House version 2.0

For several months, my bedroom was a shambles. I had hired someone to rip out the plaster and replace it with drywall. Unfortunately, he wasn’t qualified and left the place a mess. He had planned to do more work to finish it, but the quality wasn’t satisfactory. My bedroom was on standby as I slept in my living room for several months.

I was hospitalized in March for 10 days. Mom and dad made the room livable again. However, mom was operating under the direction “do not throw anything away” while also not knowing what different things were for or how to organize them.

She did her best, but one person’s organization can be another person’s chaos. I’m rearranging things in a big way–my vision is that it will be better than the original ever could be.

I’ve got various goals. One is to turn the house into a refuge from the storm for people needing help. I’ve already failed at having people stay with me, so that’s not an option. However, housing is not the only refuge people might need.

I’m hoping the living room can become a party room. While a typical party has loud music and posing, I’m hoping for the opportunity for small groups of people to share something unique. The current kitchen might double a room for people to meet in private.

The bedroom and office are in flux. On one hand, I’d like the current bedroom to be an office. I’ve got a map, but it would be cramped and the current computer room would become a bedroom and library. That’s a middle term goal while my primary goal is to close down my storage unit which costs about $40 per month. I’d also like to create a place for producing music and videos.

The expensive goals are to fix the plumbing, electrical outlets and lighting. This month I need to get a lot of quotes on the many different sub-projects.

I have big hopes and am looking forward to getting stability in what is currently very shaky. I’m tending toward having a tent theme to the house where the rooms will not be divided by modern plaster. I’d rather have a form that harks back to humanity’s experience as wanderers in a big world. Our world is hard to understand. Making something simple seems worthwhile.

Drug: a definition

a. Something that has been purified.

b. Something that causes a characteristic change in an organism.

or c. Something that is chosen because it might cause a characteristic change.


Once a drug has been identified, there are some questions to ask:

  • What are its side effects?
  • How small of an amount can have an effect?
  • Does it interact with anything else?
  • Does chronic use of it cause problems? At what levels? What problems?
  • Does its usage affect other organisms?
  • What do you need to do to stop using it safely?
  • Can it cause acute harmful effects? At what levels? What effects?

A key point of this definition is that it does not specify that a drug must be a substance. Also a drug is defined by the change, not by its design.

I’ll come back to this definition once in a while to show how it can be a useful frame to think about important issues.

Trust Covers Fear

Like in the rock-paper-scissors game, there are three positive attitudes that can conquer three common negative ones. Just as paper covers rock, the positive attitudes are capable of destroying the negative. I thought I’m calling the 3 negative ones the terrestrial trio and the three positive ones the celestial triad.

So, Fear is the first in terrestrial trio and it can be covered by the celestial triad principle of Trust.

Fear is a basic human reaction to danger. It keeps us safe and it is very sensitive… You don’t want the rustling brush to be hiding a saber-tooth tiger. So, to play it safe, humans are really good at finding things to fear. Saber-tooth tiger crouching

Unfortunately, that biological machinery is way more powerful than people need in the modern world. Everyone can imagine the worst really easily. They give that fear a reality and power that the cynical and powerful can use to control the fearful.

People in recovery say that fear is a lack of faith.

One aspect of faith is trust. You trust that God and your companions will care for you. You treat your neighbor as you would like to be treated. In doing that, you trust that they will be reasonable. You recognize the ways that people are similar more than you notice how they are different.

When you are afraid of someone, you inherently don’t trust them. But trust is an essential part of society. Without trust, the mechanics of a society break down.

To look at the civil rights movement, it wasn’t just Rosa Parks resisting segregation on that bus. It was a whole host of uncelebrated people that worked together to make the Montgomery Bus Boycott work. The workers in that fight were organized. They had a strategy. They had specific goals. They trusted their cause and (especially) the others working with them.

When people go out to the streets to protest, they cannot change things in the ways that trust can accomplish. A group grounded in trust can help leader’s fears can fall to the side as they grow a shared trust.

Leaders that feel trust will compromise, work in the solution and develop creative answers. When you work with people that you trust, you can be organized and have a long-lasting impact.

So, getting back to the topic, with fear, you are separate and full of discord. The expression divide and conquer exists for a reason. When people act out of fear, they don’t have a base for cooperation and can be easily manipulated.

By using the spiritual principle of Trust instead of the untameable reaction of Fear, unity can develop. Fear can’t develop a way forward because it is looking back. Vision and insight that are rooted in trust can lead to change and success.

Original image: Saber-tooth tiger. By davlenjah [Image license]

[2016-07-15: edit and revision]

Everything became a secret

An orange poppy blooming in a fieldOnce he started doing things that he was ashamed of, he didn’t want the people around him to find out. He tried to separate the people on one side from the other. If they met, the information could make things awkward.

He decided to pull away from the former group of people because they were the ones that would disapprove of the others. The secrets were growing and the far side became more important and the closer ones were bewildered by his behavior.

As the circle shifted, problems started to pile up. Issues that could be easily solved with an honest discussion, couldn’t get fixed because of the risk of exposure.

The path grew narrower.

Until the secrets were taken out of the darkness, they festered and led to more and more bad times.

He decided to make a change and gradually, the secrets became less threatening. Trust was slowly coming back. The circles realigned and it became possible to move forward again.


Original image: The secret of success…. By Cheryl VanStane [Image license]

Running Away

small bird
In the moment, I might be afraid or different or apart-from. When I feel those feelings, it’s easy to see that something is wrong. I want to feel different but I don’t know how to get there.

In the moment, I instinctively try out my different skills to change the feeling. Some work better than others. The ones that work well, help me feel integrated.  I become part of the solution and the fear gradually dissipates. Some work for a moment, but leave me with other problems to solve.

In a relationship, I can engage or disengage. We can move forward together or I can pull back. One way to pull back is to physically or emotionally run away. I can get away from the situation by going to a new place… or I can go to a new place in my heart and get behind the familiar walls.

These forms of running away are examples of techniques that leave me with other problems to solve. The next time I feel it, I can just want to run away again, whether or not anything got better the last time I did it.

My impulse is to find a new path. I want to do it better; I want to be compassionate and kind to myself. Friends can help me find that way. Prayer can help me start moving in a good direction. I don’t need to have all the answers. Sharing with a friend who listens can reveal new ideas.

Prayer, over the course of a few days, causes things to shift. I hoped to feel a-part-of and as I looked at the days pass, I found it easier to get there.

I look out for ways to learn new skills. The ones I’m good at require cognition and not emotion. Learning the nurture the emotion skills has been worthwhile lately.

[original image: Wilson’s Warbler in Denver 2 CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]