and not in a good way….
I am only bringing this up now, because I want you to understand when I get to the real reason I am writing, I have the belief in my power NOW, and that was not always how I thought. I did not arrive at this place of strong belief that you can literally be and do and have everything you want because my life was simple or easy or fun. I share this with you with the intention that you will realize if I can do it YOU CAN DO IT also!
People sometimes compare their own trials and tribulations to the process of tempering, quenching, hardening or softening steel, heating it beyond a critical temperature and then quickly cooling it. That is not appropriate in my experience. What I went through is something that Carolyn Myss refers to as “Spiritual Madness” in her book of the same name. I was spiritually focused before the Navy got their hands on me, and I asked God to allow me to be of SERVICE, fervently desiring to be closer to God before I joined the Navy. The answer to my prayers, which I did not recognize at the time, was this decade of descent into the madness and darkness which allowed me to transform my personal view of my self and human beings at large.
Like most children I was socialized to make the adults around me comfortable, and rather than rebel, I incorporated that training into my self-identity, and became a seriously co-dependent young person with poor boundaries. With this mix of influences, I was very focused upon the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and aspired to be Christ-like. Not until my early twenties did I realize that being a martyr is not an effective way to positively influence the masses because the teacher is absent and the lessons get distorted with the retelling… For some time after that however, it was difficult to shake that Messiah complex I developed.
Getting an education was the most important value that was intentionally bestowed upon me by my father. My Dad provided the voice of inspiration and support for me as a small child, telling me I could do anything I wanted to do, but I did need to go to college before doing it. Dad did not indicate any preferred profession to my life in the future, in fact he told me that if I wanted to dig ditches, that was great, I just had to get a college degree first.
My mother and I had a very difficult, violent, and unhappy relationship as far back as I can remember. My mother did a phenomenal job of teaching me that everyone mattered more than I did, and that I needed to always put others first. I experienced that lesson in a myriad of ways, and also learned that putting others first sometimes involved deception.
I remember clearly when I was five years old having a competitive discussion with a neighbor friend who had a plastic Micky Mouse guitar about the clear superiority of my wooden Sears guitar. My Mom stepped in to make it very clear to me that I was in the wrong, and that my friend’s plastic guitar was far better than mine, and that I should not have ever thought what I had was better in any way.
I remember at the time believing my Mom was being dishonest in order to make the neighbor friend feel better, and learned that making others feel better is much more important than what I believe, think, or value. Granted a parent could have handled the situation in a variety of ways with a variety of lessons learned, but this was what I got from it.
In an amazing reversal of values lesson, one morning I was supposed to be getting ready to go to the first grade and in my mind I was “getting ready”. In my version of the truth, I was laying on my back with my arms crossed under my little head and my knees up in the air day dreaming. In my mother’s mind I was supposed to be putting on cloths and coming to eat breakfast. When my mother stormed into my room and saw me in quiet repose, she immediately felt that I had been lying to her about getting ready and this for her was an intolerable act for which severe punishment was warranted. Long story short when the neighbors finally knocked on the door to find out what the heck was going on, my mother realized she had gone berserk and was embarrassed. My mother told me that I did not have to go to school and could stay home. My six-year old’s teary response was stated clearly that I would not stay with her and I was going to school. I walked the mile in silence to school with an older neighbor girl, feeling with each step that I would never be hurt like this again. This was a breaking point in my relationship with my mother, after which I did whatever I could to avoid her.
Coincidentally, that day traumatized me so completely about deception that I did not say anything for ten years that was not true. When I was sixteen years old I began having a sexual relationship with my older boyfriend, and when I needed to create a cover story for a rendezvous, I began to sweat and shake and stammer and ran out of the house. This extreme physiological reaction to thinking about being dishonest continued at a lesser intensity until I was able to lie without difficulty.
Through my Methodist Christian training and cultural socialization in North Carolina, I placed a very high value on honesty and character, but also maintained a dysfunctional “Southern culture” value on social propriety and hypocrisy. I did learn that what you say to someone’s face should be sweet, while what you say behind their back can be mean if you preface it with, Bless his/her heart!”. I never liked the way that felt and was uncomfortable by our cultural mores in regards to integrity. I did learn that it was okay to not tell the truth IF the truth was going to hurt someone, otherwise I should always tell the truth. This sort of chasm was well established in our culture during my youth.
Suffice it to say there were many areas of conflict between my mother and me. When she went through my pocketbook one morning before I left for the 12th grade and found birth control pills all hell broke loose…. After my Dad coming to take me home from school to be subjected to tons of shaming and threats, a day of high drama, Mom told me I could either stop seeing my first love or move out. I happily choose to leave home, feeling very strongly that conditional love was worse than no love at all.
At 17 I was ready to live on my own. Having nowhere to go right away and no vehicle, I did have to spend one last night in my parent’s home before one of my friends could come get me the next day. With my door locked, I lay awake all night clutching a knife in case my mother tried to come in and kill me.
Sadly our mother failed to tell my younger brother the truth of what occurred that day and simply summed it up that I “ran away from home”. My brother believing that story, was hurt by my absence and I found out much later how extensively this damaged our relationship. I continued to be close with my Dad, whom I met for lunches, but I did not feel safe coming to my parent’s home so my brother did not see me for years.
Because of this situation, I chose to put myself through college, rather than to allow my parents to contribute to my educational costs, and it took seven years for me to get that four-year degree. During my college experiences, my favorite job was working at Switchboard Crisis Center as a Volunteer Coordinator and Volunteer Counselor for LGBTQ people ( I managed to come out as a lesbian while working my way through a Sociology degree with minors in Psychology and Women’s Studies).
I loved attending the University of North Carolina first in Chapel Hill and graduating from Greensboro. While at UNC I was exposed to all sorts of different people. Human rights were always important to me and I volunteered to raise money for the Black Panther’s Breakfast Program in Greensboro. I became aware of the dangers of nuclear power and especially nuclear waste. I actively protested nuclear power throughout the United States and was arrested for trespassing in Barnwell S.C. in the Spring of 1978.
Being the high achiever I have always been, I made sure all my assignments and finals were completed before this demonstration because the plan was to get arrested and not post bail to keep attention on the issue longer. During that year I met all sorts of folks including paranoid anarchists. Being incarcerated for a cause and with like-minded individuals was actually a positive experience for me from which I have fond memories. Both my parents disowned me when I got arrested, but later reclaimed when the Three Mile Island nuclear accident occurred. Never a dull moment in my life!
I knew I wanted to get a Master’s Degree in either Social Work, Psychology, or Counseling and frankly I was exhausted after putting myself through a B. A. Degree. My beloved job was funded by a Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) grant position that I was certain would be eliminated by the incoming pro-military President Reagan.
I made a decision at that time that seemed logical to my exhausted mind, I would become a Coast Guard officer with a Search and Rescue focus, and after service use the VA benefits to get my graduate degree. First of all, I now know how crazy that idea was, and next let’s say I did know that at that time the military and Coast Guard would not knowingly allow a lesbian to join. I rationalized that initial deception about my sexual orientation to not be a big deal since most LGBTQ civilians I knew were closeted about their sexual orientation, and rationalized being closeted for 4 years was necessary for the mission. Ironically I have met other lesbian veterans who made a similar decision; we were TOO EXHAUSTED to continue life in the civilian world so we joined the military to find balance. I could write an entire dissertation on that issue alone but it is not relevant to being here NOW!
Much to my chagrin, there was a year-long waiting period for women to be accepted in Officer Candidate School in the US Coast Guard, and to my frazzled exhausted 25-year-old mind, that seemed an eternity. Now I began to allow myself to consider options and thought I would like to fly planes…. I went through the entire Air Force entry process and was told I could be a navigator, but my astigmatism precluded me being a pilot.
I was so ignorant of who really flew the plane that I rejected that option and again thought about my love of water. I signed up for the U.S. Navy women’s officer program which only had a 3 months waiting list, not realizing what I was actually doing would keep me off the water. I was so accustomed to my innate intelligence and self-confidence and flexibility getting me through whatever came my way that I failed to do any research into what women in the Navy have to endure.
In 1980 the only women at sea were enlisted and very junior officer women serving on tenders, giant slow-moving work ships designed to provide services and repairs to the fleet. Women could be Surface Warfare officers, but none at that time had reached the seniority yet to command a ship of any type. Women could serve in the medical corps, the supply corps, the legal corps, and aviation, but I already knew I could not be a pilot. I did not have the requisite bachelor’s degree or advanced degree to serve in the other fields. Since this was my 3rd choice, and in my distorted thinking simply a means to an end, I agreed to become a 1100 Administration designated officer, on shore.
Since I already had an undergraduate degree, I went to Providence Rhode Island for Officer Candidate School (OCS). The OCS brainwashing process, while different from it is for enlisted personnel, was astounding! While openly committed to the virtues of integrity and good moral character, officer candidates were taught the ONLY WAY TO MAKE IT was to disregard the stated rules, get very creative about how to circumvent the stated rules, while appearing to follow completely the stated rules and achieve the measurable expected performance standards in order to graduate as quickly as possible. The stated basis for this form of training seemed justified by preparing us to become prisoners of war should that occur. We learned it was “easier to get forgiveness than permission” if what we attempted worked out well. We learned that we could communicate during an imposed blackout through walls using electrical sockets, and devise codes to transmit messages after lights out in order to accomplish the 22 hours of work and 8 hours of sleep expected each 24 hour day.
As one of 3 women in my company, I had the luxury of bunking alone while the other two shared a room. This allowed me to be solely responsible for passing my quarter’s inspections and since never-failing an inspection was the basic criteria for getting off base on the weekend, I made certain to pass every inspection so I could escape base reliably. The long-term effect of that process is I became a perfectionist who was disconnected from my immediate feelings and most personal needs, and only focused upon the means to the end. Excellent warfare training indeed!
One of my friends in OCS was a beautiful, talented young man who had the misfortune of getting a hernia while in training. The abdominal surgery in 1981 required a significant period of recovery, and medically he was openly given permission to not participate in the final physical fitness exam until his recovery concluded so he could graduate. There was such a brainwashing for all of us to fit in, stay on track, complete everything required expeditiously that he elected to participate in the final fitness exam to graduate with his original company. I remember my horror and distress, when as he was running a blood clot from his abdomen dislodged, killing him before he hit the ground. What a senseless waste of a young life and like most of our colleagues, we vowed to carry on in honor of his sacrifice.
I graduated with the usual hats flung into the air fanfare and prepared myself for my first assignment. What I did not know until I was working at the Navy Annex in the D.C. area as a division officer for the Surface Warfare Commanders’ Detailing office, family oriented Navy men hate having women take up their shore positions because it means longer assignments shipboard. As an 1100 officer I was restricted to administrative duties which were previously performed as SHORE rotations for surface, submariner, and aviation warfare male officers.
Nothing in my dysfunctional family, Southern Cultural upbringing, civil rights activism, politically progressive, and civilly disobedient life experiences prepared me for the unbelievable amount and frequency of sexual harassment and abuse I experienced in the U.S. Navy. After I resigned in 1990 and the “Tailhook Scandal” hit the news media, I was hopeful the horrendous conditions for women in the military would finally improve, but obviously they have not. (For more current details: http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/06/07/2123511/5-myths-about-sexual-assault/?mobile=nc )
There seemed to be only 3 types of men in the Navy when I was there; decent well-rounded, intelligent men who appreciated the transitional challenges of bringing greater numbers of women into the Navy; hostile arrogant narcissists who perpetrated horrendous sexual harassment and abuse upon others; and the “masses”. During the time I served as a United States Navy officer, there was a pervasive attitude and stated belief that there were only two types of women in the Navy, “dykes” and “sluts”. If you were not one, you were the other. One required frequent and indiscriminate sexual liaisons and the other could get you discharged and imprisoned.
At 26 I was very slender, fit, strong, and according to others, “a hottie”, and I knew that it was very likely I would be subject to a Bad Conduct Discharge hearing and military imprisonment if the truth about my sexual orientation became an issue. The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) demanded this because at that time I was co-habitating (aka “fraternizing) with an enlisted woman. It was well-known at the time that other lesbian officers were in prison for my same “offense”. Under the UCMJ the rules of evidence do not apply to non-criminal charges and simply hearsay can suffice in destroying a person’s career.
Since the risks to me, of being true to myself, included sabotaging my mission of getting the VA benefit of higher education assistance, as well as risking being allowed to live with the person I loved to serve time in a prison and forfeit the VA benefits, I decided to do my very best acting job and be a heterosexual engaged woman officer. I bought a large diamond ring which I wore as an engagement ring, and discovered that did nothing but heat up the harassment. Military men love a challenge!
I had the good fortune of serving with seven good, decent, Lieutenant Commanders (LCDR) in my department. Five of them were male and two were female. When I confided to them what I was having to deal with, all seven of them told me that if I report the abuse from my senior officers, I would immediately be transferred to “Bumfuck” where I would have no support, no contact with support, and then could only hope my case would be heard by someone who may intervene. Out of the seven, only ONE of them, a woman, told me to report the abuse any way.
I volunteered for the collateral duty of the new position of Sexual Harassment Prevention Officer and attended the appropriate training and received the manual and materials to accomplish my duties. The very first senior officer I met with in the course of my new duties, treated me like a gnat saying, and I quote, “I don’t need to learn anything about sexual harassment. I know how to do it!”
After discussing the situation with my partner, I made the decision to stuff my feelings through the numbing miracle of alcohol. My drinking became very heavy and at times debilitating. I experienced first hand the work place co-dependency of my civilian secretary who covered for me when I was too sick in the bathroom to be present in the office. No one in the Navy of the 1980s ever questioned my liquid lunches, liquid dinners, and liquid softball/volleyball games. Drinking was intrinsically related to being a strong Navy officer, and the only dishonor was getting a DUI or getting caught drunk and disorderly. There were times I drove drunk and don’t remember what occurred, and that scared me more than being sick.
During approximately a year of horrible experiences, during which I fantasized about inviting my SEAL Captain to a fist fight in the parking lot, hoping he would kill me quickly, and actively imagining ways to kill him without getting caught, I knew I was in a very dark and destructive space. I wanted relief and wanted to figure out a way to get liberated from this hell on Earth. Thankfully a new Commander was assigned to my division, and I was pleased to learn this man had a wife and four children, unlike his predecessor and my divorced Captain. When this commander made his first move to harass me, I resorted to black blackmail and it worked perfectly. I told him that if I did not have orders to Norfolk, VA immediately, I would be calling his wife and telling her what he attempted to do. My partner had been moved to Norfolk after our initial time together in DC, and my fabricated civilian fiance’ lived in Norfolk.
Long story shortened considerably, I was assigned to the Norfolk Naval base and began computer training. That alone is worth a movie, but I digress. I volunteered to serve as the Command’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Officer and began attending 12 Step Meetings as part of my responsibilities.
I had the privilege of meeting Rear Admiral Grace Hopper while she was still on active duty, learn COBOL,BASIC, FORTRAN and that new fangled (at that time) programming language ADA. Suffice it to say I know Cobol, so when Y2K was perceived as a threat, I knew better and tried to help folks relax about that NON-issue but learned people seem to want to be scared about something and have a villain to focus upon.
While serving at this command in the role of Command Duty Officer, I learned very scary things about how our military planning is deficient and not nearly as amazing as Hollywood would like you to believe it is. This really messed with my mind as I realized how very trapped in an insane situation I was in the new higher responsibility role. I sensed that if I did not get out of this new frying pan quickly, I would end up crazy, in prison, or dead, so I volunteered to complete a Master’s Degree in Education Administration which the U.S. Navy wanted some folks to do. Even though it meant I would have to extend my obligation from 6 to 9 years, I did believe it would get me out of the militarily scary place I was in, so I could preserve my sanity and life while I figured out the next steps on my journey.
The process of getting the MS Ed at Old Dominion University was a BLESSING! I got to spend 13 months mostly as a civilian learning stuff that was congruent with my intrinsic values and having time with civilians who were compatible with my goals and values. I began writing in the local LGBTQ press under the pseudonym “Dawn Farmer”, attending local LGBTQ events, making new civilian friends, and having a life.
My next assignment was a bigger shock than the previous one and I became the second woman to ever attend the Tactical Action Officer Training School at Dam Neck VA. Long story short, I got to experience first hand the visceral reaction of virtual warfare in a simulated ship environment. It was both horrifying and exhilarating.
There is a DEFINITE HIGH, probably from the adrenalin rush, that comes with surviving an attack that builds both camaraderie, passion, and lust. That was an enlightening experience that helped me have more compassion and understanding for the people who have seen and survived warfare, and suffered all that led to that survival.
Well I would be remiss to remind you that the sexual harassment did not stop and took an ugly twist at this assignment. I was marked down in my evaluations for not engaging in a private consensual relationship with my supervising officer. I made a valiant attempt to appeal the down grade which has the effect of severely limiting any future promotion for me in a Navy career, only to find a new stone wall of complicity.
At the end of that assignment I was transferred to another education command, this time in Norfolk again and this time with a female Commanding Officer! Things were better there and the large number of civilians made working there much more normal and professional. I was honored with a variety of challenging assignments and before long was doing 3 civilian jobs in addition to my own officer duties. The hiring freeze had blocked replacing people who retired or resigned and it was up to the military to pick up for the absent civilian work force.
The higher regard I enjoyed at this command while good for my self-esteem and conscious sense of normalcy masked the underlying terror I had squelched through my addiction to work which had replaced my extreme alcohol abuse. I can say this now after decades of personal development, therapy, and growth.
To give you an idea of how extreme it became, I started a part-time landscaping business while still serving as an officer and fulfilling the roles of 3 absent civilians. There was a sane reason for this idea initially. I was nearing the end of my 9 year obligation and beginning to think about what I wanted to do when I got out of the Navy. I had always loved landscaping, gardening, being in nature, and making bland or ugly landscapes beautiful. I had done this type of art for friends and family for no charge and was encouraged to turn my talent into a business.
My business was very successful and I had to create jobs fairly quickly. Before I left the Navy, my business, Dawn’s Light (sunrise) Landscaping, was making more than two times my Navy salary, while I continued to work for the Navy. Because I was planning for this business to be my future, I did not pay myself and kept reinvesting in my business and using my excellent credit to buy more and better equipment and a building. I was getting very excited about my new business and life after the Navy when I submitted my resignation papers.
One big difference between officers and enlisted personnel is that officers serve at the “pleasure of the President”, and George Bush would be pleased for me to stay in the Navy. I was stunned that my resignation was rejected. I began to feel trapped again and frightened that I would not be able to make it out sane. I got a civilian counselor, because mental health counseling is frowned upon in the active duty service of that time.
Without disclosing this to my counselor, I made a personal decision to gain weight so that I would be less “pleasing” to the Commander-in-Chief. At that time I weighed 134 pounds and was training for triathlons regularly. I had never been overweight before, and in my ignorance and arrogance I had no idea that losing weight would be difficult once I got out of the Navy
I began to do the personal therapy I needed for my co-dependency, workaholism, and long-established self-denial. I came to the startling realization in a session one day that I would rather “work myself to death” than face bankruptcy. I was working 40+ hours per week for the Navy and then landscaping, doing accounting and payroll, and delivering bills until 2 and 3 am each day.
As I was intentionally gaining weight and continuing this arduous routine, my adrenal system began to fail and I knew I had to cut back something. I failed to respond effectively to this first warning sign, and developed a herniated disc in my lumbar spine. Still being too strong-willed to take care of myself, I managed to contract Lyme Disease during a weekend camping trip with a new love interest.
The Lyme Disease took such a toll on me that I could no longer do what even my Navy career demanded. Since it was 1989 in Virginia the Navy doctors took so long to diagnose me that I was already having neurological, cardiovascular, and arthritis symptoms before they treated me. Coming back from that illness took years and I had to spend many weeks really examining the life I had created for myself and the choices I made.
Early on in the Lyme Disease process I was so fatigued one morning that when the alarm clock went off, I could only lay there listening. I was so exhausted I could not move my arm to turn it off or pick up a phone. I remember thinking as I lay there that “if I cannot work anymore, I have no reason to live.” Although I had entertained suicide throughout my life since I was 5 years old, believing that my life is eternal and that better things will occur in heaven or my next incarnation depending upon my age at the time, this was the first time in my 35 years of life that really thought about my human worth, my self-worth, my reason for being in such a stark way. I could finally see how LUDICROUS my thinking had become. I believed that I knew human beings have intrinsic value as BEINGS, as children of God or the Universe or our Creator, but somehow I had become a human doing to the complete negation of my BEING.
This was the wake up call I needed! I finally willed myself to reach the phone. Because I was such a workaholic I had no close friends in the area who I trusted to be so vulnerable around. I called work to let them know I was too sick to come in and would be going to the doctor. The next call I placed was to my first serious partner in the Navy who now lived four and one half hours away in Durham, NC. I told her what was happening, and that I was so weak I did not know if I could dress myself. Being the good friend she was, she drove to Norfolk to help me dress and take me to the doctor.
Over the next several months, I began to get politically active about the discrimination against women in the military and the “lesbian baiting” that effectively suppressed reporting sexual harassment and rape in the Navy. I got connected with a variety of Women’s Rights, Human Rights, and LGBTQ Rights organizations and became vocal about the wide-spread atrocities occurring.
I was still on active duty when I testified in front of the House Armed Services Committee, and the Coalition for Women in the Military, thanks to the amazing staff of US Representatives Gerry Studds and Barney Frank. I was interviewed by Connie Chung, and was a featured speaker at the National NOW Conference, and the planning committee for the first Lesbian Rights Conference before leaving the service. The Face To Face interview was suppressed by CBS because President Bush invaded Iraq in defense of Kuwait and the powers that be felt it would be unpatriotic to focus on our military’s failings during an invasion (The interview finally aired just after the Tailhook Scandal hit the media.)
I finally gained enough weight to get marked down on my Physical Preparedness on my Fitness Evaluation, and that combined with the “Top 5%” ranking from the supervisor who I refused to date was enough for my next resignation to be accepted. I left the US Navy shortly after we invaded Iraq to protect Kuwait.
After leaving the service I was included in Randy Shilts’ book about LGBTQ people serving in the military, “Conduct Unbecoming”, and part of a film regarding LGBTQ people serving in the military. The interview with Randy was much harder than I anticipated it could be. Painful issues that I had buried 9 years earlier were brought to light and I felt them again. I realized how much was still hidden from my consciousness by my drinking alcohol, which although was no longer abusive, still frequent.
This reality helped me decide to become clean and sober. I embarked upon a journey of recovery from all my addictions and wounds. After 14 years of not drinking, during which I experienced a few more long dark nights of the soul, through which Buddhism and Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh, Ram Dass, and others kept me in touch with my breath, I made a decision it was okay again to drink socially.
So much has happened since then, there could be another movie, and it has led me to where I am today. One thing that I did gain from being an US Navy officer is leadership skills and experience. I developed what is widely regarded as ‘military bearing’ that has become part of my being, and is present in my energy most of the time. For instance, I remember sitting on the floor of a Home Depot one day, to read the information on a box of something I was shopping for, and even though I had on a tee-shirt and shorts, a customer came up to me and asked if I worked there. After I stopped laughing I explained I probably should work there since I spend so much time in the store, but that no, I was a shopper just like them. When I joined the Navy I was actually a shy and fairly insecure person who put on the costume of a military officer and played the role to the best of my ability. That command performance enabled me to be confident, self-assured, and fearless.
I have been to very dark places in my own psyche and tested by the choices I made in so many ways. I know the pains of multiple long dark nights of the soul, and that through faith and courage I survived, and eventually began to learn more about how the Universe really operates. I now know that what feels good is good and what feels bad provides the contrast to figure out what will feel better. All of the contrast in my life has prepared me for a wonderful life now.
It is almost impossible to play a game and win if you do not know the rules. Thankfully I have finally learned the rules and am playing to win. With all my heart I want to help others learn how to win. Thanks to Abraham/Hicks, Peak Potentials, Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh, Carolyn Myss, Marc Allen, Bill Phillips, Robert Kiyosaki, Mark Victor Hansen, Bob Allen, and many more, I am now fully claiming my power and taking responsibility for all aspects of my life. I know that I have created what I have, and if I am wanting a change, I can create that easily by following the Laws of the Universe.
My current MISSION is to inspire, uplift, and empower people to create the life of their dreams, enthused with passion, joy, and love! Thank you for reading this and I look forward to our next encounter.
Please remember, the good news is that the “movie is not over” (Abraham/Hicks); I did not stop evolving and improving because of my experiences in the U.S. Navy! Each day since I resigned from the U.S. Navy (and actually each day in everyone’s life) has been a new clean canvas or page upon which we create our life in the NOW of the current moment. Now is the only place life happens, and if you are focusing upon the past or imaging your future, you are ruining your now with what is already done or what you speculate may occur. Be here now and LIVE life to the fullest!