Run, but you can’t hide from feelings

            Melody Beattie, a noted author in the recovery-personal growth field, suggests that we learned how to deny a situation, or certain people and their actions, because of the way it felt to us. We trained ourselves; to deny or ignore how we felt because we had no choice or no say in the matter.

            Why? The answer is pain. Rather than continue to feel pain, disappointment, rejection, we develop a way to cope until we could escape the situation. Or, mistakenly, we think we’ve escaped.

            My thoughts are this applies especially, but not exclusively, to men raised for the most part to deny and avoid feelings.  “Big boys don’t cry, Men don’t cry.” Ring a bell?

            One day while sitting with a group of men in recovery, someone suggested we talk about feelings. Gino the Razor started singing, “ Fe-e-e-e-l-i-n-g-s.” Several guys laughed, others groaned at the dreaded song, but we didn’t run, we talked at gut level openly and honestly about our feelings regarding death. It was a powerful and rewarding hour.

            Stuffing your feelings, denying them, leads to a lot greater pain.

            Addiction and/or obsession to food, alcohol, drugs-street and/or prescription, work, sex, are some of the ways we deal with feelings. If life hurts—eat. Life hurts—drink. Life hurts, don’t feel, focus instead on work, shopping or… .

            One of my most exciting moments came a few years into recovery when I realized it was OK to feel, OK to take care of myself. And, with those feelings came a stranger knocking . . .grieving.

            I realized that years before, when my father died, the shock stunned me into numbness, a numbness that stayed for 30 years. Oh, I was sad, but it felt almost like and actor playing a role of sadness. I controlled the degree of feelings and stood tall with a stiff upper lip.

            I was raised believing that fear was to be met, lived with or buried. You thought about it, then either charged head-on into it or you lived with it.

            I buried and avoided those feelings, only to contribute more to self-destruct. Like someone who finds food ease’s the pain, I drank.

            For a lot of folks that solution doesn’t work, because when the fear or pain gets too intense, they turn to the medicine—food, drink, drugs, shopping—anything to feel better, to help cope, to deny and avoid the feelings.

            Sadly, I heard Gino was back in prison somewhere in Florida. He apparently couldn’t deal with all of his fearful feelings and emotional pain because he went back to the monkey, heroin. While in an altered state I heard he did something that sent him back to prison.

            Here’s a guy awarded two Silver Stars (our country’s second highest award for bravery) while in combat in Viet Nam. Today, at fifty something, Gino sits in a cell.

            I wonder where Gino would be, if he’d learned during those years of support groups, how to deal with his feelings rather than make fun of them.

            Ironically, Gino used to say, “A lot of people create the illness to get to the medicine.”

            Turns out he was talking about himself. Or, could he be talking about you?

            Feel life; embrace solutions that come from feelings then celebrate your victory.

 

 * * *

 Jerry writes on personal growth, happiness and life, including lowering stress in the work world. His book “Life is a Joke and God Wrote it” can be ordered through www.jerrystanecki.com

©Stanecki 2018

If you enjoy reading this blog please tell your friends and everybody else about this blog.

Thanks, Jerry

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Dear John…

Dear John,

It’s been a lot of years since we’ve seen each other so I thought I’d write.

The last time I saw you was at your home in Milwaukee. Your wife was there, but your daughter wasn’t.

You looked rough and told me about the job you were working. It was a physical job cutting metal, and you worked using your hands a lot.

I felt badly because I was making a lot more than you by using my brain and mouth.

Today, I’m retired working on my 2nd book, still kinda liberal although I’m not a Democrat or Republican and think pretty much all of the “peoples?” representatives are full of shit,

Come to think of it, you sounded very Republican. But, I forgave you.

2.

John, when we were young boys, and were seeing each other daily, besides being in love with your sister, I pretty much saw you as a hero.

In fact, when you quit Sacred Heart School to go to Immaculate Conception so you could play football, I did the same.

I wanted to be where you were and wanted to play football. . .all 65 pounds of me. I did play football, badly compared to you, but I got to hang around with you. yes, I was pretty fearless in those days. But today is a different story.

I’m afraid of death. . .mine, maybe you can help me out with that fear since you died a couple years ago.

Warmest regards,

Jerry Stanecki

PS. If I get a response from you, I think I’ll die. (Not literally, I hope)

*

©Stanecki 2018

If you enjoy reading this blog please tell your friends and everybody else about this blog.

Thanks, Jerry

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A Gift to Start Your Day

      I walked out the front door this morning; it was a few minutes after five.  Instantly, the force struck me. It was absolute, complete and total silence.  So quiet, it was actually deafening.   It was incredible.

      Never before. . . ever. . .have I experienced silence like this?  It was almost like a scene from a science fiction movie. That’s it. . .it was eerie.

       There was nothing. No distant hum of traffic, no birds, no wind, nothing.   It was magnificence and a little scary.

       This is the city, for God’s sake, I thought.  There has to be noise. Any noise. Some noise. There was none.

      Even though it’s a Saturday morning, it can’t be this quiet, I thought.

     I’d been in the desert, hundreds of miles from any town, any human and still, there had been noise.

     I’d been alone 10,000 feet high in the mountains on the great continental divide, and still there was noise.

     Now, in my front yard, in the clear cool dawn nothing.

     I looked up and was instantly humbled.

      The heavens were crystal clear and filled with tens of millions of lights. . . souls that had walked this way before, souls who wait to walk this way once more.

     I stood there in absolute awe, for this was one of the rarest moments of life.  You could feel the power, the energy of the stillness, of the total silence.  So thick it was almost suffocating. It was incredible.

     I stood there for five minutes—- I swear, five minute in the darkness—- in awe.

     There is no doubt in my mind that this kind of energy could never be created by mere man. I felt faith.

     I looked to the west and saw the Big Dipper. I looked to the north and thought, it’s always darkest before the dawn.   I turned to the east and saw a promise, a soft pink glow on the horizon. I felt hope.

     Suddenly, in the distance, softy, ever so softy, I heard; “coo coo coo “ and though I could not see it, I knew it was a beautiful morning dove.

     The bird of peace, I thought as I walked to the house. What a wonderful gift to start the day.

*

©Stanecki 2018

If you enjoy reading this blog please tell your friends and everybody else about this blog.

Thanks, Jerry

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The journey is not meant to be traveled alone…

  Early one morning, while wandering along the main street of a village at the farthest end of land, I found myself.

            The picturesque village of Mendocino sits on the coastal bluffs of northern California. It a village where Main Street is a few short blocks and ends a rocks throw from the Pacific Ocean.

            Driving toward the sea this morning, balancing a cup of coffee, I was looking for pictures to make. Glancing in the rearview mirror, the sun blinded me for a second. As my eyes adjusted, an image came into focus.  Soon, I would come to understand, it was a mirror of me.

            It was a man, a lone traveler, walking toward me in the morning mix of ocean mist sliced by slivers of rays from the sun. The man was a silhouetted figure passing under trees that shaded the street. In a floppy hat, his coat thrown over his shoulders and hanging loose, one sleeve dangling. In the sunlight it looked as if he was wearing a cape.

            I recognized this man walking toward me from the night before. A lost soul, he’d been sleeping in a doorway when I last saw him.  I’d wondered about him then, his life, his journey.  Now, this? Coincidence? I think not.

             I jumped out of the car and aimed. A long lens brought the man into full frame.

            Click, focus, click, tighter focus, click, click.  Four times I fired, and four different images were frozen in time—images that spoke clearly and showed struggle with loneliness, sadness, of traveling alone on this journey of life.

            I saw my yesterdays on that morning in Mendocino, and by the grace of God realized, with deep gratitude, the joy of my today.

            This stranger in the morning mist mirrored to me so many years of fighting the battles alone, believing only I could handle it all. Struggling until I was bloody; finally beaten to surrender, then humble enough to reach out, to ask for, no, beg for, relief of self.

            It was only then, when I pushed through the paralyzing power of fear, did I come to realize that we are not meant to travel alone.

             I’m not speaking so much of physical partners, of marriage and friendship, as I am of truly being connected. It’s a spiritual connection, one united with fellow travelers.

            In some ways, I still travel alone, but never am I alone, for when my spirit becomes weary, I have learned to reach for a fellow traveler that has walked before me. I have learned to put aside false pride and ask for help. Perhaps most importantly, I’ve learned to accept myself for who I am at that moment—to accept all of my frailties, weaknesses along with all of the power of my strengths.

            For a lot of us, it is only when we are beaten to desperation that we surrender. Why?  Because we didn’t know better? Fear? False pride in what others will think? What excuse can you think of?  What rationalization do you use?

            A lot of us have gone through life believing that when problems surface, we alone must carry the burden. That fear stops us from sharing our fears, struggles—] our humanness. That alone has contributed to a lot unnecessary suffering.

            After many years of struggling to be happy, after many successes and some failures, I came to realize that never again would I have to be alone on this journey to happiness.

            How about you?

*

©Stanecki 2018

If you enjoy reading this blog please tell your friends and everybody else about this blog.

Thanks, Jerry

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Run, but you can’t hide from – feelings

 

            Melody Beattie, a noted author in the recovery-personal growth field, suggests that we learned how to deny a situation, or certain people and their actions, because of the way it felt to us. We trained ourselves; to deny or ignore how we felt because we had no choice or no say in the matter.

            Why? The answer is pain. Rather than continue to feel pain, disappointment, rejection, we develop a way to cope until we could escape the situation. Or, mistakenly, we think we’ve escaped.

            My thoughts are this applies especially, but not exclusively, to men raised for the most part to deny and avoid feelings.  “Big boys don’t cryMen don’t cry.” Ring a bell?

            One day while sitting with a group of men in recovery, someone suggested we talk about feelings. Gino the Razor started singing, “ Fe-e-e-e-l-i-n-g-s.” Several guys laughed, others groaned at the dreaded song, but we didn’t run, we talked at gut level openly and honestly about our feelings regarding death. It was a powerful and rewarding hour.

            Stuffing your feelings, denying them, leads to a lot greater pain.

            Addiction and/or obsession to food, alcohol, drugs-street and/or prescription, work, sex, are some of the ways we deal with feelings. If life hurts—eat. Life hurts—drink. Life hurts, don’t feel, focus instead on work, shopping or… .

            One of my most exciting moments came a few years into recovery when I realized it was OK to feel OK, to take care of myself. And, with those feelings came a stranger knocking . . .grieving.

            I realized that years before, when my father died, the shock stunned me into numbness, a numbness that stayed for 30 years. Oh, I was sad, but it felt almost like and actor playing a role of sadness. I controlled the degree of feelings and stood tall with a stiff upper lip.

            I was raised believing that fear was to be met, lived with or buried. You thought about it, then either charged head-on into it or you lived with it.

            I buried and avoided those feelings, only to contribute more to self-destruct. Like someone who finds food ease’s the pain, I drank.

            For a lot of folks that solution doesn’t work, because when the fear or pain gets too intense, they turn to the medicine—food, drink, drugs, shopping—anything to feel better, to help cope, to deny and avoid the feelings.

            Sadly, I heard Gino was back in prison somewhere in Florida. He apparently couldn’t deal with all of his fearful feelings and emotional pain because he went back to the monkey, heroin. While in an altered state I heard he did something that sent him back to prison.

            Here’s a guy awarded two Silver Stars (our country’s second highest award for bravery) while in combat in Vietnam. Today, at fifty something, Gino sits in a cell.

            I wonder where Gino would be, if he’d learned during those years of support groups, how to deal with his feelings rather than make fun of them.

            Ironically, Gino used to say, “A lot of people create the illness to get to the medicine.”

            Turns out he was talking about himself. Or, could he be talking about you?

            Feel life; embrace solutions that come from feelings—then celebrate your victory.

© Jerry Stanecki

If you enjoy reading this blog please tell your friends and everybody else about this blog.

Thanks, Jerry

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