In a quiet cabin in New Jersey’s Stokes State Forest my mind can unclench and breathe. This year has been the most grueling one for me in many years. However, lest you think I am on the pity-pot, think again. When one begins to break free of the emotional bruising of betrayal, and proceeds to fracture the grip some of the greedy have had on his (or her) life, a welcome sense of freedom and possibility emerges.
This sense of freedom and possibility is an independence reborn. In the magic place linked so powerfully to my father, I can sit and watch the flames dance in the wood stove and let my mind, heart, and soul, relax, breathe, ponder the possibilities. And there are many.
I am rethinking all my connections and relationships in life. I think I remain linked to some more out of habit and ritual than need and desire. I don’t know how this process will tease itself out, but it’s just a matter of time before it does.
I am starting with those things I know for sure. The realities that are, for me, the non-negotiables. Realities I will not relinquish and, in some cases, defend with my life.
My friendship with Michael Sulsona along with his sons Vincent and Philip will never end. We are all more than friends. Michael and I refer to each other as brothers from time to time and the boys have grown up calling me Uncle Peter. And they are, in my heart, my nephews.
There are others in my life who I love very much too. But those who know me well and know me deep, know that Michael and his boys have a place in my heart and soul like no one else. Why? We are, in the real heart-meaning of the word, family.
There are other non-negotiables as well. An obvious one would be this; I will give up my sobriety for no one. Moreover, I will, with all my might continue to work against our society’s addiction to violence as well as the right every person has to be who they are fully and safely in the world. In other words, I will not set aside my penchant for working against the unhealthy forces of bigotry. I can tell you that I am taking a look at how best to do that.
Anyway, enough for now. I’ll talk to you more soon, in the meantime, be well, take care of yourselves…and remember to live.