Past Behavior

Past Behavior I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my past behavior. While I’ve always thought of myself as a good person – lots of the things I have done – in particular with regards to other people, have been atrocious. The truth is – my behavior was often that of a bad person. I … Continue reading “Past Behavior”

Past Behavior

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my past behavior. While I’ve always thought of myself as a good person – lots of the things I have done – in particular with regards to other people, have been atrocious. The truth is – my behavior was often that of a bad person. I hope that I am no longer a bad person who thinks he is good (or a good person doing bad things) but the truth is – I didn’t think I was those things before…so it’s very hard to know. The problem really comes with the ego and its ability to justify bad behavior as acceptable behavior or even good behavior. How many times have any of us done something mean or terrible – something a good person would feel bad about – but the ego has come to our rescue and said “that person deserved it” or “they had it coming to them” or even “somebody needed to do that”. I remember punching a guy in the face one time. The guy wasn’t attacking me, he had simply said some things I didn’t like. So I punched him in the face. Good people don’t punch other people in the face unless they are under attack or defending someone who needs to be defended. Period. I felt a twinge of guilt afterwards…but my trusty ego …it saved the day…said I was justified…told me that the guy deserved it…painted me as a hero to all the people who the guy had said mean things to (and he was an a-hole). So, I did a bad person action – I punched another human being in the face when I didn’t need to – and then, instead of telling myself I was a bad person for that, or correcting my behavior, I encouraged my behavior by letting my ego tell me I was a hero. There was a time, after that event, when I was looking for opportunities to punch people in the face. Bad behavior. And yet, my ego had convinced me that punching people in the face made me a hero. I’m sure that many or most or maybe even all bad guys … have fallen into that trap. What kinds of lies has your ego told you? I am only now beginning to understand the deceptions my ego has played on me…If my ego was able to convince me I was a hero when I was being a bad guy, what other illusions has it cast on me? What about you? I think it is worth thinking about…

I hear my ego in my mind…it usually makes itself known with a voice that says things like “What do I want?” or “What would make me happy?” or “What I really want is…” or “What I would like to do is..” – it’s really quite distinct from my normal thoughts or brain workings. I’ve started to address it as “I” – not in a judgmental way, but just recognizing that it is not me in totality…but simply a part of me. So, addressing my ego (mentally) I say “What does ‘I’ want?” or “What would make “I” happy?” and then “Will what “I” wants actually be good for me?” “Is what “I” wants something that will make me happy?” It’s not bad grammar…hopefully the way I am explaining it makes sense. In any event, the idea is to go beyond what gratifies my ego and move into decisions that gratify the totality of myself…

I just wanted to share. Do you have any experiences like this? What are your thoughts?

My 42nd Year – in a Nutshell

My 42nd year was more of a journey into me than a journey out to somewhere else. I started this year and end it sitting in the same seat in the same room in the same house. The furthest I’ve gone is San Francisco in the realm of the world, but I feel as if I’ve gone millions of miles in the realm of the self. This year, I learned more about love, compassion, forgiveness, compassion, anger, frustration, guilt, and work than I’ve learned in any year of my life. This year, I abandoned the mantra of Peter Pan and not only grew up but grew a mustache and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn I’ve grown a fraction of an inch – but while climbing a tree is certainly not beneath my dignity – I discovered that at this point in my life, there are a great many other things that are. Losing control, making an ass of myself, alienating friends and loved ones, or doing anything that is not in alignment with the best me I can be. And that, my friends, is the thing I wish that I could share with myself twenty years ago and every year since and which I hope that I can share with someone who is more willing and able to listen than I was.

Success is only a journey whereupon each step – positive or negative – brings you closer to the best you that you can be. If you are taking steps which carry you away from the best of you – than you are failing but if you have the mindset and the will to turn even the worst of circumstances into steps bringing you closer to the best you – than you are succeeding. Sometimes – we must do the wrong things but when we do them for the right reason – it is okay. Much better than doing the right thing for the wrong reason. This life is a journey of discovery and if we close our eyes at the wrong moment – all discoveries end. I can’t begin to express how much within me has changed in this year and yet – now more than any time I can recall – I am more truly me and being myself than ever I was since those days of childhood before the innocence was lost. It’s a strange thing – most certainly I am not innocent but I am closer to that person I was than at any time since. There is something in me that was gone which now has re-opened within me. I am me and me I am.

I wish there was a way to explain all of this better – but there isn’t right now. I’m not sure what to attribute it to but in no small measure it is certainly connected with being a father, being a husband, and becoming a man. A person. A real human being.

I don’t want you to think I haven’t made big screw ups this year. Of course I have – but hopefully, I’ve been able to learn from each mistake. Hopefully those lessons have not passed me by as in the days of yore when my swelled ego and numbed torment blinded me to the positive that could be earned from negative experience – which by the way – is part of the secret. The negatives can be positives – lemons can be lemonade. Shit can be shinola or fertilizer. But enough – the year –

Reedsport. Here I’ve been – mostly. I opened a space in an antique mall and then leveraged it into a shop of my own. I have endeavored to learn the ins and outs of this business and mentors have come and offered me instruction when I needed it (Thank you). I have bought and sold and struggled and sweated and worried that it is not enough but managed to take care of my family, keep us fed, keep us housed, and even give us some luxuries and healthy necessities. I have tried to make us healthier and happier. We have chickens, we eat less processed crap, we take vitamins, and we get check ups and have healthy teeth. We laugh and play and sing and dance.

I managed to create two businesses – and both seem well suited to survive. I managed to begin learning to paint with oil on canvas. I drew more. I read – not as much as in years past – but some. I didn’t write as much as I would have liked but this is a thing for me to do in my 43rd year – I know this. I lost my temper, I lost my cool, I found myself angry and terrified at one point but I reined myself in and prevented more damage than I’d already caused. I solved problems. I dealt with crazy people. I worked to repair relationships I thought I had destroyed forever and because the people I love, love me in return. I loved and laughed and feared and cried this year all without going to another country and barely going to another state and mostly not even leaving this little 40 mile stretch of the Oregon Coast.

Externally, it was a year of micro-victories. Internally it was a year of micro-victories. Together they add up to now. I am here. I am doing all I can to protect and provide for my family. I am moving on the path towards the greatest me that I can conceive of. It has been a good year. And I am grateful.

And now, with 30 minutes left of being 42, I am going to bed and will sleep before the clock strikes me a year older. Good night and Happy New Year.