Present Tense

On starting a new phase of my life…

tat 1A few months ago, I had an overwhelming desire to get another tattoo. It came out of the blue and I’m on the record as saying I didn’t think anyone should get tattooed after age 40 and I’m well past 40.

But, suddenly it was something I had to do. So, I did. I designed a beautiful, pastel lotus blossom. I wanted a pretty, gentle tattoo.

A lotus blossom represents an awakening. The flower starts in the mud and grows up through the water to the surface, where it blooms and sits quietly on top of the water. An open, calm, welcoming symbol of acceptance.

I love this tattoo and I anoint it with shea butter every morning. I’m grateful that it speaks to me every time I see it: awaken. Let go. Be you. And that is exactly where I am.

Like the lotus, I’m opening after being tightly closed for a long time; probably a decade now and though I regret some of my behavior, it served a purpose because it brought to me this moment, where I am able to walk away from my career and into the next phase of my life.

I’ve battled alcoholism for many years and one of my strategies (that didn’t really work all that well) was to knuckle down; to be rigidly in control of my behavior. In order to function and fulfill my obligations, I said no to so many things. My job as a morning radio host was my top priority and in order to get up at 3:30 a.m. and function, I determined that I had to stick to a very rigid routine.

Strict bedtime, strict nap time, strict diet, strict exercise. Everything had to be controlled or I would go off the rails and ruin my career. People were counting on me at work, so I had to be fully in control of myself.

This spilled over into strict control of our finances. Save, save, save, save. Invest, invest, invest. I was obsessed with our money. I would sit and watch CNBC for hours, with my laptop open watching our stocks fluctuate throughout the day. Healthy, right?

I was white knuckling my whole life because I thought it would keep me sober and productive and successful. But, I ended up self-medicating with booze again. Thank God my family stepped in and I was able to see that I needed a new path and a new sobriety strategy.

That’s when I began this blog and my spiritual exploration. I’ve laid it all out over past 4-5 years with complete and sometimes uncomfortable honesty. I was the lotus bud, gestating in the mud and these years have been my journey to the surface of the water, where I now sit, open to the rest of my life.

I’ve stopped saying ‘no’ and am now embracing ‘yes’. My spiritual path has taken a mystical turn and I’m developing and exploring my intuition and spirit guides. I’m more accepting of myself and am flexible, rather that rigid.

So, I’m retiring. It’s time. There is no sadness, no regret, no fear. I’m saying goodbye to a great career that has been incredibly fulfilling and has most certainly allowed me the financial freedom to walk away at 55 and begin anew.

I have no plans, other than to just “be” for awhile. I honestly feel like I can do whatever will feed my soul and my spirit. The old me would have been completely gripped by fear at the thought of walking away from the security of a job and a paycheck.  In fact, I think I just stumbled onto my next tat: Fearless.

Be well. Be brave. Do what your spirit is telling you to do. Don’t hate your life; change it.

November 10, 2014 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , , , | 64 Comments


question“Enlightenment is a destructive process.
It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier.
Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth.
It’s seeing through the facade of pretense.
It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.”

From destruction comes growth.  We see it everywhere, in everything.  I live in the mountains where  we saw a devastating mountain pine beetle outbreak kill millions of trees.  We watched the trees turn from healthy green to brown to red; red means dead.  In order to mitigate the outbreak, many trees were clear-cut and hauled away.

Now, as I walk around the area I see new growth; hundreds of thousands of new little trees.  We see more of the mountain peaks that were obscured by the big trees before the outbreak.  From devastation comes growth and a new perspective.  Nature is an amazing teacher.

About 3 years ago, I began the process of trying to rebuild me. I felt decimated by some of my choices and there was nothing to do but dig around in the ashes and look for some building material.  In all honesty, I was hoping that my spiritual and religious quest would bring me comfort; a soft place to land.  I wanted something that would make my crappy choices ‘all better’.  Honestly, I think I was looking for a substitute for the self-medicating effects of alcohol that wouldn’t ruin my health or further damage my relationships.  That is not what I found.

I found that there is no soft place to land; at least not for me. Once I started deconstructing me and really delving into religion and spirituality, I developed some new perspectives.  These new perspectives forced a re-evaluation of the old perspectives and it turns out that there just isn’t enough storage in my hard drive to keep the old ones around.  Particularly since the old ones weren’t all that great to begin with.

It’s interesting to try and go back and remember why you formed an opinion to begin with. If we’re honest, a lot of us just picked up stuff from parents or teachers or friends or co-workers or some idiot media pundit.  A lot of our beliefs are passed down to us, like our eye or hair color.  It’s what we heard our whole lives and so we absorb it without question and then we add to it by finding others who reinforce those beliefs and we point to them and follow them and idolize them and say, “See? I was right all along”.

I was a typical opinion/belief/philosophy sponge until I realized that whatever was animating me wasn’t really working all that well.  Once you hit ‘rock bottom’ you gotta find a way out and in my case, that meant a bit of therapy, a lot of books on religion and spirituality and a slow awakening to how closed I was to other ways of seeing the world.

We are all very invested in our truths; our core beliefs that we ride like a life raft, through good times and bad.  It doesn’t make them right or valid; but they are comfortable and they’re ours.  What I began to see is that people who may not share my beliefs and opinions feel the same way about their life raft.  So, who’s right?

That’s the uncomfortable part, you see.  None of us are right.  None of us know what’s true.  We may believe that we do, but that’s a false premise because life is random and unpredictable and full of so many variables and unintended consequences.  There is no soft place to land; no marvelous truths that we can solely and unequivocally rely on.  Does that concept scare you or make you uncomfortable?  Or am I completely full of crap?

Doesn’t matter, really.  Life will unfold as it will, no matter what we believe is true.  And that’s okay……

January 19, 2013 Posted by | Musings | , , , | 7 Comments


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