One morning I left the Ilikai Hotel where I was staying and walked up Ala Moana Boulevard towards Dan’s apartment. Approaching a closed restaurant my walk came to a halt at the sight of a man passed out on the steps. He was sound asleep and the bottle by his side gave evidence as to the cause of his drunken stupor. As I continued on towards Dan’s even though I had left the scene the scene had not left me! What had happened in his life that had lead to this? As I walked I thought about people that I have counseled and how so many of them eventually revealed a self-loathing which fueled their bad choices. With uncomfortable emotions which come up it is easier to numb and not feel them than to deal with them, at least in the beginning. As time goes on it becomes harder and requires more effort to maintain that degree of numbness.
Haven’t we all reached for that candy bar in order to make ourselves feel better and then later regretted it? Short-sighted solutions are actually no solutions at all! When we sober up or come back to ourselves we often feel guilty for making those choices. Not liking the guilty feelings we then indulge in more self-numbing behavior for which we later feel even more guilty! All this provides more “evidence” to ourselves of why we are such a loser… a self-fulfilling prophecy!
On the way back to the Ilikai I noticed that the drunken man was gone and I wondered about the miseries he had wrestled with the previous night which left him washed up on those steps. Then I suddenly recalled someone else that I had seen when Dan, Mom and I had gone to Waimānalo Beach where the water contains an amazing array of various blues like cobalt, teal, robin’s egg and sky blue. We set Mom up under a shady tree and Dan and I went exploring to take photos. I saw a lone man nearby who was cast-fishing in the surf and when I went closer to get some shots of him I saw the words tattooed across his back “No friends. No mess with.” What kind of heartbreak left those words etched across his back?