“People are not disturbed by things, but rather the view they take on them.”—Vice Admiral James Stockdale, held captive nearly 8 years as a POW in Vietnam

Recently, the worst thing happened to me

(It shines light upon the scope of the many blessings life affords me, to speak of the following as the “worst thing”)

Returning to my childhood home following a morning at the grocery store

The stresses settled in; having surveyed empty supermarket shelves

(although the shelves had been mostly full)

Having encountered countenances covered with masks

(although everyone had been quite cheerful—you could feel, if not see, the smiles behind the facial coverings)

Of spending the longest stretch in thirty-five years away from my beloved home, San Francisco

(although here in Massachusetts, I have unlimited access to meditating in and strolling through the beautiful woods…whereas in San Francisco I’d just have to hunker in my room)

Arriving home from the store, dropping plastic bags on the kitchen floor, then moving too fast through my childhood home, while still wearing boots

I attempted to shove open the door to my childhood bedroom, with my foot

A foot strengthened from all my Krav Maga (self-defense) training

A mind encumbered with stressors unresolved

The beautiful, ancient wooden door exploded off the hinges

And shattered into a million splinters*, as if kicked down by the FBI SWAT team agents my methamphetamine paranoia once made more real than the words on this page

(*Of course, as you can see from the photograph above, “exploded off the hinges” and “million splinters” are gross exaggerations…

Still, I had, through my thoughtless carelessness, damaged a thing of beauty, perhaps beyond repair)

I stood at the threshold of my childhood bedroom—which one might say represents my subconscious

What do your current physical surroundings represent about your past?

Forty years ago*, the ostracized teenager I was—fresh from a junior-high day of falling flat in gym class, and flatter still in my attempts to say hello to Natalie LaFontaine, the junior-high-schooler with the locker next to mine

I’d locked himself inside my bedroom

(*“Forty years” isn’t accurate…but “forty” sounds much more Biblical and symbolic than “thirty-six”…consider it creative math…like “million splinters” with the nice rhyming vowels)

Rock n’ roll on the radio, soundtracks to fantasies…teenage dreams of myself as the star on the athletic field, the concert stage, the bookstore autograph table

While in reality, I couldn’t defend myself from a fist or forearm smash of a gym-class bullies, or the taunts of the popular kids

I never much tried to stand up for myself, even if it might’ve meant a bruise or two

What realities did you not defend yourself from…how did you lock yourself away?

As a teenager, it seemed wise to flee, to a coast thousands of miles away

My body may’ve become shrouded in the San Francisco fog, but my psyche remained locked inside that bedroom

Intoxicants’ false promises—words flowed from my tongue as Miller Genuine Draft from the bottle…my arm slipped around the college freshman woman sitting on the dorm-room bed next to mine

Those false promises morphed into terrifying power! As, years later, I became able to defend myself from the global FBI conspiracy

That planted the hidden plasma-cameras in my electronics, HyperSonic Sound disembodied-voice generators behind the drywall

“DARN THOSE PESKY DISEMBODIED VOICES!”

(Don’t mind them…they’re the Boolean Operators, the name given to my disembodied voices…they’re harmless)

“AS DISEMBODIED VOICES, WE ONLY WISH YOU CONTINUED HEALTH, HAPPINESS, AND HEALING.”

The “global FBI conspiracy” of course, was due to my meth psychosis…but, to the teenager inside his bedroom who lived in of me, it was a fine enough substitute for the gym-class bullies

The other day, as I stood at that threshold, surveying the damage I had done…my thoughts turned—as they must—towards repair

A beam of light peeked through the splintered door! Then barged boldly in…an angel, perhaps, peering across four decades

Reminding me…my circumstances never led to my downfalls

But rather, did own failures to view my circumstances as opportunities to improve myself, be of service to others, and practice spirituality

Fortunately, when I got clean from meth and began a search for the Spirit, individuals and institutions of the highest caliber bestowed upon me the light of their compassion, and empathy

What individuals and institutions can you access right now, to free you from your “teenage bedroom”?

I took certain steps: leaving an unfulfilling career in biotech, to instead serve persons who are/were incarcerated, and turning their lives around via employment and entrepreneurism (and thus I serve society)

Adopting a daily practice of meditation…exercising regularly, paying close attention to nutrition

I even taught a Krav Maga class for members of the FBI SWAT team 🙂

Most importantly, I began forcing myself to consider: My walk upon this earth will end…even if not for decades (maybe a century, if we apply creative math!)

When that happens, I will look back upon times of adversity, as having been those in which I modeled what I wished to see in others

Fortitude, courage, perseverance

Although I fall short in these areas, time and time again…life hinges not on the number of times we trip and fall down, but rather the number of times we get back up

I even began writing about the disembodied voices I hear! It took extreme courage…but hopefully will inspire others, that they too can overcome what many would label “mental health challenges”

If I can choose to live a meaningful, fulfilling life existence while hearing disembodied voices…you can choose the view you take on things in your life, too

Today, the door opens to opportunities

To deepen my connection to the Spirit, through prayer, meditation, and service

To solve those problems I once locked myself away from

In the midst of these strange times…from our childhood bedrooms, our first frightened foot emerges…then our second foot, and then our third

“ENOUGH WITH THE CREATIVE MATH!”

What new steps will you take today, to further free yourself from your childhood room?

Resources For You

If you know or are a person who is struggling, check out my free PDF: Ten Helpful Questions to Ask When Someone You Love is Recovering From Addiction

Simply go to my website, and hit the “Download PDF Now” button in the lower right. When you enter your email, you’ll be signed up for my weekly newsletter, Meditations on Meth. Feel free to unsubscribe if you don’t want it.