“I want to tear down the walls…That hold me inside”

jess-and-oatieSitting here tonight all I can do is play this music as loud as it can go.  I sit here in the dark with only the light of the computer screen to tell me that this is more than the darkness that feels so brutally empty and yet consuming at the same time.
The holidays are always tough for me.  My good friend today acknowledged that I am of service to others during the holidays.  Yes that is true for the most part, but it is out of the hole in my soul because of the condition that I have with my own family.  I haven’t been invited to a family Christmas in over 26 years and they all live within a half hour of where I live.  I don’t know why I am even writing this as it only causes tears to stream down my face as I write the words.
me brad and MariaI understand that these are consequences of being true to who I am and speaking my truth at that time.  But that does not make the emptiness of not being with nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts and sisters and brothers any less painful.
‘I wanna reach out…And touch the flame” When was that time in my own life where the flame was present?  No not in the external world but in the inner world.  I cant remember a time right now as I sit here and write this.  I am not saying that there were not moments of life timageshat are so profound that time almost stood still.  But where is that life that is effort and thought less.  Life that is lived out of the intuition that was given to me to help me maneuver through life in a way that is loving and kind instead of out of fear and shame.
‘You gotta scream without raising your voice” It feels like I have a set of shackles that I carry around all the time.  Not a ball and chain necessarily but like a set of weights built into my clothes that makes my feel so heavy all the time.  I know that there are no answers in this writing but the darkness of the Depression is strong and it seems like I cant get out of the shame that usually encompasses times like these.
10435979_946529865387071_546207751560709670_nBut there are actions that I am taking that are about me screaming that I have had enough.  I wont even talk about what has transpired in this country in the last year.  I am doing something for my self fhat has always been so fucking hard for me to do.  To protect, stand up and say to that beautiful spirit that is burning somewhere inside of me that it is okay to be who I am.  Nothing more nothing less.

100_1607All quotes from U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name” off of the Joshua Tree album of 1986

123 RW, JZ, PA, PH, RV, SA and I pray that Jerry is in peace.finger touching nose of baby

Trump, Clinton and Trauma by Gabor Mate

The consensus as to Donald Trump’s psychiatric issues is nearly unanimous. “Textbook narcissistic personality disorder,” according to clinical psychologists quoted In Vanity Fair, among many who have reached the same conclusion. Noting his motor mouth, chronic inability to pay attention and shockingly deficient impulse control, others diagnosed Trump as a severe case of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Tony Schwartz, Trump’s ghostwriter for his 1987 bestseller The Art of the Deal, reported that his client had no attention span and fidgeted “like a kindergartner who cannot sit still.”

Yet, while the various diagnoses with which he has been labeled may accurately describe his actions, attitudes, verbal patterns and mental states, they cannot explain them. As a stressed electorate tries to make sense of a campaign unlike any other, many people are asking themselves, what is the root of Trump’s bizarre displays?

What we perceive as the adult personality often reflects compensations a helpless child unwittingly adopted in order to survive. Such adaptations can become wired into the brain, persisting into adulthood. Underneath all psychiatric categories Trump manifests childhood trauma. His opponent Hillary Clinton evinces her own history of early suffering, even if milder and far more muted in its impact.

The ghostwriter Schwartz reports that Trump had no recollection of his youth.

There is always a reason for such amnesia. People have poor recall of their childhoods when they found reality so painful that their minds had to repress awareness and push memories into the unconscious. “I don’t like to analyze myself because I might not like what I see,” Trump admitted to a biographer.

According to biographers, Trump’s father was workaholic, ruthless, emotionally cold and authoritarian, a man who believed that life is a competition where the “killers” win. Donald’s elder brother drove himself into alcoholism, a common escape from pain, and to an early death. The younger, favoured child is now self-destructing on the world stage.

Lying is such an endemic aspect of his personality that he does so almost helplessly and reflexively. “Lying is second nature to him,” Tony Schwartz told The New Yorker “More than anyone else I have ever met, Trump has the ability to convince himself that whatever he is saying at any given moment is true, or sort of true, or at least ought to be true.”

How are such patterns compensations?  Not paying attention, tuning out, is a way of coping with stress or emotional hurt. Narcissistic obsession with the self compensates for a lack of nurturing care. Grandiosity covers a deeply negative sense of self-worth. Bullying hides an unconscious conviction of weakness. Lying becomes a mode of survival in a harsh environment. Misogyny is a son’s outwardly projected revenge on a mother who was unable to protect him.

Trump’s opponent also appears to have learned reality-denial at an early age. Her father, too, according to biographic reports, was harsh, verbally abusive, and dismissive of his daughter’s achievements. The opaque persona many now see as inauthentic would have developed as young Hillary Rodham’s protective shell. In an anecdote related by the former Secretary of State herself as an example of salutary character building, four-year-old Hillary runs into her home to escape neighbourhood bullies. “There is no room for cowards in this house,” says her mother, sending the child out into the street to face her tormentors.  The real message was: “Do not feel or show your pain. You are on your own.” Over six decades later the candidate hides her pneumonia even from her doctor and from those closest to her. Repeatedly she has overlooked her husband’s outlandish infidelities, defending him against disgrace— no doubt suppressing her own emotional turmoil in the process.

It is not surprising that when the Oxford University psychologist Kevin Dutton analyzed the candidates for Scientific American Mind, he scored both Trump and Clinton in the upper quintile of self-centered impulsivity and coldheartedness. Trump rated high on traits of psychopathy, between Idi Amin and Adolf Hitler.

We Canadians are no strangers to political leaders whose childhood suffering formed their personalities and infused their policies. The journalist and Stephen Harper biographer John Ibbitson characterized our former prime minister as “autocratic, secretive, and cruel.” A journalist described him as “chilly and inscrutable,” while his former chief of staff recalled him as “vindictive, prone to sudden eruptions of white-hot rage over meaningless trivia.” These traits, too, are uniformly markers of trauma. Unsurprisingly, Harper also resisted discussing his childhood.

No infant is born a bully, cruel or cold-hearted. Well-nurtured children mature naturally past infantile self-regard, develop impulse control and find empathy. They learn to feel and regulate their emotions. In the case of those who do not, there is pain they are unable or unwilling to confront. Their development was distorted.

A political leader in denial of his trauma may be so little able to bear his core pain, fear and weakness that he will identify with the powerful, disdain and attack the vulnerable. Or, behind a false persona, she vows to support the downtrodden while kowtowing to the rich and dominant.

What does it say about our society that such deeply troubled individuals frequently rise to the top ruling circles, attaining wealth and power and even the admiration of millions?

We need not be perplexed that a Donald Trump can vie for the presidency of the most powerful nation on Earth. We live in a culture where many people are hurt and, like the leaders they idolize, insulated against reality. Trauma is so commonplace that its manifestations have become the norm.

People who are anxious, fearful and aggrieved may be unable to recognize the flaws In those seeking power. They mistake desperate ambition for determination, see grandiosity as authority, paranoia as security, seductiveness as charm, dogmatism as decisiveness, selfishness as economic wisdom, manipulation as political savvy, lack of principles as flexibility. Trauma-induced defences such as venal dishonesty and aggressive self-promotion often lead to success.

The flaws of our leaders perfectly mirror the emotional underdevelopment of the society that elevates them to power.

This originally appeared in The Globe and Mail.

http://drgabormate.com/trump-clinton-trauma/

123 all survivors including HRC and DT.

“Give a soul a night of fearless sleep.”

It was a little over a year ago that my dear friend Jerry decided that being on the earth was not something he could do any more.  With almost 34 years of sobriety and almost 68 years old, Jerry decided it was not worth doing any more.
What is happening in our world is frightening.  The exposure of the dis-ease in our culture manifested with the events that just transpired in the U.S. have brought out the fact that there are people in this world who don’t care whether Jerry suffered or not.  They will never know Jerry because they have distanced themselves from their fellow man.  As a matter of fact they probably don’t consider Jerry a fellow traveler in this thing called life.
I suffer from the maladies I do because of those deep seated emotional conflicts that were created and buried in my unconscious so long ago that I have forgotten them.  But they still have an effect on my life.  Do I like it?  I think the answer is pretty self evident by my wanting to process whatever is going on inside of me.
“Before the meek inherit they learn to hate themselves.” That is the malady that I suffer with at a  level that I cannot comprehend or even understand.  There is a lot of anger, which to me is self hate, being projected in our world.  Not just the duality of our elections, but the death and violence that have been perpetrated in the last few days around the world.
“Give me love, give me peace.” I truly believe there is a faction in the world who live on the fact that others suffer and they exploit it.  Not just husbands and their wives, or parents with their children, but in a larger view, those who control the methods of production and those who don’t control them.
What is it?  Why did Jerry stop his own life tragically?  Is it because he could no longer just carry his own anxiety and shame, but that he was carrying a share of other peoples’ shame and could not keep carrying it? The sins of the father being passed down to the son.
I believe that those who have divorced themselves from nature, from life being a cycle of helping those around you live a better life because it makes your life richer and better, have so far disconnected themselves from their fellow man that they don’t care about the man who suffers and dies a horrible death at his own hand.
I leave you with this today.  A paradigm is shifting.  It is not pretty.  As a matter is so ugly and scary right now that we just had to pick from two of the most emotionally and spiritually void people I have ever seen.  I am not interested in being right because we are losing.  The U.S. lost and the rest of the world is suffering as well.
When are we going to see that making others responsible, blaming others, is nothing more than projecting our own inadequacies and not owning them.  Then we can label them as different, wrong and eventually evil.  Because when we do that, we can harm them and we can relief from our suffering.   At least in our minds we can.  It is called righteousness.  Righteousness will get you alone and or killed.
I face it in my mind every day.  I think Jerry did too and it overcame him.
123 RW, JZ, RV, SA, PH, PA.
Quotes from Bruce Springsteens “High Hopes.”

 

 

“To place neurosis and psychopathology solely in personal reality…”

“… is a delusional repression of what is actually, realistically, being experienced.”

11665402_10152853758167167_7660227498252654124_nI was talking with my dear friend this morning and we were discussing this.
We want to believe that it is us as individuals who are carrying the energy and expressing the pathology that we are experiencing.  That I personally am the cause of the dis-ease that I am experiencing.  But to say that means that I have no connection to the world.  I have no connection to my family through the collective experiences that those members of my family  experienced. Well if I choose to accept that I am this complete entity, that there is no heredity, that there is not collective unconscious, then it is easy to both assign responsibility and blame for all that happens to me.
cropped-heart3
But I not only look a lot like my Dad did when he was the age I am now.  I talk with many of the nuances he had.  I sometimes hear myself talk and remember at some level hearing his voice.

I know a father and a daughter who both sleep with their hands bent in the same exact way.  It seems so painful, how their hand is bent, and I am convinced that it could only be done unconsciously.

10526038_663870803709042_5332401051197838708_nI was watching a video about trauma and the presenter was pointing out that he was with people from all over the world who were having the same reaction to bombing that was happening around them.  Instinctively they were all bending forward seeking to almost put themselves in the fetal position.  Well if they are all attempting to do that, to react in the same way even though they were all from different cultures,then I argue that is evidence that there is a collective unconscious.  If there is then we have a common way of experiencing life.  If we do, then there is an unconscious that ties us together.  It is expressed in how we view the world.  There is something to the statement that the sins of the father are passed onto the son.

10347232_10201917599660507_5224584867827727870_n
“The whole world is sick….and you can’t put this right by having a good therapeutic dialogue or finding deeper meanings. It’s not about meaning anymore; it’s about survival.”  The increased amount of people who are experiencing “mental illness,” is a manifestation of the collective unconscious needing to express, no longer able to repress, the psychic imbalance that is happening in the world.  The way we are going, there will be more and more people, particularly us Americans, taking medications, just to make it through the day.  If people dont think this is affecting all of us, and not just us who are suffering, then the world view of the person who is an individual, and that only, will draw us into more and more conflict. Not just externally with “others,” but with ourselves. I hate to say that I see it happening now.  The system that only rewards those who care only for themselves is tearing the fiber of this great place I live in apart.

123 RV, RW, SA, PA, JW!

Quotes by James Hillman

The Healing

11707660_974787155951568_4667623480132897462_n
I am not a mechanism; an assembly of various sections.                                                                   And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.
I am ill because of wounds deep to the soul, to the deep emotional self
and the wounds to the soul take a long, long time, only time can help
And patience, and a certain difficult repentance,
Long difficult repentance, realization of life’s mistake, and the freeing oneself from the endless repetition of the mistake
Which mankind at large has chosen to sanctify.

Written by D.H.Lawrence.  This was the first post on this blog and is being revisited for obvious reasons.

123 All and I am somewhat excited to be doing this for the first time in over a year!

“I long to live in the only place I truly can live.”

11144416_974787355951548_7417282000083361679_nWell the 10 day retreat ended on Sunday morning!.   Ten days of noble silence!   Ten days of meditation.  Ten days of what might be  called “mindfulness,” meditation.

I went to the Northern California Vipassana Meditation Center,* which is just a few miles from where the devastating “Valley Fire,” near Cobb Mt. and Middletown, CA took place less than 2 months ago. For ten days I could not talk,(and if you know me, you could just imagine how interesting that was for me!) and all I could do is meditate, eat, sleep and shower, and that was all I 11709487_911521702258127_1817418095548286627_ndid.  They would awaken you at 4 a.m. and you started meditating at 4:30.  The meditation ended at 9 every evening. We had about 12 hours of meditation a day. You only had fruit to eat after 12 noon every day.  It sounds so arduous doesn’t it?  Or does it sound easy?

But when you live alone, like I have for the last few years, it really isn’t that hard not to talk when you are at home.  It is when I am in the outside world that I talk or when I am on the phone.  I guess being on the computer like this would be considered talking.  You were not supposed to bring in _MG_0994any reading or writing utensils.  You were not supposed to use a computer or any device to communicate with the outside world.

One would think it would be hell.  But when I stood back and looked at the experience, I realize that an argument could be made that it is the life we lead that is more hell-like than the 10 days I was there.

The meditation practice would be body centered meditation if I had to define it.  You were to focus your mind on the your body.  Starting from the tip of your head and going all the way down to the tips of your toes, you were to “connect,” in my words, to the rest of your body.

20150801_063116 (2)Now I dont know about you, but I have spent a lifetime ignoring what my body “says” to me.  I have put layer upon layer of trauma and the effects of trauma between me and my emotional connection to my body.  I had to to survive.  I had to dissociate from the abuse by “leaving,” my body so that I could psychologically survive.  I weep as I write this.

So to tell a middle aged man, who has studied this thing called depression as best as I could in the last 5 years, that it was paying attention to your body that was going to be the thing that was going to help you heal, gave me quite a challenge.  I think I understand the dis-ease depression and have said for a while that the PTSD I suffer with is the foundation for the “mental health,” problems that I have.

So to be told that it is by paying attention to your body, for almost 12 hours a day for 10 days in silent meditation, that you were going to be able to heal in a way(s) that you could not heal before, would most probably for most people present quite a challenge.  But because one of the greatest gifts I have received on the journey was body centered breath work, I knew I had found another tool to help me.  So when I learned what the practice was, how to meditate, I was in heaven!

_MG_4425_2It was not easy.  The mind always wants to say “f— this sh–,” when presented with solutions that dont include it being the leader.  So I knew when I was learning the breathing technique that I had come to the “right,” place. I might write more about it later.   I would highly recommend it to those who suffer from “mental health,” issues.

The opening quote is something that came to me when I was at the retreat.  The answer is my body.

finger touching nose of baby https://www.dhamma.org/en-US/schedules/schmanda

“Their appearance is like an interruption or even an intrusion into your life.”

tumblr_luxczfdocB1qzxyqfo1_400This thing was not a interruption in my life. It was a brick wall that I could not climb over, slink under, go around or even bust through. Little did I realize that the only thing that would save me and I mean literally and metaphorically was to embrace it.   Thomas Moore defines it as a “an unnamed urge that pushes you in a certain direction.”

So I was and am still faced with this dilemma.  I want to be back in the high life as Steve Winwood would say.  But I know that I was given this depression to learn how snowyto do the Ggods work and help those who are suffering in ways I can only imagine.   My dear friends Willem3655 and the Fanatic suffer in ways I can only imagine.  I can hear them when they tell me their struggle but I cannot understand it based on experiences that are the same.  I dont think I have suffered like they have.

But these relationships are the ones that are the ones that mean something to me.  It is not that the other relationships in my way-aheadlife have less meaning.  But I was talking about it in a “meeting,” last night.  I truly believe that I was led to live in the area where the “Valley Fire,” went through to help those who have lost their houses to rebuild them. Just as I was led into depression to help those who suffer, mostly in silence, from a life sucking energy that cannot be overcome by will power alone.  Because if it could have been, just ask my friends if I would have overcome it or not.  Just like I could not stop drinking or drugging on my own, I cannot overcome depression on my own.

Jackson Browne says in “For A Dancer,” ” And somewhere between the time you arrive and the time you go may lie a reason you were alive but you’ll never know.”  That is how life normally feels  for me.   Except for as Moore says, this force is “the force behind your tenacity of your yearning.” What I yearn for is to help heal from the emotional malaise we seem to have but consistently seem to ignore as a culture.  400px-FlammarionIf 30% of the people who helped write the big book’s stories committed suicide, there is a problem.*

And damn it, my friends who are the dearest thing to me, save one person, are suffering in ways that are incomprehensible to the “normal” person, but are suffering still the same.

This thing is called our  Daimon.  Hillman talks about it as does Moore and I am sure others.  It is the thing that has led me down this path which I hillmandont have a clue of where I am going. But it is here and it is real.  The reason I trust that it is real is the statement by Moore where he say that it is “[t]he guidance offered by an inner wisdom, More an impulse then a thought.”

You see I was a content attorney getting rich in Marin and here I am about to move into an area where a fire devastated people’s lives and when I am up there, I know it is the place I am supposed to be.

123 RV, SA, HF, PH, PA, JO, Dwight, TL, TS, and Happy Birthday Cynthia!!!

All quotes from Thomas Moore’s book “A Life at Work.” * If you want to know how I see this condition read, D.H. Lawrence’s “The Healing.” It was the first post on this blog and remains the way I see the dis-ease we live with in this culture.

1393852_909291559087829_6429478004072054840_nfinger-touching-nose-of-baby

sluk-dancer