Bad History

July 16, 2013 § 20 Comments

I have often disappeared from this writing, only to resurface a week, or even a month, later with a story about my unsteadiness, or my trance-like existence, my failure to live the truths I know.  I accept the kind words of those who stuck with me.  And I resume my writing.

But I now understand that those stories have a mythological quality.  It just isn’t true that all that time when I wasn’t here I was adrift and emotionally absent.   I spent a good portion of those times with family and friends, reading, swimming, traveling, just sitting and being.  Times of struggle, times of absence from those I love, sure, but also times of presence and joy.

So why do I create these mythologies?  Why do I feel the need to distort the past in this way?

These stories, I now understand, serve a purpose.  They become a way of expressing a lacerating self-judgment, the vehicle for a profession of my unworthiness.  A way of expiating some pointless guilt I have about not writing.

I need to be here when it feels right and to be elsewhere when that feels right.  I need to be as consistently present for others as I can be.  But as I move from here to there and back, and as I falter inevitably in my effort to be present  consistently in the lives of those I care about, I must lose the idea that this movement and this faltering are somehow a badge of my unworthiness.

This bad history- and its judgmental baggage- have got to go.



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§ 20 Responses to Bad History

  • Anne says:

    Love this post Tom. Glad the light and shades inbetween the dark bring you lots of Joy. Many Blessings


  • magnus26 says:

    Stories, and our ability to step back from them, are so important. We are meaning-making creatures, as some would have it “homo narrativus”. I see this as a psychologist, as a meditator and even as a runner. Pema Chodron’s recent book, How to Meditate, has a lot of useful material on thoughts, thinking, emotions and how to disidentify with them.

    Nice piece.

  • brendamarroy says:

    Right on brother. Right on. I love it when you are here and respect your right not to be here. I believe you to be a man of integrity who lives life mindfully and fully.

    Personally, I have quit writing because I thought it was what I was supposed to do whether I had anything to say or not. I appreciate the freedom of writing when my heart is full of words it needs to express.

    Thank you for being authentically you. Hugs, Brenda

  • Cassie says:

    That seems like quite an important epiphany! 🙂

  • Yes, let them go…here’s to embracing loving kindness, of ourselves!

  • I think many of do what you feel and have disscribed. The truth is we all have difficulty letting go to then live with intention which will put us in difference places, not always a place we think should be. 🙂

  • Robyn Lee says:

    So true Tom ~ you are most worthy… to come and to go, and to know that you have unconditional acceptance by those of us who have come to appreciate you here. Excellent post ~ and I think many will relate to the sentiments you have beautifully expressed! ~
    Love and Light, Robyn x

  • Gigi wanders says:

    Bravo, Tom!

  • SprinklinThoughts says:

    I think it’s called Life… if I may suggest… give yourself the OK to do as you need to do when you need to do it (or want if you prefer)… i.e. cut yourself some slack… be present & the rest will follow or happen as needed… the “faltering” is really your own doubting, nothing else…

    • Thomas Ross says:


      Dead on.

      There really is no “faltering.” That’s a backward-lookiing judgment. There’s just here and now. I can live with presence right now. That’s all.

      “Slack” to all, perhaps especially myself.



  • Very well put. Lots to chew on here. I find the writing…the crafting of the writing…very cathartic. Only when it’s time. It comes when it comes.

    • Thomas Ross says:


      That’s it. What comes, comes. What gets done, gets done.

      Acceptance. Gratitude. More and more, these ways of being push aside my resistance.

      Thanks for the read and the kind message.


  • dadirri7 says:

    and the joy and presence elsewhere is life too, living itself fully … there is nothing more we can hope for but to allow life to express fully through us, wherever that takes us … rich blessings in all you are/do dear tom, of course your readers share your joy when you write but we are happy to share your love with all the other parts of life!

    • Thomas Ross says:


      Your phrase, “to allow life to express fully through us,” resonates. I can see that resistance is ceaselessly arising in me. But when I embrace acceptance, when I allow my life to express itself, peace and strength flow to me.

      Thank you for the thoughtful words and the constant presence.


  • You might appreciate this:
    In knowing you are not alone …

    • Thomas Ross says:


      Thanks for the message and the link, which I visited of course and appreciated.

      Your recent poem about your mother is one of the most powerful pieces of writing I’ve ever read. Thank you for creating and sharing what must have been a difficult composition for you.

      Wishing you- and our mothers- peace.


  • Bonnie says:

    Has got to go…yes. For when you are here, it’s beautiful. It’s ‘the writing’ that is important, not the ‘not writing’. peace to you.

    • Thomas Ross says:


      Peace to you as well.

      I’m thinking these days about acceptance, non-resistance. Perhaps that’s why I love so much the tag line, “Let the Storms Roll In,” from your recent post.

      Anyhow, thanks for your kind words.


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