Confessing … August 8th, 2015

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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XIV.

I confess so I can heal.

If I deny, I remain sick.

When I began this series on confessing, I made a private covenant with my ego to avoid revealing current events and basically stay focused on sins of the past, long ago resolved.

But unfortunately, I continue to transgress.

I travel on the road.

That’s what I do right now because it’s my way to try to speak some simplicity into the complexity of our world, and sanity into the raging din.

Arriving at my lodging on Monday, I found myself disgruntled. It is summertime, so motels and suites are more expensive, and therefore my budget does not allow me to stay in the top-of-the-line institutions, but rather, places me in Mom and Pop establishments, which are often a mixed bag.

Usually I have pretty good perspective.

For instance, I don’t call the carpet “shabby,” but rather, “quaint.”

I don’t refer to the furniture as being “outdated,” but rather, “antiques.”

But for some reason, this particular week I was fussy. I didn’t like the room. Rather than considering it spacious, I thought it was convoluted.

It put me in a mode: “I’m feeling sorry for myself.”

That sentiment is the soil for the seed of all iniquity. If you catch it early enough, you can keep it from going any further, but I was in no mood to be introspective, so I went to Phase 2: “I feel like blaming you.”

Self-pity never allows me to take any responsibility, so we grab the closest innocent victim and thrust him or her into the role of the villain and the source of all inconvenience–and that particularly dastardly profile was placed on my partner, Janet Clazzy.

So I growled at her a little bit. I expressed my superiority to the meager station of my surroundings. Since she’s the one who acquired the room, it was obviously her fault that they had not changed the paneling since the Eisenhower Administration.

We argued.

It wasn’t really an argument–just a general “blooming onion” of complaint, which had no real center to it, and therefore, no completion.

Shortly after finishing my griping, I went into the third phase: “I’m feeling stupid.”

This is the most important phase. From this point of feeling stupid we can either move to repentance–or we can simply recycle and start all over again with “I’m feeling sorry for myself.”

Matter of fact, I will tell you that a good portion of the population lives in a meaningless, constant circle of feeling sorry for themselves, blaming others, feeling stupid to return to feeling sorry for themselves.

It must have been a good day, because fortunately, rather than feeling stupid and going for another try at feeling sorry for myself, I repented.

I apologized.

And it was amazing how quickly the room went back to being a room instead of a prison cell.

I am the master of my own destiny. No one’s calling the shots but me. If the shots suck, it’s because I suck–not having the sense to avoid feeling sorry for myself … insisting that I got screwed over.

 

confessing room

 

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G-6: Life or Strife?… January 10, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Gas, food and lodging.

These are the three items that I place at the top of my budget each and every week. I guess I’m not alone. Without these, we find it difficult to be secure, comforted and intricately involved in the process of human development.

Matter of fact, there are three elements necessary for life to exist at all–chemical energy, water and light. Without this trio of forces, life–well, at least life as we know it–cannot exist.

  • So chemical energy is like gas, fueling the possibility for growth and procreation.
  • Water is like food, feeding the endeavor
  • And light is like lodging, wherein we find our relaxation and sense of well-being.

Here’s what happens: when you mess with these three, human beings have a tendency to immediately leap from a cheerful pursuit of life into strife. When we don’t have what is necessary to breed a sense of growth, we shrink to darker corners, first becoming apathetic, then sullen and finally, vindictive.

Yet at the same time, we have a tendency in our present culture to deny the basics of life to the human family and then wonder why we end up with so much controversy, debate, anger and bigotry.

What is missing from the elixir of life in our present day?

1. We don’t mix our chemicals correctly.arguing

For instance, men and women were never created to be at odds with each other. They are interlocking portions of a human creation which requires understanding, interaction and meaningful dialogue. When you tamper with that natural order of communication and insist that it should be adversarial, you create strife. Once we have strife between men and women, it is an easy slide to establishing prejudices regarding other differences.

2. We’re taking the water out of life.

In some sort of bizarre adventure to promote the unseemly and dark areas of people-thinking, we have eliminated what keeps us wet and excited. Much as we may insist that we are absorbed in the macabre and the sinister, human emotions are actually starved for tenderness, mercy, understanding and acceptance. Where we need to have “rivers of life,” we’re purposefully drying things out, leaving  deserts.

3. And finally, we’re turning off the light.

If there is a possibility of finding a bleak representation of current facts, we will be given those little anecdotes instead of examples of goodness and purity winning the day. Here’s a case in point:

Adolph bunkerIn 1940 it appeared as if Adolph Hitler was unstoppable. A dark cloud of evil prejudice and domination encompassed the earth. People were scampering in horror. Our great nation was hiding in a corner, trying to avoid any conflict with this monster from middle Europe.

Yet it lasted for only five more years–and declining at that. Perhaps the greatest war-machine villain, hater of God and man, who scared little children and made great leaders of nations shiver in their boots, was found dead, under the ground in a bunker, frightened to death himself.

So I’m confused. Why do we promote evil so strongly, trying to douse the light of hope, when historically, truth seems to eventually have its day?

If you don’t have the elements of life, which are water, light and chemical energy, just like if you don’t have your gas, food and lodging, insecurity will enter your soul, and you will find yourself abrasively pursuing strife instead of life.

I guess it depends on whether you want to plant the seed of possibilityor merely investigate that which is seedy.

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Neurotic … September 4, 2012

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I am fairly healthy. Of course, these could be the classic “famous last words” of the guy about to receive his final delivery of carnations … graveside.  But barring some unforeseen bus with my name on it, I persevere. Yet there are little twinges, pains, losses, discrepancies and weaknesses that have crept onto my path to make me aware that I am probably on my way to Grandma’s house. Or in my case, Grandpa’s.

Arriving at my lodging last Thursday, I came up to the front door and realized that the step into the room was fairly high. This wouldn’t be an obstacle to most of you, but I have a bad right knee that doesn’t like to step up and certainly cringes at the necessity of stepping down. So I got myself into the room at a fairly awkward, if not comical, angle, and the first time I left the room I experienced quite a bit of discomfort. Therefore I was intimidated by both entering and leaving my own quarters.

Here’s what I knew immediately–if I kept the situation to myself, it would quickly grow into a fear inside my being. Fear is not unusual to any of us. The trouble with fear is that it is a lousy roommate for other, more congenial tenants. The first thing fear likes to do is cast out love. Then it likes to get confidence evicted. It sits around and debates with faith and chides and criticizes talent. Fear sucks. That may be a rather blatant way of explaining it, but it’s true.

So if I kept my apprehension about this step coming in and out of my door to myself, I would soon be looking at ways to avoid leaving my room and therefore, place myself in a sedentary position, which is not particularly beneficial to me for maintaining my first statement, which was, “I am fairly healthy.”

I was on the verge of becoming neurotic.

Now, I know “neurotic” is relegated to a psychological condition, but it is really so common to all of us that it should be talked about more often and explored like daily bread instead of viewed as a psycho-babble croissant. Here’s what makes us neurotic: a fear unexpressed is the seed of distress.

Whenever we find ourselves in the position where we choose, refrain, refuse or avoid sharing our fears, we plant a seed of distress in our souls. Distress grows into suspicion. Suspicion sprouts some isolation and isolation is what produces rage in us, and turns us into emotional ticking time-bombs.

In my case, if I was not prepared to admit that I was intimidated by a step up into my lodging, I was certainly going to become distressed by my own foolish pride and weakness. This would make me suspicious of any attempt to come and go or avenues that might be achieved in overcoming the situation. That suspicion would isolate me. Instead of moving around–going and doing things–I would look for reasons to stay in the room, and once isolated in that condition, my grumpiness would soon turn into a picky attitude, which could explode into rage if someone challenged me.

We meet neurotic people every day–even after we leave the mirror. Inside them is a fear that they are too intimidated to express. Even as I sat down to write this jonathots to you, I wondered how I would look to my readers, having such a weak knee that I was unable to climb twelve inches without discomfort. Actually, I came inches–or may I say, sentences–from backing away from the whole idea of being so transparent. But because I shared my fear of the step with my traveling partner, Janet, and have now voiced it to you fine folks, I not only have a renewed sense of vigor, but also a comforting presence of good cheer which will not only get me out the door and back in again, but will allow me to do it without feeling shame.

There is only one thing that stops each and every one of us from finding the platform from which we can voice our ability to the world around us: we’re afraid. We share that in common. Not all of us are beautiful. Not all of us are white. Not all of us are black. Not all of us are talented. Not all of us are intelligent.

But all God’s children are afraid.

And if we want to avoid becoming neurotic–gripped by suspicion, isolating ourselves until we become inexplicably enraged with stupid little things that come our way–we must find a way to express our fears. Let me tell you some of mine:

  • I have a fear of small talk with new people, even though my occupation requires it.
  • I have a fear that my obesity will eventually keep me from doing something very important in my life.
  • I have a fear that my children don’t completely understand my mission nor embrace my message.
  • I have a fear …

You see, I could go on and on.

But each time I write one down, I am just a little less afraid. Having the ability to verbalize our trepidation allows us to receive a hug from the love that had been chased away.

I don’t want to be neurotic. It makes me suspicious. It makes me isolate myself. And then, at the wrong moment I can become enraged, with nobody around me understanding the source for the burst of anger.

It doesn’t hurt less to climb the step into my room, or to step down to depart. I know two things–there is one other person, and now a bunch more, who comprehend a little piece of my displeasure. And on Thursday I get to check out and go somewhere else. I just thought I would share this with you. After all, it doesn’t do any good to be intelligent or spiritual if you allow your life to become neurotic.

And neurotic is a fear unexpressed that plants the seed of distress.

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