Don Quixote, M.D.

        My life has been very challenging at times. However, I must admit, or really confess, that my journey has not been boring, far from uninteresting, still unwritten with the potential of unexpected adventures. Think about it. Think about your life. Isn’t that the way life should be for everyone, but maybe not in the way I have lived my life in the past. And now when I take time to think about the roads that I have traveled, the mythical character of Don Quixote comes into my mind. Have you ever heard of him? See, much like Don Quixote, I now realize that I have lived a storybook life, in many ways, attacking “windmills” in my travels. And also much like Don Quixote, I have actually encountered a variety of extremely interesting people, or “characters”, along the way. In retrospect, I have lived a life that most people can only fantasize within their minds. Think about it, in his imaginary travels, Don Quixote encountered very interesting and intriguing people, individuals that most people never really care to meet. He had relationships with prostitutes, priests, soldiers, escaped convicts and even scorned lovers. As I now reflect on the journey of my life in the past, I have to smile when I think about many of the similar types of characters, in real life, that I have met along the path. See, I have lived with, had associations and personal relationships with priests, prostitutes, killers, clergy from all the major religions, generals, homeless people, millionaires, drug dealers, pimps, strip club owners and people in organized crime who would kill you if the situation presented itself. And I would even kill people if I had to survive. And now, as I stop and take time to reflect on the roads that I have walked, many times the low roads in life, I realize that almost every significant encounter taught me a valuable lesson about life and in the way I now perceive myself, my self-image. And even though I have achieved three formal university degrees, including a Masters (but not a medical M.D.), I acquired an M.D. (Master of Deception) along the way. See, with all my formal education, I still believe that my most valuable and most important education was gained from living life on the “streets” in an environment that most people never want to live. See, you cannot buy with money, that form of education, although it can be very costly at times. Basically, in most of my professional adventures, I had to convince people that I was someone who I really was not in reality. And, along the way, I had learned the art of becoming a “Master of Deception”. Now, maybe that title was really my informal “Masters” degree, although later in life I did go to seminary and receive a Masters in Theology with a minor in Psychology after achieving degrees in Criminal Justice and Political Science. But, again, my most useful education was gained from my M.D. (Master of Deception). In fact, I use my “street” credentials in one of my workshops, “First Impressions – False Perceptions” My main point is that life should always be an adventure. Life should never be boring. See, no one really knows when our “shelf life” will expire or when our “expiration date” will be stamped on our forehead or mortal life. You and I are God’s greatest creations. And each one of us was born to live a life of fulfillment in whatever we choose to be along the winding road of life. Come to think about it, I think the Beatles had a song about the long and winding road.

Sharon’s Light

     Sharon’s story is not unique. There are many stories about women, some documented and others untold, who have lived through the painful experiences that Sharon was confronted with in her life. See, Sharon is only a “reflection” of the women who had their lives changed because of domestic violence, sexual abuse in relationships and the effects of eating disorders created as harmful ways of coping and trying to control their situations. And like the stories of many other women, Sharon’s life was tragically shortened because of physical damage to her body and psychological damage to her mind resulting from long-term effects of physical, mental and emotional abuse. Sharon was not murdered. However, I believe that Sharon died mentally and emotionally many years before her weak and damaged heart finally could not take the strain of functioning inside her frail and fragile small body. Now, some people would say that Sharon’s death was God’s Will. Although I have a deep faith in God and repeat the words of The Lord’s Prayer almost religiously, the phrase “Thy Will Be Done” still does not comfort me when I reflect on my life with Sharon. However, I do believe that God brought Sharon and I together in this life for a reason and a purpose. And even after fourteen years, Sharon’s spirit still gives my life a sense of meaning and fulfillment. See, in her way, because of the years that I was blessed with only a brief moment in time with Sharon, she changed my life and personality without her knowing the way she affected me. Sharon’s story, although very painful and tragic, is also very powerful because of the inner loudness that was covered over, muted and muffled by the outer silence of her visible personality. See, because of the years of living in abuse, Sharon created a personality that “masked” her inner thoughts, emotions and feelings. Upon reflection, Sharon was not unlike many people who present a physical public image of the person they want other people to believe they really are, although this image is, many times, a false perception. See, for Sharon, it was a personality created as a form of self-protection. And she would only allow people to pass so far into the entrance of the gated and guarded walls of her mind. Sharon was my wife. She died on April 25, 2005. And as I reflect on the brief moment in time that God granted me with Sharon I think that, many times, the greatest gift in any relationship is not that it gives us what we want and desire but that it, at times, denies us what we want and desire. In this process, we gain more than we expected and hoped for in life. Now, how does someone begin to write a story about eternal love? How does a person attempt to put into words a story about a love that is unique and timeless? How does a person truly define the real meaning of Love? It is time that I return to writing and “SHARON’S LIGHT” will be a tragic love story. And this story will not be about the limits of physical love. See, in my relationship with Sharon, I would reach a level of love that transcends the physical limitations of what most people think or believe they know about love. See, in her way, Sharon would teach me how to love someone who could not give love in return. “SHARON’S LIGHT” will be intended to inspire the reader to take the journey within oneself to seek, find, feel, know and own the power and depth of love of “Self”. My desire in sharing my life with Sharon will be for the reader to recognize and understand that love is eternally present within oneself. There is no need to seek and search for love and hope to find it in a relationship or desire for physical sex. Again, I would appreciate your comments or feedback. I would also like to have your thoughts on future blog topics. You can contact me through Facebook and by “friending” me. Or you can write to my personal email address, , or through my website, .

The Light of Recovery………………”KNOW THYSELF” Above the ruins of the temple of Apollo at Delphi in Greece, there is an inscription…… “KNOW THYSELF”. And so, what comes in to your mind when you think about about those two words? Personally, I have been working on understanding myself for almost half a century. By the way, I have given up doing a follow-up to my first blog, “What is Sex……..REALLY?” I really do not understand the topic enough to write about it. Anyway, the underlying basis of my new book, “DARK SOUL” is an attempt to understand my “Self”. As of this writing, I still struggle with honestly defining my identity. And I believe that I am not alone in my efforts to really know who I am. Basically, the definition of “Self” is the understanding of a person’s identity through acknowledging the meaning of his/her experiences in life. See, I believe that my difficulty in knowing “Thyself” is rooted in identifying my real personality and identity because of my life experiences forty-five years ago when I lived undercover in drug organizations and organized crime associations for almost five years. However, you can read about my struggle in “DARK SOUL”. I believe that, for many people, defining one’s identity is, at times, extremely difficult because our true perception of “Self”, of the person we perceive ourselves to be, is often distorted by the mysterious and mental reflection of the image we see in the “mirror” of our mind. I talked about this topic in my blog last week. See, for me to honestly understand my “Self”, I need to understand my behaviors, both past and present, my attitudes, my feelings and emotions. And personally, that awareness can be very scary. To “Know Thyself” means walking through a process of personal introspection, looking in the “mirror” of your mind, walking into the “cave” of your psyche and maybe that is not very comfortable for many people. As some of you know, I am also working on a pilot episode for a future television series based on my current book, “LIFE AFTER RUSSIAN ROULETTE: REDEMPTION”. I see the main character, myself, as a combination of both the Protagonist (the main character) and the primary Antagonist (my own worst enemy) in my life. In reality, I believe that I have always been my own worst enemy, my main adversary, the “person” that I have always competed with and struggled against most of my life. To admit that part of my life is to “Know Thyself”. I believe that most people, when they think about it, are really the primary Protagonist and the main Antagonist in their lives. What do you think about yourself? See, understanding that we are both the primary “character” and our own worst enemy, at times, is the significance of knowing how the Chinese philosophy of YIN and YANG relates to our personality. Both YIN and YANG work together in creating our identity and help us to “KNOW THYSELF”. I would like to read your comments, feedback and suggestions for future blog post topics. You can send me a message on Facebook, “friend” me, write to me at or send me a message at my website, .

THE LIGHT OF RECOVERY……………”CAN YOU HANDLE THE TRUTH” I know that I promised you that I would write my follow-up to “What is Sex…. REALLY?” this week. However, I was talking to a friend, Roger Sheesley, a couple days ago about scheduling a book signing event at his restaurant and I remembered a quote he gave me for my book, “DARK SOUL”. Maybe I will get to the follow-up on Sex next week. Anyway, what is another week? Roger’s quote is found in Chapter Eight, “Mirrors and Masks”, but that is a topic for another week. What I do want to talk about this week is the quote that I begin Chapter Eight with in my new book. It has become one of my favorites. “Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.” I first heard that quote by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe expressed on a television series titled “Criminal Minds”. As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe would suggest in his insightful statement, the way we see ourselves is often reflected in our behaviors, attitudes, projections and perceptions. And, many times, the perception that we project to others, even in our most intimate relationships, is not always the way we see ourselves in the “mirror” of our mind. Think about it. Think about yourself. Maybe you will just have to read my book, “DARK SOUL”. My friend, Roger Sheesley and his wife, Susan, own a restaurant, “Tom’s Eatery at Fox Crossing”, in Mount Pleasant Mills, near Selinsgrove (Pennsylvania). Stop in and say “HI” for me. Anyway, Roger gave me such a powerful quote pertaining to the chapter in my book that I wanted to share it with you. It also defines the topic of my discussion for this week. Here is his reflection on the way many people project themselves. And I must confess, I am one of those people. You might want to read Roger’s reflections slowly. “There are two truths in our lives. Two styles of truth. The one is the truth of what we show to the world. The truth of what we openly reveal of who and what we really are. This is the socially acceptable truth, the safe truth, the abridged truth. And then there is the truth that only we know of ourselves. This is the incriminating, raw, guilty and even embarrassing truth that we want to hide and not reveal to others. This is the truth that we often hide from even ourselves, preferring the public truth over the inner truth, fearing that if we accept the truth within, then it will obliterate our self-image and we can no longer present the public truth with integrity. The conflict of living with these two truths is a constant challenge. No one seems to want the inner truth to be revealed of themselves even though it would mirror, in some way, the inner truth of us all.” So, what do you think about Roger’s thoughts? I know that I have lived that way in my relationships for many years in the past and, at times, I still do. Any comments? I will close my Blog for this week with the memorable words by Jack Nicholson in his very angry response to a direct question from Tom Cruise in “A Few Good Men”. When confronted with his attempt to cover up a conspiracy and murder, Nicholson loses his temper and shouts “YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH.” Personally, I have to confess that I have never lost my temper. See, I ALWAYS know where to find it. I would appreciate your comments, feedback and suggestions for future blog topics. I live a very quiet and almost reclusive life and I welcome new “pen pals”. You can connect with me here on Facebook, “Friend” me, or write to me at my email address, , or send me a message through my website, .

THE LIGHT OF RECOVERY…………… “WHAT IF?” I know that I was going to write about “What is Sex…….REALLY?” today. However, life has a way of changing our plans. Anyway, Sex is really not that important. It can wait until next week. At least, that is what my first wife always told me. See, I was talking with one of my very good friends, Anne Bender, this week about future topics. Anne suggested the topic of “WHAT IF?”. And the more I thought about it, the more important that topic is, even more than sex. Now, have you ever thought about the “What If’s” in your life? Anne and I have been very good friends for 27 years. And she reminded me that we met because of a “What If?” moment. See, I was doing a workshop in Milton (Pennsylvania) and Anne had planned to attend with one of her friends that I also knew. Well, at the last moment, our mutual friend changed her mind and decided not to attend my workshop. Anne thought about it and decided to come alone and that is how we met. Now “What If” Anne had made the choice not to come alone? We would have never met and become very good friends for the past 27 years. Think about your life. What are the “What If?” moments that have changed your life? I remember the decision to leave the Air Force in 1968. I had planned to make a career of the military. I had made rank very quickly because of my career field, coming back from Vietnam, and making Staff Sergeant in only three years. And then I fell in love with the EX-wife of my best friend (now get this straight, I did NOT say the wife of my EX-best friend). And she did not want to date anyone in the military because of the way her ex-husband came back mentally from Vietnam. If we were going to be married, I would need to get out of the Air Force when my enlistment was up. And so, I took an early discharge. Now “What If” I would have remained in the Air Force? Although our marriage only lasted a couple years, I would not have experienced the life that I have had in my journey. I would not have worked for the Bureau of Customs in Washington, D.C. I would not have become a cop and lived undercover in drug groups and organized crime associations. I would not have become an ordained minister and a published author. And I would probably would not have met my second wife who changed my life. Upon reflection, my life has been a series of “WHAT IF’s?”. If I had not lived through a near-fatal car accident, I would not have gone to seminary and, eventually, recovered from my alcohol addiction. I would have probably killed myself a long time ago. Again, think about the “WHAT IF?” moments or decisions that have changed the course of your life. “What If” you had not married her? “What If” you had married some other man? “What If” you had decided to do something else in your life? Where would you be today? I would really appreciate and like to know your feedback and suggestions, positive or negative. Also, if you have any topic ideas that I could write about, please let me know. I will give you credit if you want to be mentioned in this blog. This Blog will be posted every Monday and I am not very creative so I need your help. THANK YOU, Anne Bender, for your topic suggestion. I think we all have experienced “WHAT IF?” moments if we reflect on our lives. Maybe you can share them with me. You can connect with me here on Facebook or write to me at my email address, , or send me a message through my website, .