Tag Archives: Married and Gay

A Light Behind The Door

Last week on my vacation, the wardrobe was in  fact a little room which was illuminated by a light on the opening of the door.

On closing the door, the light was extinguished and my clothes resided in space and darkness.

I am fascinated by the concept of a trigger to illuminate a space which has been covered in darkness, and for me the gentle opening of a door and the illumination of my hanging shirts and trousers and my racked footwear seems to be a metaphor for my soul.

Where are the times and events when my soul is illuminated and feels less burdened?

Certainly, the calls and visits to my coach are significant because these important interactions, illuminate those dark spaces which struggle to find an outward facing voice, a kind and gentle ear for my inner life, which exists in the silence and oft times turbulence of my own heart,

I have been illuminated by  times of joy when running; singing and painting watercolours, and it is in these practices that a trigger can be switched which for a few moments unburdens the weight of my unrequited  desires and longings.

It is a sad reality that my life is not illuminated in the presence of my loving family who despite their obvious love and care for me, I have kept at a distance from the true anguish of my soul.

In their presence my shirts, pants and shoes hang on my body in darkness and my soul is illuminated in private in the space around my heart.

I am making heroic efforts to protect them; to maintain the status quo; to avoid causing them hurt and experiencing their deeper love or their disappointment.

I am trying to resist my need to be an individual by submitting myself to community and faith.

This is like living the reality of my holiday wardrobe – once the door is closed the light in my own soul is diminished but the light outside in the world continues to shine and illuminates everything it sees which is not hidden.

What would it be like, I muse, to leave open the wardrobe door and let the light in?

William Defoe

Sometimes I Feel Overwhelmed

I have returned from a week’s holiday at the coast.

I have been unsettled, most noticeably in my struggle to wake up from protracted dreams which disturb by inner soul.

I have invested some of my spare time, whilst sat on the beach in reading substantial sections of Francis Weller – The Wild Edge of Sorrow and Pope Francis – Happiness In This Life and to relax I have read the wonderfully funny and stoic David Sedaris – Calypso – I’m a fan.

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the demands I place on myself to live a good life.

I hover precariously over feelings of having lived a disastrous life (which I haven’t), and feelings of utter despair over feelings I hold so strongly for a life that I am actively choosing not to have.

My choice of reads (Weller/Francis), were good choices and spoke to me in different ways of routes to ways of living which have the potential to make me happy.

For Weller, it is to embrace grief (a concept I am familiar with through my coaching experience) and for Francis it is to submit to Christ, to search for Him, to trust in Him to let go of all the false idols which seek to deflect my potential to do good.

Weller has reminded me of the importance of establishing and maintaining daily rituals/practices – to run; to read; to sing; to dance; to walk; to paint; to be silent.

Francis has reminded me of the importance of community and the good we feel when we reach out and help others – to visit the sick; to pray for the world; to nurture and prioritise time with our families.

I am in a time of deep crisis, I am sinking under the weight of wanting to do the right thing but not having around me the support I need. I am tired. I am scared. I am unwell.

I often feel that I have lacked courage because I am not living the life that I was born to live as a gay man.

I tell my self that I am courageous for standing by my wife whom has been my companion for 37 years of my life, she who has given me our three children – I don’t want to lose her, it can not be.

So, I try once more to live my life through practices and rituals, to find time each day to be alone, to pray, to listen to the needs of my soul and to love, yes love with all my heart the parts of me which feel they have not been heard.

William Defoe

Evening Stroll

At the very start of the coaching experience, which I began with a very wonderful human being at the start of 2013, I was directed by her to the story of The Ugly Duckling, by Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen.

The obvious purpose of her direction for me to this work of literary art, was the need to find within me, the exiled parts of myself which I could not love.

Last night, after eating my evening meal in the garden (a rare occurrence for people who live in the North of England), I had a sudden urge to go for a walk.

My wife joined, me as we set off along the local canal which was simply beautiful in the evening sunshine, and the scene spoke to my heart of what an English summer means to me.

The water lilies, and the grass peeping through the water, the canal sides stocked with moored barges, and foliage of green and summer flowers of blue and yellows and pinks and mauve were a scene of exquisite beauty which warmed my heart.

I felt alive, and even hopeful which in a strange way illuminated the deep sadness with which I have been imbued for some considerable time.

Oh joy, to see on our way back, two of the Queen’s swans (Her Majesty owns them all!) dappling on the water, and settled in the midst of them, four adult size cygnets, fluffy grey – four ugly ducklings, which in a very short time will emerge into brilliant white feathers of snowy white down.

These cygnets, called to me of the start of my journey to know and love self, and for a time that belief seemed to take a hold of me, until sometime last year, the strain of having to manage my identify privately and suppressed began once more to overwhelm me.

My evening stroll stirred my heart and it reminded me that I must learn once more to love myself, to recognise the glorious and exciting transition which will surely come to me, if I can find the capacity and the courage to be who I was born to be.

William Defoe

Problems of the Heart

Last week, following my morning run, I suffered a severe episode of heart palpitations and dizziness.

After abandoning my run for the third time in recent weeks, following the same problem, I got changed and went to my desk to start my day of work.

This time, I continued to feel unwell and being brought to the attention of a colleague, I was “removed” and taken by ambulance to hospital where I underwent tests on my heart for a few days.

The problems of my heart, which have hitherto being emotional, have now taken on an aspect of physicality, namely an atrial tachycardia which is an arrhythmia  – an irregular heartbeat with a rapid beat.

These problems of my heart can be managed by medication, but the underlying strain under which I live my emotional life are less easily resolved.

Those who have witnessed the events of my life over the last few days have been quick to diagnose for me an over burdened heart deriving from the pressure of work and family responsibilities.

I have not corrected their error, perhaps my workload has played a part, but for me the truth is crystal clear, my heart is torn, my heart is longing for truth, my heart is full and now the time has come for me to find rest.

I am acutely aware that the underlying strain on my heart, is the continued suppression of my identity, and yet to succumb to the demands of my heart, would I fear, create within my life a fissure, from which my heart would be at an even greater risk.

Time, I think for me to learn to manage my intense feelings by directing my energies and passions into something creative or academic whilst finding time each day to be at rest, to be still, to be at peace.

William Defoe

 

 

A Green Light at the End of a Promontory

A green light at the end of a promontory on the Costa Del Sol drew in my eye and my interest.

Alone it stood in the darkness and from where I was seated it appeared to be floating above the ocean.

As I walked nearer to the edge of a rocky jetty, I noticed that the green light was fixed to a tall pole at the end of a rocky sea-break on the entrance to the harbour in Fuengirola.

A warning or a guide, perhaps both, a light to bear the watercraft safely to sea and back again to the marina.

Where are the green lights in my life which keep me from the rocky shores of disillusionment and fear?

I am guided by the deep waters of my expansive mind…….like the sea oft times turbulent and at risk of being overcome by the swell of my longings and emotions for what I cannot have.

My green light is situated on its own promontory, but it has become a beacon to illuminate my understanding and my intellect, rather than a  light casting a shadow across my mind which stops me from exploring and reveling in the deepest longings of soul.

I am safe in the presence of my green light, even when my mind is a haze and I cannot see the pole on which it sits.

I sense the pole, I sense the rocks, I can contemplate the widen open spaces of the open-sea and take refuge in the safety of my harbour which will never be prevailed upon to let me down.

William Defoe 

Being Spiritual

Earlier today, I endured a sermon from a priest which articulated why, in his opinion, the spiritual sections of bookstores made him feel angry.

The books in this section, had in the main nothing to do with being spiritual but rather more to do with a modern pre-occupation with self, more narcissism than God.

I understand his frustration and I agree with him, that for believers in God, a key element of prayer and reflection surely must be to sense that we are in the presence of God.

I am a deep believer in God, a practising cradle to grave (I anticipate the latter) Roman Catholic.

I however, have gained enormously from the spiritualism of self.

I have done all I can, to consciously  keep God out of it as I have tried to re-integrate the exiled parts of myself which as far as my experience can tell, my church had no wish to acknowledge.

I believe that I have been made in the image and likeness of Christ. 

My experience has been than some parts of me, are not an acceptable image and likeness of Christ and so I undertook to suppress my obvious homosexuality to ensure my survival in the family and community to which I belong.

I have come to realise that this intention to suppress my truth was my own doing and that to those people in my family and community to whom I have told my truth (including several priests) I have been  received with warmth and love.

The books on my bookshelf of the non-God spiritual kind have saved me from the inner pain of rejection, guilt and deep conflict.

These books have calmed my inward storm.

They have helped me to present to the world as one no longer angry and resentful, but happily comfortable in the knowledge that my sexuality is an integral part of me.

And therefore an integral part of my own display on this earth of my being as an image and likeness of Christ.

Deo Gratias!

William Defoe

My Feet

Recently, I enjoyed a much needed rest on the beautiful Western Algarve in Portugal.

On the first couple of days, I noticed how my feet, exposed to the elements were causing me discomfort and irritation.

They felt clammy, itchy and the constant need I had to scratch and rub them made me feel irritable.

As the sun and sea, dried and washed my feet and turned the colour of them to a soothing brown, I became agitated by a dryness and an itching and a burning feeling which made them feel sore and tender.

I had this growing anxiety that my whole holiday was going to be overtaken by this constant need to manage my feet.

Later in the week, as they settled down and had the appearance of two bronzed sculptor casts, I recognized in their recovery and replenishment, a wider process of healing in my whole body system.

It seemed apt that the pressures of the mind, over exerted, overwrought, over anxious, was mirrored at the furthest extremity of my body by a physical manifestation of the mental fatigue which I had endured for too long.

My sock-less, supported feet, in stylist summer footwear, became the revitalised  and energised extremities which mirrored the composed and challenged and thought-filled mind which had found solace in an intellectual book.

My read had stimulated my mind in a new direction for those few days and taken over the intellectual space from fear, worry and anxiety, and it was my happy feet which tripped my form across the sand, splashed in the sea and lead me to positions along the coast of beauty and of peace.

William Defoe

 

 

The Anguish of My Soul

I have the necessary skills to recognise the actions I must take to protect my soul and yet, I have struggled for months to guard and protect it.

I am in free-fall, which is a feeling of being anything but free, on the contrary it is destructive and damaging and ultimately I believe, it has the capacity to overwhelm me.

So what can I do to manage the constant anguish of my soul?

I am incapable of making a choice which would in theoretical terms, give it freedom, and yet I believe imprison it further still.

So, making a choice is not my preferred option for liberating the anguish of my soul.

I have taken steps today to write this blog. This is no doubt for me a step in the right direction.

I have tried to enforce a regime of lower working hours and establish some time to sit in the comfort of my home and garden in warm and daylight hours.

I have made time to have sex. I have neglected this aspect of crucial importance and in so doing I have neglected the needs of my wife.

I have been deeply unsettled, my mind incapable of being calm, my system on full alert for too long.

I have been unwell, not just mentally and emotionally but spiritually and physically too.

I have tried to recover my physical strength by running, only to suffer a racing heart which made me pull over earlier this week and then to cap it all, feeling stronger on Friday, I took a fall and hurt my ribs.

Are all the gods aligned against me?

Of course not, now my skills kick in – William you are beginning to speak and sound like a victim.

You are not a victim, you are an incredible being (as are we all) with an enormous capacity to think and be.

William Defoe

To Carry

On Friday last week, I spent the day walking alone in the countryside.

I had an overwhelming sense of the weight of things, and these precious hours alone, helped me to recognise all the different elements of my life which I am trying to juggle at the current time.

I was able to focus on how I might find news ways to carry the load.

When my children were young, and either needed or wanted me to carry them, I became adept at finding ways to distribute their weight, and this same logic of alleviating weight by distribution and continuous adjustment seemed to me to be a good metaphor for managing my current challenges.

I noticed that my work pressures have been out of balance with the wider aspects of my life, and that my capacity to cope by reading, writing, painting and running have been subjugated so that my reasoning has been undermined.

This means that the weight I carry is not distributed evenly and so all that I carry seems to be a burden, when in fact it is not so much a burden, but the reality of life.

My thoughts in the countryside strayed into how I could lighten the load by leaving my job or leaving my marriage or running away.

These thoughts were fanciful, it seemed to me, but they had some validity because they were present in that quiet, beautiful place in which I walked and sat.

My rational self came back to a more sensible train of thought, which spoke softly to my soul of being kind to self, of finding the compassionate and caring self which protects me from within by prioritising the needs of the soul.

I resolved in that place of beauty, to re-distribute the load I carry by shifting my focus to a broader spectrum and a wider canvas so that my burdens are somehow made small by the broadening of the landscape on which my thoughts and feelings take their shape.

In that place of beauty and of solitude, I became aware once again that I am not alone in struggling to manage the demands we place on ourselves to fulfill our ambitions and responsibilities to those whom we love.

However, being in the countryside in absolute solitude and silence gave me the space I craved to work out how to carry the deepening complexities of my life.

William Defoe

 

 

The Pain I Nurture

The pain I nurture lies within me on the surface of my heart.

I know this pain and it knows me.

This pain is me – this pain is my experience – this pain is my deepest expression of self.

I have worked out ways to rid myself of this pain, and all of these methods hold for me a  validity and a truth.

I have decided to carry my pain, and to endure its seething hold on me, because at this time in my life, all of the alternatives speak to me of the potential for an even heavier load to bear.

I am grateful for my pain, because it is borne and lives within me as result of my experience for things which I now deny myself.

I know that overtime my pain will ebb and flow, and I know too, that my choices around it have the capacity to change too.

My pain resides within my heart, but it does not own my soul – no – I own my pain,

it lives because I give it life;

it speaks because I give it a voice;

it is heard because I listen to it, and

I feel it, because I give it space in my thinking mind.

The pain I nurture is within, I care for it, because it cares for me.

I have made a friend of my pain, because I know that deep within the longings of my soul, this pain occupies the space which reminds me of

what it is to live;

what it is to love, and

what it is to hope.

William Defoe