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This site has been down for a while.  Sorry friends, I guess I finally got sick of it.

I got sick of the taste of grace.

You know what I’m talking about… the taste in the back of your throat when one more person who doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about and SURE the hell hasn’t earned the right to “speak truth into your life” tells you that this whole steaming pile of shit is somehow for “greater glory”.

I guess Great Glory finally got my goat because I have kinda told the goat I do not like it in the rain, or when I’m in pain, or when I feel shame, or in a box, or who gives a flying farg about the fox?!

So things are changing up a bit here in Dodge.  Instead of the usual polite offers of assistance or even the hand down from the ledge… we might just see how fast and how far this bitch will go.   We might just feel the burn and see how salty that gets.

You in?

 

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Perhaps we aren’t so impressed by the recent books and movies because our own stories have moved beyond the grey. After the black and white facts we learned to dabble in monochrome.  The subtle nuances of what it true and what’s imagined, un- versus acceptable, the pain and pleasure of our own comfort, right and not-so-wrong.

Where things really get interesting, and colorful, is the intersection of my choices and flaws and mistakes… and sins (dare we even use such an outdated word?)  When our stories become less about how someone else’s choices affected us and more about the effect our choices have on those around us.

Years ago I entered a conversation I knew I’d regret.  A gaggle of women beating the dead horse that was Jerry Sandusky.  “What a Monster”, “I hope he burns in hell”, “What makes someone so horrible” they cried.  Having been privy to their recent discussion on books, movies, fashion, gossip and other things that don’t interest me in the least,  I couldn’t resist dropping a bomb on the conversation.

 It’s just a shade… maybe a few shades dark for your particular taste, but he’s no different than any of us.

“Oh, it’s totally different.”  Was the group consensus.  And it IS.  Except if you really are honest with yourself.

If we are being totally transparent we have to admit that we’ve crossed fine lines.  And sometimes wide lines.  …and then there are the gaping chasms we’ve crossed, knowing full-well we’ve got no business veering over.  We cross right straight on to deep, inky black.   And for ourselves, it’s acceptable.

It’s only “totally different” when someone else’s choices are under scrutiny.  When someone else is talking about who talks/eats/drinks/sleeps around too much- especially if the subject of the conversation is someone wearing our same jersey.  It’s okay to talk about the other team as long as “other” isn’t us.   …or sitting too close to us.

The thing I love most about the other people On the Couch is that they never forget that the “Other Team” isn’t the enemy.  After we really wade through the crap, we can see clearly that we are all black and white.  Not or… and.  We are Black AND we are White.  We all suck.

Whatever drove us to do the thing we hated ourself for yesterday is the same thing that drove him to do what he’s hating himself for today.  There’s no joy or even relief or help in wishing more pain on the child molester who has gone to jail.  Between the black and the white of what was right and what is now terribly horribly wrong there has to be a sliver of light and hope.  There has to be room for grace.  For some other color than just black, white, and the fifty shades between.  The grace comes in the yellows of curiosity or the orange of wonder.  Yes, and red of anger and the blue of depression.  Grace shows up in the purple and periwinkle that makes way to ask the questions about how to make things better- not just for me but for those that hurt me.  And not just way back when but yesterday and today.  Because I’m still hurting others too.  I’m still sitting on the beach talking about the one who isn’t here and what she did to hurt me in a way that I know would hurt her- and I wouldn’t do it if her chair was pulled up next to mine in the sand.  As my shoulders turn a deeper shade of red, I’m grateful.  The cheap talk and latest thing has no allure for me… all of it’s just old recycled news.  That same news printed in black and white.  I’m ready for some grace.  Something really colorful.  Something really worth talking about.

Who’d have thought we needed to be taught to breathe?

You’ll be amazed by how much an hour of “practice” helps-

You wanted to know when we’d be done since the beginning. Well…. we’re about done. Monday night is IT.

Don’t panic. We will start again in February. There are also lots of resources to get you through until then. Please try to be there for this last session of 2011 so you can “wrap it up” until we meet again. We will talk about some specific methods to cope- especially through the holidays.

A bit of closure is good to help everyone move on and/or set the hard work aside for a season.
I love you all dearly and look forward to our visit Monday night. We may even make some plans for a FUN Monday….

Trick or treating is so much fun.  You dress up as anything you want, parade around the block and ring the doorbells of your favorite neighbors, let them ooh and aah over you, then hold out your plastic pumpkin head to be filled with goodies.  What could be any more enticing for a kid?  Especially one with an imagination, craving for sugar, and maybe even a knack for practical jokes.

There are all sorts of reasons people don’t like Halloween, maybe some are even valid. Maybe it was a disappointment to you as a child.  Maybe you have an upsetting memory related to it.  Perhaps your shiny halo just wont allow you to participate in any pagan ritual that is not church sponsored.

We all know that our feelings about things are influenced by our past experiences.  We especially react to childish things; particularly annual events, those with strong memories, and those we perceive as dangerous.  Just remember-   you get to decide now.  With all of the adult facts, you get to make a decision about how you will respond to the invitation to come out and play.

If you choose to skip the festivities, just be aware of why you decide not to join the fun.  Knowing why we do what we do is a big piece of setting us free.

There is a ritual involved with this night that is based entirely on fear.  It has nothing to do with gorey costumes or chainsaws or even vampires that roam the dark night.  Children bring home a stash of candy without daring to taste a bite of it.  No smartie or milk dud sample to fuel the last leg of the journey.  Not even a dum-dum to get the sugar high kicked off.  The candy must be methodically examined by a responsable adult.  It might even be x-rayed if the local hospital is generous enough to provide such a service to the cautious citizens of the community.  Why?  Well because of the razor blades, of course.  Mom has to inspect for signs of poisioning and attempts at impalement.  The interesting thing about this particular practice is that it is irrational and unfounded.  There are no documented cases of “death by chocolate”.  There is no real risk of children being hurt by candy.  They are much more likely to die from contaminated lettuce or undercooked chicken than from razor-laced tootsie rolls.

We all tend to believe the “facts” that are most frightening.

How are your fears dressed up?  Is something scaring you that is not quite as big as it’s shadow?  Why are you taking the precautions that seem to be necessary?  It’s good to know what is going on behind that mask… especially the one you wear yourself.

We wont be meeting Monday, October 31, 2011.  Go out and scare yourself up some fun.  It wont kill you.

There were just a few of us together Monday night. It was a very hard working group- the hardest kind of work.
Going back can feel like it will kill you. You can feel like you’re going crazy -like you’ll never get back to “okay”.
Don’t let your feelings fool you. Even though it feels like you’re going to die; you are not. Even though you feel crazy; you are more sane than you’ve ever been.
Look back at another blog entry- http://wipeyourfeet.wordpress.com/2010/09/18/back-to-the-furnace/
We’re on the right track. We’re headed in the right direction. Best of all, we have each other. Lean on, lean in, keep pressing forward.

How do you feel? …and does that really matter?
We spend so much time talking about what we are feeling and the need to be aware of those feelings- and now we discover that the heart is a liar.

What do we do with that?

First, we feel the feelings. We name them and acknowledge their weight. We search for their source- are they coming from this time zone or the past?
Next, we are going to have to decide what to do with them.
Just because we feel a certain way does that mean we have to act that way (or cover up that feeling)?
That is certainly oversimplifying- but it is essentially what we need to do.

Pay attention to the gauges and lights. Know what is going on inside and why. But don’t let the feelings drive anymore. They’ve had the wheel too long.