Reconciliation

The uncertainty of having no communication with someone whatsover was really disconcerting… but now that I’ve had the opportunity to talk to her, it has hopefully helped both of our comfort levels. For a moment there, the tension really rose again between us when I discussed my viewpoint that a warning and redefining of boundaries should have been enough to avoid termination of half of my shifts (the half that were in her department). But then, I made it clear that out of respect for her discomfort, I was going to set aside any effort to file a further complaint about their decision. I still feel that I had a legitimate complaint… but there will be other shifts opening up for me in other departments to ensure that I’m still a full time employee, and I didn’t want to cause her any more grief than I already had.

Basically, I overestimated the depth of our friendship and the level of trust we had built between us. I thought that we could share anything with each other and still be "okay"… I’ve had cases before where someone had unreturned feelings for me, or I had unreturned feelings for them, and even though it created tension, we ultimately were able to resolve it. Sometimes, this was just pure luck… but other times, it was because we had built a complete level of trust, where nothing said or done can violate the sense of unconditional love even if it creates discomfort of whatever nature.

In this case, that building of trust apparently hadn’t happened for both of us. That complete level of trust was there on my end, but not on her end. We had talked before about many deeply personal topics… but when my poem raised for her the realization that I had feelings that went beyond the scope of friendship (friendship as defined by social convention, that is), I crossed a boundary that I had not known still existed between us. And since I know she’s had a hard life, my guess is that this triggered some of her defenses in a very profound and very uncomfortable way.

I feel very sorry about that. I’m usually very good at understanding people’s comfort levels, but this time I made a tremendous blunder. Since she had talked to me about personal issues, demonstrated the physical comfort of a friend toward me, discussed her and my respective libidos in the presence of a coworker, etc., I figured that we had reached at least a certain baseline of mutual comfort and trust. I knew that she wasn’t looking for that kind of relationship from me… but I thought that it was at least something that she would feel marginally comfortable talking about, and that she deserved to hear about it in the interest of full disclosure as a friend. If I had known that we hadn’t reached that level of friendship yet where anything and everything is open to discussion, then I would have just not shared this poem with her and probably not even shared my feelings until/unless she seemed more ready. My heart is filled with a great deal of love in many forms and flavors, and sometimes I hide it from the world simply because I know that it will make people uncomfortable. In this woman’s case, I thought that I didn’t have to hide anything from her… so, once the depth of these feelings became clear to me, I shared them. But clearly, we hadn’t reached that level of trust yet… and unfortunately, some people never reach that level of trust, so it was incorrect of me to assume that we had reached such a trust without explicitly discussing trust itself with her. (Note to self: I suppose I should discuss trust with all current close friends.) As much as I try to be the eternal optimist, I doubt that she will ever reach that level of trust with anyone in this lifetime, given what has happened to her in the past (and now the present, I suppose) and how she is responding to it in the present. So, even though my trust of her good intentions is restored, I doubt that I’ll ever trust her enough to share my personal confidences with her again, unless we communicate specifically about the trust issue and she shows signs of understanding and reciprocating my desired level of trust.

Anyway… there was still tension between us after the meeting, especially since I made a point out of the fact that I believe I’ve been treated in an unprofessional manner. But there was also at least a glimmer of reconciliation — enough to leave me believing that my work life will be more comfortable from this point forward. Hopefully hers will be too…

Now that I’ve got the biggest knot of this whole tangle behind me, it’s time to move on to other aspects of my life and trust that time will heal all wounds. For me, the healing will start with rest! My adrenal glands have been pumping furiously ever since all of this started to go down last Thursday, leading to irregular sleep patterns, irregular eating patterns, irritable bowel, and a host of other symptoms. The only things that were able to quiet these for the past week or so were spiritual songs, time spent with friends, and quite a few Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs.

So, with lessons learned and wounds mending, it’s time for me to draw this entry to a close… feel free to let me know what you think, either in the comments section or in private.

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Summer Projects

Once I carry out more updates, I may focus some of the following information into specialized sections of this site. However, since this is all some really big stuff, I felt that it was worthy of a whole blog entry unto itself.

PROJECT: TREESONG

This project is about… well, me. 🙂 This project has a high priority for me since so many of the other ones will suffer or perish if I’m not alive and kickin’.

Basically, it involves healing — healing on a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual level. It involves resting more, having more fun, spending more social time with friends, and acting on creative projects such as my writing that are uniquely my own.

It also will probably involve updating my website more than I have been lately. So… yay me! 🙂

PROJECT: COMMUNITY CIRCLE

This is a series of community meetings aimed at bringing together people from a wide variety of different community organizations. Initially, I had hoped to see us meet once a week, every week. For the time being though, we’re working on a potluck for early June and taking it from there. For more info, visit http://community-circle.org/

PROJECT: EARTH CONSCIOUS REVOLUTION

This book, due to be released on August 1, 2006, is the sequel to Revolution of One and a classic in its own right. Just as Revolution of One offered an introduction to revolutionary principles and practices, Earth Conscious Revolution takes these a step further by centering our attention on the power of the Earth and releasing any personal and community blocks that stand between us and this great earth power. For more information, visit http://earthconsciousrevolution.org

PROJECT: EARTH ACTIVIST TRAINING

In the fall, I’ll be attending something called the Earth Activist Training. This two-week intensive training session strikes a balance between the strategic advocacy of activism and the earth-centered community-building of permaculture. I’m hoping to get about half of the tuition from work trade, but the other half will have to come from fundraising and any savings I can set aside between now and then. I first learned about it through Starhawk’s email list because she’s a teacher there, but many other cool people will be there too. For more information, visit http://earthactivisttraining.org

PROJECT: GAIA’S ORPHANS

On October 31, 2006, I will be releasing a full-length novel called Gaia’s Orphans. This groundbreaking work of post-apocalyptic fiction is set in the Chicago area with a cast of undead critters that includes Zombies, Vampires, Trolls, Demons, and Stones.

For the fantasy fan, Gaia’s Orphans has plenty of ghoulish monsters to haunt your dreams. For the politically and ecologically minded reader, it has plenty of anti-authoritarian and earth-centric themes. For the psychological and spiritual reader, it does some soul-searching that will rock your world. No matter how you slice it, Gaia’s Orphans is a well-rounded and captivating drama about one man’s journey through the heart of the underworld.

In a world filled with the living dead… is there any hope for new life? Grab Gaia’s Orphans on October 31, 2006 to find out for yourself! In the meantime, visit http://gaiasorphans.org for the latest news and updates.

PROJECT: R

This project is currently flying slightly under the radar but will potentially be quite important by this fall. I’ll be co-creating this with at least one other person, possibly a team of several people. It’s fun, it’s creative, it’s innovative, and it’s revolutionary. And that’s all I’m gonna say for now, because anything more would spoil the surprise. 🙂

PROJECT: MANIFEST

This project is definitely flying under the radar at the moment — not because of any need for secrecy, but because of the time, effort, and focus that will be involved. What’s it about? Well… suffice it to say that there will be powerful positive changes in my life and much of our community by this time next year. These changes are already starting to unfold, and they will continue to blossom throughout the coming year.

Okay… that’s certainly enough projects for one summer. 🙂 My friends at the Big Muddy Independent Media Center and at the Interfaith Center have several other projects going on related to those respective organizations and beyond. I’ll be active off and on in some of those — but since they already have their own websites, and they’re the ones who will be coordinating that action as a group, I’ll leave it to them to describe those happenings… 🙂 In the meantime, I’m off to enjoy Dinner Part II, so I must bid thee farewell…

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Betrayal?

I don’t want to go into too many details here because this involves another person and my whole work situation… but since she was the one who violated my trust and turned this all into a "problem," I don’t feel too terribly bad about writing generalities about it here. Many of my guests on this site are my friends too, and so I’m always eager to share what’s going on in my life in some form or another

First, a bit of the context. My friend and I met as coworkers, but we’ve been personal friends for a couple of years now, sharing a wide variety of personal conversations and spiritual experiences both in and out of work. We mostly only have personal time together at work during breaks or moments of downtime, but we also occassionally talk over email or hang out together. With everything going on in both of our lives, I was inspired to share with her what an inspiration our friendship has been, and just how much she means to me. I thought that we had built enough trust between us that I could share this poem without leaving her feeling uncomfortable about our time together both in and out of work. Apparently, though, I was sorely mistaken.

There are simply no words to describe the sense of betrayal that I felt seeing my letter to her laid out on the table between us in the presence of a third person. I poured my heart into that poem, just as I poured my heart into our friendship — and what I received in response to my unconditional love was a stab in the heart in the form of her choice to turn a personal misunderstanding into a professional vendetta.

Having her betray me like that left me feeling cold, hollow, violated, and dirty. It was as though she had reached into the core of me, taken something beautiful, and caused it to wilt with her cold, callous touch. I lost 4 pounds in less than 24 hours, and even several days later, I still can’t fully believe that this is happening. I had an online friend betray me in a major way once long ago… but that was different — a veritable stranger engaging in weirdness that ultimately had nothing to do with me. In this case, I had a good friend — one of my best friends — who I thought would be with me through thick and thin, just as I had been there for her during moments of personal strain and even acts of unkindness or boundary-crossing that she had directed my way. But somehow, even though we had talked about really personal stuff before, sharing something this personal just triggered a defense mechanism for her that was so powerful that instead of coming to me to resolve the situation, she felt she had to go to an outside party to resolve it. Now, I have to deal with both personal and professional wreckage simultaneously, while she pretty much gets to move on rather quickly because I’m out of sight, out of mind.

I feel very sorry about all of this. Initially, I was very upset with her… but really, the sort of unconditional love that I feel for her doesn’t allow me to sustain a negative attitude about her for very long. Sure, the trust is shattered… and I won’t be sharing anything personal with her anytime soon, and probably not ever again. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t care anymore, or that I hold it against her. I still care about her just as much as I always have… and I’m very sorry that my communication left her feeling uncomfortable. I just wish that I knew how to restore her comfort level and bring peace to the situation — but since she won’t even speak to me, there’s no way for me to know how to do that. And that also leaves me in a bind professionally, because I’m trying to resolve this misunderstanding with a minimum of conflict and a maximum of peace of mind for everyone involved.

I really don’t understand it… I mean, it’s one thing to feel discomfort when romantic topics come up. I’ve had that happen in both directions. You spend some time with someone, you say or do something that potentially shifts perceptions or feelings in a different direction, and then if something goes sour, you deal with the consequences like adults. If it goes sour, you can deal with it through communication and clear establishment of boundaries. In this case, she jumped directly from a boundary in which friendly personal communication was expected and commonplace to a boundary in which it was used as the basis for a professional complaint.

This is all still in process, so I don’t know how it’s all going to turn out, and don’t know how much to say about it. All I know is that ever since this all started going down on Thursday, I’ve spent most of my time feeling very tired… tired in the body and tired in the heart… I may end up taking action against her to counteract the action she’s taken against me, but if at all possible, I want to avoid that, because I feel loyalty and care for her even now. Deep down, I really just want to close my eyes and wake up in the morning to find that she’s just ready to talk now and everything will eventually be worked out. That would be best for her, best for me, best for everyone… but if she doesn’t feel that level of comfort, then I don’t know what I’m going to do.

I still feel very loyal to her as a friend, so I’m very reluctant to take any action to counteract the consequences of her betrayal. But then again, I’m also reluctant to just let all of this pass without talking it out with her and making some effort to come to a place of peace and restoration.

So, basically, I’m faced with a choice — and I’m reluctant to follow through with either side of the coin. So, I don’ tknow what I’m going to do… in the meantime, I’d better get some rest. My heart aches, both for myself and for her… but deep down, I know that there’s a resolution somewhere, and I pray for the best for all of us…

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New Beginnings

In honor of the return of Spring, I’m discovering a new lease on life — newfound energy, newfound inspiration, and newfound hope that I’ll be able to apply that energy effectively in pursuit of that inspiration. Right now, the big move at the Co-op is changing a lot for me… it’s changing a lot for so many people, really. But once the dust around that has settled a bit, there will be a whole lot going on in other areas of my life too. More to share on that soon… but first, I’m off to bed.

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My name is Treesong. I'm a father, author, talk radio host, and Real Life Superhero. I live in Carbondale, Southern Illinois. I write novels, short stories, and poetry, mostly about the climate.

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