I used to have an AA sponsor who often said he was waving his little white flag.
I’ve also heard that surrendering is not admitting defeat, but choosing to join the winning side.
Now whether you want to be restrained or not by such social constructs as winning and losing (since we live in a fairly competitive society), that is up to you.
The point, however, out of years of personal trial and error, is that by surrendering, or rather allowing what is, I’ve learned freedom and happiness naturally flow when I let shit go.
And what, young Bucky, you may be wondering, should I let go?
Oh, that’s simple…
EVERY FUCKING THING!
It’s also been said it’s “Simple, but not easy.”
But since when has life and thriving beyond trauma been fucking easy?
Anything worthwhile in life certainly is worth (yes, I used a derivative of “worth” twice) enduring some pain.
I heard in high school that life is pain.
That seems bleak and definitely does not paint the whole picture.
But as patron saint, David Goggins, illustrates in his book Can’t Hurt Me, freedom lies beyond the pain.
When we change our relationship to pain, and I submit to you to death (https://greenleaf4life.blog/2022/05/27/let-old-things-die/), our lives open up to incredible potential.
David Goggins says when we think we’ve reached our limit, we’re only at 40%. We have 60% of untapped resources within.
The key is to surrender to the hard stuff….
Let There Be Life
As mentioned at the end of last week’s blog, I have some big news to share with you all…
I know, the suspense is killing you.
And far be it for me to milk the situation and draw out the
I’m all about the moment before the moment!
I mean, isn’t the anticipation of getting something almost better than actually getting it?
Have you ever gotten so excited about something, and the build up was amazing until the actual event occurs?
Get to the fucking point, Greenleaf.
The fucking point (as you so eloquently said or rather, I wrote into your mouth—that just sounds nasty) is that anticipation of pain is pointless.
Sure, it’s great to feel excited about stuff, but what good does it do us to pre-feel pain?
As the great philosopher, Mark Twain said (or wrote… maybe he said it and wrote it. I don’t fucking know)…
In a long-about-wordy-meandering-tangential way (this amuses me 😆), I submit to you to stop fucking worrying.
Feel the pain once.
And let there be life.
You may be wondering at this point if I’ll ever tell you the big news I alluded to earlier.
I haven’t forgotten.
I just wanted to make a point about waiting…
The big news is that my amazing oldest child gave birth to my first granddaughter last Sunday!!!
Out of respect for their wishes (the parents, not the baby’s), I won’t post pics with her face or name on the interwebs.
But here’s one they posted, so I think it’s safe…😇
And yes, since you were wondering, the beautiful baby was born at 11:56 weighing 7 pounds, 6 ounces.
That’s two 13s, motherfucker!!!
If you don’t get the 13 reference, read last week’s post…
I am indescribably (but I’m going to try to describe it) grateful mother and baby are healthy.
Our newest family member was born eight days after their due date, and yet, right on time.
My child had planned for a natural birth, and due to genetics and the will of the Universe, after several days of pre-labor, Little Baby came via cesarean section.
I cried when I found out.
I felt such extreme joy and relief.
The joy and love I experience over my child, grandchild, and this whole experience is greater than anything I’ve ever known.
The depth of feelings I experience over this often surprises me.
It’s like a part of me opens up I don’t often feel I have access to.
Overcome with joy is the best I can say about it.
Although, I surrendered to the timing and outcome several times, a part of me was worried.
In talking with my child prior to the birth, they revealed to me not only their plans, concerns, but also their own surrender that things will play out how they will.
They anticipated the pain and planned to lean into it through mindfulness.
I am so proud of my child’s perseverance, adaptability, and empowered voice as the birthing events unfolded.
They and their husband are the epitome of loving parents, and I am in so much awe of these amazing people.
They inspire me.
And yes, I am a proud Papa.
We get to see the new little one at the end of this month.
House Panther of Pain
As I waited with bated breath for the birth of my grandbaby, I decided to invest (loose use of the word “invest”) some of the motorcycle sale proceeds into some new ink.
And by ink, I mean a large fucking chest tattoo of my beloved black house panther.
Perhaps it wasn’t the wisest way to spend this money, but the coverup work and homage to my heart’s desire was long overdue.
At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.
And the tat’s already done, so it’s moot at this point.
If you’ve ever had any tattoo work done, the vast majority of people know the process is painful as fuck.
Not to mention the chest, collarbone, sternum, armpit, nipple areas tend to be sensitive.
No, I didn’t get my armpit or nipple tatted, but close e-fucking-nough!
The thing about nerves in the chest is pain travels.
So when he was tatting my collarbone, it felt like it was on my neck. Near the nipple, it felt like on the nipple, and so on and so forth.
I just wanted to see how many times I could write nipple before it got weird for you.
I think five nipple mentions (now six) is sufficient to achieve the weirding-out effect.
And speaking of seven… (not nipples—that’s eight, well technically nine because it’s plural, unless it’s an infinite number of nipples…)
That’s ten or infinity.
I don’t know.
Math is hard.
I spent over eight hours at the tattoo shop, and seven hours actually under the gun.
The thing about getting tattoos is it requires commitment to a long drawn out and frequently painful process.
In the years I’ve been getting tattoos, I’ve tried distracting myself with music or conversation, taking ibuprofen and Tylenol before hand. Hell, I’ve probably even been stoned. (I don’t recommend that).
This time, rather than resist the pain, I focused on deep breathing to let it flow through me.
I focused on something in front of me (a black chandelier 🖤) as well as taking long inhalations and exhalations.
In yoga, I’ve learned what I think is called pranayama breathing. Maybe I haven’t learned it, since I’m unsure that’s what it’s called.
Nonetheless, by focusing on inflating my diaphragm (also to keep my chest as still as possible so the artist wouldn’t fuck up) and then constricting my throat (like fogging a mirror) whilst exhaling, the pain (while still painful) was much more bearable.
The onlooking tattoo artists assured me the real estate of which my tat was located is extremely painful.
Yes, I fielded some stupid questions like, “Does that hurt?”
Of course it fucking does!
But my response to the pain was veiled in a focused stoic stance of breath work and determination.
I chose to fucking do this.
I committed to it.
I surrendered to it.
I transcended it into an altered state of consciousness.
And I endured.
The reward was a beautiful tattoo and the gift of knowing I can withstand extreme pain for several hours.
It’s a right of passage to me.
Nothing worthwhile comes without enduring, embracing, and surrendering to pain.
Just ask my child and the house panther.
So, young Bucky…
What have we learned here today?
Well, let me tell you.
The point of life is NOT the avoidance of pain!
Clearly, if you’ve read this far, you’ve endured a little pain your damned self.
Welcome to the human race!
When we build up our lives with the sheer goal of avoiding pain, we suffer.
Pain is mandatory. Suffering is optional.
That which we resist persists.
Feel the pain!
Embrace the pain.
Understand that freedom lies in surrendering to the pain, and yes, letting that shit go!
As we change our relationship to pain and learn to embrace it and let it go, we truly live.
Strength is achieved in surrendering.
If you don’t believe me, keep trying to avoid pain.
Sooner or later you’ll surrender that approach too.
You deserve to live fully, and the only way out is through.
If you’re walking through Hell, keep walking.
You can do this!
It’s all about mindset.
Mind over matter.
If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.
What have you got to lose?
Good luck and be well. ☺️
Thank you for reading the latest installment of the memoirs of a house panther manor man. We are here to thrive beyond trauma! If you enjoyed this little post, be sure to like, comment, follow, and read my other fucking posts!
I also offer life coaching services. When you decide to get off your ass and do some hard shit, shoot me an email at email@example.com. We’ll get you where you want to go in life!
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