My Beginnings


"The time has come," the Walrus said, "to talk of many things:

Of shoes and ships and sealing wax - Of cabbages and kings

And why the sea is boiling hot - And whether pigs have wings."

~Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

“Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?" he asked.
"Begin at the beginning," the King said gravely,

"and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass


“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars.

You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” – C. S. Lewis


“Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.” — Jim Rohn


I had a complicated home birth in the very small Irish Village of Byrneville, in Harrison County, centrally located in southern Indiana.  I was like JohnBoy of the Waltons and grew up in touch with the earth and the wood lots, tilling the soil, raising animals, chickens, and making mud pies. I learned many lasting lessons. There is nothing as grounding and wonderful as walking barefoot on the newly plowed ground. It puts you in oneness with God and Nature. The smells and sights of the seasons are each distinct and delightful. I loved long walks in the country, laying in piles of leaves in the fall, seeing new shoots of life reborn in spring. I adore drives down tree-shaded back roads, finding covered bridges and rippling brooks and enjoying their laughing sounds.  I was happy to live long enough to have enjoyed all those things. But I was told by family and friends that I had a very difficult start to my life. I was born in my grandfather John's home, around 3 am June 30, 1941.  At 10-1/2 pounds, my lungs were still not fully developed and I was in what we today call respiratory distress. The country Doctor Baker who delivered me told my parents that he had used all his skll but he believed that I would not live to see the light of day.  By the grace of God, I did live, but not well, because the damage to my lungs was so great that I had pneumonia 12 times before I was 2 years of age. I was sick more often than well during this beginning of my life.
I have many rich memories from age 4 or 5 on. Particularly, I remember my grandfathers preaching and sitting in my grandmother's Sunday school class as she read Bible stories and I remembered particularly many of the bible scriptures my grandparents shared telling us to be perfect, if we would serve God. I have walked a long arduous journey in my life, leading me to the edge of the abyss into which I fell with each of my 4 mental and emotional breakdowns each which threatened me with death and/or madness.  I have to use great care even now when I focus upon what was because it has great power to draw me back into never-ending obsessive spirals reliving the pain that my focusing on perfection caused. My only hope is to profit from the past by focusing upon the present moment choosing the best, most creative, and delightful people, places, things and situations that each will add to or increase the sparkle moments and pizzazz of my life. I don't remember my grandmother or grandfather explaining what the Bible meant for us to actually do to be perfect, so in my immature mind I believed that it meant that to please God I had to be perfect in all my actions, that I could not, could never, make a mistake. No matter how hard I tried, the failures always came, and that taught me that there had to be something wrong with me, that I was broken, not whole and very simply was not good enough to please God.  So I began the life of a classic overachiever trying every day and in every way I could to prove that I was worthy of the very space I occupied. Perfectionism was a defect that proved very deadly for me as my striving with every ounce of my strength to be pefect almost killed me.  I felt so unworthy and worthless that my self-image and esteem did not mature. I isolated my undeserving self completely as a result. I knew that I had to sacrifice my wants, my normal wishes, my everything in order to serve God and only God, and never follow my own personal desires. It was by this dedicated service that I hoped perhaps I could buy my space in the world and thus earn God's love. There was little time for anything fun. Even when I was trying to have fun, it was always there, the belief that it was wrong, that  I was simply not worthy of any part of it.  As a result, I could not have a girlfriend nor do many of the social things that other young people did. My lot in life was to keep my nose to the grindstone, to be just the smart kid, the go-to-guy, where classmates could get homework answers. My classmates always voted me to be a class officer because everyone knew I would do the work!

My life was a vicious cycle, from as long ago as I can remember to when I finally found recovery in, a 12 step program for compulsive eaters.  I had not been able to close the doors to the past, accept what happened, really ever forgive myself, those others involved and move on.  My persistent temptation is to slip back and revisit and relive those long ago things, often keeping me from staying focused and living in the "now or the present moment".  I seem to be addicted more and more to drama and suffering and I remember those painful experiences as if they occurred yesterday and, by that memory, I perpetuated the payoff I got of feeling a victim by agonizing and suffering anew.  I have never been able to live up to the expectations that I felt were held out for me and ones that I set for myself.  My perception of life was that there was perfection all around me in my sisters, parents, extended family, teachers, church friends and try as I might I could never quite live up to those levels of perfection that I thought God required of me.  I could not admit or understand the humanness of my parents, extended in-laws and other authority figures, so I began to fear them. I could not see the stresses they labored under to provide a living for the 4 of us, with some semblance of stability and happiness.  I did not understand why my father because of his strong work ethic was often not home during the weeks of my formative years; gone to work before I got up and not home till after I had gone to bed.  Perhaps this is why I have almost no memories of him holding me or playing with me.  I have a few pictures which say that he did but many of those early ones were lost in the fire which destroyed our home when I was 6. . .most of my memories are of my mother's care of me.  In some ways I feel I was robbed at an early age of a normal childhood free of responsibility.  My parents asking me to watch out for my 3 younger sisters was taken as my life's purpose and duty rather than a simple temporary request. I feel that I began care-taking at that early age of 5 or 6.  My helping was linked with serving God by honoring my parents and was the thing that a good boy would do.  I misunderstood the Biblical injunction to be perfect and set myself on that as a life mission.  My religious training introduced me to the adversarial influences of Satan and I began to struggle with those temptations. When I was not a good boy I was so disruptive that a neighbor who babysat us often called me Demon because I was always into things to get attention, like mixing mustard into the sugar bowl. I am told "the demons on the table" was often heard in the community.  As I grew older, I feel this negative influence stole from me my birthright, the life and abundance that God really desired for me to enjoy, stealing from me the feelings of worthiness, well being, and a good acceptance of myself which I was God ordained that I enjoy.  If people told me good things about myself I learned to "poison the positive", to discount them or poo-poo them and those things would pass through my ears and then disappear, without changing me or affecting me for good.  Later, if someone told me I was a very good boy, that they loved me, or that I was attractive or a good man… I didn't feel that way after a short while. Those compliments and positive encouragements embarassed me and didn’t stick in me, or add to me or become a part of me.   No "truth" about me stayed with me long enough so I could form an identity about myself that matched how God and others saw me. I was not able to form habits of thought that reinforced me and built me up because self-abasement ran so strong in my thinking.  By the time I was a freshman in high school, I scored in the 100th percentile in self-abasement on a standardized test.  I had become a master at self-sabotage, and I was my own worst enemy!   The scripture says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." - John 10:10  I was not able to enjoy any abundance or the peace and happiness that my fellows enjoyed and I became more and more isolated and self-loathing with the passing of time.  I escaped as often as I could without bringing notice to myself and lost myself in fantasy and daydreams to replace the healthy social contact that others had but which I could not have because of my negative perfectionist mind set and stinking thinking had become "normal" for me.


My Beginnings were also characterized by deep seated fears. They no doubt began when I tried to be perfect and failed and began to fear that God would punish me and that others would no longer love me.  I would eventually fear women, police and fireman, literally anyone in uniform as I saw them as having all the power over me.

Abraham Lincoln said, that, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  Just for Today: I will adjust myself to what is, and not try to adjust everything to my own desires. I will take my “luck” as it comes, and fit myself to it.

I was a person who could not do these simple things.  These were things that I was simply clueless about in my early life. I did not even understand that I had a choice. What I used to be like can be best summed up by an experience I had when I was 5 years old.  I call it The Outhouse!

I was playing out behind the well house and was making mud pies in old tin pans and letting them cook in the sun.  I got the idea that I could do it better if I had eggs to mix in like I'd seen mother do.  So, I went next door and told Aunt Stellie that my mother needed to borrow 2 eggs.  She went and got them for me and I took them and cracked them just like mother and mixed them in my now better pies. I might have gotten by with it but I was not satisfied with my one pie, and I went back and borrowed another 2 eggs, also for my mother.  Aunt Stellie began wondering why my mother needed 4 eggs and so she went and knocked on our back door and asked.  When I heard my mother call out “John Aldon” I got really afraid and ran and hid in the nearby outhouse. Mother and Aunt Stellie began searching for me and when my mother was heading toward the outhouse Aunt Stellie said No she had already checked there and so their cries became louder and they began running here and there with mounting concern …finally retracing their steps mother opened the door to the outhouse and stepped up and saw my brown curly head down in the right hole, sunk into my waist. 

Fear proved to be devastating for me. Living in an outhouse came to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, a type and shadow for my life. Looking through the cracks in the walls, I felt safe, and so that was how I viewed my life. As I grew older fears continued to grip my life, oft times overwhelming my thoughts, and always stealing my peace of mind. I could not distinguish between the things I could not change and the things I could change, so I was always frustrated and on edge.


I realize now that my strongest core belief "that I must be  perfect" was a lie, and could never be true for a human being.      I have lived to see the following quotes prove true for me!


When it comes to controlling human beings, there is no better instrument than lies. Because you see, humans live by beliefs. And beliefs can be manipulated. The power to manipulate beliefs is the only thing that counts.  ~Michael Ende (AZ Quotes)

If our core belief is based on what other people think, then we eventually will allow their opinions to become our reality.  ~Darren Johnson (AZ Quotes)


Sometimes people hold a core belief that is very strong. When they are presented with evidence that works against that belief, the new evidence cannot be accepted. It would create a feeling that is extremely uncomfortable, called cognitive dissonance. And because it is so important to protect the core belief, they will rationalize, ignore and even deny anything that doesn't fit in with the core belief. ~Frantz Fanon