My own tattoos

Being wounded, I suspect, is a required step along the journey of being human. I can’t think of anyone I know who wasn’t traumatized, abused or separated from others in some way, big or small. Wounding comes with the terrain of living.

For the decades that I was in denial about or numb to my own wounding, I was an active participant in the wounding of others. Unconsciously of course. Maybe I still am.

You know how we automatically say “hi, how are you” to strangers on the street (unless we don’t), sometimes our deep, intimate relationships carry an automatic, unconscious “hi, let me wound you” arrangement to them. The mom, dad, sibling, lover relationships. The deep ones.

Until we can mature enough to own and heal our own wounds, it’s only natural to be unconsciously wounding others. It doesn’t matter how old you are, how much money you’ve got or even if you are president. Being wounded and wounding are, I observe, intrinsic to the human experience.

This is neither good nor bad, right nor wrong. It just comes with the territory called planet earth.

I’ve reached the point where I can mostly see my own wounds, much of the time, and when I am in the process of wounding. Doesn’t mean I don’t live there and do it often, but I have developed enough awareness to where I now get to choose it instead of it choosing me. Or at least I can see it while I am in it.

I could judge that my wounds are bigger or smaller than others. But relative size is irrelevant.

I’ve entered a newer realm within which, slowly, my wounds are no longer wounds but rites of initiation like a tattoo. They are mine. “Who dunnit” is mostly irrelevant (except when I’m deep back into it.)

I would say that I’ve been lucky in that my own tattoos appear to have been easier experiences than what other people go through. Lucky me there. But my tattoos are real to me.

More and more, I can hold my tattoos as necessary steps in the journey to me being who I am and where I am now.

I am not broken. I am whole, complete and beautiful as I am even with these tattoos. There was never anything wrong with me. This is the way it turned out. This is the way I turned out.

And I love that.

To be nobody but yourself

My dad was pretty good at sweet talking the ladies, being somewhat of a charmer. I can remember all the way back how he would go to a fake kind of voice that I can only best call “Harvard academic” when he was trying to impress a woman he liked, someone better educated or a person of financial means.

Deep down, I suppose, my dad was just trying to be good enough. Which makes sense since his father took off when he was eight years old, never to be seen again. Let’s just say that especially when it came to charming women, my dad was a liar.

My mom was 8 months pregnant with me when she got married to my dad. I’ll guess it was more utilitarian than a marriage of love. There’s more to the story but this really isn’t about either mom or dad.

My mom wanted a father for me, a happy family life and to belong. My dad wanted to be a family man himself and to live the American dream.

I was born into a world where the people around me were not telling the truth. They were liars. Being the intuitive little baby that I was, I knew immediately and ongoingly that something was wrong. Obviously, the thing that was wrong was me.

I grew up distrusting my own intuition. I leaned on my mother (and as an adult leaned on other women) to tell me what to do, what to think and who to be. Separately, I had programming to become a self made man.

A young man I currently know in my life is a “super taster” and has some other obvious super genius powers. I am a “super listener”. I have a super power for listening.

However, often, I float off into other worlds – fantasies and day dreams. They are real enough but that’s a different topic. If the teaching is to “be in the world but not of the world,” I guess that I’ve got some more work to do to anchor myself more firmly into the here and now.

I have a bad habit, often, that when people are speaking to me I can only give them my attention for relatively short periods of time. It’s not unusual for me to be snapped out of a day dream by someone who will ask me a question relative to what they have been saying for the past few minutes. I, of course, wasn’t paying attention to any of it as I was busy off in the fantasy world. It’s not that I wasn’t listening but rather I was listening to something else.

But as a super listener, I have “photographic hearing”. Ever heard about someone with a photographic memory? I’ve got that but it is strictly limited to what someone says. I can remember specific things people say from decades gone by.

But back to my bad habit. Snapped out of my daydream and back to the person talking to me, I am now in the awkward position of having to respond to their question or else admit that I wasn’t listening to a thing. Fortunately, with my “photographic hearing”, I can take a moment and play back what they were just saying for the past few minutes and catch myself up on the conversation. Then I can answer their question after a not overly long delay.

I am awkward with my super power even still today.

It’s taken a long time to fully respect and honor my own unique super power. Until recently, I’ve had a strong desire to be an amazing public speaker. I’ve wanted to have important things to say. But more and more I am honoring that I was born into this world because I have important things to listen to.

I think that it is challenging for all of us, during our time here in earth school, to learn to trust our own unique powers. We live in a celebrity culture which is about “gee, wouldn’t it be great if I was just like them!” Of course, the flip side of celebrity culture is shame and blame culture. “Who is to blame?” And “who’s fault is it?”

There is something uniquely human about distracting ourselves from our own super powers by focusing on what other people have and by what other people are doing. I do it all the time. I wake up almost giddy in the morning wanting to know what stupid thing the president said today and if we have blown somebody else up yet. I have a fatal attraction to what somebody else is doing and with knowing who is to blame. It’s so much fun.

For the little newborn baby me, the people out there were “the gods” and they had all the power. Whatever they were saying and doing must be right and whatever I was feeling and knowing must have been wrong. Then the adolescent version decided “they are all wrong” but had not yet owned up to my own light and my own power.

We all have unique super powers. What is yours?

I love this quote by poet e.e. cummings:

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else – means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”

I forgive myself

The forgiveness work that I have to do is as follows:
1) I forgive myself for the perception and belief that “A” ever disrupted my world and interfered with my connection to love.
2) I forgive myself for ever pretending that “B” could take something away from me and/or that I needed “B”s companionship, agreement and ongoing affirmation.
3) I forgive myself for being a little shit, for pretending that somehow my aliveness had to be muted and that somehow I should have conformed with what I thought “C”s vision was of who I was supposed to be. I forgive myself for using “C” as an excuse to play small in my life.
4) I forgive myself for living my life as if I not only needed to prove myself to “D” but that I needed to exceed everything that “D” had achieved in life so that I could be “good enough.”
5) I forgive myself for continuing to tell the sad little story about how “E” hurt me and in doing so I have continued to hurt myself to a much greater extent than “E” ever possibly could have.
6) I forgive myself for telling myself the lie about how other people held the keys to my own kingdom. I forgive myself for telling myself that somebody else had what I needed.
7) I forgive myself for pretending that if I went my own way and lived authentically, vivaciously, outrageously as me then I would be at risk of losing my connection to those close to me. Which, ok, maybe I would have been but in the process I lost connection with myself anyway and, therefore, I really did not have that much to offer to anybody else. I forgive myself for pretending not to know that the most important thing for me to do and to be is the most real, vulnerable and powerful self that I can be.


In my quiet time this morning, my question was something along the lines of “show me the way.”
There was no thunderbolts and lightning response.
However later this morning, I noticed the chatter in my head about unfinished business with people that I call my “Unforgiveness” work. That would be the mind chatter about “what he did” or “what she did” that is still playing in my head. You know, many years later. Clear guidance — a sign post — of what in my life I have not yet forgiven.
I mean, I want to forgive that petty little stuff. I want to let it go. Surely someone as mature and educated as myself should have left all that stuff behind by now. No?
My Unforgiveness falls into the category of “my victim story”. There’s power in it, obviously. I’m not letting go of it because I’m getting something really good out of it, obviously. The payoff to me of keeping my victim story running must be much better than the perceived payoff of letting it go.
I’ll have to keep looking. There may be some vindictiveness to it. I’ve let a lot of my vindictiveness go over the past decade plus. But that doesn’t mean it’s not still in here. You know, something like “I’ll get even with you!” Or, “now I’ve got you, you s.o.b.!”
Pretty little things like that.
For sure, my Unforgiveness is a foundational part of my defensiveness. “They are never going to do that to me again!” So I erect the fortress walls, shut myself down, and prepare for the next battle. I am safe. Well, actually, emotionally and spiritually I am dead. But at least it feels safe.
It’s not difficult to identify my Unforgiveness. It’s the ugly chatter in my head. It’s the stuff that I am either avoiding or else getting downright indignant about. It’s the “memories” — the story — which feels painful in my body as I am telling it to myself. Either numb or outraged, my suffering is a safe, comfortable place for me to live.
So, like I said, “show me the way”.
“Unforgiveness dead ahead,” was the reply.

God in our own image

One of the dominant themes for this year — what we’ve been talking about — has been “what we are against.” It’s been our consistent talking point nationwide, top to bottom.
Eventually, we are going to shift into talking about “what we are for.” It’s actually going to be deeper than that. As a country, a culture, we have lost our “story of us”. We are missing “this is who we are and what we are about”. The void, for the moment, is full of “this is who and what we are against”.
We’re like teenagers. We know who and what we don’t like. But we are struggling with creating a new identity.
The movie theaters are full of that old story about the hero who against all odds saves the world. But we’ve all seen too much to believe, anymore, that we are going to save the world.
Like all great ironic tales, the narrative will get flipped on it’s head and the world will save us. We’ll shift from talking to listening.
It’s not that my generation gave up on God. My generation has been fairly confident that the human mind is God. It’s not that my generation went atheist. It’s just that we created God in our own image.
And that hasn’t gone so well.
(I know, I know … I can’t use the word “God”. It’s the second most misused word next to “love”. Everybody uses these words but nobody knows what they really are.)
If you and I took a space ship out to Mars and took a look around, we wouldn’t be thinking that the human mind is the central force in the universe. We wouldn’t be thinking that humans are much of a big deal at all … from that perspective.
There is a central force flowing through the universe and, as well, through you and me. But it ain’t you and it ain’t me. The central force emanates through us, not out of us. It’s a creative force. And it wants to create. Through us.
And it will. Just as soon as we get out of the way. Just as soon as we begin listening.
But right now, it’s mostly all talking.

My practice

1) My practice is to set down the suit of armor and to drop defensiveness. The path is to open up into whatever is before me versus closing down to it. Opening up is accepting what is, not in a giving up but, in a posture of allowing what is to be what is. This planet offers many experiences of heartbreak, pain and destruction. Sobriety is about telling the truth about what is and going eyeball to eyeball with it, softening into it and opening up to whatever there is before me. My practice is to drop the resistance within my own body. There is nothing to defend. Nothing can hurt me. Only my closed heart can hurt me.

2) I continue to do the work of emotional and spiritual clearing to create space within myself. I have to feel it to heal it. I have a weekly practice to clear myself and support others who desire to do the same.

3) I mind my own business. Don’t take on anyone else’s business personally. There is my business, your business and God’s business. Do I know the difference?

4) Unless you are poking me with a sharp stick then this upset that I am feeling around you is a triggered memory from my own past. Almost all upset is from the past. You are not the cause of my upset. You are only showing me that which is already inside of me. I choose to consciously own my own memories, habits, behaviors and beliefs. (Anger and sadness are types of upset; so is numb.)

5) I claim responsibility for everything that is happening here. Not like blame or burden but as a place to stand. I choose, in every moment, to be a creator and not a victim.

6) I am my word. I do what I say and I say what I do. Like a practice. How close can I align my speaking and my actions?

7) I reveal my authentic self. Can I drop the posture and the disguises? Can I free myself to just hang out to be seen and heard exactly the way that I am?

8) I am up to something bigger than my own needs, wants and survival. I look to see how I can be a man of service.

9) There is a mind greater than my own. An infinite intelligence visible in a flock of birds and a school of fish. I practice connecting with this unified force and allow it’s creative force to express itself through me, as me. Who I am is the creative force.

Victimhood or flow?

We all play the victim card. I know that I do.

I “struggle” on a construction project from time to time. There are people and situations in my life in which “they did it to me”.

Victim is not a strong place for me. I don’t like it there (except when I do).

Victim as a way of being is clearly a popular game to play in our culture. It’s a safe, comfortable place.

You can survive reasonably well in victimhood. But you can’t thrive. And you will never get into “flow”.



The good and the bad news of it

Soap opera entertainment is the purpose of political news. They sell it because you buy it.

There is lots of endless noise about what government should do. But 55 years later, one thing that I know for sure is that, government always follows the people. Government never takes the lead on anything. When the people lead, the politicians follow. It’s never been otherwise.

That’s the good and the bad news of it. The people are leading right now. They always have been.

This “political mess” that we are in has been going on for well over 5000 years.

Don’t believe the hype. It’s exciting! But it’s not real.

Shame, blame and guilt are always very popular games to play. But just like the good witch told Dorothy, you’ve had the power all along my dear.

That’s the good and the bad news of it.

winter isn’t coming

I am in a co-dependent relationship with someone when the drama of it becomes my focus.

Drama is one of the most addictive drugs. In the past, I’ve done it with my birth family, with lovers and at work.

Sometimes I still do it with the president of the U.S. which makes as much sense as getting caught up in what Kim Kardashian is wearing, I mean, ok, it is interesting to see what she is wearing but am I really going to get all worked up about it? Am I really going to “do” something about it? Or is it just something that I use to distract myself from my present time reality like I could use alcohol or pot?

I’m pretty good about not taking a hit of drama with my mother or my lover anymore. And I don’t get sucked into “it” over Kim Kardashian. So why would I get into a co-dependent energetic dance with the President? Today is not election day. Nobody cares what I think. And, for sure, my opinion has absolutely no impact on what is going on.

Co-dependency is an expenditure of my energy very similar to how I would be expending my energy if I was addicted to meth. It’s a choice to play a game in which I believe that “my power” is outside of myself and “over there”. It’s a choice to experience a childhood drama and trauma over and over again.

But I am an adult now. All of “my power” is over here. All of my creativity is over here. My connection to the divine is over here. The drama is over there. My business is over here.

If I watch a tv show or get buzzed, at least I am aware that I’ve reached out for something with which to distract myself. But when I reach out for a co-dependent drama, it can be a little more sinister because I have a tendency to think that it is real. But it isn’t real. The drama in Game of Thrones is designed to capture my attention and my energy. It wants to hook me. But if my attention and my energy get spent on Game of Thrones it is only because I have chosen, in that moment, to make it real.

Real is what is in front of me right now. Real is what there is for me to do, right now. Real is what I have access to having an impact on.

Kim Kardashian isn’t going to change her outfit based upon my opinion regardless of how much energy I put into it. Kim Kardashian’s life choices are not real in my world (even if I think that they are.)

No, actually, winter isn’t coming. It’s springtime now. Time to head out and tend to my own garden.

Clean and sober


I’ve been clean and sober for 6 months now. I’m feeling a little shaky about it at the moment. Probably it takes at least this long to detox from it and to actually come face to face with myself.

I’ve committed to 12 months clean and sober. Living in Sonoma County means I’m surrounded by really good wine and really good pot. It basically falls off the trees as you walk down the street.

I would not have said that I had a “problem” six months ago. But I note the discomfort, now, that I feel facing myself from a somewhat detoxified place.

And that is what this is all about. Coming face to face with myself.

I’ve never been attracted to pharmaceuticals; I won’t even take aspirin. I have a deep distrust of the pharmaceutical industry. There are people close to me who have been on anti-depressants for 20 and 30 years. Are they “better off” for it? Or is the whole thing all about making money? You be the judge.

There are many ways I can numb myself. Working too hard is very familiar to me. Being physically exhausted is another. In the past, I’ve “used” running and outdoor athletic adventures as an escape.

Pretty sure that this isn’t sounding like a “happy” post. I am experienced with “happiness” as a way to distract myself also.

Like I said, right now clean and sober feels uncomfortable. But like getting back into climbing or running shape, when my body hurts, I know that I’m getting back up off the couch.

Living is an uncomfortable enterprise. It just is. If I am growing and pushing my boundaries, my body hurts. If I am opening myself up inside, I feel raw and vulnerable.

I have a pattern of waves. Sometimes I’ll sit numb for months on end. This is a time of beginning again to feel the feelings.

“They” teach you to avoid the feelings. The pharmaceutical industry depends upon it. The stoic cowboy myth of manhood I grew up with thrives on it.

But as I have learned, the only way “out” of difficult feelings is to go through them. Either I feel my feelings now or else they sit there, for years and decades at a time, waiting to be attended to.

Feel the feelings. The way out is through.

Teddy Herzog received his training and certification as an Integrative Holistic Coach through the Legacy Training Institute. The 6-month program requires the completion of five weekend Legacy Seminars with a minimum of 1500 coaching hours.


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