Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Turning the Venom into Medicine - The Potential Hero within Us

This post is part of Alex Cavanaugh's IWSG, a group created to express not just our insecurities but also words of encouragement to one another. 

It is also part of Heroes and Villains Blogfest hosted by Dani at Entertainming Interests and Jacky at Bouquet of Books.
Post your favorite Heroes and your favorite Villains. List as many or as little as you like. Be creative with it and above all, have fun.

And part of Celebrate the small things, the brilliant idea of VikLit. Each Friday we post something we wish to celebrate achieving or doing during the week. It can be writing/reading or life related. You can find the list and join us here.

Hosts, please forgive me for doing three in one. Unusual circumstances makes this my last post of the week and I didn't want to miss my other two commitments. You'll see my subject is related anyway.

(Specially dedicated to my Dragon's Eleven-more-like-Thirty-something.)

All vaccine has in itself a small amount of the poison it is meant to counter. When one of my Teachers of Life said I should turn the poison into medicine, he meant I should look at my flaws, not with the idea of getting rid of them but with the ultimate goal to make better use of them. In other words, an individual with a strong temper (such as mine) could use this temper to confront his challenges and succeed. Opposed to getting angry because things were not like I wanted them, use this fury as the propeller to change all those things I didn't like and make them better. It sounded well and it worked better.

Behavioral patterns are difficult to break but my greatest challenge has been the speed of thought. Everything that happens around me triggers a thought (good or bad) and an immediate emotion. Action comes as a result. The first thought is instantaneous and it's the result of years of brain programming. For example, someone says a creation of mine can be improved. First thought = "It's shit." Emotion=Anger. Impulse=Dump it and start anew. Or after doing a health progress, I suffer a relapse. First thought=I'm never gonna make it. Emotion=Anger. Impulse=Smash myself against the wall I can't pass. The lapse between the first thought and the emotion is less than a second, so I am already angry by the time I'm struggling against acting upon my first impulse.

I became a Doctor of Laughter because I was in need of that doctor. I am always writing about positiveness because I need to keep my own pessimism in check. Turning venom into vaccine is my full-time, daily job. I work 365 days a year and although sometimes I call in sick, and other times I would like to call in dead, I am above all a fighter and I hate the idea to give up. In the past, my fury helped me to stay alive but that formula doesn't work anymore. Anger is my villain and the integrity of my whole digestive system depends on me taking anger out of the equation. I asked the Higher Powers to help me. (I call it Higher Powers to skip the discussion over the name. Life, Universe, God, Supreme Energy, insert the name you prefer.)

I believe in the power of prayers but I also believe in action. It's not my style to sit and beg for the Higher Powers to fix the mess I did (knowingly or unknowingly, by will or by mistake). I believe in taking responsibility for my actions and if it is shit what I have before me, I definitively had something to do to make it so. My prayer is not "Fix this for me" but more along the lines of "Teach me how to clean this mess and make it right." Usually, God answers me, not with The Voice from the Above but through anything and anyone around me. I have to keep alert, though.

Mike L. Swift gave me a book as a gift. Neither of us knew at the time he was acting as God's messenger and he wasn't sending a book but delivering vital information I've asked for weeks earlier. It was the help I needed to get back to the ring. My gratitude to Mike and knowing he is suffering right now twisted my heart badly. I am too far away but I still wanted to help him in a way that truly mattered. I turned to the Higher Powers "How can I pay back for the help he gave me?" Pray with action. The idea echoed in my mind while I was about to start my exercise routine (which I really didn't feel strong enough to do.) So I got on the treadmill and thought "God, Mike gave me a sparkle and I am going to turn it into a beacon, for him and for me. Please deliver what he needs in the way you see fit."

As I was doing this, I thought on M.J. Joachim who asked me to send prayers her way and all the times her writings had put my ideas on place. I thought on Gary's reason to smile, his son, and the many smiles he has gifted me with. I thought on Jeff and Alex and their personal dreams, and how they support my own dreams. And Laura and Julie, who cheer me through their respective challenges. I thought on all of those who have been there for me one way or another. Suddenly, I watched the mile counter in disbelief.  I broke my own record as I got the answer to the missing factor of my equation. Replace anger with friendship and love. Those dear to the dragon can be my new propeller, as I pray with action for you all. I commit to make the seeds you've given me give fruit and this effort I dedicate to you as I plead for God to deliver what you need in the way He sees fit. You are heroes for you're helping me save my life by becoming a powerful reason for me to behave heroically.

At one point or another, we all have the chance to be Heroic Messengers. We can all be the Hand and the Voice that delivers the answer we're needing. And I am celebrating I have eyes to see it, ears to hear it and a heart that has a place for love and friendship.


  1. I'm a firm believer in positivity though at times life can be despairing.But at such times I think of some happy memory and things do calm down.


  2. You are your Hero and Villian :) In my counseling days I used the behavioral mode and the "change the internal tapes" concept. All emotion is valid - even anger. Anger lets a you know something is not right. But all emotion can be taken to extremes; and it takes an extreme amount of practice and patience to redirect the response to stimuli. What takes a few minutes to learn "ouch, that hurt, I'm angry, destroy that object that hurt" takes years to learn "ouch, that hurt, I survived, do I need to deal with whatever hurt me?" Sometimes the emotion/action sequence is justified. "Replacing" an unhealthy habit with a healthy one gives a better chance of success than quitting "cold turkey".

    In the mental health/substance abuse field we teach "fake it til you make it;" which basically means believe in something long enough, practice the thought/behavior long enough, and it will become the new normal.

    You know how often I've had to bolster myself with that motto in my writing to query a story, or try something different? Or simply to make me a more sociable, charitable person?

    Like you, I have had to learn positivity to replace my natural pessimism. I've not been able to change my initial reaction, but I have been able to slow my reaction long enough to take an assessment of the situation and discover if my negativity is warranted or not. Usually, its not, or at least I know how to deal with the situation and move past it in the shortest time.

    Be well Father Dragon Sir. You are well on your path to higher existence as you surround yourself with people who inspire the attitudes you hope to live by.

    Of course, the dwarves and gnomes don't have to know this, it can be our little secret to keep order in the cave :)


  3. It's very hard to keep positive when under stress. You do an awesome job, even if it takes a lot of effort. Attitude is key, and it's worth making the effort for. Thanks for reminding me of that. :-)

  4. Hmm... a true dragon. I think that's one thing that makes them so grand - they are known for violent tempers, not dealing well with stress, but as time passes they grow wiser than other beings and calmer (even if it isn't so inside). Sounds to me like you're horribly true to your name, Father Dragon. (And I say that with respect.)

  5. What an empowering and inspirational post. I love that you claim responsibility for your own actions and outcomes, and the looking on the bright side is a huge plus. Draconic wisdom on display. Thank you.

  6. That is one of the best IWSG I have ever read. God did teach you how to fix it because you met Him halfway by making the effort. As one who used to be quick to anger, I know where you are coming from.
    A beacon of hope. Now you know why the image in the IWSG badge is a lighthouse.

  7. Beautiful words of compassion, thank you for sharing. The journey is hard but the discovery of its worth, beyond words.

    And now I begin my day with new insight and hope!

    May peace fill your day, and love, your night!

  8. Al, that was beautiful. Friendship fills every void.

  9. Enjoyed this post. Friendship is so important, friends give support and encouragement as well as comfort in times of need. One blogging friend just lost her mother and the outpouring of love in her comments is quite incredible. I think she's even had more comments than Alex on his best days. For a dragon you must have an extremely big treadmill, where in the cave do you keep it? Do the dwarves have their own treadmill?

    Buena suerte mi amigo


  10. Love your thoughts and your journey, Al! Praying for you in this busy time, and trusting God to give you all you need.
    Your posts are an inspiration! You, Father Dragon, are a hero!

  11. Oh Al-- how are hearts are similar. I too have a "habit" of processing through my heart, which means everything passes through an emotional filter I have to decipher. The tough part is reminding myself that my emotional responses don't dictate the truth of a situation. They are just that, emotions. But it takes me awhile to get there.

    Like you, I am keeping Mike in my prayers. What a difficult time for him this is. I hope you like The Artist's Way- it was really a soul-feeding book for me. More recently, I've also read May Sarton's "A Year of Solitude" and Joan Anderson's "A Year by The Sea" and the best of all, just finished "The Alchemist" which truly spoke straight to my soul. It seems God knew I needed a little infusion in this area.

    Love to you, Al.

    1. er... make that "how OUR hearts are similar" Sigh. I need a comment editor.

  12. I can so relate to your instantaneous thoughts and emotions, I am just the same. It's so hard to change that pattern but I know how important it is too. It's amazing to me how inspiring and encouraging you are when you are dealing with so much yourself. Hugs and prayers to you, Al.

  13. If we can just get our thoughts to trigger the right actions. Changing behavior is the hardest thing, but it's possible with the right attitude. :)

  14. What a wonderful post! Prayers for Mike...I believe in them!

    As a young counseling student, I had a professor explain to us that personality traits don;t necessarily have to be changed, but directed in a positive direction. See? You are wise by instinct! I had to pay for that tidbit!

    Seeing those first critiques still give me a heart drop. I guess there is this dreamer part of Elizabeth who thinks all my work should be great on the first try. It never is. But that's all right...I'm as tenacious as I am insecure!

  15. You help others as much as they do you, Al. Always remember that. You show me courage, fortitude, compassion, love, friendship, honor, perseverance, laughter. Everything you give, you get back ten fold. I am indeed very lucky to know you and have you in my life. You are saving me as well, my friend.

  16. Beautiful post, you truly are a wonderful person and exceptional dragon. I believe if we help light the flame in someone else, we are helping to keep the light bright inside ourselves. We can all choose to change, and if we care enough, and love enough, we will. (:

  17. WOW! Talk about being a beacon, Al! That- honestly, I'm not exagerating at all, brought a tear to my eye.

    I relate so much to your 365 day fight- though my automatic reaction tends to be self hatred and depression rather than straight-up anger. But I fight that same fight every day and find the same strength and courage in all the amazing people I've been exposed to.

    Thank you so much for thse words- I will carry them with me.

  18. What a great post. It is full of honesty and hope, thank you for sharing it with us! I think that taking responsibility for our actions and asking, not to be released of them, but to learn how to fix them is the true path to happiness. Good luck in your quest, I have no doubt you'll be that beacon of light for many aching hearts.

  19. I do believe in the power of positivity and laughter as a way to heal both the mind and the physical aspects of ones self. Sometimes it is hard, very hard to hold fast to either in the face of adversity or pain but you are doing a brilliant job, Al. This wonderful community is committed to helping one another and I know this heartfelt post will reach out to many. Take care of yourself, Al.

    IWSG co-host

  20. Wonderful post! You are a true testament to the power of positive thinking!

  21. You're so wise Father Dragon. Laughter. Creative energy. Bravery. The capacity for seizing the moment. A concoction of healing magic. I've been gone for a month and it's great to be back, reading your posts.

  22. Prayers all around.

    You are wonderful and encouraging and you keep up the positivity while making us smile even when things are tough for you. You are an inspiration, Al. Truly.

  23. I sat here, reading this...and nodding my head the entire time. So much -right- with this post.

    I am truly a believer in prayer as well as the power of positive thinking.

    "The Lord helps those who help themselves" is spot on.

  24. Such wise words Al! Powerful too...
    Nothing beats prayer. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.
    You keep going, even when times are tough. That is amazing and inspiring.
    Thank you.
    Writer In Transit

  25. Once again, mystical words from Father Dragon. Right on, Dude.
    Some Dark Romantic

  26. What powerful thoughts you've shared with us, Al. Inspiring and provocative [in the best of ways]. I'm glad the answers have come to you. Stay strong! I'll lend you some of my stubbornness if you need it.

    I've read of Mike's sad times on FB. I wish him peace and moments filled with love. It does make it easier, and makes the fight worthwhile.

  27. Wow. That was a profound sharing. Thank you for opening in such a way for us. Because reading your experience can help put our own, my own, into perspective. See? Already you have passed on a beautiful, heartfelt message that has reached someone, me! Thank you.

  28. Great & powerful post. Thank you for sharing with us IWSG'ers. I'm quite certain it resonates with many of us. The name of the CD set my sister lent me escapes my brain as I type this, but it was about the power of positive thinking. It was wonderful. I have a bad habit of allowing my pessimism to control my attitude at times, and I struggle to change that very part of me. I've used the "fake it til you make it" theory Donna mentioned, and it works. At least it does for me. Enjoyed this. :)

  29. Love this post. You make so many wonderful points with lovely visuals. I think everyone can relate to this because we all have our own behavioral patterns that we would like to change. This illustrates very clearly how you changed yours. It really is a Brain Game. We conquer all of our demons in our very own brains. I call all of that positive goodwill toward your friends The Art of Appreciation and it can be applied to anything. The more things we appreciate, the better we feel. It is an excellent way to get out of a blue mood. Granted, when you feel lousy it may be difficult at first to find those things, so start small and keep building. The more things we appreciate, the more we find to appreciate, and the better we feel.

    Thank you for sharing this very uplifting post!

  30. Beautifully said, FD.... Prayers and friends are a power in itself. God gave us the capacity to love and to help those in distress. Thinking of others as we go about our day get us through. It;s a WIN/WIN situation. God has made it so....

  31. Of all the days for me to decide to read through IWSG from 1 to the end on the do realize you're #205, so yes, I've already visited 205 blogs today...and to see your gift to me, while my mom is in ICU and will be for who knows how long at this point, while I sit and wait for the phone to ring or receive a text with updates, because I live so far away - all I can say is, I appreciate your action more than you know, Al. Friendship and're a hero in my book, Al! :) Thank you!

  32. You must be an active character in your own story. But don't doubt you have tons of supporting characters here ready to help lift you when you fall. I hope and pray that you have joy and strength to life your life with. Awesome post I really enjoyed it.

  33. You are an inspiration, my dragon friend! With as much positive influence as you set loose in the world, there is bound to be a chain-reaction of greatness that has far-reaching affects beyond the reach of venom - that's some powerful medicine!

  34. Stress is hard to get past sometimes... speaking from experience. Keep strong and I love your attitude.

  35. Excellent words here. Thanks for this encouraging post! ^_^

  36. I'm so glad I stopped by. This post became bigger and bigger, with an ending that made my heart swell.

  37. What a wonderfully uplifting message. Thank you.
    Tasha's Thinkings

  38. Very uplifting message - thank you

  39. At times I can be a bit of a pessimist. I like you believe in the power of prayers, but I also believe that we must not just wait for Divine help but work towards it by taking timely and appropriate actions.

  40. My friend, Al,

    Words of uplifting optimism. You know that there are choices along the pathway. The pathway that isn't always smooth and has the occasional pothole. Yes, we get back up and move on. The hero within tells us we can make it. The hero within also understands that all the other heroes we know, make us all the stronger, the more caring, the more compassionate.

    A doctor of laughter who provides the best medicine. Thank you for acknowledging some amazing folks. And I'm deeply grateful for the mention.

    Together and with the resonance of your profound words, we can make a difference. Like all the rest, you have my utmost admiration. We shall live life with realistic positive anticipation, rather than, negative speculation.

    Laugh and smile. Laugh and smile.

    Your friend,

    Gary :)

  41. I hear your pain!It's hard to admit that the majority of the time the worse enemy it's ourselves! It's a hell of work and to be honest I've been always defeated! I should try harder I think!

  42. That's so inspiring! I also tend to use anger as a motivator, but I know it's not really healthy. So I'll definitely be trying to use God as my motivator instead.

    Hmmm... This is actually an interesting thought...

  43. I find it fitting that you turn venom into antidote in your life because you've been a vitally needed medicine in the lives of others. Things have a way of balancing out like that. Be well.

  44. What an inspiring post. I love the concept of turning venom into an antidote. I've been trying to do that a lot since I realized how anger doesn't do anything but add more stress to my life.

  45. An amazing post. I love the idea of turning your poison into medicine. Bravo!

  46. So so true, Father D! Sometimes we never know when we act as the hand of God and how much it influences others. I love the idea of replacing anger with friendship and love. Often times when I feel bitter, I try to think of how many people who'd be willing to trade place with me, and that helps put it in perspective.
    Sorry I haven't been by sooner, but great to see you!! :D

  47. response comes over a month after this post, but I wanted to thank you so much for the kind words, thoughts, and prayers. Yes, the days have been difficult and I'm only now pulling my head up to face the world.

    Thank you so much for your friendship. There are many fine people in this writing community, with you topping the list. I appreciate you so much and am looking forward to walking "The Artist's Way" with you.

    Hugs and much affection,