“I had to make a decision that I was going to get out or I was going to die like my mother. And so I packed up, me and my boys, and I ran. He eventually end up going to prison for killing someone else, and so that was my opportunity to emotionally, mentally, and physically break away from him.”
“…I didn’t know he was on drugs.”
Fiction. Based on a True Present Perfect Realization of your Center.
by Mingjie Zhai
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional
“Cocaine is evil,” Aaron says to you.
“Yes, it is.”
“Let’s do LSD,” he says, “Then we can really connect with one another.”
“You can take LSD, but I don’t need to do it to connect with people any longer. LSD’s the shortcut.”
“Do you still want to start a relationship with me?” he asks.
You think an hour prior. You were trying to sleep, but the lust daemon kept hounding you. It kept reminding you that your ovaries are pissed off at you. It told you that you’re drying up. Time’s a ticking woman. You got to pass on your genetic data to the next gen… You think about Jerry back home—the Christian man who encourages you, the one who comforts you in his calm voice, who tells you that you’re not crazy, to keep following God, the one who waits patiently for you to come home, the one who wants to have kids with you, and make love to you all night long, the one who intervened when you were brainwashed at the Milestone Cult Forum. Why can’t you bring yourself to like him anymore the way you used to?
It was Jerry who you know you should call, but instead you plugin the cord to the Wifi, boot up your laptop, and Google Voice dial Rylie.
“I’m sorry, but this number is no longer in service.”
He is determined to rid you out of his life. You had left a voicemail a month ago telling him that you’re at Montenegro writing a book and that you are super grateful for his influence on your wakeup call into sobriety and health. You requested if it would be okay if the two of you just started over again.
Guess, you got your answer.
Somewhere deep in your heart, you know that he is ashamed for calling you crazy, he felt like he was never going to catch up to your level…whatever that level may be…and perhaps he knew that he could not dance with you because he was too self-conscious about his moves.
Next, you call Aaron. He picks up.
Now he’s asking you if you still want a relationship with him. You imagine the Beverly Hills bougie lifestyle, you picture two people jetsetting together to different parts of the world, month to month, while you continue working the project remotely, and he just does his hustle to get the family provided, protected, and that would be his pride.
“I do want a relationship with you,” you say as you stare at your black keys on the MacBook Air keyboard and mentally picture the shape of a pyramid.
“Then, you need to stop running away from your problems and start listening to me,” he said. “If you start listening to me, then you’ll be able to gain stability. Right now, you’re all over the place. Why don’t you get a real job? Like work for a magazine, or a blog, or something. Writing your journal entries isn’t going to get you paid…Psychopaths Volumes 1, 2, and 3,” he says half-amused.
You think about it for a moment. He’s right about getting your finances in order. He’s right about taking on more responsibility, but he’s wrong about your trip to Europe here. There’s just so much you’re learning that you can’t get out of a textbook or your Los Angeles “bubble.” Even sitting here, just you and Roxy, alone on this private beach with nobody else to talk to other than your team members online, to spend time alone meditating on nature, things, and reading your books the way Joseph Campbell took five years getting lost in the woods reading his books to be able to formulate the patterns that he uncovered through Joyce and other great works that eventually became what is now known as A Hero With a Thousand Faces that transformed the landscape on how we view things. Does life imitate art or art imitate life? Or is it both? It’s a shadow dance. Is it what we are designed to being and becoming? Is this all part of shadow integration?
You tell Aaron that he needs to begin integrating his shadow.
“What’s that?” he asks.
“It’s a Carl Jung concept. Everybody has a shadow within their own hearts. It is this shadow we must contend with first before we take on the world,” you say, “I believe the key is to integrate with it…like shadow boxing….or shadow dancing.”
You think of the time there was music playing live as Aaron walked you down 3rd Street Promenade; Aaron showed up to dance with you, awkward as it were.
“My focus is currently on money. I want a lot of people to like me,” and before Aaron lets you speak, he tells you to wait so he can talk to the dry cleaner. He complains about the buttons. He’s completely upset that they lost his two buttons and starts getting angry at what sounds like Chinese small business owners saying that they are sorry but they don’t know what they can do about it. He comes back to you, “My whole day is ruined.”
You think back at the time you were breaking down crying at a parking lot speaking to a guy in indignation because he wouldn’t waive the late fee for a parking ticket that you had neglected to pay. You were so upset that he wouldn’t give you the exemption. Didn’t he know what you’ve been through lately?
“Look, why don’t you come back so we can talk,” he says.
“Look, the best case scenario is if you work it out with Amy,” you say again. “Do you know that you’re my Plan B? It’s the ugly truth but at least it’s the truth. If Rylie calls me right now and told me to come home, I’ll be on the plane the next week. But with you….you’re still in process of working things through between you and Amy.”
What did you leave out?
You left out telling him how much you appreciate him.
How much he’s given you the deeper understanding of how to integrate the shadow through the shadow work that you both are currently doing together.
He needs to see his ugly in your ugly.
You need to see his ugly to understand your ugly because you were sitting in unforgiveness.
“Amy bores me.”
“Amy can’t stand on her own two feet.”
“Amy doesn’t have any skill.”
All lies from the serpent.
It’s the same lie that the serpent told Sonny…
“Angelie is spoiled and self-entitled.”
“Angelie is needy and can’t stand on her own two feet.”
“Angelie doesn’t have any life skills.”
All which are half truths and half lies.
But it really doesn’t matter.
Because you were the Amy nine years ago that Aaron is complaining about and had Sonny just stuck around and waited.
“Don’t you know that all that you’re describing of Amy—how she’s immature, how she can’t stand on her own two feet, how she doesn’t have any skills…that this is exactly how I’m looking at you from my vantage point?”
You know this is all designed to trigger you and Aaron and Amy.
You know that you are supposed to humble yourself before Aaron.
The key is to not out him by saying the same things he’s said about Amy, but you know what he really needs is a dose of ugly truths. Yet, you hold back. You think of the moments when your shadow was holding you back, and the only thing the other person can say is, “You’re sick, stay away.”
“Tell me something,” you plead with Aaron, “Am I your plan A or plan B? Would you rather Amy be a better person for you? That way my purpose in this dynamic three way is to be some anti-hero so that the two of you can have some self-awareness and thereby the possibility of a healthier relationship in the future. I know when Sonny began having emotional attachments with someone else, my entitlement went away and I began to take a hard look at how to be a better person for him. Or would you rather be with me and you’re just putting Amy on standby until I come back?”
Aaron makes you wait again. “Hold on, I need some time picking out which cologne I’m going to buy: Chanel #9 or Burberry?” You wait for about five minutes, irritated, and he knows he’s doing this deliberately to test you and you know that you are being tested, so you breathe in and breath out, you start looking through your Facebook feed before he comes back to you.
“I think I’m getting the Chanel #9,” he tells you.
You knew he didn’t know how to answer you…he viewed it as a trap and perhaps it was and you are unconscious about it…he is just plainly overwhelmed. He doesn’t have it within himself yet to come up with an answer on something that takes time to reveal itself.
You are impatient. And horny and your eggs…tick tock, tick tock. So you want to know now.
“Look, you’re older than me.”
“Is that good or bad?”
“I don’t know”
You can tell that Aaron is just beginning to process his emotions. He’s a baby who is still learning how to walk and you expect him to dance.
That’s really what he means when he brings up the age gap.
He’s saying, “Please just be patient with me. I’ll catch up I promise. Just wait. Please wait.”
You can hear Amy screaming silently about the same thing to Aaron.
“Please just be patient with me. I have some shadow work to go through. Please just stay. Don’t leave me alone here on my own. I need you. Please stay. Please wait for me.”
That’s why he makes you wait.
Because you’ve been making him wait for you for nine months.
He’s paused his moving forward with Amy so he can find out if someone else is better for him.
He tells you that Amy’s insecure and superficial.
You tell him that the way he views Amy is the way you view him.
Pow! Right in the kisser.
Something you know Rylie has done for you.
Rylie saw right through your bullshit of gaslighting and manipulation because once a victim figures out the moves of the bully, they try to imitate so they can break it apart and leverage its power for themselves.
This is how the shadow consumes you.
You know that the only way to do it the right way is to integrate, not consummate. There is a big distinction. Consummation is creating an unholy pact between the shadow and the host for evil purposes. Integrate is to leverage holy spirit to swallow it whole for you, like an amniotic egg, by becoming the amniotic fluid of grace to contain it.
That’s why you did not go further to tell him that he’s got his head stuck so far up his ass, he can’t breath or see the light.
You pray that one day he’ll come to the end of himself.
And perhaps his soul is screaming to you, SOS.
You can’t kill him off, because that would be like killing Sonny off, and you have to remind yourself constantly that you’ve already forgiven Sonny the way God has forgiven you, even when the devil comes to remind you of the things Sonny’s done to “trigger” you to anger.
But now you’re learning to fuse anger with grace, by transforming the fires of hell into the fires of transformation.
Love Thy Neighbor.
What would Sonny’s soul have really wanted from the older woman at the time he was having the marital crisis with you?
Oh yeah…he would have wanted the other woman to tell him the ugly truth about himself instead of allowing her to manipulate the situation where he actually leaves you for her. She would have told him the ugly truth that he’s got his head stuck so far up his ass—his problem is impatience and narcissism. That would have been the only way that Sonny would have found the maturity within himself to humble himself down and be present for the younger version of yourself. He was sitting in false pride and in the other woman’s false humility, she had taken advantage of it by coddling/enabling his bad behavior so that her eggs can be sowed through his seed. She essentially robbed him of the seven year love that the two of you have cultivated. Now, you have this golden opportunity to play the shadow for the villian, Aaron, in hopes he can finally wake up to the smell of his own bullshit judgements over the one girlfriend who would take a bullet for him—and it’s not you. He’s probably avoiding the real work of doing the inner work by staying stuck on the negative-mother fixation. You know that the only way to lead Amy into the kind of relationship he so desires with her is by his doing the inner work within himself.
That is why you can not hold back.
You must not hold back.
For the sake of their spiritual growth and their dying relationship.
It needs a reboost.
And you’re just the villain to do it for them.
You have a big red Dangerous sign on your forehead.
Amy is scared of you.
Sonny is scared of you.
Rylie is scared of you.
Mysty is scared of you.
And now Aaron is scared of you.
Yet Aaron still connects with you.
He is beginning to catch on to what you’re doing.
Still fuzzy for him, but he’s beginning to become aware of something…
For now, he acts like he’s busy to stall for time, pretending like he’s keeping you on standby, as his way of testing you to see if you can be patient for him, because he knows he’s an idiot. He’s completely self aware of it. Emotionally immature. He finds that his partner no longer serves to accelerate his spiritual and emotional growth. He knows he is stunted, so he is looking for you to catalyze his spiritual awakening process.
But little does he realize that the only way he can spiritually grow is if he accepts responsibility and then stands by Amy through thick and thin. He gave her a promise ring. What was that promise? Do right by her.
You can’t attract a woman of higher spiritual integrity when you are using the same method used to attract flies.
Stinky ways attract stinky roses.
And perhaps you’re still reaching out to him because some part of you need to explore the stink some more, need to understand both Sonny and your dad, part of you wants to you some more, and you want to know why people have lust/love affairs, why men break away after long years of committing to someone.
Perhaps the other person just stopped loving them.
That could be it.
Still, you see right through him like an x-ray machine. You realize that he is a narcissist like yourself and a psychopath like yourself because he can easily recognize it in you…at least he shows you the type of shadows that you are now in the process of integrating. He constantly calls you a psychopath because he sees how his lying, manipulative, and cheating ways amuses you rather than actually hurts you…It’s as if you reflect it back to him like a mirror…yeah I am…you admit to him…yes I am all that and then some…you give him a smirky smile styled tone of voice when you say it.
You’re treating it like a game, like some sort of social experiment that you can later write out and use to help you break apart the truth of what happened in your past, and serve as a playbook for others to integrate their shadows as well.
And it’s working…you’re already having major breakthroughs here at the southern tip of Montenegro in a private beach in Dobra Voda that nobody but you and Roxy are privy to using at this time.
You realize that you need to know the nature of somethings before you can find the antidote, the way Jordan Peterson was able to really understand the psychology of evil through the face to face moments with his patients in his clinical practices…it’s not the patients themselves that are evil, but the spirit, the nature of things that possess people that are evil.
Still, your shadow terrifies both Amy and Aaron.
To know you is to become exposed because you are no longer afraid of exposing yourself. This is the true intelligence of Original Adam—the ability to be completely naked and shameless soaked in the truth—good, bad, and ugly. They just don’t want to come along for the ride. It’s too personal.
Perhaps they are both the Joker and Harley Quinn and you are the Batman.
They are two half-mans hoping that they could complete each other with their halfs…
And perhaps there is some poetic truth to that.
Perhaps they can.
You got another major breakthrough when you realized that Harley Quinn is the fallen God and the Joker is the fallen Lucifer.
Batman is Jesus.
“Have you two tried couples counseling?” you ask Aaron.
“Yeah, but it wasn’t worth it. They were just milking me for my money.”
At least Aaron tried it.
You realize that you resented Sonny for not even trying to fight for the relationship. He’d rather you invest in a house for real estate purposes than in a marriage. When you recommended couples counseling, he shot it down. He, in his narcissist pride, did not humble himself down enough to admit that perhaps it was he who was the problem and he who needed help.
He tells you that the problem with you is that you don’t listen to him, cause if you obeyed him, since he is a Christian man and Christian men must lead their women, then you would be a lot better off. You smile in amusement.
“Okay, I’m ready to take your advice,” you entertain him.
“If you come back, I can show you how to make lots of money. I’m launching a business now, and it’s going to make so much money. I’m going to be a millionaire by the time I turn 30, and if you invest in me, you’ll see so much return on your investment. Had you trusted me when I asked you to liquidate, you would have doubled your money.”
Translation: I am God. Trust me. I am God. Money is God. Keep your eye on money. Forget about your Love Story Project. Toss it. It’s not going to work, but my business is going to work. Trust me because I am God.
You wonder if he’s in “research mode” which is euphemism for a relapse. You’ve had a five year relapse and it was Rylie who broke the curse you were living under.
“I think you need help,” Rylie told you more than a year ago.
Now you’re six months sober. Smartie texted you from Warsaw to say, “Happy Six Months!” She’s your traveling companion. The two of you are in the process of integrating the shadow together. It’s the only way to do it too… it’s the mirror neuron effect…and that’s why you love Aaron…not just because he serves as your darkly mirror, but because you understand him on a deeply rooted level. He’s good. He’s soul is good. He’s a true artist inside, suffocating under the current of high expectations from the narcs in his life. He’s taking on too many undeserved burdens from other people.
The night before the last day at Dobra Voda, your Sponsor from LA called you after almost 6 months of hiatus so the two of you can catch up. You brought up your love life and the loneliness you are currently feeling at times in between feeling held and secured by God most of the time… she reminds you to not take on other people’s undue burden.
“Figure out what’s yours and separate what’s not yours,” she says.
“Also, when it comes to Aaron, you have to allow him the freedom of choice. You can’t decide for him,” Karma told you.
You are reminded of the new law: Love fulfills all laws.
You are reminded of the new law: Mary is water, Martha is rocks.
Faith is water. Law are the rocks.
You are reminded of the new way of working the law: You are righteous by faith alone. Faith in Jesus’ good works, not yours.
Faith in Holy Spirit to move you.
What’s your job?
Learn how to discern between the two voices.
If it’s making you fearful, doubtful, resentful, and worried…it’s not Holy Spirit.
If it’s making you tickle in humor, feeling a sense of peace, trust and security…it is Holy Spirit.
Aaron is a blessing.
Reflections on The Art of Living
Joseph Campbell’s Hellfire
There are two types of fires on page 61 in his book, Reflections on the Art of Living: A Joseph Campbell Campaign book.
First, the kind of fire that keeps burning and second, the kind of fire that burns off what no longer serves your highest good.
The first fire you are familiar with—it is the fire of unforgiveness, resentment boiling silent hatred and anger.
The second kind of fire is the fire of transformation—this fire is the one you currently are leveraging to understand Aaron on a deeper, more compassionate level.
You know intuitively that to understand Aaron is to understand Sonny.
On the night Sonny promised he would come back to tell you everything, he did not come back. He left that night without a word of explanation. You wanted closure, but he never gave it to you. He kept pretending that you were crazy, you were the enemy, you were psycho. He kept projecting all his own actions onto you. Now you get the fire of transformation of closure as you commune with Aaron. You listen to his point of view. He thinks that money is going to solve all his problems. He wants everybody to love him. He wants to be wanted and needed. He wants to be desired. But he doesn’t respect the woman who has helped him when he was still nothing. Now that he’s something, he thinks he has no use for her anymore now that he is going to “level up.”
But then you heard from another man, “I just don’t want to settle for anything less than healthy.”
And perhaps that’s Aaron’s true intent with you. He sees that you’re getting healthy and he wants in. He wants to become your life partner. Perhaps, he has his own fantasies about being with you—traveling with baby.
“What would happen if I had stayed in LA?” you asked him.
“You probably would have eventually gotten pregnant,” he says.
You laugh. Because it’s true.
“You won’t take the birth control and I don’t want to use a condom.”
“You’re missing the obvious point here,” you say, “You don’t love Amy, because if you do, you would have never cheated on her.”
“And you don’t love me either, because you would not leveraged me to triangulate. So the only conclusion is that you must learn how to love yourself first. Truly love yourself. So you can begin to accept a kind of love that can’t be taken away. That’s the only way you can truly obtain what you’ve always wanted. That missing piece is God.”
He has God in his pocket on speed dial in case he ever gets himself into a sticky situation while continuing to take risks.
You used to use God that way. Until it stopped working.
Then you realized the reality of you—you are a speck of dust compared to the Almighty Creator, and it is you who needs to wake up, pick up your mattress, and walk with Jesus into the terror-tories he wants you to explore, write about, and speak truth to.
You see the birds outside. They’ve been at your patio door. At one point, three of them perches out to observe you.
You’re thinking of changing your flight from LA to Ireland. You’re letting Rylie go. You’re letting Aaron go. You’re focusing on this Playbook that only can be written while you’re here in Europe. You would have not discovered the last premise, “Love is Sovereign” without first going to Auschwitz and obtaining the book, Man’s Search for Meaning, at Auschwitz. You would not have understood the three types of women (Mother Mary, Mary Magdalene, and the Sick Woman) that Jesus transformed without visiting Krakow and Ostor Monastery.
Now the Vatican is opening up Jesus’ stairs in Rome and you will be there when they still have it open. It is hypercritical that you show up to these spiritual portals of the divine to get more downloads from Holy Spirit.
Aaron tells you the ugly truth about yourself. “You’re in debt. You’re financially unstable. You’re not even thinking about profits. You’re living on retirement that isn’t going to last. You’re not thinking long term. If you come back, I can show you how to create wealth. You need to start becoming fiscally responsible.”
But you wanted to say something back and he knows that it’s going to hurt him, so he mocks you when you raise your voice in protest to let you speak your two cents.
“I got to go to dinner. If you’re going to be in my life, you gotta respect my time.”
He hangs up on you.
Another sales strategy. He wants to close you like he closes his clients. It’s pure manipulation.
Or perhaps, he’s just terrified of what you have to say back for him.
You realize Aaron is terrified of you because he’s terrified at looking at himself, yet it is the very thing he’s been praying for. He wants you to be in his life but he doesn’t trust that you will be consistent. He’s scared that you may want him one day and reject him the next. He’s scared that you may have his kids and then slander him to pull him away from his child. He’s scared that you may let him lead only to change your mind later.
He knows you have trust issues.
He wants you to trust him.
But you don’t trust him.
You don’t trust any man.
That’s been your hidden desire all along—to be safe and alone rather than risk loving someone else completely again and doing it all over again, this time with children involved.
If he can’t even be there for Amy through thick and thin, what makes you think he’s going to be there for you thick and thin? You are getting older.
When Serena told you that she felt that she had enlightened him on things, you knew that that was one of his play. He wants older women to feel sorry for him, to take care of him, to feel as if they are taking up the task of “educating him.”
What Aaron doesn’t realize is that you are deliberately studying him the way a predator studies his prey, the way he studies his surroundings as all targets while he thinks he’s the predator. It’s a shark tank world where people can’t be open, honest, transparent for fear someone might steal, manipulate, and control. It’s a fear based way of viewing things.
The next day, you email him to sucker punch him again.
“Amy” was the headline.
“You tell me how it was evil of me to tell Amy the ugly truth as a way to hurt her.
Come to think of it, you slept with me as a way to purposely hurt her, so I guess we are both evil self-righteous Christians. I guess the only real good person among the three of us is Amy.”
Then the rub.
“Oh, by the way. Amy has skill and has a sense of independence. It’s just that YOU are in her way. Because of your narcissism, you’re so busy setting impossibly high standards with all your big ambitions that she’s trying so desperately to become someone she’s not to try and fit into some ideal world you’ve set. Your psychopathic narcissism is what is making her feel insecure, tied down, and compromised.”
You know that the fantasy of ever working things out with Aaron is just that—a fantasy. If he is this way to Amy, he’ll be this way to you cause if you allow him to “win” you through this way, then it’ll only coddle and enable his half-man complex, and he’ll want to compromise you and the project. He’s an energy vampire but you freely give the universal donor blood of hard truths. It’s going to be initially sweet for vampires to suck your energy away, but you now have effectively terraformed your blood into what is the effective equivalent of vervain to energy vampires. You freely give the blood that’s laced with the antidote because you know that’s the very thing that’s going to transform a half-man into a real man.
A half-man needs to be sucker punched by a real woman, like a bully needs to get his ass kicked by an anti-bully so he can learn his lesson to check his bloated ego. Then the most important thing is the scene where the cowboy has his gun on the villain’s forehead and has the opportunity to kill him but doesn’t. He lets go of the the trigger in that one moment of climatic conflict.
Integration not consummation
Today’s meeting, you and a producer had a meeting on exposure.
You told her that the shadow must be separated from the source when journaling the shadow in fiction. In fact, the act of journaling itself is the act of separating one’s identity from the shadow. By painting the picture of your own Dorian Gray, you are objectifying it into the upside down world, thereby, initiating the departure of the Hero’s Journey…the beginning of answering the Call to Adventure is the process of letting the shadows speak.
The way Victor Frankl survived was he viewed his experience as one gigantic scientific and social human experient of the next breakthrough of psychology and he was right! He was pushed to the edge of empty and meaningless and discovered meaning and the truth that the ultimate purpose of our existence is love.
Mr. M has tattoos of archangel sword of archangel Gabriel in the form of a harmonizer.
You realize that the Angels that protect us are really protecting broken pieces of God’s heart as we continue integrating the shadows, which are traces of Lucifer’s dismembered pieces of memories. Jesus anchors us through this entire processes. He is in charge of the 66.6% of the Angels. The true work for all human beings is to understand and embody true humility through faith in God’s Goodness and true pride in compassion for all.
He tells you of his past, present, and hopes of the future.
He shares about his past meth addiction, about his picker being off, about his guilt and recovery in Christ.
You share about your past meth addiction at 16, about your picker being off, about your self-esteem getting crushed.
He tells you that if people don’t resolve their own issues before entering a new relationship then when it comes, both will be locked in helping each other resolve the issues of their past relationship woes.
This is you and Aaron:
You realize that Aaron is helping you resolve your relationship about your past and you are helping Aaron resolve his relationship with Amy for the future.
You want Aaron to realize the idiocy of his current present perfect state.
It feels good to just call out the truth—even if it is the ugly truth because you trust in the process of what truth does—it serves as medicine.
Today, Mr. M tells you that when we tell the truth, it belongs in the past, and you realize that everytime you say something true to Aaron even if it’s the ugly truth, it is actually healing you…the fires that burn through the things that no longer serve.
You approach him with a sense of non detachment in congruence with a storm of attachments.
You want Aaron to see that his head is so far up his ass that he can’t even see a good woman even if she is to walk right through his door. If he can’t leave people he knows are toxic for him because he can’t stand the idea of being alone, he just means that he doesn’t trust God enough to let go. So you have compassion for him because this has been your struggle for the longest time. If he stays with her, she’ll be the death of him, and if he leaves her for you then that undercuts his process of self-awareness, which is a critical ingredient from boy to manhood.
Can you let him go?
Because you must let him go to let him grow.
He needs to know you’ve rejected him so he can step it up.
So instead of saying good bye and making a dramatic exit, it’s better to just do it without talking about it.
Be about it, as Green Eyes would say.