September 11th, 2003

Some splendid insights came from my time with Allen today. My disappointment in others is really just a reflection, a ricochet, of disappointment in myself. I’m holding the gun to my own head but the bullet glances off this hardened old gourd and veers into the soft flesh of another. Though I don’t fully understand this – it feels true – “dicht” is the word in Low German – “tightly packed, firm, fully integrated, like tightening down a bolt until the components come together fully and cease to wiggle on their own. MY disappointment in others is really just disappointment in myself.

Allen addressed the issue of “Spiritual Exhibitionism” (my need to expose myself to others) head-on by drawing me to 2 Kings chapter 20. Ouch.

Hezekiah opens up his palace to the Babylonian envoys and shows them all his goodies…because he’s proud. Yep. That’s why I do it. Perhaps not because I AM proud – but because I want to BECOME proud. I want to manufacture some glory for myself. I need to get my hands on some gold to make myself a shiny crown.

I can see the outlines now of the connection between my disappointment and my spiritual exhibitionism. Do I choose certain people to expose myself to because I have not won their admiration yet? I’ll bet that’s it. It doesn’t matter how long I’ve known them, or their role in my life…what matters is, are they of any use to me in building my own glory. Are there raw materials in them that I can extract and make into a crown?

Rex and Joanne still exist on a plane above me – their worship of me (let’s call it what it is, Dan – that’s what you want) has not yet been obtained. People like them are the mother-lode of admiration. I must keep mining them. Tom is irrelevant because at some point I realized he is really made of a different substance – so his admiration of me would be corrupt – useless, gold that cannot be purified enough to be useful. Winning Tom’s admiration would be like an opera singer winning the admiration of country music fans: “You’d have to be singing opera WRONG in order to win the approval of Country fans.”

Ned, Gill and others are already my fans. They are rich but narrow veins of glory and I have essentially mined them out, therefore I feel “bored” with them. Denise, and a few others are the most productive veins right now so they get a lot of  my attention along with some exploratory digging I’m doing with others…like the people to whom I gave my journal and whom I don’t consider close enough to logically share deeply with…”maybe I’ll hit it BIG with one of them!”

Somehow, Allen has been protected from this so far. Perhaps that is the beauty of paying for his time. It insulates both of us (for now). I can’t use him, though I LONG to hear his words of approval. Is he preventing me from using him? Am I choosing not to try? Both? None of this is true about Allen. I have mined him. Or at least I have tried. But perhaps what I have obtained from him is not what I thought it was. Hmm. Mystery.

Then there is Brenda. Brenda just knows too much. She has seen too much. In ways I don’t fully understand, I can’t fool her. She will either become a source of TRUE riches, given freely to me (not dug out BY me) or I must dig elsewhere – for she knows what I’m REALLY doing, though maybe not consciously – she knows because she is my woman. This explains the huge contrast I felt: Either I fully withdraw from her (because she KNOWS and therefore the mine runs dry) or I fight her for what she can give me, but have not yet earned.

I feel dirty.

You get dirty when you’re a miner I guess.

I’m committed to being an observer of myself for the rest of today. I’m not hungry at all – but I want to eat. Why?

Dearest Reader, It is worth noting that as I re-read these entries concerning “Spiritual Exhibitionism” that I did, in fact, stop to soak in the irony that I am now displaying all of these realizations in the most public setting imaginable given today’s available “Exhibitionism” technology. You may rightly wonder then if I have digressed in some fashion. I wondered too. But 3 things occurred to me that generated a sense of peace with my current level of transparency:

  1. Just because this kind of transparency was used by me in a dysfunctional way, does not make all transparency always dysfunctional. Even those of us with over-eating problems must still eat.
  2. Though you, Dearest Reader, have not yet made it to this point in the story, there will soon be multiple events recorded which drastically changed me, resulting in a Dan who today, requires much less approval, and so chooses transparency for…more holy reasons than I used to, or that poor old King Hezekiah did.
  3. This is a STORY. A seven year long story. Stories have beginnings, middles and ends. What you’re reading now constitutes only the beginning of a story.

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