Getting real; staying clear


What We Return

going naked being seen

Humility like the darkness, reveals the heavenly lights.
Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) American naturalist, poet and philosopher
There is something more than gratitude I feel for those that have gone before me on the path of recovery and spiritual development. A common bond of love and reverence, I guess. I feel less alone as I traverse uncharted territory. A line from one of my favorite Ferron songs comes to mind,

“Where the lines connect but the points stay free.” Ferron, “Our Purpose Here”

So, I was pretty amazed with myself when I said to my friend as we talked about both last week,

“There is nothing more attractive than holiness, and nothing more powerful than humility.” 

That’s my perspective, and it comes after years of living, and spiritual striving. That sentence rings with  simplicity, and that’s how I know I’ve made some progress. After I said that profound statement…

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Out There

going naked being seen

Euphemisms always intrigue me because of what they don’t say, or try to minimize. “Out there” is a way that most people in recovery talk about the time when they were sick, and actively using. It’s also used to describe a relapse. It was hard for me to feel that at first, until I got really honest with myself. You see, I never had to sell my body for drugs, or sleep under bridges because I had damaged every relationship and lost every stable residence or job. I drank in the comfort of lovely homes and with nice glasses; quality wines too, don’t you know. Over time, I’ve come to know how profound that description of the state of disease is. It feels like self-hatred to me, and I sure engaged in that; to the gates of death.

I just didn’t know I was angry. And I didn’t have a…

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going naked being seen

602Responsibility The seven wonders

Diana was a dear friend and helped me navigate the stormy waters of my mother’s mental illness. That was in 1990, and she was a psychiatrist. In a dream the other night, I was gifted with a memory. A searing moment of pain, and a phone call to her. I felt and heard her steady, solid voice as I told her my mother hanged herself, and I couldn’t make it for Thanksgiving dinner that night.

A long pause ensued, characteristic of those trained in her profession, but it was more. She held such a profound space for me as I struggled to breathe. She finally broke the silence, and said,
“Your efforts on behalf of your mother were heroic MaryAnn. I admire you, and I am so sorry.

Over twenty years later, I know that heroic efforts did not make me a hero, and certainly not a hero of love…

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going naked being seen

A friend drove fifteen miles Monday night to deliver me a photograph of a man named Elijah, because we shared a powerful history with him. More than moved I was, because that man shone the light of God when I was in in the deepest, darkest hell. He died several years ago, and I thought I had missed the chance to thank him. Now that I see his beautiful face in a photo, he’s alive again to me, and this post is for him. The text below is from my forthcoming book, Going Naked, Being Seen: Mary Magdalene and the Return to God,

A smell hit me as I walked down the stairs to the intake desk. The air was heavy and the floors were dirty.  Walking toward the desk, my eyes slowly adjusted to the dark basement. I felt eyes upon me as I descended the…

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A Gracious and Generous Gift

going naked being seen

A true gift is given without expectations,  like a grace. I’ve received so many of them in my life, you think I’d be more gracious in receiving. This past weekend broke me open to a whole new capacity because that grace showed up in everything I saw around me. I felt like God had kept track of my loves and reflected them back to me in a perpetual experience. Even down to the type of coffee that my friend served, and the behavior of the stray cat whose affection arrested me because he looked like my beloved cat Gracie that I left almost seven years ago, when I couldn’t care for myself, let alone a cat.

I met some new friends recently, and took a road trip to spend time with them last weekend. In their presence I felt seen; that I mattered, and where I had been before our time together…

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I Don’t Know~ Defying Logic and Gravity

going naked being seen

Let nothing disturb you,
Angel with no eyesLet nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

St. Teresa of Avila


I’m not the answer guy; more like the question woman. When people come to me for counsel or advise, I find myself asking them questions, and they often come to their own conclusions. Some problems are tough though, and they don’t yield right away. It’s when I have to say I don’t know.

When my friend Christi used to respond, “I don’t know” when I pondered something I was grappling with, it frustrated me at first. Recreating a life is real work, and most of it is internal, before the changes appear on the surface as demonstrations. Christi is wise, and she is kind, because she has done the inner work. She radiates love…

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Catch and Release

going naked being seen

There is something that I would die for, and I die daily to get it. Freedom. I don’t fight others for it though, it is usually something within me blocking the light, that I need to let go. It isn’t always easy, and it isn’t always pretty. Maybe that is why I’ve been captivated by my friend’s moving story of a field mouse rescue.

Mike found him outside while he was doing something on the lawn, and brought him in. He was tiny and ugly, and probably would have died without Mike’s amazing triage and continued care. I watched Mike’s posts of his progress; feeding by eye dropper, heated cage with perfect fiber blankets, and later, more solid food. Captivated, I looked forward to the growth reports. This week, Mike set him free, and said this:

[among my sisters] I had to take one last picture and cage him to do it.

As I…

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