“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.


123 all survivors including HRC and DT.

“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.
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.

“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

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!

Fanatic’s Masquerade

blue-mask-matt-marquezWelcome to the masquerade ball
Where all are dressed to a tee
Lace and leather
Satin and feather
An invitation to mockery
Grand fall from grace
Faces upon faces sache
Empty emotion locked in place
Bittersweet madness captured
I search and
I search
night-owlFor a sense of reality
Lost in the maze of duality
Frozen and Contorted smiles
Bright colored sadness
In a fit of desperation
I dash from mask to mask
Begging for guidance
One hand wipes away my tear
One turns a cold shoulder
I falter, scramble
Into the devil himself
Red cape smooth as silk
White gloves of evil
His finger to my lips
ripples-blue-pretend-smelling-ultimatelyMy Muffled screams do not echo
The picture perfect persona
Melded to my face
I am left to dance with inner turmoil
Only I can see
Round and round
The room devoid of humanity
An air of confused dignity
Heads held high in reform
It’s a new way of living
rope-ajaytao1Behind the glitter and shine
One step two
Your existence but a matter
Of show
Of fools gold
Shattered pieces of self
Fall away under the fancy guise
Red stiletto heels stomping on real faces
Emotions masked
But not dulled
Pain will reign
There shall the devil be
Ever waiting for your fall

finger touching nose of baby

“We can’t change anything until we get some fresh ideas, until we begin to see things differently.”

blues-vadim-shtrik1 I struggle with this;  tremendously. The last four years of depression I don’t feel like I have any new idea whatsoever. I don’t think I have anything that could or would contribute to the discourse that would make the world a better place. There is nothing that feels worse than that. It just feels like there is way too much tension inside of me for me to be able to write anything to help anybody else.

11709487_911521702258127_1817418095548286627_nThe last 4 or 5 months my depression has felt like I was the lighthouse and the depression was the wave.

“In every adult there lurks a child–an eternal child, something that is always becoming, is never completed, and calls for unceasing care, attention, and education. That is the part of the personality which wants to develop and become whole.” (2)   This is the part of my Self that I disconnected with a long time ago and this is the part of me that I need to support and care for and about for me to make it in this world.  This is the part of me that is creative. The side of me that is ‘sparked’ by an idea that is interesting.  The part that loves to live and lives to love.

11251909_775721389193112_5065940686280524041_n“Authentic spiritual writing should have the danger of the ‘two edged sword’, it should be taut and hold that creative tension between redemptive illumination and prophetic challenge.”(3) So the only thing I think that I possess is any prophetic challenge. I don’t think I hold anything that could be seen as redemptive or illuminating.
My struggle with depression seems like it is a deep dark cesspool that no one should have to see. And yet when I listen to my friends talk and more than anything, listen to people who I don’t know talk, I hear the struggle of trying to understand life exacerbated when you have a mind that sees life as nothing but a series of traps.

10349157_10204471369565137_6707722759914875666_nWhere is it that we find this place that created our own mind which only views the world as a place of fear and trepidation?  It is because we have lost the sense of our true selves.  The ones that live in mystery and look forward to it.

Our system has created the straw man that society has chosen to sanctify as real.  That image that our self is somehow less than or incomplete without some “thing.”  We have made possessions our Ggods and forgot that Ggods are mysteries.

We seek assurances by praying at icons as if they are Monty Hall.   We live for the  moment when we can stop the hectic pace and think that that moment or time is the reward for living the life of tension and fear.  That is insane.

finger-touching-nose-of-babyIs it because the messages we are being given are driven by some image of a reality of perfection and peace?  We believe that this place in time is going to be a reward for the “struggle,” of trying to make life make sense from someone else’s perspective.

Life is no more complicated than that boy’s joy when touched by who ever touched him.  Nothing more.


Opening quote by James Hillman.  (2) -C. G. Jung CW 17: 286 (3) John O’Donohue.

My Last Real Day with Dad

Just for Today

I Dont Want To Talk About It

dad and grandpaIt was three weeks before he died.

By this time my Dad was pretty much immobile.  He could get up to go to the bathroom and probably to go to bed but other than that he would sit in his recliner.

What I learned later is that he was only getting 8% of the oxygen into his bloodstream that he needed at the time of his death. I don’t think he had fallen and cracked his ribs yet, but he was still pretty immobile even on that day, when everyone was still hoping that he was going to get better.

lake tahoe in the snowThe hardest part about all of that was that I intuitively knew that my father was going to die even before I went there that day. When I first saw him in the hospital, after his surgery, three or four weeks before that day at his house in Calistoga, I…

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