Fire on the Mountain
Early Summer 2006: I was in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of southern Colorado. I was living my dream in deep nature surrounded by awesome peaks and breathtaking beauty.
I was also sitting in an empty parking lot in the middle of the night crying so hard my parents could barely understand my words as I asked to come back home.
My world had blown up. My partner and I had had THE fight. The one you can’t come back from.
My throat was choked with tears to the point I could hardly form words. I was gasping for breath in body and spirit.
And that wasn’t the worst.
The worst part? I had created all that drama myself.
I moved back to Texas feeling broken, stupid, and worthless.
I was either climbing the walls or flat on my back.
I wasn’t sleeping. I made huge mistakes at work.
I was a zombie in my life and when disturbed out of my self-induced nightmare, I was a demon. I knew better but I could not do better and I hated myself for it.
My years of being a spiritual vagabond and metaphysical junkie were dry wells. I was in a black hole bound by protective judgment and isolation.
A Light in the Distance
By “happenstance”, I was reacquainted with meditation practice and introduced to Buddhist practice. I began devouring books and videos. I took classes on Zen.
I remember my very first Zen meditation, I got situated and relaxed into the practice. The protective bindings of sarcasm and judgment fell away and a great choking sadness rose up. I was going to lose my shit in public.
But I chose to let the tears roll down while I focused on my breathing.
I had to save my ass and not my face that day.
I was building my foundation in the present moment. Fear and anger had disconnected me but I was now actively staking claim on my calm.
You are the Hero of Your Journey
I learned in a trial by fire that much of our stresses are self-inflicted wounds. I learned that though the work is internal, it takes supportive and helping others to anchor and solidify the process. We all need our Mr. Miyagi, our Yoda, our Gandalf, our posse, our counselor.
I learned that mindfulness, healing, freedom, ‘living the best life’…all those airy-fairy ideas…are verbs, not nouns.
Stress is a verb too and so is the solution. The solution is a practice.
Part of my practice is to share what I’ve learned to lighten the load of others. I’ve walked through hell (more than once) and I’m back to guide you.
Oh you wanted more? Well here you go!
I went to graduate school for counseling at the University of Houston and graduated in 1992. (yes, I’ve been doing this almost 30 years)
I spent my formative years in the field working for the Montrose Counseling Center where I became specialized in complex PTSD, trauma in general, addictions of all kinds, chronic illness (HIV), anxiety, and of course LGBTQ issues. It was my mission to work in my community as a gay man. AIDS was the pandemic of that era and for us helpers, it was all hands on deck. I later went on into private practice.
I have learned many methods of working with people over the years and my use of them is custom made to the client currently in front of me. EMDR, CBT, Polyvagal Theory, Somatics, Mindfulness, and Self-Compassion…these are all things in my toolkit along with some good old fashioned common sense.