Practice makes perfect

I’m practicing being quiet.  I realize that all that follows is evidence to the contrary.

I don’t have a lot of silence in my life and that isn’t something I can blame entirely on my children.  I have, if you haven’t already noticed, a big mouth.  But mind you, for every word I speak (or write) there are at least 50 others I have managed to stifle.  My brain just does not shut off sometimes.

I got into the habit, when Hope was on the bottle, of keeping myself awake and entertained between the midnight and 3am bottles.  Though she has been off the bottle entirely for almost a month now, I am still awake until 3 or later.  I spend that time doing one of two things:  reading all about my second-class status as a gay American and worrying about Hope’s future.  Actually, it’s hardly and “either/or” situation, I do both simultaneously and to great dramatic effect.  Both issues cause a great deal of stress and consternation, neither of which am I currently managing very well.  

(As an aside, I did watch the majority of the oral arguments on the Proposition 8 cases before the California Supreme Court on Thursday.  The most compelling moment of the day for me was when Kenneth Starr, defending Proposition 8, invoked the new legal phrase “swirl of uncertainty” — as a means of describing how gay and lesbian couples who were married between June – November of last year (Tammy & I included) should have recognized then that their marriages could probably be retroactively invalidated, and certainly shouldn’t be upset about that invalidation now.  So, for straight folks, there’s “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and the gays get the “swirl of uncertainty” of knowing that at any moment their lives and dignity can be put up for a popular vote and that they’ve no more cause to have confidence in the rulings of the highest court in the state than, say, America should have in the next “Bachelor”.)

So I’ve withdrawn from a number of past practices over the last few weeks in an attempt to “quiet things down” — one the first to go was the RSS reader with which I tracked 40+ blogs on a daily basis (about 60/40 split between disability blogs and blogs by the gays).  Every time I opened my email inbox there were dozens of posts waiting to be read, and I felt burdened to read them all as quickly as possible to “stay on top” of things.  Most, maybe 80% of the entries were not uplifting.  Reality?  Yes….but still a major buzz kill.  I deleted all the feeds, I still have a few pages I check up on a few times a week and maybe after awhile of RSS-detox, I’ll add a reasonable number back to my daily reader….maybe.

The latest thing to get dumped is Facebook.  At first, I just gave it up for Lent….then I checked it at least a dozen times over the course of the next few days.  Admittedly, that was a huge improvement over how often I usually check it, but still — I wasn’t giving it up.  So, a couple of days ago, I took the dramatic step of deactivating my account.  Reactivating the account is as simple as logging in, but so far I haven’t done it.  

I’m down to email, which is much lighter since Facebook is gone.  I’m taking a sleeping aid to try and get my sleep cycle back to normal.  I went to the doctor yesterday, I’m on Zoloft now.  I’ve read two books this week, and haven’t blogged about one of them…yet.  I’ve been a hermit socially most of the week, EPU excepted, but thanks to a haircut I don’t look so much like the Unabomber anymore.  My iPod is charged with the sounds of babbling brooks and Enya, just waiting to take me away though I am cautiously considering adding a podcast or two to the mix.  For better or worse, I’m avoiding the places that tend to get my blood pressure up as much as possible — at the risk of being considered a total flake.  Oh well, better a flake that a total nutjob.

The main challenge though, is quieting the inner monologue that drives me to do all the things I do — reducing external stimulation can only accomplish so much and for so long, ultimately I’ve got to learn to quiet myself.  And that is going to take a lot of practice.

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3 Responses to Practice makes perfect

  1. Olga says:

    Philippians 4:8 (The Message)

    8-9Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

  2. Robin says:

    There you are friend! I went to send you a message on Facebook and could not find you. I seriously sent a message to Susan to see if it was just me and if you just disappeared off of my screen and you were secretly hiding from me….not that I’m insecure or anything. I’m glad to hear you are breaking away from the noise. There are a lot of bad things to focus on in the world right now…but I bet you can find a lot more good!!! I know you put a smile on my face every time I read your Blog. Also, I had a question for you…Is there still a party for that little angel of yours? Since you “deactivated” your Facebook…it is gone off of the events calendar. A very scary thing for those of us that are still in our neurotic stage.

  3. Heather says:

    Hey there. I was wondering where you went on the book. You and I have so many things in common it’s not even funny. I find myself up until the wee hours of the morning or going to be totally tired and not being able to sleep because my mind just won’t stop. I think of things that have gone wrong, have gone right, situations that have come up, and things that are finally put to rest. I hope that this weekend you find peace of mind and peace in your heart. I will be thinking of You, Tammy and your entire family all weekend. I think I am going to shut down my book too, so going forward, will you call or email. I would love to call and catch up.
    Love you buddy,
    H

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