Tuesday, December 28, 2010


It doesn't feel like winter until I awake in the crisp air of the Bay Area where I grew up. Enveloped in fog with the cool moisture all around, it feels like early morning all day long, until darkness arrives without warning. It slows everything down. There is no time. It is a season that brings on reflection, whether I welcome it or not. Every emotion sits with me more succinctly. The joys of being an uncle to my niece and nephew are more touching. The warmth of family more comforting. Laughter is richer. And sadness deeper.
Christmas Day was surreal. There was happiness in gift giving and playing with the kids, but every time I was by myself in the car or in the yard, I found myself unable to keep from crying; tears down my cheeks like I can't remember having in a long time. I am in mourning. I hiked in Muir Woods today, and could not escape for one minute a thought of the girl and her daughter that I loved so much. In what little sleep I have had, my dreams have been tortured with visions of another man making love to the one that I loved. Her deceit and coldness have cut me to my knees, and I'm so ashamed that my emotions are so debilitating. I am a strong man, and could stand up to almost any test save this one. But we do not get to choose the ways in which we are tested, nor the condition we are in when the test comes. But we are responsible for meeting the challenge with the strength we have. My self criticism and shame over being so affected by this situation is hurting my ability to grow and recover. Today, I lived in my pain without trying to distract or numb myself. I surrounded myself with redwoods and creeks, but allowed myself to be in mourning over my loss, without the guilt usually associated with that pain. I allowed myself to feel the pain of rejection and regret. The realizations of the last few weeks are still new to me, and it is right for me to feel this pain and loss.
To choose to love is to take a risk. I never had thought of it like that. I guess I thought that if you loved, good would eventually come of it. But love is so powerful, partly because it is a risk. I would be foolish to sign up for a relationship like this one again, and had I been healthy, it would not have lasted a month, but I am not ashamed of the way I loved. I am proud of it, actually, but I risked the loss and pain that I feel now. I made myself very vulnerable to my insecurities by sharing so much of myself. This is the consequence. I will find ways to love and to serve, but out of health and strength and led by God instead of my own weaknesses. The more I allow myself to feel and experience the dark of this night, as painful as it is, the sooner morning will come.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Stop being so hard on yourself, you stupid f%#*!!

Wow. Rough few days.
But I'm still here. I'm finally feeling some closure and maybe even some healing over the "relationship." The panic is gone, and I am very grateful for that. I'm kind of excited about moving forward.
One of the things I was reminded of this week, as I stumbled Thursday night, is to check in with the tone of my inner conversation. I'm talking about the way I talk to myself that sets the tone for my attitude toward and treatment of myself. I'm a real sonofabitch in the way I talk to me. How many times have I passed a mirror, and snarled "Ahh! You FAT mother Fr!!?" Usually multiple times a day. There's also the old, "What the f is wrong with you!! Get your sh together!!!" which has become a classic in the household of my mind. "You stupid F!!" has also been moving it's way up the charts.
If I was in a relationship with that voice, it would be an abusive one. I might even have to go to a battered woman's shelter for a while. ("It's not the voice's fault, it's mine for never getting my sh together.") So, this week, in the realm of my mind I will attempt to not just bring flowers to myself and promise that this time things will be different. I will check in with the tone of that voice. A friend told me this week: "Gabe, be gentle with yourself." To be honest, I recoiled a bit because the concept did not strike me as very manly. But I'd much rather have a cheerleader in my head than an angry, foul mouthed accuser.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Back from a few days of vacation in Mexico, and all of my problems and anxieties met me upon my return. The tortuous thoughts that I am a failure. The beautiful girl and her sweet young daughter that I poured more than three years and a countless sum of emotional and financial support and investment have replaced me with someone else unceremoniously. The reason I had distanced myself over the last few months was because I was afraid something like this might happen (albeit not so soon), and I knew it would be a nightmare for me emotionally.

The way this girl had treated me over the years embodied and affirmed every single one of my insecurities. And my remaining in the relationship and coming back for more time and again is perfect evidence of my disrespect for myself and treating myself badly. She was like a harmful drug I was addicted to. Because of her decision to remain single for a year, and leaving me pleading messages to get back in touch with her because she needed me in her life, I set my fears aside and responded to her. Imagine the horror of finding out that not only had she began dating again, but that a man moved in with her and her young daughter. She used to agree with  me that sleepovers would be harmful to her daughter and unhealthy. After just a few short months she now has a live in boyfriend who has already left a wife and two young daughters who live hundreds of miles away. The pain becomes exponential as my obsessive thoughts find a myriad of reasons to feel a failure, devalued, replaced,  fearful for her already pained little girl who has been abandoned twice before by "fathers," etc., etc., etc.

I know what you're thinking... Why not be glad to be free from this burden of being under-appreciated by a girl with a lot of baggage who treats you poorly? Well, I loved them both. I truly believed that she was afraid to love me the way I wanted because of the pain in her past; that if I just could prove my sincere motives and love to her enough, she would let down her walls. Instead, she's giving all of the love and respect that I wanted, that I feel I had earned, to someone else. My soul is screaming in agony. If the enemy had designed the perfect plan of attack on me, my cryptonite, it would be this girl, in her situation that I wanted to save her from, treating me the way she did, and doing what she is doing now. I truly believe I can't handle this. And I can't. God must save me from this. Last week, when I first found out, I was in a panic, and God wrapped his arms of peace around me. I have faith that God will redeem this, and me, because of that love and peace He allowed me to experience that night. I knew even then that it would continue to be incredibly difficult.
"You, who have shown me great and severe troubles, shall revive me again, and bring me up again from the depths of the earth. You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side." Psalm 71
"Make haste, O God, to deliver me! Make haste to help me, O Lord!....I am poor and needy; Make haste to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O Lord, do not delay."      Psalm 70

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


In the midst of my anxieties, peace is the single greatest gift I can be given. Sleep has been difficult to come by over the last few nights. I have asked for peace at times like this in the past, and it has not come. So I know what it feels like to drown completely in obsessive thoughts, anxieties, insecurities. It is as if God, knowing that I have experienced this hopelessness, is on a loving mission to prove to me now, in the midst of this storm, that He is who He says He is. Prince of Peace, Emanuel (God with us). Just as the fleeting warmth of the other night had passed, and the daggers of anxiety had returned to torment, His presence surrounded me. The situation remains the same, but God granted me His perspective. It changed everything. I walked today for two and a half hours in total freedom. I did not think about what streets to avoid so as not to be seen by someone I've been hiding from. I was fully in my self, my body; God's hand upon my shoulder. I feel the prayers of others, and the strong man forged by the Creator is surfacing, strong only inasmuch as I am dependent upon Him. Freedom through surrender. Peace in the midst of struggle. The mysteries of God.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I know what you're thinking, but not those types of scales!
I'm thinking of the scales that fell off of the blind man's eyes when Jesus restored his sight.
Our minds are powerful tools if trained and focused, but our minds can also destroy us. Obsessive thoughts can bring me to my knees, crying out to God for mercy. Often these thoughts do not reflect reality as much as they reflect my own fears. I have long been a slave to these types of thoughts. I would like to share with you how I learned to control and overcome such thoughts, but I have no clue and believe I could still be a slave to them! I have no clue other than that tonight God did for me a beautiful and merciful thing. He worked, and through his mysterious actions, he removed the scales from my mind's eyes concerning the one issue most symbolic and central to my anxieties and insecurities and fears. Of course it involves a chick, but details are not important here. This has been the thorn in my side, to say the least, and may still be, but this night, in the midst of what, based on circumstances, should be the most hellish and tortuous of my life....peace. The warm hand of God on my shoulder, and the perhaps fleeting ability to see reality free from my fears and inner accusers. I thank God.

I realize how much my 'need' to get in shape quickly is based also on my poisonous obsessions. In this moment of clarity, I'm not feeling that I can't be happy until I am fit. I am just feeling like myself, and, instead of an anxious urgency, I have a peace about me, and an assurance that I will get there in time as long as I continue this path. Scales.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I want what I want and I want it now!
I want so badly to be the man that I am capable of being, having the fit body I'm capable of having, and practicing all of the healthy and respectable disciplines I value. I want it all desperately. But there is nothing that I can do today that will cause me to wake up tomorrow in that state. And that has been the rub for me. Knowing how far I have to go and how often I fail results in a hopeless resignation: the quiet acquiescence into mediocrity, procrastination, self medication. It is only when through constant awareness of the total journey and the promise of a future that we can succeed. But somehow every time I have bore down, gritted my teeth, and made months of progress, it is not sustained. So is it truly more patience that I need?

I believe the key is to live in the present, not to endure austerity for some period before I can relax and enjoy the fruits of my labors. This is where my approach and thinking has been wrong. Rather, it is to live today and everyday as if I have arrived. It is a lifestyle change that is needed, and that lifestyle can be lived out this very day while the evidence of that lifestyle is yet to be seen by me or those around me. We are called to live in the present. When I live in the past, I want to drink and forget. When I live in the future, I am anxious and without hope. Meanwhile, the present moment, which is all that truly exists, passes me by. It is in the present where we can live our lives fully. It is only in the present moment where God can meet us. There (here!) He awaits us.

Monday, November 29, 2010


God's grace is abundant. Indescribable. It is as if we are only allowed glimpses of it because to see the entirety would consume us. We see it through our fellow man in acts of love and sacrifice for others. It touches us to the core when we recognize it, often leaving us speechless and full of emotion. It brings tears. Our most epic and enduring literature and films are just that because they often include the theme. To me, Victor Hugo's Les Miserables is one of the most poignant examples. It beautifully portrays the human condition: pain, struggle, failure, forgiveness, redemption, abundant love. God is somehow a main character without even being mentioned. "Greater love has no one than this: that a man lay down his life for a friend." It reaches across culture and language and creed. That is why God chose to communicate His love for mankind in this way. Heroes throughout our history and in our legends are willing to love and sacrifice in this way.

For whatever reason, it is this part of God's character that I most cherish and champion. It's what touches me the most. I want to love like God. And yet I habitually forget that I am the OBJECT of that love, and what that means. I feel unworthy if I am not being the heroic lover, and don't yet know how to bask in the love God has for me. If I did, I would not be anxious or insecure or depressed, dependent upon achieving success as I have defined it, and mired in my own failures and incompetence to live the way I want. I think I would simply LIVE. Abundant life in the glow of the abundant love of God.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Heading Home

I'm heading home today to spend Thanksgiving with family. There is typically a lot of eating out and drinking that goes on whenever I'm visiting. But part of my journey is to reclaim my leadership role. I see that my family has also suffered by my being out of commission. I pray for strength to be that spiritual leader again and to make a positive impact on my loved ones this week.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Going Public

I definitely have some trepidations about going public with this blog, mostly because I have invested so much energy in hiding my struggles. Fawn and Zac assure me that this will help me along on my journey, but I'm a little afraid and a lot embarrassed! It is the exact opposite of what my instincts tell me to do. It is a leap of faith. Going public with my goals and being honest about where I want to be and where I am certainly does up the ante.

Here goes.... I have long treated myself poorly and too often put myself last, and am now embarking on a serious commitment to living a healthy lifestyle. I am convinced that this lifestyle change will embody the redemption of the journey I have been on. I want to accept the abundant and purposeful life God envisions for me, and to do so, I must end the emotional and physical mistreatment of myself through harsh self criticism and numbing my emotions with food and alcohol. My battle with weight and depression are outward signs of the inner struggle. This behavior has had me treading water for the last several years of my life, and I no longer accept that for myself. I choose an abundant life.