Tag Archives: finding balance

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….




Getting Older by matt carlson

Getting Older

by matt carlson

Funny that when you get older, your body starts to betray you. And it’s a good thing that we don’t have mirrors in front of our faces 24/7 – I prefer keeping that younger face, younger silhouette in mind. Everyone else however sees the reality of your falling face, your grey hair (or lack there of) your ass as flat as an ironing board or on the other end of the spectrum, as big as Mount Rushmore. But the betrayal goes much further than physically unappealing aspects.

Your internal organs start working differently – your plumbing especially. You realize at some point that everything is on some kind of schedule, one that doesn’t coincide with your desires, usually. Personally, I don’t mind peeing but now I don’t drink water anymore. It’s on my list of liquids to avoid. that and cow’s milk, which i grew up drinking and just loved. But then some smart Alec went and ‘discovered’ the horrible reality as to how that milk gets to our tables! How would you like to be raped constantly in order to produce milk for another dominant species? And by the way, one needs to be pregnant in order to produce milk, in case you haven’t thought of it.

In any case, the other reality of getting old stepped in anyway. Lactose is not supported by the body very well – especially after a certain age. That means when you drink milk, or eat ice cream and so on, run, run, run to the bathroom and greet your new friends in the toilet bowl…:/

Liquids are not the only problem; food too can be viscous internally. Somethings you just can’t eat anymore. And to get there you must go through the process of finding out which ones: one by one. A joyful journey of self discovery.

Then there’s the back aches, or the hands that hurt (oh god – do I have arthritis?) your eye site gets shot to hell; your hearing too gets worse, you’re always ready to take a nap – sometimes falling asleep without planning it, which can be embarrassing depending on where that happens!

There is soooo much to add, but I’m exhausted already writing this short blog. It’s 10h30 a.m. and I’ve been up for only 3 hours….Yep you guessed it – time for my late morning nap! ;D

ps: It’s actually a good thing getting older when you consider the other option….

And getting older is not the same as being OLD in your head. Use all of your great and other experiences to move on, progress into the ‘next  phase’ of who you are …

Mind Babble: WHO THE Fx££%K AM I ? by matthew carlson

Mind Babble: WHO THE Fx££%K AM I ? by matthew carlson

I closed my eyes. Then tighter and listened. I could hear my footsteps on the sidewalk & the ‘click-click-click’ of the dogs toenails beside me…..Then the other sounds too; cars passing by on a busy street a block away, a whirling of some kind, a buzzing too, people talking, parents taking their kids to school on foot or on skateboard or trottinette. A dog barked, the leash pulled and i opened my eyes. Merdre (shit) ! I had almost walked into a tree. The mind babble was taking over – I was trying to shut the voices down with some meditation. while walking Foebbe and Fender – the guardians of my soul.

“What do i want?” I asked as I inhaled. The Chokra Center MP3 meditating files from Carlsbad California were on the computer I was using upstairs in my alcove where I was renting. I listened to it ALOT. I was getting better at meditating, but still the voices would take over – always before I’d realized it. The voices were thoughts of course, but were they mine? Did I think those thoughts before uttering them in my head or aloud in the streets? And was I any different from the multitude of people I saw daily who were muttering aloud to themselves? And I’m not talking about the ones hooked up to their phones actually talking to ANOTHER person either.

Sam Harris the very intelligent brain scientist/atheist and book author of ‘Letter To A Christian Nation’ and other unsettling books says we have no free will. Oh yea, and he wrote a book about that too. (‘Free Will’) He explains to us that we don’t have any (thanks Sam!) – that we’re all basically a bundle of DNA and constructed cells and imprinted memory stuff whereby we think we are creating our own thoughts, but it’s all a bunch of baloney: free will. Makes you want to kill yourself doesn’t it? Knowing that… Or at least stay on the couch with your smartphone in front of the TV (& Netflix) with a case of Pringles & beer next to you along with the ice cream waiting in the freezer of course.

But in spite of Sam’s wise and devastating words of advice (or lucidity) I still want to feel that I’m the captain of my ship. Somehow. But it’s not working for the moment. If my body is a ship, then it’s been out to sea for a long time in some kind of surreal storm. But not an open sea – a large container with a sea inside of it.

The voices have taken over once more, competing for my attention. I don’t know which one I should listen to first. If my thoughts had weapons, my head would be a bloody mess, a third world war of sorts where logic doesn’t count – never did. It was only to win, to be the victory thought. AND that would entail killing off the other thoughts that wanted to be THE ONE CONTROLLING THOUGHT.

Meditation time again. As you can see – not an option. If I wanted to stay sane (or at least give an outward appearance of sanity) then I would have to meditate. Deep breaths, one after the other. A virtual wand of my hand scatters the attacking mind babbling thoughts. “No more thoughts! Be gone you bastards!”

Back to breathing deeply: in and out, in and out. Then focusing on my physical being: toes, feet, ankles, shins, knees, thighs, buttocks, groin area, waist, lower back, chest & upper back, shoulders, neck, arms, elbows, wrists, hands, fingers,head, ears, eyes, temples, nose….Still breathing: In and out. In and out. Breathing to find myself once again. Those thoughts are not me. Not mine.

I am here. Standing next to this tree. Next to Foebbe and Fender. They are looking up at me wondering why we are STILL standing in the same place. It’s hug time. I bend down and tongues and lips and fingers & paws meet. Several hugs, kisses, belly rubs, head shakes, & pawing paws later, we are ready to walk some more.

I remind myself to keep breathing. “What do I desire?” I ask myself not waiting for an answer. The universe will answer soon enough. In the meantime I would go home and sing a song. Or maybe write another one.

‘Paris Times Short Stories: ‘Repunzal and A Heat Wave in Paris by matt carlson

20150702_082137As he sat on the john, the artwork of the disembodied head hovered before Gelledge on the back of the bathroom door where it was pinned. It was from Patches who still went to art class on tuesdays. The image seemed to be alive somehow and Gelledge having had a past of mystic sensibilities tried to will the picture to communicate with him.

“Yea, I know what that picture means,” he thought aloud  and then considered Patches &  the feelings of dismembered from her own body that she certainly had, while Muscular Sclerosis took choices and abilities away; little by little each day. But he was not Patches: he could walk and run, still do everything he wanted. And yet, he wasn’t. Something was gnawing on his inner soul. Some of the eternal questions of life and what that all meant.

Having just returned from a long over due visit to see his family in the states, he was so very happy to have reunited with so many.  The coming back to Paris, though pleasing, left him with unsure footing. Once again. Twenty six years had passed since coming to Europe with Sergio, his lover at that time. They had lived in Paris and had finaly returned to live near Aix, buying a house there in the country. When Gelledge had learned about being HIV positive, the fairy tale (no pun intended ;)) collapsed.

Now years later, a similar tale, with yet another house in the same village (a strange coincidence) with O. and his madman antics, demanding to keep all they had shared for ten years. Gelledge now found himself on the parisien island known as Isle de France – and there wasn’t even an ocean anywhere nearby, only rivers threading here and there.

His small room on the top floor of the castle was pleasant enough, plus there was a landing leading to a large alcove. Lots of light and for parisiens anyway, a goldmine in housing. That is to say, it could have been if it hadn’t been for Patches’ health worries and the need to have everything ‘medicalized’. It was at times like a hospital – constant comings and goings during the day with life assistants (Patches was in a wheelchair), physical therapists, the traiteur for her meals, the maid, the administrative people; one fired after the next as no one could deal with Patches for long.

Yesterday as the unusual heat wave bared down upon the city, birds sat down on the sidewalks, a few not withstanding the high temperatures. The heat burned in Patches’ head along with the frequent glitches in her brain circuitry. She screamed at François, a tall balding 30ish man with a beard.

“Shit, shit, shit!” and then “Fuck, fuck, fuck!” She didn’t like this frenchman speaking down at her. She couldn’t get the words out quick enough and he strangled her with his. Choke, choke, choke, she felt light headed one moment and then the burning came. It felt like light bulbs spitting out sparks, then lay there dying at her dead feet. She could barely move any part of her body. Her body was forming into the capital letter of “C” so twisted was she. “Give me a “C!” Gelledge would shout out like a cheerleader. There was nothing else to do sometimes – just laugh. What else could one do? This wasn’t going anywhere else but down, right? Patches would always laugh. It was easy to make her do so.

Only Patches’ right hand saved her. She could still use it to straighten her glasses, even put them on and off, though not gracefully. And she could still feed herself too with a big soup spoon, play with her IPhone, watch tv on it, play card games….Little things that kept the monster of reality at bay while she slowly disapated into a non-moving C shaped shell.

Gelledge couldn’t get it. Patches had very little possibilies, but he had many. Why was he so stuck in his own life? What was keeping him from moving on? He thought of his little brother and his family. Being with them was like being home again. He loved his little brother deeply and now that he had met them, well it wasn’t easy leaving them. He wanted to part of their lives, but how could he do that? Return to Fresno? He had always pretty much hated that town and what it represented: blinded conservative & homophobic religious attitudes, rascism, the car culture in all its of its glory. He had seen how people lived in suburbia: arriving home in their big cars, their windows shut with air conditioning blasting, taking out their remote controls to open garage doors automatically… Then they would drive in, park and the doors would close. After that you saw no one. No one walked on the streets in Fresno. It had only been Gelledge, a few homeless, once a guy with his dog and he had seen two teenage girls actually cross the street to visit one of their friends houses….

People did congregate of course, but at the shopping malls, their work places, restaurants, sporting events and of course, at the churches. Gelledge pondered all of this. Here he was living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. How was he going to work things out?

He thought of that disembodied head again. Well, he certainly didn’t want that head of his coming off, he wanted to live his life, be with people that he loved, follow those inner intentions, create, share with others….be…..He took a deep breath, he had to go the toilet. He would use the upstairs one this time, then make some more coffee.

This day wasn’t over yet.

Fresno Times N°13 Charleen Aple Worried By Matt Carlson

Charleen Aple sat at the edge of her bed and worried. She worried about her faithful dog MacBeth lying at her feet – cause she was getting old, she worried about her two kids Jeffrey and Tabatha – cause Jeffrey was a wild one and Tabatha too introverted, she worried about the bills – being able to pay them or not for the next month – she worried about her parents as they were getting on in years too, she worried about her health and living with MS….She worried, she worried and then she worried some more.

“Fuck off!” She screamed suddenly out loud. Thankfully the kids were not there. “Fuck, fuck, fuck! ” she screamed again. It felt good to be vulgar and angry, spewing that out with the frustration to the walls. She bent down and gave Macbeth a big hug, telling her that Mommy just needed to ventilate…

It seemed that one image seemed to set off a thought or a memory, and then before she knew it, even her past was there too in her head alongside all of the worries. Was it ghost night or what?? As usual it was hard to go to sleep and those chocolate coverered raisins AND Doritos certainly didn’t help, though they were on that list somewhere of acceptable comfort foods! Then she started worrying about her diet, was she eating right?.. “Fuck!” Not again. Didn’t she have any control of her thoughts anymore?…

She began to consider her age. She was almost 55 and that was alot of years in her head; memories that stayed with you. The more years, the more memories….No wonder old people got so confused after a while. And she wondered about all that “data” and how it could be better organized? How could she put things in their place so that they stayed? And only come out when she chose it…

She thought about computers and their libraries, files of organizing stuff like photos, documents and so on. Couldn’t she do that too, but in her brain??

Her phone suddenly squeaked. She had downloaded a cute Minnie Mouse squeak noise on her telephone. It was Brad. He wanted to see her. Was this a booty call? She thought that things were moving toward the back door, which finally wasn’t such a bad thing after all. He seemed to have almost all of the qualites that she was looking for in a man, but still….there was something not right. Something that she just couldn’t put her finger on. SO she began to worry about that…….!

Goodbye’s And Maintaining Balance by Matthew Carlson

The year is almost finished…and tomorrow I will finish final round number four of moving! There must be some record out there that I’m breaking…so you’re probably thinking “that’s nothing”. But moving is one of the most stressful things that we do in our lifetimes and it’s also usually linked to another stress filled life event like a new job, going away to school….etc.

In my case, separating from a ten year old live in relationship with my boyfriend. That in itself could be devastating if you are not wanting the change, or having difficulty in accepting the end of a relationship. Personally, it was an easy choice for me as I was living with an alcoholic and someone with Borderline Personality Disorder…If you don’t know what that is, hmm well,  it’s complicated to explain but the person in question has a problem in terms of emotional development,  meaning : they are not capable of correctly judging situations and people because there is something in their cortex which does not dampen emotional flow. So everything is exaggerated; either black or white – there are no grey areas and absolutely no room for compromise…on anything. Basically, if you live with someone who is Borderline, then you will have constant arguements where you will be wondering what brought on the dispute…Over six million women in the United States alone suffer from BPD…

So to make a long story short, my HELL began with my breakup. You see, people with BPD don’tdeal with breakups well AT ALL!  (Abandonment issues…) And so as it goes, though before I was adored (hard to see it but…) and now I Am Satan reincarnated in his view…If it was just that, it would be okay, but the person with BPD is also a liar and a manipulator so he or she is going to create new alliances and enemies for you! In this case for me! Arggghhh, right? Yep….

So getting on to the maintaining balance part of this blog post…how to do it? And maybe you’re wondering how to GET balance first off cause that’s not easy either if you’re totally being rocked in your boat! Well, the first thing is that you must have THE INTENTION of having balance in your life. And before we go any further we have to be on the same page about : what is balance??

Balance for me (feel free to leave me comments on what you think)  is: 1. Sleeping well, 2. Eating balanced meals 3. Feeling good about your day to day activities ie work, school… 4. Having a happy social life/friends  and 5. Sports and or feel good physical activities 6. Some kind of intellectual or spiritual modus operandi that helps you function in your day to day life; a kind of colored lens if you will that helps you understand your environment or see it…7. an on going goal or objective, long or short term..something that you can build on, work towards and share with others…8. Intentions of progressing and or evolving in some way every day.

So that’s my list which is capable of changing (mobility of mind!) I did not put on my list LOVE. I do think love is important, but do not consider it an essential to have and/or maintain balance. Love can be fantastic and terrible too, so many adjectives can be used to describe it, but again we don’t need it to have or maintain balance. Often it can be the unbalancing factor in our lives….especially if we choose a partner that does not correspond to who we are, or what we want out of life.

My own choice of being with someone ill was my choice alone. I alone am responsable for it. That too is important in order to move on, be responsable for your stuff. Otherwise you cannot find balance. Maintaining it comes later.

Hope you enjoyed this post. Have a good ‘whatever you decide’….

Matt Carlson