“Our fathers are our heroes and greatest foes.”

on-his-eternal-journey-ajaytao1My Dad was my greatest hero when I was so small that he literally looked like a giant to me. Heck, my Mom looked like a giant to me at one time as well and she was only 5’2″! So when I was a little boy and was not yet rational, I watched how a father was supposed to behave. The problem was my Dad did not how to deal with his emotional conflicts that he carried from his own childhood and sadly never did.

10576235_1478792175702340_1648178438_n“With those whose love we wanted but didn’t get, we emulate them. It was the only way we have within our power to get the closeness and the love that we needed and desired.” Unconsciously I did this. Even though I railed against it and act like I wasnt the same as him, as I got older, when I was lost and confused, those memories and actions of my father on how it was to be a man obviously came up into my conscious. I am sad as I say this but feel it to be true. I would withdraw into myself when the tension of life came up. I would do exactly the same thing my father did; I would shut down emotionally. This is sad and hopeful in the same breath.

“My Dad’s voice was sacred to me as a child.” I remember my father talking to me. Not the words he said but the tone and the body language associated with his words. Needless to say I am hard on myself as he was on me. I feel such a sadness realizing this as I sit here. I know dear friends whose father was like mine and they seem to find men and women in their lives who were eerily similar to their fathers.

10446666_10204349217710974_5055388173445466429_n“All we know about manhood is what we have seen and learned from our fathers.” Such a statement might seem ridiculous to many. But as a testament to this truth, I can tell you that I worked hard to get out of that family. I worked hard to get away from him. But as I sit here today I realize his depression is my depression. I am carrying his fucking burdens as he I am sure carried his fathers.

No matter how hard we try, those unconscious memories are always with is. The question is can we work with them and dance with them like Hillman says we should do with our dreams, or will we try to make them “go away.” Well I am fucking proof that no matter how much you ‘think’ you are not carrying those memories, you are.

123 RV, SA, PH, TL, WC, JM

All quotes from Bruce Springsteen albume”On Broadway” from the song “My Father’s House”

 

” “To find out what is truly individual in ourselves,…”

images“…profound reflection is needed; and suddenly we realize how uncommonly difficult the discovery of individuality is.”
I watch a series “This Is Us,”” faithfully. (Well as faithfully as I can since I don’t have a TV or cable.) What I have learned is that my need to watch shows that are military/police is nothing more than an unconscious need to re-perpetuate the trauma so that I can make sense of a world that makes no sense.
In the last episode of “This Is Us,” family members learned that they had a long lost uncle. They then found this uncle and saw how a traumatic experience he endured as a young man in Vietnam, he accidentally killed a little Vietnamese boy, made it so he could not cope with the outside world,  the rest of his adult life.
Now my friends who know me know I struggle with this. My traumatic, violent, abusive experiences as a young boy have put me in a place in the last 10 years where I struggle most of the time to keep moving.
jess-and-oatieNow I am very aware of how much this complex problem does not have a simple solution. I watch those close to me, in particular Willem3655 and the Fanatic, and see how complex PTSD affects them.
But the best part of the latest episode of “This Is Us,” is when one of the Uncle’s nephews says that he couldnt sit by and watch his Uncle suffer like he was. Metaphorically, Kevin made a different choice than did his dad did long ago because his Dad turned away from Kevin’s Uncle and walked away from him because Kevin’s dad could not deal with the trauma his brother carried.
This is a wonder full metaphor for the world. Many of us see and know those who need comforting and support and walk towards them even though by doing so we may get triggered ourselves. We also do it knowing there is a strong possibility that those we seek to help may not greet us with open arms. But as I become more and more that person I am supposed to be,(see opening quote!) I realize I truly have no choice.

123 RV, SA, RW, AF

Quote from Jung

 

 

“Very deep, sometimes quite forgotten, emotional conflicts persist below the level of consciousness.”

soaring-gullI just learned that a friend of mine, Jackson,  who I admired and looked up to a lot, committed suicide recently.  The struggle for me is that he had been sober longer than I have and yet still needed to get relief the way he did.  Many of you know that a very dear friend of mine did the same thing a little over three years ago and he was sober 33 plus years at the time he decided he did not want to be here any longer

So as I sit here on this sunny January day the sun doesn’t seem to brighten up my day.  Listening to the Allman Brothers play the blues gives me more comfort than does the sun.

20150821_063536 (2)Just got off the phone with another one of us who  have been around a long time and yet who suffers from this malady of depression.   We both graduated from Cal.  I find it amazing that we both can go to one of the best universities and yet cant figure out why we cant “get over it,” when it comes to depression.

While I am railing, I watched Prince William and a number of world “leaders” in banking and the medical industrial complex talk about mental health issues yesterday.  All I thought was you mother fuckers make money off creating the trauma that predatory capitalism/the military industrial complex manufactures and now you want to create the solution for it. They want to monetize peoples emotional and mental health, AGAIN!

20140909-201504-72904262.jpgI suffer today because my friend lived in that place where life was no longer worth it.  I  am sad because he was a caring and loving man.  I am angry because those who benefit from the trauma we all carry and perpetuate it to their economic advantage don’t want to deal with the emotional conflicts perpetuated by the systems we live in but want to figure out a way to monetize any relief from them

RIP Jackson

The opening quote is from AA 12 by 12 pg 79-80

“So how come history takes such a long, long time,…”

k3646710“…When you’re waiting for a miracle!”(1)

Talking with a friend the other day and we were reflecting on the fact that we are both middle aged and yet we feel like we did when we were young.  As I am sitting here I am wondering if it is due to the fact that we have some of those emotional conflicts that still persist below the level of consciousness that seem to carry more weight in our lives than we would hope!

337129_10151480788466040_1950483812_oThere is so much angst in the world.  I was at my meeting yesterday and was talking with my friend Spence.  I have known Spence since, well since I was in my 20s.  We both worked in the trades at that time and we did a long job together and we got to know each other.  Apparently Spence knew my Dad, as he and my Dad were about the same age.

p181600_2a_400We were talking and he brought up the fact that it seemed to him like everyone in the room was suffering.  I know that this view is narrow based on what this blog is about but Spence said that a few of our long time friends were looking sad and old.(Funny since Spence is at least 75!)

But I also learned this week that a dear dear friend of mine is getting divorced.  Yes I know that is life but when you are older it is not as easy to work around these issues as it is say when you are in your 30s.

So coming full circle, depression and anxiety rob us of our ability to be present in our lives.  Not all the time but enough that we cant see the forest for the trees.  We cant be present to work through issues that would give us resolution to problems that would allow us to to have and keep relationships.

What is the cause of this?  I dont know.

healthInSickSociety.krishnamurti-300x225But I guess it comes down to doing the best we can.  Trying to live up to the ideals we create or are born into projected onto us by our family and culture.  I dont know about you but I am not a big believer in what our culture puts forward as being in and living a good life.

When I talk to my friend every day, I pray at some level that he gets the miracle that so many of us have as the only thing we hold onto.  If you dont understand this, I commend you.  Because it might mean that you dont have the underlying emotional conditioning that many of us who grew up in those families where you didnt talk about IT did!

10671220_10154590625980694_4020566138315393272_nPlease say a prayer for those who suffered the tragedy that happened in Yountville last Friday.  It affected a dear close friend of mine who was involved in the Pathways program from the beginning.

123 RV, SA, RW, PH, PA!

(1) “Waiting for a Miracle.” Bruce Cockburn
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Welcome Back my Friends to the Show that Never Ends

11665402_10152853758167167_7660227498252654124_nWell it has been over a year since I was last here.  One of the reasons I am here is that a comment was posted by a wonder full person whose blog I have posted a link to at the bottom of this post.

But the real reason that I was moved to write was a dear friend of mine, a man who has over 27 years of sobriety, I have called him the “Lineman” in earlier writings, approached me last week and talked about his struggle with depression and how he felt it was winning. That is not something that is surprising for me as I have been led down this path of engaging with a a kind of “darkness” most run from.(Totally understandable that they do.  Trust me I wish I was not on this path many many times.)

imagesYet here we are.  When I went to my regular Saturday meeting, another friend informed me that the Lineman had voluntarily checked him self into a 72 hour hold at a local hospital.  This may not seem like a big deal to most,(well to think about it, most dont think about depression let alone a stay in a “mental hospital) but it is to me.  What I hear is my friend feels like his life is not worth living.

But on a different note, I had coffee with the Fanatic yesterday.  It was really good to see her as she was on of the Four Musketeers who attended our “Depression in Sobriety,” meeting that we had for about 2 years in the local AA we are/were members of.

She has her journey and if she comes on her again she can send you to her blog if she is so inclined.  I learned that one of my favorite bloggers, Monica Cassani, stopped blogging but that one of my other favorites, Therese Borchard, still is.10347232_10201917599660507_5224584867827727870_n

I dont want this all means, I was just moved to write a few words.  I am hopeful that I can keep doing it as it helps me process some of my confusion and there are times, fewer than I would hope for, where I get some sense of clarity.

Please keep all of those who suffer in this world of projection of darkness in your thoughts.  Many many of us are wandering out in a place we cant comprehend let alone understand.

(Also the graphics have changed completely so it might take me a day or two to figure out how to put pics back in)

https://emergingfromthedarknight.wordpress.com/

“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 find out what is truly individual in ourselves,…”

69206_494942070555213_1624619172_n “… profound reflection is needed; and suddenly we realize how uncommonly difficult the discovery of individuality is.”

Okay this is going to be a rant.

I am so sick and tired of not knowing who I am and what the hell I am doing here on this thing called earth.  If the Ggods have a clue I wish they would include me in their insights.  I have just taken a day of reflection(not working) and this journey through depression SUCKS!

My friends have to live with pain, psychotic breaks, shame and fear!  I live with all of them except maybe psychotic breaks.  Why?  So I can live 20150902_182534 (2)this life of what feels like aimless wandering from day to day, reaching and grasping for something that gives my life meaning and purpose.  What the hell is that all about?  What is so crucial for me to know about myself that I have gone into this five years of what seems to me to be, again, aimless wandering, searching for an answer to questions that I don’t even know.

“The best… work we can do is to withdraw the projection of our shadow onto others.” I dont know if I am better at this than I 11707660_974787155951568_4667623480132897462_nwas before the depression took over.  You see I live, when I am not conscious of those and what is around me, in my mind.  Not in my brain, which knows life is wonder full and awe full and the place where I dont have to live in fear. I live in a house of mirrors, that at the slightest provocation, can render me helpless and hopeless.

” I am concerned with the woes of the world and their causes, and I at least try to do something about them.”  I feel that I can help those who suffer from what are called “mental illness,” problems in life.  But I dont feel like I am doing enough to help my 11907367_880476258701734_723295981690581222_nfellow sufferers.  I know that there are way more who suffer from this dis-ease than are in the mainstream consciousness.  I was told a while ago, by a man who is a student of AA history, that 6 out of the 20 people who wrote stories that were included in the back of the “Big Book,” of A.A. committed suicide.  Thirty percent of the original people who had “recovered from a seemingly hopeless disease,”(1) killed themselves after getting sober.

Now I see why this blog is titled the way it is.  We get sober and then we suffer from the maladies we drank over.  But back on 11665402_10152853758167167_7660227498252654124_npoint.  There is a part of me that wants to save every man and woman from going through what I have had to go through. It sucks.  But the dis-ease makes me not share this or step out and really take on the energy that benefits from our malaise.

Well starting tomorrow afternoon, I am off line from the outside world for 10 days.  COMPLETELY!

Hmmm, maybe that is why I wrote this angry blog.  So I would not not have to feel the fear the coming adventure brings.

123 RV, SA, JW, PH, PH, AMA!

11942118_879974405418586_1067961703083782043_oAll quotes from Carl Jung except (1) which is out of the big book of AA.  I also want to thank the Allman Brothers for playing Mountain Jam, which is what I listened to the whole time I wrote this blog.

finger touching nose of baby100_1607

“Reason” is, notoriously, not necessarily ethical…”

11709487_911521702258127_1817418095548286627_n“… any more than intelligence is.” When I was practicing I called the law “The church of reason.”  I did so because the law believes it is a reasonable person standard that is the norm for behavior.  At least in criminal law it was.  I do however believe that is was all of the law that used the “reasonable person,” standard to predict what “normal” behavior was.  The underlying premise, which was never nor is it ever articulated anywhere in a treatise that everyone follows, is that someone, or a group of people can decide what is the behavior that is going to be determined to be deemed “reasonable.”

630431Now I dont have a problem with a large majority of what is reasonable, but when it comes to “mental health,” issues, I dont believe that those who have not suffered the debilitation that comes from Treatment Resistant Major Depressive Order(just using my own classification as a benchmark)  can create any “reasonable person” with Treatment Resistant Major Depressive Disorder to be able to articulate any sense of what predictive analysis let alone treatment they can come up with.

godafoss-waterfall-of-the-gods-iceland-pome-acroI will give an analogy that I think is applicable.  I have an “uncle” who is a professor of psychology at a very prestigious university.  He is a man with a Ph.D and he is renowned in his field.  However, he is not even aware that his suffering, which is not in his conscious reality, is clouding his ability to understand what and how people suffer from those deep seated, sometimes quite often forgotten emotional conflicts.  I tried one time to talk with him and hopefully get him to see that his  shadow was getting in the way of helping others who were as neurotic as he is/was.(He had a nervous facial tic that was so prevalent that he went to a doctor to get medication for it instead of seeing that it was a manifestation of his dis-ease. His weight was another issue he could not see as being related to his inner self.) But he would have nothing of it.  He let me know that he was highly educated and knew more than others did about psychology.  I said nothing because I could see that he needed to be “right,” instead of being helpful.  That is what reason can do for us.

20140708-182105-66065695.jpg“Clearly the anti-mythological trend is due to the difficulties we have in clinging on to our previous mythological tenets of belief.”  We hold onto reason because we have lost the ability to see that the mythical animals and other heros of worlds long ago have been replaced by one iconic hero whose life was an alegory is now seen as a literal historic event that truly took place in the exact same way that those who were “followers,” of his said  it did.

Mt._St._Helena_lgTo the victor goes history.  But the iconic life of the one “true” mythical hero we espouse as being a literal life does not allow for the mythical creatures that our heros of mythological times slayed and befriended to be considered.  This takes away imagination and when it is gone, then the vacuum has to be filled with something and we now have the “reason,” of men from over 2000 years ago telling us what really happened there.  The taking away of the imagination has other effects.  People stop seeing life as a mystery that needs to be lived and see life as a journey that will hopefully get us into a place “better,” than this world.

dsc09201The power of reason can allow us to strip the earth of the resources in it, since we no longer see the Ggods and Ggoddesses  as being from the earth.  Our only Ggod lives on a cloud high up in a place where we should aspire to go. But using reason, did not the Ggod we think created this thing called earth give it to us for us to glorify in this Ggods name?  Why are we then harming it and  concomitantly ourselves.

This whole one Ggod is poppycock!  Okay I apologize to all my friends who believe in “it.” It is a great myth though!

123 RV, SA, AMA, FB, HF, JW, JEW, PH, PA!

dsc09494

Quotes from Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Pages 482-488

I get so much from this blog.  I hope you can too.  http://carljungdepthpsychology.blogspot.com

” It is more trouble for us to speak really simply than to…”

20131024-174341.jpg” …speak in a rather complicated and roundabout way.” What is the reason that we use words in such a way as to leave a conversation less satisfied or educated than when we started.  I had a conversation with a friend the other day and in 2 minutes more was said about our lives in a true sense than was said in the previous two hours.  I am not saying that the previous two hours was anything less as far as shared communication about who we are and what we think, but in the end, the clarity that came from those two minutes was priceless for me.  Why?  Because they made it all very clear where we were in our relationship.  Wonder full!

“Only numinous experiences retain their original simplicity or oneness which still gives us intimations of the Unus Mundus.” I african-ibexam sitting here this morning at 3:41 a.m. and I am struggling with the sense of what this is all about.  When this happens, the
Ggods give me the statement above in my email.  Numinous.  What does it mean.  I looked it up and the definitions included the words spiritual, religious, divine and the word that most describes how I am trying more and more to view their world as; mysterious.

I drove through the fire area again.  I had to go and see if the house of a new friend I had made was still there.   As I drove up curiousitythe highway from Middletown(where the press focused it’s efforts on) to Cobb (where the conflagration really took off) I saw literally thousands of trees cut and laying off the side of the road.  There were so many that they had started moving down off the mountain and spreading them out in the open fields next to the highway.  I was awestruck by the amount of dead wood sitting by the side of the highway. (It was dawn so it was a little magical almost to see them lined up like pieces of lumber in a lumber yard)

lazy-red-pandaSo when I got up to the road where my friend lived, I turned up the hill and starting going up.  When I was by the road there was still houses and they seemed like they were alright.  This gave me hope as I started up the hill.  Then I saw the first burned out house.  Having driven through Middletown, I held out hope that the destruction would be random.  But as I drove further up the road, it became clear that there was no random saving of houses.  I drove by about 50 burned out houses and had to turn around.  I could not stomach to see what was above me on the mountain.  You could see the mountain from about 10 miles and almost all of the trees had been burned down.  Not the leaves burned and the trunks remaining.  No the fire up where my friend’s house used to be burned so hot that it burned the trees up and even burned the earth it was so hot.

dsc09491So I turned around and sadly went back down the mountain.  I did not need to see the rubble of my friend’s house and I am glad I didn’t.  I paid an emotional price just trying to go and see his house.  I was telling my friend Willem3655 about the experience and realized how sad the whole thing is.  All you smell when you get into Middletown and all the way up the mountain to Cobb is the smell of death.  Burnt death.  Yes for the people who died, but we lost much more than that.  We lost a place where people called it home.  Cobb will not be the same for decades.  There are places where the fire was so hot, it literally burned everything in it’s wake.

black-and-white-border-collie-pupsThat is so mysterious to me.  Why some houses and not others?  Why level a whole community like the fire did?  It makes no sense to me.  I can hear the argument that it is all random. But if there are truly Ggods out there, why pick my friend’s house and not the people a quarter of a mile away?  I have no answers just trying to make sense of such a mysterious travesty.  People who had lived on that mountain their whole lives lost everything.   A man in his 70’s who I befriended one day no longer lives where he lived for almost 50 years.  It makes no sense to me.

20131101-063008.jpgI believe what Campbell said, that Ggod is a metaphor for all that is beyond intellectual, it is that simple.  We dont get to make sense of the mysteries that unfold around us.

Carl Jung, Letters Vol. II, Page 508-509

123 JW, PA, PH, RV, SA, JW, JJE

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“Recognizing the shadow is what I call the apprentice piece,…”

2009 Mt Shasta to Oak street 018It is extremely difficult and definitely not supported by my culture to openly discuss and dredge up those deep seated emotional conflicts that persist below the level of our conscious that created violent twists to our behavior and altered our lives for the worse.

As an example, I will just say that being asked when I was 8 and was crying about MLK being shot, “when are you going to grow up?” by my Dad created such a conflict in me and has tremendous power overme brad and Maria me today when am not conscious.  So, right then, consciously and as well more strongly, unconsciously, I decided that I could not act out my emotions.  I had to act grown up to be considered normal and be loved by my father.*

Now being grown up at 8 is a wonderful concept, but virtually impossible emotionally as far as I am concerned.  But damn if I was not going to get my father’s approval.  So I started acting as if. When Bobby Kennedy was shot a few months later,  I was devastated. I mean crushed.*  But I knew that I 21263_535442463161020_1722702204_ncould not show it when my Dad came home…and I didn’t. Isolated and without any context and any lack of depth of character and I would argue soul, the event of that day, when MLK was shot, effected my life from then on a very significant way.

“… but making out with the anima is the masterpiece which not many can bring off.” Because when MLK was shot, I was told that my acting in sadness, empathy and a sense of woundedness of that part of me that really was expressive and open with my emotions was wrong.  Men did not show emotions like that because it made us look weak.  As I sit and write this a tremendous sense of deep sadness and pain washed natures-craftwork-lighting-ajaytao-1over me.  Me having to become this stoic rational self led me into law, which I call the “church of reason,” because emotions and empathy have no place in the law.

No wonder I almost died by being an attorney.  I was trying like hell to honor my father’s haunting emotional deprivation and live like him.  I write all of this to say that I feel more today than I ever.  Please dont think that I am talking about being happier, which I have to say I am mischievous-smile-ajaytaofinding more and more joy in my life..  I am talking about feeling my pain, sadness, joy, empathy and more acceptance of life being a challenging journey through the effects of the PTSD I have had to harbor in my body for my whole life.

It also mean that I get to experience many of those emotional conflicts at a “different,” and “deeper,” level.  But by doing so, I am able to live life and yes, it is amazing that the next few words are going to come out of my mouth, and love those who are in my life with a level of caring that I did not believe I had in me any longer.

Coming full circle to that eight year old boy who was crushed when MLK was shot is a gift I have always held onto as a part of me that was beautiful is a wonder full thing.  In the moment it does not feel very “good,” but I would not trade a moment for this experience, even as tears roll down my cheeks.

10526038_663870803709042_5332401051197838708_n123 Steve, Rhonda, Renee, Tom S, Tom L, Pat, Jeff V, Jerry M, Ed P, Colonel, the Painter and especially my dear friend the Leprechaun!

*That is me in the picture to the right  I am in the front left of the photograph.  I could not have been more than 9 in the picture as that is my little sister who is eight years younger than me.  I would be smoking pot on a regular basis within 1 to 2 years!!!!!

**  Now it is not hard to see why it crushed me so.  Some man, an adult figure in my life, albeit only through the medium of television, was talking about loving and being kind and was more than anything exhibiting it. As an 8 year old boy, I saw a man who was trying to help the world be a better place, and this was the antithesis of what I was living under as far as what a male role model should be.

100_1607  In case you didn’t meet Baron, please meet Baron.  He is the guardian of this blog and of all of those who suffer. He seems so loving and kind in the picture, doesn’t he?

Quote  from Carl Jung– Letters Vol. II, Page 481

viking-woman-vendelrus