

    By learning to love and be loved, I have been able to open my heart up to a beautiful person, stand in awe of her life, and surrender to the joy of being embraced by her.

    It’s a journey, folks.

    Although this post may seem like there’s an arrival point, there really isn’t.

    This experience of loving Tricia and myself is fluid and will require the ever-evolving dance of being intentional and letting go.

    I believe strongly in impermanence.

    What we have may disappear at any moment.

    The greatest way to love is to love THIS moment without clinging to it.

    So my parting words to you, young Bucky, are to look deep inside, find out what your heart desires, find out what holds you back, let that shit go, and lean into the vulnerability of loving yourself and others.

    It’s hard to do at times, but worth it!

    You knew I couldn’t end this without a final word from our patron saint, Michael Scott.

    😉

    Be well 🙂

    Thank you for tuning into another installment of the ever-moving target that is my life. I’d have it no other way! Be sure to like, comment, and follow me for weekly entries about thriving beyond trauma. You can also reach out via email at davidgreenleaf4life@gmail.com.

    I also offer life coaching services. When you are ready to start creating real results in your life, reach out, and we’ll get you going! Want that better job, to find your true love, or to be physically and emotionally healthy? We can do this!

    Also check out my weekly podcast found on all major platforms. Stay tuned for the next episode coming this Sunday! And if you’re still reading this far, two episodes from now will be the 13th and final episode of season one. The grand finale will feature an interview with Tricia. She’s also got a hell of a story and is thriving beyond trauma!

    Check me out on the socials, too!

    Instagram @greenleaf_4_life

    TikTok @greenleaf4life