Tag Archives: choosing life

The Precipice by Matt Carlson

Elledge stood there : once again. On the precipice. The precipice of making a decision. The precipice of what was important in his life. He had looked up, he had looked down; he had looked all around. Had he missed something? Because to make the best possible decision, one had to have the key elements in hand. He knew that. But if part of the equation were the people he cared about – where were they? And if he knew where they were, why were they acting the way that they did? Maybe his ‘carrier-pigeon mentality’ hadn’t been the best method, you know: the returning to the places of life before… To see ‘it’ again and look it straight in the eye  – to talk to it even, just to make sure that they recognized each other. The problem was that no one spoke, or was even available to have an eventual conversation. It was: “I’m so busy. I’ll call you.” The phone calls never came.

Then he remembered an old concept that he had held close to his heart (and head) in his dating days : when you start playing the guessing game in your head about what’s in someone else’s head, that usually means the person is not direct, is complicated,  not a good communicator, or absent because they want to be and or DO NOT WANT TO SHARE in the way that you need them to share. So ‘bye bye baby, bye-bye’ (Madonna song refrain…)

The little brother incident had been an emotional blow. While there, he had known being in their home was a potential ‘bomb’ of sorts,  he hadn’t known what the missing pieces were. Now in retrospect, he understood them. His psychiatrist had pointed out the abandoned Father issues that dominated in that household – that Elledge couldn’t have done anything about it even if he had wanted to. That all potential Father symbols had to be destroyed ! Elledge hadn’t  thought of any of those things – though he had considered the father role he had played – still a child himself- with his little brother many years ago: a poor substitute perhaps, but it had been a loving one.

Arriving in California, he was on a life trip while there – still was in fact though now back in Paris – and the people facing him had been on a completely different roller coaster ride. There was finally no ‘meeting of the minds’ so to speak. For that, there had to be openings in peoples heads, the desire to be open to something new, to have conversations together. Instead, there had been ‘people too busy,’ defensiveness, parody, moodiness and recriminations – games within games. Even lying. There were false smiles and “Awesome!” this and “Awesome !” that; followed up with “Your the boss!” But when a miscommunication happened it was, ” You’re a mother-fucking-liar” and “I’ll never trust you again!” with “Why did you do that?” Elledge was still waiting for an answer from an email in May, a sent birthday card and postcards sent over the summer. But no, he had been killed off. His Father symbol was now dead to them. Back then he’s been told by his little brother, “People in the states don’t answer emails!”

The other brothers and their absences too were confounding to him. But maybe that shouldn’t have been so surprising concerning the past.  Elledge had some gaps in his memory and distance did play a role too – still he was very disappointed. He’d truly wanted to connect with his brothers again and on a close level.  but he supposed, that in order for them to understand the efforts taken to return, one had to have ‘sat upon the subject’ a bit, to mull it over and consider those steps necessary for a trip like that; to care enough about someone else –  your brother – and what that meant to you. And if it meant something then you would do something about it, right? Like jump on a plane and go and see him, or if you were in the same city, run over and see him, right?  If not, you wouldn’t have done any considering at all just, “Oh, he’s coming back?…Why? I hope it works out for him..”(end of story ).

The good side to his visit upon returning to his ‘roots’ had been connecting with his nephews and niece, three of his cousins …and some nice virtual messaging with at least one of his second cousins. And he had made a friend or two, gotten to see his best friend in Washington and her family. There were connections with her family too – that was all very nice….

But still, what to do? Which city would he return to? Or maybe it would  be a new place? New faces? And more importantly the ‘what to do’ with ones life was actually secondary to the ‘why’ we do something…Hmm, maybe it was time to develop that ‘why’ question….




Quiet Your Emotional Turbulence by Matt Carlson

Quiet Your Emotional Turbulence by Matt Carlson

‘How to quiet the emotional turbulence when your needs are not being met. Discover a seven step process that helps you to accept your feelings without judgement and which can provide an opportunity for inner growth & self refection.


Step One: Take responsibility for your emotions – for what you are feeling. When you find yourself reacting emotionally to other people, it is usually because they are reflecting some kind of emotion that you have not fully acknowledged within your own nature. When you accept responsibility for your own emotions, & cease to be a bundle of conditioned reflexes, you will no longer be vulnerable to the opinions of everyone you encounter. So learn to take responsibility.


Step Two: Identify what the emotion is. “I feel…” How do you feel? You may be angry, sad, hurt, disappointed, helpless etc. As clearly as possible, try to identify the emotion or emotions that you are feeling. What is the emotion that you are feeling? Look at it straight in the eye, “I am feeling….”


Step Three: Witness the feeling in your body. Emotions are thoughts associated with physical sensations. Our thoughts trigger bodily reactions releasing chemicals that have a life of their own. The physiological expression of stress cannot be instantaneously shut off; rather the energy of the emotion must be dissipated before the emotion can be processed further. Just observe the feeling. Allow your attention to embrace the sensation in your body. By simply experiencing the physical sensations, some of the emotional charge will dissipate and this will allow you to hear the message of the emotion. Witness the feeling – in your body.


Step Four: Express the emotion in private, to yourself. You can write about your feelings or speak them out loud. Keep a journal just for this purpose. Allow similar memories to come to the surface and write about them too. Use language that accurately conveys what you are experiencing. Allow yourself to express all that you need to about the situation. Remember, express the emotion in private to yourself.

Step Five: Release the emotion through a ritual. As you know, we create and reinforce behaviours by creating rituals. Physical activity or movement is usually best for this. So go for a walk, bat a pillow, dance freely, listen to loud music, or rapid breathing…anything that will allow you to discharge the emotion or emotions from your physiology. Allow your body to detoxify…Acknowledge the release of the emotion as you are doing the activity, whatever it is. It’s very important to release the emotion through some ritual.

Step Seven: Share the emotion with someone who can listen empathetically to you, without trying to solve your problem. Once again: share the emotion with someone who can listen empathetically to you without trying to solve your problem. Conscious listening is a skill that takes a lot of practise. You can use an inanimate object to work on this: talk to an inanimate stone or a feather or even a stick to remind yourself to speak openly and honestly. When you feel complete with your communication pass the object to another person and allow him or her to express their emotions, again without trying to solve the problem. In step seven, do something to rejuvenate yourself : get a massage, listen to music, buy yourself a present, eat a delicious meal, nourish yourself. It takes conscious awareness and a commitment to personal growth to go through the process that I’ve just described.

So reward yourself for your good work.’

Thanks to the Chopra Well Being Center in Carlsbad, CA

Paris Times (NO 7) by Matthew Carlson

Paris Times (NO 7) by Matthew Carlson

No, don’t do that! No, don’t do it! No, don’t do it, I said….don’t…don’t! Fuck. Fuck you!” She yelled.

The thing was, Patches was all alone. Who the hell was she talking to? And then…

“No, stop that! I said don’t do that…no, no don’t, don’t! Fuck you! Fuck. Arggghhh”… (undecipherable).

Then Gelledge realized that Patches was on her computer trying to write an email to the vitamin company in the states. Her busy index finger tapped all the right buttons (most of the time) but when her finger slid a bit too far one direction or another, the beloved Windows 8, which she knew was pure shit would make her email disappear.

“Mother fuckers,” she screamed as for the tenth time her short email of only 4 lines had once again somehow evaporated…. or whatever. It was gone. No longer there. And each time to write it all out with polite forms and yours’ truly -had taken at least fifteen minutes each. More than exasperating…

Then of course, she had dropped her phone on the floor, happy slippery plastic which loved gravity more than anything else. In her difficult state of MS, the phone would remain on the floor until someone came to help her pick it up.

“Fuck, fuck” she yelled again, mostly at herself.

The MS had started in 2000 or so when she was living in her country house in Fountainbleau. She had loved living there, but when her company had taken away her company car, she could no longer go back and forth during her lunch hour. And then came the cane to help her walk, then the ambulator and finally the electric chair. Funny that when they had taken her car away and forced her to work near the Champs d’Elysee (where she couldn’t go home for lunch) that the MS had suddenly taken over, become stronger. She had had to get rid of her country home and move into Paris itself.

She had choosen a terrific place (or so she thought) after having come across a château in an ad. Apparently a ruin, it was now being renovated into several apartments. That was where she migrated too, once everything had been worked out. It was terrific to say that you ‘lived in a château in Paris …

But life seemed destined to keep punishing her somehow; the MS was growing stronger and stronger. After having moved in to her new immense apartment, while pivoting around in order to sit her butt down on the ivory throne  in her small water closet next to the kitchen, she went a stray topsy turvy twisting off into the toilet wall, falling and breaking an ankle.

It was the last time she would use the toilet all by herself. From now on, someone would have to accompany her to do the most personal of personal acts….

Then the walker took the place of her cane of course, and then even sooner an electric chair.

“Fuck, fuck,” she screamed once again. Her to To Do list too had escaped from her two finger-taloned  grasp. And then again, “Fuck you! Fuck you!”

Upstairs Gelledge waited to see if she would call to him. She didn’t, so he went back to watching a video. He wondered about his kidnapped dogs in the south of France and how he was going to rescue them.

À propos

À propos. An american in Paris, I know, NOT very original, huh? Born and raised in California, I’ve been living over here for 26 years – half a lifetime. Mental health, language, tennis and music have been constant themes in my life, also writing, photography and animals of all kinds.

Now I’m living as a vegetarian in a castle with a handicapped woman and another musician.

I need to reinvent my life. If you have anything to say about that, hit me up. I enjoy conversation! ;))