Category Archives: dealing with stress mental well being

Mental Meanderings

Mental Meanderings

By Matt Carlson

He said, “I’m leaving.” Then he added, “I’m going to stay at my Mom’s.” Then he was gone and there we were, the dogs and I, alone. It was a horrible moment. There had been no real discussion. The phantom that had been my boyfriend for ten years left as if he had never been there. Well, he hadn’t really. I continued to pay for the house credit and other bills alone. I’d lived with someone who had always hated himself, always looking for a sexual liaison with a stranger. Someone who hid inside his computer, then within the virtuality of his telephone. They were safe places, his smart phone and computer, he didn’t have to respond honestly to any questions there. He could easily play with the anonymity of it all. I imagined him locked up in a small room asleep with only cables connected to his brain and a computer while an animated character lived his life somewhere; his real body safely locked away.

In December of 2013, he had simply said to me while sitting outside in the garden, in the sun, a cigarette in hand, “I think we should break up. There’s nothing left between us.” It was the first time that it was he who had brought up the subject; I was usually the one that said it. The way he said it was as if he were waiting for a particular response. I didn’t give it to him. On the contrary, I agreed that it was a good idea to separate. But adding, “I don’t think that there’s nothing left between us – I think we are still friends.” He didn’t answer.

There, I was wrong…It takes two to be friends.

The slippery slope that we’d now ventured upon wasn’t immediately visible. I’d somehow forgotten or put aside the fact that I was dealing with someone who suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder; an alcoholic too. Why is it that when we break up with someone, we imagine that they are going to have the same perception of things – or even be reasonable  –  and are shocked by the reaction we have in front of us?  My ex cried that night out on the terrace, sobbing while holding onto his wine bottle and glass. I went to him, to comfort him. It didn’t last long, me holding him in my arms telling him it would be al-right. He didn’t want me to, I hadn’t said what he’d wanted to hear. So, I left him there as his tears subsided in the black of the night, his anger surfacing, on our unfinished terrace. He had wanted me to plead for us, for another chance, to say ‘let’s stay together’ but I didn’t feel that. The on going pain of dealing with this hurt, broken and angry individual had just gone over the top. I had no more desire, no more strength to try and convince him that life could be beautiful – that we could be. Especially to someone who only knew beauty as a concept, as a visual design on a computer screen  –  his true profession in fact  –  a graphic artist – well, it all made more sense now.

Our unfinished ruin of a house sat there. The hours upon hours of my own labor upon it, for it, for us,  would be the weapon used against me to make me suffer. My name wasn’t on the title and all of the promises of protecting me had gone out the window. My ex would try and take everything away, an attempt to erase my very presence from it  –  from our mutual project. Even his Mother would add fuel to the fire by attempting with her son to keep our dogs away from me. A five month ‘kidnapping’ of sorts would end up with my going and getting them at the Mother-in-laws house in the country. She attacked me, but ended up falling on the ground as I avoided her with the dogs in my arms, my ex running after me like a maniac suddenly (though he was supposedly unable to walk at this time due to a back problem)…His attack of feet and fist marks left on the side of our mutual car Peugeot – just before I could drive safely away…

Later on I had to respond to incredible lies of breaking and entering, theft of money and of my own dogs and that I had physically attacked and beaten my Mother-in-law!  It all seemed surreal – but the hate was only beginning. My ex would continue to lie and paint a new picture far from the reality of what was.  I suppose that I shouldn’t have been surprised by the letter from a shady lawyer hired from my ex describing me basically as a monster, turning the truth into a mockery of justice, or the… and the… etc, etc…

 

Today, I am moving on and recreating a new life. I am still unsure as to whether I want to battle again for at least a return on my investment of my home for over nine years; the fact that I paid for half of his house credit too over that period – a few months paying for it alone as well. I’m feeling like it would take a lot of energy away from me, from moving into a positive direction. Maybe not…  Maybe I need to finish the battle in order to move on… It’s either that or accept things as the way they are and put that aside. What is the most important thing here? To move on? To look back? To move on but to at least respond to what was? To get at least a part of my investment back?

 

I’m still questioning that – if only a little bit.

Some Helpful Thoughts In Life Management by Matt Carlson

Some things that are helpful to remember in life:
1. Have a sincere intention when you do something and be clear about what that is to others.
2. Don’t play into others’ unhealthy game playing, lying or manipulation. Tell that or those people “no” and go on with your life.
3. Don’t judge, but learn to observe things. When you judge something, it cannot become something else, only what you’ve judged it to be.
4. Communicate as best you can & as often as you can. Communication is a bringing together of ideas so that everyone is on board with all of the same elements. If you do not do this, then you are not communicating, only occasionally giving out bits and pieces of a thing.
5. Give of yourself to others. Giving is generosity of oneself. Everyone has unique gifts to give to others. Give freely and often without second thoughts. Without wanting something in return.
6. Take time every day and as often as you can to just be in the moment, to be with who ever you are with or whatever you are doing. Don’t get so caught up in your daily lives, that you forget what is essential: this moment. The past and future do not exist ; the past and future only exist in your mind

The Art of Life Balance: It’s An Every Day Intention…by Matthew Carlson

It’s not enough to just say one day and one time, “I want balance in my life”… It’s all about this word: INTENTION. And every day, all the time.

For the last New Year’s,  I had decided thanks to reading some things from Marianne Cantwell and her friend Sophie (great on line coaches) that instead of making resolutions that you might not keep up with perhaps exaggerated ideas (*I’m going to go to the gym 3 times a week or ” I’m going on a new diet” etc…), well instead of that (and feeling guilty about it when you aren’t able to maintain your resolutions) is to have the INTENTION of eating better and the INTENTION of getting into better shape.

Change or the desire to change must be a CONSTANT INTENTION.

So let’s say that you have decided on that particular one, to eat better and to get into better physical shape. So you start running a bit, maybe once a week, plus tennis once a week, and you stop buying processed food and so start eating fruits and vegetables (and you’re feeling good about that)… Then one day, you break down and buy a big candy bar and eat it all while sitting in a private space completly enjoying it. Ok and so what? Are you going to hit yourself over the head about that? Well hell no! Did you enjoy it? Yes. Are you going to eat another one? Probably not right now…

The thing is that if at this moment you decide/accept to feel guilty  about that candy bar, you are actually doing yourself no good whatsoever! Just accept that that candy bar was more important at that moment. Now it’s over. Then try to consider how your body feels after eating that candy bar. I mean the physical effects on you. Did it get into your teeth? Did you brush them afterwards? How about your stomach? Can you feel it sitting down there in your belly? OBSERVE. And what about later…after the  sugar rush? Did you feel the after sugar downs?….Again, this is not about judgement, this about how does your body physically feel in relation to the candy bar or the cigarette if that is your crutch? And then mentally, maybe you will think, “Hmm well it wasn’t that good. Maybe next time I’ll try and drink a glass of water”….Because very often in our advanced societies, we have learned to give ourselves an “emotional cuddle” and often it’s with food/or a cigarette and/or maybe: you were just thirsty for WATER! Did you know that more often than not, we strangely confuse the “I’m hungry” carving with the actual “I’m thirsty” craving?? And the cigarette too is replacing something in your life. What do you think it is?….

I stopped smoking and I also eat healthy. I stay away from eating processed foods, but occasionally will eat Pringles and chocolate! I do not bash myself for it. But I do a quick FEELY kind of physical observation and realize that that food finally did or did not make me truly feel any better. That the Haggendaz was good while I was eating it, but afterwards the flatulance and the uncomfortable stomach wasn’t worth it. Still conditioning runs deep and the emotional aspect of eating it made me happy…at least for a few minutes. Still, no guilt. Just an observation.

Angel’s Coming Out Video + My Personal Story About Coming Out

MatthewAfter watching this and feeling the emotions of its’ recital, I was reminded me of how important it is to share our own life experiences about being gay and too, that things do indeed get better…

When I was seventeen, my Mother, little brother and I moved back to our home town of Fresno California ; it was at this moment that I realized I was not heterosexual, but homosexual. After having made out with a current girlfirend, I realized that she didn’t inspire me. I have a very funny story about it, but you can find that on my blog at a later date!

Today, I just want to share about being gay in a world where the people in your family and at school, work and EVERYWHERE show a hatred for what you are. And that ‘what you are part’ is not something that you chose, but something that is innate. I’ve always said to people when I came out at eighteen years of age (it took me a few months to accept that I was gay) that I didn’t choose the color of my eyes, nor my hair and all the other basic biological aspects of who I am. And that my sexuality, that inner deepness or calling was towards men and not women. I did not choose it. It chose me.

That does not mean that I cannot love a woman or even make love to her, it means however that the deep down calling inside that I have, is towards men.

My Mother had a clue of course and when I told her (that too was funny)…I absolutely had to tell her the truth and so on the fateful day she came into my bedroom and sat down on my waterbed.

I began rather timidly, not sure what to say as she had recently aligned homosexuals to rapists and murderers. When I asked what she would do when she had said that, it was something like “I’d kill the son of a bitch”…But I think she was talking about the sexual partner and not her son, had he been homosexual ha, ha, ha 😉 .Anyway on this day, the day of telling, I told her to sit down, and she already was! Then I began, “Well, the truth is that…umm ” (I still was not ready to live the consequences of what I was about to say ) “umm well I’ve just been extremly depressed…. and so, umm I need to tell you that I’ve…stolen alot of money…I know it’s wrong, but I’m gonna give it back and I promise that I’ll never do it again…I know, huh? Who would’ve thought that I was a born thief right?…yea I just can’t help myself, I’m always taking stuff that doesn’t belong to me…” I avoided looking at her, pacing the bedroom like a caged animal. This was a good story I told myself…

“That’s ridiculous. Now honey, you can tell me whatever it is,” she said sweetly. Crap, I was thinking, she didn’t buy it.

“Alright, I’m sorry. I lied. It’s just that I didn’t think you’d understand,” I began.

“The real truth is that I’m a druggie. I love taking drugs, can’t get enough of ’em. I’m mean I’m totally stoned right now. …” I continued pacing, throwing a glance every now and then in her direction. “Yep, smoking pot every day and now I’m really getting off on speed. I take that for school -it does help the memoryalot…and you’re so much faster at everything…” I was definitely on to a good escape here but would need some proof, where could I get some drugs…?

She twisted her lips in a sardonic manner. Man, I thought I cannot lie to this woman! She knew I was lying. She always knows…how does she do it?

“Tell me the truth Matthew. I want to know. I’m your Mother and I love you. Nothing will change that”.

We looked at each other, my heart pounding as if it would burst. Still I hesitated, but only breifly. I had to tell her and I wouldn’t lie my life away, not for anyone. Not even her.

“Okay Mom…You’re not gonna like this, but I have to tell you the truth….I’m….I’m…

I’m gay. I’m what they call a homosexual.”

She burst into tears and I went to hold her in my arms. Deep sobbing entailed, mine included but more controlled than hers’. She was beyond tearing up like me. She was feeling a wave of emotions: guilt and anger, frustration at the world. I was wondering what was going to happen now.

“What did I do wrong?” she asked meekly. Without knowing the exact answers to her questions, I knew at least that, that it was nothing she did or didn’t do. My future research and life experiences would confirm that hypothesis…. We talked for hours and the conversation didn’t die on that day either. And she did run up to the mountains and have it out with my Dad. Was it a vengeful way to get back at him or her need to talk with the other biological parent? I wanted to tell my Father myself and I did get quite angry about that at her. My Father’s reponse in the beginning was that he disinherited me! That’s another story…

To sum up this short chapter in coming out, my Mother took some time to deal with it. Accepting that i was still the same person, yet different than what she had imagined or created in her mind. Her critical judgements coming from religion and social conditioning, friends and family that were as ignorant as she had always been. Having done her homework and learning about homosexuality (and not just accepting ignorant thoughts on the subject) she would later get involved in the Gay Pride in Fresno, do AIDES charity work as well as speak out openly in defense of gay people, especially her son.

My own attitude was important too, educating myself through available books and sharing that with family members from the age of eighteen. The good side of that is that I’ve never hidden my sexuality, I don’t necessarily throw it in people’s faces either, I just live who I am. When a situation comes up or someone says something, then I tell them what I think about it. I also support healthy gay oganisations and gay + human + animal rights manifestations : Gay Pride, Names Project, Gay Games to name a few…

I truly believe that dialogue is the most potent tool in advancing people’s ignorance about homosexuality and also acreating opportunites for people to see images and videos too, anything that will take away the demonizing of it. Gay people are no different from straight people, the only difference today might be in numbers, that there are fewer gay people than straight people.

Saying that makes me think that homosexuality could eventually be nature’s answer to the current problem of over population. Apparently in 2050, there will be 11 billion people on this planet.

Hm. Just a thought. Matt and Oliver

The Inner DIALOGUE: Are You Constantly Talking to Yourself? by Matthew Carlson

I should've won!

The Inner Dialogue by Matthew Carlson

THE INNER DIALOGUE (an excerpt from an ebook in progress)
by matt carlson
You are on the tennis court. You are playing a tennis match. Your adversary beats you almost every time (except when he is suffering from a minor illness, you can sometimes eek out a set). This time, you suddenly and surprising have the advantage
with a 15/40 on his serve and you are leading 6 games to 5! It’s never happened before during his periods of being healthy.
Without even thinking about it, your backhand down-the-line has dropped in! You now go and pick up a ball and toss it to your
adversary and during that time, a voice is talking to you.
It says, ” Wow, I can’t believe my luck ! For once my backhand went in at the right time! I’m gonna hit a great big forehand to
close out this set! It’s gonna be devastating!” You tell yourself with a self congratulating air on how it will be afterwards.
Already, you are seeing the photographers fighting to take your picture; this is your moment of glory!
You move into position and stand to receive serve. Your partner begins his windup. It’s a slow, unexpected puffy like sphere
rolling in the air like a cloud, seemingly to take forever to arrive in your service box. Apparently, your opponent wants to play it
safe. Not you though, you’re gonna pound on that ball and show him how good you really are! To make up for all those many
humiliating lost matches! It’s time! You jump at 200 miles per hour on that poor, slowly rotating fluorescent green ball while
slamming it with all your might, using that brand new powerful racquet you just bought (guaranteed for hair splitting return of
serves!) Unfortunately, however, your velocity is too rapid and you completely miss the ball….It sadly rolls into the back fence;
it is alone and unmoving. A lost ball, an unmoving one; a once again lost opportunity….
Suddenly, an irate voice in your head is
now screaming, « What an idiot! How can anybody miss that kind of ball?! Even a 2 year old could’ve made it back into the
court!” You try not to show how upset you are, but your breathing is suddenly short & fast, your face too has become a red
tomato…
The controlling voice intercedes once again saying « It’s okay you still have a another set point – forget about that horrible
forehand – let’s hit a backhand this time – you hit a great backhand just a minute ago ». Your breathing is still very fast and you
can no longer feel your legs either. But you are trying to be positive so you move again into position, hoping it’ll work out for you.
Then while expecting your opponent to accelerate that dinky serve of earlier, you are wrong again. He serves you yet another
dinky serve and ‘oh-happy-days’ it’s to your backhand, as you had hoped! You jump into action immediately, but the controlling
voice is there too, saying « Drop shot! Drop shot!” and you think yes, (though you never worked on it before), there’s a big
ignored hole right next to the net! » However, at the moment when you decide to hit your drop shot, your racquet slips a little bit
in your hand about half an inch in the wrong direction. You attempt to make your drop shot anyway with this new grip (one
you’ve never used before, but you have committed yourself) all the while thoughts at terrific speeds are giving you a lot of
information: « Softly, softly! Hit up on the ball: hit up, hit up…HIT UP YOU IDIOT!!! »
The ball lands at the bottom of the net…
At first you don’t realize it, but the head voice of earlier is now screaming out loud and you have thrown your brand new racquet onto
the ground. Your adversary is quite pleased. Needless to say, the first set has been lost in a tie-breaker and the second set was
a mere formality; you have lost it 6-0. You were a phantom after losing the first set, feeling as if you were somehow disconnected
to your body and its sensations. You wonder if it is worth it to continue playing tennis at all…
You were right about one thing: you were completely cut off from your body and henceforth, your ability to play tennis well…

Your INTENTIONS by Matthew Carlson

Intentions.

That word.

So easy to say and yet somehow easily put aside.

But that word or more precisely, the meaning of it is incredibly strong. Intentions…IN…10..tions.  (And again!) INTENTIONS….Just let it roll off your tongue for a an instant and reflect on what that means. You could even close your eyes too: hearing it, imagining it and wondering what yours’ might be. Intentions. Your intentions. Maybe the most important word in your vocabulary. If not, perhaps it should be.

Often in our lives these days, there is a lack of clear intentions. Not knowing what you want, running after the almighty dollar (or euro) so you can buy “stuff”, follow outside agendas (other peoples’, not yours’) and very quickly one can run out of steam. Perhaps so locked up in your daily functioning that you forget about who you are and why you are doing things. Life is not about making money. Making money is about making money. A commodity that can easily kill you (fast or slow) depending on the poison you have chosen…Are you trying to impress someone, or maybe following someone else’s idea’s, religion, goals or aspirations? Wanting someone to like or love you? Trying to get  something from someone? If you are, just step off that crazy bandwagon ride and get a hold of yourself! Consider YOU, what desire is there in your head/brain, heart or soul? However you might define those things…

What is it that your inner self is trying so hard to communicate to you? The term communication means to bring all elements together with equal knowledge and/or awareness to the same place (and to all parties concerned) only then can one truly have access to communication. To bring together a “commonness”… That still doesn’t mean that true communcation will take place. If everyone is not aware of what the information is, there cannot be true communication. It will only be parts of information shared eventually, but not thouroughly. There won’t be any “commonness”.

(I know, I just made up a new word!)

Are you aware that billions of cells in your body make you ‘you’ constantly communicate? Well they do. Or rather, they try to. There needs to be reception of the phone call, right? I mean if someone calls you on your cell phone and you don’t answer, well you won’t get the message. Unless you check your messages (ha, ha!) And hopefully one was left! And no, just saying something in your head voice is not communication either. It’s not because you thought it that your thought was sent out to anyone. No sending, no recieving.

The same can be said for EMAILS. Many people think or say, “Yea I sent an email” Which someone means “It is no longer my responsability because I sent an email with my information”….BUT the problem is this: does the person have a computer? Will the person turn it on? Will the person OPEN his email box? Will he see your email AND will he open AND read it?? That’s alot of if’s! Sendina an email or even leaving a message is not communication, it is only a smalll part of which could BECOME communcation.

(By the way, it sooo makes me laugh when people say they work in communcation and don’t know these simple facts, so don’t feel bad about it if it’s your case. Live and learn every day, right?

So, how do you listen to your inner voice?  How do you know your body is even talking to you? Does it speak Spanish? French? English? Well, a hint: it doesn’t speak verbal language.

That’s the key.

Your body communicates with you by sensations: through feelings, through pain and pleasure, hunger and thirst, images, desires, dreams, thoughts that just seem to appear for no reason…

Being in touch with ones’ body and being present in the moment is essential in order to “hear” (or the reception there of) those messages. One of the best ways I’ve found to get into touch with myself is to sit or lay down somewhere, close my eyes and take some long deep breaths. Just concentrating on that act of doing nothing but breathing.

Little by little, I will focus on my physical awareness starting with a part of me like: the position in my chair, my feet, my back against the chair, my neck and shoulders…the position of my hands and so on. All the while focusing on breathing, deep down, feeling the air expand my lungs, then letting it out again. Really, fully feeling those sensations. Any thoughts that might come up, I will block their presence with a renewed focus on breathing, on my sitting there, the whereabouts of my body and its’ position…just emptying my head of all thoughts…

Try it out and let me know what you think.

Can’t hurt!