Tag Archives: change

Going to Any Length.

Would I go to any lengths?

That is the question that has been on my mind the last couple days

Will I go to any lengths to accomplish anything? Or do I look for the path with least resistance?

That path of least resistance has been my chosen path for most of my life.

I stop doing things because they get complicated, or become difficult

I stop doing things because I think people would not approve of my chosen path

Is that what I want? Is that the best I can do?

Going to any lengths can sound intimidating, can’t it?

Being fearless in the face of adversary, trying to go against the norm. Stepping outside of my comfort level.

There it is, my comfort level. I like being comfortable. I like it too much to where I do not want things to change and I am willing to settle, to accept things for what they are instead of pushing them to new levels, new limits.

Look where it got me. Six months ago I was a total mess, trust me when I tell you this. I was emotionally, spiritually and physically bankrupt. Because I always looked for an easier, softer way.

Am I willing to go to any lengths to change?

I have to. I want to. I need to.

Am I willing to step out of this comfort zone and risk actually living life?

God I hope so. Wait, there it is. God….Hope…..God…..Hope

Hmmm……maybe it won’t be so bad. Maybe I can change…..

Screw maybe, it’s gonna be freaking good, great even.

So when is it going to start?

Just as soon as I surrender and stop pretending that I have all the answers and start paying attention.

Time’s up, 10 minutes of writing whatever was on my mind, you just got a glimpse of what is inside of it.

Have a great day, I’m going to

Mark


This Morning’s A-Ha Moment

Changing behavior not goalsThis morning I heard some one say something that really hit home with me.

I need to stop changing my goals to meet my behavior, and start changing my behavior to meet my goals.

That made so much sense and it is EXACTLY what I have done my entire life. When things do not go as I planned them, I change what I need (or want) the end result to be so that I will not have to change what I am trying to do in order to achieve the result.

When things get “hard” or “tough”, I always come up with some excuse to not meet my desired goal, thereby justifying in my head the need to change the goal or end result.

It was an “A-Ha” moment. Now the question is, what am I going to do with it?

Mark


Waited Too Long?

He looks at his boarding pass as he walks down the aisle of the airplane. ‘18E, damn middle seat again.’ he thinks to himself. ‘Terminal didn’t seem that full, maybe I’ll get lucky.’

12, 13, 14 ….. Spotting the first available overhead space, he shoves his laptop case into the bin and makes his way to his seat. He looks at the row of three seats and sees a man sitting in the window seat, already buckled in and fast asleep leaning against the window. Aisle seat is open so he sits and he hopes.

He watches people as they walk past, just waiting for someone to tell him that he is in their seat, forcing him to sit in the dreaded middle seat. But it never happens. They walk past, looking at their seat assignments and then up to the little placards above each row, then move on. One minute until cabin door is closing and no one coming down the aisle, he sighs a sense of relief that he will not have to sit in between two people for the entire two hour flight.

He latches his seat belt and takes out his book and starts to read. Reads a couple pages and then drifts into thought, same thoughts that he was having in the terminal. ‘Just so tired of this. Tired of everything. When is it going to change?’ He sets the book down as the flight attendants go through their usual routine about emergency exits, seat belts and oxygen masks.

He tries to focus on his book, but his eyes are too heavy. Deciding to put the book away and rest for a couple minutes, he turns the overhead light off, looks behind him to see if anyone is sitting there before reclining his seat, he leans his head back against the rest.

Seems like only minutes later, someone is tapping on his shoulder. The man in the window seat is looking at him “We need to get off, we’re here.”

“Already?” he replies, “wow, must have been more tired than I thought.”

He looks around the plane and sees that there is no one else there. Not sure what is going on, he turns back to the man by the window quizzically “Where is everyone?”

“They got off, which is what we need to do” the man replies.

“Sorry about that, didn’t mean to hold you up.” The man just shrugged as he shouldered past him to go down the aisle. He starts up the aisle, grabbing his laptop case and heads toward the front of the plane. Expecting to see an angry flight attendant or pilot at the front of the plane, there is no one. Walking up the endless walkway to get into the terminal, he is surprised how quiet it is.

Exiting the tunnel into the terminal, he is alone. Completely alone. No one at the ticket counter, nobody sitting in any of the gate areas waiting for flights. Nothing. ‘What the hell is going on?”

He makes his way toward baggage claim, looking for some sign of life, any sign. As he walks past the food court, he sees a solitary figure sitting at one of the tables, just staring at him. He starts to walk towards him to see if he can ask what is going on.

“Excuse me, sir?” The man just continues to stare at him.

“Sir? Can you tell me where everyone is?” he asks.

Sit down, I’ve been waiting for you” the man kicks out a chair.

“Yeah….no thanks. I need to get home. Was just asking where everyone is”

“They’re gone. Now please sit down.” the stranger says..

“What do you mean they’re gone?” he asks, refusing to sit down.

“Sit your ass down and I will tell you!” the stranger says with such conviction that he seems to sit down without even thinking about it. “You waited too long. And now they are gone.”

“Who’s gone?”

“Everyone.”

“That’s impossible!” he demands, anger boiling up inside of him

“Really? Is it? Try to call Evelyn.”

“How do you know my wife’s name? Who the hell are you?” he yells.

“Try to call Evelyn.” the man says to him again calmly, no expression on his face.

He pulls out his phone and presses the phone button. Evelyn’s number will be right on the screen since it was the last number he dialed before he had to turn it off after boarding. But there is nothing on his screen. He checks the call log, but it is empty. ‘Stupid cheap ass phone’ he thinks as he tries to recall Evelyn’s actual number. Dialing, he presses the green phone icon to place the call, and hears an automated voice.

We’re sorry, but the number that you are trying to reach is no longer in service, please check. . . .”

He ends the call and redials, making sure this time that he is entering the right number, must have got it wrong the first time. Same message. Tries three more times, same results.

“That’s strange, her number was working earlier.” he says aloud

The stranger reaches over and takes the phone out of his hands. “You won’t be needing this anymore,” and he gets up to walk away.

“Hey! What are you doing?”

The stranger stops, looks at him and says “You cannot go through life just saying that you are going to change. At some point you need to make a decision and do what you say that you are going to do. Making empty promises to yourself to change is not going to make a change. Everyone is tired of waiting, so now they are gone. You are on your own from here.”

“On my own? But. . . .what if I change? What if I do change? Will they come back?”

Stranger turns away as he says “Too Late.”

Left sitting on his own in an empty cafe, he sits and looks at his hands again, wondering what happened. ‘Now what?’ he says to himself. Just then something hard rams into the back of his left shoulder, and then continues to press against him, forcing him to shift to his right.

“Watch your elbows please.”

“Huh?”

“Sorry about that, thought you heard me say that I was coming through.”

He looks up to see what was pushing against him.

“Sir, would you like something to drink? Coffee?Water?Soft Drink?”

“No….no thanks.” he looks over at the man in the window seat, still asleep leaning against the window. “Am I really too late?”

 

 

 

 


The Great Debate

Evil Mark:  Hey, did you see? You have a chance to be 12 again, but know all that you know now

Good Mark:  Wait, what?

Mark:  Huh?

EM: That is what it says, you can be transformed into a 12 year old body and live life the way that you always wanted

M:  Really? That’s, umm…

GM: Don’t do it!

EM:  Why the hell not? He could do all the things that he should have done, erase all the mistakes that he made and make something of himself

GM: But he is something now

M:  Yeah, wait…um…thanks?

EM:  You know what I mean. He would know how to handle all the crap that came along

GM: You mean life?

EM: What?

GM: All that crap that came along defines who we are today.

EM:  Whatever, he could be someone totally different. He could be even better than he could have ever dreamed of

GM: You really think so?

EM:  Sure, why not. And along the way he can get even with all the people that hurt him, that made his life as screwed up as it became.

GM: There it is

EM: There what is?! I’m just saying that this is his chance for redemption

GM: You mean revenge?

EM: Whatever. It would be good for him

M: Guys, I’m right here

EM: We’ll get to you in a minute. All those coulda-woulda-shoulda moments, could be handled differently

GM: Why?

EM: What do you mean why? So that he could do better

GM: I like him the way he is

M:  Umm….thanks

EM: Yeah, yeah. He’s a nice guy and all, but you have to admit, he made a lot of mistakes in his life

GM: Who hasn’t?

EM: You’re missing the point.

GM: No, actually you are missing the point. We are all defined by our thoughts and actions. He had to go through all the mistakes, all the heartache, all the hurt, all the loneliness, all the irresponsibility, all the self-righteous….

M: OK

GM: immature behavior, all the self-centered, center of the world thinking, all the…

M: I think he gets it

GM: self imposed inadequate thinking

M: STOP already…..!!

GM: To be the person that he is today. Doing it over is not just going to change him, it will change all of the people around him that love him and care about him. In fact some of them might not even exist if he does this

M: Huh?

GM: Everything that you have done, good or bad, has shaped who you are now. There is a plan for you

EM: Oh here we go

GM: There IS a plan for you, and it is not YOUR plan. You have meaning in all that you are, all that you think, all that you feel. Do you really think that going back and trying to do it all over again is a good thing?

EM:  YES!!

M:  Well, I have thought about it in the past, what I would do differently if I had the chance.

GM: Did you think it through to what you would lose if you did?

M: Not really I guess

GM: Do you like where you are now? Do you feel good about the direction that you are headed?

M:  Yes, been a long time since I felt like I had a purpose, a direction

EM: You can find another purpose and an even better direction.

GM: It’s your call Mark.

EM: Don’t blow it man, this is a golden opportunity….

M:  Opportunity for what? To try to change the way I think? Or Feel? What if I make even worse mistakes? I would still be me

EM: But you would be You and still have all this knowledge of the last 37 years.

M: But all that knowledge got me where I am today, and I like where I am so why would I go back and change it?

EM: Umm..

GM:  Hah, evil Mark is speechless

EM: Shut up!

M: I’m gonna pass on becoming a 12 year old again, but thanks anyway for the offer

 


No Pain, No Change

No pain, no gain? That is the question of the day, do I believe it?

I believe that when it comes to making a change in your life, then yes, there is going to be pain involved. More than likely the pain comes before the change more so than during or after, but why else would you be changing something? If something is working, why change?

Some of us had to feel a lot of pain before we could make any gains, had to hit a bottom of some sort before we realized that our way just wasn’t working. Had to feel complete defeat before we were willing to admit that we needed help, and were willing to accept it.

There is no need for everyone to have to hit rock bottom before they make a change, I understand that and am glad of it. But change has to come from within, changing because someone else wants you to, a partner, a boss, a friend, usually doesn’t work and can lead to resentments. Changing for yourself, not necessarily by yourself, but for yourself is important. We all know what changes we need to make in our lives, most of us look at the change and make the decision on whether to change based on how much pain it is causing us at that moment. If there is pain, there is a chance of change. More pain, more chance of change and more chance of gain. So based on this, I say yes that the phrase “No Pain, No Gain” is absolutely true.

Below are lyrics that I keep coming back to because they just apply so much to my life.

To really feel the joy in life
You must suffer through the pain
When you surrender to the light 
You can face the darkest days

If you open up your eyes
And you put your trust in love
On those cold and endless nights 
You will never be alone

Passion glows within your heart
Like a furnace burning bright 
Until you struggle through the dark
You’ll never know that you’re alive

That’s all I got on change for now, hope everyone has a blessed day

Mark

 

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My Best Comeback Ever!

You know those conversations that come to an end, sometimes due to an awkward silence or from someone saying something that you do not agree with, or don’t have a good answer so you just stand there gazing at them, mouth open in defiance but nothing coming out, but then some time later the perfect response hits you…..but it is too late because the conversation has ended?

Happens to me too often to count, but usually I let it go after a little while of stewing while the other person has completely forgot about the conversation and has moved on with their life. But there is one conversation, OK, one set of conversations that happened in my lifetime that I never ever gave the right comeback, until now.

When I was growing up, I was the only son of four kids, worse yet I was in the middle so I wasn’t the oldest and wasn’t the baby. Today that doesn’t really matter, but it does when you are growing up, but that is not what this is about.

This is about being my Father’s only son. The one that he expected the most out of and pushed because he believed that I could achieve greatness if I “just applied myself”. That no matter how good I did at something, he never wanted me to rest on my laurels and accept that it was the best I could do. That there was always something better out there if I wanted it.

“You’re smart enough to do anything you want, if you just get off your ass and do it. Stop making excuses.” he would say, usually after I had just screwed something up. “Your mother and I believe in you, we are your biggest fans. Nobody can ever love you like your parents do, remember that!”

And I would sit there and listen, waiting for it to be over, usually nodding my head when he asked me a question, which usually evoked a “I can’t hear you, talk to us!”

So I would say something stupid like “OK” or “I understand” which was usually followed by a “I promise NEVER to do it again”, which we all knew was a flat out lie. I have heard the term “Foxhole prayers” used when people pray to God that if He just gets them out of this mess, that they would never put themselves in that position again. That is what I basically did with my Dad. He got me out of so many jams throughout my life, way more than I deserved. But I hated going to him to ask for help because of the way I felt after one of his “lectures”. How disappointing I was to him and how he knows I can do better if I wasn’t so lethargic. That if I lost weight I would feel better about myself and would not be so damn lazy, watching TV all day instead of being out playing like normal kids. Or how I didn’t apply myself in college and ended up dropping out because I had no ambition. Or how I had lost every job I ever had because I “took the easy way out” instead of going by the rules.

Well, you know what? It hit me this morning that I had the ability to give that man a comeback that I never thought to use. One that would have probably shut him up and know that I was a good person and that I was going to be OK eventually. Maybe because I never used it, I never got better until recently.

My Dad passed away a couple years ago and I miss him, we all miss him. He was a good man that worked hard to give his family everything they needed and most of what they wanted. He wasn’t perfect, but he did the best with what he knew. I am sad that I did not realize how much I would miss him until he was gone, but I know he is always watching over us and I know that he is still willing to hand out one of those dissertations any time I screw up.

But this time I am going to be ready with the greatest comeback ever. A “zinger” that would stop the world for a moment and that silence would not be an awkward one, it would be a proud one.

After he is done talking, even if it is only in my head, I would stand up, walk right up to him, look him right smack dab in the eyes and say . . . . .

 

 

Thank You Dad!


My Personal Cause

The internet has recently been swept up by the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Is there a cause — social, political, cultural, or other — you passionately believe in? Tell us how you got involved — or why you don’t get involved.

This was the question for the day. For me, there is really only one cause that I am passionate about. . . .Recovery. I am not ashamed that I am in recovery from an addiction. It was bound to happen. Either recover or die is how I look at it. I am not going to go into horror stories of my addiction or preach that there is only one way to recover, all I can really tell you is that I am very passionate about recovery and willing to go to any lengths to recover and to help others to recover.

To me, the only reason that addiction is a touchy subject is that most people do not understand, or even want to understand about it. That used to bother me, but there really is nothing I can do about those people, except pray for them. Pray for them that they get everything out of life that I want out of life. After all, don’t we ALL want the same thing? To find happiness in our lives? To wake up every day knowing that we serve a purpose? Knowing that there are people out there that do understand us and are willing to help us, with the only caveat being that we be willing to help those that come after us. “Passing it on” is what they call it I believe.

As I write, a lot of my thoughts are directed by what I have learned, and what I am learning every day in recovery and hope to learn the rest of my life. I am not any different than you or anyone else, am no longer terminally unique in thinking that no one else understands. Give them a chance to understand, eventually you will find people that do and that will love you with no strings attached. They ARE out there, just have to be willing to let them help. Sounds easy, harder than hell!

That’s all I got today.

See Ya

Mark


My Thoughts

I have been reading a lot and hearing many comments about Robin Williams over the past few days. It has put me through a range of emotions from sadness to anger, pity to condemnation, confusion to understanding.

I enjoyed watching Robin Williams perform, always have. Going back to when his character Mork from Ork showed up on Happy Days (remember?). He made me laugh, he made me cry, he made me think. My anger and condemnation is not directed at him, it is at the people making comments based on ignorance of depression and addiction. It is at people that at this time of sadness and grief for his family and true friends, who are making ignorant comments and, in my opinion, are verbally harassing his family. How could people be that cold and unfeeling?

Now everyone wants to know whether he had drugs in his system, it doesn’t matter. It really does not matter. He just couldn’t take it anymore. We put people on such pedestals that when they fall, because after all they are ONLY human, that we all feel like they let us down. Well, maybe we all let him down. Maybe if people stopped  the mentality of “Just get over it” or “Just deal with it” and made an effort to understand that he had a debilitating disease, two of them. Depression and Addiction, and the sole desire of these diseases is to want the person that has them dead. That is the sole objective of the disease.

Yes, I am taking this personally. I fight my own battle, millions of us do, but we have to do it anonymously because it is not “the norm”. But there is a solution if someone wants it bad enough. But these diseases trick us into thinking that we don’t want it bad enough, and I know most of you will never understand that and believe me, I am happy for you. But please do not condemn those that do have to struggle with these feelings.

I just read this paragraph on a blog called Between Fear and Love that, again in my opinion, really touches on how people with suicidal tendencies feel, I hope she will not be upset that I used it

My favorite priest once gave us an analogy. He said to us that someone once told him that people who are depressed with suicidal tendencies feel like they are standing in a burning building with flames all around and the flames are growing bigger and bigger, closer and closer. They can’t run through the fire, the flames will engulf them. They stand on the edge, waiting for the moment the flames die down, but sometimes the flames move so close that they cannot escape them any longer and the only way out is to jump. The jump isn’t designed to hurt anyone else or even themselves. The jump is designed to escape the fire that is all consuming. People jump from burning buildings. We instinctively search for an escape from the pain that we know has the potential to destroy our lives. Sometimes the pain is physical. Sometimes it’s mental. Sometimes it’s both.

Below are lyrics to a part of a song called “Illumination Theory” by Dream Theater that have always helped me to remember what I need to do to keep moving in the right direction.

To really feel the joy in life
You must suffer through the pain
When you surrender to the light 
You can face the darkest days

If you open up your eyes
And you put your trust in love
On those cold and endless nights 
You will never be alone

Passion glows within your heart
Like a furnace burning bright 
Until you struggle through the dark
You’ll never know that you’re alive


Cleaning the pool – An Epiphany

Leaves_Floating_In_A_Pool_At_RHS_Wisley_Surrey_UK

Leaves float, everyone knows that. You put a leaf in water and it will float. Been cleaning the pool over the past several days, and thanks to the neighbor’s tree I have more than enough leaves to try to get out, and it hit me.

So many leaves at the bottom of the pool, my friend that cleans pools for a living calls them “dirty leaves”. Over time apparently leaves sink, and then, for lack of a better term, “muck” develops on these leaves and there they sit. Well, as I made my way around the pool with the vacuum, I started breaking up the piles of leaves and most of them, once free of the muck that held them down, started floating up to the top again, where I could easily take the skimmer and remove them from the pool.

Leaves are feelings. Stay with me here, a leaf falls on the water and if left there long enough will go under, only to be trapped until someone or something comes along and lets it free. Isn’t this how it is for people who do not express their feelings or act on them? While they are on the surface, they are very easy to clean up, but once at the bottom, it is very difficult to get them back to the surface.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So which pool are you?


Just Don’t Understand – Part II

Just Don’t Understand – Part II

https://wordpress.com/read/post/id/67155781/177/

What is loss? And even though the first thing that comes to mind is negative, is it always? Why can’t it be a positive thing? Lose weight…lose your virginity (ahem…sorry), just saying that it can be a good, or fun thing. But what if you are not sure if losing something is good, or it is bad. That is where I am, that is the dilemma. Do I let go and move on or do I hold on to it because I don’t know what to do without? Don’t know how to act, or react.

Change is inevitable, it IS going to happen to all of us at some point. Some hate change, some embrace it. some react conditional on the type of change it is. How do you decide?

Part of me wants to say “Screw you, you left ME! Why should I be upset or miss you?”

Conversely, part of me wants it back the way it used to be. To be able to be comfortable in my own skin. Life is going to go on either way, my choice is not going to stop the world from turning, but…..still….where to turn for help? Who to turn to now? I know the answer that you would give me, just not sure that it is the right answer for me anymore.

Can’t stay on the fence for ever, need to jump off and get on with it…..soon…I promise…soon