Afraid, vulnerable, and moving forward

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Emotions can dismantle a facade in seconds. I know this because it happened to me. It’s been happening more over the last year. I’ve been struck as I sit in my truck watching the children play outside of my son and daughter’s school. Emotional nausea that grips and squeezes until the eyes well up. The past crawling up and knocking at the door.

“When we don’t attend to emotions they metasticize and they grow.” — Susan David

The origin of this wellspring is simply known to me as the depths. The recesses. The annexed spaces within where I’ve shuttled loss…

Only in America do we commoditize people and their lives.

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Gas. Water. Solar. Wind.

Being human. Emotions. Self-worth.

Life as we know it has become commoditized.

All of it. Look around. There is a price tag on everything. We are living in the roadside hubcap tent of life. We are stale candy in a vending machine. We are contestants on an emotional supermarket sweep. Walking garage sales with emotions on our sleeves with tiny round stickers.

Money is the most important thing in history. Ever. It has surpassed water and air as the most vital and essential life-sustaining element. You have nothing if you don’t have money. …

I’m not ready to spend less time with her again

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She falls asleep before me. Always. Her breathing shifts and slows and deepens. Little jerks and twitches. It’s dark as pitch here. Outlines of things and slivers of light. The weather warms and clouds disperse as night opens. My vision dims and my ears become nocturnal hunters for sound. Her breath there. The popping of the house as humidity burrows in for the summer. Tiny wisps of wind whip through the waxy leaves of tall grass just outside the window.

Minutes before we were laughing.

We lay in bed and talk about today and tomorrow and highlights and conversations and…

Living, suffering, and redefining what doesn’t kill me.

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Pandemic life corrupted my senses. My perceptions. Of life. What it should or should not be and how to cope with the cascade of news, loss, disappointment, and uncertainty. Or so I’ve been telling myself. Living in constant white static noise is exhausting. The basal distress worms its way through me, laying down and letting its full weight sit atop of me until I fall asleep like some phantom limb.

Pins and needles.

This is not life. This is not the suffering the Buddha spoke of. Nay friends, he was thinking cosmically. Deeper. Me. I’ve been dancing with my muse…

In a post-truth era, your “truth” is a story you choose to tell.

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Nary a social media post scrolls by without someone echoing into the chamber how they’re “living their truth” or proud of someone who is “speaking their truth.” The co-opting of the word truth by individuals who are simply living their life in accordance with their subjective measures for happiness and success is not the truth. It’s a crunchy semantic emotional noir ascribing fact to lives that in essence are just stories.

I recognize this turn of phrase has an essential component to it. There have been people who have endured tremendous abuses, indiscretions, and been forced to live in silence…

A simple bedtime story turned into a mid-life crisis.

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“Daddy, what were you like as a kid? Tell me a story about when you were a kid.”

A simple request from a girl dimly lit by a string of lights gently woven amongst tiny books and figurines. In a room, I’m certain I won’t forget. Or will I? Will she?

She wanted a funny story. She pawed at my hands as the silence grew worrisome. I’ve always had a couple of back pocket memories I could spin with detail to pad the effect. I looked down at her. Her eyes still too big for her perfect little face. Slow…

If you wanna live, you gotta lose.

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She woke up in the middle of the night, uneasy, and shuffled to the restroom. Struggling to breathe, she called for him. They thought it best to call an ambulance. She would be ushered on ahead of him. He followed behind, unconcerned, as they’d done this before.

He arrived at the hospital shortly thereafter. Upon signing in he was met by a doctor and taken to a private room. They had been trying their best for the last fifteen minutes to resuscitate her but had been unsuccessful. What did he want them to do? The orders were inked on a…

Our mental health, a post-normal world, and thinking ahead.

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I’m broke but I’m happy, I’m poor but I’m kind
I’m short but I’m healthy, yeah
I’m high but I’m grounded, I’m sane but I’m overwhelmed
I’m lost but I’m hopeful, baby-Alanis Morissette

I’m sitting at my daughter’s desk. She’s in my chair watching LEGO videos on an iPad. My son is coding house music next to me. It’s 10:45 am on a Wednesday. This isn’t normal. I’m not normal. They’re not normal. You’re not normal. We live in a post-normal world.

The fatigue of hearing the desire to return to normal is real. Our inability to accept the impermanence…

Perspective is everything when it comes to self-improvement.

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My wife and I started to declutter our basement and came to a piece of furniture stocked full of books. Over seventy-percent of the books on the shelf were related to self-improvement, self-understanding, and even self-help to a certain degree. When I looked at all of those books, I was immediately saddened because I felt as lost as I did when I bought those books.

I’ve been reading forty to fifty books a year for the last four or five years. I am not proud of this. …

And the lost art of dealing with discomfort.

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“Shame cannot survive being spoken…and being met with empathy.” -Brene Brown

Self-help is rampant as we continue to be separated from our daily lives. We need help. We’re alone. And winter is upon us. The new year is here. Everyone is a guru. Everyone is pivoting to coaching, using their lives as templates to guide others. Every personal failure is monetized under the umbrella of experience. One of the biggest diddles peddled to the confined market is the concept of shame; how bad it is, and how to combat it with unbridled positivity.

Self-help has devolved into a semantic game…

Nathan L. Senter

Writing to quiet the voices. To empty the gut. Coach. Husband. Father.

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