“The progress of the sun throughout the year symbolizes the process of attaining enlightenment, and the summer solstice is the final climax of this journey as the day of most light in the year. The summer solstice is a time to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness in the individual. Summer solstice is a time to celebrate the light of consciousness within ourselves and within each and every person, and to reflect upon the potential for consciousness to awaken.”
The False self has died, but this is only the beginning. There will be many trials and tribulations. Some of these happen after the death of the false self. Some of these have already happened and are from previous times. You now can look back on and are able to notice that they were lessons that were being taught.
The teachers you have had in your life are not always someone you think it would be. Lessons come from unexpected sources. So when you feel something terrible is happening, know it could be a lesson and a gift eventually. Just let go of the expectations.
I will be gone someday, who knows when. This is what I hope to pass on. This is what I have learned through life’s trials and tribulations, so far.
Following this list will not make you a millionaire, it is not guaranteed to get you a great job, or have money. My hope is that it will make you happy, content, and make your world a better place.
1: If you are different, you will be separated and labeled.
It is ok if you are lonely and feel different. That does not mean something is wrong with you. It in fact is a sign you are on the right path if you do not fit in. People in power are not always the ones that are the wisest. It is ok to question authority. This lesson came from the social workers and teachers at a preschool.
When I was in preschool I would not talk. I did not want to participate
These social workers and teachers, who were trained, stated that I was likely mentally retarded.
The school had me do special tests and go into a special room away from the other kids. I had a special teacher. They had decided that I was defective. It took them over 2 years to realize I was not mentally retarded. I still have the papers to prove this.
I acted differently than those in the “normal box,” so there was a rush to label me. That is how it works. Do not believe the labels you are given.
2: If you speak the truth, be prepared to be attacked and ridiculed.
This is done to keep everyone in the “normal box.” To keep things under control, and to give everyone a mask. If you speak the truth through actions or words, people will be threatened. People who are threatened and in power will do whatever it takes to quiet you down. This is where the judgments, labels, and forced isolation come from. My lesson here came from my family.
We all have different reactions to difficult and dysfunctional times. I acted out. I started to throw things at age 7 and rebel against everything. I yelled, screamed, and got in a fight every day at school.
I was labeled as the “bad seed.” I was told that I was the issue. My own family had turned on me and labeled me when they knew deep down inside what the truth was. I was 7 years old, scared and confused. I was acting out based on what had been happening to me in my life.
3: Just because a group of seemingly “educated” people say things to be true does not mean they are right.
If there is one person against the group, they may be the only one that is not willing to go along with the community lie. Sometimes, the teachers are wrong. This was taught to me by my extended family, my relatives.
My grandma’s death when I was 11. I saw all the adult kids come into town for the funeral. I had never seen any of them before. They were all calling my dead grandma a drunk and stating she is going to hell.
I knew in my heart that she was kind. She was an alcoholic that had been through psychological and emotional torture. She gave me her last 5 dollars for a football. She was a kind woman. These adults never spent any time with her.
My mother is the one that took care of my grandma as a child and as an adult. She was the only one that seemed to see the good and she was the one that took the abuse the most. It was surreal how silly these adults could be.
4: How well your message is received depends greatly on how you deliver the message.
The world is full of people in power who know nothing. This lesson came from the school system. If you feel what is going on is wrong, the way you respond and your attitude about it will determine if people listen.
I acted out continually as a reaction to what was going on in my world. I continually was labeled the bad guy. My actions hurt me and helped the labels continue and contributed to the cycle continuing.
I was expelled from middle school. The way I tried to get my message across is what caused this. I was to go to a special school for “bad kids,” or kids labeled “delinquents.”
They were the opposite of the labels they had been given. They were the kindest kids I had ever known to this point.
5: Stay true to yourself and who you are, even if it upsets others and they reject you.
The person who suffers the most from being someone that others want you to be, is you. What is in your heart is all that’s real. Embrace who you are in your heart. Show the world that person. That person is beautiful. This lesson was from my suicide attempt.
I continued to be the bad guy and fill that role. I stole cars, gambled, and stole money all the time. I was always in trouble. I was of course acting out still, but I was also listening to others beliefs about me and taking them as truth. I eventually could not take it anymore and tried to kill myself.
I had held in the pain for 17 years. It exploded and I tried to kill myself. I had the concept right. I needed to kill my false self. I did not know that at the time.
I almost died and had a 3rd degree heart block. I woke up in the middle of the night with my mom there crying with doctors all around me. She was scared. She was in tears and had me committed.
If I had been myself, and accepted who I was, then the pain never gets this bad.
6: There are many people in this world that have it much worse than you can possibly imagine.
There is serious abuse and damage being done to kids, which will affect them and those that they come in contact with their whole life. It is going on right now. There is true sadness and pain out there. I saw what true beauty was in this group of abused and neglected kids at the adolescent psychiatric hospital. They were my teachers in this lesson.
I was in the inpatient adolescent psychiatric ward for an all-time record at the time (this is what they told me,) of over 60 days. In this Hospital, I met the best people with the saddest stories in life. Some of them had never had parents. They had been beaten, neglected, and harmed. Sexually and physically abused their whole entire lives. They had never been loved. Yet, they were the most loving, kindest, and most gentle people you will ever meet.
7: It is not really about what you say but how you make other people feel.
The staff at the adolescent psychiatric hospital. I loved being around them. I do not remember much of what these people said, but I remember how I felt around them. I felt accepted, loved and safe. Safe to be me, they planted the seeds.
If you believe in someone or something, do not let anyone or anything stand in your way. You may change someone’s life by believing in them. This lesson came from staff at a hospital.
The staff at this hospital were amazing people. Especially a social worker named Mary and an RN named Daryl. They did not force love down my throat. They waited for me to be ready. They started by saying hello. They did not force treatment, they did not try to fix me.
First they accepted me and got to know me. Then they taught me about a world I had known nothing about. They gave me hope.
My mom came and gave me a cupcake on her birthday and I threw it in her face for committing me and “ruining my life.” The staff did not even judge me for this.
The whole hospital staff eventually had agreed that I was unmanageable for even this hospital. They had agreed to send me to the state hospital. That would have ended my life. A 17 year old going to the state hospital system is basically throwing in the towel. Even the staff here had done that. However, these 2 people fought for me and saved me from going. May you be someone’s Mary.
8: Hurt people hurt people.
You have to love yourself first, or you will hurt others unintentionally. Monsters are created by other monsters. People who are very sad, especially when they are children, can do damage to the world. It does not mean they are bad people. It means they are hurting. This lesson came to me from a teenage girl in a lot of pain.
I met a girl who would become the mother of my first child. We were best friends. I soon learned of many terrible things that happened to her in her childhood. I saw it was not all beauty with people that have been hurt as children.
She loved me I believe, she did not know how and neither did I. We hurt each other because we were hurting ourselves.
It is like a surgeon trying to do surgery while they are bleeding, they would spread all their blood into the patient, all while trying to help.
9: Everything you gain and all you love will one day go away. Attaching the idea of love to other people or things is a set up for suffering.
If you attach all your hopes and dreams to what other people do, say or think gives them ultimate power. It is also power that’s false. The only one who can give you the love you need is you. I would learn this lesson again a few times. The lesson will repeat itself until you learn it. This was another lesson from the same teenage girl in pain.
This young woman could not handle my attachment and love. She did not think she deserved it. She ended up cheating on me and crushing my new found love for life and the world.
I was crushed because I had attached the whole idea of a good life to her. Had I not had this attachment, the suffering would not have happened. The attachment is caused by emptiness. If I did not want anything to do with her at the time, I would have been relieved by this. My perception, not the event, was the problem.
However once I attach anything or anyone to happiness, I set myself up for suffering. Everything goes away, all that you gain and cherish, will disappear and go away. Attaching to things is a set up for suffering.
10: There is a truth out there that when you get to it, is the most magical, exhilarating thing you can ever experience. When it happens, enjoy it and remember it for future use.
What is important is love. True love. That word does not do it justice. It is like experiencing a oneness with the world and everything pours out. You will one day experience this. Hold on to that feeling whenever it comes. You will need to use it again. It is there. That is who we are at our core. This lesson came from an infant. Kayla Ann, my first child.
The birth of my first child at age 19. Everything slowed down. Everything changed. I saw true magic and love. Everything dropped from me, all of the stuff previously thought to be important was gone. I got to see the truth. The most amazing moment of my life. All emotions at once.
Tears pouring down my face in front of a group of people and I did not really care what they thought about it. Something I never would have done, ever. I was the rough tough kid. What they thought didn’t matter anymore. This was pure truth. All I had was truth.
11: If there comes a time you lose everything, it may be the best thing that ever happened to you.
If you have deep pain, It means you are about to awaken. Soul search and look within yourself. All you can change is yourself. If you want change, take a long look in the mirror. You can only change you and your reaction to things. The loss of everything can be liberating. It brings an immense freedom to be yourself without anything to worry about. This lesson came from pain.
My daughter, my hope, was taken from me, she was taken out of state. At the time I did not even know this was illegal. It was kidnapping. I had her taken from me for 3 years. Usually not knowing where she was or who she was with.
One time, my daughter had called me to tell me her “daddy” bought her shoes. She was not talking about me when she said daddy. This left me motionless. The phone dropped. I was broken open. My mind emptied, I was broken completely for the 2nd time. This one brought me to my knees.
It opened the light to me as I broke open. As Rumi says, “The wound is where the light enters you.” I learned to look deeply into myself and change my behavior, regardless of any wrongs I thought were done to me.
It was complete defeat. It was in some sense complete freedom. I saw once again what truly matters.
This pain is one of the 3 major moments of truth in my life.
12: When you are silent, still and deal with emotions, only then will the answers come. Only then, can you move forward. The only way out of it is through it.
You cannot escape pain. Pain may not end up being a bad thing. Seemingly great things at the time can end up hurting you. Withhold judgment and let things play out. You can spend your whole life running from your pain. But then, at the end, you are tired, and you have spent your whole life running and not living. This lesson came to me from a serious physical injury. A shattered leg and knee to the point I could not move.
Drugs, booze, drug dealing, and more stealing. For years a tried to numb the pain. I had the original pain, then added on pain. If it is never dealt with, it stays in you. It won’t be released.
Anything to block the pain. I stole from people to get money when I lost my jobs. I stole from friends. I was a drug addicted drug dealer thief.
All to block pain. In reality it was an escape, a temporary escape that caused more damage. The brain never dealt with these emotions, I had never learned to. I always learned to escape. It used to be anger, then it was other people. Now it was drugs. I just wanted to get away from the world and this allowed that. I was hurting many people, but I just wanted to go away. The drugs took me away.
On the outside, it looked as if I was a complete selfish jerk. Behind that was immense pain of my original pain from family, and now add my daughter thinking someone was her dad. My only hope and chance at life was gone. No one saw the pain. No one looked. I tried to overdose every chance I got. I made sure to remind people, “If I OD, just let me go,” I said that before every time I used.
Eventually, I broke my leg in half playing football and was forced to sit at my mother’s house on a couch for 6 months. No drugs, no escape. Just me and my thoughts. I was finally forced to deal with the emotions of losing my daughter and all of the previous pain. A forced meditation and return to truth.
My mom makes a suggestion. LPN school. I had my GED.
13: You never know how close you are to the miracle.
Human angels come in unexpected spots and from unexpected people. You never know what good you are doing in the moment. This lesson came from an ex stripper and drug addict. One step at a time. Stick it out. Keep fighting.
I had never finished anything in life. I did not know how. Too scared, distracted and fearful. I went to a few classes. I met a former drug addict stripper trying to get her life back together. She kept me going to school on my depressed days. She motivated me to change and be better.
Eventually, I finished. She did not. I do not have any clue where she is. But for the first time in my life. I finished something. I graduated college. Not on my own.
The person who was the most judged and ridiculed in school, the ex-stripper drug addict, she was the one that got me through. She never finished.
She disappeared. I have not heard from her since or of her.
14: Do not ever leave words unsaid.
Speak from your heart in each moment. Every moment is precious. Tell people the great you see in them. It takes nothing away from you. In fact, you grow from it. This lesson came from the death of one of my best friends.
After LPN school, I was working at a group home for mentally ill. I get word of one of my best friend’s death. He was killed in a freak boat accident. We were 25 years old at the time. He was gone forever.
We all talked about how much we loved him and how great he was at the bar. No one had ever told him this stuff to his face.
15: It is hard to give love when you are in pain. But try it, and watch the miracle. If you give love away, love will come back.
You will get what you need, if and when you are prepared for it. If you start to heal yourself and be good to others, regardless of your pain, then great things and even miracles begin to happen. You will be amazed at what the world gives you. This lesson came from giving effort to the world.
As I continued to try and get better. Using some of the lessons above, I start to call people that I had hurt before. I apologized to them.
One kid, said “what happened to you? You used to be a tough guy, now you are some wussy.”
I said, “No, I used to be. Now I am real.”
People were thrown off, but I was starting to use previous lessons. Then, out of the blue, I get a call that Kayla and her mother are coming back to town. I get to see my daughter again. She still thought someone else was her dad, and it took her a while to adjust but she did.
Her mother, due to her own undealt with issues, became a full blown meth addict that was being investigated by the FBI. I ended up with full custody of this 6 year old girl.
Her mom would eventually go to federal prison with a sentence for over 10 years.
What was lost forever, was now back. The miracle had happened. There was more to come.
16: Where you end usually depends on where you start.
We need to equalize things for people that start off life with less opportunity. Those with privilege need to stop acting like they are on 3rd base because they hit a triple, when in fact they were born on 3rd base. We need to give everyone the same opportunity. Or stop claiming that we are the land of opportunity when we are not. We have to stop penalizing people because they have less resources. It is not equal, most of the young men and women in jails and institutions have much less opportunity and resources.
Before Kayla’s mother went away, she would come around. We would fight and then get along back and forth. Eventually I took her phone when I caught her making a drug deal and threw it away and threw away her drug money. I ended up in Jail for the way I acted out.
She was in pain, and I was panicked. As I went to jail, I realized it was because I saw issues and I wanted to fix them. I now had jeopardized losing my daughter again and her going into foster care. My actions affected everyone. My mother helped me get a lawyer and get me advice and bailed me out. Got me out of trouble. She worked double shifts to do this.
I also saw how biased and racist our system is. I saw many young men with less resources and money were locked up for much lesser crimes. I sat in court and it was almost all young black men, all with no one to bail them out, they were looked at differently by the system. I was not better than them, in fact I was worse. I just had more resources and money
17: Who you surround yourself with is one of the most important decisions of your life.
You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. This lesson came to me from being in different environments.
I had escaped long term jail thanks to my mother’s working extra. I went back to work at group homes. I met my future wife. While at the group homes I was in charge. I let my ego back in. I believed myself to be in charge. I thought I knew everything so I acted like it.
When you think you know everything, disaster happens. The ego built back up. The false self. With the new girlfriend taking care of everything and myself making my own hours thinking highly of myself, the false self-emerged again.
Drinking heavily started again. I spent more time in jail for a DUI, and a 3rd time in jail for disorderly conduct and fighting 7 security guards. I had such an ego I thought I could take them.
I got less time than I should have. When I got out of jail worked at a county hospital. I was not only NOT the man, I was the lowest on the totem pole. I was the peon. Because of feeling insecure and inadequate around all these genius doctors. I decide I need to be better and entered RN school.
When at the group homes, I gained an inflated ego, and started drinking again and failing. When at the county surrounded by great doctors and nurses. I wanted to learn to be like them.
Who you surround yourself with plays a major factor in your life.
2 of the greatest teachers in my life were doctors at the county hospital. One was a pig farmer and started school at age 33. The other was homeless, living in his car, and then took one college class and started at age 33. Both ended up being great psychiatrists. They were the smartest of this group of geniuses. They were the best with the patients also. They had a freedom to them that I could not grasp.
They were enlightened folks and I wanted to be like them.
18: Living for others approval will kill you inside
Buying and accumulating things is not the answer. You will walk around depressed because you are living someone else’s dream for you. This lesson came from false success.
The drinking was something I was doing nonstop now. We got married, I finished school, and had our first daughter. I finished school by coming home and studying every night and at lunch time instead of taking breaks.
I figured I wasn’t a drunk if I did this. My wife watched the kids nonstop for this and my mom would travel 50 minutes at night to help watch kids and study. So I finished and got a major raise.
We bought a fancy house with the new money. We bought a BMW and Mercedes. The house we bought was a 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom “look at me house.”
On the outside, it looked like I was the comeback kid. I got a lot of handshakes and pats on the back. On the inside, I was falling apart. I was living for other people’s approval. I was getting the approval that I had never gotten before. I was accepted by society finally. I soon forgot everything that had upset me about it. Because now that they accepted me, I became a part of the corruption.
The American dream is a lie. It is made up by people who make money off the wedding, the cars and houses we do not need. I had forgotten my true self again and now I had a new false self. The successful rich guy. This all was eventually going to crumble because who I am at my core is someone who cannot live the false life. Some can, and my hats off to them.
19: It does not always end happy.
It is not people who work hard who get better and ahead. It is a lot about the breaks. Society is set up to keep the people in the gutter, in the gutter. It is not right. Life is not fair sometimes.
You can be a part of the problem or the solution, which is up to you. You may not see the results you wish. Do not let that keep you from trying. When we start planting trees that we will never benefit from, then we have grown as a society. Joe’s completed suicide is where this lesson came from.
One of my best friends kills himself by hanging. He had been living with us. Eventually all the old friends came around my about to be teenage daughter and we had to have him leave.
He had always called me when he was in trouble. He did not this time. He was dead. He was a better man than I will ever be.
He did not have the resources or money to get better. I did. I was 33.
20: When you make someone the center of your world for the moment you are with them, you can save their life.
You can change the world by simply being present with someone in pain.
Taking time with people, and listening to them is what is important. This lesson came from a doctor.
I was about to have a son. I go in for help finally. I had gone in before and was told that I have chronic fatigue syndrome and I was blown off by the doctor. He did not really talk me.
This final time I was seen by the magical Dr Michael Broeker.
He took time, he listened, and he remembered my name. He was the man that led me on the right path.
As Dante said. “In the middle of my life, I was in a dark wood.”
This man’s actions saved my life. I was about dead when I met him.
I was close to death when he psychologically resuscitated me.
21: Lessons will repeat themselves until you finally learn what you are supposed to.
There are many different ways to try to escape. Other people, food, gambling, anger, self-harm, alcohol, drugs, and many more. I think I have tried them all. This lesson came from a relapse.
I had relapses. First was on the day after my son was born and the week following. Then I broke my own record of 24 days without booze, then relapse. Made it 60 days after that, then relapse. Then made it 90 days, and then the worst relapse possible.
The drinking was so bad that my wife was leaving me. Kayla had left to live with her mother who had just gotten out of federal prison early. I took my mother’s pills and all of my anxiety medications. I was taken by ambulance to an out of state hospital. I would in the end have 3 stints in rehab, and 3 stints in psychiatric hospitals. Along with the 3 jail sentences. Every time in rehab I was at a different point, they never judged me, always welcomed me. There are many reasons for relapse. I think I went through them all.
Life was too hard and there was too much pain. I could not deal with it. I knew I had to, but I did not have the tools necessary. My life was over. What kind of person abandons there only son to be drunk? Then still cannot quit? One in pain.
I learned to be ok with emptiness. This was very similar to when Kayla told me someone else was her dad. I was once again, for the 3rd and final time, reminded of the truth. I remembered what matters, and what is important. I was certain I would lose my RN license and my house and my cars. You know what, I didn’t care. I felt freed.
22: You’ll never help anyone by punishing them.
Those that attack others usually have the most to hide. Loving is a sign of strength. To see someone for who they are despite everyone what everyone else says is a special person. If you ever have decision making power over someone’s life. Get to know them. Do not ever base it on what other people say, they have their own biases and agendas. If someone gossips a lot, they have a lot to hide. If you sit in silence while they gossip, you are an active participant. Gossip and talk is not harmless, it destroys character. Punishment does not work ever for an illness. I learned this lesson from my mom, my wife, and my brother Larry.
No one would talk to me after the final relapse. Everyone had turned on me. A loser, a criminal, and a bum. I had been given everything by this world and I kept throwing it away. I was a no good and rotten person. These are the things that I heard. I was going to be committed for the second time in my life. The character assassinations were constant. All that did is make me have more pain, more depression and more anxiety. This leads to more drinking. When you are down and lose everything, you learn a lot about everyone.
I never realized that subconsciously, I kept throwing it all away because I truly never wanted it. I knew it was all bull. I didn’t want it.
The 3 people that I had been hardest on, the 3 that I caused the most pain. They were the ones that were there for me and helped pick me up. My brother, my wife, and my mom. They had yet to throw in the towel.
I never got committed thanks to these 3 people sticking up for me. If I was committed, I never would have had a job or been able to help others in the same situation. That’s what punishment would have done to me, is prevented me from ever working with other troubled people.
The nurses at this hospital told the doctor to commit me based on gossip. Not one of them ever even talked to me. I was drugged up and out of it. I could not talk, so they called me non-compliant. No one asked. No one said hi or welcome, their minds were made up about me. They said I did not eat meals, if they would have talked to me, they would have known I was a picky eater.
I learned to say hi to patients and people every day.
23: Drop all preconceived notions of everything.
You cannot truly see the beauty and magic until you lose all the things and knowledge you think you have. You have to lose that. When you do, you see magic. This lesson came from a lifelong committed schizophrenic.
I made it back. I was working again as RN supervisor. I had an empty mind and I was open to anything. But also lonely and depressed. I was an infant at this point. Just been re born. I did not like this old life of working with mentally ill people. I believed it all to be fake. Then I met the lunatic on the grass.
A schizophrenic told us that he was going to be on European Golf tour and we all laughed. I talked to him, he knew about golf. I took him to range, and my life was changed forever. I now knew the direction my new true self wanted to go. More to come on this story in the future.
Do not ever think you know everything about anything or anyone. Having preconceived ideas will stop you from being able to see the truth, which is beautiful.
This moment proved that for me.
24: Fierceness and toughness are not always loud.
Sometimes it is timing. It is not what you say but when you say it. The best way to know what time to say something and what advice to give if any, is easy, but easy only if you are truly listening. Do not force it, timing is everything. This lesson came to me from Mary, a counselor. This happened at a treatment center in an obscure building behind a super 8 motel.
I had to go in to forced treatment. I am going on rants that I am a bad person. I am convinced that this alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, anger, attachment to others, and over consumption is a sign of a bad person. I take over the group and I am trying to convince everyone else how bad we are and how we need to change.
Mary walks in and says “Time for the video.” Everyone agrees. The video changed my life. Addiction can take over your brain and torture you. The video is Dr David Ohm’s video. The disease of addiction.
Mary was gentle, like a grandma that says c’mon in and have some cocoa. But when she meant it, there was a fierceness in her eyes that told you it was time to listen. She never yelled.
25: Appearance means nothing at all.
People at the top can be much, much sicker than so called “sick” people. What people tell you a crazy person looks like is different than the truth. This lesson came from a CEO of a major treatment center.
Do not be swayed of by others opinions. What we see in others, good and bad, is a reflection of ourselves and what we like or dislike of ourselves.
I got a new job as supervisor of an alcohol and drug program. 6 figure salary. I was on top in my deluded mind, and at a job that I loved. Helping other addicts find the truth. I was certain everyone in these major jobs are the healthiest, most normal people in the world. They have to be, right? To get to this point, they must be smart.
I met the leader of the company, Debby. The people in these positons are sicker than anyone I learned. They are good at manipulation, gossiping and throwing people under the bus. She would come out and get to know staff. I thought she just was nice. In reality she manipulated them.
She worked to fill beds and to make money. She did not care about the patients at all. I did not ever think that addiction and mental health had become a business, and an evil one at that. I started to be her friend. She taught me how to manipulate the system and make more money.
Then I spoke up against her and I was fired. I lost the big job for speaking up to her bosses about her corruption. She told me I had to dress a certain way and I refused. This eventually was my downfall was thinking she was healthy. I also had the assumption that some of these executives cared about patient care.
She showed me what true mental illness was. She trained me to be still and to be quiet and to observe people at first when in a job like this. This lady with this huge job and fancy clothes is mentally ill. While the misfits she claims to help are healthy. Just needing guidance.
26: If you choose to fight for something, make sure you are fighting for something that you are willing to lose everything for. That way, you can fight without reservations and with all you’ve got.
3 things will help you to fight when you have to. Your intentions must be pure. You must know how to fight, and you must be willing to lose everything in order to fight with all you have got.
I lost this fight because I did not do any of these 3 things.
Justice can be served if you fight the right way. There is a time and a way to fight, There is an art of war. This lesson came to me from a 55 year old man with so called ADD, Asperger’s and was working as an assistant making 12 dollars an hour.
After I was fired. I fought and yelled and screamed about the injustice. Another person was fired at the same time. I fought because I wanted the money. I held back because I was not willing to lose everything.
He did not scream and fight and yell. He stayed positive, he just wanted to be with the patients. He got a lawyer, he stayed silent. He fought the right way. He got his job back. I did not.
27: Labels are destructive.
People are not their illness and no one fits the pattern of the book. Do not treat the illness. Treat the patient. What helps the most is love. This lesson came from an 8 year old confused, scared boy.
I met a young child named Jonah. His family had labeled him the bad kid. He was, like me at that age, the bad seed. Labeled anything from ADD to ODD, to you name it. They wanted him diagnosed for funding and to validate that he was the bad guy and they were somehow ok. It is all about perception. It can be the same behavior and one person sees ODD, another ADD, another aspergers, and another could see it as gifted. None of it is truth. Truth has no words. No labels.
I treated him as if he had all these disorders, just as the book said to. It never worked. We would manipulate things to make his behavior fit our preconceived notions. It never worked, because he was not an illness, he was a person. I researched over and over again all these diseases, only to find some of these diseases meet the same criteria for gifted people. What worked for him was love and acceptance.
He showed me myself as a child. He gave me the idea that maybe I wasn’t a bad kid my whole life. He allowed me a glimpse into my life as a child He brought me back. He showed me my own truth.
28: Sometimes, people live up to the hype
When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Words can change people. But they must be pure and genuine and come from truth. This lesson came from the great PVD.
As I make it through the full 8 month treatment for the first time, finally getting towards the middle to the end, all the other patients talk about PVD. They say he is a game changer, and you have to hear him speak. Blah Blah Blah. I cannot stand when people hype things up, I always end up disappointed.
I meet the man, the man that eventually took my mask off. He more than lived up to the hype. He dealt my false self a blow that it never recovered from. His name is PVD, and he will take your mask off and never give it back. He saved my life. He gave my true self life. He put the thought in my head that maybe my own, and others ideas about me may be wrong.
He was the program director for the treatment center. It is a small place, and it shared a building with an assisted living facility. It was not a million dollar huge treatment center. It did not stick out, in fact, it was hidden. You would never know it was a treatment center or the magic happening in that building.
Being there was like being in the womb, once I was done there, my true self was going to be released to the world. His success rate is 70 percent in a time most people’s success rates are 10 percent for addiction treatment.
Everyone should get to meet PVD. I again caught a break.
29: Little things add up to big things
When trying to change things, patience is crucial. Systems don’t change fast. First, listen and observe. Pay attention to small things and details. You gain credibility and build up through small things. You lose credibility if all you do is fight. You don’t need to fight all day, every day. Pick your battles. This lesson came from an old Manager at the jail who I constantly fought with.
I was supervisor of a jail now. I saw the injustice and all the mental illness in the jail. I came in and started trying to change things right away. I fought for patients’ rights, I fought for justice. I was loud and was free.
I was missing crucial little details as I constantly fought for justice. My new found true self was being used by myself incorrectly. It is like a child learning to walk. Stumble, stumble. I went after anyone who mistreated patients who were mentally ill and did not deserve to be in jail.
Eventually I angered enough people and was fired. Told to resign or be fired is more like it.
I never got to the big things because I didn’t do the little things right.
30: Do not believe your own thoughts sometimes, they come from other people.
Your false self is just that, false. Acceptance comes first. You can change yourself, only after you accept yourself. This lesson came from a therapist, Dr Nasaff. He showed me that my thoughts may in fact be false.
Forced therapy from all my self-destructive episodes. I walk in and there is this man in his chair. I would spend 3 years with him. It ended up feeling like I was walking to the Himalayas to see the great wise man. He never judged, always listened. Accepted me, then when the time was right, he challenged me. He is the one who finished the work that PVD started.
He rewired my brain completely. He took it to a new level. He made me look in the mirror. He reframed things. He showed me how my thoughts affect me and my emotions I saw him every week for 3 years. He sent me to EMDR.
I miss him. He gave me armor every week to get me ready for the world. He never labeled anything, ever. Not one time. He went back into my hell with me. He taught me how to earn trust. He taught me to reframe things. He gave alternatives to my beliefs. He worked out all my deep underlying emotions with me. Instead of calling me a psychopath, he said I like to live by my own rules. That I am just outside the bell curve.
Then after gaining my trust, then he challenged me.
He finished what PVD started. He finished taking my mask off. He taught me about challenging my old false self. He placed the dagger in my false self.
31: If you want to help people, walk with them, not above them.
Stay in the senior slow lane of life. Let people rush by you if they want. Patience and walking with people is how you help them. Even if you get in a position of power, there is more corruption at the top. This lesson came from a 77 year old psychotherapist former alcoholic.
After I moved. I was sent to see this retiring old school psychotherapist/psychiatrist. He believed in paper charts. He believed in the relationship with the patient. He was the master. I got 12 sessions with him before he retired. We talked for over an hour a week. I was trying to get all he knew passed on to me. He called it “giving you my molecules.”
He had been an alcoholic and suffered as a kid. He was a true healer. I was learning how to emerge, I was trying to learn how to guide and how to manage my new found true self. I was trying to figure out how to live in this world of falseness and how to function. I wanted to stay at a job, and with my family. I wanted to create change. I tried to take all his molecules of knowledge from him before we were done. I got a job at the state hospital that I was once committed to.
He taught me how to manage in this messed up world. How to function. He showed me how to operate.
32: Sometimes you have to walk away.
You have to take care of yourself. Sometimes you cannot change things, self-preservation is necessary. Enjoy the great moments, as they do fade. Do what you can in the moment, nothing lasts. You never know the results of your actions. There will come a time the truth will be exposed. Do your best. That is all you can do. Be ok with that. This lesson came from people who abuse patients that they had complete power over.
I get a job at the state hospital. The same state hospital that I was committed to as mentally Ill 20 years ago. What an immense rush. On March 2nd 1994 I was committed as mentally ill to the state hospital (I still have papers.) On March 2nd 2014 I was in charge of one of the unit’s at the same state hospital. It was the 20 year anniversary of my commitment and I could tell no one due to stigma. Instead I sat with an internal glow on this day. It would have been so great to share this, with staff and with patients, but I couldn’t. As soon as they would know, I would be treated differently. I was right, that is what happened.
I did things right, I was patient. I spent time with the sickest patients that there is. I changed things. I used everything I had learned. This is where my destiny unfolded.
However, people that have been abusing patients there for 20 years did not like this. Soon there was a split in staff. Those that are for the new way of person centered care, and the old school. They abuse patients if the patients disagree with them or tell the truth and make them work.
I reported 3 vulnerable adult attacks by these people. One that I know of was substantiated abuse of a 22 year old DD female. I was disciplined each time I reported abuse. For not reporting it correctly, like not filling out their form. Their way to quiet me down.
They all had built relationships over 20 years and knew the system. I refused to be quiet about abuse that I saw. I told them of my history and why I think I am able to help, then the retaliation came.
About a month ago. I walked away from this abusive system in tears and in defeat. Walking away from these patient is heartbreaking.
33: If what you do comes from your heart and is genuine, you can’t go wrong.
This is the last lesson. It came from my mom. It is the lesson of how to love. This is how you change the world.
Through all of this. I have had something to always go back on. Someone who was always there for me. Every single moment, there and with love. With unconditional love and acceptance. I did not make this on my own. There have been many teachers, many breaks. Many opportunities. But we go back to our core when we are in trouble. What was given to me was a love that cannot be matched. This person that did this for me is my mom.
I watched her take care of my dying grandma who had abused her. She always was there. She always sat by my side with love. If I never had that to go back on, then I am dead 10 times over.
My mom grew up with an alcoholic mother abusing her. She retuned love. She did not have a father. She had no clothes. She buried dead fetuses. She had no food. She was tortured. She returned love. She meets the criteria for a saint. I always come back to her love. That is the most powerful.
She was the girl you see on the street wearing the same clothes, hungry, and dirty. No one taught her anything ever. No guidance and only abuse is what she has always known. But you know what she knew? Love. That doesn’t have to be taught. That is us at our core. It was all she had.
So when we say there is evil and bad and why it does happen. Well my mom went through hell. But if she didn’t, I would not have the same mom. I would not have the same life. So the answer to me is that there is good and bad in everything. We choose what we see.
My mom took care of me and everyone in our family. She helped me raise Kayla when I didn’t know how. I would say a greater good has come from her suffering. That is why that particular evil existed.
Why her? Why are some people sacrificed? I believe they are the chosen ones. They are special. The ones that are open and able to do it. They are the strong ones.
I learned a few days ago that at age 39 I am going to be a grandfather, (A YOUNG GRANDFATHER) which is humbling. Kayla is pregnant and 20 years old. Kayla’s first thought was to move in with my mom. Everyone knows the gold that exists in that woman.
My grandchild will be blessed if they get 5 minutes of what I got a lifetime of. Thank you mom.