08 Oct 2012
in Uncategorized Tags: anger, Marriage Rights, open source
My wife has had her life threatened on the internet. (trigger warning on that link)
Yes, really. It happened Friday, while she was away at Grace Hopper.
I haven’t really said much about it yet because it has upset me so much. Perhaps more so because I was alone, on the opposite coast, and feeling especially helpless. However, she’s been home for a day now and I’m still really very upset over it.
This has been a hell of a year for CK at her new job. She’s tried to exceed expectations despite all the stuff happening with my Mom, not to mention the stress that has put on me, making me less available to help her out. She’s succeeded too despite a hostile work environment.
I want to call attention to the hostile work environment expressly. This death threat starts back in March with CK logging into work and as part of her everyday job activities, coming across a blog post from a community member, a contract employee* at her company, asking for support to keep “traditional marriage” safe from people like us.
To restate, in case anyone missed it: CK started a day at her job by viewing, on a web site hosted by her company, which is part of her job to keep current on, a post stating that very nature of our desire for marriage equality makes us a threat to this man’s way of life and expression of his faith.
Her company didn’t act on this in a timely fashion and didn’t already have in place a code of conduct for community members. Clearly time was being given to think through the response the company would make, but there was a very long stretch without updates from leadership. CK drew attention to her company’s lack of response to her having to face a hostile work environment on her blog, following up a post she’d written about the start of the situation.
Bringing attention to this lack of action garnered a threatening comment from another co-worker letting her know that she and another queer co-worker weren’t welcome at the company.
Her company eventually responded, again taking rather a long time, and the person has been reprimanded, but without being revealed publicly. I’ve seen the person’s apology email and I feel the person spent far too much time excusing threatening behavior than actually owning the gravity of their actions and making amends for it.
In response to the whole situation CK wrote a post about the importance of accountability in communities and for this post she’s received a death threat via the comments to her blog.
I really don’t have a lot to contribute other than to draw attention to the fact that my wife has had to face a hostile work environment. Because she’s refused to ignore it and because she’s taken steps to document the broken community and processes at her company she’s had her life threatened.
Think about my wife, and think about the rights we’re denied because we’re queer. Think about the violence we’re threatened with if we speak out.
Next time you say that the open source community is free of sexism** and homophobia, is filled with people of such good standing there’s no need for codes of conduct, and that fostering a culture based upon respect is unnecessary because everyone is just so awesome and smart… take a moment reflect upon the fact my wife, a recognized leader in the open source community, has received a death threat for refusing to just keep quiet over the hostile environment in her workplace, an open source company.
*This man has actually been made a full-time employee since this all started.
**Not to mention a whole lot of other -isms against other under-represented minorities.
11 Apr 2012
in Uncategorized Tags: 30-Poems-30-Days, anger, Mom, poetry, practice
Broken Piano Foot - Our Basement, Portland, Oregon - June 2010
Today was another page in the Troubles of Mom, sadly. Still don’t want to say much in such a public forum, but the end result is that I’m feeling angry and sad tonight. So angry that the poetry I come up with is something like this:
I’m reminding of a song from Bruce Cockburn, “Pacing the Cage“, which has the amazing lyrical image of “eddies in the dust of rage”. The difficult waiting game, waiting out the rage, reminds me a lot of this song tonight.
And then on my commute home there was an enormous rainbow, clearly seen in a glorious arc across a gray, spring sky.
It is hard practice sitting between the simple joy of rainbows and unethical people hurting my Mom. Practicing with my own anger very certainly feels like all the training wheels are off.
And yet, there is this nagging commitment to poetry…
Waiting with Anger
There’s a video on YouTube of Bruce Cockburn performing “Pacing the Cage”, check it out!
30 Jan 2012
in Uncategorized Tags: anger, Grave Precepts, Mom, precepts
Xenophobia is a great, big-points-in-Scrabble kind of word. Wictionary defines it thusly:
xenophobia (plural xenophobias)
- A fear of strangers or foreigners.
- A strong antipathy or aversion to strangers or foreigners.
The Seventh Grave Precept, one of the vows I received when I took refuge, provides us with clear direction about xenophobia:
Realize self and others as one. Do not elevate the self and blame others.
Mom & Mr. Murphy, January 2012
The past ten days have been a roller coaster, a Mom roller coaster. This time it is something entirely out of the realm of the usual conflicts and hurt between us. In some ways there’s a rather painful familiarity to what’s been happening, but for now I don’t want to go into the details, although I will in time.
What I want to talk about is what happens when we do not realize the self and others as one. What happens and what we are capable of when we don’t practice with the Seventh Grave Precept.
We truly see and hear about the consequences of seeing people as other every day. Wars, murder, sexual exploitation, ethnic violence, abuse, theft, and more all happen because one group of people sees another group as other and their xenophobia lets them justify all manners of horrifying behavior.
We also witness this when animals are treated as commodities to be tortured, killed, and consumed. We tell ourselves that animals don’t feel the way we do, that their suffering isn’t on par with ours so we find it acceptable to treat them horrifically. We justify laws that classify sentient beings as property and allow barbarous treatment of them to be classified as “animal agriculture”.
The Seventh Grave Precept asks us to keep our hearts open to the compassion of the Buddhas. It tells us to never flinch away from taking responsibility for ourselves, never put ourselves above another being either by seeing them as other or through blaming them for our own poor choices. At every moment we look at another being knowing that they are absolutely the same, equal with ourselves.
The First Noble Truth reminds us that we all suffer. It is the human condition to suffer. In this, and in so many other ways, we’re each of us exactly the same. We all long to be loved and seen for who we are. We fear the suffering of illness, injury, loss, and our inevitable deaths. Each and every moment we’re all out there together with our worries, hopes, dreams, and desires.
The past 10 days have created a gulf between people who have tried, in their own flawed and human way, to love each other. There’s been both discord and joy, misunderstanding and communion. There have been unexpected and grave illnesses. In the end my Mom was seen as other and experienced shocking treatment because of it.
It hurts a lot and I am mindful of an anger so keen that it leaves me feeling ashamed and overwhelmed.
In contrast to the negativity that comes from not practicing the Seventh Grave Precept, loving-kindness and compassion arise naturally. In response to the events of this past week I see the true compassion people have for one another. There have been so many people, some of them complete strangers, who’ve offered help, time, money, creative thinking, concern, and loving-kindness. People have been giving in so many unexpected ways. These kindnesses, both small and large, help me to remember to keep my heart open instead of closed in anger.
11 Jul 2011
in Uncategorized Tags: anger, grief, history, PTSD, shame
I did go to Denver for Jen’s memorial. There was never really any question in my mind that I wanted to be there, but it was a hard decision in many ways. Difficult in large part because CK was co-chairing an event in Portland the same weekend and wouldn’t be able to travel with me. A good friend offered to travel with me and I lucked out in being able to get her on the same flights that I was booked on, particularly for the flight home to Portland out of Denver International Airport, which has the “advanced imaging systems” well in place.
I haven’t wanted to fly anywhere at all since TSA began their policy of doing invasive pat-downs if you opt-out of the full body scans. As someone who had at least one set of chest x-rays a year throughout my entire childhood and well into my 20s and 30s, I am mindful of how many times I get exposed to those kinds of radiation levels. Being asked to submit to a full-body x-ray type blast in order than some person in a dark room somewhere and peruse my nearly-naked image really kind of bothers me. It bothers me more to have a complete stranger, regardless of gender, touch me in my genital area and my breasts. It bothers me a great deal that to travel I must submit to being seen by a stranger nearly naked or submit to a level of touching that would be considered felony sexual assault if someone not in a TSA uniform attempted it.
So I felt I was faced with two choices that were not good for my physically or mentally. Given that I have a very small number of very private, but very meaningful, piercings, I worried that these appearing either on a full-body scan or during an invasive pat-down would be cause for even more invasive, triggering, traumatic treatment. By biggest concern was clearing security to come home and I was very worried that if things were traumatizing that I wouldn’t be mentally capable of getting myself onto my plane. Having a friend travel with me helped alleviate these worries to the point that thinking of the travel didn’t make me feel nauseous with anxiety.
As it was, I was on full-alert mode by the time we passed through security at PDX to board our plane to Denver. It was the way a TSA agent was telling a man in the security line behind me that he was going to give him a pat down. The agent carefully and clearly explained to the man traveling that he’d be running his hands over and around the buttocks, groin and genital area.
My travel companion hadn’t even noticed. I had noticed and it made me shiver with anxiety despite my own uneventful trip through the security line. We made it to DIA without any problems, got our rental car, some amusement ensued around using the map function on my phone to try to get to a Whole Foods; we ended up at the distribution center near the airport.
We found the house and it swiftly filled up with college friends who had all come to Denver to honor Jen’s life. I was so grateful for the simple lentil-based spaghetti sauce BD & VD had put together upon arriving to the house first. It was a huge relief to get there and have tasty, vegan food waiting for me.
It was on my third gin & tonic that I realized that my hyper-vigilance, which almost never turns all the way off, was out-of-control. I don’t make ridiculously strong drinks, but under “normal” circumstances I’d certainly have noticed the affect of 3 drinks. I wouldn’t have been so foolish as to get in the car and drive to prove to myself that I wasn’t affected, but I know that if some emergency had arisen I would have been perfectly focused.
Even much later, after taking Xanax to help me sleep and give my muscles some relief from the tightness and muscle spasms, I was still completely wired. I was pretty much that way all weekend long and didn’t manage to drop off into fitful, troubled sleep any earlier than 4AM. The first real sleep I managed to get was on the plane back to Portland.
The trip itself, seeing many friends from college, was bittersweet. I really enjoyed connecting with folks again, and it seemed right to share our sorrow about losing Jen. However, I felt I never left a state of hurt and shame. Many times I found myself feeling like I was not really a part, having not returned for my senior year.
Seeing my EMDR therapist a couple of days following we started to look at why talking about college just leaves me stuck in so much suffering. There is just so much shame for me around not finishing, feeling like I let myself down, my family down and my friends. Jen went through so much hell during what would have been our senior year. I feel like she’d tried to help me during my big crash our junior year, and my not being there for our senior year let her down.
I often felt like I kept monopolizing the conversation while in Denver. I just felt so awkward. I felt a lot of anger too at the advisers I had who utterly failed me. In hearing about how the school psychologist made some demands upon Jennifer her senior year I was angry for how she was treated, but even angrier that I never even know our college had any kind of mental health office at all. I was never told about one, referred to one… I don’t know if it would have kept me from having a nervous breakdown, but it sure has hell would have been nice to know then that there was any kind of option.
VD, my other college best friend, reminded me that my two academic advisers were known assholes. While it was good to be reminded, it was also a reminder of just how little they did to help me. If I wasn’t giving it my all, they didn’t have much time for me. If I was floundering after being raped… they never asked. Not once. Instead I was told by both of them to get my shit together and get my grades back up.
Everything about college brings me around and around to being hurt, betrayed, and having my faith in men destroyed. From the fiance who raped me to my advisers who never tried to help in anyway. With that there’s this constant feeling that all of that was my fault. My bad choices, my not saying “No” loudly or forcefully enough, my not standing up to my advisers.
Seeing my college friends kept me in a constant state of shame, hurt, and anger. On top of that the profound grief around Jen’s death and terrible guilt that I should have done more to go see her while she was living. Stir in a good dose of awkwardness and the feeling like I was talking way, way too much…. Yeah, no wonder I didn’t really sleep at all there.
Ultimately I am glad I went despite the deep discomfort I felt while there. Also despite the EMDR appointment afterward that left me totally unhinged in looking at all the stuff that’s wrapped up in not finishing school. Reliving and pulling this stuff out into the light of day is contrary to everything I was taught (via intimidation, isolation and shame) as a child, but I do really see the correlation between the chronic pain I’ve had for over 11 years as well as a lifetime of insomnia.
I’m also glad I went for the time shared in the afternoon before Jen’s memorial. We hung out in the morning and chatted. I made a paper memorial and MK told us about letterboxing. We set out to find a couple of letterboxes, only finding one. We gathered and did a small memorial of our own alongside a stream. We hung tokens we’d all brought and/or made into the tree above the stream. We hid a letterbox as a memorial for Jen. Then we all rushed back to change and go to the “official” memorial. These moments were the small window during which I felt a little more myself, and not emotionally raw and wired.
Stupa-inspired, ribbon & paper memorial with verse from the Diamond Sutra
02 Apr 2010
in Uncategorized Tags: anger, grief, Mom
It has really hit me the past couple of weeks just how ill my Mom is. It wasn’t that I was truly in denial, but just a real depth of grief that I’ve been feeling. I think the bittersweet energy of getting ready for a trip to the Oregon coast this past weekend, the sense of urgency around taking trips with her while she can still enjoy them is part of it. Another was overhearing her say to someone at a gallery that she was dying.
What occurred to me is that I’ve never heard my Mom make that kind of admission. She’s always met cancer, or her other ills, head on and ready for a fight. Her response has always been that she’s going to beat this latest assault to her body. Now she doesn’t say that, she says that she is dying. She’s does offer that she believes in miracles, so who knows what could happen, but that is usually an aside to saying she’s finally, right now, alright with dying.
The cancer, somewhat at the top of her stomach, is late into Stage 2. This usually means it has spread to multiple layers of the stomach and/or the lymph nodes. It is causing her discomfort, nausea, and vomiting, particularly if she eats things that are difficult for the stomach to process. Because of these problems she’s fighting some malnourishment already.
Last week CK and I picked up Mom and took her to a small place south of Yachats. She had been a little worried at first about what she’d eat, but finally decided she was up for trying new things. I spent much of last week cooking several dishes that were vegan and all soy-free except for the chick pea salad, which had Vegenaise in it. Mom has at times been a little sensitive to soy, although it has been hard to pin down.
We noticed she did pretty well with small meals. I made her a fruit smoothie each morning and added some brown rice protein. She enjoyed our vegan, some raw, dishes very much and didn’t seem to get sick from eating them. She did end up eating too much of the lentil/walnut loaf with mashed potatoes & gravy, this made her somewhat nauseated, but she was alright after laying down to rest for a while.
One afternoon we ate out and she ordered a hamburger with bacon and cheese. We didn’t say anything, at this juncture it seems rather pointless to bug her. After, back at the inn, CK and I went out onto the rocky shore and Mom lay down. She told us later that this overly indulgent meal ended up making her really nauseated and she eventually vomited. I was relieved when later that day she was able to eat and enjoy a tostada with homemade, refried black beans on a baked corn tortilla.
There she was, very literally made ill by her bad choice and regretting it. I would later point out, after she was feeling better and able to hear it, that the animal proteins and fats are probably more difficult for her stomach to deal with, especially in such a large serving. I don’t think a vegan diet will save my Mom’s life at all, but I did see in the long weekend that the smaller, vegan meals we’re easier on her body.
I later recalled listening to her order that hamburger, hearing the mix of defiance and guilt in her voice. She knew she was doing the wrong thing for her body, but she didn’t want to feel like she was somehow denying herself. My Mom’s choices so often seem like a child is making them, a child who wants to be indulged and doesn’t give a damn about any potential consequences. I’ve watched this pattern with her again and again, in so many different variations.
Like so many things it seems pointless, cruel even, to shine a light too brightly on her continually making poor choices. Once or twice something she said triggered a painful memory and I felt angry at her for trying to rewrite events in my life, trying to cast herself in a more favorable light. It would strike me how childish the behavior was in many ways, like the bad choices about food, and how sad. The anger would die down pretty quickly I noticed, leaving behind layers and layers of sadness.
I’m sad my Mom is dying. I’ll think about something, like what she’s doing for Christmas, and it will occur to me that she could be gone before then. I’m sad for the anger I still feel over many of the selfish, mindless choices she’s made, but it seems so trivial to bring them up when I watch her and see the layers of pain she’s dealing with. I’m sad for all the poor choices she’s made and the many ways those choices have left her regretful and unhappy; I can see the weight of the unhappiness and regret on her.
09 Dec 2009
in Uncategorized Tags: anger, healing, PTSD
Had an interesting discussion with my therapist today about JS’s comments about the energy of anger in Chinese medicine. She felt it made a lot of sense for this to be stuck for me. My entire life has been a long series of not having the space to set boundaries. As a child my ability to set them was either denied or taken from me if I tried. As an adult I’ve experienced having people, partners even, disrespect or undermine the boundaries I would try to set.
The result has always been to over compensate. Just function higher, do more, try harder and pick up the slack. Always.
Oh, and when I fail? Self-direct that anger for a perceived inability to always pick up the slack when other people break down those boundaries. Why, yes, that does mean that I beat myself up for failing to be perfect.
She felt that if I could learn to set those firm, clear boundaries around my needs that it would heal the body that responds in muscle spasms to the energy of the anger being stuck, denied. Even more importantly it would heal the awful shame that arises any time I engage my sense of vulnerability around expressing my needs. That I need to address this in the present to heal the old pain.
This seems more attainable. I’ve been spinning around this idea, fed in part by the writing about trauma recovery, that I’ve needed to get in touch with the anger I feel about the abuse. I know I do, it does make me angry and I’m really alright with it. I think this is one of those times it is OK to look at a situation and say the anger is reasonable. I’ve even met the rage of the child I was at 13 while in sesshin (it was deeply unsettling).
But do I feel some need to throw cups and break them? Maybe a little, only in my mind. The thought of standing out in my yard shattering pottery seems kind of silly and excessive. It is a good metaphor – break the dirty cups of my life I have such a hard time not minding. In practice though, I don’t really connect to it. Perhaps because in practice I have this vow I made to not give rise to anger, but to seek the source.
When I do engage the feelings and thoughts around the anger at the abuse I feel grief. When I seek the headwaters of it, so to speak. I feel the intense hurt of an injured child and young woman. At times these things have themselves felt terrifying and overwhelming.
Even at those times when I am in direct painful contact with memories of trauma I don’t feel the need to scream and throw things. These times are where I come into contact with grief again and I acknowledge that the anger is reasonable. The anger is just there, with the memory. There are memories that I know will always carry anger around them, but it is old and I don’t honestly feel the need to let it come rushing back through me in the now. I just want to get it out of my left leg and hip.
GM said she’s always felt that this is a more positive thing anyway, that I don’t feel some intense need to express the anger beyond acknowledging that it is there. As painful and overwhelming as it gets sometimes it is expressing the emotions that fuel the anger anyway. If I was still stuck in a rage it would mean I wasn’t accessing the grief causing it. She felt there isn’t really any need to spend time on trying to express the past, other than to keep present to the hurt that arises and greet it compassionately.
This anger energy in the present, that is something to learn. How to use the energy of bamboo shooting up through cold, dark earth to burst forth into green life in the spring. That is the energy of boundary setting.
11 Nov 2009
in Uncategorized Tags: anger, practice
I feel like I’ve been sensing those gray edges of depression for a few weeks now. No, I don’t feel like I’m sliding deeply into that dark funk, just aware of how it shows up as the growing frustration that seems closer at hand lately. I am so spun up with self-doubt from my Inner Critic that it is causing me to have problems processing what people say to me. Everything I hear comes through the filter of self-doubt and only then seems to confirm the uncertainty I feel or as if I am truly being questioned about my ability.
It is getting tedious.
A suggestion was made to me today – Perhaps I need to actually allow myself to feel the anger I have. To resent the hell out of the things I resent until I’m done resenting them. Yes, I may have acknowledged that I feel it, but I view as if from afar.
Anger feels terrifying to me. This is something not uncommon in abuse survivors. Anger is a signal that things are about to go seriously wrong on some, if not many, levels. Quite often as children we are denied it, punished for it. It is pretty understandable that I really don’t have any tools to express it now.
So there it sits. I look at it and go, “eeew, scary anger.” Rather like viewing a scary predator at the zoo or aquarium*.
And there I am minding the dirty cup and ignoring the pure wine in it. Again.
Today I was also reminded that the sensation of being broken, that is just the element of suffering we all share. Bad, unfair things happen and each and every one of us is touched in some way by them. We all have some way in which we feel that sensation of brokenness. This is the First Noble Truth.
Leaning into the anger, going through it, is a very sharp point indeed. Practice has taught me that it is possible to relax into grief, to settle into it. I was able to navigate myself, teach myself even in the grip of terrible, ages old fear. But my mind really pulls away from experiencing the anger.
I hear my fearful-mind rationalizing, looking at the anger closely and reminding me of the Ninth Precept. “Oh no,” she says, “we cannot give rise to anger.”
Yet I know that’s another way of keeping that scary predator safely in the tank, behind glass. Viewed, appreciated, acknowledged, but not touched. If anger turned outward is unhealthy for those around us, and anger turned inward is depression, then what is the middle was of experiencing anger in a way that is healthy?
*Just on a side note – I fortunate to see the Great White Shark that was at the Monterey Aquarium a while ago. She was, to borrow inspiration from Umberto Eco, beautiful and terrible, like an army arrayed with banners.
10 Jul 2009
in Uncategorized Tags: anger, history, practice, shame
Maybe, just maybe the reason why it is easier to rest in the anxiety of blaming myself for some events in my life, “my failings”, than it is to look truly deeply, openly at the real causes. The anxiety, the shame are the lesser pain and they are they pain I’m accustomed to. Comfortable suffering.
It is far easier to blame and castigate myself for “allowing” myself to gain over 150 pounds than it is to realize the truth of my family’s deeply disordered behavior around food, body image and personal interaction. Less painful to say that my marriages “failed” or to just rest all the blame on being gay than to look at how the faith and energy I put into those relationships was not met with equal effort. The pain of saying I failed at college is far, far less significant than looking at how a combination of my family environment & childhood abuse and 2 sexual assaults in the 3 years I was at Beloit led to a breakdown.
Anger is merely intensified aversion and Buddhism teaches that aversion (anger) is one of three root causes of suffering (attachment/greed and delusion/ignorance being the other two).
On Wednesday my therapist was shaking her head and half laughing as she asked me if I really, truly was trying to blame myself for all these things. She asked me if I could really see how I was turning into failures things that everyone else in my life sees as amazing successes. She smiled and said that she really thought that only I would find some way to blame myself for behaving exactly the same way as everyone else.
Self-directed blame becomes just another way to avoid being present to the grief and pain. Generating anger at the self has a kind of delusional quality to it, distorting reality until I always come out the failure. Clinging to the idea that things really weren’t that bad, attached to my comfortable, known suffering out of fear of sinking into the whole truth.
20 May 2009
in Uncategorized Tags: anger, anxiety, relationship dynamics
I am feeling distracted today which is no help at all to writing test plans, project plans, or new code. I decided to write down some of what’s distracting me in hopes it will help clear things up for me. I’m also going to make myself go for a walk over to Powell’s to pick out a book to give to one of my SMART readers, who “graduated” from the program this year.
More bad news at work today. In addition to my director’s mother dying last week a co-worker’s brother, who has been battling brain cancer, is in the last stages of his life. He’d gone into remission for a while and things were looking incredibly positive for him. They found another cyst in his brain yesterday. Today he had a few lucid moments and in them asked to have his breathing tube removed, to not replace it should he stop breathing. After receiving this news I sat for a few minutes doing loving-kindness practice for my co-worker and her family.
I think the biggest part of the distracting disquiet is that I believe AM is angry at me and feeling like I’m ignoring him, “pushing” him out of my life. That I was sick for two weeks probably doesn’t measure in much to his feelings. Aside from being sick, I do admit that I have been keeping communication with him down a bit. I’ve been angry with him and rather than confront him about old decisions that cannot be fixed now, I’ve just been trying to work on being present to how things are now. Some distance has helped me from falling into venting that anger at him, merely complaining about the past.
I told Hogen that when I try and pull away the anger and the many times I felt deeply disappointed, I’m just sad. Putting in the garden was bittersweet in many ways, bringing up a lot of that sadness. Sweet because it felt really good to make some progress and the yard, having it look nicer. Bitter because I kept running into tangible evidence of projects, ideas, tools all just set aside to rust and decay. So many instances where an investment of time, if not money, was made only to be abandoned after the initial enthusiasm wore off.
It hurts to remember the many times I questioned this approach, said that I think things should be done in a different order, or at least continued. Most times I was given a list of reasons as to why it was OK that things weren’t progressing how I’d hoped they would or assurances that things would be different, but then weren’t. A lot of times it felt as though my priorities didn’t really matter in the overall scheme of things and that either his priorities were more important or that he had put the priorities of other people ahead of mine, of us.
For some reason it hurts more when I’m holding some rusted tool in my hands that had meant so much to have the year before that spending money on it couldn’t wait until there was actually money to be spent. However, it apparently didn’t mean enough to be put away for the winter so it would be in good shape this spring. I’m not sure why I feel the hurt and anger so keenly when there’s some material reminder around, but there it is.
Broken stuff, broken dreams, broken hopes, broken promises… And the overwhelming feeling that I should have done something differently earlier. At times it feels like every rusted and/or broken thing I find around the house and yard is just further evidence of my complicity, my fault. I feel tremendous shame around all of it.
It isn’t useful at all to dwell on decisions I made then and it is even less useful to direct anger at AM for the decisions he’s made over the years. It doesn’t actually fix anything at all in the present and in the long run only hurts our chances for maintaining some kind of friendship. Nor would any of it change that a fundamental instability in my relationship with AM was my trying to force my sexuality to go the direction I, we, wanted it to go.
Right now I’m finding it challenging to reach out and foster our friendship, although I am trying. It hurts really letting myself feel the deep sense of disappointment I tried hard to ignore, feeling that I didn’t matter enough & that other priorities were more important, and recognizing, mourning the loss. It has been incredibly painful deciding to direct the movement of my life towards my priorities without him, to agree with him that it was time for us to end our marriage.
During my sessions with GM she and I have talked about how we would have eventually hit this point, the need to end my marriage. Last autumn I was still trying to find a way to “figure it all out”, feeling that if I just worked harder at the problem I could fix it. When AM responded to my distress by saying he thought we should end things I was surprised, it was not the direction I was going. After talking with him about it I agreed he was right.
I’ve wondered a lot if he’d be less angry with me if CK wasn’t in my life right now. If he saw that I was without a relationship and struggling more would it be just as easy to be angry with me?
It isn’t that I begrudge him his own hurt and anger. I can only assume that just as I am feeling the full impact of the loss and the pain around examining that loss, he is going through the same process in his own way. It would be entirely unreasonable for me to expect him not to feel hurt and angry as well. I guess it just hurts a lot that he’s angry at me.
07 May 2009
in Uncategorized Tags: anger, metta, pain, practice
Ugh. I am day two into a spring cold and am none to pleased about it. It makes everything feel like a bit too much to take on. In addition to the whole body “ick” sensation I am sneezy, headachy, itchy, cranky, and probably a few other of the Dwarves of Spring Colds.
Tonight the neighbor, who spends the majority of his time meticulously maintaining his yard, used a pressure washer to clean his drive way for nearly 3 hours. The same neighbor yelled at me Sunday for the state of my yard when I suggested we find a compromise on the tiny strip of earth between our properties that didn’t involve him spraying toxic herbicides that then run down onto my property.
After the Loving-Kindness sesshin I can feel the way my heart hardens, closes against the neighbor. Generally I feel mostly some compassion for him, tinged with a sadness that I suppose is rooted in judging the circumstances of his life. Today it was challenging to offer him anything resembling a kind thought at all. He’s a good candidate for when I choose to work on Loving-Kindness practice for someone who irritates me.
The noise of the pressure washer felt oppressive with the congestion-amplified pain in my head. On top of that our water bill had arrived today. There’s the very realistic cost of that water, financially and environmentally. I feel aware of him literally spraying resources into the sewer system.
Dinner managed to get made and the noise was still this heavy weight as we recited our meal chant. We smiled, joked, rolled our eyes, and commented on the neighbor’s behavior. Finally I burst out to CK, “That noise is what my chronic pain sounds like!”
Several years ago I started to use noise to help people understand what chronic pain is like. A constant noise, part of every moment of your life, and not even in sleep can it be fully escaped – that’s what it is like to have chronic pain. Some days it might only be slightly irritating to have the constant noise vibration; those are the good days. Other days it feels like the noise vibrations are an oppressive and heavy weight that makes it hard, if not impossible, to wade through the day-to-day; those are the bad days.
He’s stopped now. I am feeling a lot better since he has. I was thinking about how irritation & aversion are merely low-level anger. Anger all usually comes back to fear. What do I fear in the neighbor’s noise?
Maybe I find the noise of his many power, yard tools to be so awful because I already have what feels like some level of constant noise chafing in my life from my pain. Do I fear the additional weight of the noise in my life?
There are small, puffy, rose-hued clouds hanging in the still-blue, twilight sky. The sunset is so lovely from the upstairs of the house. Now, now that there is some quiet I’ll go sit zazen for a little and offer Loving-Kindness practice for myself and my neighbor.