Ebb & Flow of My Life

Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change - this is the rhythm of living. Out of our over-confidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope. And out of hope, progress.  --Bruce Barton

Being fully present isn’t something that happens once and then you have achieved it; it’s being awake to the ebb and flow and movement and creation of life, being alive to the process of life itself. --Pema Chodron

There is nothing in the whole world which abides. All things are in a state of ebb and flow, and every shadow passes away. Even time itself, like a river, is constantly gliding away.  --Ovid

What follows is a personal assessment that comes from my journal over the last 20 years in which I wrote of personal things as they happened . . .
I have tried to present myself honestly, accurately and without pretense but have not been received well by many women.  I have been called too intelligent, too accomplished and too emotionally deep; some have said I am way too expressive, too complicated and too wordy and they were overwhelmed and smothered with my flurry of words.  The majority I believe think I am too good to be true and must therefore be a "player" attempting to gain a conquest by lying and misrepresenting myself. For certain, I am a flawed carbon based being, a mass of contradictions, I know.  On the one hand I seem so proper and serious;  what some called too intelligent, too accomplished and too deep emotionally but on the other I have written love stories, love poetry and poems and short stories that chart the ebb and flow of my life; I compose music that stirs my soul and I take delight in performing; I love to snorkel and fish, camp, hike and picnic, be attune to nature, even love pioneering, building primitive camp sites, watch towers and monkey bridges along the way; I am an over comer, an explorer with an adventurous spirit and I seek friendship and all God's blessings with a special woman who enjoys simple things, being close to nature, loves to laugh and have fun, to relate and communicate intimately on all levels and believes that by practicing acceptance and forgiveness that affection and sometimes lasting love can grow between good friends. 
My life has become a predictable repetitive cycle of struggling to get my face in the sun and feel the warmth and enjoy the good only to feel some cold biting wind of irrationality sweep over me that caused me to fear again, lose control, become overwhelmed and then stick my head back into the sand. This cycle has repeated so many times I have lost count,ad nauseam!  I know it is happening again when the symptoms can't be ignored feelings of self incrimination, abasement and disgust, wanting to run away, procrastination and painful ruminations from cockle-burr thoughts have stuck in my mind. I have been struggling again emotionally and physically. I have plateaued in my weight loss efforts, been burdened by fibromyalgia, vascular insufficiency in my legs, varicose veins and pain in my feet, beaten to exhaustion by the inability to sleep through the nights.  I have tested positive for herpes virus type 1 - the cold sore virus and have them occasionally on the roof of my mouth painful enough to not be able to wear my dentures. . .just disheartening and depressing. I have known that my bouts with melancholy were cyclic but perhaps did not realize it was happening as often as every 3-4 weeks as a dear friend has told me. I have felt at times like I wanted to find an abandoned coal mine, go down into its depths and blow up the entrance . . . just a fleeting thought, not one I would act upon for in my best moments I realize that would devastate a lot of people. I fight every day to feel worthy of any ones love and to accept it when it comes. I realize this is a growth area for me and that I need to practice, practice, practice acceptance of love, and practice receiving it gratefully and gracefully from significant friends, my family and others that God sends me and not do as I have often done before when I got afraid--- namely, break off relationships, run away emotionally and hide. I don't understand really why I have this character defect or why it is so egregious - I obviously have some important lessons to learn. It seems to happen always when anyone gets close to me emotionally, begins to feel good about me, then expresses caring for me and/or says they "love" me. This triggers the almost irrepressible desire for flight!

In my mind I know it is right and good for us to love one another...it is a commandment after all. I also know in my mind that with an expression of love often comes with kisses, caresses, hugs and other TLC and that all of these expressions of caring are very good things...they are free gifts from one person's heart to the another and most wonderful when offered with no strings or other expectations attached. I believe it is in my heart, at the core of my being, that the elements which create this conflict resides. I know that the heart or more properly the subconscious mind contains a complete record of all of our life experiences...it contains and treats them all the same: truth and error, right and wrong, good and bad and positive and negative.  It is because I allowed by habit, repetition and negative self talk to create and establish false ideas in my subconscious that my subconscious has taken my body on the hell-bent course of destruction that I have been on.  Some how I must accentuate the positive so as to eliminate the negative influences that have been driving me insane.

In my heart resides these basic positive assumptions:
*    I will do no harm to others
*    I will be kind, caring, loving, sensitive, empathetic, supportive and understanding
*    I will bear others burdens, help when I can and so fulfill the law of Christ
*    I will never make another person an offender for a word spoken or action taken
*    I will always forgive and forget the offenses of others  
*    I will accept whatever good that comes to me, learning my lessons along the way.
*    I will willingly give up my life to save others
*    I will live a life of service, sacrificing myself, to serve others and contribute to the common good

Along with these positive qualities there are some negative ones which easily beset me:
--> I become very anxious when someone "likes" me and increases when I am told that they "love" me
--> I feel unequally yoked with everyone, because I see my flaws, my lack or my inability to be all that I think they might want me to be
--> I experience growing heartache when I am unable to reciprocate the same or similar degree of love feelings back to others
--> I question why and what is wrong with me that I cannot seem to feel about them the way they feel about me and my thoughts are always self deprecating, demeaning and self abasing
--> I feel that others would just be better off if I went away and I rationalize that I don't deserve their love anyway
--> I grow agitated and frustrated because I bottle up and suppress my feelings and needs for fear of them being expressed inappropriately hurting significant others

I want you to understand that I feel that I have had a love or relationship addiction, so this is the Rest of my story: I have tried dating, have been in several relationships which either did not mature or I ran away from and now I must be bold to tell you why--the rest of the story.  Sometimes it was distance between us, sometimes my lack of finances but mostly my long term brokenness and unworthiness that welled up to cause me to be overwhelmed so much that I had to run away.  I have struggled to understand why I can't seem to move through the stages of intimacy to commitment and then possibly marriage and the best that I can surmise is that I have an addiction to love or more properly the pursuit of love...such pursuit for me gives me the high that alcohol brings to the alcoholic...as the alcoholic who takes that first drink always becomes overwhelmed by his alcoholism, so  do  I when I reach out and connect with a woman eventually experience the same crisis and I lose control and am helpless against the addiction which takes me over to my detriment.  I do things to cause that woman to like me...I prefer her, woo her, romance her and pamper her, sacrifice myself for her, seek only for her pleasure and eventually cause her to have loving feelings for me. . . but when she says she has such feelings for me is when I begin to short-circuit...As much as I fight against it the old tapes play of me being unworthy of her attention and her love and I begin to find fault with myself, abase myself, agonize , get overwhelmed with fears and I want to run away.  It amazes me that so many of these women remain friendly towards me...In my mind I feel they should hate me or at least want to hurt me because I have hurt them. . .This pattern has happened 4-7 times in the last 20 years.   I will tell you that this is the most humiliating and painful addiction I have ever endured, even more painful than my addiction to tobacco, which I was a helpless captive to for over 7 long years. 

Oh how I long for this character defect to taken from me.  
I am so ready for God to remove this defect as it grieves me so much that I am in an almost constant state of mourning.  I so want to live a life of joy - to be happy, joyous and free. Somehow I want the kind of love that my father had for my mother that caused him to be so grief stricken when she died at age 58 that I had to forcibly prevent him from throwing himself into the grave.  Is that depth and kind of love possible for me or just another of my delusions?  I have worked very hard to overcome my perfectionism and worked even harder on mastering acceptance in my life.  I want to accept whatever good comes to me and embrace it and savor the moments.  I know they will be fleeting, because nothing lasts forever.  Change is a constant and that is OK, I have finally learned that I can change and that change can be good, very good indeed.



Looking back I can see clearly that I have had and am having an amazingly God blessed life. My desire on this page is to cite a few of those Ebbs, depressions or valley's as well as some instances of the Flows, progressions or peaks in my life. God loves me and was always there for me. The Websites that follow will give you a good glimpse of my 78 years to the present moment.







     One Landmark that I am especially proud of is the publication of my book of poetry in 2012.  Life's Ebb and Flow: A Poetic Journey is a record of the peaks and valleys of my striving to honor my parents Aldon and Alma Louise's teaching and yet make sense of and find my own way through the ebb and flow of my life.  My struggles have been many and I have written on my greatest needs: for friendship, for love, for recovery and for the freedom to feel, to reflect, to be creative and connected to the God of my understanding.   Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that "Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world."  I know that to be so true, because fear dominated my life,  even from an early age.  Hindsight, tells me of many things including socializing and dating and practical skills which I lost out on or did not even try, because I feared I was not worthy or would not be successful or could not be perfect in doing them.  My poetry manuscript was typed with only two fingers, an ever present reminder of the consequences of that fear.

     It is my hope that, as you read,  you will find something that touches your heart, that encourages and lifts you up, that causes you to pause, reflect and savor an understanding.  I hope you will find humor, a smile, a remembrance or reason to be joyful, and perhaps there will be an insight which can help make your life better.  I would be grateful to know if I have been able to contribute to your life. This writing, my life's work, spans the last 50 years.  I write poetry to better know myself.  I believe what Marcus Aurelius wrote "Look well into thyself; there is a source of strength which will always spring up if thou wilt always look there."  It took me many years to realize it, but today, I know, that source of strength is there, deep within me.  I wrote also to understand my purpose under God, what He would have me be and do and to chronicle, by way of self therapy,  my progress in my journey from the dark valleys of delusion, depression and despondency onto higher ground, the slopes and mountain tops of love, hope, joy and  happiness.  I have realized that Emerson was correct, "Most of the shadows of life are caused by standing in our own sunshine."  I focused on those shadows, never realizing that I was my own worst enemy, and sadly, that I was in the sunshine all along.  I know today that life is not just found exclusively in peaks and valleys, nor in life's ebbs and flows, but that it takes both for us to have balance in our lives.  We could never know the sweet, without the bitter, and never find our way to achieve our high calling as homo sapiens, man of wisdom.  I want very much to enjoy what Ella Wheeler Wilcox wrote, "There is no satisfaction that can compare with looking back across the years and finding you've grown in self-control, judgment, generosity, and unselfishness."



My Highest Weight 365 lbs.in 2006

On My 65th Birthday ♦ With Sister and Nephew  ♦ On The Church Steps ♦ Gorilla Riding


I received major help from the therapies offered by the O'Bannon Mental Health Center.

I was in Recovery for 8 years there from 2000 to 2008. One of the things that helped me was

to make a quilt, doing all the cutting and sewing myself. This is the result of my efforts.

Doing leather crafts also strengthened my regaining health & well-being:



120 lbs Program Weight Loss

                                           Overall I have lost 155 lbs, 18-20 sizes off my 58" waist;  changed from a 3XL                                                   shirt size down to a large size, oft-times a medium.

      Grateful To Clean Up Good    ♦   Looking Really Good