WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT PAST LIVES?

When my son was little, sitting on his bed, he began a conversation with, “In my other life …”

I waited, but he stopped.

“In your other life, what?” I asked him.

“What?” he said.

“What about your other life?”

It confused him, and he didn’t remember saying what he said. 😕

Life seems to be full of “strange” incidents of that nature.

Many people relate to feeling homesick for a place they can only vaguely remember, and sometimes they can’t even remember it exactly, but they’re aware of it. Either way, they feel an aching, a longing they don’t quite understand.

Some people believe their partner is someone they’ve fallen in love with many times throughout the centuries, and they always manage to find each other. Others think they’ve continually searched for their twin flames and soulmates through one life after another. Or that they are born into this life with unfinished business. Then, of course, there are those déjà vu moments that don’t make any sense.

In my experience, the twin flames and soulmates seem about right, as does the unfinished business and weird déjà vu. So, I can’t discount any of the other stuff. 

I read Siddhartha by Herman Hesse when I was in my early twenties. You may know the book presents reincarnation as a necessary part of life. Over time, I’d also read a few suspenseful books that dealt with the same subject—Max Ehrlich’s The Reincarnation of Peter Proud and Frank De Felitta’s Audrey Rose. Both books have film versions, and Audrey Rose was supposedly a true story.

A friend of mine recently recommended Many Lives, Many Masters by Brian L. Weiss, M.D., which gives a therapist’s account of his sessions with a patient who eerily recalled past lives. Evidently, Dr. Weiss was pretty skeptical about the whole subject and ultimately became convinced by what he’d heard, so I look forward to reading that.

It’s fascinating stuff. The idea that we continually evolve has always made sense to me, and I could embrace the fact that it takes place over many lifetimes. Is the goal to get it right finally? And then what? Those are things I like to explore.

In making sense of the “continual evolving” theory, here’s what I’ve noticed.

We have people who can throw another human being in front of a train without conscience. We have people who can be oppressive and hateful. In the first instance, some will say that’s just someone who is mentally ill. But you can say that about many serial killers, too. Most people with mental illness don’t do things like that and wouldn’t want to hurt anyone. In fact, I believe people have to reach a level of depth before they even suspect there’s a mental problem or disorder they need to confront. They already know how life is supposed to be and are trying to cope. The others don’t seem to know or care how they should treat each other and behave.

Have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who can’t even begin to comprehend that everyone deserves rights, dignity, and respect? Yeah.

Once I half-jokingly said to my son, “Maybe those people are here for the first time. You know, like when somebody is incredibly incompetent, and you think, first day?” It’s also similar to when we consider that a person who is so very young has a brain that’s still developing. (My son doesn’t like this theory for those I described above because he thinks it provides an excuse for people whose actions should never be justified.)

It may be an explanation, never a justification.

But I can’t say whether these people are in their first lives or not. Nor can I proclaim with certainty that I’ve had more than one life, but I can say that, in this particular life, I’ve learned so much, and I’m still learning.

The little jolts I’ve had, the moments of wondering if I’d been here before—well, I saved them for last because I’m still not sure it amounts to much.

There’s the fire thing. As a kid, I sprang into action to put out a fire that started in my sister’s room. Everyone had been asleep, but I was on it before others could fully awaken and realize what was happening. It happened two other times when I was a decade or so older. Once, someone had left candles unattended, and I, practically naked, leaped out of bed like Superman with the tall buildings and all, and it was actually quite funny. My boyfriend at the time laughed heartily, but I snuffed those flames out in a heartbeat.

Yes, I know, people put out fires all the time, especially firefighters. Many act quickly in a crisis. What strikes me is the feeling I’d get whenever faced with that situation. I had a fear of fire. It was an instant threat to me, signaling a violent urgency, but there was no fear or panic when I confronted it, only action.

Another time, while still a kid, I realized, during a crisis, that a person would not survive if I took one action instead of another. I had no way of knowing that, but I turned out to be right, and someone lived to see another day.

Many people would say, in both instances, it was God. Okay. I lack the evidence to dispute that, but obviously, there’s a lot of food for thought, as they say.

In childhood, I had a cousin about six years older than me. We hardly saw each other, but whenever we did, we couldn’t help feeling we’d always known each other. He was always incredibly familiar to me, and we talked as if we’d been friends forever. Again, it was about the feelings, not so much the idea, where you can say, so you just connected, okay, no big deal.

My conclusion is that I lean toward believing in reincarnation and will continue to look for more evidence of that.

In her memoir, Finding Me, the outstanding actress, Viola Davis, revealed her conversation with actor Will Smith. He’d asked her who she was (down deep) and admitted that he himself had been stuck in a place of childhood trauma. It helped her to realize where she was stuck, and, in reading that, I instantly knew what that place was for me. I’m not there anymore, but I was for many years. 

Viola and Will were talking about this lifetime, but isn’t it possible that people can get stuck in a place that has nothing to do with this life? Hmm …

If there is truth to these theories, we have more power than we realize, and hopefully, the end game is to promote an agenda of love over hate. 

Yes, maybe it’s that simple: love wins. 

Feature image at the top by Karin Henseler from Pixabay 

GRATEFUL TO CELEBRATE 27 YEARS OF SOBRIETY

You don’t have to be a lampshade-wearing drunk or fighting barroom drunk for drinking to be a potential problem. However, there was a time when I figured just backing off street drugs was the end of that forbidden road. I continued to drink alcohol—mainly a glass of champagne on birthdays or holidays.

Yes, well—abstaining from one drug and not another may work for some people, but I realized 27 years ago that it wouldn’t work for me. That’s when I decided I might as well stop drinking, too, and adhere to the twelve-step program.

It was only the beginning of my surrender.

In my first decade of sobriety, I didn’t fully understand why people said it’s “one day at a time” to infinity and beyond. If you’re not abusing alcohol or any other substance and haven’t even come close to relapsing in all these years, you’re good, right? You’ve got this. But that’s not how it works. Addiction, I learned, is a disease of the body, mind, and spirit, and emotional sobriety while abstaining is also ongoing one day at a time. 

On the emotional end, it’s been referred to as the “disease of the attitudes.” Still, I have to say most of us who’ve resorted to substance abuse come into recovery with fleas from narcissistic abuse, usually from people who were also living the aftermath of narcissistic abuse. On top of all that, many of us are trauma survivors who’ve dealt with physical, emotional, or sexual abuse—quite often all of those things.

Under these circumstances, we’ve co-opted the shame-based coping and survival skills of our abusers. They are skills that have kept us alive and emotionally intact while also putting us at significant risk over and over again. So, we’ve been wandering around doing things we weren’t aware of to block out the pain or create a pacifying illusion of safety. On some level of our consciousness, our needs seemed urgent, making us unusually vulnerable. We craved attention, validation, and praise, and that was another drug, a temporary fix whenever someone complied. It doesn’t work for long because, as with any other drug, the euphoria fades, and you remember the pain and torture of what you genuinely fear—that you’re not special or that no one loves or cares about you. Hence, we crave one fix after another.

We convince ourselves that certain relationships are about selflessness and love when they are more often tainted by our dysfunction. We may love people the best way we can, but it’s only as genuine as we are.

Whatever the deal is, addiction is an obsession. In its active state, it impairs our judgment and clouds our perception. It robs us of clarity which only returns and continues to improve with consistent physical and emotional sobriety. Meanwhile, the pressing urges of codependency will consistently override any willingness to be authentic. 

Addicts, for the most part, in our lifelong frenzy, attempting to survive the madness, may become con artists. Often, too, we lack empathy. We are self-obsessed and often unable to put ourselves in someone else’s place. We’ve lost the connection where we assimilate what others are experiencing. 

Without realizing it, we may become bullies with an eye out for any perceived threat, frequently compelled to do damage control. We’re fiercely determined to preserve our delusions and denials and protect our “secrets.” We attempt to control everything, including how others perceive us. So, drama is very much a part of our lives—waiting for the other shoe to drop, dreading it when the phone rings, an automatic response of, what now? And we don’t hold ourselves accountable for our actions. Instead of learning from our mistakes, we make excuses.

Despite having developed a shaky trust in others, we still trust the wrong people at times because those types are familiar to us. We form toxic relationships that can put us or keep us in dangerous situations with severe consequences. People inclined to use our fragility against us instinctively take advantage, and we will unintentionally draw them to us. Sometimes, they suffer from the same affliction, and their desperation is so great that they can’t discern beyond it. Neither can we.

The point is, we can abstain and still be a hot mess. When we come to our moment of surrender, we are broken and, yes, quite fragile in our vulnerability. Our self-esteem has been gutted. We feel unworthy of anything good. We lack the tools or coping skills for dealing with life on life’s terms. There continues to be unrelenting self-sabotage and self-loathing.

It’s a long road for us, and guilt continued to assuage me for many, many years. I cringed, embarrassed, remembering things I said or did, and it was hard for me to find any empathy for the person I was. My dearest friend, whom I’ve known for decades, reminded me not to be so hard on myself. “That girl was just trying to survive,” she said.

It’s hard to believe that merely trying to survive can be so catastrophic, but we’re not perfect. We struggle, and if we continue to put in the effort to become the best people we can be, we never stop getting better. The most important thing to me is continual recovery in every regard. As long as we’re still here, we have a chance to fight for our lives. I’ll never stop fighting, and I’m always grateful for another day to awaken and thrive.

This writing is an unedited excerpt from my new memoir, Grateful to Be Alive. For more details about the book, please read on.

Book description: 

Grateful to Be Alive

My Road to Recovery from Addiction

by D.K. Sanz

Do unsettling truths bring harsh judgment? They do, but the price of denial is steep.

D.K. Sanz’s story begins in the drug-infested New York City streets of Woodside, Queens, during the tumultuous HIV/AIDS pandemic of the 80s and 90s. It offers a glimpse into how a now often-overlooked pandemic impacted Sanz’s nuclear family. 

From her earliest days, D.K. was the easily forgotten stranger, always a little out of sync with the rest of the world—a tough but naïve kid and aspiring writer. Her triumph over illness and addiction includes amusing anecdotes and nostalgic, heartwarming memories.

Grateful to be Alive delves deep into Sanz’s confessional self-sabotage, self-destruction, and the harrowing downward spiral she almost didn’t survive. Her never-before-told story ranges from recklessness and impudence to empathy, forgiveness, and love.

D.K. has since published several books, primarily poetry but also a novel, and she continues to work on sequels and an all-new fantasy series. You’ll find some of her poetry at the end of this book.

Whether struggling or not, you will find Grateful to Be Alive is a story of hope, defying insurmountable odds, finding joy, and a gradual transition toward authenticity and becoming the person D.K. always wanted to be.

ARC Copies

For those unfamiliar, an ARC is an advanced reader copy provided before publication. Each recipient of an ARC intends to read and review the book. Reviews can be anywhere from one sentence to three or four paragraphs. Ideally, they should appear on Amazon and Goodreads the day the book comes out, likely in February. (I will notify you of the release date.) If it’s posted after that date, the sooner, the better, of course, but days or months later is still good. In other words, there is no rush.

Once given an ARC, you are under no obligation to read or review the book, but, at the same time, you wouldn’t want to request an ARC copy if that’s not your initial intention. In other words, if reading the book causes you to change your mind for any reason, there are no consequences, legal or otherwise.

ARCs are free. Currently, I have them available in Word or PDF formats. Eventually, they will be available on Kindle.

Reviews by ARC readers are posted on Amazon and, hopefully, Goodreads if the recipient has a Goodreads account.

ARC readers, unlike beta readers, are not expected to provide feedback to the author besides the public review, but feedback is certainly welcome.

To apply for an ARC, please e-mail me at dksanz@yahoo.com and answer the following questions:

1) Are you familiar with the author’s work? (Just curious, it’s okay if you’re not.)

2) Have you ever reviewed a book by this author?

3) Please briefly explain why this particular book would interest you.

4) Have you reviewed books or products before this request?

5) Do you have an Amazon account?

6) Do you have a Goodreads account?

Unfortunately, I may not be able to accommodate every request, but I thank you in advance for your interest.

SOME GREAT BOOKS I’VE READ THIS YEAR 😊

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture.
Just get people to stop reading them.” – Ray Bradbury

I promised a few people I would blog about my year in reading.

My Goodreads goal was 52 books in 2022. Goodreads gives me credit here for having read 53 when last I checked, but I’m at 54 now. It takes them a bit to catch up. Most of the books are psychological thrillers, but there are a few other genres.

Here are the books I gave a five-star review:

Cruel: A Dark Romance Psych Thriller (A Necrosis of the Mind Duet 1) by [Trisha Wolfe]
Brain Damage: A twisted psychological thriller that will keep you guessing by [Freida McFadden]
Say Her Name by [Dreda Say Mitchell, Ryan Carter]
Want to Know a Secret?: A jaw-dropping psychological suspense thriller by [Freida McFadden]
Suicide Med: A gripping psychological thriller by [Freida McFadden]
The Housemaid: An absolutely addictive psychological thriller with a jaw-dropping twist by [Freida McFadden]
The Inmate: A gripping psychological thriller by [Freida McFadden]
Dead Against Her (Bree Taggert Book 5) by [Melinda Leigh]
Stone the Dead Crows (The Saeed Sharif Standalone Thrillers) by [Carrie Magillen]
When He's Not Here (The Saeed Sharif Standalone Thrillers) by [Carrie Magillen]
The Moonlight Child by [Karen McQuestion]
The Yoke and the Noose by [Kieran Higgins]
In the Waning Light by [Loreth Anne White]
Fear No Truth: A Faith McClellan Novel (The Faith McClellan Series Book 1) by [LynDee Walker]
DON'T LIE TO ME (Eva Rae Thomas Mystery Book 1) by [Willow Rose]
Dawn Girl: An absolutely gripping serial killer thriller (Tess Winnett) by [Leslie Wolfe]
Until I Met Her (Emma Fern Book 1) by [Natalie Barelli]
After He Killed Me (Emma Fern Book 2) by [Natalie Barelli]

Obviously, my favorite author of the year is Freida McFadden. There are many I’ve come to love, and Carrie Magillen is also at the top of that list.

I’ll post just a couple of my reviews.

Stone the Dead Crows (The Saeed Sharif Standalone Thrillers) by [Carrie Magillen]

This is the second book I’ve read by this author. The first, When He’s Not Here, I rated five stars.

Now, this one, I wasn’t sure what I’d rate it for a couple of reasons. First, I figured out exactly what would happen when I was about halfway through. (I wonder if that’s to my credit or if others would figure it out just as easily). Then again, is that so bad?

Second, the story deals with narcissistic and domestic abuse and gets into so much detail at a couple of pivotal moments that it almost seems to turn from fiction to non-fiction. Those subjects are important, though. I was into it, and, as far as I’m concerned, the more awareness created, the better.

The writing itself was beautiful, especially her descriptions of the surroundings. The story was riveting, and I couldn’t put it down. I read it all in just two days, and despite my figuring out the upcoming twists, the way she executed it was brilliant. So, near the end, I thought, hmm, should I give her a four or a five? Then I read the last few pages and HAD to give it a five. Well done! 

*****

Bloody brilliant! And I never say bloody anything. As disturbing and unsettling as it was in general, it was a well-written page turner, so cleverly constructed. I’m thirsty for more. 

A few words…

According to the literary statistics, 2022 has been a banner year for reading all around. That makes me happy not only because I’m a writer marketing books but because it’s a joy I want everyone to experience. For me, it’s been one of life’s greatest treasures, a passion I’ve felt privileged to have.

I have fond memories of trekking to the library with friends as a kid. On the way back, we bought french fries from the fish market, ate them along the way, and then settled on my stoop to read. It started with the Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and Pinocchio, all so thrilling and magical.

I looked forward to ordering books during the school book sales. Narrowing it down to the books I wanted most was tough since my list was so long. On the day they arrived, the teacher arranged them in front of the classroom for all to see, and they were just beautiful with their gorgeous covers. I couldn’t wait! Then, holding the new books in my hands! It was a feeling I find hard to describe.

My English teacher introduced us to classics like Nicholas and Alexandria in high school. He took us to see A Christmas Carol at Radio City Music Hall, where my love for Charles Dickens began. I went on to Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice with a burgeoning passion for 19th-century British literature. I loved gothic settings, too, time travel, and the days of the Roman Empire.

The truth is, no matter what you read, it’s bound to be good for you, and it’s easy when you find the genres and authors you love. In fact, like meditation or a day at the spa, reading is one of many ways to practice self-love. It takes you out of your world and into someone else’s mind, heart, and universe. You get comfortable in your favorite reading spot by the fire or under the covers. You relax with a book or even your phone. (I’m always reading on my iPhone Kindle.) You cast any troubles aside and simply surrender. It’s “you” time.

“What better occupation, really, than to spend the evening at the fireside with a book, with the wind beating on the windows and the lamp burning bright.” – Gustave Flaubert

For me, that escape to another time and place, learning about different people and things, is a lot of fun, like traveling in your mind. Whether you’re a writer or not, the stories inspire you. It’s good for the brain, warding off cognitive decline, and it often helps me fall asleep! 😉

Back in my school days, teachers would tell us we could increase our vocabulary by looking up words we didn’t know. That’s true as well.

And one of the best things about reading is the opportunity to empathize, even in a fictional situation.

When I became a parent, I often took my son to the library. At the time, I was looking for horror fiction, and he was looking for books about Jupiter!


It’s a wonderful thing.

“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.” – Maya Angelou

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay 

Reading nook in big library feature image by Prettysleepy from Pixabay 

Both Dickens Images by Prawny from Pixabay 

Wizard of Oz – Image by neotenist from Pixabay 

London Victorian era Lady dressed in black Image by Happy New Year from Pixabay 

Vintage Victorian ladies Image by Oberholster Venita from Pixabay 

Gothic romance – book, rose, black gk Image by Dorothe from Pixabay 

EXCERPT FROM MY NEW BOOK! 🥰

My memoir about recovery from addiction and illness is complete and in the final editing stage. Here’s an unedited excerpt to give you an idea of what’s coming:

The Atlantic Ocean seemed as vast and deep as the aching within me and represented the same somber foreboding. It was the sea of the titan after all—more than 41 million square miles. In those moments, it looked as foreign to me as everything else that was once familiar. One might see it as a green leviathan monster or the depths of God’s love. I saw the monster, noting it could simply devour you, but so could the earth, and life itself.
I was on the sandy shores of Rockaway Beach, somewhere about 108th street, sitting cross-legged, on my beach blanket, playing with a stick in the sand. Aggressive seagulls descended effortlessly from the clear blue sky—ravenous, and predatory, like some humans I knew. The calls of piping plovers and other shorebirds were ominous, too.
The warmth of the sun felt good though as I took in the ocean’s briny aroma mingled with the fragrances of cocoa butter, coconut oil, and glorious traces of jasmine. The ocean breeze provided a hypnotic tranquility, so much so that as the salty waves thrashed against the shore, I’d managed to believe that somehow, someday, it would all be okay. The music on my radio soothed me then, pretty much the way it always did, and I listened to the laughter of yesterday.
I was sixteen now, and when men approached my blanket, I immediately told them, “I’m leaving in two minutes.”
By this time, I didn’t want to meet any more people.

D.K. Sanz ~ from my upcoming memoir

Please Note: Before its anticipated release in February of 2023, I will provide readers with a certain number of ARCs. (February is a tentative release goal.)

For those unfamiliar, an ARC is an advanced reader copy provided before publication. Each recipient of an ARC intends to read and review the book. Once given an ARC, you are under no obligation to do either, but, at the same time, you wouldn’t want to request an ARC copy if that’s not your initial intention. In other words, if reading the book causes you to change your mind for any reason, there are no consequences, legal or otherwise.

ARCs are free. Currently, I have them available in Word or PDF formats. Eventually, they will be available on Kindle.

Reviews by ARC readers are posted on Amazon and, hopefully, Goodreads if the recipient has a Goodreads account.

ARC readers, unlike beta readers, are not expected to provide feedback to the author besides the public review, but feedback is certainly welcome.

To apply, please e-mail me at dksanz@yahoo.com and answer the following questions:

1) Are you familiar with the author’s work? (Just curious, it’s okay if you’re not.)

2) Have you ever reviewed a book by this author?

3) Please briefly explain why this particular book would interest you.

4) Have you reviewed books or products before this request?

5) Do you have an Amazon account?

6) Do you have a Goodreads account?

Unfortunately, I may not be able to accommodate every request, but I thank you in advance for your interest.

Feature photo at the top by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

Woman Reading Book photo by Yuri Efremov on Unsplash

Happy Holidays image by Biljana Jovanovic from Pixabay 

Happy New Year image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay Yellow Rose image by Ri Butov from Pixabay 

FEARLESS SURRENDER (SHADOWS OF MY SOUL)

(full version)

Reality to me is the dusk.

Prevalence in the shadows.

It is cloaking,

Grasping,

Discerning

In a world of darkness.

It is torment.

It is restraint.

The disturbing notion

That one must taste a normal

Subsistence,

An existence so mundane and

Unremarkable.

Part of me scorns it—

The contrived,

The unnatural kismet—

And so loves being

Unbounded.

I can pretend—

I know you know what it is

To stand the test of time

As a creature sunken

In the darkness of the world,

Trying to understand

What is going on,

What it is we need,

Why we do this,

And what it is they expect us to do.

But, the beauty of the peaceful lull

Amid the trees just before sunrise

Lies in contrast with the hazy tumult

Of my self-inflicted tomb.

I have lived, and I have died.

Life, as I knew it, is over.

Still, I am happier than I have ever been.

I know love.

I know peace.

I am in awe of every vision.

I bask in the passion of every caress.

Every bit of air I breathe is a godsend.

I could listen to the stillness of the ocean

Before daybreak,

To the waves amid a blue-violet sky.

I could dance with flair to the music

With a glow that illuminates me.

I have a power that lures,

Clutches,

And holds.

Temptation is like the ache for sustenance.

Seduction is smooth,

Effortless.

One learns to employ everything,

To safeguard,

To control,

And to conquer.

I feel as if I am asking you for your heart,

Your soul,

Your breath,

Your life.

What I long to say,

I hesitate to say it.

There is the danger,

The allure

As my hand reaches out to touch your face.

Can I hold you

And resist all temptation?

Can I ever set you free?

It is the old, “I have to do this.

I don’t want to do this.”

Yet I must send you away.

To protect you is to leave you when I must,

To silence you when you probe,

To evade,

To elude.

I can sense your presence,

Always,

Before I see you.

And, I kiss the earth you swagger upon!

We can only be hurt if I love you.

It’s all been said before,

No doubt.

I might have said it all sooner,

Had I not been savoring every moment

Of getting to know you.

Wishing that carefree innocence never would

cease.

There is no one else I’d rather be—

Unless it was to love you.

You are all that I crave.

Author D.K. Sanz a/k/a Kyrian Lyndon

Images at the top by Dorothe from Pixabay

IF YOU BELIEVE WE ARE SACRED

Funny thing—when I was younger, I hated the idea of being a “fan” of anyone. I thought of it as worshipping others when we all are, in fact, equal and that it was beneath me to worship someone else. Now, I see a difference between worshipping and having the greatest admiration for another human being. In fact, if I love you, I’m likely one of your biggest fans.


But the issue of equality remains of the utmost importance to me. For example, when they say you can judge a man by how he treats his inferiors—no, we don’t have inferiors! Some people have more talent or money, better positions, nicer cars, higher functioning brains, and genes that make them more attractive. Still, there’s no reason for anyone to hang on to the illusion of superiority.


When they say you know a person’s character by how they treat someone who can’t do anything for him, then yes, that might be true. But do those who believe in a merciful creator think their creator would snub the poor, sick, disabled, or anyone of another gender, ethnicity, race, or sexual orientation? Would that benevolent creator think less of them? It begs the question; if you believe we are sacred, who is less sacred than you?


Some who have co-opted the term ‘woke’ make fun of the concept, but deplorable hate crimes are rising at an alarming rate, and I have to wonder why we’re still fighting this battle in 2022.
The term ‘woke’ came about to bring awareness to racism, and now it’s being used as an insult as if inclusion is a bad thing and wanting everyone treated with the same dignity and respect is a problem. They have this idea that we say what we say to impress others or to appear tolerant or benevolent.

I can speak only for myself, but I know this is true for many people. I don’t care about impressing anyone. I say what I say and do what I do because that is 100% genuinely and honestly how I feel. I have never seen any justification for denying people rights, dignity, or civility based on their represented group. There was never a time in my life when that didn’t seem inhumane. It always made sense to me that you don’t know a person just because you know their race, ethnicity, or sexuality and that being one thing is better than being another. And it’s been said many times, but tolerance, WTF? Who am I to decide whether to “tolerate” another person’s existence or not based on that information? I’d have to be a complete narcissist to think these people are beneath me for those reasons, deserve less than I, or are less worthy than me.


Unlike the woke critics, many of us have never been asleep in the first place. But it comes down to this: how people treat each other is appalling. Life’s hard enough, and I think we need to cheer each other on along the way.

Image by John Hain from Pixabay 

Lotus Flower Lily Pad Feature Image by ha11ok from Pixabay 

CHANGING YOUR NAME TO WRITE STUFF

People who’ve known me for a while know that I’ve changed names and hair colors more than the average person. The hair thing is just fun, but the name, hmm.

Choosing a pseudonym can be as challenging for a writer as naming books, characters, and fantasy places. I’d created many pen names before Kyrian Lyndon, and while I haven’t published books under any of the former nom de plumes, some of them make me cringe now. There was Nicole Peri, Jasmine Sérle, Diane Kristen Abbott, and Robyn Angeli. So, how did I finally decide on Kyrian Lyndon?

Well, one of my parents had an Italian surname, and the other had a Spanish one. Not wanting ethnicity to be an issue, I searched online for an alternative. Kyrian seemed good because it had a few different origins, and Kyrian Lyndon sounded lyrical. The bonus was I couldn’t find anyone else with that name.

Switching names isn’t that big a deal, really. Anne Rice wrote under A. N. Roquelaure and Anne Rampling, while her birth name was Howard O’Brien. C.S. Lewis wrote under two other names. Washington Irving wrote under three! That’s all fine, but I now regret ever changing my name to Kyrian Lyndon. (Those close to me won’t be surprised. 😅)

Blah, blah, blah, I know. Overexplaining is one of my OCD things.

Anyway, my big news is that I will publish future books using something closer to my real name. My name is Diane, and my initials are D.B. or D.K. My mom’s last name is Sanchez, like the musician, singer, and composer Alejandro Sanz. I decided to shorten it the way he did, writing as D.K. Sanz. Social media accounts will change, as will my website, so when you see D.K. Sanz where you have me as a connection, I want you to know it’s me.

Thanks for your patience and understanding. 🙂

DAMN THE LIES AND TRUTH BE TOLD

THE ELUSIVE TRUTH

Fantasy often bests reality. Sentimentality can provide us with an illusion of innocence in a safe and familiar world. That’s fine, and it’s not hard to understand why people, in their everyday lives, cling to illusions and delusions that comfort and protect.

That said, most of us would say we are honest. We believe that we are. The trouble is, we can’t be honest with others until we are honest with ourselves. And we can’t be honest with ourselves until we know what is true—until we confront it, accept it, and deal with it however we must.

So, why would we not know?

Many of us grow up indoctrinated with a built-in belief system. The beliefs we hold may lead to harsh judgments—to the point of shunning, oppressing, and hating others. There is often an unwillingness to understand people who are different. And these core ideologies can simultaneously result in self-loathing and a feeling of being unworthy or never quite good enough. It’s the inferiority complex turned inside out—a desperate need to feel superior.

Along the lines of needing to be perceived a certain way, I’ve seen debates on how honest to be with children and whether they have a right to hit us with their perception of the truth if it isn’t favorable to us. The ancient rule that you respect all adults no matter what.

I believe children have the right to call out parents on their behavior, and that parents should address their concerns about any relative, family friend, or person in authority. If we care about people (and sometimes even if we don’t) but especially when we care about people, we need to listen to them when they tell us how we’ve hurt them even in the smallest of ways. We can’t be accountable while in denial, can’t grow and evolve, can’t set the example for the children who look to us for guidance.

Pretending we are perfect doesn’t serve anyone. It’s painful to acknowledge when we caused pain where we wanted only to love and protect, but we must. There are many hard lessons in life, just as there are other ways the truth may elude us.

A fair amount of clarity is essential in sorting out what is biased and what is factual. Specific characteristics and predicaments diminish that clarity. Here are a few:

  • Addiction/obsession (clouds perception, impairs judgment) – For example, I have found that people in recovery continue to gain clarity as they remain sober and clean.
  • A self-centered existence (usually correlates with substance abuse including alcohol and certain personality disorders)
  • Stress
  • Lack of self-care (sleep, healthy lifestyle, etc.)
  • Our agenda (of which we may or may not be aware)
  • Our vulnerabilities
  • Misinformation (I think being an avid reader of books, especially those that introduce you to different cultures and perspectives helps tremendously.)
  • Taking ourselves too seriously (also may correlate with substance abuse and certain personality disorders)

CAN WE HANDLE THE TRUTH?

Some of us fearlessly plunge into that seemingly endless abyss where we face painful truths and endure the grueling process of healing. Others deliberately avoid it or scatter a little bit of dirt to the side and then dart off in another direction, taking cover until they feel grounded enough to dig a little deeper. They don’t want to uncover the truth because they have an inner sense that it won’t serve them well. Indeed, at the moment, it won’t, but it definitely will in the long run. 

Ten years ago, I’d assume people could handle whatever I could. It never seemed to sink in that they were as vulnerable and fragile as I was once. My idea of being characteristically direct may have been someone else’s idea of being attacked.

At times, we feel an urgent need to resolve things, and, if we’re not patient, we can end up doing more damage than we intended . The goal is not to “hurt” people, and like any conflict, resolution can happen only when both sides are mentally prepared and open to that— willing to go where it leads. There must be a mutual willingness to get to the truth. When you come from a place of caring and love, you see that they are human and vulnerable, and you approach them that way. Besides, even with the vast amounts of knowledge, wisdom, and insight we acquire, we are all still vulnerable to one degree or another. 

THE PRICE OF DENIAL

In January of 2002, Psychology Today published an article by Bill Sullivan, Ph.D., about the devastating consequences lying has on our brain. “Dishonesty puts the brain in a state of heightened alert, and this stress increases with the magnitude of the lie,” he wrote. (It doesn’t apply to sociopaths lacking empathy, but most of us care about our trustworthiness and integrity.) “Symptoms of anxiety arise because lying activates the limbic system in the brain,” he explained. “When people are being honest, this area of the brain shows minimal activity. But when telling a lie, it lights up like a fireworks display. An honest brain is relaxed, while a dishonest brain is frantic.”

Denial has a price, as well, and it’s often quite steep. We see its cost while it continues to happen all around us. Don’t for a moment underestimate its power to destroy lives, institutions, countries, and ultimately civilizations. 

While in denial:

  • We don’t know why we want what we want or need what we need.
  • We don’t know what our vulnerabilities are.
  • We hurt people or put them in harm’s way.
  • We obsess over certain people and things, oblivious to why or the fact that it isn’t normal.
  • We’re unable to see our part in anything.
  • We don’t see ourselves or others with clarity, so we mischaracterize our behavior and theirs.
  • We take dangerous risks and put ourselves or keep ourselves in situations that have serious consequences.
  • We lie to ourselves and others.
  • With highly unrealistic expectations, we set ourselves up for disappointment and devastation.
  • We can’t take the right action because we make decisions without the correct information.
  • We lack empathy.
  • We have a constant need to do damage control.
  • We don’t learn from our mistakes, and so we miss life lessons that can empower us.

Being honest is not about unnecessary disclosure. It’s about separating fact from fiction, opinion, and popular beliefnotions that cause egos out of bounds, discrimination, exclusion, judgment, and condemnation. We pull the curtain on delusion and denial to let the light in. We choose clarity over confusion. It leads to more empathy, less vulnerability, and decisions based on expanded horizons and a more substantial knowledge base as we surpass our self-imposed limitations and embrace a wider world. 

YEAH, THE TRUTH DOES SET YOU FREE

We can wear masks for a lifetime, not knowing who we are or what is real. Or we can begin to peel off one layer of untruth at a time, just as if we were peeling an onion or discarding a myriad of veils.

In the process of uncovering and accepting the truth, the shame that drove us to compete and control begins to dissipate. We learn to love with our whole hearts—not just others but ourselves. We know we are vulnerable. We understand how vulnerable we are, so we walk away from people whose goal is to exploit our vulnerabilities. And we keep getting better at it. That’s good because before we understood, it was easy to lead us, fool us, and enslave us. 

Blessed with clearer vision, we can routinely examine our motives and expectations. We won’t always trust our egos, and that’s a good thing. People without clarity of conscience don’t question themselves. They won’t say, “I’m glad I caught that. I can refrain. I can resist. I can do the right thing.” They’ll keep doing what they’re doing, often not understanding what they’re doing or why.

Those of us searching for the truth are tired of being terrified of it. Denial has ceased to be our sole comfort and our only way to survive. The payoff in protecting our hearts, our image, and our secrets is no longer worth it. We came to fully accept that we are all struggling humans, equal in importance.

We continue striving to become more and more authentic. We continue to replace false with real. It’s not as easy as living in denial, but we know we have to get better. We know we have to do better, and it’s important to share what we learn. We are all teachers on this earth, just as we are all students. Sometimes people don’t mean to teach us anything, but they do. Learning doesn’t make you inferior any more than teaching makes you superior.

I love that we continually evolve, and we know better than we did in the past. We are worthy of the truth. We deserve that much.

Further Reading

30 Reasons Why People Lie

6 Reasons People Lie When They Don’t Need To

Feature photo (at the top) by Taras Chernus 

A STRANGE AND PEACEFUL NEW WORLD (short story)

I never write short stories; this effort is the first, only, and maybe last I will ever do. The initial version came to me decades ago, when I was so young, but I later found it and rewrote it for my son. It was just a fun thing I decided to do, so I hope you enjoy it.

A STRANGE AND PEACEFUL NEW WORLD

Employing the latest holo-vision technology, top scientists on planet Obelus had fully monitored the Earth’s predictable decline. It was as if they had a front-row seat to a horror flick.

Arsenal, biological, and eventual nuclear warfare had prevailed for several Earth weeks. They experienced flooding, drought, landslides, and elevated levels of carbon in the hot, dry atmosphere. The few survivors lived in primitive darkness surrounded by fires and billowing smoke, breathing toxic air.

That was hundreds of years ago. Most of the survivors went insane, and, sane or not, they turned on each other.

On this particular day, Seren Heddle, one of the most famous scientists on Obelus, was there in the flesh. His brilliance had prompted the aristocracy of his native land to have him visit and observe the new Earth. At his side was the beautiful Alula, with whom he’d been obsessed ever since she came to work with him. They wore full body suits, rugged shoes, gloves, and safety visors, but underneath it all, Seren was a slight, five-foot-six inches with verdant green hair and eyes like topaz jewels. The shapely Alula, only a tad shorter than he was, had bits of silver stardust sprinkled through her lavender mane, which was straight and smooth to create an elegant frame for her feline face. Hers were the eyes, nose, and the clever snickering grin of what was once the Earth’s cat. She was a hybrid version of the feline species trained to scout on Earth and other planets.

Before them, grey steel buildings and factories stood amid tree stumps on barren lands of eroded soil and mud-filled puddles. The noise level was hard to bear, so dwellings and workplaces contained stone walls for better insulation. Experts planned for reforestation, hoping new trees would come to life within the next few decades.

“We had hoped to intervene,” Seren said with a slightly guilty conscience. “But, from all we’d heard and observed, many earthlings fear and demonize alien entities of any variety.”

Alula shrugged, as he’d said this before, many times. “Perhaps if we reflected their own images and perceptions, they’d have welcomed us with a champagne and truffles gift basket,” she joked.

Seren nodded. “They are that way with people in their homeland, too, and yes, terrified by ‘creatures’ from outer space, but, truth be told, they’d never even heard of Obelus.”

“Oh, right,” said Alula. “The astrologist scalawags pretended our planet didn’t exist, though they knew it was there all along. They tricked earthlings for centuries with their corrupt pseudoscience.” Obelus was huge and took up quite a lot of sky space for an ignored constellation, she thought. It held the second-closest star to the earth!

But earthlings had had much more to worry about than a world shaken by the revelation that the sun’s position, when observed from Earth, was not aligned with the arbitrarily defined planet they thought it was on the day they were born. 

You see, the last original human survivor, Mason Guthridge, was a scientist who’d built himself an elaborate bunker city and didn’t invite anyone else. He’d decided that only uniformity could create a world without jealousy, elitism, and hatred, so he decided to clone himself ad infinitum and lived underground with his clones, waiting for the remaining humans to expire before returning to the surface. His clones, male and female, were called dittos, and the dittos had plastered his photo on billboards throughout the planet, Mason was bald, with a circle of reddish hair above his ears and a walrus mustache. Aside from having a full head of hair, lacking the walrus ‘stache, and having different physiological ‘equipment,’ the females looked like him, too. Dittos had only the slightest variances in appearance and were about the same weight since limited resources had them all on a rationed diet.

“The man is a hero!” Seren marveled. “The wave of negative energy that once seemed the driving force here has dissipated!”

Alula nearly gagged. “Only a narcissist would clone himself even once, but enough times to populate an entire planet?!”

Seren begged to differ. “It’s marvelous, I tell you. There is no way to detect who is superior upon sight, and neither can one determine from where the dittos originate.”

A look of displeasure distorted Alula’s flawless face. “Seren, it could get so chaotic. There can be no attraction toward one another.”

With a bright smile, he shook his little head. “No, Alula, that is not true. No one is prettier or more handsome as to inspire jealousy, turning twisted envy into angry and hurtful vengeance. The dittos communicate without consciousness of the physical self and form opinions then ultimately relationships, based on hearts and souls connecting. Each has only his or her inner being to offer, and only by that can he or she be judged.”

Alula yawned before countering, “Okay, if they, Guthridge, or anyone else here truly was a genius or had any brains at all, they wouldn’t need such a preposterous solution in order to accept one another, differences and all! Want to know why this is insane? I’ll tell you why. Life, this way, is impossible! Suppose I was to converse with a gentleman and hoped to run into him again. How would I recognize him? Infidelity must be a common problem.”

Seren shook his head. “The meetings and arrangements are discussed, as are ways of how and when to contact. That is good, for if one wants to meet with you or have you contact, he can voluntarily instruct you. If he or she does not wish to see you again, it is marvelous, for the individual can, simply, withhold the information, and you never could harass the person. It would be difficult.”

“That is not likely to discourage infidelity.”

“I assure you, Alula, it is not a problem, for the mates are in heart and soul exclusively. Nothing is worth the risk of losing what they’d found.”

“That’s fine,” she allowed, “but how would I know if I’d like to converse with someone passing by and possibly get to know him?”

“Well, the signal for approach is always a beep, but you are not an earthling and therefore not equipped for beeping.”

Alula kicked some nearby rocks. “That is just stupid.”

“Why is that stupid, my lady?”

“It’s stupid because how does one know if he or she would like to beep?”

“They do not control the beeping process,” Seren replied. “When ditto instincts dictate, and they have the intention of approaching, they beep automatically. An effective method for dealing with shyness, wouldn’t you say?”

“No, no, no, no!” She stomped her foot for good measure.

He ignored that. “We might think about a similar system for—”

Alula was aghast at the mere suggestion. “Oh, right, let’s adopt this post-apocalyptic absurdity in our perfectly functional society. Are you out of your mind? The last thing I want to do is trade my unique attributes to become just another ditto.” She thought of another argument. “What then might I do if I’m walking merrily along and feel someone sneak up behind and pinch me? How would I know which beeping ditto did it? I’d turn around and see a slew of them parading behind.”

“Why would any of them resort to that?” Seren turned his palms up, smiling. “There is no physical attraction, and lust is no longer an obsession.”

“Lust? Do you think it has to do solely with lust— why people prey upon others? There are other reasons they choose to be a nuisance.” Alula folded her arms across her chest. “How much do you want to bet? You’ll have confused dittos beeping incessantly at everyone!”

At that very moment, a frantic, beeping ditto raced toward Seren. While yanking the wallet from his pocket, the culprit pulled at his nose, bopped him on the head and knocked off his visor. Alula could not help laughing, cupping her mouth, and feeling relieved for, in an instant, the guilty ditto was lost amidst a crowd of lookalike dittos up ahead.

“Obviously, a psychotic,” Seren said, looking for his visor amid the rubble.

“Hmm, and this is why we can’t have nice things.” Alula spied the visor and picked it up for him. “Tsk! Listen, I love the idea of being one and equal and loving one another, but if the answer is they can only beep and steal wallets, well—”

           Seren, grabbing the visor from her hand, looked embarrassed. “The unfortunate result of generations of inbreeding, I suspect, but it could have worked.”

***The End***

Feature image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay 

THANK YOU FOR ENOUGH BEAUTY AND JOY

Image by James Wheeler from Pixabay

Despite mournful envy and

Dejected wrath,

We bask under blue skies,

Bewitching stars,

And mystical moons,

Loving rumbles of thunder,

Glistening raindrops,

And a hazy peaceful sunrise.

In the face of

Sorrowful greed,

We delight in magnificent mountains,

Bountiful oceans,

Turquoise lagoons,

Beautiful blossoms,

And the green, green grass

Of springtime.

Through raging anger,

Aching sadness,

We treasure radiant sunsets,

Seek marble courtyards,

Ancient architecture,

And splendid arched bridges.

We sing the praises of

Breathtaking falls.

Even crushed

And bewildered,

We are captivated by

Exquisite winged creatures,

Tropical forests,

And the critters we nurture.

We embrace the power in our divinity

And the superb magic of everything.

With every threat to the world

We belong to

And embrace,

We revel in books and dreams.

We’re mesmerized by

Otherworldly visions

And plentiful hues.

We cherish

The light in ever-curious

Truth seekers,

And are ever grateful

For smiles,

Rapturous affection,

Laughter,

And love.

by Kyrian Lyndon

Image by David Mark from Pixabay


When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy. – Rumi

Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain. – Joseph Campbell

NETFLIX THRILLER WAS JUST SO GOOD

*SPOILER WARNING*

*SCARY STUFF WARNING*

*TALK ABOUT RELIGION WARNING*

Time goes way too fast for me. I saw Midnight Mass on Netflix about eight months ago and have wanted to write about it, but I’m just now getting around to it.

If you haven’t seen or heard of it, Midnight Mass is a seven-episode miniseries created and directed by Mike Flanagan. Flanagan’s inspiration came from his Catholic upbringing and recovery from alcoholism. The genre is supernatural horror, the same as The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor, both of which he created previously for Netflix. 

David Fear of Rolling Stone magazine called Midnight Mass extraordinary. A critic on Rotten Tomatoes called it “gorgeous and unsettling.” Tomatoes revealed it had an 89% approval rating. 

Okay, some felt it was too much of a Salem’s Lot rip-off, paying homage to Stephen King. Those influences were there, sure, but, in my opinion, that’s a good thing.

Anyway, the filming of Midnight Mass took place in Vancouver, at a seaside public area called Garry Point Park. Garry Point Park became Midnight Mass’s fictional Crockett Island, a small offshore fishing village whose inhabitants are trying to recover economically from an oil spill that devastated its fishing industry.

Riley Flynn is the main character who comes home to Crockett Island from prison after his drunk driving resulted in a woman’s death.

The supernatural element stems from the arrival of a stranger; a priest called Father Paul. And while Father Paul is charismatic, he is not exactly normal. He performs miracles amid tragedy with winged, blood-sucking creatures lurking. I’m not a fan of gore, but if a series is good, I’ll endure whatever I must (Hello, Game of Thrones) and, if necessary, resort to covering my eyes. (Of course, I’ll peek out of one eye.)

Ultimately, Father Paul seduces his whole island of followers, pushing them to poison themselves with cultlike devotion. It reminded me of the preacher and mass murderer, Jim Jones, who was solely responsible for the Jonestown, Guyana massacre in 1978. Some viewers complained about Father Paul’s profound monologues from beginning to end, but I enjoyed them. Honestly, I found the entire series brilliant and thought-provoking. 

Hamish Linklater as Father Paul received widespread acclaim for his character portrayal, and yes, he was great. Jen Chaney of Vulture called his performance “phenomenal” and believed he elevated the series to “moments of greatness,” writing: “he speaks as if he’s discovering his way through every sentence and wants you to come with him.” 

Other noteworthy performances include Zach Gilford as Riley Flynn, Robert Longstreet as Joe Collie, the town drunk, Rahul Kohli as Sheriff Hassan, Kate Siegel as Riley’s childhood sweetheart, Samantha Sloyan as a high and mighty zealot, and Henry Thomas as Riley’s father.

There was tremendous praise for Flanagan’s directing.

However, many Christians found Midnight Mass offensive in every regard.

Sherriff Hassan, as a Muslim, feels like an outsider, with the townspeople forcing Christianity on his son. And Riley questioned his faith, which I thought seemed normal after what happened to him. Even the most devout have struggled to keep the faith. We’re supposed to be human and flawed, right?

Another complaint was that Midnight Mass portrays a vampire as an angel. Father Paul is romanticized and sexualized, ranging from benevolent to malevolent. But doesn’t the Bible have angels who rebelled against God? The fallen ones who’d decided God was a despotic, unmerciful tyrant and got sentenced to eternity in hell? 

I read a comment that “priests would be able to recognize evil and not succumb to it,” yet they’ll defend the pedophile priest with arguments that the devil targets him, relentlessly tempting and “tricking” him. That’s just bullshit, but in the holy books, Satan is a powerful and ruthless rebel—a trickster who will constantly aim to manipulate and deceive you. While I may not believe these things, I learned while growing up Catholic that the devil will have his reign upon earth. I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard that one. So, it’s hardly shocking that Midnight Mass presents you with a version of the legendary Anti-Christ, who predictably fools people.

Midnight Mass also explores humanity’s desperate quest for eternal life, which is the “gift” offered to Father Paul’s followers in this story. The gift, in addition, relieves them of pain and suffering. I believe that’s why vampire lore is so popular. It dangles that gift and explores its consequences.

Midnight Mass presents the idea that “we must do evil to combat evil.” That misguided belief system is out there. Just look at the justification for people denying others fundamental human rights, justice, and dignity. Consider the lengths they will go to oppress and punish people for not being what the bigots say they’re supposed to be. No, not every religious person is like that, but no one can deny the mentality is out there. People believe they are combating evil and might have to resort to atrocious behavior themselves to accomplish that. 

At the same time, some believe in a loving, merciful, forgiving God and opt for the perception of him that is consistent with the caring and compassionate Jesus. Others fear God as a cruel, unforgiving, punishing entity who is offended by slights to his ego and will ask that you do horrendous things to prove your devotion to him, and they obey him to avoid punishment. Well, Father Paul is a depiction of the latter.

Of course, I can’t tell people what should or shouldn’t offend them. None of it offends me, but I don’t share their belief system and so reserve judgment. I will say that some of the best characters in Midnight Mass were Christians and made admirable sacrifices rather than succumbing to all the madness. And most were victims of a psychopath leader. Except, in this story, people fought back.

I believe Midnight Mass is still on Netflix. If you enjoy this kind of stuff, check it out.

SUPREME COURT OVERTURNING OF ROE V. WADE

I’ve been pregnant only twice in my life and the first time ended in a miscarriage at about four weeks. Of course, I didn’t know I was pregnant until I’d lost the baby. In my second pregnancy, I carried to term, and though I didn’t realize I was pregnant until the third month, I was thrilled every step of the way. The pregnancy was easy, and I raised that beautiful boy to adulthood. I have never been in the position of not wanting a child I was carrying, but understanding the enormous responsibility of raising another human being, I get it.

Women seem to be damned if they do sometimes and damned if they don’t. I can’t imagine having a life inside you for nine months and giving it up for adoption. I applaud anyone who can do that because who can NOT fall in love with this little one when it’s moving within you and listening to your voice? It’s like a part of you for so long. It’s such a tremendous sacrifice, yet there are always these stories about the kids given up for adoption searching for the bio parent filled with resentment. People ask, how can you give your child away?

No matter what women do, they are criticized by someone or another. Whether you abort a fetus, give up your baby, or practice birth control, it’s like, how dare you! It’s no excuse that you can’t afford it, are not ready, or have a career.

Of course, holy books written by men are all about procreation. If homosexuality was forbidden and they oppressed certain groups, it helped their cause. Make taxpayers and soldiers and worker bees for the king. Of course, some will die because you can’t feed them or afford them, or maybe they’ll get killed in a war, but if you keep them coming, enough of them will survive to suit their purposes. How they live is of no concern. Win/win for them.

Otherwise, why would they care if you’re gay or whatever you are? You’re not harming anyone.

I read one comment that if we keep aborting babies, no one will be left on the earth. Really?

Others say people are overreacting to the decision. They’re not, but even if you missed how quickly several states moved to ban abortion after the ruling, you must have noticed they are pushing the envelope further and further. They’re testing the waters. Just ask Clarence Thomas, who has his eye on birth control and same-sex marriage. If you think people going after fundamental human rights ends there, think again. People were outraged when asked to wear a mask during a plague! That scared the crap out of them but not this. Go figure.

The same people who talk about not wanting government intervention in their lives won’t rest until they have complete control over women, gay people, and minorities.

I hate this so much.

Image by Karen Nadine from Pixabay 

Feature image by Robert Jones from Pixabay 

THAT CRAZY DESIRE TO CONQUER HATE WITH LOVE

D.K. SANZ

by Kyrian Lyndon

Photo by GDJ

If you are defending the rights of others who
are denied whatever privilege you enjoy, does that mean you have a savior
complex?

It’s one of many questions I ask myself, given the fact that I’ve been doing this since I was twelve. It was instinctive then, and it’s instinctive now because I don’t want to live in a world where bigotry seems to be the norm. Whether people were happy or unhappy about this stance I’d taken has never made a difference to me.

I have also questioned my own motives at
every turn.

It’s not about being politically correct. As far as I’m concerned, it is simply right, and I’m so confident of that that I’ll stick to it no matter who or what I stand to lose in the process.

Photo by Mark

Is it about tolerance? Nope. I would not…

View original post 2,616 more words

HAVE YOU SURVIVED YOUR LONG DARK NIGHT?

by Kyrian Lyndon

You see through shadows and fog. So much obscured. It’s a murky reality where confusion reigns—crisis after crisis, unending drama, boundless pain. You bury the fear that would deplete your strength. It’s become harder to function, wearisome to hope. You sink into despair. Light peeks in at the top of the hole, but every move toward it overwhelms.

You thought the cavalry would have arrived by now, ride up on rugged horses, but there is no cavalry.

You think you can’t do this. You want to die.

Think about it.

If you can’t do this anymore, all the stuff you don’t want to do, you can’t do the other stuff either—the beautiful, incredible, and amazing stuff. Those things that make you smile, laugh, ooh, and ahh—all the blessed wonders that fill your heart with joy will be gone along with the pain.

People say the best thing you can do when you’re feeling hopeless and powerless is to take the focus off you and help others. Bring smiles to people’s faces with a random act of kindness. It works!

But if you’re feeling too weak right now, not quite ready to save yourself, hang in there. We’re human, and we don’t always have to be strong. The world feels cruel and cold right now, and the suffering around us hurts. The suffering of the world is too much, yes. We’re all so vulnerable, but you’re not alone. We’re here with you.

We call upon the earth’s angels to construct the symbolic pyramid that surrounds, protects, and guides you. We send you the healing white light of unconditional love. And you’ll be surprised at what a difference a day makes.

If you’re not too defeated, maybe that sink or swim moment has arrived. Perhaps this is where you surrender. So, get up and take the fierce warrior stance. You’ll know when the time is right. You’re going down the rabbit hole to dig in and dig out, regain your clarity and calm, and restore your peace and joy.

And then the long dark night comes.

You approach it as what you’ve become, the persona that provided the armor you wore, the persona you constructed to protect you in the darkest of times. It was a godsend that’s slowly become a fire-breathing monster, diabolical and dangerous. It’s time to kill it before it kills you.

But it’s turbulent in this period of darkness. You feel disoriented and bewildered. There is so much to grieve.

You may be broken now, and things look rather bleak. I know. You may not believe me when I say you can heal because your heart is breaking in a way it never has. It’s like every broken heart you’ve ever had has come together to magnify the brokenness.

It seems everything has fallen apart, but then it will all come together again, I promise you, the way it was supposed to be. Deep down, we have the answers. When we are ready, we’ll align our will with the will of our highest power of love and of light. I’m here with you.

So many memories come to mind—the child you were, the adult you’ve become—so much anguish for what happened all those years ago.

You never wanted to let anyone down; I get that. You feel everything so intensely; I get that, too. Just don’t tell me you don’t deserve better. You do. Don’t tell me you’re a failure. You’re not. We learn from every mistake. That’s not failing; it’s growing. You are a beautiful, empathetic being of love and light. And don’t say hope will damn you; it won’t always, I promise.

It’s okay to acknowledge regrets and feel every wound that keeps hurting and the sadness of the torment that has yet to subside. Yes, it’s agony. You cry harder than you ever thought you could. Every version of you that’s existed cries with you. Especially that child in you who’s waited so long for your comfort. That small child who was thrilled by the universe in every waking moment—he’s still there! He wants you to fight for him. You care so much about everyone. Care about yourself, too! You help everyone, my dear; help him. The child is fragile and wailing. It’s the ghost that’s haunted you for many years, but she doesn’t unnerve you now. Your sobs are hers, as are your tears. This child is releasing your pain. Hug that child.

Every version of who you’ve been will need that comfort and compassion. Don’t be afraid to wrap all of those former “yous” in a blanket of love and show them they are worthy of that! They were just trying to survive. YOU were just trying to survive. After years of taking hit after hit and getting back up, maybe you learned how to compartmentalize, stay calm, and protect your energy, as I did.

It’s hard to fight the urge to share words of wisdom, some of which you may not be ready for, but I can plant a seed. I’m here and don’t you apologize—not to me. It’s not too much for me ever. I’ll never regret a moment with you. Just breathe. Take deep breaths as often as you need. You have to trust a little. Let me help you. Let me hug you. I got you, my friend, and you’re going to be alright. I love you so much!

And when the light of day shines on you after this long night, you are a warrior and a conqueror, too, who will conquer one thing after another in life.

You slay your demons so that the fierce dragon you desperately needed can transform into the beautiful paladin that champions your survival. And here you are now, a weightless dragonfly with mesmerizing beauty!

They say home is where you wake up and try again. Well, you’re home now.

Author Kyrian Lyndon

Trees at Sunset image by Jan W. from Pixabay 

Heart/Angel Wings image by Karin Henseler from Pixabay 

Child ghost image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay 

Dove image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Lightning/Darkness image Lochie Blanch at Unsplash

BINGE READING THE THRILLERS I LOVE

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This blog is a tribute to female authors in the dark thriller genre, whom I’ve appreciated more and more in the past few years. There are many good ones, and I’ve been going through their books like they are a giant bag of Twizzlers. I just can’t stop.

One of my best discoveries is bestselling British author Rachel Abbot. She writes psychological thrillers, most of which are set in Manchester, England, close to where the author grew up.

According to her bio, “After being turned down by several literary agents and publishers, she decided to brave it alone and go into self-publishing.” I’m so glad she did because her success story encourages us writers and thrills her readers and fans, including me!

Her books are suspenseful, page-turners I can’t put down even when dinner’s calling! They are the type of books you can lie with for hours, snug under the covers on a wintry Saturday morning, or what have you. There are good characters to root for, especially detective Tom Douglas and Becky, his partner. Ms. Abbott’s books are well-written with believable dialogue and good pacing. I enjoy the plots and how they unfold. Just as I think I have it figured out, there are brilliant twists. Her books are addictive. I’ve read them all, and I’m waiting for more.

RACHEL ABBOTT’S BOOKS ON AMAZON.COM

Freida McFadden is another new favorite and quickly catching up to Rachel Abbott. I’ve read many of McFadden’s books, and they are fantastic reads. Seriously, you can’t put these books down.

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Also on my list:

Marissa Finch

Leslie Wolfe

Natalie Barelli

Trisha Wolfe

If you love thrillers, check them all out. You’ll be glad you did.

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Skull/books image by Reimund Bertrams from Pixabay 

BURNING BRIDGES, LETTING GO

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live; it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.Oscar Wilde

Parting is rarely peaceful or the sweet sorrow of Shakespearean poetry. It can be an ugly and torturous process. It’s not unusual either to be called selfish for walking away from toxic relationships and environments.

We get involved in something or with someone having the best of intentions. Often, we don’t realize what issues we bring to the table. There may be parts of us still in need of healing. When we look back, we may see we could have handled it all better—not simply because hindsight is 20/20 but because we can’t be objective. We’re busy drowning. Everything is clouded, including our judgment. Being oblivious to what motivates us and how others can manipulate us, we fall into traps. We may even trust the wrong people, people who take advantage of vulnerabilities and unresolved needs. They push buttons we didn’t know we had and, after a time, we don’t recognize ourselves.

We walk away, because we don’t know what will happen to us if we don’t. We choose sanity and serenity over endless battles. The exit becomes the way of saving our lives, reclaiming it along with our dreams, putting our needs first after years of trying to please people who cannot be pleased. We are no longer in a place where we can be or do our best. The kinder thing is to go on and heal what needs healing. Who says we can’t bring our best efforts somewhere else? We can take our kindness. We know, too, it’s never going to be enough to walk away. We may need to burn that bridge, so we don’t get sucked in again.

The place we escaped from may haunt us from time to time, what we left behind. We can leave those dead things wailing in the dark and shut the door. That part of our past taught us many things we needed to learn, and it’s over, done, dead. As long as we didn’t lose the lesson, we’ll be fine. We needed to be there and experience what we experienced, but we’re free now. It’s time to celebrate our freedom.

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Nine Things We Don’t Owe Anybody

Selfishness: 10 Myths You May Be Relieved To Debunk

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SENDING LOVE TO THE PEOPLE OF UKRAINE

“Man is the only animal that deals in that atrocity of atrocities, War. He is the only one that gathers his brethren about him and goes forth in cold blood and calm pulse to exterminate his kind. He is the only animal that for sordid wages will march out…and help to slaughter strangers of his own species who have done him no harm and with whom he has no quarrel. ..And in the intervals between campaigns he washes the blood off his hands and works for ‘the universal brotherhood of man’–with his mouth.” Mark Twain – What Is Man?

Since its first season, I have been a fan of the television show Dancing with the Stars, so I am pretty familiar with Ukrainian-American pro-dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who appeared in many earlier seasons and recently as a judge. When the Russian invasion began, Maksim was a judge on the Ukrainian version of Dancing with the Stars. For days, he took refuge in a bomb shelter, and his frequent Instagram videos revealed how distraught and heartbroken he’s been, barely able to hold it together. At the same time, he kept us informed and advised people of ways to help. As of now, he’s trying to leave Ukraine, making his way to the border, and I pray he arrives home safely to his loved ones.

So many courageous people, including Maksim. are coming to light right now. And we’re seeing an extraordinary display of empathy with people speaking up and reaching out, a great measure of love and support. That moves me to no end, as does the unity among the Ukrainians and overwhelmingly on a global scale.

Someone posted on Twitter that “Ukrainians are not fighting with each other over issues like vaccines and CRT. They are fighting FOR each other so future generations will enjoy the freedoms that exist in a true democracy.”

That’s true. These things I mentioned above—empathy, love, unity, etc.— have been lacking here throughout the elections and pandemic and one crisis after another. So, yeah, I find it hard not to cry when I see good people fighting back against corruption, cruelty, and greed.

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has stepped up to be quite the courageous leader whose humility allows him to see himself, not as an idol to be worshipped but as a patriot who refuses to abandon his country or his people. It reminds us that humans can be amazing.

Every day I send all of them love, light, and prayers—and to the whole world. Wherever there is suffering, we suffer, too, because we care about each other.

Beautiful Ukraine

Kiev
Image by David Mark from Pixabay 
Ukraine church
Image by Alexandr Podvalny from Pixabay 
Kiev, Ukraine
Image by Zephyrka from Pixabay 
Ukraine Forest
Image by David Mark from Pixabay 

Ukraine flag heart feature photo (way at the top) by Сергій Марищук from Pixabay 

I CAN TELL YOU, SHE HATED FLOWERS!

SHE HATED FLOWERS

She hated flowers, and I wondered why

That was;

When diamonds less radiant

Diminished her gloom,

And she delighted in the fragrance of her favorite perfume.

She hated that they withered and faded,

I thought;

That their petals broke loose,

And they barely hung on.

She hated that they were thrown away,

With every trace of them gone.

They were delicate and fragile like her,

I’d say;

The kind of thing

She felt so undeserving of.

It’s such taxing work for the weary,

Simply to nurture and love.

She clung to her own greenness and vigor,

I thought.

Exquisite as they were,

They brought too much sorrow;

She detested caring for those that,

Would not need her tomorrow.

She was too oppressed to provide refuge,

I found.

I heard heartbreaking stories,

Where she had it rough.

She did the best she could, I know,

But it was just never enough.

She is every bit like the flowers,

You know,

Warms your vulnerable heart,

With kindness and grace;

Brings happy tears to your eyes,

And the most joyful smile to your face!

She regales like a queen, and she stuns,

I say;

And I love her,

As I do those flowers she hates!

Some have penetrable walls, you know;

She has padlocked iron gates

Author: Kyrian Lyndon

Top feature image by Hong Zhang from Pixabay 

Black rose image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

Purple rose image by GLady from Pixabay 

Orange flowers image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

A LOVING LETTER TO A FRIEND

D.K. SANZ

What are we going to do about the fact that I’m dying?”

She asked him.

“There’s a lot we haven’t resolved.

There’s so much we can’t say to each other,

Including goodbye.

I don’t think I’ve done enough for you,

Or that I ever deserved you.

“I keep trying to let things go,

Let it be,

Have faith,

Have trust,

And I think it works, most of the time.

Wisdom is crystallized pain,

And my greatest pain has been your sadness.

I worry so much about you.

“Everything shifted

When you entered my world.

You led me to the right path,

Revealed my inner shadows.

You made me a better human.

And, I love you.

And, I just want you to be okay.

More than anything, I want you to be happy.

But, you’re not, and I can’t leave you like that.

You deserve to find your joy.

“Walking away…

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Celebrating What Is

A beautiful, uplifting blog from my writer friend, Amy Henry.

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Comedian Robin Williams’ famous quip “Reality… what a concept!” has played in my head like a tape loop on steroids during these past—count ‘em—22 months of pandemic pandemonium.

I mean, do we even know what reality is anymore? Do we want to know?

Add to the COVID powder keg a toxic sludge of gun-toting fascists (some of them members of Congress!), a slew of anti-voter laws designed to finish off our crumbling democracy, plus the skyrocketing threat of climate change, and it’s easy to understand why reality has gotten such a bum reputation. It’s not an accident that my local supermarket has stacks and stacks of snack food in every aisle. We want so much to MAKE… EVERYTHING… THE… WAY… IT…USED… TO… BE.

To the point where we run the risk of missing the good stuff that’s right in front of us. The actual hope, the joy, the positive progress…

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TOUCHY FRIENDSHIPS: PROCEEDING WITH CAUTION AND CARE

I remember this story from about ten years ago.

A young college girl decided to track down her long-lost cousin. Their families hadn’t spoken to one another for over a decade, so she hadn’t seen or spoken to him since he was six years old. When she got him on the phone, she began the conversation by telling him that whatever his mother had told him about her family wasn’t true. She defended her family and told him he could visit them anytime.

All the guy wanted to do was shut her down. The assumptions she’d made infuriated him—that he didn’t know the truth, that he hadn’t witnessed any of what happened for himself, and that he’d be open to hearing someone trash the mother he loved.

She didn’t understand his anger. Instead, she blathered on, offending him more and more with every word. She was like I was once, rushing headlong into a minefield she didn’t have a clue how to navigate. The result was he never spoke to her again. That’s sad because they might have become friends.

While someone discussed this story with me, they called the situation between the cousins “loaded.” It came to mind recently when I thought about other loaded predicaments between people.

Sometimes the relationships are precarious for simple and obvious reasons, and one of you had to set boundaries. Maybe it’s an intolerable but understandable behavior issue or substantial differences of opinion. Maybe one of you is married and the other single. Perhaps one of you wants something the other can’t provide. Or you’re at odds with a friend of theirs or a family member and can’t defend yourself or your position without talking trash about the other person.

Photo by Morgane Perraud on Unsplash

I once worked with someone recommended by a woman I admired tremendously. He was her partner. When he and I spoke on the phone, he eventually divulged very intimate details about their romantic relationship. He seemed to adore her, which was beautiful, but I didn’t think she’d like me knowing what he was telling me. It made me uncomfortable, so I suppose I put up some barriers, which made him uncomfortable. Suddenly, he used the withholding punishment—not keeping me updated about the project, dragging his feet on it, and ultimately not delivering quite what I’d expected. I used someone else for the next project, but there’s now a barrier between the woman who referred him and me. I have no idea what he told her, but the additional weight hampers any interaction with her, and I hate that.

It gets heavier than that. There are situations where people grow up with devastating trauma. Family members have different outlooks about what happened, maybe different experiences. One may still feel the agony of the hurt they or someone else caused in doing what felt right in their heart. Things said may remind you of the pain they caused you or the pain you caused them. There’s a lot of re-traumatization within the same dynamics or dealing with the family.

I believe it’s crucial to become fully aware of all this because situations aren’t loaded when you don’t care about the other person. You could easily blow them off and never have anything to do with them.

To this day, there are people I’d love to drop a line to and ask how they’re doing or just to say, “I miss you.”

You can have so much love for a person and at the same time have to handle your interaction with them like you’re holding a piece of glass. 

There are no-fly zones.

And sure, it’s painful. You wish things were different. We grieve relationships like that. It saddens us that there was so much good, and we cherish the memories to the point of tears. We may wonder, can we ever get it back? If we did, would it ever be the same? Both parties have to come to the table with an open mind. There must be a willingness to walk hand in hand through that mine together. It’s hard because quite often, the trust isn’t there any longer. And you have to be willing to trust someone to do that.

Plenty of people out there can discern these situations, I’m sure, but many of us had to learn that. As I alluded to at the beginning of this post, there was a time I’d have flown my plane right into that restricted zone and not for a moment realize the potential damage I’d cause. I’d gotten used to a cycle of being hurt and fighting back. These days, I think of what I might say in these circumstances and recognize how it could go wrong.

Often, I decide I can say nothing. Or I wonder how to rectify a situation, resolve a conflict, and every way I might think to approach it, I see a flashing red light, and it’s just no. Don’t. You can’t. There’s a need to tread gently, take care.

One might ask themselves:

What are safe topics we can discuss? Should we stick to a public forum in responding to one another rather than talk on the phone or text? Can we support one another in ways that don’t involve us in their lives?

I find these things helpful in dealing with others where the cautions may apply:

It’s often the difference between reacting and responding. Realize you’re communicating with another vulnerable human being who likely has had their own trauma. They are not bulletproof. Sometimes we are blinded by rage, and we keep firing at someone, but we don’t realize they’re bleeding.

There’s a difference between reaching out and setting a trap. We can’t be condescending. We may feel we’re in a better place or farther along in our healing, and it may or may not be accurate, but it doesn’t matter. We all have our paths to walk and on our timetable. It goes in that “Not all who wander are lost” category..

It helps to be genuine and sincere under these circumstances, to let go of any bitterness or resentment, and respond only from a place of caring and love. It’s heartbreaking, and it’s tragic, but we can accept it and be grateful these individuals are still in our lives in whatever capacity. We can still love them with all our hearts and send that love to them whenever possible.

Photo by Wyron A on Unsplash

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Feature Photo by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

YOUR DREAMS ARE NOT JUST FANTASY

Photo by Madhuri Mohite on Unsplash

Friends inspired me to write this post, but so did my son, Jesse, whose job has him working nine hours a day or more. It’s what happens to the best and most reliable employees these days. He gets calls for help on weekends and holidays and can’t even take a vacation without the whole place falling apart. Meanwhile, he has dreams of other pursuits.

For people in this position, the idea of taking those first steps toward change can be overwhelming, even terrifying, because it means taking risks they can’t afford to take.

Sometimes I think almost everyone has a dream—one that’s always in the back of their minds. They would love to achieve it or pursue it, but they see nothing but obstacles. I lived that life myself for decades, working at okay jobs. Some were fascinating or fun but not what I wanted to do.

Great opportunities came along, but I knew I didn’t want those things badly enough to make the type of commitment and investment I’d need to make to be a success.

Writing, for me, was different. I loved it so much that I was determined to find a way. I was more than willing to take risks and make the commitment and investment. Nothing could stop me. When we feel that way about something, the odds of making it happen are better, but we need a plan!

TIME

One thing people say to me a lot is they don’t have the time.

Of course, we juggle many, many things in life. For me, it’s writing, cleaning, cooking, the household infrastructure, exercise, reading, taking good care of myself and the people I love, etc.  Time management is everything, as we know, because time is such a precious commodity.

I’m a big fan of schedules or “to do” lists. It’s my way of making sure everything gets done. If I begin to fall behind in one area, I’ll work out a new schedule. They are easy to update in Word documents, rearranging priorities as necessary.

To that effort, if you make a list of what you spend your time on, you will likely find you devote hours to stuff you don’t want or have to do so much, if at all. The same goes for people who will drain you or upset you for hours or days afterward. Some will even waste precious moments arguing with people on the internet. There has to be a way to make less or no time for those people.

It doesn’t matter if you find only fifteen minutes a day to work on your dream goals. Find the space to make your dream come true. Use whatever time you’ve got. You will expand as necessary and adjust, ultimately realizing it does fit in.

For many years now, I’ve been waking up early (4 a.m.!) and writing in the dark with the moonlight. It’s always something to look forward to when I turn in for the night. When I had to, I did my writing before work, whatever time I could devote to it, plus a workout. Before heading to work, I’d already been up seven hours. For night people, you may be able to set aside time after dinner or before bed. Make it a romantic adventure just for you, your coffee, tea, whatever, and what you love doing.

And you have to guard that time! Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m working.” Tell people when you’ll be free. Treat it like a regular job, even if others don’t.

Of course, the time you spend working toward your dream is a priority but not the only priority. How would you respond if someone approached you or called you at work? Is it important enough for an interruption? How would you respond to an invitation that conflicts with your work schedule? You get to decide if it warrants the afternoon off or not. Avoid losing momentum. Sure, you can be sick or take vacation time, but you don’t let it go for months or years. It has to be a constant in your life.

Photo by Alex Azabache on Unsplash

MONEY

Of course, we have to have a backup plan always—a job to fall back on. Most people know to save as much money as possible.

Many years ago, however, I loved curling up with catalogs and making lists of what I wanted to order, and I intended to pay off my credit cards, but I ended up filing for bankruptcy. It took years to rebuild my credit score, and now, they give me a nearly perfect score. Imagine that!

But I’m the last one to get “the latest thing” if I decide to get it at all. I’m not looking to impress or keep up with anyone. I get to decide what’s worth it. For example, people love to go to the movies, the thrill of being in theaters and being among the first to see it. I’m so over that. I watch movies at home and save money there. Living in New York, I’ll rarely shell out the price of a ticket to a Broadway show, and I love Broadway shows. It’s just expensive, so I’ll splurge only now and then. I’m not too fond of concerts because I don’t like crowds, so I save money there, too. In short, I’ve learned, we don’t need everything we think we need.

And when you get good at saving, start investing. Your investment account can be growing toward buying you more time.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

ENTHUSIASM/MOTIVATION

Take it seriously. Build a website. Create a Facebook page for what you do, an Instagram account, etc. Keep doing your thing no matter what. Share what you do with people who enjoy it and are likely to encourage and support you. Vision boards are great. I’ve used them in the past.

Believe in yourself. You can do it. Work hard, and don’t let people discourage you! Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Strive for humility. That helps. Above all, learn, learn, and keep learning! Keep getting better at what you do. It’s a love affair, a relationship. Devote yourself to it, heart and soul.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash
Photo by Alice Pasqual on Unsplash

Feature photo by Jack B on Unsplash

UNMERCIFUL: A POEM FROM MY NEW BOOK

My body was a useless entity.

In your presence, it betrayed me.

Like dangerous waters beckoning

In their mystifying beauty.

Their tantalizing fluidity caressed my body

As I resisted taking the plunge.

My body betrayed me,

Ignored me like a preoccupied stranger

With a will of its own.

And, I cruelly learned,

I could control what happened

Only if you were merciful.

But, watching you,

Listening to you,

Was not merciful.

It was a torturous joy.

Image by Enrique Meseguer from Pixabay 

Feature image above by Stefan Keller from Pixabay 

“Unmerciful” is from Awake with the Songbirds Available on Amazon.com

DAMN THE LIES AND TRUTH BE TOLD

D.K. SANZ

THE ELUSIVE TRUTH

Fantasy often bests reality. Sentimentality can provide us with an illusion of innocence in a safe and familiar world. That’s fine, and it’s not hard to understand why people, in their everyday lives, cling to illusions and delusions that comfort and protect.

That said, most of us would say we are honest. Webelievethat we are. The trouble is, we can’t be honest with others until we are honest with ourselves. And we can’t be honest with ourselves until weknowwhat is true—until we confront it, accept it, and deal with it however we must.

So, why would we not know?

Many of us grow up indoctrinated with a built-in belief system. The beliefs we hold may lead to harsh judgments—to the point of shunning, oppressing, and hating others. There is often an unwillingness to understand people who are different. And these core ideologies can…

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IS FACEBOOK MORE BAD THAN GOOD?

Let’s put this massive collection of egos in a fishbowl and see what happens. 

That’s the gist of it.

We never before had so much access to one another’s thoughts and opinions, which can be unsettling if not altogether frightening. If we ever entertained the notion that telepathy would be a great superpower, we now realize it would be a fate worse than death.

Is Mark Zuckerberg putting profits before people, creating a deep divide among users, and manipulating our emotions? The fear, rage, stress, drama, frustration, etc., we put out there are undoubtedly good for engagement and subsequent profits. But, at least part of the blame for the insanity has to go to some of the users, right? “People” tend to mess up everything.

Relationships that had seemed unconditional are not really. Many want you to validate their core beliefs, never challenging or opposing them.

It’s similar to working in a corporate office where someone or another spreads misinformation about a situation, and it goes “office” viral. The initial gossip spreader and everyone who passes it on has no idea what they’re talking about, nor do they care. I hated working in corporate offices for that reason, yet that’s what we have here on Facebook. Often, too, when Facebook flags someone’s posts for providing false information, the poster doesn’t remove it. People insist on believing what isn’t true because it’s what they prefer to believe. The truth doesn’t matter.

Part of the problem is how addictive Facebook is. I am a person who can get addicted to water, cough drops, you name it. (I know what to stay away from.) Here, we get addicted to the dopamine effect—that little blast of euphoria from getting likes on our posts. Addiction, however, does often distort things, and it often impairs our judgment.

People don’t realize there’s no absolute privacy when you voluntarily publish stuff on the internet. They’re not aware of what rights they surrender when they create a Facebook page. They think they can get around the privacy issue by posting disclaimers. Disclaimers do not override Terms of Service, but, having created networks in the past, I realize most people do not read the Terms of Service. Some don’t even know there are terms. 

Image by Irina Ilina from Pixabay 

Then, of course, there are the trolls. People stress themselves out arguing with trolls and then complain that said trolls are threatening their family or that they have three brain tumors and this and that, yet these trolls won’t leave them alone.

Don’t talk to trolls, FFS! Please don’t sit there answering them all day! They will never feel sorry for you. You may as well tell them your house is burning down as you tweet, or you’re tweeting them from the ICU. That would be hilarious to them. The more misery they cause, the happier they’ll be. These are not people you can reason with or convince. If they can’t get a rise out of you, it’s not fun for them, so, yes, don’t feed them. That is all.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Troll lecture aside, we fight mostly over politics here, taking our anger and frustration out on people with opposing views. Personally, I always hope, more than anything, that some post or another will help someone see the light. Don’t we all? Of course, that doesn’t usually work. In the meantime, we’re questioning and attacking one another’s integrity. Sure, you only wear the shoe if it fits, but many are determined to squoosh those shoes onto your feet any which way they can.What’s worse is, we’re not changing people’s ideas. Instead, we have them digging in their heels and becoming more vindictive.

What I know is, I don’t want to participate in this kind of thing any longer. I want my contribution to the world to be love, strength, compassion, empathy, and whatever wisdom I can muster.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal recently said, “The damage to self-interest and self-worth inflicted by Facebook today will haunt a generation.” 

Over the years, I’ve dealt with people who were in the throes of agony because they can’t help comparing themselves and their lives to what they see posted on Facebook or Instagram. 

There’s a syndrome out there—people having a sense that there isn’t enough to go around, and it extends to everything. You get attention; you take from my supply. You succeed; that means I can’t. Now, you’re getting more dopamine effect than me, damn it!

The adverse reactions may often be about envy, sometimes jealousy, but other factors come into play. People-pleasing is one. Preoccupation with it is born out of trauma and persists with societal pressure.

For example, I had the affliction of body dysmorphic disorder for most of my life. Despite the incredible progress I’ve made, there are lingering components.

I’ve often hesitated to post photos because almost every picture I see of myself is hideous to me. Many people feel the same, I’m sure. We may put up an image of us we’re happy with, and then the next day, we see it again and think, ugh, that’s awful. Why did I even post that?

It’s funny because my son once told me, don’t do that fake smile people do when they’re posing for pictures. Usually, when they do that, they look like serial killers. (We were laughing about this and not entirely serious because even he understands my sensitivity about photos.) So, I had to add, try not to look like a serial killer to my picture-taking goals. 🤣

Every now and then when I found a photo that I thought was good, I got pushback or shaming—someone or another saying it was fake, narcissistic, etc. Over the years, I’d heard it all.  So, I’ve gotten confused over the whole picture deal.

And my insecurity seems to be a contest I have with myself because:

  • I have zero interest in dating. 
  • By this point in my life, I know I am enough—more than enough and worthy. 
  • I don’t get jealous of people. There’s so much joy I feel in appreciating how beautiful others are, and I’m not just talking about hair and lips or a body type. Beauty encompasses everything about a person and radiates from within. 
  • I live the life I created for myself, so I’m happy to see others enjoy themselves.

For me, it’s the people-pleasing thing. I don’t want to disappoint people. It’s an old obsession that seems to be taking longer to go away than any of my other obsessions. I say that because it’s a good reminder that most everyone has their issues and insecurities and their reasons for feeling uncomfortable.

I once thought I didn’t like people in general, but I realize now that I love people; I just don’t know how to deal with them. That’s my issue. Sometimes, along the roads we take in life, that message gets reinforced and stuck in our heads because of what people we care about say to us with or without realizing, or what we see happen when we reach out. 

Being against anyone isn’t my thing. Wanting the best for everyone is very much my thing. At the same time, it’s essential to know the difference between being genuinely kind and caring and pleasing people to ward off someone’s hostility, ridicule, or indifference. When I wake up every day, my goal is to be a better person, and I think if we focus on that, the other stuff won’t matter so much.

But if Facebook is making you feel like you’re not enough, remember that your time is precious. So is your energy and your peace. Don’t let anyone have you questioning your worth! There’s a reason we don’t fit in with certain people, and it usually means there are other people out there who are better suited for us. I know it’s hard, but lots of people love and appreciate you. Don’t forget that.

Top feature photo by ijmaki from Pixabay 

SAME OLD NEIGHBORHOOD

D.K. SANZ

My new book, “Awake With The Songbirds,” which includes the above poem and many more, will be available by the end of next week. I’m so excited!

Please let me know if you are interested in obtaining an advanced review copy or if you’d like me to notify you about any upcoming giveaways. There will be a few chances to win a copy in the forthcoming months!

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WHAT DOES HAPPY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU? 🥰

“The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely.”― Louisa May Alcott

Image by Dim Hou from Pixabay 

We hear a lot these days about your “happy place” and “living your best life.” 

Your best life may be nonstop traveling or vacationing in a tropical paradise. Many are content going through the years with their extended, continually growing family, enjoying all the milestones and get-togethers. For some, it’s tending to their garden or going on a cruise, maybe taking photographs of nature. It may simply be achieving your professional goals, especially a long, fulfilling career helping others.

Ten years ago, when both of my parents were ill at the same time, I had panic attacks—even in my chiropractor’s tranquil office while listening to her soothing music. She was a gentle soul with an ethereal beauty about her, and she told me, “Don’t think about it. Just go to your happy place. Visualize it. Focus on it.”

Image by Kerstin Riemer from Pixabay 

For a lot of people, that happy place is a sun-filled or moonlit beach. Some find immediate comfort thinking about God or Jesus or prayers while surrounded by nature. I pictured a magical place with flowers, trees, birds, and a glistening lake. Taking out a rowboat was a nice thought, too.

Of course, we can have many happy places. I picture people—ones who make me smile and laugh a lot. Then there’s reading books, watching dancers, hearing people sing or play music. I love all of that.

Now, what about that timeworn phrase “happily ever after?” Is it what fairytales have dictated, something we’ve held onto since we were children? There’s a bit of societal pressure, whether it’s your dream or not, but I think most people do genuinely want to find their ideal partner and live a comfortable life with a house, pets, and children.

Image by aliceabc0 from Pixabay 

As I see it, the problem is what others expect of us and what we expect of ourselves. I’ve encountered many people who automatically assume everyone wants what they have. Have you met anyone like that? At best, they feel sad for you. At worse, someone thinks you want to take what they have away from them. Sure, that happens in some instances, but, more often, we’re not reading each other or reading the room, as they say.

I learned, long ago, that I don’t want what most people want, plain and simple and don’t necessarily like what most people like. I never felt the need to run out and get the latest thing because everyone else had it. I got it when and if I needed it. I’ll say, too, another of my happiest places is writing. Any artist might understand that, but a great many others may think that’s just pathetic!

What’s evident to me is, people often envy a life they don’t even want. They may see themselves as failures. It often happens that they didn’t succeed in creating that life because they never really wanted it in the first place. If so, they might have tried harder to get it. They think they should have gotten it, and that maybe something’s wrong with them. Or course, they worry, too, about what others may think. 

Well, I agree with those who say, “You do you.” The truth is, it is 100% okay for people to want everyday, traditional things or to want something else entirely. That’s hard for a lot of people, I know. They want to fit in. Me? I only want to fit where I belong—where I’m welcome, accepted, and embraced as who I am.

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.”― Audrey Hepburn