Today is a new moon – which means it reflects no visible light in our night sky.
It happens every 28 some-odd days, and to me, it signifies a time of new beginnings.
Some people set new intentions for the month to come on the new moon.
It can be a time for hope, focus, and taking stock of our lives.
Incidentally, this new moon is in the sign of Cancer which (according the inter-webs) is a time of healing, if you believe that shit (you know I do 😉 ).
I like the symbolism that it’s the darkest night of the month while some of us traverse the “Dark Night of the Soul” (St. John of the Cross).
The below quote is not from St John’s poem, but again, it deals with the concept of light and darkness.
There are periods of our lives (especially those exposed to trauma) where things just feel dark, heavy, and quite frankly, fucked.
And lately, things have felt very dark for me. So much so, that I did not write my blog post yesterday.
I also found another quote very fitting to the present and similar to St John’s:
Facing the Shadow
For those of you unfamiliar with the term “shadow work,” Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, referred to our subconscious qualities that we really don’t like (and sometimes struggle) to admit about ourselves as our “shadow self.”
“The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.”
— Carl Jung, Aion (1951)
I’ve discovered a wonderful article, Carl Jung and the Shadow: The Ultimate Guide to the Human Dark Side, by Jack E. Othon, which masterfully goes into greater detail about our shadow selves (https://highexistence.com/carl-jung-shadow-guide-unconscious/).
I recommend reading it.
However, for the purposes of this post, let’s just say there’s shit inside I’d rather not talk about that keeps me miserable. (I suspect you have a few of those, too).
And if I did not see the value in exposing the raw details about my journey in order to thrive beyond trauma, I may not write this blog.
I am fortunate to have people in my life who encourage me to keeping writing because my shadow shelf is draped in a huge cloak of shame (that’s poetic).
And if you’ve read my other posts, you know that my opinion is that shame, particularly toxic-shame that comes from abuse, is a fucking lie!
So… let’s bring some of these shadows into the light…
After the Supreme Court decision Friday, I wanted to run. I have felt very angry and afraid since then.
My younger child informed me they are feeling suicidal. Although they told me they do not have an active plan to kill themselves, I am deeply saddened by this.
I feel very powerless and desperate about the above circumstances. In the present, all I can do is express my love to those affected and advocate against harm to people with uteri.
I have no Superman cape. I cannot rescue anyone.
And I fear for all of their safety.
In my darkest moments, life does not seem worth living.
I see a world crumbling around me, factions of people pitted against each other, and a gripping dread that all of it is going to explode at any fucking minute.
Getting up to write a rah-rah fucking blog post about mindset and chasing your dreams falls flat when I feel like the world may not make it another five years….
None of it seems to fucking matter when I go there…
And my strongest impulses are to run or self-destruct.
Of course, the other impulses (as many of you know) are for me to find comfort in the attention, affection, and approval of a woman.
I want to feel loved and safe.
I suppose the little kid in me wants his mommy right now because he’s fucking terrified and feels alone.
That sure as hell isn’t some David Goggins’ “Can’t Hurt Me” stuff, is it?
And in this quest to find the magical “she,” I’ve been spending time trying to win the approval of a couple in women in particular that I really don’t want to be with for one reason or another.
I feel like the moth attracted to the flame of emotionally unavailable, avoidant women… and it drives me fucking crazy.
I am subconsciously attracted to unavailable women (that I really don’t want to be with) – and I am fucking sick of it!
And of course, they aren’t the problem.
It’s not the Supreme Court, my kid, or the women (I’ve recently distanced myself from).
It’s fucking me!!!
I am the problem!
And my ego demands that I get my fucking way right now to satisfy these shadows that really do not serve me or anyone else.
The Light at the End of the Tunnel
If the light’s not Darth Vader, maybe it’s an oncoming train?
I know I am too hard on myself and others.
My self-centered fear places me in a position to either feel way too dominant or dependent on people.
Someone once coined the term, “King Baby.”
Please worship me, yet take care of me.
This is a clear sign of someone who needs to grow the fuck up.
And I am…
Some might even say I’m a narcissist, since that’s a fun term people like to ignorantly throw around these days.
I mean, I may not be much, but I’m all I think about, right?
Yes, I am fairly selfish and self-centered…
Unlike a true narcissist, I do give a fuck about people.
I care so much so that their suffering fucking hurts me, too.
I cope with my insecurities by trying to protect myself and get comfort in any way my ego habitually tells me to.
And it’s usually through the big three – attention, affection, and approval.
That’s a pretty fucking human trait to have.
We need attention, affection, and approval.
This is also true for the love avoidants who have not dealt with (or even acknowledged) their wounds.
And quite frankly, I am sick of being around people who are in denial.
There, I said it.
I do not have time to pat people’s backs who are willfully staying sick.
Okay, okay, David…
Get off your fucking high-horse…
There goes my ego again smashing people’s feelings like God-fucking-zilla…
Okay folks… I’ll dial it back a bit.
I realize people are exactly where they are supposed to be, and the main reason other people’s foibles twist my tit so much is because I have unrealistic expectations of them.
I am placing my self-esteem in the hands of people who, like me, are on a journey and are struggling, too.
Again, if it bothers me, it belongs to me.
Knowing that, I have more work to do.
And by bringing my shadows to light, I am making some fucking changes in who I spend my time with.
Yes, I want to be of service and help folks who struggle.
I want to help people who really want to do the work to get better and not keep bullshitting themselves by posting inspirational memes, taking glamour shots, but not actually doing the work to get better.
Man, that’s some judgy-ass ranting going on there.
I think I may be feeling angry and projecting my own shit onto other people again.
Okay… Everyone is entitled to their own path, and they’re all doing the best they can…
There, I can try to come back to understanding and empathy and stop spewing my hurt all over the place…
However, I don’t fucking need to save them or date them.
And the truth is, I can’t anyway…
You Really Should
Get That Looked At
I have decided to go back to basics…
I have rejoined a fellowship that specifically deals with codependency and romantic obsession.
I wish thriving beyond trauma were as simple as deciding everyday to do hard shit and just doing it.
And in many ways, it is just that simple.
However, I am firm believer that recovery from trauma and it’s many manifestations does not occur in isolation or a vacuum.
In other words, we need people!
The last two days I really wanted to isolate.
I felt too shitty to be around people.
It felt like the weight of the world was on me and like my skin was on in-side-out.
That, my friends, is shame manifesting as social anxiety and depression.
The world felt fucked, and I did not want to participate anymore.
However, I know that I cannot stay in that state for long because I will self-destruct.
And fortunately, for yours truly, I have some dreams and goals despite this lingering and persistent nihilism.
So, as I mentioned before, I decided to reach out for help.
I went to a meeting last night (virtually) for people who easily obsess and fantasize about finding “The One.”
We sacrifice our self-care and dreams while we obsessively pursue (you guessed it) attention, affection, and approval.
My feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are normalized in that fellowship.
And, I get hope for change.
I decided to distance myself from the women I have been (at times pathetically) seeking approval and attention from.
I have decided to level the fuck up.
I am tired of being around indecisive, emotionally unavailable people.
Yes, they are on a journey, and I can love and respect them where they are at…
I can recognize that these types of women fit into a dysfunctional pattern I am trying to break free from.
So today, I am choosing me.
I am working on my 6th and 7th steps with my AA sponsor and rejoining the fellowship to help me lose my obsession with romantic intrigue.
I am focusing on my personal development, and someday, I trust, I will be in a better position to attract a healthier person into my life.
But first, I have to get healthier.
And that’s right folks, I need to do the shadow work to get there.
I don’t think I’ve described the process of facing my shadow self as a neat, tidy package.
Because it isn’t!
It is fucking messy at times.
There is a withdrawal process of letting old obsessions go.
There is a period of pain, confusion, anger, and depression.
My sponsor assures me that I am right where I’m supposed to be.
And I agree with him.
I am grateful to be riding the waves of self-induced misery.
There’s a recurring pattern in my recovery that requires me to get fucking sick of my own shit before I let it go.
That’s not always the case, but it feels like my greatest growth spurts come from this period of becoming “entirely ready” (Step 6).
I am also discovering that the release that comes from letting go is not necessarily an act of will either.
I cannot control the letting go, merely try to be willing to do so.
It’s kind of like forgiveness.
“To err is human, to forgive divine” (Alexander Pope)
Forgiveness is something I experience, not create.
I find that I only need to become willing to forgive and then at some magical unspecified moment, I feel the release of forgiveness.
So today, kids, I am acting “as if.”
I am acting as if I have let this shit go.
I am acting as if I have forgiven myself and others.
And for me, that means that I pray for the willingness to let go and forgive.
Sometimes, I pray for the willingness to be willing.
And whether you believe in a higher power or not doesn’t matter.
If you speak the intention outward (under a new moon, to God, or even your fucking dog), someone, somewhere hears it – even if it’s only you…
And I act as if by staying away from people who bring me down.
I act as if by surrounding myself with people who are actively in recovery and seeking a better life – nay, I say living a better life.
I surround myself with people I want to be like.
I am going to meetings where I can be around other people with the same primary purpose – to recover from “a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body” (AA, pg. xiii).
Whether its the hopeless state of alcoholism, codependency, or love addiction, I am taking the fucking action today to relieve me (and others) of the suffering it causes.
So yeah, I am leveling the fuck up.
I’ve heard someone say that it’s only addicts that expect to feel good all of the time.
I don’t think that line of thinking is limited to addicts exclusivley.
I also think another common thinking error is this notion that if I feel like shit, I am doing something wrong.
Yes, that may be true at times, for after all, I have some say in my mindset.
However, I also think that life has its ups and downs, and people who have experienced trauma especially feel the huge swings of the ebb and flow.
On an EKG machine, if the line is flat, you are dead.
A heart beat even measures with ups and downs.
So a life without the hills and valleys, is not a life at all…
It’s an existence.
So as with the moon, we cannot enjoy the brilliance of her fullness without embracing the shadow side, too.
And such is life.
In trauma recovery, I’ve heard, “The only way out is through.”
And the part that we go “through” is the shadow self.
Dig deep into the part of yourself that drives you blindly to fear, judge, and alienate people (including yourself).
Look at where your ego demands that life go a certain way.
Look at where you either dominate or are dependent on people.
Find out how you get in your own way…
And get fucking help!
If it’s embarrassing, then that’s the clue of where you need to grow.
Do you think I like exposing all this sick-ass love addiction bullshit on here?
But I also know that lies die in the light.
I have to expose the shadow self in order to get better.
And the bigger picture for me is that when I share my journey authentically, it helps others.
My main goal is for you to fucking relate, and find the courage to face your shadow self…
So you can thrive beyond trauma.
Thank you for reading another installment of my journey to thrive beyond trauma. I hope you can relate, and even more, I hope it inspires you to make some changes. Please like, comment, follow or reach out. I am putting together Life Coaching packages and can help you. If you are feeling stuck, or sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, let’s chat and get you on track!
Check out the latest episode of my podcast. It’s available on all major platforms including Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, iHeart, and Google. Here’s the Spotify link:
Okay… so maybe the Harry Potter video is a little dramatic for what I want to talk about, but damn I’m feeling that today…
The imagery, the music, the gravity of dying to live…
And what, you may be asking, does Harry Potter and the golden snitch have to do with thriving beyond trauma…?
Well maybe, young Bucky, I will get to that!
Today was the last day of my job as a High Needs Case Manager.
Ahem… [clears throat]
TODAY WAS THE LAST DAY OF MY JOB AS A HIGH NEEDS CASE MANAGER!!!
Thank you, Leo… 🙂
The reality of leaving that job is still setting in.
I keep feeling like I have some crisis or emails to attend to.
I almost did not make it out gracefully…
Yesterday, I hung up on an insurance company because they denied services for a kiddo needing a facility to go to…
I dropped off the company’s equipment (laptop, cell phone) at half day today because I was fucking done!
I am so fucking grateful to be done!
Today closes the chapter of me working for other people in a broken system so that now I can live my fucking dreams!
Today, my identity of burned-out social worker dies so that I can emerge to be of maximum service to those who are ready to thrive beyond trauma.
Today, I get to advocate for women because this country’s Supreme Court royally fucked up!
I find it synchronistic that the last day of my job is the same day Roe v. Wade gets overturned…
And before you get your nuts all twisted up reading my opinion, remember, we all get to have an opinion, and it’s our job as responsible citizens to listen to one another.
My first impulse when I heard that news today was to leave the country.
I see this ruling as a sign that a police state which favors white “Christian” males is coming. (Oh wait, we’re already there….)
I have children who are able to conceive babies, and I worry about their rights and freedom.
And… As a white male with a voice, I have privilege, and I need to use it responsibly.
It would be cowardly of me to run out on this country because I am afraid.
I need to leverage my privilege and speak out for those who are silenced because of their gender, race, ability, etc.
I’ve spoken my peace about that (not really, I have a lot more to say), but for now, it’s important to come back to embracing my Sacred Calling by letting the old me die.
This mission of mine is not about me…
And I’m grateful that on this day, of all days, the social advocate fire within me has become a fucking inferno!
The Divine Timing of it all is perfect.
In the immortal words of Captain Jack, “Can we pretend that she’s nothing more than a woman scorned like which fury hell hath no? We cannot! So, I agree with, and I cannot believe the words are coming out of me mouth…Captain Swann. We must fight.“
Just you watch… The Rise of the Women. This decision will not go without consequence. It’s coming… Mark my words. This country pissed off a lot of women today, and there will be a price to pay. Count on it.
St. Francis’s Golden Snitch
Okay… back to the topic at hand.
I know it’s hard for me to follow along, too, and I’m writing the motherfucker!
Okay, I’m pretty sure St. Francis was not in the Harry Potter movies, but a friend of mine reminded me of a famous line from a prayer credited to him (sometimes):
“. . . and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
In the final Harry Potter book, he discovered that the golden snitch (a golden ball that flies around in a game called Quidditch – okay, I see have a lot more to explain here, but I’m not going to – just read the damn Harry Potter books or watch the movies…) contains the Resurrection Stone.
I’ll let you guess what a Resurrection Stone does because I know you’re smart that way!
The golden snitch bears the inscription, “I Open at the Close.”
Like you, Harry has no fucking clue what that means (unless you read the books or saw the movies).
However, he finds out that once he made the decision to sacrifice himself to Voldemort (don’t ask) and die, the golden snitch opens and inside he finds the Resurrection Stone.
Fuck, it feels like I’m losing you here describing this to make a simple (not so simple) point…
If you’re still with me, the POINT is that once Harry follows St Francis’s (I mean Dumbledore’s) clue, he dies and comes back to life.
Just like Jesus, right?
Not really, but a similar idea.
At least, I think that’s what St. Francis was getting at…
That when we die to ourselves either by releasing our identity, demands, selfishness, lifestyle, what-have-you, we awaken to “eternal life.”
I realize it’s fairly grandiose of me to compare my life’s journey to Harry Potter, St. Francis, and Jesus, but why start being humble now?
I’m just kidding…
Or am I?
Regardless, from the wisdom of JK Rowling and St. Francis, I extrapolate the need to “let old things die” (see post https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/05/27/let-old-things-die/) so that I may move on to this next chapter of life.
And to me, the next chapter is very fucking significant and magical and I’m going to milk it for all of the woo-energy I can get out of it!
I’m talking unicorns and fucking rainbows, baby!
I really need to lay off these energy drinks… 😉
Dying to Live
So, kids… to bring this around to some rah-rah, in your face, motivational malarky… what I’m trying to say is I feel fucking free today!
That’s not the gif I meant to use, but it came up first, and I find it sooooo fitting! And Dave Chappelle makes me laugh… really hard…
YES!!! I’m free!!!
I felt like my job, though an honorable one that several people told me I’m good at, was sucking my soul away…
I dreaded going to work.
I have felt the restlessness, drive, and passion to become a fulltime writer, life coach, and podcaster for a long time!
And so, I impart this message on to you:
If you feel irritable, restless, and discontent or the sadness that comes from living a life without passion…
If you have any of the “someday I’m gonna…” thoughts or wishes in your head, stop wishing for someday and start doing it today!
The only way I’m going to succeed at realizing my dreams is to take the action.
When I was sick at home and had time to reflect, I came face-to-face with how much I hated my fucking job.
I don’t use the word “hate” lightly either.
It is a word I’d prefer to never use…
But as time went on, I felt such a resistance to doing my job that my attitude really began to suck.
Yes, I cared about those kids.
Yes, I was an effective case manager and did a good job.
And… my heart wasn’t in it.
It was poisoning me.
If you want to stop feeling poisoned, stop consuming poison!
(Put that on a t-shirt!)
Find that little kernel of desire or desperation inside of you.
Water that motherfucker (if you water kernels).
Or pop the fucker!
I don’t know.
But you know what I mean!
Get out your notebook (if you don’t have one, get one).
Free-write for five minutes all the things you want to do in your life before you fucking die.
Don’t worry about if it’s realistic or not.
Just write the shit down!
After you’ve written for five minutes, pick up your list, look in the mirror and tell yourself, I am going to do this shit!
And read the fucking list out loud to yourself!
Write the things on sticky notes and put them on your mirror (see David Goggins #accountabilitymirror)
Don’t worry about how you’re going to. Just tell yourself you ARE going to.
Set the fucking intention.
Decide that you are going to let the “someday” attitude die and start making your list happen today.
Not tomorrow, not next week…. TODAY!
After you’ve written and read the list out loud, start putting numbers next to them based on how soon you can do them.
Ones are things you can do today, twos in the next month, threes in the next three months.
Do the things you labeled as 1s.
After you complete the ones, start on the twos, and then the threes.
If the twos and threes need extra steps, write those steps down and write 1, 2, or 3 next to those steps and then start again with the ones.
Don’t listen to the bullshit thinking that says you can’t do these things.
It’ll sound like, “I don’t have enough time or money. I’m not strong enough.”
Make the time and money.
Decide to spend 10 minutes each day working on what you want to accomplish.
Set a fucking timer if you have to.
You have 10 minutes to scroll through Facebook or watch fucking Netflix, right?
You have 10 minutes to start on your dreams.
If nothing changes, nothing changes.
Let go of your old ideas and take action to create the life you want.
Let old things die – so that you may live!
Okay, so as usual we kind of went all over the place, but why should today be any different?
Besides, I’m still figuring out my voice and audience.
But the point is, I’m fucking do it!
I’m not sitting around thinking about it, trying to figure out how I’m going to get good at this.
I’m doing the damn thing and honing my skills and message while I do it.
If you sit around, research, think about, plan, etc., you are stalling.
That is mental masturbation!
If you want to live free – I mean really feel free, you’re gonna have to let your old life and ways of doing things die.
You don’t have a lot of time left on this planet.
Make the most of it!
Thriving beyond trauma does not come from sitting on your ass in front of the TV or complaining to a therapist week after week about how hard things are.
You have to change your mindset!
Move from victim to victor!
The only person holding you back is YOU!
Thank that person for protecting you and keeping you safe up to this point, and then kindly ask them to step the fuck aside while you learn to fly!
Happiness is choice!
And it comes from a mindset that everything is happening to benefit you…
Yes, I know there’s a struggle, particularly as someone who has experienced trauma.
However, there is clearly a way to thrive beyond trauma.
Come with me.
I’ll show you the way!
Be well 😉
Thank you for reading this historic moment in my life where I break free from society’s expectations and begin to spread my wings. If you want to get a taste of thriving beyond trauma, like, comment, follow, and reach out. I am a Life Coach and will show you how to break free! I’m just a click and comment away…
Also, I find a lot of inspiration listening to podcasts… Check out this one where I was interviewed. And below it is a link to my own weekly podcast. They can be found on all major platforms, but here’s the Spotify links.
I wanted to call this post “Inertia,” but decided that will have to be a subheading instead – and I figured more people want to hear about motivation rather than a physics term that I find interesting.
Ah yes… motivation – that somewhat elusive state I hear so many talk about.
I’ve heard fitness and life coaches talk about it – A LOT.
I hear my friends tell me how they struggle to do the things they want to – like come to the gym or start their new YouTube channel.
Hell, even in my line of work in mental health, we employ Motivational Interviewing to help guide people towards taking self-directed healthy action.
And yes, even yours truly comes up against the wall of feeling unmotivated sometimes.
So, apparently motivation is a thing many of us think about.
We all want to do something, or we want to want to, but shit keeps holding us back.
“What is this shit he speaks of?” you may be asking yourself….
And more importantly, how can we overcome what holds us back so we can accomplish what we want or need to do?
Maybe, if you’re feeling motivated, you’ll read on and find some answers?
Sometimes I like to use Latin words to make myself feel cool. But I also love finding out the roots of words and reading definitions out of the dictionary.
You’d be surprised where words come from, what they really mean, and how frequently we use them incorrectly…
Although it’s pretty hard to screw up the meaning of the word motivation, I’ve taken the liberty of including some definitions:
“Motivation – forces acting either on or within a person to initiate behaviour. The word is derived from the Latin term motivus (“a moving cause”), which suggests the activating properties of the processes involved in psychological motivation” (https://www.britannica.com/topic/motivation).
“Motivation is the process that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviors. It is what causes you to act, whether it is getting a glass of water to reduce thirst or reading a book to gain knowledge. Motivation involves the biological, emotional, social, and cognitive forces that activate behavior” (https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-motivation-2795378).
So in other words – it’s something internal and/or external that moves us to take action.
It’s a process.
I had blindly accepted that motivation involved a “why” we do stuff, but I never considered before now that it is a process as well.
So the reason people do things, i.e. are motivated, is because they feel moved to satisfy some sort of need that involves their body, mind, feelings, or relationships.
And, it’s not just a magic fucking state of, “Oh, I feel so motivated.” The above-referenced needs play a part in why we even do things.
I don’t know about you, but I do things to feel better.
I know that if I eat, sleep, drink water, exercise, and play well with others life is pretty good.
And, if I pursue my purpose to be of service, again, I feel better.
But is motivation always associated with feeling better?
Maybe it’s also to avoid pain (like the cyclist avoiding Mr. Bear)?
I’m sure the pleasure center in our minds guides us toward “initiating behavior.”
But what about the choice to endure pain for a potential future payoff?
That doesn’t always feel good.
And therein lies the rub…
So often we feel unmotivated because we imagine the suffering involved with taking action.
Our imaginations stop us in our tracks – or better yet – keep us from even getting off our asses to begin with…
Some call it “analysis paralysis.”
I don’t know why the phrase, “hurry up and wait’ comes to mind because it doesn’t accurately define inertia…
Maybe it’s the free-association writing style I employ due to a history of past psychedelic usage?
What were we talking about?
Oh yeah… rainbows.
I like rainbows, too, though. 😉
Nonetheless, inertia, at least at it’s paused state, does kind of feel like a hurry up and wait…
Okay, before I drag you kicking and screaming down my personal philosophical path, let’s define the word, “Inertia.”
- a tendency to do nothing or to remain unchanged.
- PHYSICS – a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.
So, for the layperson (like myself), if you ain’t doin’ shit, you ain’t gonna do shit…
If you doin’ shit, you will probably keep doin’ shit…
Now remember, I am merely a writer trying make his way in this world and have a good time doing it… I’m not a physicist…
Okay, back to this inertia business and what the hell it has to do with motivation.
Again, I am not a physicist, and will likely mix up the difference between inertia and momentum, but I cheerfully present my poetic license to bend the word meanings to my desire…
This week, I feel like inertia described my state of action.
I told you the other day that I got a tattoo – a big fucker on my back.
I followed my tattooer’s advice and have avoided exercise since Sunday morning.
Because my back has been healing (and feeling tender), I’ve been sleeping on my sides.
Yesterday, I woke up and my left shoulder was fucking killing me. Like sharp pains running through my rotator cuff and down my arm when I tried to lift it, grab something out of the cabinet, close my car door, or even roll over in bed.
You may also remember that I’ve been doing a daily burpee challenge, and I put that on pause, too, in consideration of my tattoo.
Ceasing my daily exercise regimen has taken its toll.
Not only did my routine of daily action get interrupted (by my choice), I think it also caused me to feel the shadow of depression lurking behind me.
I decided on Sunday that today (Thursday) I would resume exercising.
I woke up this morning to shoulder-pain-induced broken sleep and the negative whispers of self doubt and depression.
I haven’t exercised in four days.
My shoulder hurts…
My tattoo feels like a tight piece of beef jerky on my back…
Can I do 76 burpees, let alone one?
The person I was doing the burpee challenge with backed out…
Why am I even doing these?
What difference does it make?
Maybe I should just rest a couple more days…
I feel tired.
I think I’m going back to bed…
No one cares any way…
Maybe I’m just going to live with chronic pain and gain the weight back…
A body at rest tends to stay at rest…
A body in motion tends to stay in motion…
So how the fuck do I get back in motion?
Don’t Just Stand There…
I wish I had the magic answer to motivate you…
I can only tell you what happens to me and what I’ve observed.
If anything is apparent, motivation is closely connected to your “why.”
When I know (feel) my why, I will move to action…
Much like the singer in video, when you know your why, you become empowered to take action.
Motivation is also a choice…
And that choice usually comes down to commitment.
Motivation comes and goes, but commitment is constant.
If you honor your commitments, your motivation will return.
I sat there on my bed this morning weighing my options as the demons of doubt danced around me.
No one would know if I went back to bed.
No one would probably even care…
But I would know, and I fucking care!
My why is that I want to be a man of integrity who thrives beyond trauma! I want to escape my victim-belief lifestyle and inspire others to do the same. If I don’t push myself to grow, I have nothing to offer the people I seek to serve.
That is my Sacred Calling….
I realize I just shared a Christian video and an astrology reference… Welcome to my world!
Nonetheless, my calling is in the stars.
Whether you believe it or not doesn’t matter.
And it’s a significant WHY for me.
And that “why” got me off my ass today to do 76 fucking burpees!
I let go of the fears and self-defeating thoughts.
Pulled out my time-lapsed video recorder on my phone and went to it!
I made a commitment to myself to do this burpee challenge.
And it’s not just about the fucking burpees…
The burpees are a symbol…
They represent to me all of the life challenges I am facing in order to achieve my dreams!
They represent the demons I dance with daily to thrive beyond trauma.
They represent my resiliency and drive to escape the effects of self-pity, excuse making, and codependency.
They represent my will to live!
Find your fucking why!
Make and keep your commitments!
Get an accountability mirror (as seen in the background of the below video)!
And make your own motivation!
If inertia is the tendency to stay stopped or keep moving, momentum is the amount of movement you are making.
I’m sure, like most people, I mistake momentum and inertia. But the point here is that once we start moving, we need to notice it and keep going.
Be intentional about your effort and progress.
Once I started my burpees today and broke free from the stalled out, what-if game, I changed my inertia. I started moving and therefore could keep moving.
Usually at about 15 or 16 burpees in, I start to feel tired.
It’s like moving muscles through water.
Then again at 30.
I’ll pause, pant, and step into my head game of why am I doing this…
My body and mind say quit.
A voice inside me says, “Go!”
“Just keep going!”
Somewhere around 40-50 burpees in, I find my second wind and my pace.
My pace quickens and becomes regular.
It’s kind of like when I’m trail running or doing an AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) in CrossFit.
Somewhere at the midpoint I find my stride and an untapped extra bit of energy.
I find endurance.
I find momentum.
I know that I’ve already accomplished a lot (in the workout).
There is no quitting or turning back at this point.
My body begins to work on it’s own…
And that’s where I begin to excel.
In order to find your momentum you have to endure the pain of starting.
You have to keep with the struggle of fatigue and the quitters’ mind to find the promise land of momentum.
And when you find the momentum – you are in flow.
And flow will carry you for a very, very long time.
Once you’ve figured out your “why” and started on your activity, push past the quitters mind to find your inner reserve of energy and motivation you didn’t know you have.
It’s in there…
Just keep moving…
You’ll find it.
I hope this post motivated you to discover what moves you.
Without a sufficient why or commitment, you will stay stuck.
Take some time to write out what’s important to you.
Write out your goals.
Write out what really fires you up.
Write out what absolutely fucking bothers you about yourself.
And do something about it.
What ever IT is..
Surround yourself with people who share and encourage your goals.
Motivation comes and goes…
But the whys and commitments do not.
It’s like Harry Potter and his Patronus. He wasn’t able to cast that spell until he had a powerful enough why behind it.
Okay, pop culture references aside, find your fucking why!
Make a commitment to it!
I guarantee there will be times you feel unmotivated to do the thing you want or need to do.
I always feel better after I do those damn burpees.
Do I look forward to them?
Are they hard.
And – I value what they represent to me.
By honoring my commitment to do those damn burpees, I am building the momentum of self-efficacy and confidence.
Doing the things I feel unmotivated to do makes feel better about myself.
If you feel stuck, get unstuck!
Decided you’re not going to take any of your own shit anymore and stop co-signing your excuses.
Find the why!
Make the committment.
[drum roll for my most-used meme…]
Be well! 🙂
Thank you for reading today’s post! I hope it motivated you to get off your ass and do the damn thing you want to do! I offer Life Coaching services. If you are feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired and are ready to do the work, reach out and we’ll get you on track!
Check out my weekly podcast on all major platforms. Here’s the Spotify link.
I’ve often identified with the mythic creature, the Phoenix.
It has symbolized to me (and many others) a period of renewal after feeling like my life has burned to the ground.
Today, I got married 26 years ago…
After we split up (the final time) I got a phoenix tattoo on my stomach.
It reminds me of leaving behind a huge chapter in my life as well as my identity.
Husband, father, business owner, homeowner, fraud… (at least, so the imposter syndrome told me).
It also reminds me of starting this journey to become who I truly believe I am:
A person who’s willing to recover from trauma and rise from his ashes…
Life is fraught with painful, yet defining moments…
At the end of last August, my father killed himself.
Once again, what I thought was a carefully (actually impulsively) constructed life began to burn…
As I felt the fences I’d built around my grief begin to crumble, I came undone.
I felt numb
And a little sad.
But mostly anger – the kind you justify as self-righteous anger.
I wanted him dead.
Those were tough feelings to sit with.
I struggled to accept that because it felt wrong to feel that way.
So I tried to run from the irreconcilable feelings within me.
I began to withdraw from my supports like AA.
I started smoking cigarettes again.
When cigarettes didn’t work, I started smoking weed again.
During the two and a half months of chronic marijuana smoking, my anxiety came back with a vengeance.
And suicidal ideation followed soon thereafter…
I was fucking miserable and wanted to die.
I am grateful for my girlfriend at the time – her enduring patience and love.
She took care of me as I spiraled.
I know it was hard on her, and I’m grateful she was there when I needed her.
She was an angel while I thrashed in hell.
They say it’s darkest before the dawn…
I don’t know if that’s true or not, but before things got better, I sat in my car with two bottles of clonazepam considering which liquor store and motel I would go to to end this fucking thing.
She came out to my car as my life teetered on the scales of my will.
Although I didn’t appreciate it at the time, she yelled at me.
I think I needed that push.
After having an uncomfortable conversation with law enforcement trying to convince them I was not suicidal, I decided I needed to leave.
I won’t go into all my rationale for leaving my girlfriend because most of it was based in delusional and self-centered thinking…
I loved her and knew I needed to go….
Shortly thereafter, I found myself on the road to Phoenix, Arizona…
Into The Flames
It’s ironic that I should end up in a place called Phoenix.
I never wanted to live here.
In fact, I’ve been historically pretty judgy about this place based on the heat and political climate.
Nonetheless, moving here has been my salvation.
Since I started recovering from trauma in fellowships that specifically deal with healing childhood wounds, I’ve operated by what I call, “The Three Day, Three Hundred Mile Rule.”
That meant that I would not live within three hundred miles of my family of origin nor spend more than three days with them at a time.
Don’t get me wrong…
I love my family.
We get along great and enjoy each other’s company.
We sometimes trigger the shit out of each other.
I’ve heard someone say, “My family knows how to push my buttons because they installed them.”
So, we get along, but in small doses.
And I’ve been okay with that for years.
It’s been a system that has worked for me as a means of self-care.
However, right before my 46th birthday, I fled to Phoenix to live with my family.
And by family, I mean my mother, my brother, and his wife.
It made sense at the time, and I am very grateful for them.
We had all been through a horrible trauma (I won’t say tragedy because it was expected – and maybe that’s still some of my anger I haven’t fully let go of yet).
So my family was willing to take me in and it seemed we should tighten the ranks to support one another during this time.
That lasted for a little more than three months.
Again, I love my family… we just cannot live together.
And that’s okay.
My brother, mom, and sister-in-law have found a flow that works for them.
I, on the other hand, march to the beat of my own drummer – and sometimes our rhythms (or other such metaphors) are out of sync.
It does not mean anyone is good or bad or right or wrong…
It’s just healthier for us to live apart and visit a few times per month.
And while living with my family, I immersed myself into the local AA fellowship and dove into CrossFit.
Burn, Baby, Burn
While living with my family and reentering the recovery community, I found myself feeling very angry.
I would sit in AA meetings and judge people.
Their laughter and levity infuriated me.
I had years of sobriety and recovery behind me (10 years at one point), and the thought of humbling myself to these idiots enraged me.
My ego and defense mechanisms were running wild (still may be for that matter 😉 ).
It pissed me off so much that I had to listen to these people I thought I was so much better than in order to get sober.
So, in other words, I was right where I was supposed to be.
Most people do not come into AA on a good day nor want to be there at first.
I found myself feeling very critical of my family, too.
Everyone and everything pissed me off.
Because I know the drill, I sought out an AA sponsor, and kept coming to meetings daily.
My sponsor and I began to work the 12 Steps together, and I started to feel more a part of the group.
My sobriety started December 12th, 2021.
The day before my birthday, on December 24th, I got (what I think was) COVID. I was sicker than I remember ever being for the next two weeks.
I finally quit smoking cigarettes cold turkey on the 1st of January.
My lungs hurt so fucking much, and I knew I wanted to let that stupid habit go for obvious reasons.
I was a fucking maniac for the first few days after I quit smoking.
It was all I could do to hide in my room lest I flip the fuck out.
The energy of my rage emanated off of me in waves that warned my family to keep their distance.
I was not a fun person to be around.
Eventually, my nerves began to relax, and I was able to resume my meeting attendance and continue my path of recovery.
From The Ashes
On January 31st, I walked into the Barbell Saves Project and began my fitness journey.
The first person I met was the co-owner, Rob Best.
My brother told me about BBS, and Rob knew who I was and welcomed me immediately.
Once I started doing CrossFit classes, I found a piece of me that had been missing for years.
Part of the identity I let go in my marriage was that of a tree climber. I was an arborist who trimmed and removed trees.
I did not realize how much I missed the physicality of strenuous exercise.
CrossFit gave that back to me and with a vengeance.
I became obsessed and told people I am competing against myself and gravity.
One friend told me I am a beast.
I have an inner intensity that makes me push myself as hard as I can.
I found an outlet for my anger.
I also found a community of likeminded, recovering individuals committed to doing hard shit.
As I felt myself getting stronger, going to the BBS became a habit.
There was never the internal conflict of making myself go to the gym.
I am fortunate that it became part of my routine that I looked forward to.
I stated going right from the gym to AA meetings, still wearing my workout clothes.
Sure, people made comments, but I did not care…
I could feel myself getting healthier and happier.
Since then I’ve lost my gut and about 20 pounds…
CrossFit at the Barbell Saves Project quickly became a fundamental part of my recovery, my mental health, and my lifestyle.
I am still a little baffled at how quickly I took to it…
At the same time, I am so very grateful for the role BBS has played in my rebirth.
While under the tutelage of several coaches at the Barbell Saves Project, my commitment to improving my physical abilities increased.
However, one coach in particular recommended the book, Can’t Hurt Me, by David Goggins.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ve undoubtedly heard me reference this book and David Goggins before.
I do so because this book coupled with my coaches have impacted my life and served as catalysts to my transformation.
If it weren’t for them or this book, this blog would not exist.
From David Goggins, I learned to stop making fucking excuses.
When he said that no one is coming to rescue me, a switch went off in my head.
I realized that I had been feeling sorry for myself and seeking the approval and care of someone for most of my life.
My coach’s credo, “Do Hard Shit,” began to have more meaning to me.
I became sick and tired of my own fucking excuses and self-pity.
I became convinced that I can overcome my difficulties and achieve my dreams by consistently learning to push myself physically.
Pushing through the pain of sustained physical exertion is a mind game.
David Goggins instilled in me through the power of his personal stories, the belief that when I think I have nothing left to give physically, I have a much larger, untapped inner reserve to keep going.
By routinely finding my physical exhaustion point and choosing to push past it, I began to develop greater resiliency to the mental and emotional challenges in my life.
I began to overcome the effects of trauma, anxiety, and depression.
I began to believe in myself like I had never been able to before.
I began to push past the limiting beliefs that cycle through my mind whispered in my dad’s voice.
I found a way to break free from feeling like a victim.
I found the courage to face all that life has to throw at me.
I welcome the challenges and especially the pain.
Yes, if you’ve been reading my posts as of late, I have been struggling.
However, the difference today is I keep fucking moving.
My mental and emotional setbacks are short-lived.
I see the struggle as a fundamental part of my development.
I am continuing to learn and grow.
Today, I am shaking off the ashes of my old life and taking flight in a wave of flames.
Today, I rise!
Sooner or later, I’ll start directing some life-changing advice your way again…
But I think some of the greatest lessons come through listening to others’ stories.
In the book, The Spirituality of Imperfection, I’ve read that our greatest asset is our story.
I get so much more out of hearing what someone else has been through, the mistakes they made, what they learned, and how they persevered than having someone tell me what to do.
Yes, sometimes we need to be told what to do…
And in that vein… I am telling you to find yourself in my story.
Then, in turn, tell your story.
The first challenge in David Goggin’s book is to write out your story.
This is the first challenge for a reason, and it’s a very powerful one.
I have sifted through the ashes of my story several times.
The value in telling your story is that you begin to own that shit!
Break free from the denial of your past by putting it on paper.
Telling your story will release it’s crippling hold on you.
Then, become the author of your new story!
Rewrite who you are!
Find the path where you crashed and burned and then found purpose again.
Lean into your breaking points and find the value of losing what you held on to so tightly.
There is no wasted effort or experience.
Everything you’ve been through has contributed to making you who you are today.
And you are a motherfucking survivor!
Use your story to empower yourself and others.
Your story is your gift.
Give the fucker away.
Lead by example…
And you, like me, shall rise!
Be well 🙂
Thank you for reading another installment of thriving beyond trauma. Please like, comment, follow, and reach out. I offer Life Coaching services. If you are feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, let’s chat and get you on track!
You can also check out my weekly podcast found on all major platforms. Here’s a link to the latest episode found on Spotify as well as another podcast I was featured in.
I find it remarkable that on the Summer Solstice I am focused more on going inward than outward…
If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I am on a journey of transformation.
If you’ve been reading my posts, you are also on a journey of transformation.
As we celebrate the longest day of the year, we also acknowledge the nights will begin to lengthen.
Maybe it’s just coincidence or just confirmation bias that my mind recognizes major solar transits as congruent to my internal experiences…
Afterall, I do a certain amount of associating phenomena as relevant to my life…
Regardless, as the days begin to diminish and night increases its hold, I find myself entering my internal cave to once again embrace my demons…
The following is a story about a monk named Milarepa who, while living in a cave, came face-to-face with his demons…
“One day Milarepa left his cave to gather firewood, and when he returned he found that his cave had been taken over by demons. There were demons everywhere! His first thought upon seeing them was, “I have got to get rid of them!” He lunges toward them, chasing after them, trying forcefully to get them out of his cave. But the demons are completely unfazed. In fact, the more he chases them, the more comfortable and settled-in they seem to be. Realizing that his efforts to run them out have failed miserably, Milarepa opts for a new approach and decides to teach them the dharma. If chasing them out won’t work, then maybe hearing the teachings will change their minds and get them to go. So he takes his seat and begins teaching about existence and nonexistence, compassion and kindness, the nature of impermanence. After a while he looks around and realizes all the demons are still there. They simply stare at him with their huge bulging eyes; not a single one is leaving.
At this point Milarepa lets out a deep breath of surrender, knowing now that these demons will not be manipulated into leaving and that maybe he has something to learn from them. He looks deeply into the eyes of each demon and bows, saying, “It looks like we’re going to be here together. I open myself to whatever you have to teach me.” In that moment all the demons but one disappear. One huge and especially fierce demon, with flaring nostrils and dripping fangs, is still there. So Milarepa lets go even further. Stepping over to the largest demon, he offers himself completely, holding nothing back. “Eat me if you wish.” He places his head in the demon’s mouth, and at that moment the largest demon bows low and dissolves into space” (https://tricycle.org/magazine/demons-mouth/).
Into the Demon’s Mouth
As I’m rereading this and editing it, I realize there is a lot in the above story about Milarepa I want to comment on. At a later date, I will come back to this post and expound a bit more on some of the great insights contained therein…
However, for now…
If you follow my posts closely, you know that I am writing this much later in the day than normal.
Usually, I get up at 4:30am, do my morning routine of praying, meditating, journaling, exercising, blog writing and generally have my post up by 9:00am.
After meditating this morning and feeling tired because of poor sleep due to my fresh tattoo on my back, I decided I needed more rest.
I felt the tinge of depression mix into my blood which made me feel heavy. I gave in and allowed myself the excuse of needing more rest because of recovering from the tattoo (which still fucking hurts, by the way).
I told myself… This is a cave day.
A cave day would normally be one where I sink into self-pity and hide from the world.
Today’s cave day is a little more intentional than mere life/self-avoidance.
Much like Milarepa, I am surrendering to the fact that I cannot make the demons go away.
No, I’m not sleeping the day away or escaping into a world of any number of movies at my disposal…
I’m doing my fucking job and writing this blog!
I spoke with my AA sponsor this morning for our weekly check-in.
He’s convinced more step work and service to others will get me out of this funk.
He’s probably right…
Because I chose to get this tattoo, I’m also not exercising for the next few days to give it a chance to heal – which disrupts my routine, daily dopamine, and gives me too much time in my head.
Further, the internal work I am doing requires me to come to grips with a lifetime of dysfunctional relationship patterns.
In order to grow, I am leaning into the discomfort of my old scripts…
No one loves you.
You’re not enough.
Why do you start anything, you’ll always quit.
You’re a failure…
Now, Mr. Sponsor told me not to sit in those feelings and thoughts too long because they will continue to reward me with my current state of feeling irritable, restless, and discontent.
In fact, most everything and everyone have been really fucking irritating to me lately.
It can’t all be them, right?
No, it certainly is not all them.
The lenses in MY glasses are cracked.
As I’ve said before, if it bothers me, it belongs to me…
And as I come face to face with the demons of inadequacy, I’m reminded to surrender to them.
Some of the ways I’ve tried to manage these demons heretofore came out in my 4th step inventory (an AA thing) and manifested as what the program affectionately calls my “character defects.”
To wit: selfishness, dishonesty, self-seeking, fear, and being inconsiderate.
These basic coping skills/shortcomings keep causing me misery; not to mention pushing others away.
This is why I want to thrive beyond trauma-
To break the fucking cycle of living like a victim.
I told a friend the other day, “I’m living in the solution, not the problem.”
Of course, I was being a critical and passive-aggressive asshole when I texted her that because I didn’t want to hear her negativity (it interferes with my own negativity 😉 ).
And living in the problem is continuing to do the same things over and over again expecting different results…
Einstein said that is the definition of insanity…
Sure, insanity sounds fun… but it gets really fucking old!
So today’s drill is to put my head into the mouth of the demon-
The big demon that tells me I have no place on this planet because there is something so fundamentally fucking wrong with me I should not exist.
That demon’s name is Shame…
And Shame is a fucking liar!
I don’t need to do anything to escape shame, because it’s bullshit.
I have a place here.
I am loved, loving, and lovable… as I fucking am!
When I feel lonely and inadequate, I don’t need to look to social media for a quick fix.
I don’t need to text someone and flirt with them.
In fact, I don’t need to do a damn thing except the next indicated step.
The Next Indicated Step
The next indicated step is to write this blog, lovingly practice self-acceptance, and follow my sponsor’s suggestion to work Step Six.
My homework for Step Six (Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character – AA, pg. 59) is to write out the opposite of my character defects in all areas of my life.
What would it look like to be unselfish in my relationships, family, homelife, job, recovery fellowship, finances, health, and spirituality?
What would it look like to be honest in all my affairs?
Do I want to do this work?
Am I tired of doing the same shit over and over?
It comes down to when the fear of change becomes less than the fear of things staying the same, I will commence to make changes in my life.
And unfortunately, sometimes my growth is at the speed of pain.
When I get uncomfortable enough, or more to the point, sick of my own shit, I will do the work to change.
Now, I realize the tone of this post is different than prior posts where I was way more fired up and in your face.
But that’s the thing about staying committed to writing five days per week about thriving beyond trauma – there are ups and downs and the path is not always linear.
But as Mando would say, “This is the way.”
I think it would be a disservice to my audience to pretend like I figured out the magic answer to breaking free from trauma every single day.
There are just days that feel like a shit storm inside, and I admire the authenticity of my fellows who say so and keep fucking going anyway.
So today’s mission is to dig deep.
Go to fucking meetings.
Tell on myself.
And trust the process.
I am right where I am supposed to be.
And this, too, shall pass…
I don’t have a lot of fluff today to share.
In fact, this post almost didn’t get written, but today, I try to honor my commitments.
I hope that there are those of you who can relate to my post today.
Even more so, I hope it validates your experience, gives you hope of getting through difficult days, and provides you with some direction.
It’s a lot easier to create content when you’re feeling good.
I want to continue to thrive in spite of how I feel.
Even on the difficult days, we are thriving.
If I’ve demonstrated anything today, it’s that I am committed to thriving.
I am facing who I really am without finding a quick fix.
I am sitting still and feeling the feelings I’ve spent years running from.
I talked to a mentor and was accountable.
I showed up to work and peformed well.
I was of service to others.
I am digging deep writing about the person I want to become.
I honored my commitment to write this blog.
Tonight, I will go to a fucking AA meeting and be accountable.
I am being kind to myself and staying in action.
Each day is a victory when we show up.
Pat yourself on the back today.
You showed the fuck up!
Thank you and be well!
Thank you for reading today’s post as I expose my journey of learning to face myself. This is an ongoing journey I’ve been on for years. Ups and downs are to be expected. But the thing that matters is we are not alone and we just keep moving. If you are feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, reach out and we’ll get you on track. We can do this together!
Check out my podcast and be sure to subscribe!
I don’t know about you, but when I think of metamorphosis, I usually associate it with a caterpillar becoming a butterfly…
In fact, I’m so focused on the butterfly, I don’t consider that the word metamorphosis is actually several stages of change.
The dictionary says…
- (in an insect or amphibian) the process of transformation from an immature form to an adult form in two or more distinct stages.
- a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.
Not only is it a process, but also one of transforming from an immature state to that of an adult.
A change in the form or nature . . . by natural or supernatural means.
I really like that last part, especially the bit about supernatural means.
Metamorphosis is certainly not limited to butterflies, and by-an-large the science and full scope of this concept will be outside the realm of this post.
As usual, I will personalize this concept to fit my own life and hopefully provide you with some things to relate to and consider.
Today, as I am contemplating my own personal journey of transformation, one thing I notice the definitions leave out is the presence of pain.
Not all growth requires pain, but today, I am keenly aware of it’s presence in my life, and yet, I am trying to make sense of it and at the very least accept it.
Again, I am not an entomologist or a biologist, and I only offer a layman’s point of view of metamorphosis.
But one concept that strikes me about the process of metamorphosis is that the caterpillar’s old body dies so that the new butterfly can form.
This reminds me of my post where I suggested we must let old things die in order to become who we want or are meant to be… (see post https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/05/27/let-old-things-die/).
I’ve heard that the form taken in the pupa stage resembles a biological goo rather than an actual body.
This is a great metaphor for how I feel right now… a biological goo…
And like it or not… It’s coming to get me!
And unlike our ghostbuster friend, Dr. Peter Venkman, I cannot just put this goo into a box.
Okay, enough of the Ghostbuster references. I’m getting off track here…
The points I am trying to make is that this process of change requires me to confront my old ways of thinking, believing, and acting and to let them go.
While in this process of deconstruction, I feel like I am the pupa-stage goo…
At times I feel…
And in pain.
Other feelings that bubble up to the surface include sadness, fear, and anger.
I also feel this pressure while writing a blog about thriving beyond trauma to minimize or even omit this experience because I’m afraid it dilutes my message.
However, I also recognize the strength of authenticity and naming what I am actually going through.
If people are turned off by this, so be it.
The point of writing about thriving beyond trauma is not to sugarcoat the journey.
Sometimes, if fucking sucks!
And this period is another period of deconstruction for me.
I am working with my AA sponsor to look at my old patterns and change them.
I am sitting with the discomfort of knowing that I seek the attention, affection, and approval of certain women in my life in order to make me feel better.
I act out these codependent patterns to cover up the childhood wounds that tell me repeatedly I am not good enough, I am unloved, and I am unsafe.
I am leaning into the feelings of feeling alone and waiting for someone to rescue me knowing full and well no one is coming to rescue me!
In order to let go of these destructive patterns, I need to feel the pain of them without judgment.
As a friend used to say, “It is what it is.”
And by sitting with these uncomfortable feelings and allowing them to pass through me – they lose their hold.
But the point is, I have to feel them and then let them die.
I must let the old version of me go…
And today, transformation is painful…
No Pain, No Gain
Now that I’ve sufficiently shared what the inner critic inside of me wants to label as whining, let’s talk about progress. And more to the point – pushing through pain.
January 31st of this year I walked into The Barbell Saves Project for the first time, and there I met one of the owners, Rob Best.
The mission of BBS is to “support the well-being of individuals in recovery from substance use through using a community-based exercise program.”
BBS has done that and so much more for me.
As you can see from the pictures, I have transformed into a different person.
In a short few months, I have lost nearly 20 pounds, shed my old mask of long hair and a beard, and have gained confidence and a sense of community.
If you’ve read my other posts, you know that fitness is a huge part of my recovery and lifestyle.
Transforming physically has required a consistent commitment to working out 5-7 days per week, eating healthier, drinking more water, improving my sleep patterns, and yes, learning to endure pain!
By learning to push myself physically, I have developed more resilience mentally and emotionally.
My guess is since I have taken a huge step in my mindset and resiliency, I now get to face the internal issues I couldn’t handle before.
By working my ass off, growing, and developing a routine and resiliency, the Universe must feel it’s time for me to face the lifelong issues that have been plaguing me.
There’s a saying in AA – “If you don’t grow, you’ll go.”
For too long have I taken the easy way out when I feel uncomfortable.
That is not a luxury I allow myself anymore.
I have grown sick of my own excuses.
I know that no relationship or drug is going to fix me.
First of all, I’m not broken…
I’m right where I’m supposed to be.
Secondly, in order to grow through this stage of transformation, I need to expand my threshold of pain (Tool and Henry Rollins reference).
Fortunately, I am up for the challenge.
I will do the fucking burpees.
I will sit with the ache of loneliness.
I will get up at four fucking thirty in the morning.
I will go to the gym.
I will run up the fucking hills in the desert.
I will do hard shit.
I will cry if I have to.
But, I will not shrink back from this experience.
I am all in.
I’ve seen too much.
I cannot go back to a life of hiding behind distractions for temporary relief.
Binge-watching television is not a coping skill.
It’s a fucking escape!
Jumping from relationship to relationship is a fucking escape!
I’m done running from myself.
Now is the time to face reality, endure whatever pain I must, and just keep fucking going!
A Symbol of Transformation
Yesterday, I did a thing…
While running on a trail Saturday morning, I had the idea to get a tattoo to commemorate my commitment to Greenleaf4Life.
I actually cried tears of joy when I had the idea!
The power of my belief overwhelmed me momentarily!
Yesterday, I got a tattoo symbolizing my commitment to my dream.
I am all in…
I already had my last name on my back from 20 years ago and decided to finish the piece by adding the 4 Life, a leaf that looks like a spade, and flames…
I believe strongly in the power of ritual during times of transformation.
When my wife and I split up and my life as I knew it fell apart in 2017, I got the phoenix tattoo on my stomach.
Yesterday’s tattoo symbolizes me breaking free from society’s norm of how to live and be.
It also symbolizes embracing the fire within me that manifests as growth for myself and others.
I am leaving behind the life of codependency, being a part of society’s machine that says I have to work a “normal” 9-5 job, and the lie that says my success is dependent on what degrees I have.
I am fucking done.
As I sat there in the tattooer’s chair for a few hours, I embraced the pain of my transformation.
As with the phoenix tattoo, I release my old ways and commit to the new.
Today (regardless of how I fucking feel) is a day of growth and releasing the fire within me.
This part may sound a little woo for some of you, but fuck it…
As mentioned, I am a Capricorn.
Capricorns are an Earth sign.
Underneath the mantle of rock and stone, at the Earth’s core is molten metal!
Now is the time for my core to erupt!
The fire inside drives me even when the exterior appears cold like stone.
My journey and lived experience inspires others.
I see the suffering of people living empty lives around me.
Even my tattoo artist yesterday told me that he feels lost and lacks purpose.
I see people shrinking back daily out of fear and putting up these fronts by posting clever memes about how well they’re fucking doing.
I’m tired of living an inauthentic, empty life.
I’ve seen too much.
There’s no going back.
The only way out is through.
And if I have to walk through the hell of my own dying self to become the person I’m meant to… so be it.
When you’re walking through hell, just keep walking…
I am letting the old self die.
I may have to leave some of my “friends” behind because like energy attracts like energy – and quite frankly I am growing weary of people who emit a negative vibe.
I am tired of my own fucking excuses.
No one is coming to rescue me.
I am all in.
NOW is the fucking time.
I am leveling the fuck up.
I am right where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing, doing it with the people I am suppose to be doing it with, and doing it at the time I am supposed to be doing it.
“Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world mistake” (AA, pg. 417).
Whether you believe in God or not doesn’t matter.
The point is, today acceptance and perseverance are what’s carrying me through.
I am willing to endure whatever pain I need to to continue to live free…
When I posted the pic of my tattoo on social media yesterday, a friend of mine left one simple comment, “Transformation.”
In that one simple word, she eloquently captured this moment of time for me.
I hope that by sharing my transformation with you, you will be inspired to keep going on your journey of change.
I also hope that I clearly illustrated that transformation comes at a cost.
Change is messy and can be painful.
It’ll require you to let go of old beliefs and behaviors.
You may even have to let some people go, too…
And if I can do it, you can do it!
I am not special or possess some secret strength that you do not.
I am just a person who has found his breaking point and is not willing to “go gentle into that good night” (Dylan Thomas https://poets.org/poem/do-not-go-gentle-good-night).
I have found my secret sauce and you have it, too!
If you have experienced trauma and you find things like purpose and healthy relationships are lacking in your life, then you are in the right place!
If you are feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, then your transformation is beginning.
Now is the time!
Grab onto this moment and decide you are not going to settle for a mediocre life of unfulfilled dreams.
You can choose to be happy, but you gotta be willing to endure pain.
And the good news is, you don’t have to do it alone.
Pain is not the enemy.
The enemy is the avoidance of pain.
Pain is mandatory, suffering is optional.
By embracing the things that are holding you back, you can learn to let them go, transform, and become the person (or butterfly) you were meant to be.
You got this!
Help is available today.
Just ask for it…
Thank you for reading about my ongoing transformation into thriving beyond trauma. Please like, comment, follow, and reach out. If you are feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, reach out and we’ll get you on track.
You can also listen to my latest podcast on all major platforms. Here’s the link to episode four found on Spotify.
And here’s a podcast I was recently interviewed on! You can listen to more about my personal background and vision for Thriving Beyond Trauma!
Almost without fail, the day after I write an impassioned post about thriving, the next day I invariably feel unmotivated…
Yesterday’s rant was about developing resiliency and doing hard shit.
This morning, I woke up feeling extra groggy, sore, lonely, and as much as I hate to admit it, sorry for myself…
Damn, just damn…
So today’s lesson, kids, is that even on the days when you’re moving slow and don’t fucking feel like it… just keep moving. Or as Dory from Finding Nemo said, “Just keep swimming.”
I hope to not offend anyone who’s experience includes hearing voices with the following.
Granted, I have not heard voices characteristic with some schizophrenia diagnoses, but what I’m talking about here are the self-defeating thoughts…
My business coach, Faith Mariah, suggests a brilliant strategy of making the negative feelings and thoughts part of your business team.
In other words, embrace and lean in to the motherfuckers.
Resisting and ignoring the fears and negativity won’t necessarily make them go away. So there needs to be space held for them – even if only briefly.
Thriving beyond trauma does not mean pretending that shit is always fucking awesome.
Thriving beyond trauma also does not mean wallowing in self-fucking-pity…
Thriving beyond trauma means accepting the feelings and thoughts as they arise and letting them go.
This requires a degree of self-reflection, humility, mindfulness, and self-compassion to do. It is a learned skill that requires daily, sometimes moment-to-moment practice.
See yesterday’s post and specifically refer to the section about Tara Brach’s RAIN method (https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/06/16/the-road-to-resiliency/).
And today… the voices (thoughts and feelings) felt particularly heavy and demotivating.
I got up an hour later than normal because of attending a 12 Step meeting last night, and when the alarm went off at 5:30, I was deep in dreamland.
Even though my first thoughts were along the lines of “fuck this shit, I’m going to sleep in,” the very next (habitual) thought was, “Get up, motherfucker! Do hard shit!”
Although I did not snooze this morning, I was still moving very slow….
I felt a heaviness and sadness settling in.
Today’s the end of the first week of my two weeks left with my current employer.
I am feeling some fear about my financial security.
I am also feeling attracted to someone whom I am trying to distance myself from. She and I get along really well, and I am unsure of whether we’re really a good match. If you read Wednesday’s post (https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/06/15/everybody-out-of-the-pool/), you’d know my sponsor said I am being dishonest with myself about her.
It just sucks when I get along with someone, feel a connection, want intimacy, and am choosing to avoid it. It feels like I’m fighting myself for my own good.
So this morning, my friends (demons) self-pity, fear, and loneliness decided to show up.
And in chorus, they are chanting around their bonfire (me), “Fuck this shit!”
So yeah, I’m not really feeling it today…
Fuck You and Your Feelings!
Sorry… That wasn’t me. It was one of the voices again…
Or was it?
Well, at any rate… It was not directed at you.
That’s just an example of the mental and emotional gymnastics I get to go through when I feel shitty.
My first reaction (and I’m sure I’m not unique here) is generally that there is something I am doing wrong and that’s why I feel like shit.
I go into this toxic-shame, self-blame bullshit which just compounds the problem.
In fact, it’s not even a problem to feel deflated from time-to-time. It’s only a problem to feel sad, tired, and lonely if I say it’s a problem.
But my point is, I’ve noticed my initial reaction to feeling down, angry, or what have you, is to go to work dissecting the thoughts and feelings looking for the elusive “Why?”
Now, granted that does come from years of self-reflection and working 12 steps.
And don’t get me wrong, gaining insight into motives and behaviors through self-reflection definitely has it’s place…
But where I typically go is that I am coming from a self-judging, critical energy (inherited as a child, thanks dad), and I tell myself that there is something wrong with me for feeling the way I do.
This self-indulgent, self-defeating, self-pity is what one of my sponsors called self-flagellation. I get a sick and twisted pleasure out of feeling sorry for myself and beating myself up. Evidently… otherwise I wouldn’t fucking do it.
Now this may still sound like I’m beating myself up, but this is my pattern.
And if I feel sorry for myself long enough… someone will come rescue me…
At least the little kid inside me hopes for that.
And as you well fucking know, NO ONE IS COMING TO RESCUE ME!
No one is coming to rescue you, either.
And if they are… stay the fuck away from them!
So today, I once again went through the merry-go-round of waking up feeling like shit, judging myself for feeling like shit, trying to justify why I should avoid life and feel fucking sorry for myself, and then finally surrendered to the fact that I get to feel the feelings, practice self-acceptance, and make the decision to keep fucking moving – regardless of how I feel.
That’s thriving beyond trauma and developing resiliency.
Show up on the tough days!
Do The Next Indicated Thing
The next indicated thing for me is to keep my commitments.
I have a commitment to get up, meditate, journal, text three things I’m grateful for on a daily group text, do a shitload of burpees, and write this fucking blog.
So far, today, I’ve done all of those.
The meditating and journaling are the easy parts for me.
This morning, I did 64 fucking burpees because I made a commitment to a work out partner and myself. Even though she has not been keeping up on the daily challenge – I made the fucking commitment to myself, and today my commitments mean something.
My commitments are a major part of maintaining my integrity and self-esteem.
And today, when I was 30 some-odd burpees in, the question of “Why, the fuck am I doing this?” came to mind.
The why here is important…
Maybe, at first, it was to impress this woman who’s doing the challenge with me (of course it was… who I am trying to bullshit here? 😉 ).
Then, doing the challenge became about pushing myself and proving I can do hard shit.
There’s a certain amount of pride that comes with doing this daily challenge consistently.
But pride and attention seeking will only go so far…
Today, as I was digging deeper into my psyche and personal yearning for something magical, I became aware of this need to do the fucking challenge to develop greater resiliency to feeling defective and alone.
I want to overcome the needy, desperate side of myself.
I want to overcome the fearful, self-pitying side of myself.
I want to develop resiliency and be a confident and strong person.
Pushing myself is about developing the toughness to persevere, realize and embrace who I really am, and to accomplish my dreams regardless of whether anyone fucking likes me or not.
I had to go to a dark, desperate side of myself to find the why and push through.
I’m not seeking to push away my perceived weakness and insecurities…
Okay, maybe I am.
But I’m also trying to prove to myself that I am not that weak little child anymore that could not be himself, defend himself, and believe in himself.
Each fucking time I show up and do those fucking burpees and write this fucking blog, I am building belief! I am building internal and external muscles.
I am rewriting the narrative in my life that thinks I’m an unlovable weak victim.
The new narrative is that I am an amazingly talented fucking writer and spiritual leader.
I have a message worth sharing that will (and does) help many people.
I have a magnetic personality and energy that vibrates at an attractive frequency.
By embracing my insecurities, honoring my commitments, and keeping my mindset in check, I am thriving beyond trauma.
Learn who you really are.
Get help if you need it.
Find out what your weaknesses are and go to work on them.
Do the opposite of your weaknesses.
If you think you can’t, then you’re right, you can’t.
You have a choice.
Try doing the opposite of what the self-defeating thoughts say.
“I can’t get up early.”
Tell yourself you can and fucking do it.
“I can’t post content because it’s not perfect.”
Tell yourself you can and fucking do it anyway.
No one’s coming to rescue you!
They’re not coming to rescue me, either.
Yesterday, I posted some edgy content on social media to remind people that I am not here to fucking entertain you or go viral by doing some weird shit.
I was nervous about posting it because I thought it might scare people away from following me.
Then, I decided, fuck it! I’m going to be myself. I am trying to attract a certain audience, and I don’t need everybody’s fucking approval.
The people I am meant to help will stick around and join me on this journey!
I am here because there are those of you who are fucking miserable and stuck and need me to call that shit out, give you guidance through my own lived experience, and help you realize your own fucking potential to accomplish what you want in life.
And then there are those of you who don’t need that from me. And I appreciate you reading anyway and getting whatever it is you get from this.
The point (of many points here, evidently) is when you feel like shit, fall back on your commitments and do the next indicated thing…
My commitment today is to consistently push myself, produce authentic content, and encourage you to be your fucking self.
Like the video said… If they don’t like you for being yourself – FUCK THEM!
As I’m always saying, find out what you want, make the commitment, and learn to thrive beyond trauma by being consistent.
Your momentum will carry you when you don’t feel like it.
Commitment will bring back your motivation.
Expect to not feel like it.
And do it fucking any way.
(I won’t use the Nike meme again here, but you fucking get it.)
I didn’t feel like getting up and writing today, and I did it anyway!
Show the fuck up!
Do a shitty job!
On the days you don’t feel like going, feel the feelings with as much self-compassion as you can, let them go, then become your own coach or drill sergeant and tell yourself to stop feeling fucking sorry for yourself and get the fuck up!
Just keep swimming…
Just keep moving…
Move slowly if you have to.
You have more energy and ability inside of you than you think.
Positive thinking follows positive action.
Just do the fucking thing, regardless of how you feel or what you think.
I feel a lot a better now that I’ve written this post and did my burpees than when I did when I started.
I still want to go lay back down and take a nap.
I just fucking may!
But the point is… I got up and honored my commitments.
I did the next fucking thing.
I still took a shower and shaved when I didn’t feel like it.
I logged into my work computer and am responding to emails (and I really don’t fucking want to do my job any more – I’ve got short-timers so fucking bad – but it’s my fucking job – at least for another week).
If you don’t know what to do, do the next indicated thing.
Make your bed.
Get some fucking coffee.
Make a gratitude list.
Take a shower.
What ever the fucking thing is.
Do the next indicated thing and keep fucking moving.
Do yourself a favor!
You will feel so much better about yourself if you just keep fucking moving.
Fuck those self-defeating voices in your head.
Just like the man said, if they don’t like you for being yourself – FUCK THEM!
And yes, that applies to the voices, too.
Fuck those fucking fucks!
Have a wonderful day! 😉
Thank you for being my ride-or-die audience today! It means a lot to me that I have people who read this and comment. So to all of you, thank you! Please continue to like, comment, follow, and reach out. I also offer Life Coaching services. If you are feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, reach out and we’ll get you on track!
Also. check out my weekly podcast! I have three episodes and the next one will come out this Sunday! It’s on all major platforms.
In the mental health field, resiliency is somewhat of a buzz word.
A quick Google check defines resilience as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.”
I like that the word “toughness” is included because that’s what I think of.
How do you bounce back when shit is not going your way?
David Goggins would say, “Stay Hard.”
My inner Samuel L Jackson says, “Be a bad muthafucka!”
In some cases, I’ve heard we need to develop thicker skin.
I don’t know about you, but my response to trauma has made me soft, sensitive, and unable to take life’s ups and downs… until very recently when I decided that no one is coming to rescue me and it’s time to stop making fucking excuses.
Notice that the definition of resiliency does NOT say we won’t have difficulties…
It says we will, AND, we will recover from those difficulties by developing toughness…
Here are some of my practices for the on-going journey to developing resiliency… And… thriving beyond trauma!
Learn to tell yourself no!
I’m starting with an area I struggle with quite a bit.
I want what I want when I want it!
As a matter of fact, I fucking wanted it yesterday!
During my formative years I heavily used drugs. Starting at 16, I developed a meth addiction. Granted, we called it crank back then, but regardless of it’s name, I loved how it made me feel, and I instantly wanted more.
By forming that addiction to the glorious instant gratification that came from it, I did not learn how to delay my gratification.
I knew that I could feel high instantly if I got that shit into my system.
And because I was so young and my brain wasn’t fully developed yet, I did not learn things like how to work for what you want by putting off what you want.
Fortunately, I haven’t touched that drug in over 18 years (I feel like I need to let my readers know that they’re not following an active tweaker). 😉
And don’t get my “tweaker” comment wrong… I have a lot of empathy for people who are addicted to any drug for that matter… it sucks.
I also know that it’s a maladaptive coping skill because they are in pain.
But that’s another topic for another post…
Regardless, I did not develop the ability to tell myself no in favor of accomplishing long term goals or plans.
I would regularly take the quick and easy, feel good route rather than delay my gratification. It was very hedonistic and immature of me…
Now… don’t get me wrong. It’s great that I KNOW this stuff….
Practicing this shit consistently is an entirely different ballgame!
As I said, I still struggle with this one, and I hope my self-revealing accounts are relatable and instructional.
When I got older, I entered into the world of debt and especially credit cards…. Yay!! 😦
Credit is the perfect vehicle for instant gratification!
And I know… I have maxed out (and mismanaged) my credit cards several times in my life.
Right now, they’re mostly paid down. Some have zero balances, some are close to the limit, some in the middle somewhere…
And… right after writing my inspired post yesterday about staying single, my magnificent brain concocted the grand scheme of buying a plane ticket to go see an ex-girlfriend on the other side of the country.
Not only was I willing to charge upwards of one thousand dollars (or more) for this trip, I was also willing to back out of my decision to focus on my personal development for an interlude.
Yes, I can rationalize it…
Sure, I’ve never been to that part of the country before.
Sure, she and are good friends and consenting adults. A visit would be fun.
Yes, I miss her and will have time to go visit because of quitting my job.
I am going to spend money I don’t really have…
Sacrifice the momentum I am creating building my self and my business up.
Not to mention, possibly harming her in the process by continuing to drag out a relationship we have (to my knowledge) put to rest…
I really don’t like revealing these selfish and ugly details of my character flaws…
And at the same time, I hope you can see that this is a process and vulnerability and discernment are part of the drill.
So this morning, I woke up at 3:30am convicted that my decision to rush out and charge up a vacation at my and someone else’s expense was not in either of our best interests…
I’m grateful we did not make a decision last night, otherwise I would have a non-refundable airline ticket…
And a gut full of regret.
By delaying the gratification of buying the tickets, rushing out for a friendly interlude, I am (hopefully) developing character and resiliency.
Now, maybe you struggle with something different like eating sweets or fatty foods?
You can practice the same principle there.
If your goal is to lose weight or just simply eat healthier, then learn to tell yourself no!
Look at the big picture.
Feel the discomfort and remember, this, too, shall pass!
Play the tape through.
Will eating this [fill in the blank] really help me?
Do I need to “feel better” right now?
A lot of times when I’m craving something fatty like KFC or Taco Bell, it’s because I’m tired.
Our bodies crave fatty and sugary foods when we are tired or don’t feel good.
Try drinking some water or taking a nap instead.
It may not feel as good as eating that cupcake or ice cream…
But in the long run, you’ll thank yourself and develop more resiliency.
Learn to tell yourself no!
If you want stuff that says Do Hard Shit on it, you can support my coach, Tammi, and follow the link under the picture.
I love that shirt!
It’s a rally cry for me!
The message is so simple and empowering and often times, it gets me out of bed in the morning.
I know I’ve referenced it in another post that also has useful information about developing resiliency (see post https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/05/30/overcoming-quitting/).
And there’s all kinds of “hard shit” you can do…
Here’s a few things I do that have made me mentally and physically tougher.
You don’t have to do all or any of these things, but I encourage you to find the things that challenge you and to push through those.
That will help you develop resiliency and the ability to face life more successfully and accomplish what you want in the long run.
*Get up at 4:30am. Do that long enough and your body will adjust. It will become easier. Most people will not do it. Be different than most people!
*Stop hitting snooze. Hitting snooze is starting the day off failing! Do not sacrifice your self-esteem and self-efficacy by starting the day failing.
*Make your bed. Make your bed as soon as you get up! Start the day with a win! Start the day accomplishing something you did for yourself.
*Meditate. Don’t give me any bullshit about how you can’t meditate. Everyone can meditate. I don’t care how busy your mind is. Get a fucking app, go for a walk, whatever, just learn to be the observer of your thoughts and feelings. Do it for five fucking minutes! It’s not about not thinking. It’s about becoming the observer. Daily meditation will increase your resiliency to your thoughts and feelings.
*Take cold showers. You’d be surprised how much more resilient this will make you. When you take control of your mind and your resistance to cold, you can do anything!
*Exercise daily. Do this especially when you do not feel like! Feeling like it has nothing to do with it! Exercise until you are tired then push yourself for one more minute. You can do anything for a minute! Consistently pushing yourself physically will strengthen your mind and make accomplishing your goals and dealing with difficulties much easier!
*Stop procrastinating. Did you just finish eating? Wash the fucking dish! Now! Don’t tell yourself you’ll do it later. Free up the clutter of your time. If you don’t want to do a task, do it anyway. Getting started is the hardest part. Once you start, you’ll be surprised how much easier the task was than you thought. “Fear is the mind-killer.” -Paul Atreides, Dune By not procrastinating, you develop the ability to get shit done you don’t really want to do. It will build resiliency.
*Be of service. Do something for someone else. Say yes to reasonable requests. Get out of yourself and do something mundane. I make fucking coffee for my weekly AA meeting. I take meetings into a half-way house. Do I feel like doing that shit? Fuck no! Do I do it anyway? Fuck yes! And… I feel so much better every time I do it. It makes being of service easier and strengthens the muscle of resiliency.
*Honor your commitments. As with the service duties I listed above, when you say you’re going to do something, fucking do it! I am doing a daily burpee challenge. No, when I wake up I don’t feel like doing 60+ fucking burpees. And… I made a commitment. I do what I say I’m going to do. Honoring your commitments builds resiliency.
I’m sure there are many other examples that fall under the category of Doing Hard Shit…
And by no means, do you need to do all or any of these things I do…
But I share them because they fucking work!
If you’re tired of feeling sorry for yourself and feeling like life just keeps handing you a shit sandwich – stop being a victim and learn to do hard shit.
Do one hard thing at a time, one day at a time.
You will build momentum and get tougher!
And the tougher you get, the happier you’ll get.
Feel Your Feelings
I know I beat you up a little with the last section, so here’s the trauma-informed, softer tip to toughness…
Feel your fucking feelings!
I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist…. lol
No, but really… Feel your feelings!
So much energy is spent in denial and resisting what we feel by running away that we don’t develop resiliency to our feelings.
I have sat with so many clients who experience anxiety and depression and stay stuck there because they resist the feelings…
They rush to a pill, food, self-blame, avoiding difficult conversations, sleep, etc. just to not have to feel the discomfort of their situation.
They are stuck in their feedback loop that makes them anxious about feeling anxious or depressed about feeling depressed.
One of the major turning points for me was when I started to give myself permission to feel my feelings.
Own that shit!
Own it with some self-compassion.
Here’s two talks by Tara Brach that turned things around for me and started me on my journey of grieving and letting go of debilitating depression: Parts 1 & 2
From Tara Brach, I learned the invaluable phrases, “I consent to this feeling, I allow this feeling, I care for this suffering.”
She also teaches other mindfulness practices around allowing our feelings mindfully with self-compassion. You can check out her website and her books for more resources. http://www.tarabrach.com
From her you will learn that your feelings are not your fault.
By resisting what you feel and blaming yourself or others, you do not allow the feeling to naturally pass through you… and therefore, you stay stuck.
Feelings are energy, and when you repress painful feelings, they stay in your body and cause you suffering, misery, and illness.
Now I’m not talking about wallowing and feeling like a victim.
Sure, you may have been victimized at one point.
But today, you have a choice to feel the feeling of sadness, pain, anger, fear, whatever and to let it go….
Feel where it is in your body…
Lovingly put your hand on that part of your body…
Is it in your gut, your chest, your throat?
Tell yourself you allow this feeling and that you care for this suffering.
Cry if you have to.
Scream if you have to.
But feel the motherfucker!
Feel that feeling and let it go with self-compassion.
The more you mindfully practice feeling your own feelings without judging them as being wrong, the more resiliency you develop.
The more you practice this, the easier it is to feel difficult feelings and let them go.
You will learn to not attach yourself to your feelings.
You will learn that your feelings are not you and frequently are not true.
Tara Barch says, “Real but not true.”
You will learn that your feelings are real, but not necessarily true.
It will get easier to disidentify with feeling anxious or depressed…
You will find the source of those feelings, feel the sadness or anger, and lovingly let it go.
Practice, practice, practice…
Learn Tara Brach’s RAIN method… https://www.tarabrach.com/rain/
Practice it as a way of coping!
It’ll change your life.
If I can do it, you can do it!
Develop a loving awareness and give yourself permission to feel your feelings as they arise and you will develop greater resiliency to the various waves of experience.
As usual, this post has been all over the fucking place… David Goggins, drug addiction, credit cards, doing hard shit, and practicing loving awareness…
Are you surprised?
Hopefully, today you picked up a few tips for toughness.
Developing resiliency is like anything else – it’s like a muscle. There are several skills and mindsets associated with being resilient.
And as with any skill, it requires consistent practice and commitment.
You are stronger than you think you think you are!
You already do hard shit!
Sure, people all around the world have it harder than us.
Living in this time with a near constant onslaught of division and defeating messages, it’s hard to push through.
However, through a lot of practice, I have learned that making a commitment to be the best version of myself and to routinely do hard shit has made me a much happier person.
I have been told that to develop self-esteem, do esteem-able acts.
Resiliency comes from consistency and momentum.
The more you do it, the easier it gets.
Look at the list of suggestions I gave and pick one.
Do it today!
Do it again tomorrow.
And the next day…
Once you form the habit of doing whatever that thing is, grab the next skill.
Start by making your bed.
Don’t hit snooze.
Start off the day winning, and your momentum will carry you.
You are right where you’re supposed to be.
Your feelings are not your fault.
Remember, they are real, but not necessarily true.
No one’s coming to rescue you.
Be the hero in your own story.
Strap on your shiny armor, mount your mighty steed, grab your sword, roar out loud, and charge into battle!
You got this!
Be well. 🙂
Thank you for reading the latest addition of how to thrive beyond trauma. Please like, comment, follow, or reach out. I’d love to hear from you and appreciate the feedback. You can also check me out on my podcast found on all major platforms. Here’s the Spotify link:
I also offer Life Coaching services. If you’re feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, reach out and we’ll get you on track.
Yes, it’s consistently been near 110 degrees for the last couple weeks in Phoenix, and many people are in their pools.
The pool I’m talking about, however, is my dating pool.
David, you may be asking…
What does the dating pool and Bill Murray eating a Baby Ruth that looks like poo have to do with thriving beyond trauma!?
It has everything to do with thriving beyond trauma, damn it!
And if you haven’t figured out the loose associative stream of consciousness writing style I employ yet…
You’re in for a treat! (And not a candy bar that looks like poo, but close) 😉
Do It Badly…
Is ‘badly’ even a word? Maybe it’s just written poorly? 😉
Well, if I write it, you read, or say it… It’s a fucking word…
Apparently GK Chesterton thought so, too…
Which, by the way, I just thought of that quote and had never heard of the GK Chesterton until I googled it. Evidently, he did a lot of writing. I like him already.
Anyway… I digress.
So, yes, writing about my (mis)adventures in dating has everything to do with thriving beyond trauma!
Were it not for my trauma, I might not struggle with dating so much…
Hmmmm… N’est Pas?
So, for me today, learning through trial-and-error and breaking old trauma-fueled, codependent patterns is paramount in my life.
If I want to continue to thrive and grow, I need to confront these issues head on.
And not just confront them….
Embrace them, rub them on my face, and roll around naked in the motherfuckers!
(The motherfuckers being my affectionate pet name for my issues, that is.)
So, as I’ve written about (possibly ad nauseum for a few of you), I threw my hat into the dating ring, or for the sake of consistent metaphors – I dove into the dating pool.
And I swam in it for almost a month!
I swam long enough to get carried away by the currents of fantasy, potential love, connection, sexual desire, and feel the sting of disappointment and shattered expectations, bitterness, craziness, loneliness – just another typical Saturday night.
And so, my friends, I swam in that dating poor poorly, or badly… I don’t know, Where’s my grammerly? Even grammerly is spelled wrong… *sigh*
Yes, I came, I saw, I swam, and took some big gulps of bleach water, burned my eyes, and came to gasping on the side of the pool as my sponsor gave me mouth to mouth (metaphorically). I think he’d let me die if it came down to it.
I kid, I kid… relax…
So, yes, mission accomplished!
I dated poorly.
Fortunately, I don’t think I owe any amends or did any harm.
I just found myself entirely too wrapped up in finding Miss Right and it was becoming a huge distraction.
I went into it with the best of intentions – thinking that I was ready because of how happy I have been living my dreams.
I thought I set my standards higher and was clear on ye ol’ red flags… (see post https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/05/16/stop-painting-red-flags-green/).
As soon as I started getting some attention – I dove the fuck in!
And there’s no shame in that.
It is perfectly natural to want to love and be loved.
I recognize that I am still in a place in my recovery where breaking old relationship patterns is part of the drill…
For the first time ever in my life, I have the focus and drive to explore and express exactly who the fuck I am…
And clearly, right now is not the time to try to make a partner manifest…
It’s time to be with me…
I Am What I Am…
I realize the header for this section is a Popeye quote, and then I posted two different memes…
Don’t look so surprised.
I often use the Annie Lamott quote, “I may not be much, but I’m all I think about,” when I share in 12-Step meetings as a cheeky way to make fun of my self-centeredness.
Then, I found a related quote by Phillip K Dick about being all I have…
Plus I could resist using a quote by someone named Phil Dick… XD
And regardless of the phallic nature of my comments… I like the second quote better.
It touched my heart.
But yes, I also have to embrace that although I am by no means a bad guy, I am and have been frequently driven by self-centered fear.
Even though I am growing in confidence day by day through consistent commitment to my physical, emotional, and spiritual development, there’s still very much a part of me that wants to be adored and rescued.
And as David Goggins said… no one’s coming to rescue you (motherfucker) – either he said the motherfucker part or the Samuel L Jackson in my head did. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Okay, okay, Sam… I’ll get to the point.
So yes, I am on a journey of practicing enough self-love and service to others that my happiness is not dependent on the attention, affection, or approval of others.
I know I’ve written about our social instinct and need for approval while simultaneously not needing others’ approval. It is a paradox that we both need and don’t need approval. (see post https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/05/31/you-dont-need-their-approval-or-do-you/).
But where I’m at in life today, is that I am discovering a very loving, energetic, creative, resilient person (muthafucka) who is finally coming into his own without having to be in a relationship…
Most of my life I have been in a romantic relationship of one kind or another.
My identity was firmly fixed in trying to not only be a people pleaser, a bad boy, a good boy, a bread-winner, a caretaker, being taken care of, a lover, an approval seeker, a rebel, and damn it, if mama wasn’t happy, no body was happy kind of guy. I pull in for love fiercely and push away when I feel (sometimes delusionally) rejected.
The inconsistency of my love and attachment styles are crazy-making. Trust me, I have references…
I have read the book Attached and therein discovered my anxious, avoidant, disorganized attachment styles… Oh fucking boy!
Knowing this shit is great, but living it is an entirely different deal!
Self-knowledge is not the answer!
I have to do things differently to grow into the partner I want to attract.
Since I met my ex-wife 26 1/2 years ago, I have not been single for more than six months.
In fact, I am currently at my record for being single…
I am what they call a serial monogamist.
I jump from relationship to relationship.
I am a die-hard, cry at Moulin Rouge, write fucking poetry, buy you roses for the first date, hopeless romantic…
I live in a fucking fantasy world and wait with bated breath for The One…
And I will lie to myself about how wonderful you are (which most of you are wonderful) and how sincere and in-love I am with you.
And it’s true…
At least at the time…
I am legitimately fascinated by and enamored with women…
And at the same time, I consistently give up the things in my life that make me feel alive so that I can feel the ease, comfort, and exhilaration of making eye contact with you and feeling loved and wanted…
I know this is an inside job, and the love that sustains me will come from within and from my Higher Power…
I know there is that magic connection that will some day manifest in my life…
But for today, I need to keep my priorities straight and make my own magic.
I need to continue to outgrow the codependent pattern that makes the woman in my life my Higher Power.
I think I wrote in the post, “Holding Space for Heartbreak,” that she is not the problem and she is not the solution. (see post https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/05/17/holding-space-for-heartbreak/).
All I need is within me…
And within me is a passionate man with a Sacred Calling to grow and be of service.
And gosh darn it….
I like that guy!
In The Deep End
As much as I lean heavily on self-disclosure, and in many ways see it as one of my strengths, there’s a huge part of me that screaming right now…
Why the fuck are you writing this shit for everyone to see?
Any potential girlfriend will read this shit and make a run for it!
See what I mean?
There’s this preoccupation with being noticed and approved of…
That is a God-given instinct that needs to be tempered. My social instinct and desire for love have far exceed their intended purpose to the point of obsessive and compulsive thoughts and behaviors….
So, I embrace the demon of yearning and learn to dance with it.
And besides, the right woman will read this someday and appreciate my honesty and vulnerability….
But back to the demon dancing!
Feeling lonely will not kill me.
The truth is I am not alone.
I have a host of friends.
I have a CrossFit and recovery community.
I have family.
I have roommates…
I have a Higher Power.
And most importantly…
I have me.
So instead of diving into the deep-end of intoxicated, misguided infatuation with someone I have a few things in common with and gives me some brief attention, I am swimming out to the deep-end of my discomfort to learn to float…
And be free…
I deleted the dating app.
I informed a friend that I will not flirt with her anymore because I am not prepared to date her because I am not ready.
I surrender my preoccupation with romance and trust that the Universe will provide the right partner when the time is right.
I am right where I am supposed to be…
I have a tremendous gift and opportunity to live my dreams and choose my destiny.
Creativity is flowing through me regularly, and I am in-love with my life.
Today is the best day of my life.
The most important thing is whatever is right in front of me in this moment…
I am right where I am supposed to be…
And so are you!
Swimming into the deep-end and removing myself from the dating pool is where I will and need to grow the most.
Learning to fully embrace myself, my fears, my shortcomings, my gifts, and my dreams is uncharted territory.
Yes, I have been on this path for a long time…
But now is the time to stop ignoring my intuition and the Universe.
No more bullshitting myself.
I am not getting any younger, and I do not want to squander the time I have left chasing love and ignoring my dreams.
I realize this post has been mostly about me, and I have given little-to-no advice.
It’s my hope that by sharing my journey of thriving beyond trauma and navigating recovering from codependent patterns, you will relate and find the courage to make some changes in your life.
Now is the time to value yourself enough to find out what’s important to you.
I know I frequently rally on chasing your dreams.
And that’s important.
It’s important to identify what’s holding you back and begin your journey of healing.
If you consistently have relationship challenges, get help.
I have done a lot of recovery work, therapy, and read many books on the subject.
Although I still struggle, I also have a lot of experience and knowledge.
The thing is, one can still know a lot about a topic and still need to follow their own damn advice!
I offer Life Coaching services and can help you unpack some of your relationship struggles and set you off in the right direction to create happy and healthy relationships.
You don’t have to figure this out on your own.
If you’re anything like me, you need the extra support.
We’re in this together.
Be well 🙂
Thank you for reading my latest self-revealing post on thriving beyond trauma. Please like, comment, follow, and reach out. As mentioned, I offer Life Coaching services. If you are feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, reach out and we’ll get you on track.
I would say I’m a bit late writing this blog post this morning, except I firmly believe I am right where I am supposed to be…
I think some people mistake “Living the Dream” as days filled with riding unicorns that shit ice cream on demand.
To me, living the dream means staying committed to your vision and taking the action even (especially) when you don’t fucking feel like it!
I am feeling fucking tired today!
I had a hard time getting to sleep last night because my mind would not shut the fuck up!
I woke up at 4:50am, did my meditation and journaling routine, busted out 58 burpees, talked to my AA sponsor about my dating foibles, and here I sit three hours later than I normally start to come up with some fricking truth-laden brilliance about overcoming trauma…
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Don’t ask me what Jack Skellington or the The Nightmare Before Christmas has to do with living the dream… I haven’t figured it out yet…
But I trust my subconscious is brewing up something tasty in its cauldron…
My birthday is on Christmas, and the nightmare before that was living a life of unrealized dreams and purpose.
Much like the Pumpkin King, I moped around, depressed, longing to find meaning beyond the mundane…
“Woe is me,” I would say….
I am so misunderstood and unloved…
I am not living up to my potential.
I am fucking stuck doing these jobs in a broken system…
I am a slave to the white man!
Okay, okay… before you get all offended, please know I am kidding… but not kidding. 😉
I am well aware of my white male privilege, and I do my part to dismantle and challenge oppressive systems and people…
But it still makes me laugh to write that… so #sorrynotsorry.
Anyway, the point I am making is that in order to start living the dream, I had to wake up from the fucking nightmare!
Our hero, Jack, took matters into his own hands to chase his dreams…
Albeit he did corrupt and fuck up Christmas in the process…
In the end, he did save the day and find his joy and purpose.
No one said chasing dreams would be easy…
Even for the Pumpkin King…
La Vida Loca
I’m not entirely sure what Jung meant by this quote, which reveals to me I need to read more…
But, I think the key here for me is recognizing my need to live life…
That does not mean I only show up for the ice cream shitting unicorn days…
It also doesn’t mean I wander around depressed about why Halloween isn’t Christmas…
It means I show up for all of it, the good, the bad, and the ugly…
But David, you might be saying…
I thought you said “good” and “bad” don’t really exist and they’re just social constructs that lead to suffering?
Yes, young padawan… Very good. You were listening.
You passed the test and called me out on my own mental hang-ups.
And, it was just a figure of speech stolen from an old Clint Eastwood movie title.
Stop taking everything I write so fucking seriously!
Okay, now that we got that out of the way…
Yes, even me, Mr. Fucking Positivity, skims the rim of the toilet bowl of negativity from time to time.
Yes, occasionally, I have a shitty attitude…
Yes, my outlook is crappy and other unnecessary bathroom puns…
But the point is…
Today, I embrace the comfortable and the uncomfortable as all part of a nourishing journey of thriving beyond trauma!
(Whew… I was starting to wonder if there was a point!) 😉
Show up for the shit, too.
Yesterday, a friend of mine texted me that she was not “feeling it” and did not want to go to the gym.
I told her that’s exactly the time she NEEDS to go to the gym!
If we only do the hard work of self-improvement when we feel like it, we’ll never grow!
I know she is in the first few weeks of a 100 day challenge to work out every day, twice per day.
If I co-signed her bullshit and told her, sure honey, it’s okay to not go today because you don’t feel like it, then I’d be not a very good friend or coach.
Giving herself permission to not remain committed to her goals is the same as telling herself it’s okay to intentionally fail.
Sometimes, we just need to be pushed.
She showed up, bitched and moaned the whole time, but she did not have to go home and look in the mirror and realize she let herself down.
She did the damn thing!
Sometimes, we just need to be pushed.
Sometimes, I just need to be pushed!
Okay, so maybe that’s not quite the commitment I was thinking about…
But clearly, the inmates are running the asylum…
Speaking of insanity, I had my weekly phone call with my sponsor.
His task is to point out my spiritual deficiencies (insane choices) in a loving manner.
He told me from the beginning that he would call me out on my bullshit, and although it stings from time to time, it’s very important for me to be held accountable.
You may be asking yourself, what the hell does accountability have to do with commitment?
I’m still figuring that out.
I am committed to my own personal growth through many means and the ongoing journey of sharing my experiences in order to be of service.
That means that I need to tell on myself and reveal not only my strengths, but especially my weaknesses – or rather areas of needed growth.
So, today, Mr. Sponsor pointed out to me that last week I told him I am not interested in having a relationship with a particular woman I continually flirt with.
Then, he pointed out that this week I was telling him I am unsure about dating her.
He said to me, so… you were either lying last week or you’re lying this week. And the person you’re lying to is yourself!
I think I am clearly trying to keep people from reading future posts of this blog…
He also pointed out that when I feel defensive, I deflect it with inappropriate humor…
He then reminded me that I asked him to give me this kind of feedback.
And yes, I absolutely need to be called out.
We all do!
I will co-sign my own bullshit in order to get what I think I want.
And often times, my actions are a mindless pattern that always ends up in some sort of codependently-fueled misery.
I am committed to the process of growing the fuck up.
I don’t want to keep mindlessly repeating patterns that invite drama in my life or make me feel isolated and alone.
I am not getting any younger, so I better start figuring this shit out, right?
So, today, I honor my commitment of personal development and chasing my dreams.
Even when I’m running a little behind schedule, I will write this damn blog post every Monday through Friday.
I deleted the damn dating app and deactivated my account.
Incidentally, the Pattern app also told me today to stop seeking a relationship and lean into being alone in order to let go of my old codependent patterns… (https://www.thepattern.com/)
Please make sure your seatbelts are fastened and your trays are locked in the upright position.
Damn… Just damn…
The Universe has spoken.
So what do I do about it?
This Is Not A Dress Rehearsal
Life is in session…
So what am I going to do?
Fucking live it!
[Insert impassioned ‘get off your ass’ rant]
It wouldn’t be one of my blog posts if I didn’t go off and start spewing motivational dribble…
Yes, most of us probably woke up this morning and did not feel like showing up.
And a lot of you showed up anyway, but still donned your cape of complaining…
Bitching and moaning are not superpowers!
They keep you stuck!
Change your fucking mindset!
Hey, it’s 11:11 right now!
See there’s little breadcrumbs of the Universe all around you…
You just have to find them.
Search for your breadcrumbs like you’re starving for it – because you probably are.
Find the reason you want to live.
Find what excites you!
And fucking go for it!
I’m not surprised that I feel a little deflated and cantankerous today.
Yesterday was a big day for me!
I finally published my new podcast yesterday and it went live on Spotify and Apple Podcasts (among other platforms)
I cried when it went live because I knew that I was living my dream!
It turned out so much better than I expected and it was much easier to do than I thought.
Publishing that podcast was proof to me that I am doing what I am supposed to be. The feeling was electric and is motivating me to keep going.
My success is inevitable.
My hope is that by posting this, you will dust off that idea you want to go after and fucking do it!
Yes, you may be scared.
Yes, like me, you may feel tired or deflated.
But remember, you have all of the energy you need within you.
Stand up and put your hands up as high as you can. (assuming you can stand or raise your hands – I’m not a complete ableist).
Ok, now put them up a little higher.
Did you reach higher?
But the first thing I said was to put your hands up “as high as you can.”
I guarantee that when I said put them up higher, you were able to reach higher.
You can always do more than you think!
No one is going to rescue you!
When you feel like shit, that is precisely the time to keep pushing towards your goals.
Because the next time you feel like shit, you’ll be able to remember this time that you kept going when you felt like shit.
Build your belief in yourself by pushing through the pain.
Yes, I feel tired and somewhat lonely today.
I’m still recovering from COVID.
I’m sitting in a staff meeting right now listening to how shitty the job is that I chose to leave.
And I’m writing my fucking blog and am feeling grateful that I made a commitment to chase my dreams.
And not only am I chasing them…
I’m living the motherfuckers!
And you can, too!
Don’t wait until tomorrow.
Make a decision.
Make a commitment.
And Just Fucking Do It!
One of my soon-to-be-former coworkers glibly announced as he walked into the staff meeting, “I’m living the dream… stuck in the nightmare.”
I’ve heard him say that before.
He sounds fucking miserable.
I refuse to continually come back to a job that sucks out my soul.
I have dreams and it does not include voluntarily staying stuck in a fucking nightmare!
I lived in the nightmare before Christmas.
And as Christmas is my birthday, I was reborn this last year.
The nightmare is over…
Now is the time to live!
Yes, it’s not always a day of riding the ice cream shitting unicorn…
But it’s also what I choose to make it.
Today is what you choose to make it!
If you’re having relationship problems, find out what your truth is, speak it clearly and honestly, and get help if you need it.
If you hate your job, your church, your life…
Find out what you love and do that instead!
Stop being a victim!
Remember, if you’re miserable, you’re volunteering to feel that way.
You’re not a victim. You’re a volunteer!
I wish I could say I’m sorry to tell you that.
But today, the message from my sponsor (spiritual advisor) is that if it bothers me, it belongs to me.
If it bothers you, it belongs to YOU.
It’s not the woman I’m interested in who’s shining me on…
It’s my fucking expectations.
It’s me being dishonest with myself.
I’m tired today because I drank coffee too late yesterday and stayed up too long listening to my new podcast and daydreaming about a woman.
I made choices which later affected my peace of mind.
Does that mean I get the excuse of not writing this blog today?
Does it mean I skip my meeting with my sponsor?
Does it mean I skip the burpee challenge today or going to the gym?
Let me think about that…. Fuck no!
Do you see a theme here?
I get to make excuse only if I want to live a life of mediocrity and continue living in the nightmare.
Today, I leave the nightmare behind
Show up when I don’t feel like it.
And live the fucking dream!
Thank you for reading today’s sloppy rant about showing up anyway. I hope it helped. Feel free to like, comment, follow, or reach out. I offer Life Coaching services. If you’re feeling sick and tired of feeling sick and tired, reach out, and we’ll get you on track!