Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Conversation With God

God? . . . . Hello?

(Dennis walks into his kitchen, having come home from work, and finds God rummaging through his refrigerator. Dennis takes a seat at the kitchen table, agape, not taking his eyes off of God, who appears to be smelling a half-eaten can of tuna.)

GOD: Pheeeeew! I think this has to go.

DENNIS: The tuna?

GOD: Yes. And this bread. I saw some mold. You shouldn’t keep stuff like this around for so long. Eat it or get rid of it! Otherwise, Feh!*

DENNIS: It’s just that I work so much. I don’t see much of the inside of my fridge, and when I do, the last thing I feel like doing is more work. I work so late every night.

GOD: Tell me about it! I’ve been here since 3:00 waiting for you, I thought we’d have a little talk and a little nosh.* Do you realize it’s 10:00 at night? I got so tired of waiting I thought I’d see if you had anything to eat. Do you realize you have nothing to eat? You have no food in this house! Not even a cookie. I checked. I couldn’t find anything crunchy or sweet or even a little something with chocolate! What’s the matter with you? Don’t you eat?

(God shuts the refrigerator, walks over to the trashcan and tosses out the tuna and the bread and then sits down at the kitchen table.)

DENNIS: I know. I’m back on the South Beach Diet – Phase I. It’s fantastic! Did you know I lost forty pounds the first time I went on it?

GOD: Yes.

DENNIS: Right. Well, there’s food, but nothing that’s bad for you. Mostly vegetables and chicken and eggs. That’s it.

GOD: You’re going to get sick eating like that! Listen! That can’t be good for you at all. You should eat more chocolate and definitely cake! Eat a little bit every day. Trust me.

DENNIS: [Big sigh] I take it you’re the big guy. Right?

GOD: Four foot seven inches, one hundred and seventy pounds. Call it what you like!

DENNIS: You said you wanted to talk to me.

GOD: I dooooooooo! I’ve been meaning to have a chat with you for some time.

DENNIS: So why now?

GOD: Because you’re frightened. Because you’ve been working so hard on your personal growth. Because you’ve come so far. But mostly, because you’ve asked for my help in a serious and important way.

DENNIS: I did?

GOD: Yes. You did. In your last post. You asked me for help.

DENNIS: Oh that. Well that was sort of just . . .

GOD: What? A joke? You being cute for your blog-friends? You trying to look pitiful?

DENNIS: [Looking very sheepish] Well, no. Not really.

GOD: Well I didn’t think it was anything other than an honest to me expression of your true feelings and desire for my help. And I want you to know that I take all heartfelt and sincere requests for my love and my help very seriously! Asking out in the open like that was a very brave thing to do!

DENNIS: [Looking even more sheepish] I guess.

GOD: WHAT? What’s with the face?

DENNIS: I don’t know. [Shrugs and hangs head – looking at his feet]

GOD: C’mon! Talk to me Son! This your fifteen minutes with God. Do you want to talk to me or study your shoes? Not everyone gets a chance like this.

DENNIS: EXACTLY! That’s my problem!

GOD: Ok Ok! Don’t get excited! You’ll get all shvitzy.*

DENNIS: I know I’ve asked for your help before and you’ve always always come through for me . . .

GOD: [Nods smugly]

DENNIS: . . . but all those times I asked before, after you made it work out for me, I sort of convinced myself that you had nothing to do with it and that the excellent outcome was simply the product of all my hard work in the first place.

GOD: [Inspecting a particularly complicated looking salt and pepper grinder, suddenly looks up making a disappointed face] And?

DENNIS: And . . . and this time it’s different! All the other times that I gave it over to you, I wanted your help desperately – more than anything!

GOD: But?

DENNIS: But this time I don’t have a choice. I know in my heart of hearts that what I need right now I can’t create on my own; no matter how hard I work at it. That if I’m going to get through it this time, it’s really going to have to be you that gets the job done. This time I have to absolutely take the leap all of the way and put my life completely into your care if I’m going to get through this!

GOD: So? There’s worse things you know!

DENNIS: Not for me. There’s nothing worse I can think of than entrusting my entire life into your care and having you not come through for me. I just can’t survive that kind of disappointment. Not after all I’ve been through. Not again. [Brings hands up to face and starts to cry softly]

GOD: Hey! Boychik!* What gives? Lose the drama, will ya? Am I not sitting here in your kitchen with you right now? Did I not just clean some Shmootz * out of your fridge? [Shakes head and stares at Dennis compassionately for a long time]. Son . . .I know it’s hard. It’s hard for a reason. My love, forgiveness and help are always there for you. They're always there for you Son. [Rests hand on Dennis’ shoulder] But you have to come to me . . . this time you have to come to me.

DENNIS: [Looks up at God] What do you mean I have to come to you? I didn’t come to you when I was in Rehab! In fact I ran from you and you still saved me. Hmmm? Explain that! I didn’t come to you then! Why do I have to do it now?!

GOD: [Studies Dennis inquisitively] You know what? That’s my business, not yours. You don’t get to know the master plan, and you don’t get to fully understand your role in my business. Do we understand each other? And don’t get so excited. Oy! Drama.

DENNIS: [Nods]

GOD: Good. [Hands Dennis a tissue] Why I’ve intervened in the past and why I’ve made your business my business without your asking for my help is my business. You’ve grown so much spiritually in the last few years. You know so much more than you ever did. You’ve accepted me and have turned to me. And now it’s time. No more freebies. You want? You gotta come get. Farshtaist?*

DENNIS: Yes. I understand.

GOD: You have kids, right?

DENNIS: You know I do!

GOD: [Disapproving look]

DENNIS: I’m sorry. Yes. Two daughters.

GOD: In the beginning, you did for them without asking because they didn’t know better. They didn’t even know how to ask, let alone the fact that they needed to ask. You fed them. You wiped their butts.

DENNIS: Don’t remind me.

GOD: Sha!* You did for them whatever they needed until they came to a point in their consciousness where they could understand what you did for them and learned how to ask in order to get their needs met.


GOD: It’s the same with spirituality. Until you become truly conscious of me, I don’t expect you to truly to be able to ask me for my help. But as you mature spiritually, there comes with it more obligations – Responsibility! Not to me, mind you. To yourself! Once your consciousness has grown large enough that you truly can make room for me in your life, then you are bestowed with the responsibility of pulling on your own oar. No more freebies, so to speak.

DENNIS: But I always was aware of your existence. I’ve known about you since I was little.

GOD: I know Son. But you’ve only recently, in the last few years, opened your heart to love, compassion and forgiveness. It is through these three things that you've come to know me and not just know of me.

DENNIS: I get it. So if I want your love, then I have to take the responsibility of coming to you and asking for it. I just can’t wait around for you to wipe my butt!

GOD: Well put! . . . Exactly right. Come to me Son. Be not afraid. For my love is all encompassing and everything is of it.

DENNIS: So I’m going to be ok? My problems are all going to work out?

GOD: Come to me Son.

DENNIS: Will I see you again?

GOD: You mind if I smoke?

DENNIS: [Eyes wide in disbelief] – Um, . . . I guess not. But don’t get any ashes on my table.

GOD: Don’t worry boychik. [POOOOF! – God disappears in a puff of smoke]

* Key -
Feh = Yuck
Shvitzy = Sweaty
Boychick = Young man/boy
Shmootz = Dirt/something foul
Farshtaist = Understand?
Sha = Shhhh

Sunday, March 25, 2007

An Open Letter To God . . .

Dear God:

I know you love me very much. If you didn’t there’s no way my life would have turned out the way it did. Remember when I got my driver’s license, and to celebrate I went out with three of my craziest friends, and we all got drunk as hell? Remember? I decided to try to drive home and got pulled over by a State Trooper? Two of my friends were passed out in the back seat and I was driving the wrong direction. The car reeked of booze. The Trooper looked at my license and told me my house was the other direction. He wished me a happy birthday and got me turned around the right way. Remember? No ticket, no arrest! I’m sure you were there with me that night. There’s just no other explanation.

Remember how you always made sure things worked out for me when I got in trouble with girls, or with school, or bullies? You were there all of those times too, I just know it. There’s just no other explanation.

Remember the time I went to that club where the girls danced naked on little stages, and I was so drunk the bartender took away my keys? The girls took my wallet right out of my pocket and helped themselves. The bouncer threw me out onto the parking lot and punched me. That was the time I woke up sitting next to my truck in the parking lot of the club. My eye was swollen and some jerk had put a Big-Mac on my head while I was passed out. Hours later I went back into the club and told the bartender I was ok and wanted my keys and he gave them to me. Remember? And then while I was driving home I fell asleep. I was on I-95 doing about seventy. My truck hit a concrete barrier on the right side of the road and the front end popped way up into the air like I was doing a wheelie! Remember? I fucked up my truck real bad, but I didn’t lose control and wreck it. And the most amazing this was that I cut my tire so badly it should have popped then and there, but you kept the air inside of it until I got not just home, but to work the next day. The air was out of it when I got off work, but that was ok, because I was able to blame someone else for hitting my truck in the parking lot. I got away with that too. Remember? You had a major hand in that. There’s just no other explanation.

I know you remember this. When I was in rehab, they told me that if I didn’t believe in you and accept that you existed, I was doomed to addiction for life. And you fucking know what I told those bastards? Not only did I tell them to go fuck themselves, I took a sheet off of my bed and took it with me into a stairwell. I climbed all the way to the top, crying all the way, because I couldn't get myself to be ok with the possibility of you. At the top of the stairs was an iron horizontal bar about 7 feet off the ground. It was PERFECT! I tied the sheet around the bar and made sure it was strong and wasn’t going to pull free. Then I tied the sheet around my neck. Remember? But you made the nurse make a mistake that night, didn’t you? You made the nurse give me TWO thorazine instead of one. She NEVER gave me two before that night. And when they kicked in, it was like getting hit with concrete and being filled up with lead. They found me at the bottom of the stairs unconscious with the sheet tight around my neck. It had come completely untied from the bar. I’m telling you, it was tight right before I put the sheet around my fucking neck and you know it was! Don’t even tell me you had nothing to do with that because it’s bullshit. You did that. You did that to me. There’s just no other explanation.

But that was then. That was before I loved you. That was before I opened my heart to love and forgiveness. That was when I needed proof, even though I wasn’t asking for any. That was before I found myself. And since then, you’ve given me more and more and more. More of everything I could ever ask for in spite of the fact that I rarely ask for anything. And when I do ask, what do I ask for? What do I ask for?! Just your help and never more than I need. I never ask to win the lottery and I never ask you to make sports teams win. I never ask you to heal anyone or keep people alive. I just ask you now and then to give me strength - to help me get through things that I’m willing to do myself. I just ask, now and then, if I can hold onto your sleeve. Sometimes I ask you to hold my hand. I never ask you to carry me.

Anyway, I thought I’d ask you for some real help today. I’m in trouble God. I’m in trouble at work. I’ve bitten off more than I can chew and I’m gagging. I’m choking to death God, and if I don’t find a way out of this mess quickly, I’m going to lose everything I’ve ever worked for. I want to do like I’ve done before and just give it all to you. That’s always worked and you’ve never let me down. But this time it feels like I’m asking for too much, even for you. Or perhaps I’m asking for more than anyone should be entitled to ask for. Either way, I feel like I’m fucked. Help me God. Please help me. I’m drowning in work. I’m tired. You’re the only one who can help. And there’s just no other answer.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

So how much coffee do YOU drink?


I remember the first time I tasted coffee. I was seven or eight and I asked my mom if I could have a sip of her morning cup. She was sitting at the kitchen table smoking a cigarette. She told me I could try it, but to be careful because it was hot! I remember thinking, “Wow! I’m going to drink coffeeeeeee!” There was something magical about having permission to drink coffee out of my mom’s cup and I was excited.

The rim had a heavy crimson lipstick smear on it. I rotated the cup so my experience wouldn’t be fouled by the offensive mouth-print with it’s distinctive and unpleasant flavor. I raised the cup up to my lips and prepared for what I anticipated would be one of the most wonderful experiences of my life! It HAD to be wonderful. I mean this stuff was sooooo good, that kids weren’t aloud to have it! Grown-ups horded this magical brown liquid all to themselves! I mean it obviously had to be better than hot chocolate, and what’s better than hot chocolate? Coffee had to be absolutely amazing – and I was about to get a sip. Even if it meant navigating around a foul lipstick smear.

I brought the cup up to my lips and instantly could smell the waxy-heady smell of the lipstick smear (which I despised beyond description). The coffee smelled intense and rich and was scented with the aroma of dairy. I imagined I was about to partake of something so sweet and wonderful that my mom would have to fight me to get back her cup. I took a giant sip; just in case this would be the one and only time I ever got this lucky! The coffee washed over my tongue stimulating my taste buds and filled my mouth. Instantly my eyes grew wide with horror as my brain searched for any sensation it could even remotely label as “sweet.” It was worse than medicine and was just absolutely BITTER!!!! I started swallowing while thinking to myself, “maybe it takes a minute?”

I swallowed all of it and instantly pulled a face so completely puckered that I probably wouldn’t have recognized myself had I been able to keep my eyes open and look into a mirror. FOUL! This beverage had nothing whatsoever to offer me. It’s amazing how quickly our brains make sense of the world. Truly fascinating in my opinion. Where just a moment ago I viewed all adults as the hoarders and deprivers of this magically delightful beverage, in the span of two seconds, my understanding was entirely transformed. They’re not depriving us kids, they’re protecting us from coffee!

I never drank liquid rust again until law school – but by then it was purely out of necessity. I didn’t actually develop a taste for coffee until I was in my late 20s. I was good for two cups in the morning and that would do me for the day. I never drank coffee after 11:00 AM. But now? More than a dozen years later coffee has ascended to the status of the only liquid as important as blood. And to be honest with you, I couldn’t even tell you how much blood I have in my coffee-stream at any given time. And because I needed a bigger jolt than even the largest cup could offer, I switched to espresso drinks. (Mostly because I don’t possesses sufficient upper body strength to carry around a three-gallon sized cup.)

Every morning I drink an Americano with an extra shot of espresso (bringing the total to three shots of espresso) I drink two or three of these a day. I just went out to lunch a couple days ago and had three espressos after lunch, each served in those tiny Barbie-doll cups. After the waiter
brought me a third cup, I realized the conversation had stopped and my three lunch mates were now staring at me slack-jawed watching me dump Splenda and cream into my little tiny cup.

Friend 1: “You like espresso. Huh?”

Me: “Love it actually.”

Friend 1: “You want me to see if they can bring you a regular sized cup full of that? I know the owner.”

Me: “Nah. I’m good. This’ll do.”

Friend 2: “You always drink three of those at a time?”

Me: “Usually, but in a large cup with some hot water. It’s called an Americano.”

Friend 1: “Doesn’t that much caffeine screw up your sleep?”

Me: “No. Not nearly as much as Ritalin.”

Friend 2: “Ritalin?”

Me: “Yeah. I was hooked on it real bad for several years. I was chewing 80 mg at a time. I’d go through a month’s prescription in about 6 days. I never slept.”

Friend 1: “Shut the F up – you’re making that up!”

Me: “No I’m not. It’s true. I wasn’t in rehab just for alcohol. My biggest problem was drugs – Ritalin mostly. Didn't you know that?”

Friend 3: “You probably shouldn’t be drinking all that coffee then. Right? I mean doesn’t that trigger your addiction? Aren’t you supposed to stay away from caffeine and shit like that?”

Me: “Probably, but it just isn’t a problem. It never affects my sleep. I think I screwed up my threshold for stimulants with all of the drugs. That’s why I drink so much coffee now.”

So what I’m wondering here is can you drink too much coffee? It doesn’t seem to bother me and I never have trouble sleeping, but I think I’m drinking too much just because I think I’m drinking too much. Minimum three shots of espresso a day. Sometimes as much as nine. Am I alone here with this habit or am I in good company? With all of the Starbucks opening up and emphasis on coffee beverages, are we all going overboard on caffein? What’s your daily coffee intake? Do tell!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Hey! Where'd The Worms Go?

Click on this picture to enlarge! It's very cool!
I took down my yucky story about pistachios. Most readers found it upsetting and I got tired of looking at the worms. So instead, I thought I’d post something I enjoyed looking at for a change. I like this picture. So now it’s on my blog.

I just got finished typing a long letter to
Poet With A Day Job one of my all-time bestest blog-buddies. We were just chatting about mean people and why people are so screwed up sometimes.

Anyway, it got me thinking about my own stuff and the psycho-spiritual work I’m doing, where I am, and where I want to be. I could go on for days writing about what I’ve learned as a result of 15 years in therapy, a trip to rehab and some pretty hard times personally and professionally. But my own subjective experience would teach you nothing about how to ride a bike. Nobody I know can be taught to ride a bike through lectures and reading material. You have to go out there, find your center, feel what it’s like to lose your balance over and over and get a few skinned knees.

And while I couldn’t teach you to ride a bike by telling you how I learned to ride one, I could tell you a few things that might speed up the process for you, help you find your own center more easily and save you the pain of at least a couple skinned knees. So that’s what I’ll do now. I don’t expect you to understand all of this, but take some notes and perhaps try to remember these things when life gets hard. Every single one of these statements is true.

1. Whatever the question may be, the answer is always LOVE – this is not open for debate;

2. Forgiveness is the most healing tool in the universe. Use it to heal yourself first and then forgive everyone always without exception. Forgiveness has nothing to do with deserving to be forgiven or being worthy of it or having earned it;

3. Resentment is like stabbing yourself and waiting for the other person to bleed;

4. You are already forgiven. You just haven’t figured it out yet;

5. You are unconditionally loved. You just haven’t figured it out yet;

6. There are only two truly natural emotions in this world – Love and Fear. Every other emotion you can name is simply derivative of Love and Fear;

7. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time, whatever you may think is “about you” has absolutely nothing to do with you;

8. Our failed relationships with others have far less to do with the other person than you would ever believe. Most of our suffering and disappointment in others is a consequence of our having burdened them unconsciously with our own projections of unattainable perfection;

9. Forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive, forgive forgive and by all means possible, forgive!

10. Forgive yourself until you find it possible to love yourself. When you finally are capable of truly loving yourself sincerely and without pretext, life will become easy, but first you must forgive. (Look at the web address of this blog!)

And finally, this is brought to you by someone who, once upon a time, believed it was his mission in life to write the definitive book proving once and for all that God does not exist - I'm here to tell you that there is something in this universe more powerful than you. Call it whatever you want - I call it "Source" - but there IS something out there and it loves you - hopefully not more than you'll ever know.

Wishing all of you an abundance of love and forgiveness!

Dennis ~