akienm: (Default)
So... A while back D sent me this link: http://ping.fm/7mQrR

And asked me if I'd had my testosterone level checked. My story is not wholly unlike his. Tho I'd been attributing it to emotionally related stuff. The need to jettison old patterns, the rebuilding of myself after jettisoning them, that sort of thing.

However very recently I started supplementing my testosterone. Oh. My. God. All the emotional fragility *poof*! Gone. All the need to try and push myself hard in order to get anything done... *poof*! Gone! It's like a whole new me!

Since starting this I've had a couple of things happen that would have been very triggering, and... Nothing. Centeredness. I was kinda worried about angry, aggressive behavior... Nope. Things that *would* have made me angry before aren't bugging me. I feel much more patient. Less overwhelmed.

I do feel a little more assertive... But it hasn't been aggressive.

I am liking this A LOT!
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I realized today that have a story that if I/we don't spend every possible moment delighting one another, there's something wrong with the relationship. That the way to fulfillment is to create happily ever after, and the way to do that is to deeply appreciate one another in every possible moment. And that to not do those things is saying to the other that the relationship is of lesser importance.

With L, I am mostly completely sexually fulfilled. More so than I have ever been in my life. It gives me a sense of contentment that has enabled me to face the rest of the difficult things in my life.

At the same time, L does not subscribe to the rule above. She wants and needs more novelty and variety than the story above. We spend 3 weeks out of 4 growing closer and closer, and then the 4th week, she suddenly distances from me. Some of it is biological, some of it is her need for novelty... But a lot of it is not being *burdened* with the story above.

With D, I had a sense of building something bigger than us. We taught so well together, we researched well together. It gave me a sense of value to the community. I miss that.

At the same time, D does not subscribe to the rule above. She wants first and foremost to be heard, understood, and correct... There's a deep need for safety that's related to that. And when she'd get upset, her ways of expressing that upset, and her ways of hearing me resulted in me feeling unsafe.

Now that I see the rule, I also recognize that it is deeply flawed. That to spend so much time together leaves you without different experiences to bring to the relationship and to share. You become completely known to each other. And the things that seem to make a relationship work are ongoing discovery, delightful shared experiences, and reasonable harmony on executing any shared tasks.

So one of the steps to healthy differentiation seems to be to replace that rule. The point of the rule is to keep and maintain a happy, healthy relationship. It doesn't do that. But the need is still there.

How do I tell if my relationship is being successful? I don't know. Very early in my life, I thought that all you needed was love. Then I thought if they were still having sex with me, they must still want me. Then happiness became my ruler, but in more than one case, I was happy and apparently oblivious, because the other eventually was unhappy and left. Asking questions would be a second obvious answer to that, but I have experience of asking people why they were distancing, was everything ok? To be told that yes, there wasn't anything up... And then be broken up with a week later.

So far the only answer I have is: You can't know. You just have to hope you picked a better communicator than you got before, and create the most happiness you can along the way.

Got a better one?
akienm: (Default)
The other thing from the weekend was that I realized why I hadn't been writing so much. It's really a combination of things... Some of it has been just busyness...

But the rest has been that when I started this work 3 years ago, I was in a panic. Work was being particularly stressful, and I needed to gain enough ground to get really functional again. That was emotional work that was immediately and dreadfully important. Especially since I had no models for how to embrace the work as a delightful challenge. I started sprinting through all the growth work. This isn't the most effective way to go about it, but it was what I really needed at the time. However, it became habituated. I've been sprinting through everything ever since.

I am starting to slow down now. To reflect as I go. And even to take the time needed to cast the work into words. There are a lot of reasons for doing this. The first is that by casting it into words, I learn it better. The second is that I hope the work will benefit more than just myself. I hope that someone someday will read my learnings and learn them for themselves.

In trying to soak up everything I could, I've advanced, but with imperfect recollection and imprinting. I hope to put more of it here. To put the step my step learnings and thoughts here.
akienm: (Default)
In a moment of simple lucidity, without the triggers day to day life can bring, I walk through the hallways of my mind, opening doors, and inviting the ghosts of the past from their slumbers, to walk along with me.
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The lesson learned was: My behavior told me more about the true me than all my stories about who I was supposed to be.
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A couple of things came up over the weekend. One is that I used to write a lot more here. Another is what I've been writing here. What we dwell on in our past influences our future. And I've been dwelling on the pain and how it's helped me grow.

That's all well and good... But... It keeps the negatives in focus instead of the positives. So here's a learning from early on...

I had a story that I needed to do anything and everything to save my marriage. I needed to change me, I needed to find ways to help D change herself... And the funny thing there was, we always tell people in coaching not to do that! *chuckles to self*

Anyway, one of the very early things I learned was that my behavior, what I was doing, was more about the real me in the moment than all the things I was thinking. That I could think I wanted to do anything and everything to save the marriage, when what I really wanted was for she and I to stop feeling shamed by the other. I wanted to feel sexually wanted. I wanted to feel safe in expressing my feelings and not worry that everything I said might be triggering. I wanted to come home and see gladness that I had arrived.

I mostly have that now. And it's helped me grow in so many ways.
akienm: (Default)
my eyes are damp, but i'm not completely sure why
i am filled with feelings, moving too fast to even be idnetified
the loudest notes are pain and mourning
this is the boy dieing
akienm: (Default)
The holidays...

The holidays were an interesting time. I spent the evenings at House Weirdness both as a gift to D and also to facilitate logistics for the holidays.

D's folks were in town, and there was the usual stresses between her folks and herself and sister. They actually did pretty good with D and her mom only getting to the handing up stage once.

The big cooking day was Christmas Eve, and we were to cook in the place D's folks were staying in. However, while we were getting things ready to go, while unpacking my new V slicer, I managed to put a *huge* gash in my left thumb. I should have gone to the ER, but I would have been there until long after dinner was to have been over, and it looked to me like something we could take care of on our own. D and I tied it up with steri-strips (she did most of the work), put a dressing over it, and the thumb of a rubber glove to keep anything from cooking out of it, and I went back to work.

The cut has healed well, tho it's still recovering. Still dry and with rough edges. Our wonderful friend AB, who was a nurse for many years, helped by consulting on how it was doing and letting me know how long to leave it in the strips and so on.

The result of this was that I had to cook one handed. That said, the food came out amazing.

I brined a turkey breast for 24 hours, but because it was just the breast, I wound up doing the brine recipe very differently, and the result was outstanding. For a whole turkey, I brine with 1C salt, 1 Gal veg stock and 1 gal ice water (and other things). This time I used 1/3C salt, 1 qt CHICKEN stock, and no additional water. I also baked it on a bed of sliced apples, onions, leeks, rosemary and thyme sprigs. The result was phenominal. Next year I will be brining the thanksgiving bird very, very differently.

And the roast beef was to die for. D took one bite and declaired she'd had a mouthgasm. 4 bone rib roast from the loin end, oilded and rubbed with rosemary, thyme, fresh ground pepper, and kosher salt. Cooked at 200F inside a terra cotta pot in the oven (to smooth out the temprature variations of the oven going on and off. Wow.

New years was supposed to be a big deal this year, but L was sick and it didn't pan out. We had a quiet evening and went to bed early. I guess I'm still a little bummed about that. Did have a nice hike in the redwoods the following day tho.

One really cool thing that happened was that I stumbled across http://www.ted.com, and in particular http://www.ted.com/index.php/themes/what_makes_us_happy.html. Now I'm going deep on the nature of happiness. There will be more about that later...
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I have a friend named Julio C. I just realized his initials are JC...

In chatting with him, I realized that this new place is the first place I've ever had "on my own". I've always had either room mates or lovers that I knew before hand. No wonder it's so scary that I was so wracked up the other night.

In chatting with out therapist last night I realized another thing... In my family of origin, there were no "facts", there was the current best guess about what dad would decide the facts were. This has resulted in a sense of self that had to be very fluid and flexible. It also means that whenever D and I would argue, I was required by my past programming to cave in to whatever she wanted, which resulted in resentments and other thoughts and behaviors that have been poisoning to the relationship.

I need to develop a stronger sense of self. I think my own place is a start.

I do love her, a hell of a lot. And I seem to need this for me at the moment. And it's still hard.
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Why was I crying? Well, to be sure, things have not been all bad, I have led a life with some really lovely moments. Why I'm crying is because of some of the positive things I remember.

Things I remember...

I remember being sure D was pregnant before she was.

I remember trying to make it work to buy our duplex, but it was really too much money for too little space, with the new kid coming.

I remember finding the house on ListingLink.com (which no longer exists). It was the first house we looked at. We then looked at every neighborhood from Marin to Hayward. We never found a better combination of price, schools, quality of neighborhood, amenities, and size. We even made an offer on another place about 4 blocks away. It was just meant to be.

I remember wanting a place with either a hot tub, or a place to put one. Because we knew that as new buyers, we'd be house poor for a while to come.

I remember putting all our stuff beneath Chris & Carmen's place in 1997, for about a month. The entirety of our household. Their basement was full from floor to ceiling. We joked that it was the perfect time for an earthquake, because if their house fell, it could only fall 2 inches. We had to be out of the old place something like a month before we could move into the new one. We crashed in their office space. It wasn't an easy time, but it was also comical.

I remember saying before the move that I'd work on just about anything at the new place. Except gas plumbing. That was too dangerous, and I didn't have any experience at it. The first thing to go was the hot tub's heater, on the night we moved in. I became very good at gas plumbing. I remember Gene helping me rebuild the heater literally with baling wire. It was all rusted out on the inside. After we fixed it though, it lasted for several years. We didn't replace the heater because it broke, we replaced it to get one that was more efficient.

I remember the filter for the hot tub exploding the night D went into labor. I tried to make it go for her, and I just couldn't. Eventually I went back to sleep. It seemed kind of odd to me later that I just went back to sleep. But the fact that I did *really* helped the next day.

I remember standing in the delivery room after A was born, holding her while the nurses attended to D, who was shaky and in need of help. I remember one of the nurses suddenly realizing that this new dad was holding the kid without being shown how, and rushing over to show me the right way, only to find that I was doing it right (i was the eldest of 4 boys, and mom's main helper).  I remember A trying to suckle my nose, and my nipple, while we waited for the nurses to be done with D. I remember the nurse being unable to figure out the digital scale they had there. But it had buttons, so I was able to figure it out for her.

I remember the first night in the hospital. I put up white Christmas tree lights to give soft lighting in the room, and a small boom box for gentle, soothing music. 

I remember bolting the crib to the bed, so D wouldn't have to get up to feed A. I remember learning to sleep on 6" of mattress that was left over with all three of us in the bed, after D pulled A from the crib to feed.

I remember sitting on an old wooden bench in the back yard with A in my lap, with a group of friends, only to have the bench collapse out from under me. I curled into a ball around A. She was unhurt, but I was definately bruised.

I remember carrying A across her bedroom, only to trip and fall, and beneath me was an old wooden doll crib with lots of edges and points that would have hurt her, not to mention her father falling on her. I threw her from me, she hit the door and fell to the floor, and I landed on all those edges. She was upset and scared and crying, but it was better than squished.

I remember carrying A around the block singing puff the magic dragon to her every night to put her to sleep. She got so dependent on it that at one point, D had to put A on me in a sling, wrap my long heavy woolen coat around me, button it up tight, and somehow strap an umbrella to me, so I could walk her one cold and rainy night.

I remember Christmases with the tree behind this long, multi segment wooden baby pen. With me in my santa hat, giving out the gifts to everyone, including D, A, V, and whomever else we could get to come over.

I remember painting A's room together, as a family. I remember the complete mess that really stripping all that old paint off made. I still have a set of boots that aren't good for much but dirty work because they still have gooky paint stuck to them.

I remember learning to do tantric breathing with D, and I have burned into my brain some of the most amazing moments of my life spent there. I remember breathing with her and K all three together in closed curcuit sharing of breath. Moments I will remember always.

More soon...


Dec. 7th, 2008 06:25 pm
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Moved my bed last night to the new place, moved my first round of stuff this afternoon. Bedding, toiletries, a little bit of clothes. Will be spending my first night alone in the new place tonight.

Was supposed to go dancing tonight. So far, have been crying instead.
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Things I am thankful for today: I am not laid off (another round today!)

This place is apparently getting pretty brutal.
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As many of you know, DD and I  have been having some trouble. It's finally gotten to the place where one of us can say "My, what a lovely day!" and the other will respond with "WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?!". This kind of escalation is clearly not working. I love her very much, and I just can't do this anymore. So we've rented a room in a house that's about six blocks from home. I will be moving there over the coming week. I just picked up the keys tonight. I am glad we'll get some space. I am also tonight just feeling really, really sad. So I'm just makin' time to hold my inner child, and tell him it's going to work out for the best, whatever that may wind up being. Now I need to go get a tissue.
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I just had one of the most open conversations with my elder daughter that I've had in a long time. Nothing all that significant, just very present, very open, very nice.


Nov. 1st, 2008 03:56 pm
akienm: (Default)
The greatest masters know, there are no great masters. There are only more experienced practitioners.

The compliment of that is that we are all masters, some with more experience and more access to our mastery than others.

Today I asked the Osho Tarot for a card, what do I need to be mindful of about me today? And it gave me the master.

I have not trusted my inner me very much for some time. And the reason has been because in my addictive dopamine seeking behaviors, I was "trusting my feelings" and got very hurt. But I was not trusting me, I was not taking the time to see into me and to know me and to know what I really needed, I was only seeking what felt good.

As the master I must remember to seek into myself, to see more than the surface feelings. The practice of mastery is the practice of taking time to experience and contemplate the whole. And then act decisively from the most complete knowing possible. In fullness grokking is.

There are so many things to know in this life, that even as a master I sometimes must needs act without complete knowing. This is part of the imperfection of life. And the adventure. And masters act, knowing that their knowings are incomplete, and that there may be both desired and undesired outcomes. And that owning the consequences of their acting in incomplete knowing are their own to carry, not another's.

In owning this, in knowing the consequences as completely as possible, I must remember to take the time to savor both the delightful and the painful. Savoring without attachment. Experiencing deeply. Contemplating.

This way lies trusting myself. This way lies improving myself. This way lies compassion. This way lies intimacy. This way lies peace. This way lies love.
akienm: (Default)
I have some 40,000 tracks in my audio library. I tried a couple of different times to get them imported into iTunes, but didn't have a backup before hand. This is a bad idea. These tracks came from a variety of sources over a long time. Some programs didn't add the metadata, for some the whole metadata tagging wasn't even implemented to the level it is now. So some imported correctly, and some not. And in all this, iTunes wound up importing some tracks twice, but for some reason doesn't see them as duplicates.

So at the moment, I am reimporting all the physical CDs. I've been at this for days, and I'll be at this for days yet.

I hate swapping disks.

On time...

Oct. 20th, 2008 01:41 pm
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As an ADD kid, my sense of time doesn't seem to really be in sync with the people around me. Mostly I have NOW, then there's some Over The Last Few Days, and a little bit of The Last Two Weeks, and finally there's kinda Before That.

So if you ask me about when something happened, be ready for a vague answer.

When I started at Nimblefish, it was a job I could handle. Before I left, I'd gotten a new boss, and I just about killed myself trying to keep up with his demands, as well as dealing with all my relationship issues. Because he was so demanding, I learned to hurry a LOT.  Hurrying adds stress...

On Sunday morning, I started with a plan to make savory scones (what do you call scones with manly ingredients like meat? Scojones!) But while at the store picking up ingredients I changed my mind. I decided to make cherry scones instead.

When I got home, I found I didn't have as much time to prep breakfast as I'd thought. So I began to hurry. In the middle of hurrying, I forgot I'd switched tracks on the scones and started prepping cheese for the savory scones while at the same time making the frosting for the cherry scones (a milk and sugar glaze). As I was realizing this, the glaze boiled over.

OK *breathe* again. I am hurrying to get this done before D gets out the door, and I am hurrying so much I am screwing things up. Time to stop hurrying. Even if I can't feed her before she goes. I slowed down, gave up on the goal, and managed to complete the sweet scones (and a side of bacon) before she left. Woo hoo!

This morning I was scurrying around again trying to get out the door on time, and had this insight: I am a driven person. I can't give that up. It's one of the coping strategies for the ADD. But what I now need to do is to hurry very, very slowly.

Interesting to think about...
akienm: (Default)
Self discipline is hard for anybody with ADD. It's my number one struggle most of the time. Recently I was discussing this and other topics with a friend, and we exchanged the conversation below. When I shared it with his girlfriend, she almost fell off her chair (she has ADD too):

[20:47] thefriend: How would you define "self-discipline?"
[20:47] akienm:  "wishful thinking"

Some days it's better than others. Most recently I've started to figure out how to trick myself into being self disciplined. Use the smarts to trick the animal in me into doing what I want it to do. Kinda of an indirect approach, but it does seem to be working!
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Her: **hugs** how're you doing today
me: lol i am amused
Her: :) amused is good!
me: i just learned from my daughter that i have some double jointed toes
Her: fun! how'd she notice?
me: cuz she has ADD ;)
me: means she's distracted by EVERYTHING
Her: hahaha :)
me: even her own toes
Her: she noticed hers first?
me: yes
Her: My toes are like little fingers, I can snap them
me: i can't do that
Her: I'm so Cool :)
me: indeed!
me: but i can open child resistant pill bottles
Her: LOL
akienm: (Default)
Had a slightly manic day, so very happy to be out from under the cloud... And as the day ended, *rumble* *rumble*... Out came the grasping drama addict, just as so many times in the last 2 years. Only this time I knew what it was! *breathe* it's the dopamine winding down. Winding down is *good*. *breathe*. Slow down. Just be present. No we don't need to call any of the sweeties. Just *breathe*...

Not all wound down yet, but the grasping and panicing has abated. I'm going to gently and quietly call that a victory, and *breathe* again...
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