The latest update to this page added February 2012
To Darien

  A page dedicated to - and for - Darien

Mr. Personality The mugging goofball pictured here is my partner Susan's grandson Darien.   Before he could even walk or talk, before he even could crawl, I had started calling him Mr. Personality because of how expressive he was.  He is my godson and step grandson - and his presence in my life is one of the greatest blessings of my recovery - one of the greatest gifts in my life.  He is a precious, sweet, beautiful Spirit in a little boy body.  He has brought great Joy to my life - and has taught me much about Love.  He is a treasure.

The idea of of putting up a web page dedicated to him had been coming up in my mind for awhile because I want to leave him some evidence of how special he is to me.  I don't know that I will be around long enough to see him grow up completely - and the thought of that makes me very sad.  In fact now, when I think of how much longer I might live, it is always in the context of how old Darien will be by that time.

When we had a health scare with him in January, I decided that I definitely wanted to get this page done.  Just below is the announcement I sent out to my Joy2MeU e-mailing list about the terrifying experience we had in January when he got really sick.



Special Joy2MeU & RobertBurneyLive Update
January 17th, 2009

Hello Magnificent, Powerful Spiritual Being,

I am sending this out to announce that we have launched the third of our new web sites . . . . But first I wanted to share with you a terrifying experience that we had this last week.  The easiest and shortest way to do that is to share with you the messages I sent out to my yahoo mailing list this past week.

Subject:     Asking for some prayers for Darien
Date:     Tue, 13 Jan 2009 11:49 am

I wanted to ask you all to say some Prayers for my precious little godson / step grandson Darien. He woke up Saturday complaining of a sore neck and then later of head aches and was running a fever some of the time. It got worse on Sunday and when I took him to the doctor yesterday they sent us right to the emergency room of Children's Hospital. The doctor was afraid that he had an abscess in his neck. Once we got there they started him on IV antibiotics and scheduled him for a cat scan. Turns out he has strep throat and an infected tonsil and was developing an abscess. I think we caught it in time that he isn't going to have to have surgery (surgery on his little neck does not sound like a good thing at all.) He was such a good boy that he was able to do the Cat scan without anesthesia.

It had just been heartbreaking this weekend to watch our exuberant little man who is always dancing and skipping and running, walking really slowly and not wanting to be picked up because he was hurting so much (he did require lots of kisses on the affected areas however.) So, I spent the night with him last night after Susan relieved me long enough to go home and get a shower and take care of some e-mails and such - and she relieved me this morning. I will be going back in a couple of hours. Hopefully he doesn't have to stay too long but I think we are really blessed that we seem to have caught it in time. It was a life threatening condition.

So, a few prayers sent his way would be helpful probably. Will let you know how things unfold.
Robert

Subject: Darien is back to being himself   
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2009 10:28 am

Our precious exuberant little boy is back to being himself.  When I had left yesterday morning he was still having trouble turning his neck because of the pain - and though I could see some improvement, he still  wasn't himself.   He had slept really late yesterday and then didn't get his nap, so by last evening I could tell he was quite a bit better but he was tired and cranky - and kept saying that he wanted to go home.   Well he came out of that with a vengeance shortly after midnight - and then just kept chattering away to me until 5 am.  This morning he is moving his head around almost without any problems and really his exuberant, playful, sweet, mischievous little self again.  I haven't had much sleep - but am just so very, very grateful that this beautiful little soul is back to being himself.   The IV antibiotics and prayers did the job.  Thanks to everyone who sent some Love our way.  He should be coming home today.  I am just so very, very, grateful that we caught this in time.
Robert

Hospital He got out of the Hospital on Wednesday afternoon and was well enough to go back to school on Friday morning.   We are just so grateful that the Doctor recognized what he had so we could get it treated in time.  The thought of potentially losing him was unbearably painful.  (Just before he got out of the hospital they brought in a dog they use to cheer up kids - he is smiling again as you can see in the picture, but pale and not really healthy looking yet.)

It was a reminder that things can change in a blink of an eye - and it is important to really enjoy the blessings in our life today and to not let worrying about life stuff (like finances and such) get in the way of being present and finding as many moments of Joy in today as possible.  Darien has brought Susan and I countless moments of Joy - he is such a blessing in our life.

The new website is focused on Alcoholism and the Twelve Step Recovery process.  In getting this site ready I rewrote the introduction page to that section - now the home page of this new site: http://www.twelvestepmiracle.com/

To to celebrate Darien's recovery and my 25th sobriety birthday on January 3rd, as well as take some action on the financial front, I am offering some special deals on phone counseling, upcoming Intensive workshops, and on my book. . . . 

I have often said over the last 25 years that Gratitude isn't nearly a big enough word to describe how blessed I have been to be in recovery.  Take that to the nth power and multiply it by infinity and it comes close to how much Joy fills my heart at having this beautiful Spiritual Being that is Darien back to being his effervescent little self again.

A couple of weeks ago I was taking him to the local Barnes and Noble which has a Thomas the train track set up that kids can play with.  As we approached he started singing (something he does a lot - usually just LaLaLa or something of that sort but sometimes with words), "Thomas the book store, Thomas the book store."  (This is to separate it from Thomas a toy store - for a toy store locally with a Thomas the train set up.)

I said something to him about singing a song, and he said, "I sing a song for you because I know it makes your heart happy.  And that makes my heart happy."

Darien Truly makes my heart happy.  Please enJoy the people, animals, and things in your life that make your heart happy - because we never know how long they (or we) will be around.
Robert

Welcome
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Joy2MeU

The Web Site of Spiritual Teacher, codependence counselor, grief therapist, author, Robert Burney and Joy to You & Me Enterprises

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Robert is the author of the Joyously inspirational book

Codependence:
The Dance of Wounded Souls
Joyously inspirational Spiritual book - Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls
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Announcing
Joy to You & Me Enterprises is now offering a series of Intensive Training Days with Spiritual Teacher, inner child healing pioneer Robert Burney.  Learn his innovative Spiritual Integration Formula for Inner Healing.  To find out the locations and dates for upcoming appearances go to Day of Intensive Training.

 

Darien Fuller

Darien throwing snow ball In my April 2008 Update Newsletter, I did a review of my issues and history with romantic relationships as a way of trying to help anyone who was being driven by relationship addiction behaviors to stop judging and shaming themselves for those behaviors.  My deprivation issues dictated my patterns in romantic relationships - and judging myself for those issues and those patterns did not help me to stop them.  If we are shaming our selves for our feelings, issues, patterns, compulsions, addictions, and obsessions, then we are just beating up on the wounded parts of ourselves - and we are not going to learn to Love ourselves by shaming ourselves for being wounded and codependent.  As I say in my book:

"We need to become clear internally on what messages are coming from the disease, from the old tapes, and which ones are coming from the True Self - what some people call "the small quiet voice."

 We need to turn down the volume on those loud, yammering voices that shame and judge us and turn up the volume on the quiet Loving voice.  As long as we are judging and shaming ourselves we are feeding back into the disease, we are feeding the dragon within that is eating the life out of us.  Codependence is a disease that feeds on itself - it is self-perpetuating.

This healing is a long gradual process - the goal is progress, not perfection.  What we are learning about is unconditional Love.  Unconditional Love means no judgment, no shame." -  Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls

Below is an excerpt from the end of that Update Newsletter in which I give a short history of my relationship with Darien. I am going to include that here for context, and then below will trace that history through quotes from my Update Newsletters and messages to my Yahoo list.

A short history of Darien & Pappa

". . . As I shared with my yahoo e-mailing list in January, there was indeed a powerful karmic connection for me in this relationship - with Darien. 

"January the 23rd marked the 3rd anniversary since Susan and I met.  A record for me for sure.  I am so grateful that Susan came into my life - and this relationship sure has drastically changed my life.  In my June 2005 Update I explained how "It took a cosmic "coincidence" of pretty monumental proportions for us to even connect at all" - and how on the evening of January 23rd 2005 I got a clear message from my Spirit that I was supposed to surrender to the experience of whatever my interaction with her would entail.
"That night I surrendered to whatever ride the Universe had in store for me with this woman.  That night I realized that I needed to ignore the red flags, let go of any preconceived boundaries or expectations, and go wherever this adventure led me. 

It has been a real e-ticket ride so far.  I have thought it was over a multitude of times.  She would react in ways that pushed my buttons - and I was sure it had ended.  But then it would begin again. 

The key factor is that she is actively in recovery, dedicated to getting healthier." - Joy2MeU Update Newsletter June 2005

And it is certainly true that Susan is very actively in recovery, and that without that we would not have had a chance for a relationship to last this long.  But even with that, I think my fear of intimacy would have sabotaged the relationship long ago except for the factor that I really didn't know anything about at the time I wrote that June 2005 Update.  That unknown factor is Darien.

We moved in together in June of 2005 - and until that time I didn't really have a relationship with the little boy.  It was after we started to live together that Darien and I were drawn together.  I mentioned in my August Update last year that I had just recently realized that he and I had a powerful Karmic / Soul connection.

"In late April or early May this year I had one of those light bulb going on / aha kind of moments of insight where I realized that Darien and I had a soul contract.  That our souls had agreed to meet up at a certain point in this lifetime to be teachers and helpers to each other on our Spiritual Paths.  Despite the powerful connection I feel to him - and that he obviously feels to me - this had never occurred to me before.  When I mentioned my insight to Susan, she kind of looked at me funny and said something like, "Well duh, of course.  You didn't know that?"" - Joy2MeU Update August 2007
Our concern and love for Darien got us through many rough passages in our relationship.  He helped us to not take ourselves and our wounded ego button's so seriously, and to lighten up at times when we really needed to lighten up.  Many times when I thought it was over, it was Darien who brought us back together.  We have had a successful relationship in large part because we weren't just focused on the relationship - we weren't really free to allow our respective fear of intimacy to sabotage us because we both love that little boy so much.  Our focus was larger than just the relationship between the two of us.  That was true even before we became his primary guardians - which essentially started at the time of the April Intensive in San Francisco (2006), even though it didn't become official until June of that year.

He continues to bring so much Joy to both of us, and the direction of our lives continues to be greatly impacted by our desire to take care of him.  My fear of intimacy is still keeping me from opening my heart completely to Susan in some ways - and to myself also of course (the fear of shining too brightly I mentioned in my last post here) - but our Higher Powers unfolded our paths perfectly to put us together with Darien so he could help us both learn about Love.  Susan and I are learning a great deal from each other - and the common ground of our love for Darien is helping our love to evolve.

I got choked up and teary today rereading this quote above:
"So today, I am grieving once more for the eight year old who was trapped, and for the man he became.  I am grieving because if I don't own that child and his feelings - then the man will never get past his terror of allowing himself to be loved.  By owning and cherishing that child, I am healing the broken heart of both the child and the man - and giving that man the opportunity to one day trust himself enough to love someone as much as he loved Shorty." - Grief, Love, & Fear of Intimacy
I can see clearly now that Darien is the first human being - since my parents when I was an infant - that I have ever opened up my heart to completely.  Because of my Love for Darien, I am gradually opening my heart to Susan.

Recovery is really an incredible journey - I highly recommend it.;-)

Be kind and compassionate for your self today - it is not your fault that you are wounded and have been deprived. - Robert"  - Joy2MeU Update April 2008

 "I can see clearly now that Darien is the first human being - since my parents when I was an infant - that I have ever opened up my heart to completely."

That sentence from the above quote says it all.  

Below I am going to intersperse excerpts from my Update Newsletters and messages to my Yahoo e-mailing list in chronological order with comments I am adding now in this color.  I am also going to put certain phrases or sentences in bold to emphasis where I mention Darien in the early Update excerpts.  (My yahoo mailing list is for anyone who is interested to  getting more frequent updates than  my Update Newsletters : http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Joy_2_Me_U/join )

My History with Darien as it unfolded

Joy2MeU Update Newsletter June 2005
"As I explained in that March Newsletter, I spent years living a serene, Joyous, and pretty isolated life writing for this web site - and that is not my priority any longer. 
"A major goal for me in 2005 is to be more involved in life.  I have taken steps to be more Alive and involved with other human beings this year.  My time of living in isolation in a beautiful place I Love, focused on my writing, was a wonderful, wonderful chapter in my life.  But I entered this year knowing that I wanted to be more involved in the experience of living from now on than in writing about it from an intellectual, theoretical perspective." - Joy2MeU Update Newsletter March 2005
"When I entered this year, and took steps to get more involved in living, I had no idea what was to come.  The opportunity that has manifested in my life is such an amazing and richly textured experience that I don't think I could have imagined it in details anywhere close to the reality that has materialized.  The steps I took in early January actually turned out to be symbolic because my plunge into life is not linked to any of them, but the actions I took were important in setting the energy in motion to create the kind of experience and opportunity I was asking for.  (In my article on the first 3 steps The Miracle of The Twelve Step Recovery Process: 1, 2, 3, and a 1, 2, 3 - The first three steps I talk about how working the third step involves putting out my request to the Universe - asking for help in creating what I want - and taking action towards that desire.  By taking action to plant the seeds - while letting go of the outcome - I aligned with metaphysical law of sowing and reaping, something I talk more about on my Love Offering page that is linked below.) . . .  . .

Baby Darien . . . . What has unfolded in recent months, is that she is now living here in Cambria - and I am moving in with her in the next couple of weeks.  I have not only been given the blessing of having the opportunity to share my life journey with a dynamic, exciting romantic partner - I have inherited a whole family in the process.  The brood includes her 17 year old daughter, her daughters boyfriend and their 7 month old baby - soon perhaps to be joined by her 20 year old son.  I am getting the Joyous and amazing opportunity to be a step grandfather to the amazing little baby - and am sooo grateful for the opportunity.  (This reference tells me that it wasn't true what I said above about not really developing a relationship with Darien until after we moved in together - obviously the relationship had been developing before that.  And the picture on the right is one when he was just a few months old.) The family also includes 2 dogs, 2 cats, a rat, and a chicken named Jack.  (And now a 3 month old pygmy goat named Pixie.) 

The way the events unfolded - which included her getting a job in the area that fell through and being forced to move with very little in the way of financial resources - has allowed me to do something which I have never done before.  I was able to step up to the plate and take financial responsibility for this whole brood.  I have always had a problem just providing financially for myself, and have never felt capable of taking on that kind of responsibility.  (Although I have paid support payments for my son, I haven't until now thought I could possibly take on the financial responsibility of having him live with me. In the October 2000 Update I am going to be quoting shortly, I talk about my core fear of intimacy issues and how they are tied into the financial issues my codependency created in my life.) 

That is what has put me into a precarious financial position - supporting my new family (along with plane trips to see my father before he died, and to go to his funeral.)  When I got to the point of giving notice on my apartment in anticipation of moving in with my lady and her family, I still wasn't sure that the relationship wouldn't blow up and cause her to run away in reaction to her counterdependent defenses - leaving me in a position where I had no money and no place to live.   But I took the risk anyway because that is what my Spiritual guidance told me to do - because I could see that there was potential for a great reward, a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow, if things worked out between us."
Joy2MeU Update October 2005
"Last night there was a perfect moment in my life - a Kodak moment.  I was lying on the couch looking at my "step" grandson sleeping in his stroller, while above him in the loft his grandmother - my significant other - was working on her computer.  I took a mental snapshot of the moment as one that I always wanted to remember.  In close proximity to two people that I Love very, very dearly - a moment of domestic bliss if you will.  It brought tears of Joy and gratitude to my eyes, as I thanked my Higher Power for the opportunity I have been given to Truly open my heart to some other human beings in a magnificent and profound way. . . . .

. . . . . The baby is now 11 months old - and just the most precious, beautiful, incredible little boy.  Never had I imagined myself changing diapers and taking care of a baby - and Loving every moment of it.  I have become Mr. Mom - doing the shopping and the laundry and taking care of the baby for periods of time - while my lady goes into work in San Luis Obispo every week day.  Definitely not what I had imagined in my future only a few short months ago.

What is going to evolve in the coming months is a mystery right now - in the more will be revealed realm.  There are numerous challenges, as there are with any new relationship - with such major changes in one's life.  The pygmy goat had to go because of the noise it made - and that combined with a problem caused by one of the dogs has made it necessary for us to be looking for a new place.  My mate is trying to establish herself in a new area in a business (mortgage loans) where contacts are vital - and the market is slow.  I have been trying to generate more income to support this new family of mine (thus the new pay to view section of the site), and it has been a major challenge."
Christmas 2005
Here is a picture of Darien with his mom and dad at Christmas time 2005.  When we lived in that house in Cambria Susan and I used to take him in his stroller on walks in the forest.  It was so fun to make him giggle and laugh.  I would skip ahead and then turn suddenly and he would laugh and laugh - he thought it was so funny.  Or I would skip along singing "Lions and Tigers and Bears" or some such nonsense - he would giggle and laugh.  He found me immensely entertaining.


When he start crawling it was on his belly not on all fours.  He looked like an army guy crawling under barbed wire.  He could really move on his belly like that.   One day he was crawling across the room and the cat was strolling across the room perpendicular to him - and they had a collision right in the middle of the room.  You know he was moving fast to surprise the cat like that.

John and Rose - his parents - asked me to be his godfather at some point when we were living in Cambria in the fall and early winter of 2005.


Joy2MeU Update January 2006

"I talked at our local CoDA meeting Wednesday night about what a beautiful day I had just shared with the two people I Love most in the world, my significant other Susan, and my godson and "step" grandson Darien.  I Love them both so intensely.  No way could I have ever imagined, when I met this beautiful woman on January 23rd of last year - that the amazing relationship I would get involved in with her, would include the opportunity to change diapers."
Joy2MeU Update March 2006 Newsletter
"In the fall of 2002, in writing for my personal journal in the Joy2MeU Journal, I became aware that I had become too comfortable with living isolated and alone (it had been almost 4 years since I had had any type of interaction approaching a relationship) - and was not taking any action to open up to having a romantic relationship in my life.  (That isolated period - that basically begin at the time I wrote A Wedding Prayer / Meditation on Romantic Commitment in late December 1988 - was a wonderfully creative time when I wrote a majority of the articles that I share on Joy2MeU.  Those writings were a perfect part of my process in working through my fear of intimacy issues - the progression of those articles is something that I shared in my November 2002 Update.)

  That realization led to me starting to take the actions that allowed me to work through my fear of intimacy defenses so that I was able to get involved in a really wonderful relationship a year ago.  I have been sharing about that relationship in these Updates - as I have been sharing my life process in my Updates for the last almost 8 years since I first created a web site.

  The comfortable rut / box I had created for myself living alone in Cambria got smashed in a wonderful way - with the entrance into my life of Susan, my mate / significant other / life partner.  With her came a family that includes my precious god son / step grandson Darien. (Pictures of my family are included on the New page.)  In order to provide for them in a way I want to, need to, I need to smash out of a box I have been trapped in in regard to money and abundance on the material plane.

Living the way I was living - with no extras, no savings, just happy to pay the rent every month - was a comfortable place as long as I was living alone.  My life changed radically in the last year - it is so much richer and fuller now, so much more exciting."
On Train On the day after the first Intensive Training Day in San Francisco April 23rd 2006, we stopped at a park in Monterey. This is a picture of Darien and I on a train locomotive in that park.  And me holding up up to get a drink at a Lion water fountain.

He does very good at riding in the car for long periods for such a little guy - but part of that is because we do make frequent park stops so he can get out and run around some.

That weekend is the milestone that marked our taking responsibility for the little guy - even though it didn't become official until June.

taking a drink
Joy2MeU Update June 2006
"The major focus of my life for most of the time since the last Update however has been on the home front.  Because of some difficulties, and a break up, in the relationship between my partner Susan's 17, just turned 18, year old daughter and her boyfriend - Susan and I were (have become) the primary caretakers for my precious (now 19 month old) step grandson / god son Darien for about 2 months.

 He is an absolutely amazing little man.  You should see him dance!  A Talking Heads CD is his favorite - he starts smiling as the first few notes are played, and then starts rocking out.  It has been such a privilege and honor to experience his growth for the last year.  To watch his personality blossom and reveal itself as he grows.

Being his primary caretakers meant that he went along with us to both Intensives so far.  Which meant that Susan spent her time taking care of him while I was presenting the Intensive program. (In fact, it has meant that Susan has not yet gotten to attend one of my Intensives because we have had no one to watch him for that long.  Hopefully that will change with the Intensive on April 11th 2009, as we are hoping she will be able to attend in to film it.)  He was so handsome in San Francisco dressed up in his formal clothes with vest.  In San Diego, he was just cute - not dressed up - because his grandparty (that would be me) unfortunately, inadvertently, left the suit case at home that his good shoes were in.  Also most of his grandmarmy's clothes.  (Which gave Susan a wonderful opportunity to practice letting go and acceptance - which she did very quickly and graciously.  Something I was very proud of her for being able to do, showing how much progress she has made in her recovery - and something that my wounded inner child, who was raged at by his father every time he made a mistake, was very grateful for.)

Some of the lessons I have learned by interacting with this little person came into play in the first Intensive.  In answering a question about setting boundaries with children, I was able to share - not only what I have known theoretically, and written about - but also was able to give an example from his behavior.  Here is what I have written.

"A parent certainly needs to take steps to try to control children's behavior - to keep them from eating 20 candy bars for instance, or sticking their hand on a hot burner - because that is part of the parents job.  It is important to start helping children to understand that actions have consequences, and that if they violate boundaries and limits there will be consequences - but that you still love them no matter what.  It is very important to give children consistent boundaries / limits - that is one way they know they are loved.  It is crazy making for a child to experience inconsistent boundaries - like one does in a dysfunctional family.  Now, children will test boundaries - in a way, that is part of their job - but they really want and need consistent boundaries.  That lets them know you love them and are there to protect them.  They may challenge the boundaries, but they truly do not want to be in control because they know deep down they shouldn't be.

The job of the parent of a minor child is to be a parent - not a friend or a buddy.  That doesn't mean you can't have a close relationship with children, but until the child becomes an adult the parent needs to be the adult, the one who is in control.  It is important to see them as separate, unique individuals - and validate their worth as beings - at the same time you are setting consistent boundaries and limits for them.  To give children too much power is just as abusive as overtly abusing them to get them to behave in the ways you want them to." - Questions and Answers & Random Thoughts about Parenting

What I have experienced in interacting with Darien, is that when he gets over tired and hyped up he cannot stop on his own.  So, he will do something deliberately that he knows is a "no-no" (like touch a plug in an electrical outlet) so that I will take him and put him in his chair with a seat belt.  He sometimes gives almost a sigh of relief at being strapped in - because he feels safe then.  And if we are at the store and the seat belt in the cart is undone, he will insist on having it buckled.

As I say in the quote from the article, it is a child's job to test boundaries - and a parental units responsibility to set, and enforce, consistent boundaries.  This little man has demonstrated for me how important this is to his peace of mind."

"By the way, my 16 year old son is here visiting now - and it has gone very well.  He seems to have fallen in love with the baby also - and it has been touching to watch him hold a baby for the first time in his life. "

Joy2MeU Update August 2006
cute "I just got a newer car - with air conditioning of course.  So now Susan and Darien - my precious step grandson / God son who just reached 21 months - and I can travel in much more comfort.  I mentioned in my June update that Susan and I had been acting as primary caretakers for Darien most of the time - and that has now evolved into being the full time guardians and virtual parent figures to this amazing little man.  Thus our family size is down to 3 now - and a lot of the energy in our lives is devoted to taking care of him."
Joy2MeU Update November 2006
"At the end of my August Update Newsletter (a good one for new people who would like an overview of the recent history of my recovery adventure) I mentioned that it was possible we could be moving.
"There is a chance that Susan, Darien, and I will be moving to San Diego. (On August 30th 2006 Robert did announce he and his family are moving to San Diego.) It is possible that being there (where Susan would be near her kids, and have more opportunity career wise) would help us in spreading the message and bringing in more income." - August 2006 Update
We did move in mid September.  We are now in Encinitas California - a community in Northern San Diego County sandwiched between Carlsbad and Oceanside to the north, and Solana Beach and Del Mar to the South.  We live in a house that is about half the size of the one we had in Paso Robles - with an ocean view from the back yard that is astroturf.  (The front yard is also astroturf - something that seemed pretty strange to us at first, but is actually very nice with a 2 year old running around.) . . . .

. . . . So, now we are in a big city.  It doesn't really feel like it to me most of the time however.  I have pretty much limited my movement to places in the immediate vicinity - and try to stay off the freeways as much as possible.  So far, because Susan is working and we are not at a financial position to put Darien in daycare yet - I have been primarily a nanny.  Which is an ongoing, and special gift, in my life.

Being a primary caregiver to Darien - who will be 2 on the 10th (probably a few days before I get this published) - continues to be one of the great miracles and surprises of my recovery.  Never could I have imagined being in the position of taking care of a baby at this stage in my life and recovery.  The Joy and wonder of watching this precocious, precious little man grow up from the tiny baby I first met in March of 2005, to revealing himself to be a uniquely charming and delightful character who captures the heart of anyone who gets to experience his personality, fills my heart to overflowing with such Joy and contentment.  There are times:  when he is laying with his head on my chest gazing into my eyes;  or when he curls up in my arms with his head laid on my shoulders;  or when he burrows in beside me when he is sleeping with us;  or just listening to him jabber or watching him run and play - moments that I feel a sense of Blissful Love that is sublimely exquisite.  Such a gift!

It brings to mind once again something I have shared in past Updates - that GRATEFUL is not nearly a huge enough word to describe my feelings about what a gift my recovery has been to me.  It is not a big enough word to describe how grateful I am for having the courage to work through my fear of intimacy issues to the point where I was willing to surrender to getting into a relationship with Susan, or to describe what I feel about all the richness and abundance of Joy and Life this relationship with her has brought into my recovery adventure - which includes, of course, my precious step grand-son, God-son, Darien.  I am very, very, very, grateful that I am having the opportunity to experience this special little man in my life.

So, this has been a good move.  Susan is much happier here where she is closer to family and the many friends and meetings that were so vital to her early recovery.  Her oldest daughter actually lives just up the street - and it was in visiting her that Susan discovered this place with the astroturf yard.  She also found work that is fulfilling and makes her happy - so that is very good.

I haven't found a lot of time yet to get very grounded in the community and develop new relationship with people and meetings, because I am spending so much of my time taking care of Darien.  We have found a Montessori school nearby which we think will be a wonderful - and affordable - place for him to develop and grow and free up more time for me to focus on getting established here myself.  I have real mixed feelings about that, because though I need the time to focus on myself, I will miss spending so much of my time with him.  He is such a cool kid - and this time of being with him so much is such a special, special time in my life.  I am profoundly GRATEFUL for the abundance of Love and Joy that I am experiencing in my day to day life right now. . . . .

. . . . that is the other part of our reasons for moving here - to facilitate spreading the word about my work and continuing forward with my mission in this lifetime.  So far, it has been necessary to focus a lot of time and energy on taking care of Darien and survival - on paying the rent and the bills.  Moving is very expensive and we are still catching up."
Joy2MeU Update March 2007
5:08 AM March 7th:  In order to write I need to get into a focused space during a time which I won't get interrupted for a period of hours.  In the years when I wrote so much of the material that is on my site - the years that I was living alone in relative isolation - I would get up at 1 or 2 or 3 in the morning to write until 10 or 11.  Now that I have a family - and a 2 year old to take care of - the early morning hours are the only time I have to really write.  But I only have uninterrupted time until about 6:30 or 7 when the baby wakes up, and then I need to start getting Darien ready to go to the Montessori school he has been attending.  I didn't get any writing done yesterday morning because the little man has a tooth coming in and had a very rough night of it - which meant less sleep for Susan and I, and no writing time."

"I referenced the calendar connection again in some writing I did in early 2004.  In the processing I had done in my journal in November 2002, I had gotten honest with myself about how my acceptance of being isolated and alone was keeping me from being available for a relationship.  In this quote from my journal in January of 2004, I make reference to the efforts I was making to get more involved with other human beings - and talk about another of the totem animals that is very important to me.
 "Well, I get to start this morning looking above my computer at my new 2004 calendar.  I had actually spotted the calendar I wanted before the end of last year - but was waiting for it to go on sale.  I have this thing about paying full price for a calendar when I know they are going to go on sale soon.  Probably a reaction to my old poverty consciousness.  Choosing to wait, meant creating some irritation for myself when I would look up and see December instead of January for the first week of the month.  Oh well.,

 I finally got a chance to get into San Luis on Friday and get the calendar I wanted - another Winnie the Pooh one.  I talked in one of these installments (I think it was here) about opting for Winnie the Pooh calendars the last couple years as symbol of wanting the year to be more on the light and whimsical side.  They actually had a Tigger one - Tigger being an "only one," and thus the character I identified with the most because I felt so different and "not a part of."  But I decided that since a large part of the focus of my recovery these days is to learn to interact and play with the other kids in the Enchanted Forest, that I should stick to the Winnie and friends calendar.

I don't actually have any memories of reading Winnie the Pooh in childhood, but my inner children relate to Tigger.  In recovery I also relate to Winnie, who is after all a Pooh bear.  Bear is one of my totems in the Medicine Cards, and is described as going within to access Truth - which pretty well fits my mystic role.  It is in fact a West totem that is my East totem.  East being the place of the rising sun and illumination.  In other words, my illumination - my Awakening to the Light - comes primarily from looking within.
"The strength of Bear medicine is the power of introspection.  It lies in the West on the great medicine wheel of life.  Bear seeks honey, or the sweetness of truth, within the hollow of an old tree.  In the winter, when the Ice Queen reigns and the face of death is upon the Earth, Bear enters the womb-cave to hibernate, digest the year's experience.  It is said that our goals reside in the West also.  To accomplish the goals and dreams that we carry, the art of introspection is necessary.

To become like Bear and enter the safety of the womb cave, we must attune ourselves to the energies of the Eternal Mother, and receive nourishment from the placenta of the Great Void.  The Great Void is the place where all solutions and answers live in harmony with the questions that fill our realities.  If we choose to believe that there are many questions to life, we must also believe that the answers to these questions reside within us.  Each and every being has the capacity to quiet the mind, enter the silence, and know.
Many tribes have called this space of inner-knowing the Dream Lodge, where the death of the illusion of physical reality overlays the expansiveness of eternity." - Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson (link at bottom of page)
I will probably be talking some more about the Medicine Cards soon." - Joy2MeU Journal:  The Path of one Recovering Codependent ~ the dance of one wounded soul My Unfolding Dance 29 January 12, 2004 Monday 5:30 AM
It has been important for me in my recovery, to make choices and take actions in alignment with what I have been guided to focus on in my growth process.  Even something as small as choosing the Winnie and Friends calendar instead of the Tigger calendar has power on a metaphysical level - in terms of bringing Spiritual intention into everything I do.  Part of what I need to get clearer on in this processing, is the areas of my life that I need to bring more focused Spiritual attention to right now.

The processing I did in my journal and Update Newsletters - from the May 2001 Update that I mention at the beginning of this Update (which actually threw me back into the Pandora's box of my fear of intimacy issues that I opened with my October 2000 Update) through the November 2002 journal installments - lead to me taking the actions that have put me in the relationship situation I am in now.  In that same Dance 29 installment, I make clear reference to a lesson I am still working on learning today.
"It is very easy for me to write about how important it is to communicate in an intimate relationship - how vital it is to work through tough issues by talking about them.  It is much harder in practice.  The old theory versus actual experience conundrum.  The very thing - that emotionally intimate relationships get messy - which makes it is so important for me to be willing to play with the other kids in the Enchanted Forest.  The "messy" gift in my life today that has been made possible by the fear of intimacy processing that I have been doing here in this journal ever since writing my May 2001 Update put those issues in my face.
"The reality of my life circumstances right now, is that I am at a stage in my journey where I am pretty isolated and insulated.  I am doing a lot of writing and a lot of phone counseling - so that my life in many ways is like being in a 12 step meeting almost all of the time.  It makes it real easy to maintain a conscious contact Spiritually.  Having relatively little contact with other human beings, beyond the superficial, makes it much easier to stay in serenity.  I don't know if you've noticed, but interacting with other people gets messy. ;-)" - Joy to You & Me and Joy2MeU Update - May 23, 2001
I am no longer living in comfortable isolation writing theoretically.  I am in the Enchanted Forest interacting with other human beings.  And it is much easier for me to focus on interacting with the 2 year old Darien kid than it is with the adult kids in my life.  Sigh."

Joy2MeU Update August 2007

"My life is still pretty much centered and scheduled around taking care of Darien, who is now closer to 2 years and 10 months, than 2 years 9 months.  For those of you who are new to my mailing list, Darien is my step grand-son and God-son.

"Being a primary caregiver to Darien - who will be 2 on the 10th (probably a few days before I get this published) - continues to be one of the great miracles and surprises of my recovery.  Never could I have imagined being in the position of taking care of a baby at this stage in my life and recovery.  The Joy and wonder of watching this precocious, precious little man grow up from the tiny baby I first met in March of 2005, to revealing himself to be a uniquely charming and delightful character who captures the heart of anyone who gets to experience his personality, fills my heart to overflowing with such Joy and contentment.  There are times:  when he is laying with his head on my chest gazing into my eyes;  or when he curls up in my arms with his head laid on my shoulders;  or when he burrows in beside me when he is sleeping with us;  or just listening to him jabber or watching him run and play - moments that I feel a sense of Blissful Love that is sublimely exquisite.  Such a gift!

It brings to mind once again something I have shared in past Updates - that GRATEFUL is not nearly a huge enough word to describe my feelings about what a gift my recovery has been to me.  It is not a big enough word to describe how grateful I am for having the courage to work through my fear of intimacy issues to the point where I was willing to surrender to getting into a relationship with Susan, or to describe what I feel about all the richness and abundance of Joy and Life this relationship with her has brought into my recovery adventure - which includes, of course, my precious step grand-son, God-son, Darien.  I am very, very, very, grateful that I am having the opportunity to experience this special little man in my life." - November 2006 Update Newsletter   

Susan and I have now been his full time caretakers and guardians since April 2006 - the very weekend we did the first Intensive in San Francisco.  In late April or early May this year I had one of those light bulb going on / aha kind of moments of insight where I realized that Darien and I had a soul contract.  That our souls had agreed to meet up at a certain point in this lifetime to be teachers and helpers to each other on our Spiritual Paths.  Despite the powerful connection I feel to him - and that he obviously feels to me - this had never occurred to me before.  When I mentioned my insight to Susan, she kind of looked at me funny and said something like, "Well duh, of course.  You didn't know that?""
bunny
Darien in his bunny outfit at Easter time.  And relaxing in his old car seat in front of the TV.  He still uses that car seat from when he was a baby as his easy chair in the Living room.  (The room he identifies as "my room".)
Darien relaxing
Click here to join joy2meu Because of some problems I was having with my e-mail program - and the reality that I didn't have much time any more to write - I started a new e-mail list on Yahoo that I announced in that August 2007 Update.  I only seem to find the time to do about 3 Updates a year now - so this provides me with an arena where I can more often send out announcements and share what is happening with people who are interested in hearing from me more often.

For the rest of this page I will intersperse the excerpts from the Yahoo mailing list messages with excerpts from my Updates.  I will use red for the heading of the Yahoo messages (and no indentation) and use the link and indentation for my Update Newsletters.
Mon Oct 29, 2007 7:34 am  "Smoke and Fire"
"Last week was a pretty interesting around here. We decided to evacuate on Monday morning because of all the fires here in San Diego County. . . . .

. . . . I am told that cassettes are a thing of the past and that it is more important to focus on CDs (even though they are becoming a thing of the past I am told) - but it was sad taking the option of ordering tapes off of my ordering pages.  All the hours I invested in getting those tapes recorded (in a bedroom with mattresses lining the walls to soundproof) and editing them and all - and now I can no longer make them available.  Some grief there for me.  I am hoping that some abundance will manifest to make it possible to make them available again - but truthfully they are so far down on the priority list (behind rent and utilities and the new CDs and Darien's teeth and our car situation, etc.) that I don't see that happening unless I win the lottery or something.  I am sure that a perfect plan is unfolding and I can accept it if that plan doesn't include having the tapes available again - but it is sad.

There is Truthfully, so much to be grateful for in my life that the details aren't that important. I am very grateful that our house is still standing and that we are all safe. Darien (who is going to be 3 next month) came in a few minutes ago taking his diaper off and telling me he was wet - and then he ran out to the back yard and started jumping on the trampoline half naked. He is a happy, exuberant little boy - and he brings Susan and I so much Joy on a daily basis. I feel very blessed to have him and Susan in my life - and to still be doing the work I Love in the telephone counseling and my Intensive workshops (the one for next Sunday 4th is almost filled and should be a really great group.)

Thu Nov 22, 2007 9:03 am "Happy Gratitude Day"
" . . . It is a good reminder for me today to count my blessing - all the many gifts in my life. (A little 3 year old boy just came running into and out of my office as I type this - what a beautiful little being Darien is. What Joy he brings us on a daily basis! Talk about a gift I could never have imagined;-) We are still far behind financially because of evacuating for the fires last month - but as I say in this quote fear is about the future, and I don't need to know today how I will catch up on the bills (or be able to get Darien's teeth fixed - sigh.) What I am going to do today is focus on being with my family and being grateful for all the good things in my life - for all the miracles that have guided me on my path to this place I am at now. The testimonials I added to the site are a glowing reminder of all the people my work has touched - and is touching out there in the world. It is Truly a blessed gift to have been allowed to be of service to so many people just through following my path and doing what I needed to do for my recovery. Hopefully one of these days, one of those people writing to tell me how I have changed their lives will be somebody rich and generous in Tithing.;-)

I am going to try to find time to get my next Update finished in the next week or so - more will be revealed. I hope you can find lots to be grateful for on this Thanksgiving Day.;-)
Robert"

Joy2MeU Update December 2007
School Photo "It is because such a significant portion of my "full" schedule is taken up with caring for my precious little step grandson / Godson Darien that hectic isn't an accurate description.  So much of the time with him is actually very peaceful and Joy-filled - and spent in the moment experiencing him, and life with him.  He turned 3 in November - and is talking away all the time now.  Though sometimes it is still hard to understand what he is saying.  The other day he said something that sounded to me like, "I want fruit." That I said, "Do you mean fruit like an apple?"  And he said, "No." and scrunched up his face trying to think of how to explain to me what he was trying to say - and then got this light bulb going on look on his face, and said, "like this" holding his hand up to his mouth and blowing.  Then I understood that he meant flute.  He is so earnest in his attempt to communicate - and is always asking what things are.

I was talking on the phone to my mother the other day, and Darien was in his high chair saying, "Gramma?  Gramma?" asking if it was Susan on the phone.  I said, "No, it is Great Grandma." and then gave him the phone to say hello, and the first thing he said was, "Are you great?"

Anyway, I could go on and on with Darien stories.  My time with him is such a blessing, and it doesn't leave a whole lot of free time for other things besides phone appointments and filling orders and such - but I wouldn't have it any other way.  It is a priceless and invaluable experience to be part of his growing up."


Sun Jan 6, 2008 3:37 pm "Happy 2008"
Christmas was a lot of fun this year because 3 year old Darien was old enough to really enjoy it. He is such a sweet good kid - such a happy, exuberant kid. It is a privilege and an honor to be in partnership with Susan in providing this beautiful little soul with a safe environment to grow up in. It is a great blessing in my life to have him - and her - in my life.

Mon Jan 28, 2008 6:59 pm  "Joy 2 Me U Update"
January the 23rd marked the 3rd anniversary since Susan and I met.  A record for me for sure.  I am so grateful that Susan came into my life - and this relationship sure has drastically changed my life.  In my June 2005 Update I explained how "It took a cosmic "coincidence" of pretty monumental proportions for us to even connect at all" - and how on the evening of January 23rd 2005 I got a clear message from my Spirit that I was supposed to surrender to the experience of whatever my interaction with her would entail.
"That night I surrendered to whatever ride the Universe had in store for me with this woman.  That night I realized that I needed to ignore the red flags, let go of any preconceived boundaries or expectations, and go wherever this adventure led me. 

It has been a real e-ticket ride so far.  I have thought it was over a multitude of times.  She would react in ways that pushed my buttons - and I was sure it had ended.  But then it would begin again. 

The key factor is that she is actively in recovery, dedicated to getting healthier." - http://Joy2MeU.com/Update_June_2005.htm
And it is certainly true that Susan is very actively in recovery, and that without that we would not have had a chance for a relationship to last this long.  But even with that, I think my fear of intimacy would have sabotaged the relationship long ago except for the factor that I really didn't know anything about at the time I wrote that June 2005 Update.  That unknown factor is Darien.

We moved in together in June of 2005 - and until that time I didn't really have a relationship with the little boy.  It was after we started to live together that Darien and I were drawn together.  I mentioned in my August Update last year that I had just recently realized that he and I had a powerful Karmic / Soul connection.
"In late April or early May this year I had one of those light bulb going on / aha kind of moments of insight where I realized that Darien and I had a soul contract.  That our souls had agreed to meet up at a certain point in this lifetime to be teachers and helpers to each other on our Spiritual Paths.  Despite the powerful connection I feel to him - and that he obviously feels to me - this had never occurred to me before.  When I mentioned my insight to Susan, she kind of looked at me funny and said something like, "Well duh, of course.  You didn't know that?"" - http://Joy2MeU.com/Update_August_2007.htm
Our concern and love for Darien got us through many rough passages in our relationship.  He helped us to not take ourselves and our wounded ego button's so seriously, and to lighten up at times when we really needed to lighten up.  Many times when I thought it was over, it was Darien who brought us back together.  We have had a successful relationship in large part because we weren't just focused on the relationship - we weren't really free to allow our respective fear of intimacy to sabotage us because we both love that little boy so much.  Our focus was larger than just the relationship between the two of us.  That was true even before we became his primary guardians - which essentially started at the time of the April Intensive in San Francisco, even though it didn't become official until June of that year.

mechanic He continues to bring so much Joy to both of us, and the direction of our lives continues to be greatly impacted by our desire to take care of him.  My fear of intimacy is still keeping me from opening my heart completely to Susan in some ways - and to myself also of course (the fear of shining too brightly I mentioned in my last post here) - but our Higher Powers unfolded our paths perfectly to put us together with Darien so he could help us both learn about Love.  Susan and I are learning a great deal from each other - and the common ground of our love for Darien is helping our love to evolve.

Speaking of Darien, I have mentioned several times previously without explaining what the problem was, (including in the message to this list that I shared in that August Update) that one of the financial stressors has to do with Darien's teeth.  When we started being the ones who were taking care of Darien, he already had a very bad case of bottle rot because his parents had been letting him sleep with a bottle of Apple Juice in his mouth all night.  He has some rotten front upper teeth that are heart breaking to see when he smiles big.  Late last year, he started to become fixated on looking in the mirror and saying "broken teeth."  It just breaks my heart to even think about it.

We had explored all the avenues we could for getting them fixed - with the mediCal ones not including replacing them with something that matched, and the private ones costing thousands of dollars.  We finally figured out a combination, where we could use mediCal to get the 4 teeth that need to come out pulled, and use the private dentist to fit him with a temporary bridge for replacement teeth.  We have been able to take the first step, which was getting an impression made by the private dentist so that we can have the bridge ready right away when we get the teeth pulled - but now need to wait until we have the funds to do that next step.

He of course hates going to the dentist, and really got upset when they took the impression - having to be restrained while they stuck the goo to make the impression in his mouth.  After getting the impression made he started saying that his teeth were fixed. It is fascinating to watch him - and see how denial can work for a little human being - in that he doesn't talk about his broken teeth, or look at them specifically any more.  But he was sitting on the couch last night next to the cat, and said to me, "the cat has broken teeth." So, you know it is still there in his consciousness - but also there is a fear of going back to the dentist again.

Hopefully we can get the resources to get that done soon, because when he opens his mouth with his beautiful smile it does break my heart to see those teeth.  He is such a happy, exuberant little man - and I do love him so much.

Tue Feb 26, 2008 2:24 pm  "Off to Spain"
Hello Vibrantly Healthy Spiritual Being,
I am off to Spain on Thursday morning - very early - for my workshops on Ibiza. I am actually not looking forward to it because it is going to be a lot of flying and airport time in a short period of time. If it had been possible to take Susan and Darien along and take some time to do some sight seeing - that would have been cool. But there is a minimum of 22 hours in flight and in airports one way, and that would not have been good for a 3 year old who has never flown before.

A 3 year old who is now potty trained by the way.;-) It is fascinating to watch him start to learn how to control his body. He is such a cool little man. It is going to be tough on him for me to be gone - and for me. For almost 2 years - certainly most of his conscious life - I have been there for him when he woke up in the morning. There were a few times that he left - went to San Diego with Susan for a few days when we were living on the Central Coast - but at home I have always been there. Susan has been gone for periods of a few days or a week on a couple of occasions - but I have always been there for him. That is one of the reasons he feels secure and safe with me - because I have been the most consistent person in his life, his security blanket as it were. Usually the first thing he says when he gets up in the morning is, "Papa." The other day Susan was telling him that I was going bye-bye - and that he would be there with grandma and his mommie. His immediate response was "No!" Then "No way." Then he came over to me and said, "Stay home papa." I guess it is a good thing I will be leaving very early in the morning while he is asleep. I am getting all choked up and teary right now just thinking about say good-bye to him. Good thing I don't have to.

Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:13 am  Hurrah!!!
Hello Magnificent Spiritual Being,
The great news is that we were able to get Darien's teeth fixed. Hurrah!!!   They gave him 4 caps and did 5 or 6 fillings and his teeth look great now. (Darien's Dad John had taken a huge step in growing up and joined the army.  He was able to send the money we needed to get Darien's teeth fixed.  It was a great blessing - and later it was the insurance that he got for Darien that paid for the hospital stay.  He has been a great help to us the last year or so - and is coming home for a visit for the first time in a year this month.)

It was very scary to have them give him the medication and then to have to wait 3 hours until they were done. I did a lot of pacing. But it went really smooth, and though he was a little groggy for over 24 hours, he didn't really have any pain afterwards.

Now he looks in my mouth (I need some major work done, which the money will hopefully manifest for before it becomes an emergency situation) and say, "Papa has broken teeth." And then his face will light up and he will say, "My teeth all fixed." He just lights up with Joy any time he remembers that he doesn't have "broken teeth" any more. . .

. . I hope you all have something in your life that is as great a reminder to be in the moment and feel the Joy as Darien when he smiles about his teeth being fixed.;-)
Robert
Joy2MeU Update April 2008
"One piece of very exciting news that I have to share in this Update is that I will be offering my Intensive Training Day workshop on a week long cruise of the Caribbean in December.  Not only will this give Susan and Darien (they have supervised children's programs on board) and I a chance to take a luxurious vacation at sea, but also offers an opportunity to participants in the workshop - that I believe almost all of the people who have attended it already would have loved to have had available.  That is the opportunity to do a 3 hour follow up session 2 days after attending the Intensive."
I included a Long excerpt from this Update above.

Sun Jul 20, 2008 7:57 am "Birthdays - bah humbug"
4:17 AM July 19th, 2008
Hello Joy 2 Me U mailing list. Sorry it has been so long since I have been in touch. My life adventure continues to leave me little time and space to do much writing. And I don't have much time now either, as I want to get something posted right away because we are going up to Cambria tomorrow for a few days. We actually made a trip to Cambria in April, not too long after I
posted my last Update - and last entry here. . . .

. . . . There was also some amusement about how much my life has changed, and how it would not have been possible for me a couple of years ago to have imagined the changes to come. I certainly could not in my wildest dreams have imagined the blessed gift of getting to raise a little boy. Darien is closer to 4 now than 3 - and continues to evolve as the amazing being that he is. I couldn't have imagined living in a city again, or being in the relationship that I have with Susan. It is all quite remarkable how the script has unfolded. . . .

. . . Anyway, as I said, I don't have much time here so need to get on with this. Here are a few brief things I have written for this mailing list that I never got finished:
June 3rd, 2008 3:49 am
Today is my 22nd CoDA birthday. The story of it is here: http://Joy2MeU.com/Journal_1/JoyStory.htm . .

. . . I have an inner child healing grief group starting tonight. . . .  Of course, any time I take away from home takes away time when I am normally caring for Darien.


June 4th 10:28 am.
I am stealing a few moments here this morning to try to get more of this written. The group went well last night - except one of the people who was supposed to show up didn't. (7-20 - So, what we ended up doing is having Susan participate in several of the groups with the two people who were committed to it. She got so much out of doing the grief group a year ago - became much more emotionally available because of it - and was able to be a good role model for them as to what the process was about. Unfortunately because of our challenges with getting a baby sitter for Darien, she wasn't able to go to the last 2 - but that ended up seeming to be a perfect part of the Divine Plan also, as the 2 people in the group were able to focus on their relationship. I am going to be meeting with them on an ongoing basis, as they were so happy with the major progress they have made during the time of the group. I don't anticipate getting any more groups going any time in the near future.)

Darien last night after I had come home, wanted me to sit by him on the couch. He was sitting there leaning against me as he likes to do, and then said "I'm so cold." I asked him if it was cold in the room, and he just repeated what he said. So, I laid him down and covered him up with a blanket. He looked at me with a perfectly straight face, and said, "I'm so hot." He was just messing with me.

He likes to practice his faces on me - the pouty stick out his lower lip face, or the hunched over in abject despair (when he doesn't get what he wants), or his determined arms crossed in front of him defiant face. When he does it, usually I just have to give him a look like "are you kidding me" - and he will break into a sheepish grin. Sometimes of course, he is more into it and maintains his pout or despair or whatever - but he knows I am on to him. He is such a little actor - such a little character.

The place he goes into that I call "abject despair", his shoulders slump down, his face downcast - he is just the picture of abject despair. Such a little manipulator. When he wants something, he will say, "Oh please papa, please" - in this plaintive voice. The other day, he said, "Oh please, please do it for me." It is almost a parody of manipulation because he so overdoes it - and he does it knowing that I know what he is doing as kind of an inside joke between us. He is a very smart little man.

I Love that little man so much. He brings so much Light and Joy to my life.

My son Abe is coming today for a visit. He is 18 now and just graduated - which is great. He is going to be here and then we are all going back to Nebraska to visit my mother for a few days. It will be Darien's first ride on an airplane.

Back to July 19th - 5:25 AM
We did make that trip back to Nebraska - and there are a few stories to tell about that, and some processing to do - but I don't have time for that now. Darien did very good on his first experiences of flying - 4 different planes. And he caught his first fish.

Part of the reason we weren't making headway with recording a new version of the CDs, is the sorry state of my computer. That is going to change however as my sister is buying me a new computer for my birthday next week - hurrah. It will have the capacity to do both video and audio, so we will start being able to make more of my writing available in both e-book and audio form - and eventually some in video also.

Oh yea, about my birthday. I am not looking forward to it, and not happy about it. Next Wednesday July 23rd, I turn 60. I feel like crying when I write that. I can't be 60!!!!!!!! That is
unthinkable!!! How did that happen???!!!!

I have actually had some moments of anger at my Higher Power lately, and a bit of depression at times, about coming up on 60 and still having to scramble so hard just to pay the rent and keep the utilities connected. It feels so unfair that after so many years of following where I am led and doing my best to carry out my mission as a messenger of Truth, that life down here in body would still be so difficult - that a bit more abundance hasn't manifested. It is possible that I may need to ask the people on my mailing list for help in keeping the book in print again - something I really don't want to have to do. I have enough books to last into September probably. Both Susan and I need dental work, we still need a second vehicle, and I would love to get Darien into a different pre-school and get a place where he can have his own bedroom - but hey, I am getting a new computer.;-)

The Truth is though, that the Abundance I have in my life is great (just isn't financial.;-) As I said, Darien is such a Joy - and a blessing that I could never have imagined on my path. Susan and I keep growing together - and that is what I have been asking for for so long, someone to share the adventure with me.

More will be revealed about what the future holds, and I guess I will even get used to being 60 (I don't feel a day over 45.;-)

Exciting things are going to be happening with the new web sites and all - so onward and upward the adventure continues. There will be an Update going out in a new format that will be making the official announcement about the new sites, and e-book, and such, sometime in the coming weeks. Until then, remember to focus on the part of the glass that is full and be grateful - but don't deny or judge yourself for the part that is empty. We are works in progress - and we aren't the Artist. All is unfolding perfectly according to the Loving Divine Plan. It may not make sense to us at times, or feel fair often, but it is leading us back to the Light. Recovery is infinitely better than the alternative.;-)
Robert
 Thu Aug 21, 2008 11:12 am  "I am so blessed"
"Well the good news is that I got the new computer my sister sent me (an iMac with a large screen  - it is amazing how they can fit the computer workings into such a small space these days;-) - and it is great. The bad news is that transferring my data from my old computer I screwed up and froze the old computer.  I was eventually able to get someone to take out the hard drive and transfer the data - but I did lose all my e-mail files and addresses and bookmarks.  It is weird not having the e-mail files that I could always look back on to see when someone first contacted me, or what they had communicated to me previously - even to know if a person had contacted me before at all.  Luckily - in one of those perfect Cosmic Coincidences of timing - I had transferred almost all of my e-mail list to Jeff (the guy who made the CDs and is designing the new web sites.)  He has a new e-mailing program set up for Joy2MeU that will be sending out a new look Newsletter sometime soon - announcing the new stuff that will be available.   I may have lost a handful of e-mail addresses, but that is all - so that is good. . . .

. . . . .When I think back to that time 20 years ago, it is mind boggling to see how my path unfolded - and how many peoples lives I have touched because I was willing to follow where I was led.  If I had been told back in 1998 (this should have said 1988) that I would be able to have a relationship in 3 years that would last 2 years and break my heart - and then wasn't going to have another relationship that lasted until 2005, I would have said something like, "What!!!! How can that be???  That is what I want - a Loving relationship.  Why does it have to take so long?!?   What will I do in the meantime???"

Well, what I did in the meantime was to have ( as I say on Metaphysical Law: Giving and Receiving http://Joy2MeU.com/Spiritual_Tithes.htm ) ". . . an awesome, terribly solitary, gloriously amazing adventure for me.  An incredibly painful, transcendently Joyous, intermittently terrifying, unbelievably fulfilling journey."  And during that journey I wrote and published an incredible book along with several million words in articles for my website. This was not a plan I made or could even have imagined.  That I would now, just after my 60th birthday, be in a relationship and raising an amazing little being named Darien - and still being given the opportunity to practice the humility to ask for help - was not part of any picture I had of the future.  I am so grateful for Susan and the opportunity to be involved in the incredibly Joyous experience of raising this incredible little boy with her.  I am not so grateful that I am still in a position of having to ask for help.  But the gifts I have received over the years from being willing to follow where I am led and let go of the outcome help me to accept what is, be grateful for all that I have and have been given, and just keep following where I am led.  I am leading a very Blessed life."

Sun Nov 2, 2008 9:05 am "Exciting News"
I was hoping to get the Update posted by next Wednesday because that is the day the price for my next Intensive goes up - but it looks like a long shot to get done by then at the moment.  (As Darien comes running in and out of my room playing.)
Us
Magic



In November we went to a friends birthday party in Ventura.  There as a magic act - and Darien was chosen to assist the magician.  He stole the show of course.;-)
Joy2MeU Update November 2008
"It is actually kind of hard to get time on my new computer (something I shared about in a Joy_2_Me_U message) since Darien is now so proficient on the computer that he wants to be on it alone all the time, playing games on various kids sites.  It is pretty amazing to watch him manipulate the mouse as he explores the different sites.  He is constantly surprising us with new words and phrases - with how much he knows about things we had no idea he knew anything about.carbed

This past Monday (10th) was his 4th birthday.  One of the things he had asked for was a guitar with strings.  So I got him a little guitar that had strings but also had buttons you could push for it to play different tunes and it even has a whammy bar (that he knows how to use!).  He picked that up and started rocking out.  Strumming the guitar and fingering the frets like a real rock legend - with all the attitude on his face and the moves (holding it over his head and playing, etc.)  It was amazing.  His exuberance for life is Truly a magnificent gift to be able to experience.  I won't go on and on about him, but did want to share with you one of his classics from a couple of months ago.  We were in a store and when I told him we weren't going to buy anything today, he said, "Not going to buy anything today.  That's not good."  I will probably share some more on the Newsletter page to follow this, but Truly Darien is a Blessed Gift in our lives.  (I am going to include at the bottom of this page a picture of him with the car bed his Dad - who is in Iraq now - got him.)"

"In regard to the last entry from November 8th, things were looking pretty desperate at that point.  It looked like we were going to have to take Darien out of the Montessori pre-school he is in (the thought of that broke my heart because it is the only place he gets to interact with other kids), give up the second car we have been renting by the month (the logistics of living with only one car being quite daunting), and possibly not even be able to keep all the utilities turned on or pay the rest of this months rent.  We even talked about the possibility of moving to Nebraska and staying on the farm I grew up on for the winter - because my mother is living in Lincoln with my sister for the winter.  Talk about desperation - but also, talk about being willing to look at all our choices so we don't buy into a victim perspective.  Susan hates the cold even more than I do - and she has never experienced anything like a Nebraska winter - so that would be really going to any lengths in our recovery.

The reality is that the economic situation is greatly impacting us.  I have had 10 phone clients who weren't able to continue.  Sales are down - and the new products and web sites have not created much income as yet.  Susan has had 3 part time jobs besides her work in real estate - but real estate is of course at a stand still right now.  So, she is going to be starting a new full time job in December.

Since last Saturday when I included that PS in my announcement of the new articles, Susan and I both got into action working the 3rd step - and enough money has manifested to get us through the immediate crisis in the coming days - that is pay the rest of the rent and the utility bills that are due immediately, and keep the car and Darien in school for another week or so.  What is going to happen when it comes time to pay next months rent is in the More Will Be Revealed realm right now - but at the moment we can take care of what is immediately in front of us."
Thu Feb 5, 2009 11:36 am  "News from the Joy2MeU front"
 This one followed the two January message that I quote at the top of the page.
"Darien is still not 100% healthy.  We took him to the doctor yesterday to be safe.  He doesn't have the infection in his neck that he had, but he still has a nasty cough and has some ring worm that we started treating early enough it doesn't look like is going to be a big problem.   We had to keep him out of school one day last week because he had thrown up two nights in a row and had a fever in the morning.  I started to keep him home on Monday this week, because when we got out to the car to go to school he said he felt like throwing up.  He hadn't indicated he wasn't feeling well up to that point, so I hunched down to talk to him about it.  When he was smaller and got really upset, he would sometimes work himself into such a frenzy that he would cause himself to throw up.  I was a little worried that he might be coming up with an excuse to not go to school since he had been able to stay home one day the previous week. He looked at me and said, "I want to go to school, but I want to throw up at home."  A very understandable sentiment - and you can imagine what kind of feelings that brought up for me.  I took him back in the house and he didn't throw up - and within a half hour was showing all kinds of energy again.  So, I ended up taking him to school that day.

During the time he is in school - basically 9 until 3 - is the time I have to get things done.  Then and early in the morning or late at night.  (Last night - with the help of a tooth ache - I stayed up until about 2 working on this.)  My mornings are centered around getting him dressed and ready and off to school - and once he gets home in the afternoon it is hard to do anything that takes very much concentration and focus because he wants attention and help with various things.  Or he wants to be on my computer playing games - which means I can't be on my computer.  The other day he changed the screen saver on my computer - 4 years old, and he is finding things on my computer that I didn't know were there.  I used to have more time in the afternoon or evening to get some things done before Susan started this job - but now she isn't here near as much and is often pretty tired when she is.

I have actually been concerned since shortly after we moved into the house we are living in, that there may be some environmental factors involved here.  A client told me about how she and her daughter were sick a lot after moving into a house until they had the carpets changed - and all three of us (Susan, Darien, and I) seemed to develop a cough after we had been here a little while.  The place is also too small for us - and Darien is getting to an age when he needs his own room.  Most of the time now he and I sleep on the couch in the living room - even though his Dad sent him a racing car bed for Christmas that takes up a chunk of our living room space.  He doesn't really like to sleep on it though.  After we moved here we realized that he had gotten too big to sleep in his old car seat in our room or in bed with us as he had when we lived up north and the only other bedrooms were on the other side of the large house we were living in, so we ended up with him sometimes sleeping with me on the couch and sometimes with Susan in the bedroom - until he fell off her bed one night.  (The other factor involved in these sleeping arrangements is that Susan has some kind of super sensitive hearing and says that I make way too much noise in my sleep - claims I snore and such.  Not true I am sure;-)

So, this little man takes up a lot of time and energy.  And Susan and I don't get much time alone together because we don't have anyone reliable to babysit him.  But he does bring us so much Joy.  He is such a sweet and precocious little man.  One day as I was helping him to figure out how to play a game on the computer, I made some reference to how it was loading very slowly - and he said to me, "You have to have patience.  Patience is when you have to wait."  He was really cute at Christmas.  A friend who has been a real life saver the last couple of years for the second year in a row sent a big box full of individually wrapped presents for him.  That has allowed us to let him open those gifts and some he has gotten from other people on Christmas Eve and the 4 or 5 things we have gotten him on Christmas morning.  This year as we were going to bed on Christmas Eve, he said, "I have so many presents.  Tell Santa Clause I don't need any more."  Of course, he changed his mind the next morning when there were more presents to unwrap.  Later on Christmas Day, he said, "I have so many choices."

So even though things are really a challenge financial now - and with our living space and car situation and my dental problems (a sure sign the economy is bad is that the dentist I saw last fall about some major work I need done called to offer $500 off the price) and all - this is still such a Joyous time because of my precious little god son, step grandson Darien.   In April it will be 3 years since Susan and I got custody of him - and it has been a time of Light and Love and Joy because he is such a beautiful Spiritual Being."
Joy2MeU Update April 2009
"I have shared in my writing in the past, that Darien is the first human being I have completely opened my heart to since my parents when I was an infant.  And because of the experience I share about in my Grief, Love, & Fear of Intimacy article, I not only had too much terror of intimacy to open up to a human being but hadn't even been able to open it to a pet either.  So, obviously he is very special to me. The health scare we had with him was really terrifying.

I actually quoted him in a CoDA meeting a couple of weeks ago.  One day out of nowhere he says to me, "Sometimes, you have to teach alligators manners."  It was so out of context and strange that I asked him to repeat it - and then what it meant.  He explained, "Sometimes you have alligators in your house and you have to teach them manners."  I later found out that there is actually a show by that name on the Disney Channel, but what struck me about it at the time is that it was a quite good way of talking about the need for boundaries.  Some times you have people in your life that are like alligators, and you need to teach them manners.;-)    Unfortunately, as I say in my article Setting Personal Boundaries, sometimes the people/alligators have no capacity or desire to learn manners.

There is so much great programming on TV for kids these day - actual preschool on TV - not only teaching basics about numbers and letters and such, but also about problem solving, recycling, safety, sharing and teamwork, not lying, about all kinds of healthy behavior. Including that sometimes you have to teach alligators manners.

I will be adding things to his page periodically - kind of keeping a record of his growing up.  Hopefully I will be doing that for many, many years to come.

We are going to try to record the Intensive this weekend.  Susan is going to attend for the first time (she has always been watching Darien previously as I have mentioned in one of the messages below - above on this page) and doing the filming.  Hopefully it will be of good enough quality that we can start making it available to people who can't make it to a workshop in person."

Christmas The 3 of us at a Christmas party.  (actually the party was thrown by the 2 people whose wedding we went to - that I talk about in my April 2009 Update Newsletter.)
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Metaphysical Law: Giving and Receiving Spiritual_Tithes / Love Offerings / Donations



cousin Darien and his cousin Kiley at the Pumpkin Patch - October 2008.
Go to April 2009 Update Newsletter

May 23, 2009
As I prepare some announcements and changes to make to my site for May 25th, I am also going to add the latest Darienisms to this page.  Almost every day he does or says something that causes my Spirit to Soar and my heart to come close to bursting with the Love I feel for him.  I can't possibly include them all, these are a few of the real gems.

As I was driving him to school one morning not long after my last Update when I posted this page for him, he said the following - with pauses between the sentences as he thinks about what he is saying and I reply to him.

"It's a beautiful  Day. . .   The sun is shining. . . . . The birds are singing. . . . . Grass is growing. . . . . Leaves are growing. . . . . Flowers are blooming.  Blooming means they are all colorful. . . . . And if you smell them, they smell sweet."

He is a very fastidious little man - and will probably have some control issues when he gets older.  Well actually, he has some control issues now.  He likes things a certain way - his coat zipped up all the way not part way, the toilet paper on the roll the "right" way, etc. He doesn't like to get dirty - although of course he does - but doesn't like to get sand in his shoes and actually makes me think of the Princess and the pea the way he can detect even a grain of sand in his shoes.

He is also a very helpful man.  He likes to help his grandma in the garden, or with cooking dinner, or whatever.

He used to be very literal - and it is very fascinating to watch his intelligence evolve.  It used to be if someone said to him "See you later alligator" - he would say, "I am not an alligator.  I'm a boy."  But recently as I was picking him up from school one of the teachers said to him, "See you later alligator." - and someone else said,  "After while crocodile."  And I could see him thinking as we headed towards the door, then suddenly he turned around and said, "See you later ham sandwich."

That is what he says now at times when he or we are leaving somewhere, "See you later ham sandwich."

When he wants to make a point, or ask for something, or just communicate something he thinks is important, he will say, "I want to tell you something."  And then he will share his thoughts or wants or whatever - but he is very good at getting me to stop and listen to him when he wants my attention.  (When he was younger he would actually take my face in his hands to make sure I was looking at him and listening when he had something important to communicate.)

He continues to love to spend time playing on the computer - and is always looking for new games.  He will bring me something - a hotwheel car, or his box of legos or an ad that came in something - and tell me he wants to search on the computer.  He knows if we type in the right words we can find what he wants - except that isn't always possible and he doesn't quite understand that yet, because he thinks the computer can find anything.

One of his favorite things to say lately when we find what we are looking for, or when I understand some point he has made with me, or something happens that he had talked about sometime earlier, is  "That's what I'm talking about."  Not sure if he got that one from TV or adapted it himself.

He does go into his king baby things some times - "I want to buy a toy now." - and will pout for awhile when I tell him we aren't buying any toys today.  He will say when we go into a store, that he just wants to look at the toys, not buy anything.  Then of course, he will want to buy once he starts looking.

He is a definite drama king at times - something that he gets from both his mother and grandmother. (You can bet I got into trouble for this remark - being accused of being quite a drama king myself at times.;-) And will cry when something happens to hurt his feelings - but it is almost a fake cry at times, like he thinks that is what is necessary when his feelings are hurt.

It is not very often that he gets out of control - and usually that is when he is tired.  Every once in a while, he will throw a little tantrum where he stalks out of the room and slams the door, or throws something.  Then I will give him a time out - which he really hates.  Usually though he gets through the pouting or drama pretty quickly and moves forward.

I have mentioned in past writings about him, that he has a stubborn streak and a defiant side - but also a sense of humor about it at times.  He came up with one a few weeks ago that blew me away - don't think it was something he got off of the TV.  He had crawled up on my lap as I sat at the computer to try to talk me into letting him play on it, instead of me working on it.  And he did what he likes to do, which is adopt a casual attitude.  He slumped back against me and put his feet up on my desk.  I said, "You be careful little man.  If you kick my computer off the desk I will have to whip your butt."  He jumped down, took a few steps away and took down his pants.  Then he stuck his bare butt out at me and patted it, saying, "This butt?  You going to whip this butt?"  I was really flabbergasted by that one. Silly little man.

I have a song I sing to him, usually as we are going to school or coming home.  The first part of it goes.  "He is a handsome man, a beautiful man, a sweet and wonderful Darien man."  The second part is, “He is a smart man.  A fast running man.  A high jumping man.  A good climbing man.  A good computer game playing man.  A Magnificent Spiritual Being of a man full of Light and Love.  And his name is . . . . . Darien Fuller.”

Sometimes when I start singing it to him, he nods along agreeing with the things I am saying - and even sometimes closing his eyes and nodding like he does to music sometimes.  Sometimes he will be sitting in the back, drinking his juice, and acting like he isn't listening.  When he does that I will sometimes get to the part of the song where I say his name and act like I don't remember the name of the man I am singing about.  He will chime right up to remind me of his name at those times.

He will often request me to sing the "Darien song" for him.  He came up with a great one last week.  He was acting like he wasn't paying attention, so when it came to the end of the song I sang, "He is a sweet and wonderful man - and his name is .......Robert. 

He chimed right up to say that his name is Darien.  And then he said (with the pauses in between as he thought about what he wanted to say, “I am the sweetest man. . . .  I am a boy that loves the whole world.  I love all the people.  I love the kids.  I love all the people and the pizza man.”

He is the sweetest man.   The other day we were playing in the back yard with one of his digger toys and dump trucks and our rabbit came up and nibbled on my jeans.  I said something about the rabbit - and he said, "The rabbit was hugging you. . . . because he loves you."

There was a dead moth that was in the back yard and he insisted that I pick it up and put it in the garden because that it would be more “cozy.”

Anyway, I guess everyone's kids say cute things,  This little man just happens to be the apple of my eye.  Such a channel of Joy and Light and Love.

Just one more and I will stop for now - although I do plan on adding to this page periodically, as kind of a record of him growing up.  Hopefully some day when I am gone it will serve to remind him how very much I Love him and what a very special gift he is in my life.

On the way home from school earlier this week, there was a plane pulling an advertising banner in the distance.  I didn't mention it to him because I wasn't sure if he could see it from his vantage point in his car seat.  But then as it crossed in front of our path he did see it, and said, "What is that?"  I told him it was a plane pulling a sign behind it - and he asked what it said.  I told him it was too far away for me to read.  Then he came up with one of those little nuggets that throw me off until I figure out what he is talking about.  He said that he thought it was a talking lizard.  I said, "Talking lizard."  He said, "Ya, I saw it on an ad.  There was a talking lizard on TV."  And then I realized that he meant the Giecko Gecko (sp?) - and that we had seen banners with that ad behind planes some time ago.  He is constantly entertaining me, this little sweet Darien man.  He is such a blessing in my life.  I Love him so dearly. ~ Robert 5:10 am May 23rd, 2009

August 20, 2009
On the way to school this morning, Darien all of a sudden says to me, "I love this world."  And then he said, "I love this world because it is so clean."  Not sure where that came from.  I thought at first he said green - but then he corrected me and said clean.  Then he said, "Is this world immaculate?"  We decided that it wasn't that clean.

Immaculate (meaning really really clean in his definition) is one of the latest words he has learned at the gym.  There is this young woman who works at the front desk of the gym that is just crazy about Darien.  After she first interacted with him, she went into the kids club to find out what his name was because she was so taken by him.

That first time they talked, he asked her a lot of questions.  She told him that he was very inquisitive.  And then gave him an assignment to remember that word.  The next time we saw her, he didn't remember it - but the following time he did.  And he asked her for another word - and it became a tradition for him to ask her for a new word each time he say her.  The second word she gave him was plethora.  The third word was cornucopia.  When she was explaining what cornucopia meant she said it means you have a lot of different things like apples, and oranges, and grapes.  And he said, "like toys?"

So if you ask him his definition of plethora, it is a lot of things.  Cornucopia is a lot of different things.  Not a precise definition, but pretty good for a 4 year old.  He actually uses plethora in sentences now pretty regularly.  She has continued to give him words - so many now, that even though he usually runs up to her and says "I remember the words you told me." and then starts listing them - there are really too many for him to remember them all now (or her either for that matter.)

He is such a polite and sweet little man.  He will go up to people and give them compliments.  He will compliment his grandma on a new dress or whatever.  One day as we were leaving school, there was a nanny there who picks up twins - and he went up to them and complimented them on what they were wearing.

A new store opened here a couple of months ago, a Smart & Final store.  The first time we were in it, he kept wanting to find out where the toys were - and I kept telling him that I didn't think they had any toys.  This was not a possibility he wanted to accept, so he told me that we needed to ask someone where the toys were.  When we came close to someone who was stocking shelves, he called out to him, "Excuse me sir, where are the toys."   Blew me away.  I had never heard him use the term sir before - although I think I use it to him once in a while.

A couple of weeks later as I was putting him into his car seat, he said "Yes sir." and then got embarrassed thinking he shouldn't call me sir.  I told him that it was okay to call me sir - that he could say "Yes sir Pappa sir."  He made a face, and said, "That is just crazy!"

There was a little girl at his school that started coming up to me every time I picked him up and asking for a play date with him.  Both of them asked me enough that I finally gave her a card with my phone number and told her to give it to her Mommy.  She kept bugging me after that - and he said she wanted a map to our house.  I did end up printing up a map, and her Dad did eventually call (I guess she was bugging him even more than me) - and they had a play date.

The point of the story however is something that happened during this period of time when I was getting bugged.  As we were going in the side gate to our backyard one day, he found a dandelion - which he called a poofy head.  He picked it up and made a wish before blowing on it.  His wish was that he could have a play date with the little girl.

So, he thinks blowing on dandelions is a time to make wishes - and also at night before he goes to sleep.   One day he told me that he wanted to go to the ferris - his word for the County Fair.  He kind of has fair and ferris wheel combined.  He hadn't been to the county fair in almost a year at that point, so it surprised me when he brought it up.  And then he said that he would make a wish to go that night before he went to sleep when it was dark outside - and he did remember to do just that.  I guess he had interpreted Susan telling him about saying a prayer at night as meaning that was a time to make wishes.  The funny thing about it is, that when he brought it up, the County Fair had just started - and neither Susan or I realized it at that time.   Perhaps he heard some other kid talking about it or something - but it seemed to come out of the blue.

father's day
Pappa and Darien on Fathers Day
Ride em cowboy
Riding a pony at the County Fair
Cambria
With Grandma at breakfast in Cambria
Cambria
Pappa & Darien in Cambria

He has an amazing memory.  He can remember plots to almost all the cartoons he sees - and he often brings things up out of the past.  He will say, when I was 3 such and such happened - or something to that effect. He is a very smart little boy.  How many 4 year olds do you know that have a vocabulary that includes plethora and immaculate?

One day when I picked him up from school he was very upset.  He said that another little boy - that he had accidentally run into - had threatened to do mean things to him.  On the way home, he was talking about it and said that he thought he shouldn't go to school any more. Another day he told me that if he kept going to school all the time he would end up being too tired and exhausted.

He is a really sweet man, and doesn't like confrontations.  His teacher at the Montessori school was really concerned about him not being tough enough and independent enough for kindergarten - and was really relieved when I told her that we weren't sending him to kindergarten this year.  He doesn't turn five until November, and we want him to be older and bigger before he starts regular schooling.

I have been concerned at times that maybe my role modeling and nurturing approach with him has caused him to not be "tough enough" in being able to stand up for himself.  He tends to admit to being sad instead of getting angry - which isn't bad, but may not serve him to well out in the world.  There was a sign that he is getting better at setting boundaries however in something he said to me last week.  He has developed this habit of taking toys along with him to the kids club at the gym that I take him to.  It is actually more like a strategy.  It used to be that when he went into an environment where there were other kids - like a park or the kids club - he would go up to kids and ask them if they would play with him.  Someplace along the line, he figured out that if he took some interesting toys along with him that the other kids would be drawn to him - and would be asking him if he would play with them. Pretty smart little bugger.;-)  Anyway, last week he wanted to take one of his prized new lego toys with him - and I said something about it might not be a good idea because he might lose some of the little pieces or some other kid might take pieces of them.  He told me, that no he wouldn't lose them - and that when someone had one of his toys and he wanted it back he just talks louder to them and they give it back to him.  He sounded quite proud of himself for figuring out how to set firm boundaries.

Speaking of the legos, he now has several Star Wars sets - one of which included R2D2.  For some reason he had a really hard time saying R2D2.  He kept calling him RAD2.  Finally I typed it in big letters for him so he could see it - and gradually he was able to remember that it was a 2 and not an A.

As I said in the last entries above, it is fascinating to watch his intelligence evolve.  He knows now that it is a joke to say "See you later ham sandwich." instead of taking what people say so literally.  One of the hot things for kids these days is Transformers - which I am not too crazy about personally.  But the transformers fight the Decepticons - and one day I said something to him about the Decepticons would get us - and he just looked at me like I was really crazy and said, "Decepticons are not in our world.  They are not real."

He also has started telling jokes.  His favorite is "Why did the banana go to the doctor?  Because he wasn't peeling very well."

He is amazingly straight forward with me - doesn't try to butter me up in order to get me to do something he wants.  He will do a little low grade kind of manipulations (like telling me he just wants to look at the toys not buy any) - but he doesn't tell me he loves me to try to get something from me.  In fact sometimes when he is doing is "I want to tell you something . . . " thing,  and he is taking some time to try to tell me or ask me what he wants - I will say "You want to tell me what a wonderful Pappa I am."  He just dismisses that out of hand, saying "I know you are a wonderful Pappa." and goes on to tell me what he wants to tell ask me.

So, when he does tell me that he loves me, it is so genuine and touching.  One day a month or so ago, we were laying on the couch at bedtime as I am trying to get him to sleep, and all of a sudden he says, "Do you know what makes me happy?"  And then he said it that playing with his legos made him happy - and listed a couple of other things - and then said it made him happy because he loved me so much.  He said I was the best Pappa in the whole world.  The best Pappa he had ever had.;-)

Earlier this week, at bedtime again, he stood up and said to me, "I love you so much.  You do everything for me.  You do hard things and easy things - but you do everything for me.  Some of them are hard, like putting together my lego starship."

I do do everything for him - and it is really cool that he appreciates that.

He is real clear that I am not Dad - that I am Pappa - and will correct people that ask him that.  His Dad was home on leave from Iraq in April and took him to Disneyland among other places.

Talking to him on the phone shortly after that he said to him, "Are you going to come and play at my house when you are done in Iraq?"
John shorts Disneyland Darien & Dad
Disneyland yawning
Disneyland with Mom and Dad was a long day for a little man.

Play is his life.  He like to play.  The legos are the latest things.  They have these lego sets now that are for Star wars and something called Power Miners (who are in the business of harvesting crystals and have to fight off rock monsters that try to eat the crystals.)  And it is quite a challenge for Pappa to put together some of these elaborate lego toys - especially with him helping.;-)

It is fascinating to eavesdrop on him while he plays in the other room - the elaborate stories he come up with.

Another thing that is so cool about him, is the way he sings and dances for his own enjoyment.  There are times when he is showing off, but more often he tells me to go back in my room so he can dance and sing alone.  He is such an exuberant, Joyous, sweet little boy.  He does make my heart sing and my spirit soar.

One last thing.   On the way home from someplace one day he was talking about wanting the clouds to go away so he can make a wish.  I asked him what he meant, and he said that if there are lots of clouds then you could only get one wish.  So, he wished the clouds would go away so he could see the moon and the stars and when they do then he gets lots of wishes. I ask him where he heard that, and he said, "I made it up."

My wish for him, is that he gets to stay in this environment where he is protected and loved and nurtured and cherished.  And I pray that Susan and I can give him the tools he will need to deal with the kind of wounds that a sweet loving spirit like him will need to deal with a world full of wounded souls and toys that focus on conflict and promote violence.  We have tried to protect him as much as possible, but can't raise him in a vacuum.  We had never gotten him any toys with guns and such, but relatives gave him a Transformer last Christmas - and that kind of opened the door to lightsabers and rockets and such.  

And we can't take away the wounds he has already experienced because of the time and place and circumstances that his Soul chose to incarnate in this lifetime.  

Of course, part of the Divine Plan that is unfolding perfectly, was the Soul contract between his Soul and my Soul that we would meet in this lifetime at the time and place that we did in order to learn about Love together.  He is a precious and wonderful blessing in my life and I thank the Goddess for the opportunity to be intimately involved with this beautiful spirit that is Darien.  ~ Robert 8/20/09

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Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls by Robert Burney is copyright 1995.  Material on Joy2MeU web site (except where otherwise noted) is copyright 1996 thru 2009 by Robert Burney  PO Box 235401 Encinitas CA 92023.

12-14-09 I am posting this page today with the pictures.  Will add the stories and processing that I plan to do here in a couple of days.
2-14-10:  As the line before mentions, I actually posted most of these pictures back in December and am just adding the stories on Valentine's Day 2010 - as well as sharing about the breakthrough that we have had in our relationship.  Valentine's Day seemed to be the appropriate time to do that.;-) ~ Robert
1-19-10 I am finally getting back to this page - life has been hectic lately and finding the time, and being in the space within myself, to do this has not come together before now.  What I had been doing is keeping notes on the things that I was going to share on this page - and I actually stopped doing that a month or two ago.  I think that the way this page will evolve will involve less stories and just mostly posting new pictures in the future.  He has grown up so much - is such a big boy now - and there is hardly a day goes past without him saying something or doing something that I find remarkable.  He keeps surprising me with new words he is using, concepts he has picked up, new dance moves, etc. almost every day - but in a way that is very consistent with the personality he has been evolving and revealing over the years.  He is a sweet, Loving little boy - very smart although that doesn't always show up too much in his school work yet because he doesn't like to work, play is still his life.

Anyway, here are some of the stories and memories that I want to preserve of the blessed experience of having the privilege of being part of this magnificent spiritual being's life in human body in this incarnation.

One morning as I was driving him to school, he asked about a package I had with me - some books I was mailing to someone in Australia.  He said, "Australia is so beautiful.  It has plants and trees, and it is so beautiful."  And then out of the blue, he starts talking about China.  "And China is so beautiful.  It has plants and trees" and listed some more things, and then said, "And it has a wall you can stand on - and it is so beautiful."

He comes up with these things, some of which he must have learned in pre-school - but a lot I think from television. There is so much preschool being taught through the TV shows he watches now.  So, much different that years ago in terms of the programming for kids.  One of the shows he watches teaches kids Chinese words.  And every once in a while he will say, "Do you know what __ is in Chinese" and then proceed to tell me.

One day as we are almost at school, he says "Who is that guy from Spain?"  I had no idea what he was talking about and asked him what guy.  He said, "The one with the boats." He said it several different ways and I realized that he was talking about Christopher Columbus - and then he started singing a song about Christopher Columbus and kept repeating "in 1492."

He is quite the singing and dancing man.  I have mentioned before about how he is always singing and dancing - and that he does it for his own pleasure, not to be center of attention or anything.  Sometimes he will tell me not to look at him when he is singing or dancing, because he is just doing it out of his exuberance and Joyous Spirit.

One song I made a note of went something like this: "Wa wa wi yah punt" and then he would say repeat after me - and sing it again.

Another song was: "At the beachside at the beach side, we play at the beachside, we mess around" on and on through slightly different choruses.

And he is really good on Susan's drums.  He sits at the drums and says, "And 1 2 3  4" and starts playing. He isn't just making noise either, he actually seems to be playing something.

At Halloween time he really showed how much he had grown up when he rushed right up the big slide (below) and jumped right away.  Last year, I had to go up with him and then even between my legs he didn't want to slide down.

He informed me when we were out trick or treating that if you eat too much Halloween candy it "makes your stomach crazy."  He was unanimously proclaimed by the people whose houses we went to, to be the pickiest tricker treater of all.  He would tell them when he didn't like what they were giving me and ask for something different.  He knows how to ask for what he wants - this little man.

He proclaimed, "I Love it.  This is the best day ever!  The best Halloween ever!"
High up Sliding Halloween At pumpkin Patch
A very brave little big man goes down the big slide at the pumpkin Station - something he could not do by himself last year.  Bumblebee the transformer for Halloween - and the strong man.
Susan & Darien Darien & Papa Punpkin Patch 09 Darien & Abe
Darien with Susan and Papa down by San Diego Harbor after taking my son Abe (far left - with a Pumpkin Station pic in between) to the airport after a visit.

I think I mentioned before that he has a great memory.  One day he started talking about a camping trip we took over 2 years ago.  And he often remembers times when I forgot something - like one day he said, "Remember the day when I was a little 4 (this was when he was a big 4 not quite 5 yet) and you forgot my blanket?"

Then one day it was movie day - on Friday's the kids get to bring a movie, and he gets really upset if we forget to bring one (even though 20 other kids bring movies too and they only watch one.)   So on this one Friday he was talking about a time that I forgot it was movie day - and I said will I do a pretty good job most of the time. (Defending myself to a 4 year old.;-)  Then he realized that I felt bad about disappointing him and he said that he realized that he forgot to tell me it was movie day and he would remember next time,  I said he could remind me if I forgot - and he said "Exactly."  I was quite taken with him using that word and repeated it - and he said that I shouldn't repeat what he said and that I was being silly (he doesn't like for me to repeat what he says, I guess he feels like I am making fun of him or something even though I am not.)  After a few minutes of silence he said, "You are still a great man."

One of the things that touched me the most, was one day when we were laying on the couch as I was trying to get him to take a nap.  He started digging in my back pockets and trying to take out some flyers for my workshop that I keep there in case I meet someone who might be interested.  After telling him to cut it out a few times - because he does like to stall going to sleep - and him persisting, I finally let him take some of my folded up flyers and he looks at it and says, "It's you!" (Since my picture is on it.)  And then out of nowhere he gushes - gushes is the only accurate word for his tone of voice and emotional content. "I  Love you! You do this for the whole world." It felt as if his Spirit was speaking to me.  I don't know where a little 4 year old kid could come up with that kind of idea, but it didn't feel like a little kid talking to me - I got emotional then, and I am getting emotional now as I write about it.  It was one of the most touching and beautiful positive affirmations anyone has ever given me.

Prior to our moving down here to San Diego, when we were living in Cambria and Paso Robles, he had very little contact with other children.  One of the really great things for him was when we enrolled him in a Montessori preschool.  He learned how to socialize and interact with other kids - both there and at the Kids Club in the gym where I take him almost every day while I am working out.  He was a couple of months short of 2 years old when we moved here - so it was probably shortly after he turned 2 that he started to go to school.  

Because he has so many friends now, we decided to have a birthday party that he could invite his friends to - instead of just one with family.  We actually did have one with family on his birthday - and then one the following Saturday at Chuck E. Cheese that he invited friends from school and the gym to.
blowing out candles birthday candles D & S & K & M
Birthday with the family.  Picture on the right includes my beautiful Susan and her daughter / Darien's aunt Melody with his cousin Kiley.
D & P Chuck E star TV star presents
Darien and I at the family birthday party - and then the Chuck E Cheese birthday.  The goofball is watching himself on television while dancing in the 4th picture.
  Summer Sky, Darien, & Kiley   crown Kiley
Opening the presents and blowing out the candles - and posing with cousin Kiley and eating pizza.
He of course, proclaimed that it was the "Best Day Ever!" - the "Best Birthday ever!"

A few other cute things that I made notes about.

One day when I had given him and his mother a ride to her boyfriends house - a boyfriend who was very good with Darien and that Darien considered his best friend until he disappeared from our life - the boyfriend gave him some  skateboard ramps and such for a miniature skateboard.  On the way home, he was telling Darien that he played with them when he was a boy.  And though I don't remember the conversation exactly, there came a point where Darien said to him, "Someday you will be a man."  And we all laughed - not just because the boyfriend was 22 or 23, but also because growing up was an issue for him and his statement was pretty right on.  And Darien says, "I said something funny."  He thought about it a minute, and then said, "Oh, he is a man already."

Coming home from school one day we were behind a city bus, and he started talking about the yellow bus that he rode in on a field trip at school.  And he wanted to know what kind of bus this other colored bus was.  I told him that it was a city bus that took people around the city.  He said, "Oh, a city bus."  And then after a couple of more questions, said, "It is a world bus."   I said no, it just goes around the city not all over the world.  He says, "Papa it is a world bus - this isn't Jupiter or Mars, this is the world."

One day he was telling me that he needed a massage.  And he said, "Let me tell you why massages are good for you. Massage help your body relax, I need one because sometime when I am not I feel crazy."

He tries to get me to relax sometimes too.  Especially when he wants me to help him play a game on the computer that involves driving a car using the arrow keys or something of that sort - something I am not good at and get frustrated with.  He will say, "Now calm down Pappa.  You need to be patient."

One day I made him a turkey and cheese sandwich and something went wrong that made me frustrated.  He told me to calm down - and then a few minutes later said, "Are you feeling okay Papa?  And I told him I was.  And he said, "Well, you got a little angry about the sandwich."

One of the other things he started doing is asking me to trust him.   He would want to take one of his Lego toys with lots of little parts to the kids club at the gym and I would tell him that it wasn't a good idea because he might lose the little parts or other kids might break the toy apart.  He would say, "I won't lose anything.  Trust me."  Of course, he would often lose things but we found them again most of the time.

One day, he wanted to take something to the kids club and we did the little back and forth where he asked me to trust him.  And I said to him, "It is not that I don't trust you, it is the other kids I don't trust to be nice with your toy."  And he hugged me and said, "Oh I am so glad that you trust me."  And it meant so much to him that it got me all choked up.
Astronaut Detective Harley Fisherman
These are school photos of the handsome model that came out great but didn't scan well.  Check out that smile and those dimples.;-)
These school photos came out so good - despite the lines in them here from the scanning.  He could definitely be a model, this little man.

His sweet spirit is just so precious.  Here are a few of the things he said to me at various times that really reveal what a Loving little boy he is.

He told me one day while jumping on his trampoline in the back yard, that "Jumping makes people happy.  When people are sad I tell them to jump and it will make them happy."

One day I was singing Joy to the World to him, and he told me that joy is when you really really happy because someone loves you.

Watching a cartoon show one day - one in which the characters play different roles in fantasies, sometimes being the good guy and sometimes the bad guy, he was trying to figure out if a particular character was a good guy or bad buy.  The character was singing a song - and mentioned the things she loved.  Darien said, "She must be a good guy because she loves things.  Loving things is good."

Several times since my last update here my son Abraham came to visit us for a period of time.  One of the times when we went to the airport to pick Abe up, Darien talked me into getting him a bag of chips and a chocolate milk.  As we were sitting at a table, he was happily munching away and he said, "This is the spice of life."
Thanksgiving at Montessori
Thanksgiving skit at his Montessori school.
Legos - his favorite.
Lots of presents
Christmas

A look of bliss on his face as he holds the Lego space police cruiser he wanted so much for Christmas.  He actually said, "This is just what I wanted for Christmas." with almost every present he opened - even if he didn't know what it was.

We actually have a few videos of him doing that, but I don't know how to imbed them in this web page.  So, I think I will upload one of them - plus a video of him dancing - to my Facebook page and include a link to it here for those of you who want to see him in action.

There was a time over Christmas when my son was here that Darien heard him calling me Dad and wanted to know why he was calling me that.  I guess it had never really registered that Abe was my son - Darien just always refers to him as "my (that is Darien's) friend Abraham."  I told him that I was Abe's Dad.  And he said, "Are you my Dad?"  And I said, no I am your Papa.  John is your Dad.  He seemed a little puzzled about that - not understanding how I could be someone's else's Dad.  

That is his father John home on leave from the army that he is playing pool with at his Great Grandpa's house.  (That is Susan's father, who Darien calls "Big grandpa" which is his interpretation of great grandpa.)
As you can tell from the picture on the left, he is a happy man when there is a Christmas tree with presents waiting to be opened.  A friend who is also a phone client loves Christmas but doesn't have any kids of her own, so she delights in buying presents for him and sending them. That gives us a lot more presents for him to open that we can afford the last few years.  We will be eternally grateful to her for helping us make Christmas so special to him.

There are so many more stories I could share - and I will include a few in the next section - but I am going to wrap up this part for now.  Just one more story from a couple of days ago.

I asked him what he had at lunch for school that day and he said, among other things, "broccoli."  And - since we had just had a discussion the day before about trying to get him eat more green vegetables, something he won't do - I said, "Oh do you like broccoli?"

He said, "Yes, it is good.  I said, "Oh that is good. I like Broccoli too."  And he says, "But I don't like green broccoli."  I said, "But broccoli is green."

And he say, "No this is white broccoli - it's called cauliflower." ~  Robert 2/13/10

Thanksgiving at school
Thanksgiving lunch at school.
Playing Pool
with Dad

January 12th, 2010
On this day 5 years ago my life changed.  I got an e-mail that was the result of "a cosmic 'coincidence' of pretty monumental proportions" - it was an e-mail from Susan. Susan

The first mention I ever made of Susan in my writing, was in my March 2005 Update Newsletter - at the end of which I wrote:

"Rather this person is someone / the soul mate, that is going to be in my life long term or not I do not know at this time.  It is possible that she is a brilliant flaming shooting star who is flashing through my world to illuminate some things / issues that I needed to see with more clarity - a catalyst of growth and awakening.  Perhaps I will get to once more experience a broken heart and the grief that goes with it.  I don't get to know that right now.  What is important is that I am willing to take the risk - and the Universe has brought a very special lady into my life to help me learn.  I am hoping that she is the special woman who will be willing and able to surrender to opening her heart to me, to surrender to the experience of Loving me - while I surrender completely to the experience of Loving her, to opening my heart to her.  More will be revealed about how this newest adventure is going to unfold."

It is now 5 years later - 3 years longer than my previous relationship record - so it has been long term for me, and Susan has been a brilliant flaming star illuminating issues in my life, definitely a catalyst for growth and awakening.  But it has taken some time for some of the lessons to sink in, for some of the issues to become illuminated.

February 12th 2010 - hopefully for publication on Valentine's Day
On Christmas I wrote the following to my Yahoo mailing list:
"I posted the newest pictures on my Darien page earlier this month, but haven't had time to tell the stories yet. I am going to be sharing about a huge breakthrough Susan and I have had in our relationship in that writing for the Darien page - but not sure when I am going to get it done. Hopefully before the start of the new year." - Friday 12/25/09 9:25 PM "Merry Christmas to my Yahoo mailing list"
Although I have worked on this page intermittently since then, it is only now that I am nearing the finish.  I originally included what I had written here but eventually decided to make it a separate article because it  was about our relationship and not so much about Darien.  So, I have taken it off this page now - and it is here: Valentine's Day 2010 ~ Relationship Breakthrough

Darien & I on Beach in Cambria
Darien & "Papa" on the beach.
Darien Cambria Park
The big boy on the jungle gym at the Cambria park.
On the weekend that included January 23rd - the anniversary of our first meeting - we made a trip to Cambria.  These are pictures from that trip.  Cambria is a special place for me - a special place for Susan also.  And it is a special place for us.  We hope that some day we might be able to live back up there again.  Although right now we are trying to figure out how we are going to pay this months rent here in Encinitas.  It is a good time to remember what I wrote in my October 2005 Update - when I shared the incredible miracles that led me to Cambria back in 1995.
"So, I am going to share a little of the story of how I came here to Cambria.  This is an excerpt from a page I wrote for my Joy2MeU Journal in 1999 when - as I talk about on that Donation page - I was without a home to live in for 6 months.

I tell this story not only to share the miracles with you - and to remind me to have faith - but also because I need to be reminded of the tools and process I need to use to maintain some emotional balance when my buttons are being pushed.  As I have mentioned, my partner has defensive reactions that push all those deepest buttons - so the reminder is very appropriate in my life right now.  And the reminder to have faith in the future while enjoying the journey one day at a time, is very timely and appreciated.  As I was saying to my Lover yesterday - as we took a walk through the magical forest behind the house we want to rent - it is important for us to remember to not give so much power to fear of the future, and instead to "take time to stop and enjoy the baby."  This time of experiencing her Love for me growing, our Love for each other growing - and sharing with her the experience of watching him grow - is the most amazing, Joyous time I have ever experienced.  I am so grateful for this last few months no matter what the outcome of the situation turns out to be. I hope this adventure between us can continue for the rest of my life. ~ Robert October 17, 2005” - Joy2MeU Update October 2005
The difference now is that we need to take time to stop and enjoy the "big boy." ;-)  And we still need to hope for miracles at the same time we are taking any action we can take to change the financial situation.  I am again working the third step by sending out a message to the Universe that I could use some financial manifestation.  Maybe there are some eskimos out there who will respond or the Universe will answer in some way soon: Working the Third Step - ASKing for help - Opening to Abundance
  Me on the beach Cambria Jan. 2010
Darien running 1/10
Darien running in the Cambria park.
Susan and Darien Cambria 1/23/10
Darien & Susan getting ready for the hot tub.

(If there was ever an example of the insanity of codependency, it is withholding attention and affection from a partner who looks like this.)
Cambria Beach January 2010
I do Love Cambria and miss it greatly.
 
Update February 2012

As I am pulling together information to update this page at 3:35 am on January 29th, it suddenly dawned on me that I haven't updated this page for 2 years instead of the year I was thinking it was.  So I am just going to include a two excerpts from my January 2011 Update Newsletter that focused on Darien in 2010.

Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:31 pm from message Update on the Joy2MeU Adventure - asking for help, for Love offering to Yahoo Mailing list
"Part of the reason today was such an emotional day is that we took Darien for his first day in kindergarten in public school.  The place was overrun with parents and kids - we had to park blocks away.  There are over 80 kindergarten kids and none of the 20 in his room was anyone he knew.  Darien got really upset and started crying.  Susan and I also got really emotional.  We had been hoping to put him in a Montessori School like his preschool.  In fact Susan found one in Carlsbad that goes through 6th grade that she fell in love with.  She took Darien to visit it last week and he really loved it.  The director and one of the teachers spent almost an hour with Susan and Darien.  When it was time to leave Darien thanked them for spending so much time with him and expressed his beautiful self so wonderfully that both of them - as well as Susan - got all choked up and teary eyed.  He is such a beautiful, sweet soul.  He told me the other day that he wants to learn everything and that is why he asks so many questions.  (Like "What do we need plants for?"  "Where did animals come from?" "How do you get to be a father?"  "Do boy birds sing?" - this last was coming home from school one day when he started in with one of his trains of thought that went something like this:  "Wouldn't it be cool to be a bird!  I could fly up in the sky and it would feel so wonderful!  And sing beautiful songs.  Do boy birds sing?  Then I could sing beautiful songs and make the whole world happy."  He is really big on wanting to make the whole world happy and keeping the planet clean and beautiful.)

In February, the last time things got so desperate that I had to send out an appeal to my whole e-mailing list, I mentioned that one of the things we needed to do was keep Darien in his Montessori school.

"The response was overwhelmingly positive.  Most people weren't able to send anything, but did send good wishes and prayers - as well as thanks for having the courage to ask for help.  There were a few people who responded very negatively and asked to be taken of the mailing list.  There were also 3 or 4 people who wrote to say we should take Darien out of the Montessori School - that it was a luxury not a necessity.  That couldn't be further from the truth.

We originally put him in that school because it was cheaper than regular day care.  And it has been a great experience for him - he is so much more confident in socializing with other kids now, it is really great.  The main reason to put him in the school however was to give me some time to work.  I have almost no time to do any writing these days (witness the need to do it in the early am) - and find it impossible to do any kind of focused work that takes some concentration when his enthusiastic, exuberant little self is around.

"During the time he is in school - basically 9 until 3 - is the time I have to get things done.  Then and early in the morning or late at night.  (Last night - with the help of a tooth ache - I stayed up until about 2 working on this.)  My mornings are centered around getting him dressed and ready and off to school - and once he gets home in the afternoon it is hard to do anything that takes very much concentration and focus because he wants attention and help with various things.  Or he wants to be on my computer playing games - which means I can't be on my computer.  The other day he changed the screen saver on my computer - 4 years old, and he is finding things on my computer that I didn't know were there.  I used to have more time in the afternoon or evening to get some things done before Susan started this job - but now she isn't here near as much and is often pretty tired when she is." - Feb. 5, 2009 message to Yahoo Mailing list quoted in April 2009 Update Newsletter

It is between 9 and 3 on weekdays that I try to do most of my telephone counseling appointments, get to the post office to mail off orders, do the grocery shopping, etc., etc.  He is a Joy and a blessing, but it is challenging to get any work done when he is around.  So, having some time to myself is very important to me and keeping him in school was not a luxury." - Joy2MeU Update Newsletter May 2010

This time of course, the Montessori School would be a luxury, because he can go to kindergarten in the public school for free.  We really don't want to send him there. The one time a few weeks ago that we went over there to check it out, there were older kids - maybe 3rd or 4th graders - running around, cussing and generally acting in ways we really don't want him exposed to at this age.  After that visit, we started searching frantically for other options.  Most of the private schools are too expensive, and some of the them are not that great.  But then Susan found this one in Carlsbad - which is about 10 miles away, but in the same vicinity as Susan's office.  It isn't as expensive as most of the private schools - but still not in the realm of possibility when we can't even pay the rent.

The Montessori School doesn't start until September 1st - while public schools started today, August 16th. (I am actually finishing this on the 17th.)  We realized that no matter what we wanted, the Universe might have different plans.  And that it could be best in the Cosmic Scheme of things for him to go to public school.  Also, realistically, if we didn't start him in public school and the end of the month comes without enough financial resources to send him to the other school we would be in a really bad position - perhaps having to start him in public school several weeks late.  We certainly didn't want to put him in that kind of position.

In any case, what happened is that Susan became very upset and gestured for us to go.  As we were leaving we ran into 3 of his friends from his preschool, but we were already leaving and he was so upset. When we got home I was an emotional wreck for a couple of hours.  Just kept bursting in tears and sobs.  It took me awhile to process through what was happening and realize I was reacting out of an inner child place on one hand.

"By the time I was 4 or 5 I felt overwhelming shame.  I felt like I was inadequate and defective because I was unable to protect my mother from my father." - Union Within - healing the inner child

And also reacting out of the old tapes that tell me I am a loser and a failure because I am not making enough money and able to support and protect my family.  The old tapes that tell me that nothing I ever do is good enough because I am inherently flawed and defective - inherently unlovable and unworthy.  When thinking about sending out this appeal during that time, it was going to start with something like, "My heart is so broken."

As I said, it took me a couple of hours to work through that - to set some internal boundaries with the critical parent voice and with the inner child places within me that feel so broken and damaged.  Shortly after I had gotten to a place of more balance Darien came in to talk to me.  He proceeded to tell me that he was so upset because there were so many people there - and that I should remember that it takes him awhile to get used to someplace new.  He then said he wanted to go to school tomorrow (today) and "I promise that I will be really brave."

So, this morning I took the brave little man to school.  It seemed like there were hundreds less people there and we were able to park right in front. Of course, we went early and his room was still locked.  But then we connected with his teacher and she was really cool with him.  She had to go into the office for a bit and Darien started dancing - doing what I think of as his Irish jig kind of a dance.  By the time, she had shown him around the room and explained a few things to us, a few of the kids he knew from his old school had shown up.  Last I saw of  him, he was waving good bye as he ran to the playground to play before school started.  So, more will be revealed about how this all works out - but as of today he has started kindergarten in the public school.

By the time he came into tell me that he was going to be brave, I had worked through the reactions I had and remembered the Truth about asking for help.

"Learning to have the humility and courage to ask for help was a vital component for me in learning to live life sober.  I understand now that asking for help is an act of Love for my self, is part of taking responsibility for myself because I cannot do it alone - I was never meant to do it alone." - Donations to the Cause / Love Offerings / Spiritual Tithes

So, I am getting ready to publish this page now to demonstrate a willingness to be Loving to me.  I have made up some pages with special offices on the products I have and on phone counseling.  There is a list of those along with links to the offers pages just below the donation links.  As far as the donations go, I have always sent energy back when anyone has been moved to send some green energy my way.

"The Metaphysical Law of Karma - of cause and effect / giving and receiving / what you sow you reap - is what governs this life experience we are having.   Giving and receiving are two parts of one dynamic - like breathing.  As a friend of mine who is a New Thought minister says, "to say giving is more Blessed than receiving is like saying exhaling is more Blessed than inhaling." Just as breath needs to flow in and out, so too does energy need to flow- on all levels, including emotional energy.  Blocking the flow of any energy, whether it is money energy or emotional energy, is dysfunctional."  - Metaphysical Law: Giving and Receiving ~ Donations / Love Offering
I know there is a perfect Divine Plan unfolding and that everything will work out for the best in the long run.  What that is going to look like I can't know - More Will Be Revealed.  The reality of my life right now is I have never had such an abundance of Love in my life. Things between Susan and I are better than they have ever been (she asked me last week if we could just get married in Cambria soon) - and Darien continues to amaze us and bring so much Joy into our lives."

Mon Sep 6, 2010 9:43 pm from message Update on the You are invited to our Wedding Reception to Yahoo Mailing list
"I added two updates to the request for help I sent out back on August 17th - will include them here and then a short summary of what happened after that. . . .
    "Update August 22, 2010: Some donations have been coming in, and some sales, enough that I told the landlady's lawyer son on Friday that I should be able to pay the first half of the August rent by Tuesday or Wednesday.  Today our best car broke down.  If we are lucky it will just be a water pump and cost less than $600 - but doesn't look like I will get the rent paid when I told him.  Hopefully there are some more people who are going to take advantage of the great deals on phone counseling or the upcoming workshop or some more donations are on the way.  The Adventure continues and More Will Be Revealed. Meanwhile Darien's aunt and uncle took him to LegoLand on Friday and after riding the rides they went to the Waterpark- "the Greatest Day Ever!" according to the amazing little man.  I got to watch him surf yesterday and was blown away.  He goes boldly out into the waves with his boogie board - the man who doesn't like to get his face in the water - and rides them in.  Very cool!  (A little scary for Papa to watch.;-)  And he is loving the public school so far.  He is obviously way ahead of where they are starting at, but I guess we don't have to start worrying about him preparing for college just yet.  I should have an announcement about the cruise in February later this week. We will get married next month but have a celebration on the cruise. Hard to have moments of Joy when waiting for the tow truck to come take the car to the shop - but not impossible. ;-) I know there is a Divine Plan unfolding here somehow. ~ Robert 8/22/10 6:22 pm
    Update August 27, 2010: Have gotten first half of August rent paid and all the major utilities covered - so that is very good news!  The junker car we took on a month ago had some major problems but we found someone who wanted just that kind of car and sold it today - seemed like that car was going to be far more hassle than it was worth (it had a broken motor mount so I was having to drive very carefully.) Got the water pump on other car fixed for under $350 - it has some transmission problems going on but hopefully is good for awhile.  We rented a car for a week while all this was going on but will have to give that back Monday (Susan mentioned on her Facebook page that it was a cool hybrid.)  Having only one car will cause some major logistical problems but if we have to go that way for awhile we can work it out I am sure.  Susan is going to see about buying a car on credit with perhaps a cosigner to try to get workable payments.  We went to open house at Darien's public school last night - and afterward Susan cried.  We are not happy about his teacher or the situation.  This afternoon Susan got an e-mail from the Montessori school saying they might be able to work with us.  We both want so much to be able to send him there - but are willing to accept the Divine Plan if that doesn't work out. Doesn't look like I will be able to afford to record my Intensive a week from Sunday. We are very grateful to everyone who helped out or sent good wishes.  Would be grateful to anyone else who wants to send some help our way.  Hopefully a few people will take advantage of the special offers I have available before Saturday night when they expire.  I am not sure we are going to be able to make the trip up to Cambria to get married as we planned in a couple of weeks - or that we will have a car that we feel confident enough in to make the trip. If we have to postpone it a few weeks, we can.  We are just going to have a very simple ceremony with a few people up there and then have our real celebration on the cruise hopefully. (And hopefully, I will get some time this weekend to work on the page with information about the cruise.)
    I hope and pray this is the last time I have to ask for help in this way.  I just got all emotional writing that.  I really don't like doing this at all, but accepting and surrendering and willingness to take action for me and my recovery have been the key to turning my life into an Adventure worth living instead of an endurance contest of suffering.  This will be the last update to this page - I will probably do an Update Newsletter in September.  I am going to close this with a quote from my book about acceptance and surrender and all those spiritual principles that are so vital to making life worth living - so vital to making it possible for me to still be celebrating life as a dance with many, many moments of Joy & Love in it no matter what is happening with the external circumstances.  ~ Robert 8/27/10 5:42 pm" -  http://joy2meu.com/Help_2010.html
Two days in a row Darien came home with a "bad" slip (saying that he had to put his dog bone under a tree instead of at his doghouse like when he has a good day - where do they come up with these things) and an attitude.  The second day he was the only one in the class of kindergartners who didn't follow directions - like Abe said, excuse me, 17 5 years olds and he is the only one who doesn't follow directions. The teacher had been teaching 6th grade for 17 years and at the open house said she would get through everything fast so we could get home and have a glass of wine. He was acting like an arrogant smart aleck and I could see him taking on a defensive attitude to survive in a hostile environment.  The next day we started him in the Montessori School.  They agreed to a lower price until his father is able to get more support through the army at which time we will pay them more.  I was so emotional about being able to send him there - didn't realize how much the other place was bothering me. Sometimes I practice acceptance so hard I end up stuffing feelings in the process.  Am so grateful I had made and received enough by then to make it happen.

That was last Wednesday.  On Thursday Susan's Dad bought her a new car - one that she will have to make payments to him for - it is a 2008 Hyundai with only 30,000 miles on it.  So, that is great.  Things are definitely better now and we are so grateful to everyone who sent some Love our way. The request I made triggered money coming in from places that had nothing to do with me asking for help - or nothing to do directly, but metaphysically it was all about putting it out there and having it come back from somewhere. I don't know how things are going to unfold in the coming months because we are still running close to the edge but we got through a crisis period and are very GRATEFULL!!!!!!!

Love and Joy 2 all of us,
Robert

One more note on Darien 2010 - this is something that happened in summer that really touched me, so I want to share it.
Just reminded me of something that happened a few months ago with my step grandson Darien.  He will be 6 in November - and he and I have this powerful connection to each other (even look alike though there is not blood relationship.)  One day he was asking questions about various things like he does (wants to know everything) and talking about when he was a baby because of a picture of him on the wall.  I told him that the first time I met him (he was about 3 or 4 months old) that he cried (Susan thought it was because my deep voice scared him) - and he says, "From Joy?"  It was a mind blower to me that a 5 year old understood that it was possible to cry from Joy - and that that was his assumption about what he would have felt the first time we met. :-)
heart

In the January 2011 Update I did announce that we were getting married two days later - and so now on with 2011.  I am mostly going to adding pictures this time - with a few little stories and two longer excerpts.  I used to keep a running list of the cute and amazing things he did and said - but quit doing that quite awhile ago.  There are too many of them in any case - so am just keeping this update of this page simple this time.
We got married on January 14th, 2011 in a civil ceremony at the County Court House in San Luis Obispo California.
  Wedding
    ringbearer   
Our ring bearer waiting for his cue - he was taking his job very seriously.  Getting married was a great idea and our relationship has grown and gotten much easier and more comfortable - our intimacy much deeper - since the wedding.  Now that we have passed our First Anniversary, I can say that it definitely changed things for the better.
 wedding
 
wedding
wedding   D man   wedding
My beautiful wife and handsome grandson - my family.

wedding

There were several choices for the script for the civil ceremony and we choose this one - which is actually quite beautiful and healthy.

"We are here today in the presence of these witnesses to join together Robert and Susan in marriage.

Marriage is a sincere and mutual commitment to love one another and to work towards creating a life together in an atmosphere of care, consideration, and respect.

The act of uniting two people in marriage is one of the oldest and dearest ceremonies known.

A civil ceremony, although brief, is just as binding and as far reaching as the most solemn religious ceremony.

Marriage is commended to us to be honorable among all persons: and is not to be entered into lightly, but with reverence for it's responsibilities.

Happiness in a marriage is not something that just happens. A good marriage must be created and nurtured. In the art of marriage, the little things are the big things.

It is never being too old to hold hands.

It is remembering to say, “I love you.”

It is having a mutual sense of values and common objectives.

It is standing together, doing things for each other in the spirit of giving.

It is speaking words of appreciation and showing gratitude in thoughtful ways.

It is cultivating flexibility, patience, understanding, and a sense of humor.

It is having the ability to forgive and forget.

It is not marrying the right partner; it is being the right partner.

Please join hands, and turn and face each other.

Robert will you take Susan for your lawfully wedded spouse? Will you love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, in adversity and prosperity, for better or worse, throughout all the days of your life?

Susan will you take Robert for your lawfully wedded spouse? Will you love him, comfort her, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, in adversity and prosperity, for better or worse, throughout all the days of your life?

May we have the rings, please?

Please repeat after me. “With this ring I marry you, and promise you my love and faithfulness.”

The rings are a symbol of your marriage. They are symbolic of the fact that you have this day pledged yourselves in marriage, and as the ring is a perfect circle without end, it is the wish and hope of all that your marriage will be perfect and without end.

And now, in as much as Robert and Susan have consented together in marriage, and have declared the same before witnesses and thereto have given and pledged their love and faithfulness to each other, by the authority vested in me I pronounce you married under the laws of the state of California."
Be the right person!
Snapshots from 2011
Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:40 pm  An excerpt from Off on our Honeymoon Cruise on Saturday Message to Yahoo Mailing list  
" . . . Here is one of my entries on Facebook that gives some insight into one thing that is happening in our lives right now.
"A moment to be treasured: This morning walking Darien up the ramp to his school room, he reached out and took my hand. I was very conscious and present to treasuring the connection between us holding hands as we walked to his room, because my big 6 year old grandson is not too far away from getting to the point where he will be too big to hold his grandpa's hand any more." January 24 at 9:22a
Our little man is growing up.  Every time he takes my hand now, I pay special attention and cherish the moment.

On the way to school the other day he was playing his little video game - one in which he has to do math problems to get to the next level.  That day he was asking me for answers to division questions - and I tried to explain how it works to him when he cut me off.  He proceeded to tell me that he doesn't have to know about multiplication and division now - that he doesn't need to learn that until college.
 
So it is now 11:25 pm Feb. 24th and Susan and Darien are sleeping - although I did just need to take Darien to the bathroom (I don't think he ever woke up quite.)"
February 5th - It is over a year later and the little man still has no reluctance to hold my hand when I am walking him into school.  He is a lot more independent and often asks me just to drop him off in front of school - but just as often I park and walk him in, and he doesn't mind holding hands at all. :-)
Western Caribbean Cruise ~ Our Honeymoon cruise thanks to the kindness of some friends. (Especially Aileen M. & Cory B.)

"We are leaving on the cruise early Saturday morning.  One friend who has traveled from Arizona to my Intensive 4 times traded in his time share for the year for our plane tickets.  Another friend who was on the last cruise with us paid for most of our cabin.  So, another miracle and we get to go on our honeymoon cruise." - Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:40 pm  An excerpt from Off on our Honeymoon Cruise on Saturday Message to Yahoo Mailing list
cruise
cruise
Darien charmed the whole crew - waitresses were competing to see who could carry his tray for him at dinner.
cruise
Darien loved this pool on the beach in Costa Maya.
cruise
Of course, my beautiful wife loves laying in the sun any time - this was in Costa Maya also I think.
mischief       "Call me mischief." Darien said, when I looked in and saw him with this on.  March 9th, 2011
Darien's first modeling gig
model

Susan knew someone who was doing some publicity photos for a band - and they wanted kids who looked like the band members for shots of the band as kids.  So, Darien had his first modeling gig in May.  He is playing a saxophone in the pictures at right - but it is so small you can't even see it.  The man is a natural at posing for pictures.
modeling

band band
cimiccon
Darien was downtown with Susan helping her promote a show she was producing during Comiccon weekend in July and took this picture with some cartoon character.
baby
This is obviously a really old picture but when I was getting other pictures from Susan's Facebook I just couldn't resist adding this one because I haven't had it on this page before - and it gives an idea of why I was calling him Mr. Personality before he could even walk or talk.
cover
In July I used Dariens picture on the cover of my new book.  It is quite a poignant picture of him and it just seemed perfect for the cover of my inner child book.
In June I shared the following in a message to Yahoo mailing list:
" First of all, it is incredible that my journey is not solitary any more.  On June 15th Susan and I will be celebrating having lived together for 6 years.  An amazing record for both of us.  And we will have been married for 5 months then also.  I am very glad that she is now my wife.  Darien is just an amazing little man - and we are both so blessed to have the privilege and honor of having raised him for the past 5 years plus. . .   This kid is a natural model.  Going to be a star some day. . . . . Last August - as I shared on that page - we were agonizing about having to send Darien to public school.  We did start him in public school and then pulled him out and were able get him into a Montessori school.  The end of that school year is this week and I am sobbing and crying from Joy, and because I am so grateful that Darien got to go there.  It has been wonderful for him - and I am soooooo grateful for it."
In August I shared the following in a message to Yahoo mailing list:
"Darien's Dad is here on a short visit from Afghanistan.  Darien hasn't seen him in two years and was so excited to see him.  He went to Alaska first (where he has been stationed for the last few years - which is why Darien hasn't seen him in 2 years) and got engaged to the woman he was seeing there and brought her down with him.  She seems to be really good for him and has gotten Susan's seal of approval.  He just got here yesterday and has to leave on Wednesday - but it is great for Darien to see him."
In August I shared this on Facebook:
"Am all emotional this morning. Just took my little buddy to start second grade in Public School. He is growing up. I am sad and scared of what the experience will be like for him. He is such a gentle soul - and I Love him so much. Turning him over to his HP now."
Second Grade - and then back to First Grade

Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:39 pm from message News from Joy to You & Me to Yahoo Mailing list
"One of the consequences of our situation is that it was never a real option this year to send Darien back to the Montessori School.  For those of you who weren't around last year - or haven't read the messages from last year at this time - we started Darien in kindergarten in public school last year and then were real concerned about the teacher and situation as we saw it the first couple of weeks of school.  When we moved down here to the San Diego area 5 years ago, we put Darien in a Montessori preschool because it was cheaper than daycare - and both Susan and I needed to be able to work during the daytime.   The Montessori preschool he was in didn't have a kindergarten until the last year he was there - and then it was just one period a day and not really a full fledged kindergarten.  When both Susan and I started crying out of our fear for him after the Back to School Night where we heard the teacher talking to the parents, we managed to work out a deal with another Montessori school for him to attend there (something we really couldn't afford, but felt we couldn't afford not to for Darien's sake.)  And I think that school was real good for him. But it started with first grade - and though Darien was the only kid at the first grade level, we got to thinking of him as being in the first grade.  And it was normal for him to expect to go to the second grade this year - something we really didn't even think about.

Well it turned out, that though the Montessori School was good at teaching him math and sciences, he is still at a very beginning first grade level when it comes to reading.  His teacher expressed her concern to Susan in the first week - and said he was really reading at a kindergarten level.  It wasn't until that happened, that we really realized that he had essentially skipped kindergarten.  And when one of the kids in his class had his 8th birthday it really drove home the point that Darien was much younger than most of the class.  In helping him with his reading, I could see that he just wasn't developmentally ready for level they were expecting of him - and we asked that he be moved back to first grade.  We had an evaluation meeting with the teachers and the principle and now Darien will be moving to a first grade class on Monday.

We are really hoping that this is not going to be emotionally traumatizing for him - and he seems to be taking it in stride (explaining to people when it comes up that he skipped kindergarten.)  I think it is really the best thing for him - but so hope none of the kids tease him about it or anything.  We love that little man so much and are really trying to do what is best for him.  His father was home for 3 days on leave from Afghanistan last month - and it is the first time he has seen him in two years - and he won't see him again for another year.  His mother is missing in action - on the run from violating her probation for several drug related felony convictions - and he hasn't seen her in months.  He is actually used to them not being around, since that has been the norm for years now.  But every once in a while he will get into some grief about it.  Usually he starts off crying about being sad because he hasn't seen a friend at the kids club in a long time, or sad about his cat being gone (the cat has been gone for 4 years) - before getting around to owning that he misses his mommy.

A bit earlier today, I was at the gym with Darien. When I picked him up from the kids klub there, the person who had been supervising the kids was just gushing about him.  She said "He is such a leader."  And in talking to her - telling her about him - I was reminded of just how smart the little man is.  I talked in earlier messages to this list, about how when we moved down here in September 2006 he had very little experience of interacting with other kids. Susan and I became his full time guardians in April of 2006 - though his mother and father had been living with us up to that time and we had been taking care of him part of the time.  The montessori school we put him in - and the kids club at the gym - were the places where he really learned how to relate to other kids.  I mentioned - in probably more than one of my past messages here - how when he was little I would take him to the park or the kids club and he would run right up to any kids around (even kids much older) and ask them if they would play with him.  This often set him up to get his feelings hurt - and he would feel really badly when the kid or kids didn't want to play with him (and I would feel really sad for him.)  But at some point, he figured out that if he brought along some toy or something that other kids would be interested in, then they would ask to play with him.

It was probably when he was close to 4 when he started doing that. And he has been doing it ever since.  As I was telling her how he figured out that bringing something helped him find kids to play with - and she was saying how smart he is - the scene when we first got to the gym flashed in my mind.  He is bringing what they call beyblades with him these days (little things that spin like tops and battle in a little arena - very popular with little boys.) As soon as we got there, the boys all descended on his arena and started grabbing at them - at which point he stepped in and started setting boundaries with them.  And I said to her - this being the first time I ever put words to what I was seeing - that bringing something that other kids wanted to play with had forced him to learn how to set boundaries.  This was really what she was talking about when she was saying what a leader he is - that he was setting boundaries and making rules for other kids to follow.

She then gushed about how much personality he has - which reminded me (something I have also mentioned here in past messages) about how I started calling him Mr. Personality before he could even walk and talk.  Darien brings so much Joy to Susan and I - he is such a gift in our lives.  We are blessed with Great Abundance because we have Darien in our lives.  He is such a precious little man."
February 5th - It was a very good move to have him go back to First Grade.  It has worked out great.  The kids are his age and he is learning to read and doing very well.  Just last week (January 2012) they had a monthly assembly at this grade school where the topic is that character counts.  Each month evidently they give out awards to kids who exemplify that months positive character trait - and Darien was one of the two kids from his class selected.  The character trait was Fairness - and it was apt because the one time he got into trouble it was because he was trying to defend someone who was being picked on. The day he got into trouble it was actually a misunderstanding.  One of the volunteer lunch monitors thought he saw Darien give another kid the finger.  I wrote the teacher a note saying that Darien didn't know what that was - and explaining to her what he had told me, which was that he made a gesture of pointing two fingers at his eyes and flipping his hand down indicating that he was "keeping his eyes" on the kid.  The way he flipped his hand down, it was understandable how someone could have misinterpreted it - and the next day the teacher told me that she was so relieved to have him explain it to her because she couldn't imagine him doing what he was accused of.  He didn't have to miss the recess - which was supposed to have been his punishment.  He was just warning this other kid to not be mean.

Halloween - Ninja Warrior  
haloween spooky
Uncle Bryce & Aunt Melody (dressed for Grease), Grandma as Marylin Monroe, and cousin Kylie as a lady bug.
  7th Birthday November 10, 2011

  birthday birthday birthday
First the man got to open some presents at home on his birthday - some Beyblades from his Dad among other things.  Darien does like presents.
Then on the next Saturday he had a birthday party at Round Table Pizza with lots of kids.
cake RT me
rt rt rt
Christmas Eve afternoon he spent some quality time at LegoLand with Grandma.
legoland
lego   legoland legoland
Christmas2011


On Facebook Susan shared this picture on December 19th along with this comment: "Darien has decided to ask Santa for a rain check this year due to the high volume of Christmas presents arriving on a daily basis. He has also decided to celebrate Hanukkah and open one present every day until Christmas arrives!"

I added this comment Facebook: "Our little man has been opening a present a day since he learned in school that Hanukkah lasted 8 days. Today an elf (former phone client of mine who has taken to buying Darien a multitude of presents every year) showed up at the door with a bunch more presents. I had been worried that he wouldn't have any left for Christmas with his Grandma Susan allowing him to open one a day - not worried any longer."

He loves to have lots of presents under the tree - and in fact, insisted on a big tree with lots of room for presents.  And, he of course, never agreed to ask Santa for a rain check.  He did say to me today (February 17th 2012) that it is too bad he didn't get any presents from Santa.  When I said, oh but you did - he said, no only one of them said Santa on it, and it also said Daddy.  So, as I talk about in the story below, he still believes in Santa mostly - but doesn't think he got any presents from him this year.


Sun Jan 1, 2012 8:14 pm from Happy New Year message to Yahoo Mailing List

Happy New Year to the Magnificent Spiritual Beings on my Yahoo mailing list,

To start out 2012, I am wanted to share a story with you about Darien.

Darien turned 7 in November.  The age of 7 is a vital milestone in the child developmental process.  Recognizing the significance of this milestone many years ago was a key to me understanding the disease of codependence.

The "age of reason" is actually a phrase that I have heard since childhood - because growing up Catholic it was at the age of reason that one could first take communion.  Basically it means that the part of a child's brain that understands cause and effect, and logic - and abstract concepts - doesn't fully develop until around 7.
"The part of a child's brain that is logical and rational, that understands abstract concepts (like time or death), that can have any kind of an objective perspective on self or life, does not develop until about the age of 7 (the age of reason.)  As little children we were completely ego-centric and magical thinking." - Reprogramming our dysfunctional ego defenses
In my telephone counseling and my Intensive Training workshops, I have evolved a way of explaining the importance of this that I don't think I have ever written in quite the way I explain it these days - so I think I will write about this a bit.  It was for me of utmost importance to recognize the significance of how we were affected by our environments in early childhood to not only understand codependence, but even more importantly to be able to start forgiving ourselves for something that wasn't our fault, for something we had no control over.  And I also want to acknowledge how perfect it is to have had Darien in my life for the last almost 7 years, because I got to watch his developmental process in action in ways that confirmed what I had intuitively come to understand years before.  This story I am going to share has to do with Darien coming into the age of reason.

Prior to 7, we are primarily ego-centric and magical thinking.  Our parents were our Higher Powers - the God and Goddess in our lives - and we had no realistic perspective of them whatsoever.  As we are starting to grow up, we start to understand basic cause and effect - like, when you turn on the light switch the light comes on, the kinds of things I watched Darien discover with delight.  But we can't understand more abstract concepts.  We are not capable of process thought.  For instance, when we are 3 or 4 or 5, we are not capable of thinking to ourselves, "Wow, Mom must be having a really bad day - that's why she is yelling at me."  We just know that Mom is yelling at us.  We do not have the ability to have a perspective that helps us understand that our parents have stress in their lives, or that the ways they are acting may have nothing to do with us.

As I said, we are ego-centric - we are the center of the Universe as far as we know.  We took their behavior, the ways they treated us and the messages we got from them - both direct messages and indirect ones through their role modeling - personally.  We thought what was happening had to do with us - because we weren't capable of seeing it any other way.

So anything that felt abusive, any kind of deprivation, anything in the environment that was uncomfortable - fighting, anxiety, depression, alcoholism, etc. - we took personally and internalized.  We were the center of our Universe and it felt like the things that were painful and uncomfortable were our fault somehow.  In my inner child work, I got in touch with the reality that by the time I was about 5 I felt ashamed that I wasn't able to protect my mother from my father - I felt like a failure somehow.  Children are magical thinking.  They feel like they have the power to cause fights, to cause drinking, to cause death even for some of us.

This is where the core of codependence comes from - what I call toxic shame.  The difference between guilt and shame in my definition, is that guilt is about behavior (I did something wrong, I made a mistake) - while shame is about our being (something is wrong with me, I am a mistake.)  It is the place deep inside of us where we feel somehow defective, somehow unlovable and unworthy because our parents were wounded.  They didn't know how to love themselves or be emotionally healthy - so they could not love us in a healthy way.  They were our Higher Powers so we couldn't conceive that they weren't perfect.  We learned how to relate to our self, to life, and to other people in early childhood from people that were wounded in their childhoods.
""The Family Systems Dynamics research shows that within the family system, children adopt certain roles according to their family dynamics.  Some of these roles are more passive, some are more aggressive, because in the competition for attention and validation within a family system the children must adopt different types of behaviors in order to feel like an individual." . . .

. . . . It is important to note that we adapt the roles that are best suited to our personalities.  We are, of course, born with a certain personality.  What happens with the roles we adapt in our family dynamic is that we get a twisted, distorted view of who we are as a result of our personality melding with the roles. This is dysfunctional because it causes us to not be able to see ourselves clearly.  As long as we are still reacting to our childhood wounding and old tapes then we cannot get in touch clearly with who we really are." - Roles In Dysfunctional Families
The feeling that there is something wrong with me - toxic shame - is the foundation that we built our relationship with self on.  It is the foundation of codependence.

Then what happens, is that our ego - which is the part of our being whose job is to help us survive - adapts an emotional and behavioral defense system to help us fit into the rules of our dysfunctional family so that we can survive.  One of a child's jobs is to manipulate it's environment in order to survive - so a child will adapt whatever works.  If throwing temper tantrums works;  if crying works;  if being the good child works;  if trying to be invisible is what works;  if being the family clown is what works;  that is what a child will adapt.  Neurological researchers now state that the neural pathways in our brain that relate to relating to other human beings are pretty well set by the time we are four or five years old.
"One of the new links I recently added to my recommend links page is to a great movie: What the Bleep Do We Know!?  It is a movie about quantum physics - and I didn't just like it because they sounded like they were quoting from my book at times.  It is really quite fascinating stuff.  One of the things that was especially gratifying to me had to do with the neural pathways in the brain.  I have been telling people for quite a few years that it was possible to reprogram the neural pathways in our brains by doing the inner child healing work - but that was an intuitive Knowing on my part.  It was something that I Knew to be Truth - even though I wasn't real clear on exactly what neural pathways were.  In the movie they have some wonderful animation - that among other things shows how the neural pathways can be programmed either negatively or positively depending upon what attitudes and perspectives a person chooses to empower." - Update Newsletter December 2004
In childhood we had attitudes and perspectives imposed upon us.  We learned to relate to life out of fear, shame, and scarcity because that was how our parents were programed to relate to life.

Codependence is an ego defense system adapted in early childhood - and after early childhood what we do is add more layers to what is already a dysfunctional system.  It is a dysfunctional defense system because it is based on a lie - the lie being that there is something wrong with who we are, with our being.  There is nothing wrong with who we are - it is our relationship with self (and life and other people) that is all messed up because we did not have the mental capacity to understand that what was happening in our families was not personal.  We did not have the ability to see that our parents were wounded and reacting to their own wounds - they were our Higher Powers.

When we get to be 8 or 9, we start to see the hypocrisy and the lies - but by then our relationship with our self is being dictated by the feeling that we had in early childhood that there was something wrong with who we are as a being.  We are already programmed to feel like it is shameful to be imperfect and to look outside for validation in competition with others.

Darien and The Tooth Fairy

The dilemma Susan and I had recently was - "what should we tell him when something happens to cause him to question if there is a tooth fairy?"  Do we tell him the truth or let him continue with the magical thinking?

It was about a week before Christmas when Darien lost another tooth.  It was his fourth baby tooth that he has lost.  And it happened the same way that the last tooth was lost, in the kid's klub at the gym.  On the way to the gym that day, I got a foreshadowing of what was to come in a way.  In a reminder that he was approaching the age of reason, he said on the way to the gym, "How can Santa Claus take toys to every house in the world all in one night?" 

I didn't really answer his question - even though he asked it several more times, because I didn't want to hurry the process along.  I want to let him reach his own conclusions in his own time, and not lay the truth on him when he wasn't ready for it.

That night he put his tooth in a box under his pillow for the tooth fairy to take and leave him some money.  But the tooth fairy (that would be me - his grandpa) forgot about the tooth in the box.  So did he.  The next morning as he was getting ready for school, he was brushing his teeth and that reminded me that he had lost the tooth the night before and his grandma didn't know about it.  Without thinking I said, "Darien lost another tooth yesterday" - and then realized I hadn't taken care of the tooth.  I headed for his bed while Susan delayed him - and I quickly put a dollar in the box and put it back under the pillow.

But I forgot to take out the tooth!

He was glad to see the dollar but then noticed the tooth.  And then he got mad at me and said something like, "Why did you do that grandpa?"  Then, I think the thought occurred to him that I was the tooth fairy - and it made him angry.  He went into the bathroom and locked the door.  I asked him if he didn't need help brushing his hair - and he said "I will do it myself."  We could hear that he was really mad about it.

On the way to school he start asking about it - if I had put the dollar in the box the other times.  I avoided answering the first few times, and then admitted it.  He started crying at the thought that there was no tooth fairy.  Then another thought occurred to him, and he asked, "Do you have my other teeth, because I don't remember what they looked like?"  I admitted that I did have the other teeth - and he was kind of intrigued by the thought of seeing all of his lost teeth.  Then he started singing jingle bells and was happy for a few moments.

Then another thought occurred to him, and he asked, "Did Grandma tell you to do it?"  I think that he was trying to figure out a way that it wasn't my fault because he trusts me more than anyone (I have been his primary caretaker for a lot of years now - the one he goes to for nurturing) and he wanted to blame it on grandma.  (His grandma Susan will sometimes accidentally use his tooth brush or eat a snack he was saving - at this very moment Darien is hiding his favorite tooth brushes to make sure Susan doesn't use them.)  But I didn't buy into that.  I told him that it was just something that parents did for their kids.  That my mom and dad did it for me.  That I had believed in the tooth fairy too.

He said in a real sad voice, "I believed in the tooth fairy too."

Then as we were walking from the car to his classroom, he stopped me.  He told me to take the money back - and to tell grandma never to do that again.  And that he would prove there was a tooth fairy.

That afternoon when he got home from school he found the box (which I had taken the tooth out of, and put in 2 dollars) - and exclaimed, "See, I told you there was a tooth fairy."  But then later on he asked for his teeth - which I did give to him.

So, now he is in kind of an in between place.  He has been confronted with evidence that the tooth fairy didn't take his teeth, but he is still choosing to believe there is a tooth fairy.

The same thing has kind of happened with Santa Claus.  He had spotted some presents in the top of the closet that he later realized showed up under the tree on Christmas Day.  On Christmas, Susan said something about wanting to take a nap because she hadn't gotten much sleep the night before - and he says, "Oh I get it.  Santa didn't bring presents, you guys did it."

Later in the day, he said something to Susan about it - and she replied something like, "Did you really believe Santa went to all the houses in the world with presents?"  And he went into a defense of Santa that included the compelling evidence, "That he has elves to help him, remember!"

So, he is in between now - seeing things more logically but choosing to keep his magical thinking for now.  It will be interesting to see what happens the next time he loses a tooth.

In the midst of the tooth fairy trauma, Susan said to me, "What do we tell him.  If we keep lying to him he won't trust us."  An interesting question that I still am not quite sure about.  I think we have reached kind of a balance right now.  He is still mostly choosing to believe - but he has started to wake up to the fact we - and society - have not been honest with him.  It makes me wonder about a society - a civilization - that is dishonest with us when we are children, which sets us up to live life in a dysfunctional way.

When I am telling people about the dynamics of codependency, I always mention that the ego is not a bad or negative thing in and of itself - it just got programmed really badly.  And the original dysfunctional programming came from fairy tales.
"I will be talking about some different aspects of both intellectual and emotional discernment in coming articles. For this article I want to make a point about how important this process is by using the example of some basic dysfunctional beliefs that are at the foundation of our relationship with life.  These are the beliefs that we learned from the fairy tales we heard in early childhood.

We learned that when we meet our Prince or Princess we will live happily-ever-after.  We got the message that there was a destination to reach in life where we would find a state of being that is happily-ever-after.

That is not true.  It is not the way life works.  You know that now.  As an adult, you consciously and intellectually know that there is no happily-ever-after - if you have ever stopped to think about it.

Unfortunately however, that belief is programmed into our subconscious intellectual paradigm and as such, it determines our perspective of life, of romance, of our self - and thus dictates our emotional relationship with those aspects of our human experience.

We are set up to feel like failures in life, and in romantic relationships, because we do not get to reach happily-ever-after.  We judge and shame ourselves because we haven't lived up to the fairy tale.  We blame ourselves - or we blame others for this feeling of failure.

This feeling of failure is an illusion based upon a fairy tale.  It is based upon beliefs about life that are not true - that have never been true.  It is part of our subconscious programming and the only way to change it is to change that subconscious programming - and heal the emotional wounds that we have experienced because our dysfunctional relationships with life and romance set us up to feel like failures.

We cannot do that without looking within.  We need to become willing to start shining the light of consciousness into the darkness of our subconscious in order to take power away from that which is in the dark.  Looking outside to find the answers does not work.  It is only by looking within that we can start healing and recovering from the false beliefs that we learned in childhood." - Intellectual Discernment - focused within
We are set up to expect life to be something it is not in childhood.  To expect romance to be something it is not.

I don't really have someplace I am going with this.  I just started out to tell the story about Darien and the tooth fairy.  But it really is food for thought how society sets us up to live life in a dysfunctional way by being dishonest with us from the very beginning.   Are we doing children a service when we tell them about the tooth fairy and Santa Claus?  I don't know.  Just some thoughts that are rattling around here on the first day of January 2012.  I wonder if the Mayan's told their children fairy tales.  From what I know Native Americans - who I believe had much more functional cultures then we do - told stories that taught values and principles, and I don't think any of them ended in happily-ever-after.  I wonder where all that dishonesty came from.  Oh well.   
February 26th - There is so much to say about Darien but I have been having trouble figuring out how to wrap this up here.  I could talk about how he has evolved in terms of his need for privacy - but that could be an invasion of his privacy.

Or I could talk about his having a crush on a girl - one area where he really needs to learn to have more balance.  Early in the school year he had a crush on a girl that he knew from the gym, who ended up being in his second grade class.  He would follow her around looking all moony saying I have a crush on her.  I tried to explain to him that he had to be cooler than that.  It was actually probably a good thing that he ended up being in a different class from her.  This past week that girl was riding to and from school with us because of their car breaking down.  On the way out of school one day he said to her,  "I don't think I have a crush on you any more."  Which was bad enough, but then he went on to say, "I am getting a crush on Mary Clare and she doesn't want me to have a crush on you."  The girl then started talking about all the guys she had crushes on.  Of course, he is at an age now where the girls don't like it if he has a crush on them - and don't like if he doesn't.

I could talk about how he is always coming up with facts to share with me that he has learned from one of his TV shows.  Yesterday, He said, "You won't believe this, but moose eat acorns."  And then went on to share that bears also eat acorns.  Many of the shows he watches are pretty educational - so that is good.

The things I really need to talk about however, are related to some things that are happening in terms of his mother and what is going on with her - and a potential threat to our custody of him.  I am not going to talk about that here though.  I need to do some processing about it all - and keep pulling myself into the present so that I am not projecting a horror movie about the future in my mind.  I will hopefully find the time soon to do some process writing about it so that I can clear up my relationship with what is happening - but it is not time yet to share it here.  So, I will just reiterate that Darien is such a blessing and gift in our life.  He is an amazing little man - and I Love him dearly.  I am so grateful for his presence in my life. ~ Robert 2-26-12

The day after I posted this Darien came up with one of his beautiful pronouncements which I posted on Facebook and had to add here also:
Quote of the day from Darien (as we are driving home from school and he is counting the money in his piggy bank), "Some people might think that the best thing in the world is to have a lot of money. But it’s not. The best thing in the world is love." - Monday Feb 27th  at 2:51pm
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Medicine Cards The Medicine Cards (This link and the one on the graphic will take you to the page it is offered on Amazon.com) have been a very valuable tool in my recovery process.  Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to quote in Codependence: The Dance of Wounded Souls from: Medicine Cards by Jamie Sams and David Carson, copyright 1988, Bear & Co.  Reprinted by permission Bear & Co., P.O. Box 2860, Santa Fe, NM 87504. (Since the book was published they have moved to P.O. Box 3876, Gettysburg, PA 17325)