the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


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…the father becomes the son. (more thoughts)

[ADDENDUM: 11 January, 2015]  When my father first told me of his near-death experience, many years ago, a flash of memory hit me, like a curtain being drawn from my mind, to reveal the light of the morning sun.

I remember begging, pleading with him, to go back, so that I would have a chance to be.  I did not remember all, but over the years, I came to know the deep sacrifices that were made in those moments.  I would revisit them when he nearly died, again, and each time I climbed up on the surgeon’s table, the last time being the 7th of January, 2015.

This is my Atonement with the Father.

JOR-EL: Once, when you were small, I died, while giving you a chance for life.

It was a shock when I saw him.  He was wandering around aimlessly, obviously not in his body.  He was NOT supposed to be here.

“What are you doing here?  You need to go back, and be my father, just as we planned!”

“I’m tired.  I hurt.  I don’t want to go back to a broken body.”

“But you need to go back!  We agreed!”

My father first got really sick in 1992, when I was hundreds of miles away going to college in Rexburg, Idaho.  When I crashed out of school and took the rebound to community college, I came home one day to see him carried out on a stretcher into an ambulance.

Almost two decades passed and he got really, really sick again.  As in deathly ill.  He could barely move and he grew a beard because he didn’t feel well enough to even shave.  “Not now,” I thought.  “I still need you.”  But I talked with my youngest sister about it, and we made peace with it; we were ready to bury him if that was really to be.

I sent him pictures of me and my son to try to cheer him up.  He was in really bad shape.

A Boy and His Dad

It was obvious that I was not going to persuade him by plans of the future.  I would have to appeal to his here and now.

“What about your family now?  Won’t they miss you?”

That seemed to be more persuasive.  He softened a bit and looked more ready to turn back.

Dad found a specialist in Walla Walla that seemed to know what was going on, finally, and he recovered.

JOR-EL: And now, even though it will exhaust the final energy left within me…

CLARK
(turns frightened)
Father, no!

JOR-EL
Look at me, Kal-El!

“Wait, before you go.  I have to do something.  I… I will carry a part of that pain for you.”

“You don’t have to do this.”

“Yes… yes, I do.”

“No, you don’t.”

“I do.  I promise, I will help you.”

“Very well.”

My back was thrashed– not too long  after my son was born, I found out that some of the discs in my spine were wearing out, and one was being crushed like a pancake, pinching the nerve (sciatic) in my right leg.  In the first week of October in 2009, I had a fusion surgery, but the nerve damage was done.

I found myself comparing notes with my father on pain.

JOR-EL: The Kryptonian prophecy will be at last fulfilled. The son becomes the father – the father becomes the son.

My father later apologized to Cimmorene, and to me, for his mistreatment of me in the past.  He got it.  Things would never be the same again.

HeroesjourneyAtonement


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The Road Back (Zero to Hero Days 3 and 4)

If it wasn’t obvious, I positioned the “Zero to Hero” WordPress challenge as part of the 10-year blogging Journey story arc.  I could not line up the entire Monomyth (A Hero’s Journey) cycle to my 10 years of blogging… yet.

The challenge seemed to fit very well to stages 9 and 10 as Vogler describes them: Reward/Seizing the Sword and The Road Back in the Outer Journey, and Accepting Consequences of New Life and New Challenge and Rededication in the Inner Journey.

A new challenge and rededication.  Because this is not my first time blogging, does not taking the Zero to Hero challenge fit this quite well?

“Sunday Stroll”, the featured image for the post– Copyright is reserved to Kenneth Justice, of course. Click through to read

Now the Day 3 and Day 4 Challenges fit a reblog I was going to do, but I decided to comment on the post a little more.  The post in question is Betrayed but forgiven…REALLY??? by Kenneth “The Culture Monk” Justice, a blogger I’ve mentioned here before.  The subject of forgiveness and letting go of grudges, and the thoughts I had in regards to them, fits both the “What’s On Your Mind?” challenge of Day 3 and the “Explore The Neighborhood” challenge of Day 4.

The assignment for day 3 is write the post that was on my mind when I decided to start a blog.

Mood icon from LJ– yes, I was scared

I’m cheating a little bit– there is a reference to my first (hidden) post on LiveJournal in A 10-year blogging journey: The hidden beginning.  (If you’re wondering what prompted my current blogging focus, see The Hero With A Thousand Faces.)

What does this have to do with Kenneth’s post?   Well, my blogging journey had to do with starting to delve a little deeper into the roots of my complex PTSD, and coming to let go of some of the hatred that triggered it.  What was obvious to me at the time was the anger towards my mother.  She had crushed my self-esteem and sense of worth numerous times over many, many years.  I was also the object of competition between her and her mother, my grandmother.  My mother had a little brother that died before his 2nd birthday due to Rh factor complications (she has type O negative, which my second sister and I inherited from her).  This was before medical science could effectively suppress antibodies in a mother’s bloodstream.  In short, I was not just the “golden boy” only grandson– I was my grandmother’s surrogate son.  (Cimmorene noticed this when Grandma showed her pictures of me and my first sister, noting that her tone of voice changed when she pointed each of us out.)  Since she did not approve of my father, Mom tended to treat me as a surrogate husband in some ways as well, especially as I got older.

My father beat me when I was young.  I suppressed a number of memories of that, and didn’t really remember them until my youngest sister flat out reminded me that he did.  I was terrified of him when I was very little.

Forgiveness for my father came much quicker than it ever did for my mother (in some ways, the pain about my mother is still there).  I wrote about this in …the father becomes the son, Supporting my father, and Bill Withers & The At-One-Ment with The Father.  Some details I forgot to include in the last post: “Lean on Me” has been a source of strength for my father during his illness (and he says so in his personal history), while “Lovely Day” has been a source of strength for me during mine.

When my mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, that was when I began to let go of hatred for my mother, as I wrote in So this is justice, part 2. I had sworn for so long that the sword of justice would fall on her head, or that I would scream, “You cannot escape justice forever!” at her funeral.  This thought came to my mind: “Is this the justice you wanted?” and I said no, I would never wish such a terrible disease on anyone.

That doesn’t mean all trust is restored– I learned quickly that my parents could not be entrusted to watch after my children– the last time we did so, they tried to lay hands violently on Cimmorene and Boy after we came back, and Princess is still upset about that to this day.

Anyways, a lot of grudges I’ve held trace back to that childhood pain.  As I’ve come to terms with it, it has become easier for me to move on.

I'm a Zero to Hero Blogger!


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Photos (and videos) are part of the Journey

I smiled and chuckled reading today’s xkcd.

Alternate text: “I hate when people take photos of their meal instead of eating it, because there’s nothing I love more than the sound of other people chewing.”

Randall Munroe was a robotics scientist at NASA before his webcomic really took off, and sometimes it shows: some entries are pretty nerdy and obscure, and sometimes I feel I’m stretching a bit to get the joke.  Other times, like today, I think he touches on the pulse of Internet culture, dead on.  A capture of zeitgeist, if you will.

This was a posed shot we took a while back to show Flickr members who our photographers were. Many kept asking where our son was although he was too young to take any photos at that time.

Some of you dear readers may have noticed that my family and I are on Flickr, and that it’s a part of my blogging here.  My father-in-law, Bill (Cimmorene’s father) has been an amateur photographer for 40 years, and so it’s more than just a place to host blog photos, although I found out about the site through the VOX platform.  It’s not just me, either; Cimmorene and Princess are both principal photographers for the account.

While Bill and some of our Flickr friends deeply explore the artistic side of photography, Cimmorene, Princess and I employ a more documentary-style approach.  This is why I found today’s xkcd relevant.  Photography is capturing the journey, yes, even that Inner side to the Hero’s Journey I’ve been writing about here.

Princess and I are especially pushing towards video, because of our desire to document what’s happening in our lives, and the observation of what we see.


If it’s not immediately obvious, Princess is a big fan of Toby Turner, and she’s imitating some of his voice characterizations.

Admittedly, I think we three raise an eyebrow or two when Internet media trends seem shallow.  Princess doesn’t do a lot of selfies unless she wants to show a new cosplay idea, and as none of us have smartphones, but only a sophisicated point-and-shoot camera, she doesn’t take them in the manner most “selfies” are taken.  She’s also more inclined to do a short video now and then, and for a while… I found DOZENS of videos in the memory cards.  Since production software in Linux is pretty abysmal (as I said before), I told her she needed to keep her videos closer to 2-5 minutes, since I couldn’t easily edit things down.

I never knew homemade corndogs could be so delicious until Cimmy made some

We don’t take a lot of pictures of our food– well, not at restaurants, anyways.  We do take some photos of our meals, to brag a little bit about our home cooking and baking, and now and then, we show some of the process of making it.  Again, we lean towards a more documentary style of media making than a more artistic angle.  We appreciate the craft, but we are usually more interested in showing people snippets of our lives, than strong artistic statements.

What do you think, dear readers?  Is there meaning to be found amongst all the selfies and restaurant entreé captures?  Are cameraphone snapshots art?  Is the Instagram Polaroid filter cheesy nostalgia?  Is photography, casual or well-crafted, part of your online journey?

Do I look awkward asking so many invitation questions?  I think I do; it’s not a regular part of my style.  But please, walk with me, talk with me… leave me a comment.  Thanks!


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…the father becomes the son.

JOR-EL: Once, when you were small, I died, while giving you a chance for life.

It was a shock when I saw him.  He was wandering around aimlessly, obviously not in his body.  He was NOT supposed to be here.

“What are you doing here?  You need to go back, and be my father, just as we planned!”

“I’m tired.  I hurt.  I don’t want to go back to a broken body.”

“But you need to go back!  We agreed!”

My father first got really sick in 1992, when I was hundreds of miles away going to college in Rexburg, Idaho.  When I crashed out of school and took the rebound to community college, I came home one day to see him carried out on a stretcher into an ambulance.

Almost two decades passed and he got really, really sick again.  As in deathly ill.  He could barely move and he grew a beard because he didn’t feel well enough to even shave.  “Not now,” I thought.  “I still need you.”  But I talked with my youngest sister about it, and we made peace with it; we were ready to bury him if that was really to be.

I sent him pictures of me and my son to try to cheer him up.  He was in really bad shape.

A Boy and His Dad

It was obvious that I was not going to persuade him by plans of the future.  I would have to appeal to his here and now.

“What about your family now?  Won’t they miss you?”

That seemed to be more persuasive.  He softened a bit and looked more ready to turn back.

Dad found a specialist in Walla Walla that seemed to know what was going on, finally, and he recovered.

JOR-EL: And now, even though it will exhaust the final energy left within me…

CLARK
(turns frightened)
Father, no!

JOR-EL
Look at me, Kal-El!

“Wait, before you go.  I have to do something.  I… I will carry a part of that pain for you.”

“You don’t have to do this.”

“Yes… yes, I do.”

“No, you don’t.”

“I do.  I promise, I will help you.”

“Very well.”

My back was thrashed– not too long  after my son was born, I found out that some of the discs in my spine were wearing out, and one was being crushed like a pancake, pinching the nerve (sciatic) in my right leg.  In the first week of October in 2009, I had a fusion surgery, but the nerve damage was done.

I found myself comparing notes with my father on pain.

JOR-EL: The Kryptonian prophecy will be at last fulfilled. The son becomes the father – the father becomes the son.

My father later apologized to Cimmorene, and to me, for his mistreatment of me in the past.  He got it.  Things would never be the same again.

HeroesjourneyAtonementNEXT POST IN THE SERIES: A Blogger’s Journey: Seizing the Sword/Grasping the Hammer


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The son becomes the father…

I would have put “10-year blogging journey” in the title, but that was starting to become clunky, and so I omitted it.  But just for your reference, dear readers, I’m picking up where I left off from New Life and the VOX years.

“One must have a faith that the father is merciful, and then a reliance on that mercy.” — Joseph Campbell

I had very mixed feelings about having a boy in my family.  Memories of being bullied by boys was too fresh in my mind.  Middle-school classmates called me “faggot” and “queer”, and chastised me for discovering I was into hardcore porn.  I was deathly afraid for years that the homoerotic aspects of my otherwise heterosexual fantasies would be discovered.  It took me a lot just to admit this to Cimmorene, much less to anyone else.  I also repressed a lot of memories of my father beating me as a child– it wouldn’t be too much longer until I remembered.

Masculinity was in turns fascinating and repulsive to me.  How could I be a good father to a boy with that conflict churning inside of me?

I had already come a long way in understanding the buried rage at my mother, for all those years she chipped away at my self-esteem, then strangely turning to me as some sort of surrogate husband.  But I was only just beginning to understand the anger I had towards my father– not even so much for beating me (that did terrify me)– but for not protecting me from my mother and grandmother.

“The problem of the hero going to meet the father is to open his soul beyond terror to such a degree that he will be ripe to understand how the sickening and insane tragedies of this vast and ruthless cosmos are completely validated in the majesty of Being.”

How do I describe this?  It was one thing for me when my daughter learned to say “dada” and then “Daddy”, but yet another when my son spoke those words.  I knew I was a father to a boy!  But how to reconcile mixed memories of my father?  There were good ones as well as bad ones.  As my son grew, it slowly became apparent to me.  My son demanded my physical touch.  It didn’t matter too much then whether I was paying full attention to him or not, as long as I put my hand on his head, shoulder… he was satisfied.

It awakened something deep inside of me.  Something that had been missing, for a long time.

Some time later, I remember my father telling me how much I had matured over the last five years. When I told a friend of mine about it, she didn’t miss a beat. She said, “That’s because that was when your son was born.” Indeed, it had been five years since he was born.

HeroesjourneyAtonementSee also A Hero’s (Inner) Journey: Atonement with the Son

Next post in the series: …the father becomes the son.


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A 10-year blogging journey: New Life and the VOX years

So next was a post about fleeing the terrible fourplex.  I’ll just link to it, since I don’t feel like summarizing it much.  Then there was a post about crime at the apartment complex (the new place).

After the miscarriage, my next big LiveJournal post was Bun in the oven.  This was nine weeks in, yet I knew it was going to happen.  Right at the moment of conception, even– with me grunting “have my child” at… well, you get the idea, right?  It was like the stars aligned and I knew it had to happen, right then.

October 28, 2006 I left the Camarilla.  Toxic people, toxic effects, but sadly it happened because I realized I’d alienate my sister if I stayed.

by distemper at DeviantArt-- presented by claim of fair use

This was as close as I could get to a parody some LJ’er in the Camarilla made of the old TNT network logo (it said “CAM” instead of “GOTH”). So true, it hurts.

Then we got confirmation the little wombmate was a boy.  We knew this already, as I said– our kids made themselves known.

Twenty days before he was delivered cesarean, I started blogging on VOX.  We were nervous up until the delivery day:

Well, not much of anything of import to say, save that my wife’s recent pregnancy has been a rollercoaster lately.  Last Saturday night and Sunday morning, we had a false alarm– 11 hours in the hospital during nighttime hours, only to find it was likely a UTI that triggered contractions. (March 14, 2007)

It’s down to the last week or two now, but babies do come when they want to. (March 20, 2007)

I felt a mixture of emotions when he finally came out.  He was so quiet, even when I was helping one of the nurses clean off the white stuff off him.  (By constrast, his older sister wailed.)  I was so impressed.  But later, I wondered why I didn’t feel as much excitement with him as I did his sister.  I thought, “If they took him back, that would be okay.”  What was wrong with me?

The Hero's Journey: Ordeal, Death, Rebirth

The Hero’s Journey: Ordeal, Death, Rebirth

Next post in the series: The son becomes the father…


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I Get By With A Pithy Help From My Friends

Webcomics can be better than a silly old psychedelic drug reference.

xkcd #1170: Bridge

It’s Hump Day Wednesday, but last weekend is still very fresh on my mind.

On Sunday, Boy had a full-on meltdown in the main worship service.  He managed to wedge himself in such a way that the scene was inevitable– if I had pulled him out, there would have been a scene anyways.  The rest of the family followed and I had to reassure the bishopric counselor (assistant pastor, if you will) that we did not feel chased off… everyone was having a difficult time.

I also was pulled out of quorum meeting to help Boy’s teacher in the classroom– partly to supervise Boy, of course.  I’m okay with that; I asked to be summoned when help was needed.  She’s also an old friend from my days in a young single adult congregation.

Monday I finally got the process started for Boy to receive services from the state– basically, his schoolteacher recommended respite care services.  It’s all moving rather glacially, as all bureaucratic agencies do.

The past few days I finally got word from the principal at Princess’s school.  As I commented on Cimmy’s post “She’s My Sister”, there’s been a problem with bullying during recess there.  We already have an issue with her studies and her teacher this year; Princess is flunking all her subjects.  The teacher has an authoritarian style and is very slow to provide extra help, if at all.  We’re trying to get a 504 plan set up as it is NOT a level-playing field.  One issue (which she is getting accommodation for, but not a lot) is a discolored cornea which is giving her 20/50 vision in one eye.

ANYWAYS… I’ll leave it at that, more just drags on and is depressing.  The reason why I included xkcd today is that people sometimes spout a lot of advice and so-called “folk wisdom” when they don’t know the full context.  It seems to be especially pernicious for parents of children with special needs… i.e. THEY REALLY DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT.  Thankfully, not too many people have spouted much unsolicited advice lately– but the stares at best and dirty looks at worst still continue.

I know some of you, dear readers, can relate… even if you don’t have kids.  Have you been getting “input” that you really didn’t ask for?  Are your friends like Randall’s friends?  If they all suddenly jumped off a bridge, would you jump, because maybe they had a good reason?  Would you ask, “Hey friends, what’s wrong?”  Do the same trite, tired old cliché phrases not fit very well?

Are you strange, odd, and delightfully bizarre, like me?


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Once there was a snowman (LOLBeeeze style)

Once there was a snowman
The snow keeps coming

snowman
Snow

snowman.
Maybe it's a snowwoman?

Once there was a snowman
Lonely snowman

tall, tall, tall!
Finished snowman (side view)

In the sun he melted
Finished snowman (front view)

melted
But he didn't have to die!

melted
Oh, the humanity!

In the sun he melted
Keening for poor snowman

small, small, small.
R.I.P. snowman

Lyrics: “Once There Was A Snowman”, by Moiselle Renstrom. From “Tune Time”, (c) 1955, 1981, Pioneer Music Press. Words presented covered under copyright fair use: “This song may be copied for incidental, noncommercial church or home use” (as seen in “Children’s Songbook”, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, p. 249. Song is used there by permission.)


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A little bit of Christmas, served up in the LOLBeeeze style.

At Christmas, children love to play with dolls and dollhouses.

Batcave Dollhouse
Or is that “action figures” and “action playsets”?

The Batman Dollhouse for Boy
Everyone at our family loves them, you see.

Putting Sandie's shoes on
Oh, there’s a proper doll. Her name is Sandie. See how Princess puts on her shoes so lovingly.

Princess likes Sandie very much
But then Sandie turned bad. She decided that it was time to terrorize the other dolls, including Batman. And Princess smiled.

But then Sandie turned bad
They’ll prove that the Batcave really is a dollhouse after all.

Like these pictures? See more at Flickr. Click through the gallery here:

The Batman Dollhouse for BoyBatcave DollhousePenguinoPenguino closeupPutting Sandie's shoes onPrincess likes Sandie very much
But then Sandie turned badChristmas card 1Christmas card 2 (Princess)Digital HeadphonesWhoa, a new coat!Every girl should have a diary.
It fits!Princess sees the diary is lockableDiary detailMickey Mouse coloring bookPrincess strikes a pose in her new sweaterSam I Am Iron Man!
Jewelry makerSetting up the jewelry makerIron Man is free of his cardboard cage!Cars 2 pajamas!Kids still hard at playOh no, more Legos!

Christmas 2011: Christmas Day, a set on Flickr.