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.

Looking for Talented Musician

HELP!! I am writing great song lyrics these days. I performed one recently, and three professors compared it to Bob Dylan. Learning guitar will take to long (doesn’t mean I won’t) but this stuff needs to get out there sooner. I need a collaboration with a talented dedicated musician or band, just like I found with “Walk a Mile” (see RJWordsmyth on youtube) I promise you will not be disappointed.
Any and all suggestions are welcome. SOMEONE PLEASE HELP!!!

Lady Justice In the Mirror

Lady Justice In the Mirror

 

Where is our lady justice now?

 

Themas or Justitia, whichever is her name

interpreting laws that men create

blinded by choice, not by fate

how can she see herself the same?

 

Holding a scale in outstretched arms

judging wrongs from rights…and rights from wrongs

In the other hand holds fast a blade

hardened steel, American made

like the guns she used to stake her claims

when we laid the tracks and forged the trains

 

                  …killed the bison, took the plains

 

When the blood of so many runs through her veins

         …Has she ever thought to weigh the stains

 

remove the blindfold, look around

before again you stumble ‘cross…this sacred ground

A drop of blood, a broken heart, a flood of tears, a pound of pain

Equals how many grains–of eminent domain

She can call them free but the truth remains

 

–Had she ever thought to weigh the chains?

 

This poem is dedicated to Indigenous and marginilized people right here in America who still struggle, even today, against a system that favors those with money and power. Justice, it would seem… is not for all.

 

Blog Post

This Week in Politics

Three woman have just come forward to say they were groped by Hillary Clinton ten years ago. These claims are unsubstantiated, but when asked about the allegations, she responded by saying “The Russians are responsible.”

Meanwhile, Donald Trump has just opened a new dating school where he shares his ten best pick-up lines.

  1. Excuse me miss, if your not using that…can I borrow it for a minute?
  2. I would do you come here often.
  3. This is an exclusive club…would like to see my member?
  4. I have often thought fondly of you, while thinking of fondling you.
  5. It’s gonna be huuuge.
  6. In the middle of every wife is a big–IF.
  7. When your daughter enters puberty, tell her to give me a call.
  8. I have total respect for our first responders. But fireman only put out fires…I fire people who don’t put out.
  9. I feel for every American who wants to reach for something great.
  10. I have thousands of woman working for me. I always try to help them. At the first interview I see if there’s an opening and how well they take dictation.                                                                                                                                                                                  The Smyth has spoken.              Like, share, comment and subscribe. Thank You.    

Blog : Classified Clowns

Blog Post                                                                Tues, Oct.14th 2016.

Classified Clowns

I must admit I have spent some time mulling over all the things I could write about for this assignment. For those of you who aren’t in my “Writing For Social Media” class, I should explain that, yes, this blog post is indeed part of a much larger program–that being my classes at Goodwin College. For those of you in my class, I apologize for the disclaimer, but since I am writing for the class and the rest of the world simultaneously it only seems prudent that I explain the homework part of this blog to the uninitiated. There you have it: this is a blog post and a homework assignment all morphed into one….who knew?

     That still leaves the lingering question of what to write the post about? I have a deadline of midnight tonight. Pressure usually makes me tick. The difficulty here isn’t that I am suffering from a prolonged bout of writer’s block or can’t find a suitable topic. That is not at all the issue, no, it is really quite the opposite. Today’s world is virtually overflowing with crazy and bizarre things to rail against, or just simply make bad jokes about. I mean the presidential election alone has kept most comedians employed, even some who were barely treading water, are now gleaning the comedic fruit from the neverending punch line vine that has flourished overnight from the bountiful joke garden that is our election processes.

      Don’t even get me started on this clown thing. OMG! Talk about something outragious to write about. It honestly would not surprise me to see push back from the “Clown Coalition” or maybe the “Carnival Workers Union” and spontaeious protest to pop up soon with clowns wearing signs that say “Clown Lives Matter.” Some people will tell you there is nothing funny about this at all. Scaring the boxer shorts off little Johnny with a killer clown uniform is just plain wrong. And even I have to admit that the made for T.V. movie “IT” by  Stephen King was one of the scariest movies ever, not just on television…EVER! That shit was creepy! No two ways about it.

     Maybe killer clowns are just getting a bad wrap. Kind of like the police shooting of armed and unarmed black men in this country. Maybe it’s all the media hype and the increase in clown related crime is purely a construct of the liberal right-wing media as it attempts to further its own liberal right-wing agenda. I am not even truly sure what all that means, but something just felt awfully right about putting clowns and political gibberish together in the same sentence.

     If you stop and think about it for a minute, the fact is these two stories actually do have a whole lot in common. Q. Why haven’t they made a law against scary killer clowns? A. They can’t until after we choose one to run the country. Ba-da-bing. It’s just too easy.

     I don’t know about you, but the two candidates vying for our ballots this election season, they have to be two of the scariest clowns anyone has ever seen. I wish it were a little funnier, but the truth is little Johnny should be frightened, this killer scary clown thing…it’s a conspiracy. They have infiltrated the highest levels of government in preparation for total world domination. Forget your zombie apocalypse, the rise of the Killer Clowns is real. I know it is…because the internet said so.

       

   

       

     

    

On the Nature of Addiction: An Addict Speaks

On the Nature of Addiction–An Addict Speaks.  

         The worlds scientific, psychological, and medical professionals have spent countless untold hours, and endless amounts of grant proceeds to try and answer one simple question–What is the root cause of addiction? Modern technological advances in M.R.I.s and computer models got us closer for sure, but still only told us part of the answer.

       Now a new study seems to suggest that connectedness, or a lack of it, is one thread that runs through every addicts experiences, and therefore could be a defining piece of this very allusive puzzle. As you already know, people from all walks of life can be defined as addicts–rich, poor, older, younger, it doesn’t discriminate and it doesn’t play favorites. Although I believe this study is important in our understanding of “the making of the addict” it still seems a little vague and general and might be more of an indicator than an actual cause.

   Others may look for the secret sauce of addiction in the chemical make up and interconnectedness of brain function, and in that way find the next million dollar drug to peddle to the masses. While others still are searching the psychological landscape for common experiences, in that way pointing the problem in the direction of nurture instead of nature. Every one of these, and countless other approaches, are valid in their desire to unlock the dark mechanism that makes one person in a family an addict, while siblings from the same household all remain free of the scourge. But yet as of this moment, the question still has no real definitive answer.

    The medical community decided to classify addiction as a disease, which had a very meaningful effect on treatment options and probably helped funding purposes, this is progress and should be commended, but still the core of the quagmire remains as elusive as dark matter. The religious community might tell you it’s the devil and leave it at that. Thanks for your help…but no thanks. Maybe there is no single root cause we can point to for the ah-ha moment. Maybe every individual reaches the same place by taking a different path, their own path.

    The way I see it, there is one thing that all these expensive studies are missing. The fact that power and money are as much an addiction as drugs and gambling, and sex, and any other activity classified as negative. The way most people see it, is an addiction is only an addiction if it is causing negative consequences. I say, who’s to judge whether my activities chosen by my own free will are negative, for all we know they could lead to something (most people) would consider fantastic.       Allow me to present this example: A person who loves to play poker, decides he wants to try to become a professional. Unfortunately for our player, he is just not as good as he thought, and he loses consistently. Some people would say he is addicted to gambling and needs help, he on the other hand figures it’s just the learning curve and eventually he can turn things around. So the definition of addiction mandates that he is no longer in control of his behavior because the urge to gamble is too strong. Who is judging that? In his eyes, he is evolving, in the eyes of the so-called professionals, he is clearly addicted to gambling. Sure maybe he needs to take a break and re-evaluate his game plan, but don’t we all need this from time to time.

     I honestly feel my experience with heroin and other drugs were a necessary part of my spiritual evolution. Maybe I was never an addict at all, maybe I a was a spiritual work in progress. Really though, this is two sides of the same coin, labels can change, and it doesn’t change the misery of addicts and their families, so you might conclude this is not helpful, and I would probably have to agree.

      One thing that we do know is helpful, simply because of the track record, is groups like AA, NA, and others following the same formula. One of their most basic requirements is that the individual concedes that they have lost control of their life and need to surrender to a higher power. This group therapy idea does indeed speak to the desire for connectedness, while the letting go part speaks to the power of the universe, or god if you choose, to heal our sometimes self inflicted wounds. These principles work because they address something conventional medicine does not, and I believe it is this, that is the genuine root cause of addiction.

    When you start to expand your idea of what constitutes addiction to include people addicted to power and money, and even religion, then you have to rewrite the entire narrative of who is an addict and why. Yet there is one common denominator that is a fundamental part of our emotional construct–the ego.The ego wants us to be noticed, to be somebody. The constant bombardment of ever pervasive media attempting to drill into our psyche this product driven definition of what success should look like doesn’t help, this only leads to frustration for a whole lot of people who subconsciously compare themselves to that unattainable ideal, leaving them with feelings of frustration, anger, resentment towards the haves, and in some cases depression and loneliness. My intent here is not to blame the media or anybody else, but to understand the ego’s part in the problem of addiction as it is currently defined.

    Some might argue that since attaining power, status, and money, are considered productive activities they can not be classified as addictions. Addictions don’t have to be only negative, they can certainly work in our favor, in which case they may be called obsessions or hobbies. So am I saying we are all addicts on some level? The only answer I can give is–yes and no. Everyone does indeed have an ego, and it is that ego that desires to define us, while our minds, the problem solver, will look for problems to solve, and if it doesn’t find enough, it very well may just go ahead and create some. We don’t all have to have unresolved childhood trauma, or any of the other standard indicators, some of us are just risk takers who don’t find enough adrenaline rushes throughout the course of the typical work week. Some of us don’t fit into any profile at all. But we do all have egos and since we live in the land where “anybody can make it with hard work or a good idea” if for whatever reason we aren’t “making it” then I guess we are just too stupid, or too damn lazy. Obviously I am saying this to make a point.

    Have I answered the question–what are the root causes of addiction? Probably not. Hopefully what I have done, is helped those of us fortunate enough to have illuded the beast, to understand that an addict is a person going through something. It is not who they are, no more than a person with cancer is just a walking tumor, or just a cancer patient. They are people, just like the rest of us. Shame, and stigmatisation are products of fear. We see someone with an issue such as this, and something in our subconscious knows how easily that could be us, that we are sometimes just one bad decision away from being in that exact spot, it is this reality that creates fear as a defensive response. Again…the ego. The cure for all that ails us is really quite simple my friends–live a love centered life. That is a topic for another time, so for now, just try to remember….let’go of that ego…

                                                                         This is the Wisdom of the Smyth.

Please share, like, re-post, steal my copyright if you have to, but spread the word any way you like. And one more little thing…SUBSCRIBE!  thanks. Love U.          

       
          

Of Old Barns And Empty Streets

Of Old Barns And Empty Streets

Like the one they found Claudia in the night she ran away. We knew where to look. The children. This was our tongue and groove, hand hewn, dusty dirt floor playground. The “web” we knew, was a design delicately strung across the corner, home to the big green wolf, or the black and yellow striped guy. Claudia was more scared to go home to that drunken abusive witch who adopted her, than she was of any spider, bat, or little gray field mouse. The rain fell.
We told her to run. Some nights you could hear the screams of the wretched witch half way home, and down a hill. Her parents adopted two, Claudia and Thaddeus, before finally rearing one of their own. The adopted ones were tortured, the other treated princely, that’s why we told her to run. But she had no place to run to…except one of those old neighborhood barns.
Those barns were our wonderland. We were Admiral Perry, Sir Edmund Hillary, and Lewis and Clark, all wrapped in one. This was Timbuctoo, this was the North Pole, this was the haunted castle, or the lost dutchman’s mine, it didn’t matter to us. The only “post” we “liked” was attached to a beam, that held up a piece of American history. They smelled of lime, of hay, or the scent of weathered wood from days long past. At the ground beneath our feet, the soil darkened from the blood of big red machines; once they tilled natures pennies from the earth; now an empty space for a neglected girl, and the echo of America’s farmers forever lost to progress.
It didn’t take long to find Claudia. The children knew where to look. In those days nobody ever asked why she ran. We knew. Eventually she grew up and moved away from the monster. Eventually the neighborhood grew up, and one by one the old barns were torn down, replaced by houses or commercial development. Tiny pieces of American history ripped from their moorings, to make way for shawdy soulless testaments to greed and excess.
Progress is a lie. It’s a lie that parents tell children, that governments tell citizens, it’s a lie that people tell each other because they can’t tell them the truth. The truth is too ugly. The truth is, most Americans want more stuff, not because they need it, they don’t need it, they want it so other people will want what they have–so they can feed their sensitive ego’s and feel special.
Claudia never felt special. The children don’t need to play outside anymore.