8. Story

On July 31st, the day after I started writing this story I went to get a poke bowl for dinner at Da Poke Shack (yelp link) downstairs from the condo I was staying in while in Kona. The shack was closed and I was contemplating my next move in my grief for missing my shot to get a bowl when I turned around to head back to the car. There was this guy who rounded the corner and looked equally bummed that the shack was closed. I said something or he said something. Then he said, “You want to get some food or something?”, or something to that effect. I said, “Yeah…I was just going to get my car to go get something in town.”, or something like that.

I‘m not sure if he suggested it, or if I did. But before I knew it we were walking to my car and driving the 5 minutes into “downtown Kona” – would you call it that? While we’re chit-chatting I can hear him talking and I can hear myself listening to every word through a *filter. I was watching every move, listening to every detail and listening to myself wonder why I invited this stranger into my car. The last time I was on the Big Island I’d driven down to South Pointe and jumped off the end of the Earth there – my wife was not pleased about my disregard for my own safety and the fact that I could have been killed. To me, this person in the car was a much greater threat, potentially.

He told me how he’d just gotten over from Maui on a short flight and just checked into the hostel across the street from my condo. He was a young-ish “looking” guy so the hostel thing made sense. He told me how the manager of the hostel recommended Da Poke Shack since he’d just gotten over and hadn’t eaten and was starving. He told me he was NYPD, an inspector or something like that. He looked kind of young, but what did I know. He was open, looked honest, willing to share himself – all the perfect traits of a potential serial killer. I planned different moves in my head for when the shit got real. I hadn’t made myself that vulnerable since I’d opened the front door to the guy that ended up punching me in the throat.

We started out by stopping at Huggo’s after hastily trying to decide what each of us wanted to eat. It’s tough enough with people you know. I was driving and had some ideas about where we could go (he’d just gotten to the island after all and supposedly had never been there before – likely story for a serial killer) so I took some liberties. I knew where I’d already been several times so I wanted to try something different. After sitting there a while, and looking at the offerings we decided to move on. No worries said the bartender.

Lava Java it was. Sure it was my fourth visit in as many days but I liked the beer selection, I had gotten to know (as much as you can really know your waitstaff) the bartender and some of the waitresses, and I knew there would be people there. I was starting to get comfortable with Steve already, figuring he probably wasn’t going to kill me but there was one discrepancy in the story that I was still trying to resolve (can’t recall what it is right now, and I resolved it so it doesn’t really matter).

Wings and beer at Lava Java

We sat and we talked about ourselves, and life and whatever. He told me about his Dad and I told him about mine. He told me about work and I told him about mine. We talked about why we were there. We talked about investing and retirement. This guy was totally open to whatever was going to happen. He said being in Hawaii had opened him up – made him open to seeing the world in a new way. He told me about his mentor and his experiences in the hostel on Maui and how they had all these activities over there that a bunch of people were just involved in and everybody was doing activities together with complete strangers and how he met a Swiss girl – how she was coming over on a flight the next day or something and how they were just friends and hanging out. I told him about the Island Goddess Pele and how she draws you to your true self and I told him if there was anything he should do, he should go jump off the cliff at South Pointe. And I gave him my other travel tips for experiencing the Big Island…turtles, black sand, green sand, Captain Cook. He showed me pics of his time with the La Jara Band – a bunch of Hispanic NY cops who play music and create unity with the community that way. How he has no musical talent whatsoever but somehow he’s like the band’s groupie and social media specialist. Honestly, he was an amazing guy to randomly go to dinner with. I’m glad I got the poke bowl for lunch the next day, but even if I hadn’t it would have been worth missing it to meet Steve.

At some point, Steve asked me if I had any advice. Based on how young Steve looked to me even though he was already contemplating and planning what’s next after retirement from NYPD, I’m guessing I look older. Maybe that I have some advice. Nobody ever asks me for advice – not on investing, life choices, whatever. I told Steve this story that I’m writing. The condensed, not every word has to have some purpose because you never know how it will land in the listening out there when it’s the written word, version. The sitting at the bar having a couple of beers version.

I told him my number one piece of advice. The thing that if I were on my deathbed and they were asking for my last piece of wisdom. I told him how I want to tell my kids this piece of advice and really have them hear it. I told him how there is all kinds of nasty stuff written about my advice out on the internet. How it really is kind of strange in the normal course of life…rather unexpected. How I’d spent all this time after the fact trying to make sense of it and understand what exactly happened. How I didn’t mind if he took my advice or not – but since he asked – here it is. I told him how I think it’s free because he’s a cop (a fact I later followed up on and found out that the current offer is that it’s discounted 20% if you’re a police or fire and some other things – teacher or student maybe).

He said he’d look into it.

Today, as of about 6 hours ago, he’s taking my advice and I’m psyched.

*Filter footnote: The filter was pretty clearly “What the hell are you doing with this dude in your car? All that love BS you talk about and being vulnerable as one of the requirements to have love be present and experienced is all well and good but this is the real world man. This guy’s story is way too good to be true, is he gonna kill you, rob you, molest you, whatever. Is he all doped up on the crystal meth or some other whatever it is they’re all hooked on these days? I dunno, I can’t look over at his eyes because I’m driving. NYPD cop – what a perfect story to make you feel more comfortable.” And on and on like that.

And man was it loud that day – like I could hear it – and I could hear him. I was really present to both things, just letting the listening be. Hearing what it was saying, and looking for clues for when to open the car door and roll out, and being with this guy that was there in the car out of nowhere. I’d spent the better part of the previous 3 days just really being and being with “my self” in Hawaii where the ocean really drowns out all the other noise. This “listening” just wouldn’t and even shouldn’t shut up – it really is just there to protect one – all evolution style lizard brain protection like. I kept hearing it, and just letting it be, and listening to Steve.

II. Already Always Listening – This part of the story is an example of where, by being able to distinguish the “Already Always Listening – “People, situations, and our approach to life alter dramatically.”

7. Story

Before there was an opening there needed to be an opening for an opening to occur.

Doesn’t that sound like some BS? Well it is. But don’t worry it’s all BS. It’s just a story, after all. Another way to consider what I said above is: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Let’s say the student wasn’t ready. The student may have been ready to find out that they could be a student.

There are several options to choose from, and maybe it was all of them – I may have required several concurrent openings to have an opening occur from the depths of despair that I was (in). There was a book I picked up and read, maybe even two. There was the wild adventure I went on (with my Mom – that’s what made it wild). There was the declaration I made. There was the charismatic Catholic event that I went to. It may have just been the resilience I mentioned in the last post…that being the youngest and my unrelenting obsession with winning the game – no matter what the game.

Going into detail on each of these phenomenal items may or may not occur in the flow of this story…after all, I’d hate to bore my readers. But credit must be given that it could have been any of those “events” or all of them together or none of them at all that ultimately created an opening for an opening to occur.

Just prior to that, each of the possible openings above, there was the opening that seemed to be the not opening. The closing. The slammed phone. It may be that the closing WAS the opening and it began with somebody saying something and standing for something and putting their a$$ on the line, so to speak. It was weird.

My father died without ever knowing this bit of knowing. My mother still doesn’t know it. In both cases it’s “that I know of”. There is no prescribed way to come upon this piece of knowing that this story is about. I’ve found other instances of it being known, come across in other ways. Knowing something, a currency which I deal in. What is it to know. It’s been said that some things you can only know by experiencing them for yourself. Mom and Dad may have come across this bit of knowing. If they had, they didn’t tip me off. Or I wasn’t listening (a habit of mine).

However, that is what this story is about if you recall. Knowing. A bit of knowing some thing. What is it to know? How do we know? Why do we know? Do we really even know what we know? We like to act like we know…I know I do. I know nothing. I was lucky to find that out…especially at such an early age.

That’s why I’m telling this story.

An Opening?
The phone where my words encountered nothing…

I brought up my father and mother…they were there when the calls started coming. They likely assisted me in forming what I knew about the calls. The calls were rather alarming…they occurred that way. They were certainly different, and new and they occurred as alarming. Threatening. What were they threatening? They threatened what I liked to act like I knew. They threatened the “fabric of who I’d constructed myself to be”. Plus they were just unbelievable.

Note: An aside, outside of the story. One of the issues I’ve come across in my various attempts at being completely vulnerable and authentic in writing is the impact it has on others. As most of these tales involve others in my periphery, and others may not be as willing to be as vulnerable and authentic as I – and/or I may have to reveal more than I might reveal about my thinking various thoughts about people in my periphery – it makes for a challenge. Secret keeping? It’s something we do. Or it’s something I do at least. But they’re not really secrets, they’re just things that we wouldn’t normally say. Could offend, could reveal, could hurt, etc. So I balance sometimes – is this authentic? I don’t know (I don’t know anything, really). It may be that it’s part of the question of what is it to be authentic? What is it to be authentic and vulnerable? Who knows. :Note end

With me being the “youngest” as each of my older siblings moved away I developed certain resentments toward them for “leaving me”. Just another layer on top of “You don’t care about me. You don’t even love me. I’ll show you.” My eldest sister was a different sort of mixture of that statement and being so much older that she didn’t occur very much for me in my existence. Similar to the way my 7 year old son doesn’t even recall being in Venice 3 years ago…I think there are a lot of things that just don’t stick. I didn’t recall having much resentment toward her and the relationship (for me) wasn’t developed enough that it occurred to me as mattering much. I had this experience of older sister who is living out of state and not in my reality all that much and this concept of older sister who is my sister and I go visit her once in a while so of course she cares about me because, well, she’s my sister. I had another sister as point of reference and I had a fairly robust experience that she cares about me – so relationally I could conceptualize the same thing could be with this older sister, if only she were around some.

Make sense?

Well out of nowhere and rather suddenly my eldest sister is calling me, wanting to talk to me, telling me that she cares about me and loves me. She’s doing the same thing with my parents. It was a little abrupt. I have no recollection of what we talked about during these phone conversations. I likely wasn’t listening very intently as the calls themselves were likely just an interruption into whatever it was I was doing (like trying to figure out why she left, and how to buy that sweet in-dash but removable (so nobody could steal it) car stereo with CD player (a relatively new invention at the time)). Anyway, it was kind of like telling my 7 year old son to come and eat dinner while he’s playing whatever video game he is playing as dinner time approaches. Of course, I was 18 at the time, so you know…uh, yeah same thing really.

My sister. She loves me.

Not to mention, that in my house growing up in the 70’s and 80’s in a middle class, blue collar, undeclared slightly alcoholism fueled dysfunctional utopia-like family talking about loving each other wasn’t really something that happened. You just sort of knew, or were supposed to know it. In fact, talking about it almost seemed to make it a little disingenuous. That was the experience of it – you just knew (or assumed that everybody knew you knew and assumed that everybody knew it about you too) and if they didn’t well then you’d never really know but you’d just have to hope for the best or not. But talking about it, over the phone…long distance? Do you know how much those minutes were costing?

Yeah, I gotta go.” Then, this strange thing occurred. Rather than being a reaction to “Yeah, I gotta go” there was this really, really weird empty void that “Yeah, I gotta go” fell into. It sort of landed somewhere, but there was no response to it. No reaction to it. No anything really…other than a sort of reflection of it. In fact, many of the things that I think I said sort of went into this void. It was almost like dropping a penny into a well. Maybe that was the opening? If it was, it closed really soon. In this void where what I said went, rather than hearing the reaction come back to me I heard (though I couldn’t really hear it yet) all this chatter revving up in “my head”. All these thoughts about my sister, and why is she calling and she doesn’t really love me and this is bull$hit and who the f does she think she is saying this stuff to me she sounds crazy and how the he!! can I afford that and why would I want to and on and on and on and on.

Very little (none?) of it had anything to do with what was happening.

I was getting rather “worked up”. Over here. Like I said, something was being threatened. I was backed into a corner that I didn’t even know existed. And I was responding the way somebody responds when they’re backed into a corner. Guns were blazing. That void that things I said were being dropped into…that had to go. Soon, I said something that got some “expected response”. Maybe tears, or confusion. Something, anything. Some response.

Then, I had my first ever encounter with the experience of coaching.

Now, coaching is a well known and common business term today…it’s not even necessarily a business term. It’s just something people do. Life coaches, performance coaches, whatever. But in 1989, man? That was the stuff that cults were made of. When you had somebody interacting with you, behind the scenes, interpreting how you should view the world and providing some guidance toward more powerful ways to interact with other human beings? That was jacked up…

I used the F word a lot. Don’t ever call and talk to me about that again. And I hung up the phone.

6. Story

Background of meaning. This is a term I may use today. It may describe a way I had (have) of viewing the world. I heard some of my “background of meaning” today on the radio. Bon Jovi – I’ll Be There For You. I’d live and I’d die for you. It’s just that the term “background of meaning” doesn’t really do justice to the experience “background of meaning”. When there is a background of meaning, and it is not clear that it is a background of meaning, it isn’t a background of meaning. It is reality. It isn’t even A reality. It is. Reality. Not in the background either…part of the foreground so close that everything is filtered through it. Possibly distorting the view to look like what I’ve always seen before.

I was in a tough spot.

Wasn’t sure why she’d gone, why all those sixes kept showing up, why I’d gotten fired from that job – at least not why “when all of this other stuff was going on”, why that car got ripped off (I should have noticed those guys noticing me put that stereo in the trunk – in fact, I did notice those guys noticing me put that stereo in the trunk – I just didn’t notice it enough to distinguish it as I am about to get my car stolen because those guys are watching me put my detachable stereo in the trunk). I hadn’t had that background of meaning. I’d never gotten my car ripped off.

Resilient wasn’t a term I would have used to describe myself at the time. I’d had no experience being resilient that I knew of. It wasn’t a part of my background of meaning. Happily, nothing very traumatic had ever happened to me. Everybody around me was alive and/or dying in a naturally progressive order, nothing sudden or tragic. I had a mostly solid family background with a not necessarily extra-ordinary amount of undeclared alcoholism fueled dysfunction – most of which I wasn’t even really cognizant of. I ate food. I slept in a house. Sure there was that time my bike was stolen from Silverman’s. And that girl that lived behind us that taught me to play the game “Simon Says, Strip”. Honestly, I thought it was pretty fun (though she may have had some trauma – who knows, and this is my story, not hers). There were those neighborhood “bums” that would randomly upset my sense of calm and order in the neighborhood. The neighbor kids who’d make me fight Billy Bloom once or twice. Mostly though, nothing too traumatic. No need to be too resilient.

This little stretch I was in, this most uncharmed time of my life, this was new territory. I can see now that I may have been a little resilient. Maybe it was those mornings waking up to deliver newspapers, every day no matter the weather – even if it was a little late some days. Driven on by my Mom cautioning me prior to taking that first paper route that nobody was going to be helping me. I’d do it, I said. And I did. Maybe it was developed responding to those people that complained when their paper was late.

Maybe it was that declaration I’d made when we moved to Parma when I was 10. Driven on by my Mom cautioning me prior to signing me up for 5th grade at my old school – nobody was going to be helping me. I’d do it, I said. I vowed to not leave my friends and that I would do whatever it took to get back to my old grade school. Long walks…a mile to State, a bus ride to Bader, a mile to Pearl. Then reverse to get home. Or a 3 mile bike ride. Then back. There was that time I crashed into the parked car because I was asleep on my bike. But I made a promise…didn’t think of it as “having given my word” at the time. Heck, maybe I was just too afraid to go to a new school and it was easier to trudge on, do the hard thing. Eventually I’d even do the new school thing. New high school…I knew very few people because I was so intent on keeping my old crew. I trudged on with that too.

I was also “the youngest” and in that way I did know myself as resilient. Resilient enough that I knew how to manipulate and bludgeon with pleading and ranting until I’d get what I wanted. I knew how to follow through and get what I wanted to get. Looking back, I was pretty resilient, or at least persistent and determined. When I wanted something.

This current beat down from life was new though. Not something I’d experienced before. I can’t recall the exact order of, or when exactly things started to break open. And I’m not even sure that I’ve given a fair picture of HOW BLEAK THINGS REALLY WERE up to this point. How I was desperately trying to break my way out of this jam that life stuck me with. I do recall that the song Runnin’ Down a Dream had come out…and Wikipedia tells me that this song was release on July 29th 1989…the day before my 19th year began.

Like I said. I had plans…

It was a beautiful day, the sun beat down
I had the radio on, I was drivin’
Trees went by, me and Del were singin’
Little Runaway
I was flyin’

Yeah, runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream

I felt so good, like anything was possible
Hit cruise control and rubbed my eyes
The last three days the rain was unstoppable
It was always cold, no sunshine

Yeah, runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream

I rolled on, the sky grew dark
I put the pedal down to make some time
There’s something good waitin’ down this road
I’m pickin’ up whatever’s mine

I’m runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
Runnin’ down a dream
Yeah, I’m runnin’ down a dream
That never would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery, goin’ wherever it leads
I’m runnin’ down a dream

…Tom Petty

5. Story

It was around “that time” then that I’d first heard something about it. Though I was scarcely paying attention enough to know that I’d heard anything at all. Things hadn’t become glaringly obviously broken yet (I hadn’t even been fired from that job yet…so I still had that going for me, and I had plans). I wasn’t even open to hearing anything (or was I?). It was May or June, a little over 30 years ago. I don’t recall the first conversation but I recall the last. I was so put off, so outraged, so indignant. Don’t ever call me and talk to me about that again! The F word was used to little or no effect and so finally the phone was slammed down.

There. That will get the point across. I don’t want to hear about it.

What was I so indignant about exactly? That was not a question I had asked myself at the time. I was too busy enjoying my triumphant hangup. Now many years later, as if I’ve been sitting in front of a mirror for all that time reflecting, I see. So many layers of that onion peeled away, so many swipes back and forth to clear away what was concealed, I see. I couldn’t see then.

You don’t care about me. You don’t even love me. I’ll show you.

Odd, yet that was what my life was about. Odd, I say…there was definitely lots of care and love for me. Just another blind spot I guess.

Ted E. Bear
My oldest and most enduring friendship?

You don’t care about me. You don’t even love me. I’ll show you.

This was a sentence I imposed upon myself and a declaration to the world in response to my own sentencing when I was around 4 or 5 years old. Ted was there (As my wife suggested – Ted is my adult name for who was known at the time as Teddy). As friends often do, Ted did not provide a lot of feedback on what had just happened…he just sort of put up with me. He took the brunt of the abuse that day, from what I recall. I’m not sure how he would retell the story but from what I recall…

I had just been sent to my room. For what, I don’t remember. It’s irrelevant. I was 4 or 5. Whatever I’d done couldn’t have been too heinous. I was having a tantrummy, meltdowny kind of response to being scolded. For all I know, I wasn’t even being scolded. In watching my kids today and recalling my world as a 4 or 5 year old I may have just been tired, or hungry and was being “difficult”, hard to be with…a real crabass. Like I said, why I was in my room is irrelevant.

What is relevant is that behind that closed door in my bed sobbing and wailing and screeching, thrashing and throwing (Ted against the wall) and punching (poor Ted – what a friend) and screaming and between quivering lips…until finally I said it. “You don’t care about me. You don’t even love me.”

Who was it referring to? My mother immediately…the imposer of the banishment. But it took on more in my 4 or 5 year old dialogue with my Self. It was obvious to me (it) with all of that thrashing, and screaming and wailing…with nobody coming, nobody listening, nobody caring. It wasn’t just Mom. It was all of them. All of You.

Left with only myself to rely on and too soon a response was declared. “I’ll show you.”

I‘ll SHOW you.

There it was. Done. Something to build a life on. What exactly I was going to show you at the time, again, irrelevant. It was a declaration. It would be there to fall back on. It was hidden. Concealed. Operating in the background. It was using me. To a degree “I” was using it. The degree is important. It was a small degree and I didn’t get to choose when I would use it. So, well, I wasn’t really using it – it was using me.

Ted may have been mad at me for punching him and throwing him against the wall and yelling at him. He didn’t try to talk any sense into me. Didn’t tip me off at all on what had just happened. Friends do that sometimes…they stand by and let you self destruct. Wishing you knew how much they loved and cared about you. Wishing they could say the thing that would make a difference. Sometimes they’re in on it with you…

Either way – Teddy, I want you to know that I’m sorry I treated you so bad that day and for scratching your glass eyes on the wall. I appreciate you standing by all these years and letting me sort things out.

As for the caller I hung up on? I’ve already apologized and thanked them for standing for me…for caring enough to say something. Even if I wasn’t open to hear it…

4. Story

Knowing everything takes a toll on you I think. Now, when I say “on you” I mean to say “on one” as in the collective all of us individually as a one, or maybe “on you and I” is another way to say it. Knowing everything takes a toll on one, I think, or on you and I, I think. As one of a set of the collective one, I will give myself a little bit of credit that I was open to some ideas. If they were written in a song and I liked the song, I was open to that idea. If it were some piece of knowing that would lead me to some desired end (and I could see that end from what was presented) I was open to that idea. If it were some knowing from a friend or somebody I trusted had my best interest in mind (though they would never imply in suggesting the idea that I didn’t already know what was best for me) I was open to that idea. Bottom line…if I trusted you as a source I was open to that idea.

Music was very much one of my most trusted sources for understanding the way the world worked. This likely had something to do with a combination of being the youngest of four, having that stereo system in the dining room so off-limits, and my older brother saving up enough bread to buy his own stereo, and maybe a number of other things. By the time I was 7 or 8 or 9 the belief that music held some deeper truth than most other sources of information in the world was firmly embedded in my view of reality. I can’t firmly place the correct time frame but I can certainly remember that time for a few days, or a few weeks, or however long it was that my brother was singing that final stanza of Stairway to Heaven out loud, everywhere and always, whenever and wherever he went. He was having a jam in his head out loud and I was watching and soon it was becoming a part of me. I even remember that stereo in the dining room getting “tried out” a couple of times while the parents were away, you know, just to see what it could do.

In hindsight it may just be that music tied to lyrics was able to evoke that sense of really being alive from within my experience of the world. Whatever the case, and this is my point of bringing it to the fore, I placed a large degree of importance on music. So much so that I knew many songs and many lyrics and would use those songs and lyrics as a form of expressing my thoughts. Later it would be movie lines and quotes from movies that I could relate to, that brought out some part of “me”.

Cub Scout of the Year
A true expression of the entity I would call me?

These things were pervasive in my world and “when I look back now” (as Bryan Adams may have said) I’m not sure I was given many alternatives, really. I was born into this something…this culture…this reality…this “way of being in the world”. I picked some things that suited me – music and movies, and there may be other things that one or you and I may have been able to select to make sense of this world they were born into. For the most part though, I was given an opportunity set and I picked one or two of a very limited set of options.

I have discussed some of this already in other blog entries but I think it’s relevant to point out the times I recall wandering around, walking from one place to another, doing what I would call at the time “talking to myself in my head”. I was rehearsing conversations that I would have with these “bums” that I mentioned here if I were ever to be confronted by one of them again. I was rehearsing knowing things, knowing about things, that I could use to give them the right answer should they confront me with an innocuous question such as “What are you looking at?” or “Do you like Jim L.? Do you want to go beat him up?” For whatever reason, I thought that these random dudes that I would encounter on these tough Cleveland city streets (they really weren’t that tough where I was, maybe sort of tough, but not too tough – or maybe they were) would be overpowered by my knowledge of musical trivia. Bands, albums, lyrics, Rock & Roll man… Really weird. And hey, maybe you’re reading this and I haven’t spent enough time articulating it and you don’t quite get it, or maybe I did and you think man that’s really odd that an 8 year old kids would be walking from place to place in his neighborhood (say to get to a friends house, or to get to school) first of all talking to himself in his head and second of all talking to himself in his head about Rock trivia items, or which band was better than some other band and why and just to clarify I recall having that thought myself. I think I was afraid. And I protected myself by knowing so that I could out-know a hostile “other” being and this was my way of protecting “me”.

A really strange way to think about things, in hind sight. I got really good at remembering tidbits of information though, so I could outsmart one. A useful and sometimes lucrative skill to have, when it wasn’t busy concealing reality and getting in my way of seeing what there is to see.

3. Story

I was in a tough spot and I didn’t even know it. Looking around out there, desperately trying to find the answers to the questions I didn’t even realize I was asking and all the while acting like I knew what I was up to. After all, as I said, I had a plan. I say acting like I knew what I was up to – much of the acting like was with myself – I was scared, and confused, and afraid, and outwitted, and dumbstruck by all this stuff breaking down in life and what’s really most interesting, looking back was that I couldn’t even be straight with myself about it. I would put on the automatic funny smart exterior but internally there was even something more deceptive going on.

Frantic. There was this unsettled internal frantic sort of trying to figure it out going on. I would have trouble falling asleep because I was so busy having thoughts about who knows what. Like trying to figure life out, make some sense of it. Maybe I just drank way too much coffee before bed. I wasn’t even sure what I was trying to figure out but I would replay conversations, or think of what I would be saying if such and such occurred. I wasn’t asking anybody for any assistance though…certainly wouldn’t ask for any help from anybody because that would really mess up the carefully orchestrated external deception.

Exhibit A. Photo C. M.

So how does one go from the above, fairly happy 4 or 5 year old to the below not as happy not 4 or 5 year old? And, keep in mind that the below photo is a couple of years before things fell apart – I was actually pretty happy to be alive here. Though I wished I could put on a few pounds – ha!

With the evidence presented you can see that there was “always” a little bit of attitude (or was there). At 4 years old with the long hair and tube socks stretched tight and pulled as high as they would go (God I hated how they’d fall) in Exhibit A. To that same attitude displayed in Exhibit B with the plaid Halford hat in full effect. I mean I can’t even play the guitar but you can see that I think I REALLY was.

Exhibit B. Photo P.O

Somewhere in between those points in time there had been a concealing. Like a real cover up. So elaborate was the cover up that the person who’d orchestrated it didn’t even know that it occurred.

However, I didn’t know it at the time. Luckily, I knew everything else…

2. Story

…and there was a girl. Isn’t there always a girl in all the best stories? Remember though, this story isn’t one of the best stories. It’s just a story. And, obviously in hindsight, this wasn’t THE girl, this was just a girl. At the time though, if you can put yourself there I would have told you that this was THE girl. My first love, or what I thought I knew about love at the time first love. And this girl had recently broken my heart, broken it hard. Some sordid and treacherous stuff had gone down and I couldn’t even comprehend at the time that such stuff could ever go down. It rocked my world. I might say today that it rocked my worldview.

There was that job I was fired from. It was rational that I was fired I would say. Had it coming. Probably wasn’t performing well what with all that moping around about the girl and blown up world view. I can’t really say I was all that devastated. By this time it made sense that I had been fired because everything was crumbling around me. In a way I expected it and the event itself was just a milestone on a predetermined chartered course to destruction. By now there was no stopping this steamroller of doom and I had it all coming to me.

Whatever I’d done leading up to that point, I thought, was bringing all of these bad tidings upon me now. Some sort of naive view of karma or fate. Don’t get me wrong, I thought I was a pretty good guy and I didn’t understand why all these things were happening to me but I was pretty sure that it was “meant to be”. After all, there were all those instances of six six six showing up at random places, especially while I was playing solitaire. I played a lot of solitaire at the time, with real cards mind you, because I had a lot of time to kill and I was looking for what it all meant and trying to make sense of it all and put all the pieces together. I mean, I really knew it was going to turn out – at least I did prior to all of this stuff falling apart. After all, at the time I pretty much knew everything. The things I didn’t know were deep mysteries and I figured if I could just get a handle on some of those deep mysteries of the universe it would all work out. But not anymore. Things were in quite a bit of disarray. By then I really needed to understand “If you were driving faster than the speed of light with your headlights on what would happen?”

By then, I spent a lot of time playing solitaire, with real cards, and staying up really late drinking coffee and talking about deep meaningful questions that really didn’t lead anywhere to try to make sense of why all those sixes were showing up and why I had been cursed with all of this seemingly “bad luck”.

No wonder they stole this car – look at the fun you could have in it!

There were other things as well. Bad things that had happened that I can’t even recall anymore, but you can be assured that at the time they were BIG things, and they were BAD things.

Only a year before that I’d graduated high school and I knew a lot about the way life was going to turn out. I had a plan after all, and I had a girl after all, and I had a job after all, and I had friends to hang out with and drink coffee all night – after all. I was going to take the year off after high school, work for a while and save up some money to go to college. I sure wasn’t going for that join the Army for two years and get your $18,000.00 for college business. That was for suckers. I was no sucker. I’d spend that time working, and saving, and hanging out with my girl, and drinking coffee, and in time, playing solitaire.

Now this story isn’t some cautionary tale about growing up and maturing as an adult. This is just my silly old story. And if you’re reading this you probably have your silly old story too, though it may not seem all that silly to you. Certainly, the timing lines up with a “oh, you were just a kid and thought you knew everything and had to grow up a little bit and have the world teach you some things through the school of hard knocks and blah, blah, blah…” kind of story. And yeah, that is one way to look at it.

The thing about this story though is that what I was looking for, this great mystery of the universe I was subconsciously seeking out, was really out there…

1. Story

I‘ve been planning to begin this tale for a while and have been envisioning how I would lay it out for a while. I still have no concrete answers and am uncertain how to proceed. The day is upon me however and I will begin.

Basik, Kona, HI

Along with this story I have been considering creating a new space within Aletheia, so to speak. It’s a concealment…an abstraction on top of Love. I think. I’ve come up with “Transitions” as the space to bring it forward. I still have some work with the WordPress to get it presented the way I intend and I don’t want to delay any longer. The sign over my head was too welcome and beckoned beginning. How can I delay. It will turn out exactly the way it’s supposed to, the way it already is. Perfect.

Today is the beginning of my 49th year. The story I want to tell has been coming up as a result of contemplating that. The first time I thought of telling this story was when I noticed it will have been 30 years for me. I remembered them telling me how lucky I am/was to get this while I was still so young. They couldn’t believe my good fortune. They were happy for their good fortune to have gotten it…most of them much later. Probably some of them around my age now. I can imagine what a relief it might be to have finally gotten that around the age I am now. To have lived a whole, full life without that knowing and then see the opportunity ahead of you with that knowing.

Along with that, my son is the same age I was then. And I’ve been wanting to tell this story for and to him. In a way that it may be impactful and may be heard. I know I couldn’t hear it and it probably started “showing up in my space” around my birthday, 30 years ago. Maybe slightly before.

The story itself is probably fairly boring. It’s definitely insignificant and will do little to alter anything for you. That is of course, unless you act on and from it.

I want to tell this story though. For me. To know that it’s been told. To know that I’ve done what I can do to make it known. Because it happened when I was “so young”, as they said, my mostly entire life has been a result of it. It, whatever it is, is something I could never get over. Something that I’ve done what I can to come to understand – to find out what it is that happened to me. That’s all part of the story I want to tell.

I haven’t yet decided if I’ll tell the story for myself first, and then publish, maybe in pieces or maybe all at once or maybe one post at a time. As it is a transition from other blogging I’ve done I don’t intend to be constrained by that. That is also part of the story.

As I sit here over looking Kalaepa’Akai from our recent “most favorite” eating spot (there’s always a new favorite) I’m reminded just how implausible this journey has been. Oddly, I think it was always possible. It is just very implausible that I am here. And in this way, the telling of the story is the retelling and the presencing of the possible.

And so, on with the story…

It had been spring and was moving into summer. My world was in quite a bit of disarray. I was in the midst of what could best be described as the most “uncharmed” stretch of my life. Now, if you know me at all, you know that I lead a charmed life.

Some of the highlights include my car being stolen, my sweet stereo (new technology CD player in dash, removable) which I took out a great consumer credit card out to buy placed “safely” in the trunk of the stolen car…

A 2359 Word Post On Standing Before The Flag

GloryLarge2 LargeGlory1

I recognize that every human is free.  Free to their own choice.  Free to their own perception.  Free to their own expression of that perception and choice.

I recognize that perception is limited and any interpretation of perception can be described as a story of what happened.  Each who perceives will tell a different story in their attempt to share their perception.

I recognize that your perception will almost certainly be different than mine.

I perceived the symbol captured here occurring much larger, much more vivid, and much more active in the wind this evening than these small photo representations will ever portray (sort of like my words – limited in conveying experience).  I invite you to zoom into the photos to give yourself a sense of the bombast of it, blazing before you.  If that doesn’t work, go to any Perkins at night, with the wind blowing in off Lake Erie and experience it for yourself – man, they fly a glorious Old Glory.

Sorrow was what I experienced for those who don’t stand before this symbol and experience anything other than the awe that I felt, standing below and before it waving wildly in the wind.

Shall I give up my experience in favor of yours?  Shall I attempt to empathize with your plight?  The plight of your creation, your perception, and your choice of story to tell?  Shall I listen and experience you?  Kneel with you?  Risk losing my Old Glory to understand yours?  Stand next to you and look down, ashamed for myself of what it means to you?  Or shall I stand?  Clear about who I am and who you are?  Standing for who we were born to be – free and mighty and in love.

As I stood before it I was immediately taken in, quickly distracted (enacted) into being with it. This symbol; this story; I was compelled to capture it.  To tell you that in it I saw the future – yours and mine – unlimited by our limited perception of space and time.  In it I saw Truth, Beauty, Freedom and above all things Love.

Truth and Love and Aletheia will set you free,



Are We All Stuck (or is it just me (or is it just Truth/Love/Aletheia concealed (as usual)))

This post began, as most of them do.  After that “perfect” amount of coffee, a little time to reflect, and some observations based on things that have been occurring in my reflection of the world.

I was driving, as I often am, when it came to me.  And I was driving somewhere new.  Not that I hadn’t been where I was driving before, but I hadn’t been driving where I was driving while having that blog-able moment come into my existence.

So much has “changed” since I last wrote.  Sitting at the keyboard is like an explosion of all there is to say and making any sense of it, the process of refining it to one of my already lengthy essays on nothing (Truth/Love/Aletheia), is interesting to observe.

I’ve had moments in the past 3 years (has it really been 3 years? – I just checked, it’s only been 2.5 years) but the opportunity to just sit and type wasn’t made.  There was that brief entry more than a year ago, an experience that was never completed by telling the story of it.

And that is the thought which provoked this entry. Telling a story, one’s story, to another creates an experience of who you are with that person.  It creates an experience of who you are as an identity at least.  Who we are cannot really be told, can it?

Despite the tangible gains I’ve made in becoming independent and free, I’ve been “feeling” awfully stuck.  Stuck with my own creations, stuck with the stories I’ve told about who/what I am, stuck with who/what I’m creating myself to be.  Stuck is an occurring when Truth/Love/Aletheia is concealed.

What does that even mean?  It’s like wearing gold plated diapers, babies.

I’m stuck with blogging about a topic that rarely makes any sense to anybody other than me.  It occurs that way at least.

My sense is that we’re all stuck.  If you’re paying attention you can feel it.  We’ve been stuck for quite some time. We seem to have a new medium for our stuckness as well.  This online presence business, these feeds and articles that come and go.

They never go anymore though, do they?  You used to be able to throw away the newspaper and it would biodegrade and you’d have to go to the library to find the microfiche of the old stories and nobody ever did that.  They wouldn’t go get that microfiche and reissue the old paper to show you, prove to you who you used to be and stick you with it.  Well, maybe sometimes, for the really “important” stuff.  Now, you’re getting microfiched all the time.  The old stories, they rarely go away.  You’re stuck with them.  Say it once.  You said it.  It will always be who you are.

Listening.  It’s challenging, day to day, hour by hour, moment by moment.  To hear and receive and be in the presence of another without assigning an identity to them.  To hear and receive and be in the presence of one’s Self without getting stuck to the stories we tell.

Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone is the current audio book I’m reading.  My wife laughed at me recently, paradoxically, because I’m such a crappy listener.  She laughed because she knows that I’ve spent more time, effort and money attempting to “get better” at listening than most people you’ll ever meet.  It’s just that, with all that listening I’ve “tried” to do I’ve heard some things.  Some things that I really want everybody to know.  If you’d all just shut up and listen.

This is where this blog entry, and the others, come into play. I’m going to tell you what I’ve heard.  And I’m clear that this blog about things that are nearly impossible to communicate will be read scarcely.  In blogging, I hear myself.  I look back on these entries and know myself, if I’m listening.  When I articulate clearly to myself and truth/love/aletheia is unconcealed it is a reference for me.  I’m stuck with it.

Ironically, when it is not clearly articulated and I’m not present that becomes a reference for me as well and truth/love/aletheia becomes concealed and less present.

Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone is an interesting title.  I’m listening to it more to Discover the Secret to Having Anybody Get Through To Me.  It’s probably a sales title to sell more books.  Just Listen.  That’s all that really needs to be said.  That may not sell as many books though.  Because we just want to get through to absolutely anyone.  In the book, Mark discusses techniques to put aside what you think, feel, want to say, to give the other the experience of Being listened to.

When the other is heard Truth/Love/Aletheia is present.  Mark doesn’t say that.  Another way to say it is that when the other is heard what “needs” to be said “disappears”.  Somebody else said that.  I listened.  And got it. The experience of meaning having been made occurs.  The other is known, for that moment, in that instant, to another.  To you.  If you’re lucky enough to listen.  Mark doesn’t say those things either.  That’s what I want you to know.

Now our most recent invention or medium for communicating is very good at getting the story told, widely.  It is not very good at getting the story heard.  It doesn’t disappear.

We’re all stuck.  With it.

Or, is it just me?

With Listening for your Truth/Love/Aletheia,