The Birdhouse Project

Looking it in the eye isn't...

Looking it in the eye isn't exactly the easiest thing to do, admitting it on a public forum is even harder.  Yet, the day, the time, the moment has come.  I've watched it creep back into my life, like a fog it patiently waited offshore for the wind to change.  Slowly, silently, it drifted back cloaking me like a cold wet blanket.

For as long as I can remember, I've denied it.  Had I been asked yesterday, I would have told you no.  At times, the mask is much easier, because it comes and goes.  It's something I can run from, yet it lurks, patiently waiting to smother me.  The denial is what gives it power, the ability to invade from within.

To remove it, I bury it.  Projects, I'm good at them because I'm empowered from within to not face open space.  It's strength that comes from a source of unimaginable reserves when speaking the truth is the only way to remove it's source.  To stop and admit it, fills me with sadness in one breath because I ran.  To stop and admit it, fills me with joy because I finally can face it.

The death of a friend stopped me, I began to take inventory of my life, the timing, impeccable.  The jury was in, the evidence held me guilty, the sentence a breath away.  I no longer choose to close my eyes and deny it, to fight it, instead I will lay in it.  I want to understand it and become an expert in my own grief.

I struggle with depression.  It comes and goes like a fog, a cold wet blanket.  I shed it by pushing it to the side, not giving it the space it needs control me.  I've made a decision, to walk the walk.  I will no longer deny it, I've made a decision to face it and learn from it.

The statement alone gives me strength.   

 

Taking the time...

We take the time to vacation, have special dinners, paint houses. Have you ever taken the time to go grieve? I mean step away from this world, a society that's based on money equals success. If you've never done such a thing, I highly suggest the mental time. 

I had many memorable experiences while traveling the country in my time of exile, but a rainy night in Oregon is one I will never forget. Settling into my sleeping bag, the constant patter of rain on the metal roof. Watching the rain drops hit my windows and slowly making their way down down the mini rivers that formed. The time was priceless in my journey here, to this place within. 

If you've never taken the time to grieve, from experience, I recommend it.

Maybe worth sharing, maybe not...

Maybe worth sharing, maybe not...

Without a doubt, I'm a doer. Given the time, patience and tools, I will take on just about anything. I remember when the CNC machine arrived in a large crate at the high school I taught at in KC. Two large crates of parts. Step by step I assembled, connected the power, loaded the software and began to teach myself the "how too".

This isn't something I started later in life, I've been this way all my life. I can remember taking apart and reassembling things from little on. My grandmother always told me as I drove off on their riding lawn mower to keep it assembled. I always replied, "OK grandma" with a smile knowing well that I had to take the cover off that motor or tweak the belts.

I mention this today as I just spent two hours reading up on my old truck. 1 1/4" main cylinder, 1 3/8" wheel cylinder, basic fuel pump or vacuum assist, the list goes on and on. Prior to bringing this beauty to my home, I knew little or nothing about Chevy trucks. My first thought was to drop her off and say "fix it".

Then I began to ponder the opportunity at my feet. If I get a manual, read some forum's, be patient and learn, this will truly become MY truck. Yeah, I really want to get ole' Bess running and go for a cruise with my pups, but the ownership I will have because I took the time to look within and rebuild her will be far more enjoyable then to just "fix it".

I write about this today because I see myself in West 17th, now in this ole truck. West 17th is now a part of me and I will forever be a part of her, the truck is no different. I was a part of my son's life, he a part of mine. He taught me lessons, experiences that are now mine to carry forward. His life and the lives of my students live on in me, me in them.

If at the end of the day I've succeeded to squeeze my experiences out to share like wringing out a sponge, than tomorrow I awake a beginner. Ready to absorb what life has to teach me, it's life's breath. Without a doubt, heaven on earth.

Be safe and well friends, to breath is to live, spiritually. One with the earth, in all I do.

Disarming Fear

Today, I'm going to go do something I didn't think I had the courage.  Something for years and years I didn't think twice, I just did.  Little did I know that for just over eight years I would struggle to do this one simple thing, fear has held me paralyzed in it's grips.

I talk about standing up.  I talk about facing things we dare not.  I talk about this and I talk about that, yet within something has had a grip on my heart.  The thought of it has brought me to instant lock down, "I can't". 

Well, today I must "walk the walk".  For me to continue, I must face a fear.  I must disarm it.  Take away it's power.  Take away it's grip.  Without a doubt I fear it, yet to write another word, to share another thought, I must disarm it.

My sons death tore open a wound that will never heal, that's reality.  To be told it will heal is simply a small bandage that will not cover.  That's reality.  To look at it any differently is simply false. To fear it, is making a decision to not understand it.

I choose to learn from it.  To walk the walk, to disarm it.  I respect it, but it will no longer control me.  

Too teach...

Too teach from the heart, not a book, a notepad filled with scribble, or a series of prepared slides.  No, it's not perfect, yet in every sense it fits me like a fitted glove.  Risk, nothing we do in life is without if we make a decision to step onto the balcony and say it, from the soul.

My grief, I'm learning day by day is something that I only understand on the surface, I loved him deeply.  My despair, only because the path that had become so well planned was only a part of a far gone life.

The turning point, when I began to seek my own answers.  Not from a text, a word, but from within.  I had the answers the entire time.  Tucked, only to be unfolded when I pulled them from the inner seams of within.

To speak, not for what you want to hear, but for what I truly had to say.  Not easy, as it took a universe to temper the insecurity driven deep.  Yet I made a decision that to live within my reality, I had to hear my reality.  The toughest, yet the wisest choice I've ever made.

Humbled, by the good things, I yet to feel I deserve.  With a smile, accepted, not without a tear.  It's good to be here, home, it's not a place, it's the peace within.  Too teach from the heart, is to learn from the world.  

Be safe and well, but more importantly, be willing to teach others from the heart who you are within.  Too teach it, you begin to understand it.  To understand it, peace.  

The NFL winners and losers...

Yesterday while painting, I was listening to the post game show in the radio after the Chiefs lost.  While listening to the reporters interviewing the players, there was something very distinctive about what was coming over the radio.

When the reporter made his way into the winners locker room, his voice was upbeat, loud and it sounded as though the future was wide open.  Yet the same reporter goes into the losers locker room minutes later and his voice is down, subdued and the future was bleak.

After experiencing tragedy in my own life, the differences were unmistakable.  I had to pause for a moment to think about this, as it happened often in my own life after Blake's death.  Here I was, a battle brewing within of the old me and the new me, yet the voices I heard in conversation were already telling me I was the loser.

Society plays a bigger role then we give credit.  We change within, but without a doubt, those on the outside have a role as well.  It even happens in football locker rooms and it's just a game.  

The NFL winners and losers...

Yesterday while painting, I was listening to the post game show in the radio after the Chiefs lost.  While listening to the reporters interviewing the players, there was something very distinctive about what was coming over the radio.

When the reporter made his way into the winners locker room, his voice was upbeat, loud and it sounded as though the future was wide open.  Yet the same reporter goes into the losers locker room minutes later and his voice is down, subdued and the future was bleak.

After experiencing tragedy in my own life, the differences were unmistakable.  I had to pause for a moment to think about this, as it happened often in my own life after Blake's death.  Here I was, a battle brewing within of the old me and the new me, yet the voices I heard in conversation were already telling me I was the loser.

Society plays a bigger role then we give credit.  We change within, but without a doubt, those on the outside have a role as well.  It even happens in football locker rooms and it's just a game.  

An Interview I did...

This past year, I've done a couple local interviews that focused on the renovation work I'm doing on a historic home in my hometown.  On many occasions, I've shared that this isn't just a house I'm bringing back to life, it's a parrallel of my life.  A beautiful home that ended up empty for years and years because of tragedy, only to be brought back to life, one nail, one wall, one heartbeat at a time.

I invited Mike and Jeff back to do a segment about the holidays and how difficult it can be for someone who's endured death, divorce, etc.  I also wanted to talk about what those who support someone in crisis could do to help.  It's not from a book, but my words are from the heart.

http://www.hayspost.com/2013/11/18/kris-munsch-dealing-with-the-loss-of-...

A simple hello can...

This past week I had an opportunity to speak with two different freshman classes at FHSU and I centered my talk around the very simple concept of saying "hello".  As I walk across campus, I greet everyone with a simple hello, good morning, etc.  It's not rocket science.  I make eye contact and speak.

Here's how it works.

1.  I see the oncoming person.

2.  I make eye contact.

3.  Typical response by the oncoming person is to look away, look at their phone, etc.  (I'm beginning to think this is a natural reaction due to technolgy taking away the ability to personally communicate)

4.  As I get closer, I look right at them and without any doubt of my intention speaking clearly and direct, "hello", "good morning", "beautiful day".

5.  The reponse 9 times out of 10, a smile followed by a reply.  I sometimes get the look of "who the hell are you?"  It doesn't phase me as a single smile in reply makes up for a hundred nonresponses.

6.  What I've noticed is almost a giddy in their step when they reply.  I love it and will forever do it, regardless of response.

The reason I shared this with the freshman class is that I want to change a culture, one person at a time.  I don't want a campus that ignores a fellow student, instructor, maintenance man.  I don't want a campus filled with people walking with heads down.  I want a campus filled with people making a difference.  You don't have to split atoms, write novels, give grand speaches to change someones life, in my opinion it starts with a simple hello.

A simple hello can change a life.  It can give hope to someone who's struggles.  It can put gidding in a step.  It can give light in a moment of darkness.  A simple hello can bring life.

Be safe and well friends, but more importantly, hello.  

Somewhere...

Somewhere, someone is waking up this morning wondering if it will ever go away.  The pain, the empty, the fear, the longing, the...  The endless list.  Not I or anyone can promise you it will.  The combination of the above can and often takes the living to the brink of death.

The fine line, the tipping point of survival.  I've leaned over it's edge, to convince within it's got to be better never achieved.  I can't hold you, I can't begin to convince you, all I can do is show you with the thought you may be watching.

I encourage you to step to the edge, to feel it, to touch it, to understand it.  What we learn, we no longer fear.  The empty subsides as the strength begins to flood.  Somewhere, I wake never to forget, but to understand that I can.  I can live a life, my life, regardless.  

I began to live, even in it's insanity.  I began to see it, sanity.  I'm not crazy, I'm me. It's reality, life, weakness, has brought me to my strengths.  I pull back, the edge, the brink to live a life I never dreamed.  

Be safe and well.

 

PS.  There isn't a day that I don't think back to the darkness, a reminder of just how bright my life is today.  I share from the heart as I can't imagine not.  

 

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