I Know You Are Hurting

There is loneliness when we are hurting. That can be both a physical and or an emotional hurt. At those difficult moments we are trapped inside ourselves and in many cases have spiralled further and deeper in our despair. The enormity of the sensation can be overwhelming and the loneliness which wasn’t necessarily present without the physical or emotional pain is now nonetheless and integral part of it. We don’t feel right. We own a consciousness of isolation from all that is “normal” or “carefree” and we intensely desire a return to what was – before this fell upon us.

For some, it is the loneliness that is the prominent condition. I see it in the elderly on a daily basis but also with many much younger – even with Millennial’s. Loneliness is becoming more prevalent in today’s society as we become massively digitally connected yet physically more distant. Is there any possibility this is an improvement in connectedness amongst human beings?

I was searching recently for one of those great dictums to post on social media and found one so appropriate for what I sought at that point in time:

Saying you can’t be sad because others have it worse, is like saying you can’t be happy because others have it better. – Go Fun Yourself by 9GAG.COM

That is not to say that empathy and compassion are absent from our awareness but our shit IS OUR SHIT.   You know what I mean.

Today – was a difficult day for you. I know. I sensed your pain.

Many are hurting and you are one of them – I assume that is why you are still reading this. For some, you can’t see the end of the tunnel from the incessant pain. A few of you fear an upcoming surgery. You can’t afford the life saving surgery. Something you saw you shouldn’t have and triggers abound everywhere. Others are fighting serious disease. You lost your job. Bankruptcy is imminent. You are separated from loved ones and it is killing you. A million things are bringing you down.


What is hope? Is it real and tangible? Is it a belief system? What good is it to you?

I am reminded of a brilliant English teacher I had in grade eight, or was it nine? Mr. Sevigny. He was a linguist. He professed to know roughly eight languages. The class was soon to learn he was profoundly religious as well. Just moments after a fellow student, under his breath, but loud enough to be heard by our teacher – uttered God’s name in vain, Mr. Sevigny took a yard stick in his hand, raised it high above his head and smashed it down as hard as he possibly could upon a desk in the front row of our classroom. I will never forget the sound and shock of that unsuspecting implosion inside my body created by that yard stick and Mr. Sevigny’s fury.

What we didn’t realize at the time, this was the immediate impetus for Mr. Sevigny to lurch into a lesson of Pascal’s Wager. Blaise Pascal was a seventeenth century physicist, philosopher, and mathematician. He argued that a rational person should live under the possible belief that there is a God. We got quite the lesson that day in Pascal’s Wager. If you are interested to learn more about Pascal’s Wager then click here.

I see in part, that a belief in God or a god or a higher source is of possessing hope. Hope for a better outcome. Hope for change. Hope for a cure. Hope for peace. Hope for normalcy. Hope to end our pain. Hope for love. Hope for companionship. With the concept of Pascal’s Wager in our consciousness, hope is then a logical direction or focus of our energy.

I hope that you wake up tomorrow with the hope you most desire.


Threatened by Yourself

“Not being afraid to be wrong – I had to learn how to do that.”

– Michelle Obama

What does it mean, “not being afraid to be wrong”? Is it our ego talking? Is it some kind of intellectual weakness to confess when we are wrong? Does it demonstrate a characteristic of inferiority to admit we are wrong? And conversely, does that necessarily imply the “other”, if there is an “other”, is superior to us?

I spent a wonderful afternoon in Peoria Heights, Illinois this past weekend, participating in a book-signing event for WHEN WALLS BECOME BRIDGES. I had several in-depth and delightfully heartfelt discussions with buyers of my book.

It is moderately imaginable that some people have already been turned off by this blogpost since I initiated it with a quote from Michelle Obama. Well, before you tune me out completely, I had a similar reaction with one individual in the bookstore I Know You Like A Book in Peoria Heights.

Before I delve into that, it is important for me to clarify for the purpose here, the concept of “being wrong”. What I am not referring to is the proverbial heated exchange with one’s own spouse or partner and finally digging deep, often swallowing one’s pride and owning up to the error – sometimes for the sake of the relationship one party may even falsely admit to wrongdoing.

No, I am referring to being wrong just to ourselves and within ourselves where only we know if we are adhering to our own truth – or if we are not.

Back to Peoria Heights – He challenged me. Not by my words, not by any past action as I just met this gentleman. I was challenged by my thoughts prompted by him. How did this make me feel you might ask? Of course any respectable psychotherapist would pose the same question to their client.

I will reveal how I felt.

I felt offended. I felt attacked. I felt small. I felt I needed to be defensive. I stopped listening and was searching for counter arguments. And inside of me a controlled rage was simmering. And he kept taking jabs at me. Finally I shot back with what I knew was an anaemic “fact”. And dammit – he called me out on it. I found a few good counter punches left in my repertoire, which momentarily stunned my opponent, but he was undaunted in his pursuit.

I am not sure of the precise moment, but at some point during the verbal exchange I channelled the anger I was feeling towards him and redirected not anger, but questions – questions I posed privately towards and inside myself. Why am I angry? Actually I knew the “why” – but I didn’t immediately understand the “what” I was angry about.

It was about the same time I slowly calmed myself down and began listening again. Not to him, but to me – to my thoughts – to what he was triggering inside of me by his words. I didn’t have to hear him again – I already heard him loud and clear. But for some unknown reason I was surreptitiously answering my own questions in real time. I think he saw it and sensed it.

I began to contemplate, not change, some previously and fastidiously held beliefs. I transcended the internal anger and transformed that into critical thinking – in a way never before possible. I removed the emotional knee-jerk response and replaced it with a desire to benignly understand why I was reacting and feeling as I was.

I acknowledge this is difficult. When I very recently posited this concept with a friend she wasn’t able to go where I had begun to journey. Perhaps, she was not yet ready …

While the exchange with my book purchaser ensued, I recalled the time when a particular woman and now sadly former friend was incensed at me for a blogpost I had written several years ago about a visit to Dresden Germany. Even during my despair at receiving her vitriol, I realized she was unsettled more within herself than for what I had written. I remembered this exact altercation whilst in that bookstore. I wanted to be better than that. I can only try.

“When you show up authentic, you create the space for others to do the same. Walk in your truth.”  -Anonymous