Healing on a beach with a keyboard in the sand

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjVSNlRgqQE

I wrote the following yesterday. I did not publish it immediately. I was caught up in a world wind of feelings and emotions.

I knew that I had written my truth in this moment, my take on my feelings and perspectives.

This was however only a snap shot of the day. I could not capture all the other good and bad, positive and negative, happy and heart breaking things that transpired.

I did need to capture something and what follows is a reflection of where I was in that moment. I was very different ten minutes before and thirty minutes later…

Not to give anything away, but this snapshot of my feelings also reflects why I chose to remove myself from that time and place. I was on an emotional roller coaster and did not need to let that get out of hand….
Thank you for witnessing my experiences.


I write this from a familiar beach on Tybee Island. I probably know this beach better than any other beach in the world, save one small sandy bit at the edge of a lake that most people would consider a pond.
I came to celebrate, but I’m sitting here healing in the sunset.
I witnessed my son transition to college this afternoon. He moved away from home and into his first dorm room.
I am extremely excited and happy for him as he begins a new life, the start of his life really. His transition from boy to man seemed to happen early. Now he gets to make something of himself. He is going to be amazing.
The pride that I am feeling for him is off the charts.
I am also in the midst of experiencing my own feelings of what is probably best described as fight or flight.
I had zero desire to fight and no reserves to calm down and find balance, so flight it was!
I drove to Savannah by myself and met up with my son and his mother at his new dormitory and helped move his stuff from the unloading area to his room. I was able to meet his room mates and one set of their parents. Corbin and I were able to walk and hang out a bit as we went to get his ID card.
But the rest of the time, I was also there with my ex-wife. We met in Savannah and fell in love here about 24 years ago. We started a life here. It culminated in three wonderful children and almost 23 years of marriage.
Tonight, I am simply feeling robbed of that life. It takes two people to kill a marriage. I take my share of the responsibility emotionally and intellectually.
But emotionally, I also feel robbed.
There were no ugly words or looks shared. There was nothing untowards projected as far as I perceived it.
But a year has simply not been enough time yet. After spending a couple hours in the presence of my ex-wife, I feel drained, robbed, and my old pal grief.
As we left Corbin, I wanted to feel celebratory feelings of accomplishment. I wanted to congratulate her. I wanted to congratulate us.
I couldn’t do it. It just wasn’t in me today.
All week this day has been coming. I didn’t really feel dread or anything. But after my girls transitioned for their week with their mother, I had already realized that the dynamic in the family without Corbin present was never going to be the same.
The family split just over a year ago.
This is very different, but as probably every first time empty nester knows, there is a feeling of loss here too.
That’s not even the loss I am feeling though, and part of me is angry about that.
I did not want this reminder of my divorce, but that is what bubbled up through the compost in one giant nasty methane bubble of grief and anger and frustration.
Make no mistake, I do not want my old life back or reinstated or time reversed.
That past life was spoiled by things that cannot be undone.
After the separation I eventually found acceptance. I moved on. I fell in love again. I was reminded of many many positives today.
I drove down from North Carolina listening to an Elizabeth Peters audio book. I have read at least a dozen of her books over the years. I have read this one before sometime around when Corbin was born.
I stopped at a nature preserve just outside of Savannah and witnessed a large alligator crawled out of the swamp to sun itself just down from the road I had stopped on. I drove on to walk amongst the ruins of an old plantation trying to imagine the lives of the slaves that had worked and died there. I wondered if they had been able to find any happiness or joy? I have lived and worked in these swamps myself. A hard days work in a Savannah swamp can literally rot the clothing right off of you.
I have experienced this more than once.
When I was stationed here, there were times when I felt like a convict or a prisoner.
That was just a feeling. I cannot imagine what that would have been like to be a reality.
I moved on through the preserve and had lunch underneath some of the most beautiful spanish moss covered trees I have seen in this area and that is saying something.
I said a little wish or a prayer to the ghosts of those slaves, wishing them peace and love.
The sun has gone down and the moon that was already out is getting brighter. As a woman with long hair walks by, I am reminded that the second time I ever met my ex-wife, it was on this beach.
I can see a lines of pelicans flying in formation out over the ocean. I captured some of them on video as I walked next to the ocean.

I think I may sleep on this beach tonight.
I can feel myself healing just being here. I needed this more than anything.
All week, I knew that I was going to come to the beach. The plans for this trip with my son, changed about twenty times as schedules and requirements shifted almost every other day. 🙂
It was chaos.
But I knew that I was going to see myself to this beach. I knew it would not be easy. I have a lot of memories with my ex here. I have memories of family vacations here.
I also have a lot of memories here that predate her. I have memories in Savannah that post date her too!
I have slain some of these emotional demons before. Each time I put them down, I feel better. I grow. I heal. I become more of myself. I become more capable of many many things.
During the last years of my marriage, I became bound. I became codependent and did everything I could to ‘make’ my ex-wife happy and try to help our family survive.
I had lost myself. I could no more make her happy than I can make the sun rise back up in reverse. I knew better than this as well. Never the less, I tried it all the same.
I think she was trying to push me away for years. I didn’t understand. It was never communicated to me. I had no idea that she had stopped loving me.
I have never been a big believer in marriage nor the sanctity of it. I was faithful and never stopped loving her.
I do not believe even in death do us part. I do believe though that if you marry someone, you take on the responsibility of letting them know when and if your feelings change.
Two people get married together. Neither one can marry without the other consenting to do the same.
To leave a marriage without saying anything for years, its not in the vows or the contracts or legal agreements, but that just seems to be the bare minimum human decency.
I never even thought about this concept until after we started to separate.
With a lot of time past now, I think this is a simple enough moral code.
A vow should be something like, “I promise to love you as long as I can and if I can’t any longer, I will let you know and promptly.”
(I’m chuckling to myself.) That is so silly and wishful thinking maybe.
Well it is getting darker. I’m typing in the dark. I need to figure out what I am going to do with my new healed up soul.
I may sleep on the beach, something I have not done since I was 19. I may drive home to Charlotte. I may go find a place to stay the night. I may go have dinner or walk around Savannah a bit.
I have no idea, but it is time to move and flow again.
I hope you have make a wonderful new life for yourselves as well. It starts today!

Healing from Writing, Listening & Re-Reading

Good Morning!

It is Saturday morning, July 2nd. Just as I started to type this sentence the sun came out of a cloud over my left shoulder and far above the mountain behind me. It is a beautiful day and I can hear kids playing in the distance, birds singing all around me, a woodpecker tapping out a mating call and the woman I love showering about twenty feet away. I just shed more tears for Snuffles after re-reading my own article from two days ago.

Last year, I learned a valuable lesson about healing myself and growing and evolving. Many people, many self-help books and many counselors often recommend keeping a journal and writing down the thoughts and emotions bouncing around in our heads. I started doing this last year when I was exploring brand new depths of emotional pain and despair, but it did not help me very much.

It helped a little but not much.

I needed to connect with people. I did not want to dump and re-dump my problems on them endlessly. I did need to connect.
I also realized that many of my friends and family and loved ones had experienced similar emotional pain and trauma. They had gained a great deal of wisdom and their perspectives and knowledge could be extremely helpful. It was helpful for me to hear it and I believe helpful for many of them to share it.

Their wisdom and knowledge however was their own. I could not ‘take’ their lessons and apply them directly to my own challenges. 

I had to learn to filter out the lessons I could use and those that I could not. I had to filter through the lessons I could apply now and those that might need to wait because it wasn’t the right time for the situation or because I was not ready to do something useful with an advanced lesson.

The irony is that in talking with friends and hearing their truth and their wisdom and lessons, I could not absorb enough and definitely couldn’t always make a wise decision on what to use or not to use.

Combining several things – Journaling, Social Media, Diverse Perspectives & My Own Context

I developed a process that worked for me. In retrospect it worked very well for me.

1. I would write my challenge or my pain. I held back no truth. I held back no emotional pain either. I kept it as real and as honest as I knew how.

2. I shared this writing on Facebook. At first, I mistakenly shared it with everyone. It was a mistake in that it was completely unfiltered. Some of my friends and family were not ready or in a place to hear this, read it let alone provide anything that helped either of us. I was going through a divorce and some family and friends were too close to both sides emotionally themselves.

3. I corrected this by creating a list of ‘confidants’ and only shared my truth through writing with them. I had to ween this list as time went just a bit, but for the most part this worked very well. Around the clock and around the world, I had family and friends that could choose to read my truth or not as they chose. They could respond as they chose or not as well. The result was that I received a wide and diverse perspective. I heard from people that cheered me on. I heard from people that pointed out my blind spots. I heard from people that found flaws and faults in my response to things. I valued and did my best to use all of this diverse perspective. I did not take their responses personally to promote any agenda of my own. I did not take it personally when the responses could have been interpreted to invalidate myself. Here is how I did that…

4. This was a KEY STEP! Before reading each response from people, I went back and re-read my own original writing. I needed to insure I was grounded in my own context before reading their reaction to my writing. I needed to insure I could subjectively view it through my lens and find the useful aspect of their response and not get lost in their own subjective view. Sometimes the responses were written beautifully and sometimes they were rough and raw. I needed my context first so that I could apply the loving intent in the message and not get hung up on misplaced words or emotions from their words that might not belong. As these things went, I could easily find myself re-reading my own article dozens of times. This helped me tremendously in working through my emotions and exhausting the pain of those emotions, while preparing to heal myself and rebuild with the additional love and perspective provided by my friends and family.

Getting the Dosage of the Re-Reading message Right

A year ago, I re-read my own writing every time someone hit the Like button on facebook, everytime someone commented, and everytime a reply to a reply was made. I was very hurt and in lots of pain. I prescribed myself a high dosage of Re-Reading medicine.

A year later, I am in a much better place.
After my Snuffles Article I was feeling some new pain and working through some newer hurt. I did not need a high dosage though. As I received ‘Likes’ for my article and replies, I did not go back and re-read it every time. I had other things to do, life building and business and career things to do. I had healthy things to do. I did them. I am getting better at not allowing life events to throw my life off the rails.

Just took a quick break from writing to play with a chocolate lab that came by to say hello and run through my girlfriend’s garden. Super friendly dog…. 😊


This morning after breakfast, I finally did go back and I re-read my article. The last couple nights as I go to bed, I see Snuffles on the back of my eye-lids as I go to sleep. I knew I had more work to do. This morning was the morning to do the work.

I re-read my article in 4-5 batches. I’m not known for my brevity. I am not concise. The journey to the insight is as important to me as the phrase or sentence that contains the insight. I will never make a meme writer.

The tears came fresh again as I re-read my own article. It had a lot of sad stuff in that article. The sadness is still fresh in my memory as well.

Yet, re-reading it helped me to work through some more of it. Sharon, my girlfriend gave me a shoulder and back massage this morning too. She is an amazing massage therapist professionally. The massage helped to work out some of the things caught in my muscles and joints and system in general.

Hormones and other things from grief can get trapped in our bodies and those hormones are like toxic poison for our bodies, cortisol and other stress and grief triggered hormones are not chemicals that we need to leave in our bodies or brains.

Exercise, meditation, yoga, running, hiking, massage, tai chi, accupuncture and much more, are some of the great ways to get those chemicals released from our joints and the pockets between our muscle fibers.

The chocolate lab just came by again. He had a difficult time explaining before but this time he led me to a small pile of rabbit scat. He wanted to know where the rabbits were hiding. Unfortunately, I did not know the answer to this question, but pointed out the rabbits were not currently hiding in plain sight and he’d have to use his brain and nose to sniff them out. He took off again…

So re-reading my own writing after the feedback and help and love I received also helped me to literally cry out some more of those emotions and hormones. 

The Missing Step 5

5. It is important not to let the process above become all consuming. It is important not to let the process take on a nuclear fusion that ignites and becomes self sustaining. There is only so much processing that the human brain can perform in any given sitting or attempt.

We do not have computer fans in our heads (well breathing does help) to cool off our processor. The more processing we do in one session, the less efficient we become at completing the processing itself. The longer we go at it, the shorter our foot steps become. Each step towards our goal starts to get cut in half, and then cut by 60% and 70% and 80% and 90% and then 91% until an hour of processing emotions yields us almost no benefit.

We have to take a break from it for an hour, a day, a week or a month or more. Then revisit when our processor is cooled down and ready to take a full step towards the goal again. With luck and time we will reach that goal and breeze past it.

So I took two days off, then took several large steps towards my goal today by re-reading my own writing. I feel infinitely better. The tears shed this time truly felt like they had accomplished something good for me. We cry so as not to hold in the negative. Then we cry to heal. Two days ago, I cried to avoid holding in too much grief. Today I cried to heal. I may or may not need to cry again for Snuffles and the temporary separation from my kids for an extended period of time. If I do it will be to heal more completely.

I do not need to feed the grief and allow the processing and a processor that is stuck processing to allow me to fall into despair.

The sun is still shining. As I finish this article and thought, I am working up a healthy dose of vitamin D. I am sweating out some toxins through my pores, probably some of those same toxic hormones that Sharon worked lose during her massage and some of the same toxic hormones from my brain that were released when I had a healthy healing cry and more as I finish putting the bandage on my healing wound with this new article.

I have several new business prospects I am chasing down today. Some of them are coming from a new source that my friend Mike McAllen helped point out to me yesterday. He is an amazingly positive friend and has been a great help to me and an inspiration too as he has worked like crazy to heal and grow from an injury last year and also to heal and grow his own business and career. Just last week, he launched a wonderful new service called Podcasting for Events as he works to leverage years and years of experience in the business of Managing large events and conferences through his original company Grass Shack Media and now through this new enterprise that also adds in his decade of experience as a Podcaster running a great show called the Meetings Podcast.

I met him at a wonderful conference in Ontario California almost ten years ago now called the Podcast Expo. I met a large number of current and amazing friends through that conference, and now he is working to help other conferences achieve some of that same magic through Podcasting for Events.

In his spare time, he turned me on to a handy Marketing match making type of service called Thumbtack.com and I’m using that today to work through some new business prospects that might help me achieve my own goals and not just keep my head above water, but do some of that life building I was hoping for two days ago.

I share all this to let you know and see that I am healing. I’m doing this to share how I am doing that healing in case you can use or morph any part of this to help yourself heal and grow.

I’m ready to continue making this a beautiful day. I invite you to join in and make your own beautiful day! I’d love to hear how you go about doing just that as my way is not the only way, and I definitely benefit from diverse perspectives and hope you can find a way to do the same!

Writing In The Cleansing Rain – Week off Processing

It is a rainy Thursday morning. Yesterday was a very hot spring day and some patchy clouds rolled in and the morning is cleansing away the pollen. The rain seems to transition between a light but constant sprinkle building into a light shower then back again.

I just dropped off my daughter at school. I did not sleep quite enough last night. I have time this morning to get another hour of sleep if I really need it. I might do that as my day will be more productive if my energy level is at max. Sometimes sleep helps me to get to max and sometimes it does just the opposite.

I stopped by the little park by the South Fork River that I found a few days ago. I had known of it before I found it, but feel as if I found it for the first time when I learned it was a good place to write.

Today, it is even better as the tables are covered by a pavilion. I could explore and walk or hike and find a new place, but probably not one that will keep me and my gear dry.

I have a bottle of water and a bag of tropical trail mix. That seems to mean that it has a nut or two in it, a couple pounds of raisins and similarly shaped non descript berries, some dried papaya and banana flakes and pineapple. Sugar, it has lots of fruity sugar. 

The pavilion roof is made of tin and at times as the showers increase the noise of birds die down and the rain on tin volume goes up. At the moment, the birds are coming more alive. There are geese grazing on the grass in the distance, and a male gander flapping his wings at me behind me to warn me away from his recently hatched goslings.


It is daylight, but I have no idea where the sun might be due to the clouds. The waters of the South Fork look like glass despite the sprinkling rain.

I have been waging a war on inner anxiety the last few days and weeks too for that matter.  

There are two things that have been keeping me preoccupied the last few weeks. First, my cash flow is about as still and glassy as the waters of the South Fork. I have been working and billing hours away, but I have a number of clients who are a little behind on their payments. This is unusual. It happens with a client here or there sometimes, but this seems to be with many of them. The payments are not very late, but usually these things move in a very timely fashion. 

The majority of my invoices are paid electronically and things are usually very very speedy. Not so this month.

That’s causing me big challenges as I have zero cash reserves. I have been rebuilding my life the last 7 months and my cash reserves disappeared as I ended a past relationship and worked to reestablish a new household for a family of four. I have made a great deal of progress, but even progress runs out of money from time to time, and I can live in the present on the things I earned and paid out on bills in the past.

So that’s a challenge.

In addition, as life would have it, I have been working through a lot of past issues the last couple weeks. I’m using the term, processing. I have been processing past emotions and feelings and problems and past issues with people that were or are in my life.  

This too is something I do need to do in order to move forward. I need to process through this stuff. I need to identify what still serves me and let everything else go. There’s a lot of good stuff, but there is a lot that needs to be let go of as well.

The thing about processing is that we can’t always do it in one go. It can take hours, days, weeks, months or even years.  

Among other things, I ran into a situation where my present life ran into a speed bump over issues of trust. I felt like I had been betrayed by someone I loved. Afterwards, I forgave them for the their acts of betrayal. I forgave them in my head. I forgave them in my journal. I forgave them in writing in posts. 

It worked for a while, but there were two components missing. I never told them that I knew of their betrayal. They had kept it secret from me for almost a year. I learned about it after our relationship ended and for a number of reasons did not confront them with the knowledge. It did not serve me to do that at the time. I did forgive them and moved on with my life.

But 11 months later it caught up with me. I forgave them but did not forget. What’s more, they knew they had betrayed me. Or at least I feel that they knew this. They no longer seemed to trust me and this was getting in the way of present life.

I realized that I needed to rip off the scab on the wound and try again, try more completely this time. So I wrote to them and described why and how I felt betrayed. Then I forgave them again. I included in the same letter some of my own apologies for things that I believe I made mistakes on or could have done better. 

I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I also work to own my own shit. I can change me. I can fix me. I can’t do either of those things with other people.

I can let them know when something they do hurts me. I can establish barriers to protect myself in the future. Healthy barriers that allow me to live life, I’m not creating barriers to shield me from living.

So I got this out of my system. I felt better for it. Yet, after doing it, I also had to reprocess all the emotions and feelings that went with that betrayal and the emotions and feelings that went with the death of the relationship subsequent to the betrayal as well. I had to grieve that relationship one more time. 

The grief cycle is like that. We have to go through the grief cycle as often as we have to go through it. In the early days and weeks of grief, we might go through it multiple time and at very deep levels. As time goes by, our grieving stops being a full time job and starts to take up part time hours. Then it spreads out more and more until we might go weeks or months before we feel the grief again.

In this case, I felt some pretty heavy shit, but it was like watching a movie on the first and slowest level of fast forward. It was a movie that I was very familiar with. I recognized and viewed all the scenes, I felt everything all over again. But it was on fast forward and did not take nearly as long to go through the grief cycle.

I have realized that for the last 2-3 weeks, I have been processing some new big thing almost every day. I had a day off here or there for some insane amounts of fun. That helped. 

We have to play hard if we are going to process hard and keep our sanity!

But through all of this, I had to work as well. Work requires a different kind of focus, a different kind of processor and I was doing some big things there as well.

I feel at this point, that I need to give myself a vacation from my personal processing for awhile. I need a week off. I need a week to lose myself in work and fun and things that do not require the weight of the world on my shoulders.

The rain has stopped and the family of two geese and their gosslings are slowly walking along the bank of the river. I can just see them past a pavilion post and a tree. Further in the distance, I now see another new family of geese walking their own goslings through the grass.

Life waddles on.

The skies are clearing up in the west. It is probably going to get very warm again today. My legs are jogging and jittery from the sugar of the tropical trail mix.

I need to pack up and take my office to its next location and start doing some technical stuff, web dev related for two clients and also some for my own business reboot.

The baby geese are inching closer to the pavilion. They need their space and I need my own and its time to make this happen.  

I’ve raised my energy by simply stating where I am and what I’m doing. I’ve brought my consciousness alive by simply being aware this morning.

I hope you can do the same. Bring your awareness to yourself and raise your energy and then go forth and do great things today for yourself and for the people you care about!

Postscript

I have not published this after writing it a couple hours earlier. I reminded myself that it is a nice idea to say, “I am going to take a break from processing.”

It is not always easy to accomplish.

I have found there are some things that can help me do this. Maybe they will help you, or maybe help you think of something better for yourself.

Practicing yoga in a studio guided by an instructor can help. It allows me to fully reboot my brain, not just a pause, but a termination of all the running programs. Later when my brain comes back online, I can often pick and choose what to focus on next.

When I need to work, two things can distract me from processing so that I can get work done. Listening to fiction audio books, and listening to fast paced music without many lyrics that I know tempting me to sing along and connect my brain. There are many styles of music that can work here.

Intermittent work breaks to stop and exercise help too. A few hundred crunches, a set of pushups, a set of pullups, lift some free weights, anything to break up the work and prevent daydreaming from taking me into my head. Then right back to work again!

If you have techniques that work for you or a specific meditation or something, I would love it if you considered sharing. Always looking for more things that work!