From my diary for Friday 2015-05-01:
Ta-Nehisi Coates has had two “provocative” HuffPost columns in two days. Wednesday she decried calls for calm in Baltimore. Yesterday she used the incident of Toya Graham’s confrontation of her son, to blame white people for every incident of violence among blacks. [P.S. 12:00. Correction: The latter was by Stacey Patton.] I may yet respond to the latter, but it’s best I not do so today. I need to direct my thoughts and choose my feelings, and I feel immeasurably better when I focus on my own affairs than when I allow myself to get engaged with her turmoil. Today’s task is to prepare materials for the prayer course; and it will be no excuse if I tell my students I came unprepared because she distracted me.
Originally posted 2015-05-02.
On Tuesday 12/02, my therapist asked for a thumbnail summary of my overall situation.
I said, “I have goals, I’m taking concrete steps toward those goals, and I have a ton of hope.”
I know no way to account for this but the exact scenario I set forth in “Chaos overwhelms the poor:” I pay attention only to the concrete here-and-how, and to what I myself can do. (Related: Here – Now – Can.) From the farthest reach of my right fingertip to my right, to the farthest reach of my left fingertip to my left: within that range lies all my responsibility, everything that I can control. Here, the world appears orderly. Here, I can order and manage my affairs. Here I have power. I can act effectively. I can easily find hope.
A ton of hope.
Continue reading Status report: A snapshot of my life right now
My core belief is fairly obscure.
I never supposed anyone would attack it directly.
Continue reading It’s OK to be OK.
From my diary:
Thursday 2014-06-19. 13:30. In a recent column, Dan Rodricks mentioned Manna House, which I’d never heard of before. At McD this morning, Roy was talking to somebody and mentioned having been at Manna House last night — “with the critters and the crazies.” I was quite surprised to hear him talk like that, since in my book, he’s “a critter and a crazy.” The people who frequent that place must be really bad off. I would recall [a former therapist, whose principal practice was in addictions]‘s saying, when I asked many years ago about the mentally ill among the homeless, that “they’re so sick they can’t be treated.” Part of my heart reaches out to them; can it be that I might sink so low as to become able to see the world as they see it? What does the Gospel look like to a hopeless schizophrenic?
Continue reading Out of reach
Friday, May 16, 2014. There were a number of events at McD this morning that normally would have distracted me, and did not. This suggests that presence is becoming habitual — as is focus on my goals. But there may be more involved.
Roy and Jimmy sat in a booth near me, and Roy was complaining that the clothes they give him at the clothes window at the shelter aren’t always the right size. He also, to my amazement, complained about the food. I answered him silently, “If you were focused on advancing your own situation, you wouldn’t be concerned about those things.”
In the past, it has been a powerful distraction to me (scandal, offense) that so many men around me have no interest in improving their lives.
Continue reading My cup runneth over
(Originally published 09/15/12 at Trojan Horse Productions. Reblogged 06/25/14.)
Teddy is an old man. He wears a rosary around his neck, and never fails to “testify” in chapel. “I talk to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost every day,” he says. Every time there’s an altar call, he runs right up there to get born-again — again. Five times a week, he’ll do that.
He got barred out a year ago for selling someone oxycontin.
Friday night 09/07/12, he came back. He insists to everyone that he’s never been here before, and said he wants to get into the program.
Aside from those things, he hasn’t changed at all. Still all the same empty religious talk.
Sunday night he said he changed his mind about the program. They require you to sign over all your benefits, and he’s not willing to do that. That tells me you don’t want to get well.
I get bad feelings every time I see him.
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Sitting outside waiting to be let in, Wednesday 08/29/12 Fallon and a couple other guys I don’t like too much got into reminiscing about how this shelter used to be, years ago, before the renovation. This upset me.
Continue reading Keep the focus on you
With Amy Dickinson’s permission, I am copying here below the whole of her column for today. All three letters touch dramatically on principles I associate with presence, including “Keep the focus on you,” “Mind your own business,” and “Don’t come uninvited.”
DEAR AMY: My fiance’s mother is a monster. He gets upset any time they speak. The latest incident was because he had not been in touch with her since Christmas.
Continue reading Ask Amy: Inflating the drama won’t help fiance deal with mother