seattle japanese garden panorama

family—cant live with them – pass the beernuts

my sister invited mary and i down to her place for some winter sports. a kind, generous, gracious, welcoming…sad angry frustrated _betrayed_

in the words of paul harvey, now it’s time for the…rest of the story……page 2.

the second set of emotions are stirred by the very reason i am estranged from my family.

when dad was around, i would spend a couple hours a weekend doing senior tech support over the phone. since i couldn’t point to stuff on the screen, dad would do stuff i didn’t realize he was doing. i asked him what was on the screen now and he’d described what he’d see and i wonder how the hell he got there. most of the time when we were through, my dad would be no closer to a solution.

when my dad died, i felt justified asking for the mac laptop for all the hours i spent on the phone supporting him. dad had promised the mac to my niece which started a skirmish. it was decided we’d vote on it the next day.

two siblings approached me looking for a solution. both were similar; i’d buy my niece a pc laptop and then i get the laptop i wanted.

i approached my niece about it. She didn’t really want to discuss it. As she walked away, she said she didn’t really want the laptop. i told my siblings what happened and figured i had the votes to get the laptop.

the next morning, the family voted. my brother-in-law tallied the results. he asked if people wanted the count. i said no, so i could live in a fantasy world that someone from my family actually supported me. before i could even say no, he announced the results – 5-1.

i was crushed. i had done exactly what i was asked to do, got rebuffed, and neither sibling stood up for me. sad angry frustrated _betrayed_

i thought about immediately leaving town. i didn’t. i was supposed to help with a breakfast the next morning. i called and told my sister i wasn’t going to help and i wasn’t even sure that i would go to the breakfast. i did go to the breakfast. i remember one sibling approaching me. i don’t remember what was discussed as I lived in my emotional stew. i do remember it wasn’t much. after finishing my breakfast, Mary and i promptly left.

from that moment, i have felt estranged from the family. i’m sure resentments have built on both sides since then and i can see the invite as an attempt to move past all that has happened. i guess i haven’t worked through all of the emotional debris. all of this came to a head with the invite. the emotions got further stirred around since one sibling, who i thought would support me with the laptop vote, is coming at christmas time.

as a child, i have very few memories of belonging. it is just an indication of my fucked up, dysfunctional family. I still seek to belong and find belonging and acceptance in the groups i attend. it is sad that i seldom got that sense of belonging as a child and it was only made worse by the betrayal and the estrangement that followed.

most of the time I am at peace with my estrangement. with my life long struggle with wanting to belong, i am sure a sense of belonging with my family would have helped with my general sense belonging.

i just want to belong. i want to be accepted, no matter how broken people see me. i want to be accepted for the good people see in me and additionally for all my warts and short comings. that is so critical to my mental health. oh, to be healthy, again.

great blue heron

why didn’t you tell me before?

those are powerful words.

on one side, it is a sign of something held back. maybe it was something considered so minor, it didn’t have to be brought up. perhaps it was fear, that if you really knew how i felt, you’d think less of me or even reject me.

on the other hand, there is the courage of breaking through those barriers. perhaps, the barrier is this is significant enough to bring this forward or maybe it’s overcoming the fear of being thought less of for what has been held back for far to long.

that act of sharing is a courageous act, being vulnerable, exposing a little more who that person really is. sure, the person asking the question likely has every right to be asking that question. the problem is, in asking the question, they have not only overlooked the gift they have just received, they have also totally disrespected the vulnerable person fighting through their desire not to share.

by asking the question, the question asker expresses their distain that it took so long to get this bit of information, overlooking the courageous act. the person hearing this question is made to feel wrong for their inability to share before. they feel shame.

when the person receiving the bit of information can see it as a gift, they can be joyous of their new discovery. the person sharing gets treated with the utmost respect. they feel safe. that makes it all the easier for them to share the next time.

the choice is yours: distain and shame or gift and respect. given the choice, i’d eliminate that damaging statement from my mind. i hope you can do the same.

tatoosh range

the unexpected consequences of the gift of an unsolicited solution

there is no doubt that often times an unsolicited solution is well meaning. sometimes an unsolicited solution has unexpected consequences. i want to explore why it can be effective sometimes and yet other times detrimental.

some people see solutions as an opportunity. perhaps the solution is something they haven’t tried or something they have tried before but worth exploring, again. either way, they look forward to their adventure ahead. It is as if they have a shield against shame.

some people see solutions as an opportunity missed, a destructive feeling of, “why didn’t I think of that?” they could see see a suggested solution as something they have tried and they couldn’t quite accomplish. either way they feel like a failure. since they have lost there armor against shame, that feeling of failure drives the shame home.

that clarifies for me why not to give solutions to the person who is likely to see the solution as an opportunity missed. they will likely end up feeling shame.

unfortunately, the solution seekers and givers are prevalent in this world. they think they are doing someone a favor by offering up a solution. that’s perfectly fine if they are talking to a solution seeker. when talking to some one who will see the solution as an opportunity missed, the gift of the solution may appear to be a present with a pretty bow but truthfully it may leave behind a river of shame.

a pretty common difficulty in today’s society is the inability to process shame. that really is no surprise since people have difficulties processing pretty much all emotions. i would think that inability to process shame would be more prevalent with depressed people. the inability to process the shame can contribute to a gloomy feeling, which can widen their pathway downward, which makes the journey to depression even easier.

givers of solutions have to be more aware of the damage their solutions may cause. at the same time, people who see a solution as an opportunity missed have to be easier on theirselves. really it’s for their own good. as a person who sees solutions as an opportunity missed, I know that can be quite the challenge.

reflections off the water

if we could all have fathers like this…

this is a recollection of one of my previous boss’ fatherly act.


into the wayback machine

the cases of bad parenting are close and nearly no space in between. that makes healthy cases worthy of a recognition. i often share a fathering incidence of yours and it’s about time i personally honor you.

you had set up your tightrope some sunny day at humongous. one of daughters slipped and took the rope up her inner leg. understandably, she cried. you went and comforted her. after she calmed down, you encouraged her to get back on the rope. she did. while she walked the rope you held her hand, stabilizing her recently rocked world.

this is right on so many levels.

  • first, you taught her to try.
  • when she fell, she found comfort in you, not admonished for showing emotions.
  • you encouraged her to try again.
  • you helped to conquer her challenge and gave her confidence for her next challenge she was sure to face.

to see such healthy acts of fathering, it is not difficult to assume this was not an isolated incidence but more of a normal occurrence around the your house.

i hope you recognize how you have helped to set up your daughters for success. i am certain you haven’t performed every fatherly act perfectly, but far closer to the idea than most fathers i have seen. as a matter of fact, for every father like you, i have seen far too many fathers fall far short of the example i saw you set that sunny day. hell, many fathers i see wouldn’t be able to accomplish one of the four above mentioned acts that you did in a matter of five minutes.

for that, i honor you. i don’t minimize your programing prowess with this next statement, but being a loving, caring, supportive father is far more important than any optimization or line of code that you ever wrote.

blue boat getting away?

second life

i had an emdr session not long ago. i dealt with such fun emotions and feelings like loss of identity, being alone, loneliness, unloved; i began to cry.

then, something switched. i began to bawl. this time, they were tears of joy. my mind went to my friends. that’s a foreign idea to me. i never really had friends that really meant anything. now, i have a near double digit of friends that get it and share at a level that i had always desired.

yesterday, i went to a retreat. before i got 10 feet into the door, a friend greeted me with, “i want to sit next to you.” I felt blown away.

that’s my second life. in my first life, i would have sat in the far corner and hoped that no one would sit at my table. The thought of someone actually sitting with me, wouldn’t even cross my mind.

i started to think of all the second life people in my life. how if they were in a similar place, they’d speak of desire to be or sit with me.

as the day went on on i realized the love i see in my friends. if god is love and love is god, i felt closer to my god than i had in a long time.

not long ago, a friend started this cascade. they texted me and asked if I wanted to go to coffee. i had to look behind me and see if they were maybe pointing at someone behind me. Surely, the text had to be miss addressed. No, it wasn’t. i feel wanted and that felt special.

tonight, i had two friends think enough of me to contact me at the end of proverbial rope. that would have unheard in first life. these two are not unique in turning in good times or bad.

if goes with out saying my second life is full of people in which i share my life and in return, they share theirs. These friends give me a sense that i belong. while they can completely take away the pain of being alone and lonely in my first life, they remind me, today, in the here and now that those feeling don’t have to rule the roost, today

blue boat getting away?


in medieval time, there were a group of people called flatlanders. they knew their land, the road to the nearby town or village and the town or village. They didn’t wander far from their world. maybe they knew what they knew and that felt safe. or maybe they feared if they went to far, they’d fall off the edge of the earth. what did they miss by staying safe or by living in fear? what great thing did they miss by not venturing over the next rise? the great explorers knew like pollo, columbus or vespucci. their courage open them up to new spices and whole new worlds.

unfortunately, in today’s seemingly unbounded world, flatlanders still exist.

maybe today’s flatlanders feel safe. they know the world around them and they are comfortable with that world. that world doesn’t give them the necessary sustenance yet it still feels safe. they are hungry. they know of a need to venture out, maybe not to the far east, but at least beyond their comfort zone. they cannot reason to wander beyond the world they know. their safety holds them back.

Maybe today’s flatlanders fear wandering too far, not only afraid of what is beyond the next rise but also falling off their proverbial edge of their world. their fear is like a prison, keeping them caged from what lays just beyond their reach. that fear holds them back and impedes their progress. their fear stands in the way of not only searching for _the_ new world but their new world.

or maybe like me, it’s a combination of safety and fear. Is the safety really safe? Is the fear truly justified? What is lost by living in a seemingly safe and fear free place?

where is the root of courage that lets today’s flatlanders take a step beyond their comfort zone? sure it can be scary but isn’t the discoveries of new spices and new continents worth it?

unhappy with the world i live in, i wonder if that courage exists to challenge my safe world and beat back my fear. i tire of my flatland and wish and hope to find the boldness to not only hold onto my current world i know and have but to also venture out. there is so much more beyond what the eyes can see. i just want to find a way to see it.