the angst of solitude, where you’re alone with the cosmos.
I have just been through the Dark Night of the Soul.
Last evening I felt very strange ~ for no readily apparent reason.
Mentally I was quite depressed and melancholy, with a feeling of deep angst thrown in.
My thoughts were wandering into dark places I didn’t want to go ~ places that in the past would certainly have driven me towards strong drink as a way of escape from my own tortured mind.
Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life. ~ George Bernard Shaw.
Physically I felt weak, my arms and legs were as heavy as lead, and I had severe peripheral neuropathy in my hands and forearms.
It is said that our feelings are kept in our body, and that if we don’t deal with those feelings they will surface as physical symptoms ~ particularly if those feelings are causing undue stress.
Overall, this was extremely painful and mentally uncomfortable ~ I had to reach out to a close friend for support.
I believe that what is going on with me, both mentally and physically, is due to all the introspection I’ve experienced through diligently working through the Hay House World Summit programme. And let me tell you, twenty hours of this in a week is a lot of work.
This is all to the good. It means that I’m not wasting my time with all these audio lessons and films. It means that deep down in my subconscious I’m turning over the dead earth of my past traumas, character defects, and negativity. It means that I am creating a new and better view of myself, my relationships, the world, and the cosmos.
It may be that I am truly walking the warrior’s path.
At least I sincerely hope and believe that’s what is happening to me.
Spiritually, mentally, and physically I still feel like crap today. However, sometimes there has to be a little pain along the way before we get to those sunlit meadows of inner peace.
From time to time the darkness would overwhelm me.
It turns out that I am an emotional being, which is an unwanted paradigm shift for a taciturn and repressed English guy like me. And yet, for much of my recent life I have been completely defined and driven by powerful emotions.
From time to time my psyche would spiral down a dark hole into a place where I became angry, jealous, manipulative, paranoid, resentful, unreasonable… filled with negative thoughts and feelings.
These emotions would hit me out of nowhere, coming from deep within my subconscious mind, usually when my conscious guard was down ~ because I was tired, stressed, had been drinking, or someone close had lied to me, or perhaps just because something had gone slightly wrong in my life.
And these intense, darkly negative emotions could often drive a complete change in my personality, turning me from a rational and sociable man into an irrational and dangerous Mr. Hyde.
One thing you can’t hide ~ is when you’re crippled inside. ~ John Lennon.
The reality is that intensely negative and darkly dangerous emotions are driven by fear, and in my case probably a paranoid fear of abandonment created by the Borderline Personality Disorder I have suffered from for most of my life.
Fear is powerful, deep, affecting the most primeval part of our psyche, what Freud calls the id. And fear generates the equally powerful fight or flight reflex. At my darkest I would fight by attacking people verbally and in writing, and run away into a bottle of booze. Neither of these reflex actions was in the least useful to me.
What I needed was a strategy which allowed me to accept my negative emotions without allowing their destructive power to ruin my relationships and my life ~ wanting to find a suitable way to check out of life is not good.
What I needed was to be more emotionally stable and resilient.
It turns out that emotionally resilient people have some important things in common. Emotionally stable and resilient people;
- Are Realists. Grounded. Optimists are soon disappointed and easily lose hope. Realists make the best they can of the ‘Now’.
- Have Faith. Believe in something greater than themselves, something greater than whatever bad situation they may find themselves in.
- Are extremely and radically creative.
- Have a support network of close friends, doctors, counsellors, 12-step groups…
- Have a great, but usually weird and warped, sense of humour.
These are all things that I could invent for myself. I can grow and develop these character traits that actually exist in all of us. Each day I have been able to further manifest these character traits within myself. Every hour I have become more emotionally stable and resilient.
One ought to hold onto one’s heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche.
Life goes on, and I do not have to allow my emotions to control me.
Although my emotions are an important part of me, I AM NOT MY EMOTIONS.
Some say that negative emotions have an important role to play in a happy life. And that negative emotions are telling you that you need to change and transform yourself. All I know is that you can turn things around and control how your emotions affect you.
Life does not have to be perfect to be good.
Hay House World Summit.
Following my recent return from a vacation in California, it was obvious to me and my friends that there was an empty darkness in my soul.
I made a half-hearted attempt to escape from this by drinking ~ and as usual that didn’t work. Trying to escape into booze and / or drugs never works, not for anyone. Booze is usually a bad idea, and taking drugs is always a very bad idea. Both booze and drugs create more problems than they solve, up to and including dying from alcoholism and drug addiction.
What I really need is help to find a new way of living, new values, a new psychology of friendship and love. I need to find a way towards real spiritual growth. I need to accept the pain of confronting and solving my problems, and I know that I cannot do that through my own sheer willpower, self-control, and self-discipline.
My first impulse was to go and see my doctor, confess my problems, and ask for help. But, you know what, most doctors are very bad at dealing with psychological and spiritual problems, together with the booze that has gone along with mine.
A very close friend then pointed me towards the Hay House World Summit, which is a 16-day journey to self-discovery, health, and success. In 2018 this runs from May 5th to May 20th ~ the timing is ideal for me, and it’s free.
I’ve registered for this and I’m very much looking forward to exploring the 100 lessons and 15 videos.
From time to time I will let you know how this is working out for me.
Only I can change my life ~ no one can do it for me.
Life is about change. Without change, without variety, without some stress in Life, all will stultify and diminish. Without change there can be no growth, and without growth and development all things will wither away and die.
I will not meddle with that which I cannot mend. ~ Thomas Fuller
But, as the Serenity prayer tells us, there are some things that we cannot change, some things that have to be accepted, and the wise learn to know the difference. I can think of a myriad of people, places, and things I cannot change. In reality no one can change another person, unless that other absolutely wants to change. This is why it is mostly pointless trying to talk to most addicts in an effort to make them change their ways. This is why many relationships, and many marriages, end in failure and recriminations. This is why there are wars.
A while ago I resolved to stop trying to change others and instead decided to work on myself to become a better person. That is now my lifetime’s project, and it doesn’t always go smoothly. Sometimes it doesn’t work at all. Sometimes I make progress, and sometimes I go backwards a couple of steps or more ~ it’s like a man walking into a gale, sometimes he wins and sometimes the storm wins. In the last few days I think the wind won more than I did. In the last few days I went with the wind and my negative emotions, and that meant I really staggered in the wrong direction. In other words I totally fucked-up, again. For me, going with the flow is usually the wrong choice.
Life will do it’s best to deceive you. You may get knocked down, but you must always get up again. The mark of a really great boxer is not that he never gets knocked down. A really great boxer can get knocked down, but he will always get up again. And that’s up to and including Mohammed Ali in his all prime and pomp.
Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.’ ~ Thomas Edison
The English language is filled with wise sayings, allegories, parables, and proverbs. As you would expect a lot are by Churchill; ‘To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often…’ Then from Scotland we have the allegory of Robert the Bruce and the spider, which gave us the saying; ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again…’ But we also have almost the converse of that saying…
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. ~ Albert Einstein.
The Goddess knows I have been there often enough ~ every time I took a drink I expected it to be different from the last time, and it never was. But, somehow I usually got away with it.
Back in my illustrious career in banking I once went into a meeting on Madison Avenue with no ideas and nothing but blank pieces of paper in my briefcase. I had got good and drunk in the Plaza the night before, so I both looked and felt far from my very my best. But I stood up in front of the board of the world’s biggest advertising agency and tried just one more time. I told them not what they wanted to hear, but what I wanted to make happen. It worked. The thing is I didn’t give up, and I didn’t try to change anything except myself.
After that almost debacle I resolved to make a big change by giving up banking for good. It was the wrong change ~ I should have given up booze for good. Back then I didn’t have enough serenity within me to even think about being sober for life.
Right now, today, all I try to do is be the best Jack Collier I can be, sober. That is difficult enough for anyone. I realise that life is difficult and painful. I know that the causes of my problems and pain are my own cravings, lusts, and the blaming others for my faults. I now know that I can’t change others and I can’t change what happens to me, but I can change what I do, and how I react to people places, and events.
I know that the warrior’s road to freedom from continual distress, pain, and suffering is through self-discipline in body, mind, spirit… and that’s a hard road to walk in honour, honesty, and truth. I try to always walk that road, and often I fail. But, at least I try, and perhaps not one in ten men even do that.
The world and the sky is ours if we want it enough.
If you’re feeling good then nothing else should matter.
Like many who have had an abnormal Fear of Abandonment due to suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, I have been very used to feeling bad. Alcohol abuse, anxiety and depression, anger, low self-esteem, relationship problems, suicidal thoughts, problems trusting anyone, fear, disgust, sadness… In the past I knew all of these bad feelings intimately. My whole world was a pale, dead, dark moon.
The nadir of my misery was on December 11th 2017, when I suffered from mental, psychological, and spiritual distress that was almost unbearable. I felt as though I was having a mental breakdown ~ that my mind was broken and my soul was destroyed. I was physically, mentally, psychologically, and spiritually afraid. I was afraid that I was becoming a lunatic.
That is not a good feeling. But then, I was very used to feeling very bad.
The Christmas and New Year’s holidays came, and things were a little better. Once you have hit your rock bottom, then the only way should be up. It doesn’t work like that. Below your rock bottom is another, lower, more hellish rock bottom.
I know because at the New Year I caught influenza, and I did become a lunatic due to a fever caused by the virus. I don’t quite know what I did during the couple or three weeks I was deathly ill, except that I had strange visions and imaginings. I remembered things that never happened, and I remembered real events, and each memory taught me a lesson. Each memory lifted some evil from my mind and my soul.
Today I feel pretty good. And I’m struggling to cope with feeling good.
They got scared when they started feeling good, just because it was so unfamiliar. Like chronic prisoners facing release from their cells. ~ Lisa Alther.
When you are used to being Mr. Hyde, it’s a struggle to be a good guy. It’s difficult to love and trust when you are used to never trusting anyone. It’s hard to take a chance on people, even with someone you told yourself you cared for, when you never took a chance on anyone, ever. When you are used to feeling disappointment, anger, resentment, suspicion, distrust ~ when you are used to being Mr. Hyde ~ it’s scary to focus only on the good things.
I’m very uncomfortable with good feelings because I am so unused to feeling really, truly, genuinely fine. I wake in the morning and I distrust the fact that I feel good. I am expecting crushing disappointment, sooner or later, because I don’t expect these good feelings to last.
But I’m doing all right today, and step by step things are getting better for me, and for those I care for.
I have a strategy. I know I will have bad thoughts, bad feelings, and a temptation to return to my old ways of misery. I can accept feeling bad, but I no longer have to let feeling bad take over my life again. I can accept the bad thoughts for what they are, my old demons trying to drag me down to another hellish rock bottom. I never need to let that happen again.
Today, tonight, and tomorrow I can focus on feeling good. Feeling bad is a choice I need never make again. In future I will choose to feel good.
Spencer Tracy as Mr. Hyde
In every life there will be some troubles.
Recently I was pretty ill with the flu. In between feeling very poorly, and very tired, my feverish mind wandered to some very strange places. I vividly remembered things from the past, and some of those memories were false, but even the false memories had a lesson for me.
In my fevered imaginings I realised that I had often been judgemental, unforgiving, and aggressive. That I measured people by my own standards, morals, and mores. If I thought a person had hurt me, or intended to hurt me, or didn’t measure up to what I thought was acceptable standards of behaviour, then I was quite likely to attack that person. I could become a real Mr. Hyde character. That applied especially if I told myself that I cared about the person concerned.
In my fevered imaginings I realised that my judgemental, unforgiving, and aggressive behaviour was totally unacceptable. Not only that, it didn’t achieve anything good, and it didn’t make me happy ~ it didn’t make anyone happy.
In fact, being a judgemental unforgiving perfectionist made me so unhappy that from time to time I would try to escape my misery by drinking far too much booze. As you would expect, getting drunk didn’t make me happy either.
In fact, drinking just made everything much worse. Every single time I’ve touched booze in the past few years something extremely, irredeemably bad has happened. Every single time I’ve had even one drink I began a downward spiral which inevitably lead me to becoming Mr. Hyde.
It didn’t take fevered imaginings brought on by the flu to make me realise that I needed to make a new beginning. On December 11th last year I had the worst mental, psychological, and spiritual day of my life. My mind was broken and my soul was destroyed. I knew back then that I needed to change or there wasn’t much point in my being anything other than a lonely recluse. If I wanted a good life, then I needed to begin a new beginning as a kinder, stable, more reliable, more likeable man.
My mental health was at stake, I needed to change or continue on the downward spiral to the rock bottom of total lunacy.
I have changed, and it was both very difficult and very easy. The easy part is that all I need to do is stop being a judgemental unforgiving perfectionist. Stop thinking the worst of people, stop imagining that the people I care for are trying to hurt me, and stop dwelling on the past. As I said easy.
The very difficult thing is that making a fundamental change to one’s own personality means overturning one’s core beliefs and values ~ and that’s hard. It means reconsidering what’s important in life. It means letting go of old attitudes, old habits, beliefs, outdated goals, even one’s old Life’s Purpose. It means changing how we think about relationships, love, and life.
However, we can create anything we want, if we want it enough.
Einstein said; the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.
I needed to do things differently. I needed to begin a new beginning. I firmly believe I have started on a different and better road. I don’t think I’m a lunatic anymore.
Three cups of coffee a day could extend your life.
Coffee is one of the worlds most commonly consumed drinks, with something like 2.25 billion cups drunk around the world every day. Coffee contains lots of complex chemical compounds including; caffeine, diterpenes,and antioxidants.
Black as the devil, hot as hell, pure as an angel, sweet as sin. ~ Talleyrand
It seems coffee is healthy and good for you. New research, published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, shows that the antioxidant plant compounds in coffee are highly beneficial in reducing liver disease and liver cancers, help prevent type 2 diabetes, reduce the risk of circulatory problems, ward off Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, lowers the risk of multiple sclerosis, and helps to fight diseases of the digestive tract. As all of those diseases can kill you, drinking moderate amounts of coffee may even prevent you from suffering an early death.
There are lots of good reasons to drink coffee. Including the fact that coffee may also be good for your sex drive, (particularly a woman’s sex drive). Drinking coffee increases the plasma levels of the protein sex hormone-binding globulin that controls testosterone and oestrogen. That may well be why coffee reduces depression and suicide risk. Who knew that coffee was a female aphrodisiac?
It isn’t the caffeine that does you good, because people who drink decaffeinated coffee accrue most / some of the same benefits. However, it seems obvious that proper strong fresh-made ground coffee with all the caffeine in it will give you the most benefits. A typical cup of coffee has more antioxidants than a glass of grape, blackberry, blueberry, and / or orange juices. A typical American gets more antioxidants from coffee than from anything else. What you get from a cup of coffee is; improved liver function, reduced inflammation in the body, better glucose control, and coffee also boosts the immune system.
If you are a regular drinker of the falling down water, if you really like your booze, if you sometimes drink a little too much, if you are a practicing alcoholic ~ then you should really drink fresh coffee on a regular basis. Just one cup of real coffee a day can reduce your chances of suffering cirrhosis of the liver by 20%. Coffee will also help prevent you from getting fatty liver disease, whether you’re a boozer or not.
Cigarettes and coffee: an alcoholic’s best friends! ~ Gerard Way.
Don’t think you can get the same benefits from other caffeinated drinks that you can get from coffee, because you can’t. For example, coffee generally makes people feel happier, whereas Coca Cola will give you a caffeine high, but Coke will also make you feel depressed. Especially any diet caffeinated drink will make you feel really depressed. In general soda is bad for you, and diet sodas are bad for you in spades. So your very strong Cuba Libre is doing you no good at all.
The way you prepare your coffee has a big impact on how much benefit you get from all the good complex chemicals present in coffee beans. For example, if you use a regular coffee maker, and you also use filter papers, then you’re missing out on a lot of the good diterpenes because they are absorbed by the paper. In general the less there is between the ground coffee and your cup the better. Possibly a cafetiere / French press using a good dark roast will make you the most beneficial cup of coffee, whereas a cheap instant decaffeinated is probably next to useless in terms of health benefits and taste.
Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all. ~ David Lynch
These findings are based European study led by Imperial College, London, and the UN International Agency for Research on Cancer ~ which looked at half-a-million people over the age of 35. They found that people who drink three cups of coffee a day live longer than non-coffee drinkers. There is also an US study led by the University of Southern California ~ which looked at 186,000 people.
We cannot say that drinking coffee will prolong your life, but we see an association. ~ Veronica W. Setiawan, USC
In conclusion, real coffee is good for you, pod coffee is pretty bad, cheap instant coffee is nasty and probably causes cancer, and Coca Cola is very nasty. Drinking coffee is cool, often sociable, and a nice woman is more likely to have an afternoon cup of coffee with a guy than she is to agree to meet him in a pub.
Coffee and smoking are the last great addictions. ~ Lara Flynn Boyle
Statistically, women who drink a lot of coffee are also likely to be drinkers of booze and cigarette smokers ~ strange but true.
buy a French press
Men who fear demons see demons everywhere.
My life has been plagued by demons; or character defects, or weaknesses, or a disease, or a mental illness, or Borderline Personality Disorder ~ call it what you will but with a new understanding I know that there are demons lurking in the deep darkness of my innermost subconscious.
We all have inner demons to fight, we call these demons, fear and hatred and anger. If you do not conquer them then a life of one hundred years is a tragedy. If you do, then a life of a single day is a triumph. ~ Yip Man
My demons have attacked me, tormented and tortured me, brought me low and taken me down the long lonely Road to Hell.
My demons have not won the final battle. Yet at times I have been overwhelmed and given in to anger, depression, drink ~ and that is exactly what my demons want.
My demons are cunning shape-shifters and change from one insidious, pernicious, torturous form to another as soon as my back is turned.
My demons are very good at finding the things that can hurt me the most, cause me the most pain, and bringing those things to the forefront of my mind in an ugly distorted form designed to torment and torture me. My demons use negative thoughts of those I care for the most to hurt me the most.
My demons assume the guise of Fear of Rejection, Worthlessness, Anxiety, Depression, Jealousy, Fear of Failure, Addictions, Obsessions, and Compulsions ~ and all of those disguises are designed to cause me the maximum suffering. And my pain never seemed to lessen, or subside, or stop. The pain always got worse than the time before.
It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism. The individual seldom knows anything of this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible that he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself. But let these harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster. ~ Carl Jung
My demons are my shadow side from my deep subconscious, and my demons may also exist in an evil spiritual form. Yet I have embraced my shadow side, I have accepted and acknowledged the existence of my demons. If dark spiritual forces surround me, if demons lurk in the blackness of my deep subconscious, I will make those demons face the light of my awareness.
My demons now know that they cannot win, they cannot kill me. The pain only lasts if I allow it to. Now that I am aware of my demons I can accept that all the vicious negativity in my soul is only my demons trying to hurt me. My demons want me to feel the pain, my demons want me to fail, and my demons want me to descend into drunken depression ~ and I will not give my demons the pleasure of hurting me, of witnessing me hurt others, of seeing my abject failure.
Facing my demons is not easy. Facing my demons may well be the most difficult thing I have ever done. From out of nowhere my demons can make me feel mentally and emotionally exhausted, angry, jealous, afraid…
My demons want me to stop looking them in the face and telling them that they can never again cause the kind of pain and suffering I have known in the past.
My demons no longer have ultimate power over me ~ now I have some little power over them, and now I can truly begin to recover from the poison in my soul and walk the warrior’s path.