The Present of Your Presence.

           This Christmas You Are Getting What You Already Have…      


      I have news for everybody—YOU ARE GOING TO DIE. Yes, it is true, at some point your wonderful perfect life will come to an end. What’s that…this is not news you say? Then why do so many people run around pretending it will never happen to them.

    No, don’t worry I am not trying to sell you life insurance, or an overpriced casket that nobody ever sees again after the funeral service is over. I am simply trying to remind you all, that your time (as you) does not run on some eternal clock that ticks into infinity. Time is a man made construct that we humans use as a form of measurement to gauge progress, at the same time, following it too closely is also a great way to induce large amounts of stress into an otherwise peaceful central nervous system. And your time, is really the single most valuable thing, real or imagined, that you actually own. Sure you can give it away, but it is yours before you make the conscious decision to do that–unless of course you are in a coma–or having magic coffee with Bill Cosby.

     Scientific studies, no matter who sponsors them, have all come to the same conclusion…you are in fact just passing through. You are a tourist. So the real question you should be asking yourself is: How do you want to spend your vacation? Do you want to spend it in fear, or do you want to spend it in comfort. Keep in my mind, whatever choice you make the outcome is exactly the same. Some of you might be saying to yourself, wait a minute, if a poor kid is born into a horrible situation of war, and famine, and disease, how does he get to choose? The truth is…he or she doesn’t.

     This reminds me of something I saw on a program about humans of the planet earth. The program was an in depth look at how all sorts of different cultures used their resources to survive. Some, naturally had very difficult obstacles to overcome. One such instance, was a woman someplace in the African region with her eight children. They were all sitting on the side of a large escarpment just starving to death. It was very sad to see, but it was what the woman said has stuck with me, she said, while literally watching her children starve to death before her eyes– “There is no comfort in this world” You see, she had accepted the gravity of her fate, made a profound observation, and at the same time expressed a form of hope. In other words, if we continue on her line of reasoning, then we might say… “Hopefully there is more comfort in another world, because this one is just not doing me or my kids any favors.”

     Sometimes we run out of choices and just have to accept the shit show we are presented with. Some people want to know “How can a loving god allow this type of suffering?” To which a religious person might answer “God has his/her reasons and they are not for us to understand” Not so comforting for the poor starving woman and her eight kids (the birth control issue is another subject). The real point is this woman had accepted her fate. Buddhist have been trying to teach us acceptance for centuries. “Attachment” they say is the root of all suffering. Think about this for a moment in real life terms. All the crap you value so much, all the people you love, all the power you pretend to have, all the pets you cater to, are not coming with you. They are temporary. You are temporary. This doesn’t mean you should be emotionally unattached to everything and everyone, that is not what living is about. Living is all about loving people…and stuff too. You can love and still have the awareness of the temporary nature of all things. This is acceptance in a nutshell.

Acceptance will bring you peace, and peace will bring you happiness, happiness will allow you to love deeper–yourself and others–while appreciating every moment for what it actually is–a gift–a gift of time.

If you enjoyed this post…let us know, by sharing, liking, commenting, and subscribing…  Keep your eyes open for the upcoming book by this author, about his real life experiences as a homeless drug addict and how he turned his life around. Due out sometime in 2017–“Confessions of a Scrap Metal Junkie”  

Final Assignment–Writing for Social Media (Goodwin College)

This is my final assignment for “Writing for Social Media” class at Goodwin College. This semester is almost over. Two more classes and I will be graduating with my Associates degree, and then I will be continuing on to get my bachelors.

The Assignment is basically a self assessment of my work in the class, as well as a review of the class itself, and comments on the work of others. So let’s get pop’n…

First my thoughts on the class: I thought the class was challenging in a very positive way. It forced the students out of their comfort zones by pushing their skills in the social media environment. The feedback was always helpful, whether it came from the Professor or from the students. The course also gave each person a large degree of flexibility in their choice of topics or themes to pursue. Overall, a challenging and equally rewarding experience, and most importantly…I learned a lot. Thank you professor, your words during this class were always positive and inspiring.

Secondly, thoughts on other students work: If there is one thing I do not feel comfortable with, it is critiquing others and their work. I just don’t like it. The main reason is I know how easily words can be misconstrued when texting, let alone on a bigger platform. Of course the idea was to give positive but honest feedback on your peers. Maybe I just need to learn to get better at it?

It is true some of my peers knocked some of these assignments out of the park. So those critiques were no-brainers–just tell the truth. Others I know struggled mostly due to a lack of experience with the technology. I also have struggled, especially while setting up my blog. Fortunately my blog was up and running prior to taking the class, otherwise I would have had all the frustration during the class…and I don’t want to think about how that may have turned out. To be going through the learning curve while trying to get assignments in on time could be extremely frustrating. Some of my peers did exactly that. I commend you on your fortitude. It took a lot of determination to pull that off. I admit I dropped the ball on some of the review assignments, but the ones I did investigate were really impressive. Congratulations fellow students, it has been a pleasure taking this small journey with you…until we meet again, in cyberspace or on campus– happy trails and have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed new year.

And finally…self reflection: I was fortunate enough to have a foundation, like this blog and a you-tube channel (RJWordsmyth) which made the journey a whole lot easier to navigate. I do think had I settled on a theme sooner, it would have brought more consistency to my work.  Again, I know I dropped the ball on some of the student critique projects, so that has giving me a new awareness of something I need to work on. Also, there is a whole lot of technical elements that I would love to be more adept with. These things take time, but when dealing with deadlines, it can make for a lot of pressure. I do like the way the class sort of forces you to explore the many platforms, and even more importantly, shows you how they can be used together to create a powerful, meaningful campaign. These are skills that will come in very handy down the road…of that, there can be no doubt. It was great to show a new audience some of my work with the homeless, including the “Walk a Mile” video, which I am very proud to say is being used at the beginning of every “Faces of Homelessness” presentation this year. As a rule, I am generally much harder on myself than any one else would probably be. The professors comments were always tactful and uplifting; just from that alone I learned a lot. After all…finding out what you don’t know–is the first step in progress.

Until we meet again……RJWordsmyth.

A System Without a Clue: The true story of desperation while detoxing in local lock up.

  A System Without a Clue

    A man’s first mistake shouldn’t be waking up in the morning. Most people would say that’s a blessing. It wasn’t no blessing to me.

     I am not saying I wanted to die. What I am saying is–if I could have slept right through detox hell and come out the other side as a non-addicted somewhat normal functioning part of society–I surely would have…in a heartbeat. This, unfortunately was not to be my fate. My fate was the opiate addict’s worst nightmare. A purgatory of sorts, trial by fire, where every passing moment inched me closer to the blazing hot cauldron of the inevitable.

    Getting arrested probably saved my life–a fact that meant very little at the time. The first night I slept. That was Friday. Every addict knows getting locked up on a Friday is the worst of scenarios. Local police departments won’t do anything for you–except watch you suffer. You won’t see the judge until Monday, by then your hair will be dirty, you will be unshowered, and stinking of sweat and detox. You will probably be suffering from horrible stomach cramps and have either diarrhea or be vomiting…or both. If you were a heroin addict this would be your story. I was such an addict and my story was much worse.

    For the last year my habit had gotten completely out of control. Not only was I putting more dope in my veins, but the dope I was getting was of such high quality it’s hard to believe it came from Hartford. Hartford, for the most part, is not known for the high quality of its narcotics.

    When I woke up Saturday morning the gravity of my circumstances began to set in. I was alone. In two rows of old style barred cells separated by a thin hallway, others were also held. Their incessant clamor didn’t change the fact…that I was all alone.

    The good stuff I was getting made it so I wouldn’t start to get seriously ill until Saturday night. When I woke up that morning on my flimsy, lumpy cushion, separating me from the hard steel, and glanced over at the grinning stainless steel commode, I began to panic. I spoke out loud to myself “I am so screwed…so, so totally screwed.”

    The cops on duty would occasionally come through and throw us Mcdonald’s hamburgers, which I could not stomach. I slept again for several more hours. That is when I woke up violently ill. My body was screaming “where’s my shit man?” and began the process of purging itself of toxins. I would become a hostage of the stainless throne while in my mind I could hear the echoes of it’s laughter. It was when I went to flush the monster that it pushed me over the edge, overflowing and disgorging its contents all over the floor of my tiny cell. I stood up on my rack and surveyed the landscape of filthy water and fecal matter strewn across the cement floor. I began to vomit. I yelled. No one came. I kicked at the bars and made loud noise. No one came.

    It was obvious I needed a hospital. Why do we treat people this way? Why do we pretend this is okay? An addict is a person who needs help, not mockery and torture.

    I knew if I had a seizure or started choking, I would be dead as a rat that drowned in a cesspool before anybody came to fish me out. In my desperation I decided to do something completely out of character. I thought if I could cut my wrists, not too deep, then the camera might catch it and they would have to send me to the E.R. I stood atop my steel bunk groping at the sprinkler head. The shiny piece of metal looked like it would make an ideal razor. I started to bend it back and forth. Before I could get it in my hand the entire sprinkler blew open with such force it knocked me over and filled my entire cell with high pressure, alkaline-infused water. The vent was designed to pull out the oxygen in the event of a fire. I had no air. My screams were a faint whimper. I was suffocating.

   The fire department eventually came and rescued me while berating me the entire time. I did not get to the E.R., only into another cell with a much lumpier bedding mat. At least the toilet worked. All my clothes were soaked, so they draped me in a stylish white paper jumpsuit which I would wear for the rest of the weekend.

     Monday on the trip to court my dry heaving did not go over well with the others I was shackled to in the boxy little prison transport known as “the ice cream truck.” As I stood before the judge, gaunt, chalky white, draped in paper, it was none too obvious I needed medical care. I would receive none, not even a blood pressure check. I now understand why some addicts prefer intentional overdose to a forcible cold turkey detox.

This is part of my story,  read more in the upcoming memoir “Confessions of a Scrap Metal Junkie” do out in 2017.

Response to “How Words Saved My Life” from a student at R.H.A.M. school

I have to share a poem I received from one of the beautiful kids at R.H.A.M. school. This was in response to my story of writing poetry in prison in exchange for Ramen noodles, and how far writing has taken me today…

Writing saved your life
And I’m grateful for that,
So few appreciate words
As simple as “Cat in the Hat”
To as advanced as “War and Peace”
Writing gave you, upon life, a new lease.
Words became food for you,
Letters filled your stomach
Poems became Ramen

I hope you still enjoy writing,
I hope you still make words into something beautiful,
Like food to fill your belly.
May words forever be your Ramen.
May a million learn that words have strength,
May we forever hold words dear,
For as simple as a poem,
Can keep food near.

He or she then went on to say: So many people forget that words are powerful, you can tell just by how we talk to each other. The way insults are tossed around. But it would be nice if, even if it was just for a day, everyone appreciated words as much as you and I do.

I am speechless. I hope this can just be a friendly reminder to all of us–please be mindful of your speech…our children are listening.