Letter to a friend, profound gratitude at 4 am

My dearest Katelyn,

It’s 4 am. The bulldog had an itchy fit. That creature is an abomination sometimes, often, lol. Anyway I got so cranky he wouldn’t let up I’m now wide awake. I’m struggling to breathe, damnit I’m so allergic to cats. We will have to take my car on our next adventure, and before you feel bad don’t, I had the best day.

So here I am in the bath contemplating my existence and what came is how grateful I am for you. Both you and Courtney seem to see me through a lens of generosity I can hardly even comprehend.

In some ways you’re like Teflon it seems, like nothing can touch you and so brave and outgoing, and yet inside you’re so incredibly sensitive and care so much for others, it’s actually humbling. In both these ways you’re almost like a mirror for me. A twin flame of sorts. And I can’t imagine what I’ve done for you, other than make your best friend happy. 

Kate I am becoming emotional now because you cannot imagine the world I crawled out of. Most of the people I grew up with are either recovering or not recovering in NA and AA. My grandparents who sort of raised me are dead and gone, nothing left, and my only memories are of me torturing them as a teen, I never got to see the other side of adult relationship where I cherished them. My father will be dead two years this December and his parting words to me were concern about my emotional stability, cold steel blade to my throat. 

After one last time of thinking I could weather a relationship with my mother for her benefit I cut the cord and let myself loose again, floating out into the unknown that had to be better. 

As far as biological family I am alone in the world, and not only alone, but ever aware of the wreckage I arose from.

I know a flare for the dramatic in writing. But how can you know what even a single kindness means if you do not know these things.

And I’ve grown wise enough to know that people can still have their family close and be just as hurt by their intended care. I am not as naive anymore, I do not assume I have it worse. I used to feel sorry for myself in this way. Not productive.

Your line about the difference between people who don’t make it at Vivint resonates strongly with me. “They are the weak”. And we are most certainly not.

I love what working for Vivint represents to you and how much you have grown as a result of rising to that challenge. If I understood it correctly you were coming off a partnership that challenged your worth as an earner and as having passion. And it appears there were so many other benefits as well. The people you’re connecting with, your self-concept, and financial security and confidence to name a few.

It’s actually your strength and energy that makes me think I can do this at all. The fact you believe in me, and even said I could be “better than you”, not that this is relevant, but I can’t tell you how much your investment and faith means in me.

You, Courtney, and every person who so easily sees me potential, worth, inner nature, you are the parents I never had. And it heals me constantly.

This is what I feel energized by. You’re like a lighthouse. And I’m so hopeful that I can turn this opportunity into something that can help me enjoy the confidence of freeing myself from feeling a financial burden. I’ve been behind since before I began.

Making continuous poor decisions financially with no parachute, because I never had one. I’ve been free falling, grabbing onto a cliff here and there, bloody knuckles and hands and clinging for brief rest, and letting go again.

And now I have gear, goggles, helmet, glider, chute, all the protection of friendship and a found family, and from all that security I am able to have fought hard enough to be able to enjoy bringing a life into the world with a true love, one that is the kind I am wired for. To feel I deserve that second chance and this much love and support, is a daily task. My beginning experiences tell me otherwise all the time. This is a battle I have made companions with, its familiar, but it may never fully be over. 

And here you are another beautiful gift from the Universe helping me with an opportunity that can alleviate the stress of my student loans and not being able to provide enough for the children I in many ways grew up with. I want to give them the world for having faith in me, when it’s been so hard to find it in myself.

Even buying those Hamilton tickets would have been unthinkable a couple of years ago. And it would be hard to do much of my dreams or fun things, if I can’t make sure the responsibilities I already created are not set up. My life force begs me to do both/ all. But my thawed out heart forces me to have enough empathy to consider the feelings of those that my choices impact.

So if I can make my days feel a little less life or death all the time by being able to pay off my student loans and help the kids more and support Courtney and our baby… then sign me up. I am so hopeful I am up to the task and that I can weather fears of making others uncomfortable and rejection that has been the hallmark of my life, that I’m so nervous about that trigger. Except I think that this task is before me, to realize the enemy isn’t that big anymore.

This is yet another opportunity to learn how to love myself better by rising to a task and learning from the whole process.

So all of these words, these intense, dark, deep, grateful words are to say thank you for believing and investing in me.

Thank you…


Sent from my iPhone

Time. A most valuable asset.

Time in reflection is so necessary for gratitude.

There was a time that I ordered one meal at a restaurant and split it three ways for my kids. A time we all rented a small room upstairs in the home of a generous woman as I labored through school. A time when we finally got our first real home approx 7 years ago. Nicer and larger than any space we had occupied as a family. There was a time when in this home a relationship didn’t work out, and I didn’t know how I would pay the mortgage. This is when friends who became family moved in and we made it work.

There was a year I was so lost and lonely. Alone on Christmas Eve, I watched The Holiday and cried, and cried the whole day because I wanted that forever family with a person who saw me, didn’t resent me, and is a woman 😉 I never thought I would find that with how full our lives already are. I had been told and shown that a lot of people prefer to create their own from scratch, not learn how to mesh in an already made world. It’s not shame or in need of pity it’s just true.

I’m a lot. I think a lot. Strive a lot. Dream a lot. And before I was loved as I am now I panicked a lot! I wasn’t always kind when I was scared. I own those truths, and I need to live with them, and continue to try and be a better version of myself…

And now this a time where I get a constant infusion of unwavering enthusiastic love streaming through my veins. A partnership where we truly are best friends and want the same things. My wife teaches us the art of small ego each day. She doesn’t take things overly literally or get bent out of shape easily. She is genuine and loving. And we can be lighter, and more genuine and loving as we learn from her.

This is a time where being kind is more important than being right. A time when it’s ok to slow down and feel feelings and moments without rushing. Without rushing. Unimaginable for me. If you only knew.

This is a time where I have money in my bank account and have paid down debts, and can love myself more for those efforts. A time I am learning to put off instant gratification just a little bit more to create a safety net for my family.

This is a time I can play and enjoy life a little bit, there was a time that I thought I would never have time like this.

All the time I have left in this world is yours….


Jack of all trades master of …. solar hopefully.

It’s a rainy and blustery Saturday. Flash flood warnings are in effect. As usual I have my morning line up of clients. I’m excited this morning to write something fresh, something not weighted by motherly confusions and stresses. That storm has broken somewhat for now. While there are still lessons being taught, notes home from teachers, and emotional waves to ride as my young charges learn about the world, there is greater peace at this time. So I can exhale and write!

Our dear best friend Kate is an extraordinary human being. She has just about the biggest heart I have ever seen, and I know it’s size because it sits always squarely on her sleeve. Also she recognizes the soul in my wife, and came with her as if as a two for one special. We love her. The last couple of years of her life her mission has been Solar Slaying as we call it.

Door to door sales?! Intimidating?! I should say so. Funny because I love to talk to people and about 4 years ago a different Solar slayer staked me. I have saved money ever since. However I think of how predatory I feel when someone tries to interrupt my rare and valuable home time, and especially as a highly sensitive person I balk a bit. I am the last person who wants to bother someone. So I am thinking my hope is to rely heavily on word of mouth and networking.

I could sell ice to an Eskimo (if and this is a big one I believe in what I am doing). I’ve sold cars for Nissan, dealt cards at a casino, worked in gyms, restaurants, been a veterinarian’s assistant, kennel tech at a pet store, worked at The Picture People. Red Robin, Red Lobster, Gap, Blockbuster Video, Country Clubs, Uber and Lyft. The list goes on and on.

As a Counselor I am still selling myself. I can help you improve your everyday experiences in this life just by talking to me once a week. It’s still sales and because I believe in it wholeheartedly it’s an easy sell.

So now I have been called up by my enthusiasm for new experiences. Life is the grand buffet and my appetite is voracious. Also buying that cottage we want and paying off my student loans before our new baby would be really nice, not to mention three college tuitions to help pay for, prom and everything in between.

The ever present battle to need to hustle, when inside I feel like an older person (I always picture Gandalf the Grey, too much?) who wants her slippers, recliner, and a great book.

I love to learn new things, and inevitably learning a new skill and trying my hand at it teaches me about myself in a new way. My enthusiasm precedes my energy level often, and yet it also keeps me young. It’s all a matter of perspective.

So here I am on the precipice of neon orange colored dry fit, and racing to win Nike products. My good intentions in my brief case, armed with the info of all the money I’ve saved with my own solar on my own home.

Fears: that this is yet another distraction from writing my book. It is either not ready to be written, or will never be ready because I won’t believe in myself to invest the time. Or I can’t sit and write as if I do not need to be hustling to take care of my priorities first. I’ve been in a financial hole I will never dig out of enough to relax if I don’t find a loophole to get ahead in a big way. Are You My Mother ? Reads, is this it?!

Or if I sell the solar to buy the cottage to write the book that’s been burning and churning inside. Can I turn our stars around? Can we take a real vacation? Can we all go see Hamilton together as a family, rather than only being able to afford two tickets and disappointing my children.

Or will this venture just bring me further away from my family as I work relentlessly, because let’s face it if you place a challenge in my path that’s what I do. Look at all this brainstorming I have to do because once again I didn’t win Mega Millions, or Powerball or whatever it was. I didn’t play FYI.

At heart I am a gambler, and I’m also a person who doesn’t want to change in ways I couldn’t possibly anticipate by becoming that wealthy so swiftly. I tend to know ahead of time some of the greater pitfalls in life. Which means I know right here right now, struggling to pay the bills at home enjoying my family, is probably the happiest I’ll ever be. But my dreams are just so large and so relentless. The pursuit of them is one of the greatest aspects of my story.

So to end; my sad disclaimer that I’m already shriveling in fear that it will discredit my authenticity if you have ever wanted a solar assessment on your home, I work for Vivint now, and contact me to set up an appointment. And maybe you’ll end up getting some free counseling and wisdom as a freebie LOL!

Christina Lawler, Solar Slayer II the protégée at your service. 203-623-4373. Also ask all your friends about solar and give them my number.

Gimme all the solar swag! Put me in coach I’m ready to play!

It begs the questions, biting off more than I can chew always? Always beginning a new adventure and never staying still, or best move I will have ever made for our family?

Stay Tuned….

Money, Divorce, Stress, and Highly Sensitive People

There has been some improvement on the battlefront, but the war has taken a toll.

It’s a humbling experience to realize how many things there are always still to learn, no matter how far you have come. I’m in one of those growth phases right now. My iron will keeps me fighting until I have to surrender and it’s when I do that the real change and healing can happen. The exact thing we avoid, the breakdown. Due to all the what if’s and self criticism and fears, we stay trying to bear down and white knuckle it, until our bodies fail.

For me my body giving out under stress has been a big part of my recovery. I’m experiencing tremendous amounts of stress right now and I want to describe from the point of view of the mental health counselor that is supposed to have all these answers, what this feels like.

This feels like shortness of breath, heart palpitations, painful flushing, feeling like I might be getting early onset Alzheimer’s (lately I’ve been using the wrong words for things), stomach problems, self-esteem problems, extreme fatigue, frequently tearful, overwhelmed even more easily than usual, heartburn lots of heartburn, feeling out of it, trembling, and the list goes on…

When you begin to fantasize about jail as a simpler alternative to everyday life, you know some back to the drawing board brainstorming is necessary.

It’s only now that I can look back on situations I have experienced with kindness, or what I might have tried. I wouldn’t have known then what I needed, and now that I can see with new perspective, I see what an impossible order. And how being hard on oneself is such a dangerous thing.

Once again being divorced is a hard thing for everyone, and to not be hard on oneself because of it.

The stars aligned and schedules cleared (after some controversial tactics that once again open me to criticism), and this morning we did what is always needed and we talked. We somehow avoided the many land mines that can end any attempt at conversation with another blowout. Tread carefully, but still be able to talk about difficult things, but don’t be unkind.

How does anyone ever get through this intact?

Money is the root of all evil and in divorce it’s particularly complicated. As life changes demands change, and children do what children do, they ask for what they want and what they need. And the parents have to figure out what to say yes to, what to say no to, and everything in between. There are so many complicating factors. People who get along and love one another often have hard times agreeing about finances in the best of circumstances.

Now take people who have opinions more than understanding and don’t have a good level of communication. The result I’m sorry to say was, “ask your mom, and mom says “ask your dad”, and the kids hear the stress and want to shrink into a corner and avoid that at all costs.

So in my Highly Sensitive teen son’s case, since like me, he can barely tolerate the discomfort of someone he loves, he decided to try and solve this by taking on the world himself. Suddenly he became like a 40 year old man trying to raise a family and pay bills in his stress level, and all this was happening inside of him.

Folks I cannot stress enough to you that what you see on the outside, especially with adolescents and young adults is often falling short of what is really going on. I’m a therapist and I missed it. I let the face value behaviors make me react and tell a story. I’m not a therapist at home. I’m a human with blind spots, and short comings, and everything I came with from my beginning.

Highly sensitive people are highly conscientious, and they often know ahead of someone else what the need is. When they attempt to accommodate this without the right tools and understanding things can get difficult.

The thing I have found most important in life is to be able to talk to each other. So we can find out what’s really going on. So we don’t say harmful things, so we don’t make decisions we will regret later. So we don’t hold onto pain, and a limited story, and then suffer unnecessarily.

So this morning that’s what we did, and we are now that much closer to understanding and hopefully to a more peaceful home environment. To be able to be our loving sensitive selves more of the time.


Children in suits of armor wielding swords…

I once had a very astute counseling mentor point out that she was realizing how much I can present myself so strong, and yet how much pain boils beneath the surface. She seemed to marvel at it. The message was received and now I notice the difference between my “functioning suit of armor” I wear daily, and the soft and gooey inside that puddles easily at emotion.

The two sides battle to the death each day. My soft and playful heart wants oxygen, and the so necessary armor of my young life is a tungsten fitted suit custom made with no hinges to remove it. A trapped and scared animal that will stand in the sun, even as it heats the armor to unbearable temperatures, just to soak some sunshine in through her eyes and mouth. If this is the only way, then that’s what I’ll do. I am determined for the light to get in and eventually blast off the heavy protective gear.

Layer by layer my hearts light is weakening it from the inside, and my people are weakening it from the outside. And someday I am going to dance around feeling the breeze on my skin, and basking in light. Except my mind tells me the second the armor is off and I’ve worked so hard, that inevitably something bad will happen, and I won’t be able to enjoy it.

No amount of logic cuts through these thoughts. They come and I have to have them in for tea until they leave. Because trying to outrun them all those years only created other problems.

Make friends with them and know I’ll have times they aren’t visiting, but they always come back. I’ve known their game so long and their function, that they don’t get me so scared anymore. But that never makes the fact they visit any less exhausting.

No child should be in a full suit of armor, and wielding a sword. It’s too heavy for them, but so many are. And those children carry those suits into adulthood and they use the sword because they always had to.

And I have to wonder once the suit comes off if then they are too fragile for the world? They can’t take the normative difficulties because their skin feels too unsafe all the time. Just being in the air can bring them to tears with gratitude, and they are generally unintentionally shamed for that too because many people don’t have the understanding. So even after all that work…. only to be back to running.

They had to work so hard to even get the armor off, that they are walking among other people, feeling so many things that aren’t included in the present moment. And since they know that’s what they are doing they feel awkward and anxious. Not belonging.

And another suit is forged…..

Untangled thoughts are a bridge in my world…

This is my life in the raw. I’ve done my best to be the judge and jury and find myself guilty in any way possible of incorrect parenting/living. I’ve spent most of my life fearing this, and the journey I undertook only gave more evidence. It is now that I am finding my way out of that. Because now everything makes a lot more sense.

A letter to my son: bless anyone with the courage to brave my handwriting. This is how I spend my mornings. Deep in thought and reflection, and I’ve learned to stop finding that to be wrong as well. “Too much introspection, you’re too serious, too too too.”

Perhaps I should type the transcript for ease? I can’t right now because now I need to scramble like eggs to at least put clothes on for work.

I am here feeling radically grateful for the love I’ve had the courage to spend a lifetime weaving. I love myself enough to be brave enough to put pen to paper and to show my heart to the world.

You should know I criticize myself. Or I try, but it just isn’t as loud anymore. I am corny, inappropriate, shouldn’t this be private between him and I? Aren’t these emotions too intense for a child to hear from their parent. I’m not sure on this one: but I know it’s almost impossible to explain my story, and they are the ones who really need it. So they will never have to doubt my love for them.

I’ve created many critics along the way, but do you know what was harder to find? Someone who was willing to look further into me and to invest. That is what we all want. To be loved like that. And I hope and pray I get enough time on this earth to teach my children this self-acceptance and love I’m only finding now.

Is that even possible ? Or don’t they probably have to have their own journey with its trials? Isn’t that the beautiful part even, would we want to skip it in the name of less suffering. I finally know I wouldn’t. I used to think if only I had suffered less I wouldn’t be so crippled in so many areas. Now I not only know logically, but have lives, that the “wound is where the light enters.” -rumi

Love should never be private. Perhaps if we showed more of our scars and trials to the world, more people could love themselves better as well. And then their gentle hearts could also be accessible to their children, and not just their drive and protective instincts. Not just their advice and guiding.

The kids are all right. They will find their way. It’s the adults who are fragile and scared. Scared of not enough, scared of too much, scared of the unlived portion of their lives.

Kids still believe in magic and hope and play. I want to more like kids in the second half of my life.

The Great Room Cleaning Stand-off

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

My seventeen year old son is brilliant, kind, generous, sensitive and anything a parent could want in a child. However lately we have reached a place where we do not see eye to eye, and I am wracking my brain to crack the code on this situation.

To give you some background I could be described as middle of the road when it comes to cleaning. My wife and I do not fight over household chores. We generally ebb and flow with effort in this department and when one of us ebbs, the other tries to flow. We do this dance fairly seamlessly unlike the resentment filled arguments with past lovers. We came into this both having thought through the complexities of the situation, and choosing to be grateful we have the other, all bags included.

We don’t ask for made beds, or color coordinated sock drawers. We understand that if our room becomes cluttered at times when we are exhausted or extra tired that this will happen with kids sometimes. Our expectations are that things are sanitary, somewhat kept up with etc, and that every couple of weeks you do a deep clean. Sweep, mop, vacuum dust kinda deal. That maybe 2 times yearly you go through all the crap that has amassed, and your clothes and see what you need and what you don’t. And for the love of all that is holy change your bedding at least every two weeks. For obvious reasons :p

About a month ago give or take I noticed that my son wasn’t eating hardly anything but fast food, potato chips, and gummy candies from where he works, Trader Joe’s. These empty containers could be found tucked behind the bed, in drawers etc. The regularity of showering diminished, the laundry piled up, pay stubs cluttered everywhere. The room took on an unsettling odor. And even the smallest task seems to appear insurmountable to him.

I chalked up this struggle to ADHD, as his computer had already been removed from his room so he could get into some kind of organizational routine. So we tried Vyvanse. Thus far the room isn’t clean and his mood is worse. He has new behaviors of lying, being more verbally aggressive, and placing all blame for his current predicament on me.

He got into my phone and read text messages he shouldn’t have, and I’m quite sure this breach of boundaries is the largest culprit of held anger. If you read something out of context and put it through your own fears and emotions it can be a deadly weapon. The result a poisoned relationship. As highly sensitive people it is hard on both of us that this is dragging out in this way.

As a child I wasn’t really raised per say. My grandparents talked at me, but they rarely followed through. And we had no structure built into any family unit. Once I reached a certain age they just often said they didn’t know why I didn’t help around the house etc. I was shamed in front of friends. They felt helpless and would say “you don’t keep your room like hers right.”

So for me I wanted my kids to not only feel part of a family, but to participate as a part of a working unit as well. This has been part necessity and part purposeful through the years. Most of the research I have read suggests children who help others and learn hard work are better off than those with everything done for them. I tend to agree based on my struggles and lack of that in my upbringing.

I know all about choose my battles and I’m confident many parents who would give their eye teeth for a child like mine would say, “just clean it he gets good grades”, or another camp who couldn’t stand the disarray and therefore would clean it out of their need.

I somehow feel it’s extremely important that he cross this hurdle on his own, and that he understands none of us are entitled to anything in this life. It is important to me my children are grateful, humble, and respectful. I was not. I can go on and on about our differences in upbringing there are many, most importantly of which is a lack of any invested parent on my end. However my behavior either way sucked, and it took me most of my life to relearn a better way. I don’t want my son to have this same struggle.

I’m quite sure the more we see the less desirable versions of ourselves in our young charges that we really become upset. And in these moments it’s difficult to be gentle and nurturing. I want to hug him and help him, and by God I also want to slap him. Such a confusing concoction of emotions.

So the stand-off is this: in an effort to not let him off the hook for accountability and responsibility that he will need in this life, and before he goes away to college, I have removed his privileges. A car we have provided and help pay his insurance on, a phone his parents pay for, etc. Now I can’t figure it out. If I were a senior and had to ride the school bus I would have that room cleaned in 2 hours flat. One swift upswing of motivation, be it rooted in anger or whatever.

Motivation! I am providing the motivation. He has dug his heels in and refused. I have bent and tried a more gentle approach after the storms calm. I had given back the car at least to get to work so he doesn’t use all his money on Uber and Lyft. Again 30 bucks for a ride or clean your room?! I bent to try and be an understanding parent. And my reward for having been a willow tree? He lied about the time he got out of work, and then caused a huge scene and protest. To which Courtney’s beloved co-worker and great friend helped defuse. It takes a village folks it really does! And we are lucky.

In all of this what hasn’t happened is him owning his behavior. He will say things like gee why would I lie? You think because I miss my friends. And that I am controlling his life. Now he is determined that he needs help, is depressed, and doesn’t know why he can’t clean his room. So his statement is that he physically can’t clean his room. Is it odd that I can’t understand this?

I have recognized he was over-scheduled with work and lots of high level courses. I can spot the signs of burn out a mile away, and he kept citing these as reasons to again break the rules. So I’ll offer practical solutions to him. I had suggested before classes began to reduce work hours and focus on school. But I won’t let him out of accountability and responsibility in the name of his emotions. In my opinion this does a person a great disservice.

I’ll meet part way. When he asks for help between one of his three parents, and a multitude of extended family, and even my ex partners who love him, he receives it.

And still nothing gives.


And I miss my son.

His response to this is to lay in his room, when he could have just cleaned the room and step into accountability. We each up the bar on stubborn, when what we really need is to let go….

So internet land help?! Share your experiences as a teen or a parent. How did you get through these battles and not lose your hair or your sanity?

On becoming real…

I have a relationship with my writing that has developed silently by; that I am only realizing now. If I just trust myself a little (ha) and trust life a little bit, my needs are met much more easily than I ever imagined possible. Writing shows up, and I’m learning to show up for it as well. We have had a tentative courtship for years, but I always RE-coiled as less than worthy, and so writing couldn’t be close either.

Recently I saw the movie a Star is Born. It awakened the young songwriter and poet that I dismissed when I was young. I forgot all the dramatic song singing, all the pretend play, all the notepads filled with writing. I’m slowly remembering them now, going back for my child, reuniting us.

It’s raw and difficult work. It seems so secondary to the pressures of adult life, but something is slowly showing me that it’s actually necessary. The catch to all this new enlightenment ?! I feel everything. I am raw all the time. Vulnerable as a newborn baby. Living new lives within a single life. Defying gravity.

I continue to progress and grow as a Clinician, my sessions deepen and my clients return. I am learning new ways to love and be loved. I can cry when I feel like crying. As a mother I struggle to keep the same rigid beliefs and templates. But I just can’t. I empathize now. I am closer now.

I always thought I was keeping them at a safe distance from me. But really I think I was keeping a self that is so much more fragile than she ever knew safe.

Life is going to touch me now. “I’m a real boy”, the wooden parts abandoned for soft and breakable skin. And this means I am scared to death lately of my own emotions sucking me under. They are giant, terrible and beautiful things. They are mine and I can’t reject them anymore, or hold myself compartmentalized. But I am so very raw.

I’m safe and strong now, and I’m also the small child I was never allowed to be. And that’s confusing and scary. It’s not supposed to be, my backwards life. It’s intense and too much to bear or understand for most people. It’s weird and unknown.

“Tell me something girl, are you happy in this modern world. Or do you need more, is there something else you’re searching for.

“I’m falling’

In all the good times

I find myself longin’ for change.

And in the bad times I fear myself

Tell me something boy, aren’t you tired of trying to fill that void. Or do you need more, ain’t it hard keepin’ it so hard core…

I’m off the deep end, watch as I dive in. I’ll never meet the ground. Crash through the surface, where they can’t hurt us. We’re far from the shallow now.”

The movie was a spiritual experience for me.

My work deepens. No shallow living here.

Part of me still tries to panic as we ready ourselves to create a life and bring them into the world. But that part has grown quieter, it doesn’t run the show anymore. In its absence peace and joy are filling in.

And as an existentially minded person I know beyond a shadow of a doubt the cost of loving with the much of an open heart will be excruciating pain at some point. I can’t use a superstition or an illusion to numb me from that truth.

I always know. I am acutely aware. And the acutely attuned suffer more. I’d take a guess that’s why so many artists numb in ways that destruct themselves, and obliterate their loved ones with them.

And I’m so aware I can’t even do that. The tendencies are all there, Born or learned they are there. They try and seduce me; but there’s just too much life to experience that I must feel. And I could never live with myself if I let those I love suffer with my self destruction. So I recognize I can’t destroy my soul either, by not allowing my emotions, because they overwhelm me.

Everything overwhelms me….

If I don’t feel I can’t art, and if I can’t art what’s the point of it all anyway.

And if I can’t love two feet in…. my kids, my wife and myself….

then I can’t rest.

And if I can’t rest, I can’t write

And if I can’t write I can’t breathe.

I’m two feet in now….

Maybe I should write a song about that,

About what that feels like.

Maybe I will….

Once you realize all your dreams really have come true…. once you’re not running anymore….. you have nothing left to do but surrender into whatever moments life has in store for you. And that’s such a foreign feeling.

I’ve been creating my life for so long, so intensely. I don’t know how to sit back and enjoy everything I’ve worked so hard for. And if I don’t find out how, I’ll drive through the rest of all of our lives frantic and seeking, when everything I wanted is right here.

Bathroom accidents or profound life lessons?

To the tune of I saw the sign by Ace of Base….

Today’s lesson brought to by my second “near death” experience in the shower/tub.

You may recall a few weeks back that a cabinet fell of my bathroom wall and showered me with breaking glass and debris and turned my writing sanctuary into a post accident trauma scene.

Well I had a similar experience this morning. My wife had installed a shower caddy to hold our ever growing family’s bath time needs. She had also installed the cabinet so she’s beginning to doubt her installation abilities, we don’t want that. Plus this makes for great life lessons.

Any tiny thing can be a profound life lesson if you choose to see it that way.

So this morning as I was filling the bath, not even in it yet, the whole damn supply tree flew at me, two deep bruises and a tiny cut, not to mention a big mess to clean up.

But not nearly as big as helping my kids not worry about me or my giant emotions. That one will take some work.

My first thought “my bathroom is trying to kill me”, or my wife 😉 second thought “what did I do to deserve this, as if today isn’t tough enough already.” I’m preparing for my 4th colonoscopy tomorrow morning. I’ll spare you the gory details, but it isn’t much fun.

As I traveled through those emotionally driven negative thoughts I began to think, if this has happened twice in a short amount and of time what exactly IS the message here.

And a wiser and calmer conclusion appeared:

“When things get too heavy and full they come crashing down.”

We can’t blame the installer here, because in both cases with a large family and a minimal understanding of physics (though our son is working on it), the clear culprit here is over-loading.

The universe always seems to have my back.

Any and all of the problems in my home currently between family members is a crashing down from being over-loaded with something, and then our less than best selves emerge.

We can become heavy with our own thoughts, too many bad ones about our selves and the shelf comes crashing down.

We can become over-whelmed when we don’t make enough time for play along with our responsibilities.

We can become pressurized to the point of bursting when we don’t feel close with others and like we are seen and understood.

The good news ? Wait there is good news?

Yes. It wakes us up to reconfiguring the whole set up. It helps us to examine and reassess the situation. So when we set it back up, we can make adjustments.

Now we will only use the necessary bathroom items on the caddy. Now we can clean up everything and put it back neater than we found out. Figure out what is necessary and what is just junk on there.

Now we can notice when the thing begins to get over-crowded and looks like it’s going to snap. And we can do that for and with each other as well.

As someone who lived much of her life just piling things on herself and believing she could carry it no matter what. This lesson teaches me to pause and be deliberate about my decisions, check in with myself and my family. This heals the impulsivity that was naturally gifted to me by my experiences in childhood.

I learned to run fast, and as I am learning from Madeline L’Engle in her book Walking on Water: reflections on faith and art, and from Pete Walker: Surviving to Thriving, and my vicious bathroom:

I must slow down, stay open, and RE-assess the situation. Simplify rather than complicate my life.

Now after a lifetime of the opposite just how am I supposed to do that? 😉

“Generally what is more important than watertight answers, is learning to ask the right questions.” Madeline L’Engle