Giving up Your Old Ideas for a New Life

The Average man is a conformist, accepting miseries and disasters with the stoicism of a cow standing in the rain.  ~Colin Wilson

Conformity-Shearing

The great majority accept our shearing as a fair trade for our easy, comfortable  lives. But some of us are questioning it’s wisdom.

I know some of you read my blog for its entertainment value, but I think many more of you are here because you are at a crossroads in your life. For many it’s an economic crossroads. The “recovery” we’re in has pushed many of us into low-wage, barely-surviving jobs leaving us feeling hopeless and terribly unsure of our future. Then you heard about vandwelling, and that brought you a glimmer of hope. Here was a whole new way of life that could not only solve your economic problems, but possibly some of your other problems as well. But it goes so much against the grain of everything you’ve been taught and totally contradicts the American Dream. How can you make that radical a change in your life?

Others of you are at another sort of crossroads: a crossroads of purpose and meaning. Life is going along basically okay but you are still discontent with your life. Shouldn’t there be more to it than this? Isn’t life about more than going to work, buying stuff, watching TV, and then going to work again to buy more stuff? “Why aren’t I happier than I am?” You feel a need for a change but a change to what? More importantly, how can you throw away everything you’ve ever known and just take a leap into the unknown?

Like many of you, I have stood at both of those crossroads and found making real change was terribly unpleasant and difficult for me.  In working through that crossroad and making deep and profound changes in every single area of my life, there was one single lesson that made possible every other change in my life:

You can only change in proportion to how willing you are to give up your old ideas. Total change, requires totally giving up your old ideas.

I found that if I kept one foot in the past, in my old ways of thinking, I couldn’t truly embrace a new way of life. To borrow a phrase from gambling, I had to go “all in!” The ties to my old thinking had to be severed. Because in truth, none of them were my thoughts, they were all brainwashed into me from childhood.

“The societies kids naturally form are tribal. Gangs, clubs, packs. But we’re herded into schools and terrified into behaving. Taught how we’re supposed to pretend to be, taught to parrot all kinds of nonsense at the flick of a switch, taught to keep our heads down and our elbows in and shut off our minds and shut off our sex. We learn we can’t even piss when we have to. That’s how we learn to be plastic and dumb.”   ~Marge Piercy

I’d like to tell you my story and how that worked for me. As you read my story, I know you can’t walk the same path I did, it was uniquely mine. But you can adopt the same principle of being willing to give up your old ideas. If you will, I think you will see positive change in your life.

Conformity-Rules

But what if you follow all the rules and you are still miserable, unhappy, barely surviving in life? Maybe the rules are broken! Maybe you need new rules to live by!

I’ve never been a happy person, but I was making it through life the best I could. By my 30’s I had given up on the idea of being happy; it just was not an option for me. I was only trying to do what I was told to do and get through life with as little suffering and as best I could. When I turned 40 my life fell apart. I was going through a divorce and I was miserable and hopeless beyond words. There was simply nothing for me to do but accept a life of misery and endure it as best as I could until I found the sweet release of death. 

One day I was talking to a friend about my problems and he suggested I go with him to an AA meeting; he thought I would relate to it. That seemed totally bizarre to me because I didn’t drink and had never been drunk in my life, not once! Nor had I ever used an illegal drug of any kind. How could I fit in at an AA meeting? But he was a wonderful guy and I admired his story (he had been an alcoholic and drug addict living on the streets and had been in and out of mental institutions). He said at AA his whole life had changed and today he was literally a different person. He told me the same thing could happen for me even though I wasn’t a drug addict or alcoholic. I loved the idea of being a different person! The person I was had totally messed up his life and was a total failure as a human being. I had nothing to lose so I agreed to go.

As I sat in my first meeting, for the first time in my life I felt like I belonged. I heard people telling my story (all the details were different, but the feelings were all the same). But their stories had a happy ending and mine was still mired in misery. They had “something” and I wanted it. I decided at that first meeting I was willing to go to any length to get what they had. I asked my friend to be my sponsor and committed to do anything he asked of me. We worked the 12 Steps together and it was the hardest, most painful thing I’ve ever done. And then something amazing happened, just as my friend had promised, I was changed. Little by little, miracle by miracle, I became a different person.

One of the guiding principles of AA is that we have to be willing to give up our old ideas totally. The best thinking and reasoning of every addict ultimately led him to his total failure as a human being. So what part of that thinking should he keep? Some of my old thinking might be good and work, but how could I know? I couldn’t, so if I wanted to change my life, I had to totally give up ALL of my old ideas. Here is what the AA literature says about how to get results changing your life:

“Some of us have tried to hold onto our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.”

Today, that sentence is the guiding principle of my whole life. I needed results, so my old ideas had to go. As I worked through the Steps and then walked through recovery I discovered over-and-over again that if I clung to my old ideas, things generally went badly, but without exception if I simply let them go and tried a whole new path, things went well. Slowly but steadily I let go of all my old ideas. I found that willingness to change my thinking had to be carried into every area of my life: religion, politics, relationships, family, work, everything! In fact, unless I applied new thinking to every tiny aspect of my life, none of the changes I had made would become permanent. Nothing was sacred and I assumed everything I believed was wrong unless it could be proved to be true, and even then only after it had stood the test of time.

We begin life with the world presenting itself to us as it is. Someone–our parents, teachers, analysts–hypnotizes us to “see” the world and construe it in the “right” way. These others label the world, attach names and give voices to the beings and events in it, so that thereafter, we cannot read the world in any other language or hear it saying other things to us. The task is to break the hypnotic spell, so that we become undeaf, unblind, and multilingual, thereby letting the world speak to us in new voices and write all its possible meaning in the new book of our existence.

Be careful in your choice of hypnotists.

-Sidney Jourard

Conformity-Schoolchild

“Look! An A+ in mindless conformity and brainwashing! I love my hypnotist!”

At the same time that I started going to AA, I moved into a van. The two worked together to change me. Going to AA changed the inside of me, but living in a van changed the outside of me. It opened my eyes to see that there could be a way of life that was entirely different than the one I had been living. In fact it was not only different, it was far better. Then seven years ago I started living in my van in nature and spending most of my time on public land. Nature deeply and profoundly changed me in ways beyond words. My eyes opened to the horrors of what mankind was doing to each other and to the earth. As I looked at my past and all the things I had been taught about life and how I should live it, I decided every tiny bit of it was deadly wrong.

The aim of public education is not to spread enlightenment at all; it is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States … and that is its aim everywhere else.” H.L. Mencken

The longer I lived in a van–and began to think my own thoughts–the more I realized that everything I had been taught about how to live was a lie. I’d done everything they said to the best of my ability and was miserable. But as soon as I moved into a van and lived in an opposite way to what they said, I became happy. As I looked around to everyone I knew, that was almost universally true. The American Dream was a lie. Any way of life that is built on constant growth is doomed to failure and is at its core an incredibly destructive force. At its core, our society is very, very sick and I could not live my life by it any longer.

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”   ~ Jiddu Krishnamurti

If you will open your eyes, and start to think your own thoughts with your own mind—I have no idea what conclusions you will reach—they may be totally different than mine. But I do know one thing, they will be your own and not someone else’s. Perhaps it’s time to give it a try.

I’m making Videos on my good friends James and Kyndal’s YouTube Channel. See them here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_W_E5SFCxwpSOaqMjOOB

I think every parent should consider homeschooling so their children are brainwashed as little as possible. Here is a video I shot about a couple homeschooling their daughter while living on the road in a 6×12 cargo trailer.


If you don’t see the video, click or cut and paste this into your browser:

//youtu.be/j02XcSi-uQM

Thanks for supporting this site by using these links to Amazon. I’ll make a small percentage on your purchase and it won’t cost you anything, even if you buy something different.

CLICK HERE TO SHOP AMAZON.COM

In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia. ~Charles Lindbergh

The Earth watches over human

The Earth watches over all our human “Advances” and laughs, knowing it is the only real Absolute TRUTH.

Bob
About

I've been a full-time VanDweller for 12 years and I love it. I hope to never live in a house again!

55 comments on “Giving up Your Old Ideas for a New Life
  1. molonewolf says:

    Well done BOB and so true. Stay safe out there my friend

  2. Maura says:

    Another great post!

  3. Cae says:

    I went to some of the best schools in the US. Almost everything I learned of value was from my dad, building houses.
    It’s always amazed me how many people I meet that think you need a classroom to learn something. And these same People tend to give advice about things that they’ve never actually done.

  4. Cathy P. says:

    A lot of people have that misery so down deep that they won’t or can’t acknowledge it. I always think of things in the past as my closed fist and just open it open and release it away. I’m fleeing what appears from the outside, the whole “nice” little family thing. Everyone will want an explanation and they don’t realize they don’t want to know.
    I actually had great success “unschooling” my son with Down syndrome. He was always in time out for petty things so I loaded up with computer programs and books and without prompting, he decided to learn on his own. He also learned how to use household and garden implements.
    The school taught him to say “I can’t.” I taught him that was not an option.
    He may yet be going on the Great Adventure with me because this time, nothing stands in the way of “take off”!
    I went through the 12 step book attempting to get someone else to help themselves, that doesn’t work and agree it would be tough to work through, a real eye opener to “self”.
    Beautiful setting on the video. Now, that’s a happy child not like the ones I see dragging home from school every day.

    • Calvin R says:

      There are many more than one “12 Step book” and hundreds of fellowships. While helping someone else who doesn’t want it has never worked for me, helping myself has worked wonderfully well. The “Anon” fellowships (beginning with Al-Anon) are for those who love someone with an addiction or dysfunction. Al-Anon is for family and friends of alcoholics, and there are many others.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Cathy, it sounds like you are a remarkable mom and making your sons life the best it can be. Yes, Allee really is a very lucky little girl!
      Bob

  5. Wayne (Wirs) says:

    Bob, I had mentioned to you a few weeks back that someday you’re going to have to explain how you came to have a sponsor when you’ve never been drunk nor high. So thanks for this post.

    Spiritual enlightenment could be said to be when we drop ALL ideas we have about ourselves—but that is way too difficult for most.

    But I have a saying, my “message” if you will, which is practically identical to what you are saying in this blog post:

    “The less there is of you, the more there is of Love (and Happiness and Gratitude and Inner Peace).”

    Letting go of our old ideas (“the less there is of you”) leads to more Love and Happiness and Gratitude and Inner Peace in our lives. You’re a fine example of this, Bob. I’m glad to know you.
    Wayne (Wirs) recently posted…A Simple SayingMy Profile

    • Lucy says:

      Is it enlightenment to ‘ all of the suden ‘ find out you are more than your physical body, than in actuality you are able to see with your physical eyes, to hear without your physical ears & to communicate without words ?

      Just wondering…

      Lucy.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thanks Wayne, I was struck by the similarity of our ideas. The roots of the 12 Steps are intertwined with Christianity (but leave out all the religious and historical ideas) but even a casual examination shows it contains many Eastern philosophical ideas, especially Zen. But I think if you strip religion down of all their BS to their purest, they start to blend together and all the ideas get mixed. For me, the 12 Steps is what you end up with.
      Bob

  6. Lucy says:

    Outstanding Bob, OUTSTANDING !!

    My regards, Lucy.

  7. Calvin R says:

    I encourage people to take a long look at themselves by whatever means are available but especially any 12-Step fellowship that might fit. Make sure to have a trustworthy guide (or many) who is not tied to one view of life. I have had to clarify who I am and what is important to my spirit even though much of the so-called American Dream was never available to me because of poverty.

    Bob, I don’t have to know the details of your issues to understand how 12-Step recovery helps people. You have done well with that. I have been active in a couple of fellowships for quite some time now. I have “done” recovery longer and more seriously than any other part of my life. That’s because I get more rewards for it than anything else and because without it I find myself quickly beginning to return to my old attitudes and related actions. Indeed, that’s my only serious concern about life on the road. AA is everywhere, but the other fellowships are smaller.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Calvin, as you know the insanity of the old life is never gone, it’s always there and always calling us back. Vigilance is always demanded. No doubt finding smaller fellowships will be much harder, hopefully you can figure it out.
      Bob

      • Calvin R says:

        At this point, it’s all about the Internet. Fortunately (sort of), I have enough dysfunctions to fit into several fellowships.

  8. Rob not Bob says:

    BOB I really appreciate your insight on things. When you want a good laugh go watch “life is worth losing” by the late comedian George Carlin. “”””””””””””Warning losta cursing!””””””””””””

    This quote has been slightly edited to remove all the vulgarity in it.
    “There’s a reason education SUCKS, and it’s the same reason that it will never, ever, ever be fixed. It’s never going to get any better, don’t look for it, be happy with what you’ve got. Because the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the REAL owners, now. The REAL owners, the BIG WEALTHY business interests that control things and make all the important decisions — forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. YOU DON’T. You have no choice. You have OWNERS. They OWN YOU. They own EVERYTHING. They own all the important land, they own and control the corporations; they’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the State houses, the City Halls; they’ve got the judges in their back pockets, and they own all the big media companies so they control just about all the news and information you get to hear.

    They gotcha by the B!!!S. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying — lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want — they want MORE for themselves and less for everybody else. But I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They DON’T want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that, that doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests. That’s right. They don’t want people who are smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they’re getting SCREWED by the system that threw them overboard 30 ’ years ago. They don’t want that.

    You know what they want? They want OBEDIENT WORKERS. OBEDIENT WORKERS. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly crapier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime, and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it. And now they’re comin’ for your SOCIAL SECURITY MONEY. They want your retirement money. They want it BACK. So they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They’ll get it. They’ll get it ALL from you sooner or later — ‘cuz they OWN this’ place. It’s a big CLUB. And YOU AIN’T IN IT. You and I are NOT IN the big club. By the way, it’s the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long, beating you over the in their media telling you what to believe — what to think — and what to buy. The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged. And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care.

    Good honest hard-workin people — white collar, blue collar — doesn’t matter what color shirt you have on. Good honest hard-workin people CONTINUE — these are people of modest means — continue to elect these RICH [email protected]@TARDS who don’t GIVE a flip about them. They don’t give a FLIP about you, they don’t GIVE A FLIP ABOUT YOU. THEY DON’T CARE ABOUT YOU — AT ALL. AT ALL. AT ALL. You know? And nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care … that’s what the owners count on, the fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue STAFF that’s being jammed up their backside every day. Because the owners of this country know the truth — it’s called the American Dream … ‘cuz you have to be asleep to believe it.” George Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008)

    WAKE UP AMURIKA!
    Be happy with whatcha got!
    Wabi-sabi on folks!

    Sit back and enjoy the Great recession of 2016 that’s a commin!

    Bob for president 2016!

    Wish you all the best Bob.

    Rob C.

  9. Wheelingit says:

    Beautifully written. Opening yourself up to possibilities, even those that society may not find the norm, is so very difficult yet it can be the most freeing (and most enlightening thing) thing you could ever do for yourself. You’ve lived that through your own transformation. Thanks so much for sharing that journey with us.

    Nina

    • Bob Bob says:

      Thank you so much Nina! Desperate times call for desperate measures so in a sense I was very lucky to have been at such a low point in my life. My admiration goes to people who are able to change their lives without a compelling need. They are much braver than I am. And you are one of those people, which is one reason I admire you so much.
      Bob

      • Calvin R says:

        I got to know a neighbor Saturday on a trip to the next county. As usual lately, my part of the conversation was about minivans and camping/dwelling in them. My new friend talked about someone who worked with him that got into a rough divorce. That guy wound up with assets of “a good old army tent,” which he moved into on a friend’s property, unhappily. Once the tent guy realized how much he enjoyed the quiet and the simplicity his life had taken on, he began to enjoy it. He stayed in that tent on that spot for ten years, until he moved indoors to help his brother through hard times. The point of this story is that change rarely comes from comfort or contentment. You, I, and many others have learned lessons unwillingly sometimes. They are more valuable than any schooling I have taken. I have a BS degree (really!), but that is not what has shaped my character and my spirit. It’s the “rough stuff” that has forced me to grow, and I like the results.

  10. Marilyn N-S :-) says:

    Thank you for sharing your ‘journey’, including the inner and outer struggles, discoveries, and experiences. It was amazing to read your printed words, this morning, as I find much of your personal story resonates within me, as well. Your story reminded me of these words, not all who wander are lost. I wish for you safe travels, both physically and spiritually! *smile*

  11. Changing my mindset is VERY difficult. I take my financial obligations (aka. debt) seriously. I hate having to “participate” in this… way of life.

    I have started researching to start this journey, and hope to break away from my constraints.

    Thanks Bob,
    Mark L.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Mark, I agree, changing your paradigm is extrmely difficult. I couldn’t have done it without being forced into it, I’m not brave enough. But I was forced to live in a van for 6 years while I kept working the same job but instead of paying a landlord I paid down my debt and then started paying myself.

      That may not work for you, but you can start to make some other changes that will make your life better. You don’t have to do them all at once, you can take small steps that add up to a major change.

      1) Stop buying any new stuff unless it’s essential to your health. That is a radical idea but anyone who is willing can do it.
      2) Start selling everything that won’t fit into a tiny space. Needing to be surrounded by more and better things is an old idea that is killing us and the planet.
      3) After you’ve been working on the first two, move into the tiniest space you and your family can live in.
      4) Start spending time in nature. Pretend you have a fatal disease and spending time in Nature is the Vitamin N that will save your life. Nearly every town has parks nearby that are free–go have a picnic and learn to just be still (meditate/contemplate/vegetate) under a tree.

  12. Great post, straight from the heart!

  13. Sameer says:

    Thank you, Bob for this wonderful post. It is amazing how freedom from ‘The Chaos’ can change our thoughts and allow us to become what we were meant to be. Human beings celebrating life.

    Sedona
    Sameer recently posted…Giving up Your Old Ideas for a New LifeMy Profile

  14. Lightfoot says:

    Bob, Such a great post and reminder…it’s been tough this winter and my thoughts have been conflicted regarding taking up vandwelling. I’ve wondered if maybe having a small place would be wiser in the winter, that sort of thing. But then I think…wouldn’t I be worried about the home place while I’m gone and how would that impact my FREEDOM? Your post reminds me that it’s not foolhardy to challenge old ideas. I’m very grateful. P.S. We also homeschooled our child and I don’t regret a minute of it. It was pure joy.

    • Bob Bob says:

      Lightfoot, I can’t answer that question for you, but for some people traveling part of the year and being close to the earth part of the year is perfect, I don’t see them as a conflict at all. You may try traveling for a bit then add on a piece of land if that still feels right.
      Bob

  15. Moon Dancer says:

    Well, I posted a fairly long response to this blog about Education, not finding this spot until now. I probably didn’t post in the right place but now I know.
    On another note, people talk about not taking the leap into this lifestyle for many reasons, but one that’s keeping me from leaping is my feelings of responsibility to others that don’t share the desire to jump. We can change our thoughts but not others. I am still evaluating which part of my thoughts I need to change in order to do what I want.

    • Bob Bob says:

      I understand Moon Dancer, the desire to be a caretaker is a very strong on in some of us, and sometimes it’s the right thing to do. But sometimes it isn’t and the trick is to sort all that out. I wish you luck!
      Bob

  16. David Michael says:

    Thanks Bob for another great post. Life transitions! They just never seem to end.

    We returned back to Oregon after 12 years of travel overseas (teaching) and the last seven years, full time RVing. Loved every minute of it…well most of it. My wife grew weary however in the last year or two and I agreed it was time to find a small, cozy apartment back with family and friends.

    It’s only been a year, however, and it feels a bit nuts living this urban-suburban lifestyle once again. Miss the open skies of the American West, even though we live in a lovely college town. Finally, broke down last week and purchased a brand new cargo van (high roof, Dodge, Promaster) to convert over to a camper. (At age 80 next year, I just didn’t want to mess with repairs and transmissions going bad. Decided to spend our kids’ inheritances.) At 18 feet long it isn’t a Class A, but it will give me the opportunity to roam about the Northwest in the summer and Southwest in the winter when I so desire. My wife will join the “Freedom Van” when she feels the inspiration. So, part-time it may be, but love the dreams of travel once again. Hope to be at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous next January. I also appreciate the 12 Steps and several Transformational Workshops in my forties that changed my life for the better.

  17. JIM PETERSON says:

    Enjoyed your article *and* the comments. I did the AA thing and chaired a weekly meeting for about a year and a half. At some point it no longer fed my good dog and I moved on. I still miss the comraderie sometimes but, trust me, there are LOTS of “dry” alcoholics out there — what we called folks who quit drinking but refused to change their behavior. I suppose it could also be applied to those on that unforgiving path who just haven’t started drinking YET. :o) Like you, my participation was prompted by more than just drinking. In fact, I didn’t have many drinking stories to tell: never lost a job or relationship over it; never had a DUI, etc. I still drink socially but I *KNOW* I have to be smart and careful about it. My only beef with the program was their insistence that you NEVER graduate — never arrive at the finish line until you’re DEAD — and I couldn’t accept the futility of that idea. I think I drink responsibly today and none of my friends or family will agree that I ever had a problem with it. But I did have some ‘other’ problems and AA helped me break with a lifetime of bad indoctrination. I always did very well in school, learned to blend in and not cause problems for anyone . . . the picture of that little girl proud of her A+ was me. I learned to master a perfectly non-functional and non-sustainable way of life! I was seriously depressed through much of high school and all of my college years and am glad to report my life is MUCH better and MUCH happier these days now that we’re fulltiming and living the dream. Comin’ at ya’ from the Arizona side of the Colorado River — South of I10 — sitting in the MiniMart laundromat as I type.
    JIM PETERSON recently posted…Ferguson LakeMy Profile

  18. Ming says:

    hey, I resembled that picture of the little girl with the A+…

    But never mind that, as soon as school was over, I was off to find my own way. Those years of enforced conformity never took and taught me what to stay away from. The educational system that we have was developed to provide cogs in the machine for the smooth running of the British empire. Stamp out all individuality and enforce conformity so that your functionaries in India will work the same as the ones in Africa. Add in funding cutbacks and you are really not giving kids the best start for life in today’s world.

    Great video, the RTR looks to be full of nice and interesting folks whom I hope to meet at a future get-together.

  19. Tom says:

    let us not forget it’s the eight to fivers that build the things we need for our nomadic lifestyle. Treat them with respect and kindness and lets leave them a clean and well maintained RV would for them to use one day.

  20. Mike says:

    Ha, ya nailed it again Bob..trying to get this to sink in the minds of this generation, is like trying to take their cellphones away. Ive never owned one, they are ID cards, positioning beacons, and transactional recorders, and most folks don’t even think about that, let alone the 5 watts of RF energy they emit.
    Enough said, keep up the good work Bob, your the best. Mike, oh, and theres some weather headed your way, batten down the hatches.

  21. I read this and cried. Granted, I’m uber emotional right now. And I mean literally, right now. Am back home working on getting rid of my storage unit – once and for all. I’m down to 30 boxes of “stuff” from my old life… Losing my son, medical records, divorce papers, failure after failure – all hitting me in the gut with every box I open. By Tuesday it will all be gone and I will have no more physical ties to it all. It is a very painful process but I am finally losing all physical ties that bind and looking forward to being back on the road soon. Surreal actually as it correlates with your post – which is marvelous. Thank you for sharing, Bob. It was just what I needed while I’m right in the middle of letting go absolutely, including old ideas. Love, d

    • Bob Bob says:

      Debra, having suffered some staggering loss in my life I can fully appreciate what you are going through. Now is the time to be especially kind to yourself in every way you can think of–you deserve it!

      Know that you are loved and there is a power much greater than yourself that only wants the very best for you!!! Know also that you have been blessed more than most people I know, with people who really love and care for you–just for you.

      All of that horrible shit has become some wonderful compost that has sprung a garden that is a wonder to behold! You are a very lucky person! But you have also worked very hard at the composting pile!
      Bob

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