Shitty Giver boardgame

Another game from the makers of “The Shitty blame boardgame

Here’s the game. We each sit on a different side of the gameboard. We all start with an equally-sized pile of “sacrificial giving” in front of us. Each time we win a move, we get to move a piece of our pile in front of another player. The winner is the one who gives all of themselves away to others first.

Piles of false giving are piles of shit. At the end, the one who moved the most shit by giving and giving and giving has the shittiest hands. Anybody want to play?

Neil D. 2021-01-27

Hypocrisy, Judgmentalism, Compassion, and The Shadow

Hypocrisy is a tricky thing, isn’t it? It’s like a force that constantly tugs from one side of a very thin line. The line of judgmentalism. We hate to think of ourselves as judgmental, yet we cross that line often and easily. Blindly.

We get our judgmentalism from seeing our Shadow projection in others. Our Shadow is where we stuff undesirable traits we have recognized in ourselves, repressing them from our awareness into our unconscious. That means we have been, at least at some point, intimately familiar with those characteristics and ways of thinking. We have identified them as part of ourselves too distasteful to cope with psychologically. But our intimate familiarity makes it easier for us to see those qualities in others. This underlies the maxim, “You spot it, you got it.”

When we are ready to confess this maxim, we understand the depth of our own hypocrisy. This doesn’t make “it” OK in you, nor the others in whom you spot it. We only “spot” it because our own eyes spot our own guilt, and spot in someone else the very trait or complex we own darkly.

This self-recognition of our hypocrisy is one of countless ways the Higher Power makes goodness out of badness. It is the enormous value of coming to see our own dark parts, and can connect us with others much more deeply, and with our own identities. Realizing our imperfections and frailty, we realize everyone else also carries their own burdensome Shadow.

This growth in awareness informs our attitude and actions toward others, and is called “compassion.” Often, the eyes of our compassion fall lastly on us ourselves. But self-compassion seems absolutely required for our other-centered compassion to be authentic. If we look upon others compassionately, and we haven’t recognized our own frailty, it is fake compassion. It is acting piously without being pious, which is quintessential hypocrisy of the darkest order, which keeps us small and unreal. That underlies our resentment of others, and our own self-loathing.

Our Higher Power stands beside us as we dip into our own darkness (excavating shame), slowly reassembling us from fragments into the whole we are created to be. And doing it only with our cooperation. “In recovery,” what are we recovering? The broken fragments of us.

Neil D. 2021-01-27

Humpty Hypocrisy

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

Perched atop a wall, we look down on others. They’re broken. Not like us. They lie in fragments beneath the very wall whence cast we judgment.

Judge Humpty, in time, will fall and fragment.

Even all the wealth of a king cannot provide what it takes to restore another to wholeness. Especially if we are unwilling to look about us for the fragments of ourselves.

We loathe to look thus about us, for our own fragments lie scattered atop the dust of others further ground by our fall.

Yet, knowing whence we’ve presently come, the best of us look up and move beneath the next lofty judges, to lovingly break their falls…

How can that be a path to wholeness exceeding royal riches?
Neil D. 2020-01-25

Ok Drowning Eye-To-Eye

I wrote to my sons, “Sometimes Dad likes a little encouragement too,” as a preface to a longer message I shared from a friend, of which this is an excerpt:

“I’m certain you’ve had conversations like this with them throughout their lives. I can picture you getting on the floor, eye level with them as toddlers, explaining things to them, asking them questions like, “What do you think about that, Gabe?” and listening to their thoughts and answers and theories and stories and imaginations and questions.”

Our youngest responded:

“I did bring you three cookies the other day🤷‍♂️. Sorry we don’t give you much encouragement Dad. I am very thankful for you.”

I replied:

I think it was 2007 or ’08 that the livingroom carpet which creeped into the diningroom was torn up and replaced with hardwood. Probably long before that, I remember passing out exhausted, lying on that carpet, and awakening to a quiet toddler, rearranging Legos near my face. Or two superhero figures soaring over the back of my head as I lay with a corner of my lips curled toward my twinkling eye.

Maybe I talked myself to sleep, or maybe I watched one of them act out their answers to my soaring questions, as I sprawled out with the carpet, at their eye level. And years before that, a son or I opened eyes, level with the other, as he lay on my chest rising and falling with each life-giving breath—in a bed, on a sofa, or on that same carpet.

How can this friend, whom I did not meet until a decade later, picture these things, merely by seeing me talk to today’s young men—toddlers then?

Two decades earlier, I sat on the top step in an apartment swimming pool while a foot away Joseph frolicked in the water like only toddlers can, breathlessly, with excited abandon, to peril oblivious. Feeling safe, unconsciously, under the gaze of his Dad, who remembers what happened next in slow motion.

Dad, standing in waist-high water a distance from the bottom step, mesmerized by his son’s joyous curiosity, watched every small motion as Joseph descended the steps with his eyes wide open throughout it all, soon standing on the bottom of the pool, the water’s surface ascended a foot above his head. He never closed his eyes, even after Dad scooped him out, sat on the top step, propped his toddler onto a knee, and they gazed squarely eye to eye, question in both.

Then Joseph grinned.

Dad giggled.

Everything ok.

Yesteryear and today. Whence my friend’s pictured scene. That’s how we make things, my sons and I. Even near drowning.

Everything, ok.

“Sorry we don’t give you much encouragement Dad.”



Not much.

Everything. Ok.

Neil D. 2020-01-14

Samson 45

Each time I stepped outside the lobby to smoke, he sauntered across the street from the park’s stone washroom building. I gladly gave him what I had. His face is beautiful, shaped such that a smile is its most natural posture. Eyes partly closed, but twinkling. His weathered complexion made it hard to guess his age. So I asked. 45. He doesn’t hear well, so would gently raise his hand to his ear if I didn’t shout loudly enough.

The shelter a few blocks over won’t admit him. “I’m not funded…”

“What brought you to Saskatoon?” His ex started sleeping around on their reservation. He traveled away: “I’m healing…,” he struck his breast tenderly. He’ll have to go back as the season turns. Too cold here, and he’s not funded.

I wondered if the fixed smile–as I perceived it–wasn’t also a wince from hurt carried constantly conscious. Inescapable. I don’t remember what I said that made him laugh and cough, but then I knew. It’s a smile. Surely it’s both. Pain and joy. Fear and freedom. Desperate, but content to be sharing a cigarette with a stranger. The stranger content to be too.

He raised his cap and massaged his brow, and I tucked my near-empty pack into his leather-skin coat pocket as I readied to depart, shouting, “For later…”

Negligent of my own soul this morning, I didn’t ask to be blessed. But I was.

One cheek rose higher toward a sparkling eye. “Oh…you’re an angel…” He high-fived me.

You are too, Samson 45.


Neil D. 2019-07-24

[Related: Green Shirt]