Between Guilt and Shame

Mar 23

Knowing this difference,

Will help you get far,

Guilt is behavior,Eye art

While shame’s who you are.


Guilt is forgiven,

You can let go and learn,

While shame simply smolders,

To fester and burn.


So decide on your blunders,

Take a much closer look,

Is it you that’s so stupid,

Or the action you took?


You see guilt’s a great teacher,

But shame just destroys,

Shame lives inside you,

While guilt just annoys.


So let’s be gentle,

And for everyone’s sakes,

Let go of your blunders,

Don’t become your mistakes.


Brene Brown’s courses do one thing for me, consistently. They make me think. They make me think deep. They make me think long. They just make me think. On those days when I’m feeling guilty or shameful I remind myself that I get to define those words. Knowing the difference between shame and guilt doesn’t make either one of them feel a little bit less yet somehow the increased awareness seems like a good thing. Highly recommend the funny, blunt, and effective Brene Brown.

By the way that amazing eyeball art? I don’t feel a bit guilty that I painted it.

Steve Dahl

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Leave This Teen Alone!

Dec 24

Leave me alone,
Get off of my case,
I’m over 16,
Get out of my face!Poetry about a bully teen

Leave me alone,
But let me be clear,
I welcome some freedom,
But don’t disappear.

Leave me alone,
But please not tonight,
I’m calling from jail,
I’ve been in a fight.

Leave me alone,
And I’ll die in this place,
Can’t you see fear,
All over my face?

Leave me alone,
But please don’t forget,
I look like a man,
But I’m not a man yet.

Leave me alone,
But please mom and dad,
I need my parents,
Before things get bad.

Leave me alone,
But please keep me close,
These are the years,
I need you the most.



From a teen’s point of view, they want freedom but not abandonment. How many parents see our growing kids as adults once they look like an adult? How many of us let our teens have everything their way once they turn 16? How many of us think our teens just need to “figure it out.” Teens might want their freedom but they need discipline. They need guidance. They need parents.

Fact is, a young adult mind is not fully developed until somewhere past the age of 25. We can give them freedom but we can’t give them up. Keep them close. Our job as a parent is not to be out children’s buddies but to be our children’s teacher.

Okay, sounds a bit like a preach session here but this is important. So are  our kids. Just be there.

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One More Treatment

Nov 06

Intensive cares are nasty,summer sunset
Feeding tubes are bad,
When improvement isn’t likely,
We all agree it’s sad.

But life is still worth living,
If it’s just another day,
When we spend our time forgiving,
And we talk and laugh and play!

Do you want to have a party?
Watch a sunset by the sea?
Do you want to be with loved ones?
Go to sleep beneath a tree?


Would you rather one more treatment?
Give it everything you’ve got,
Be the fighter you are known as,
And give this one more shot?

There are no easy answers,
There’s a quality to select,
There’s a time for talking options,
There’s a time when we reflect.

But there’s also time for planning,
Telling others how you’ll go,
If you keep your thoughts a secret,
How’s a loved one sposed to know?

There’s a circle were all living,
From its grip there’s no release,
And the sooner we accept it,
The sooner we’ll find peace.


A New Kind of Poetry

After attending a conference recently on palliative care and hospice, I was struck by the theme amongst so many thoughtful health professionals. They told moving stories of so many people who fought and survived and fought and lost battles with long-term illness. The common message was that people dealing with difficult health decisions all do it differently.

Some want to fight, some want to let nature take its course. Some want to die at home and others want to have technology give them every last minute of life no matter what. What struck me most is the simple reminder that I have no right to judge what someone else decides to do with their plan.

How anyone wants to leave this world is a totally independent decision. Do you have your advance directives in place? Have you shared your plans for end-of-life treatment? It’s never too early to share your end-of-life plan but when things get rough, it’s often too late. Learn more about palliative care at my day job,


Steve Dahl


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The Straight Truth About Gay Marriage

Jun 26

Has marriage gone crazy?
There are people in bed,
Who don’t share our values,Portrait of a Gay Couple
And should never be wed!
All this gay stuff is silly,
Lesbians are too,
We must fight for our marriage,
And stop what they do!
You see marriage is sacred,
Not a “Play” we call “Rent”,
It is sacred quite often,
(Well ‘bout 50 percent!)
But while murders continue,
And wars scorch this earth,
We must stop this gay marriage,
Or what is life worth?
All this fighting and killing,
We should really ignore,
Stopping gays from committing,
Is what we live for!
But wait… Are you kidding me?
There’s starvation and depression,
Is there something I’ve missed?
Why’s stopping gay marriage,
At the top of the list?
We have poverty and violence,
The most terrible you’ll find,
Gay marriage an issue?
Are you out of your mind?
These priorities I question,
And traditional ways,
Hetero myself,
I don’t worry about gays.
There’s much more to worry ‘bout,
Bigger fish we could fry,
All this hatred ‘bout love,
Well it should make you cry.
Priorities are mixed up,
I mean mixed up a lot,
When it’s love and commitment,
Give the gay guys a shot!

 Steve Dahl

Hey, if marriage is so sacred how come so many religious fanatics get divorced? I’m just sayin’. Given the recent supreme court decision on gay marriage, can we move on to something important now?

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Escape Where I’m at

Mar 12

I am confused by the chaos and solitude’s appeal,
I am frightened by the terror of retreating’s good feel,
I just want to escape but this we both know,
That voice is correct there is no place to go!brain
To engage with more people, yet still be alone,
It’s a schizophrenic feeling, and I doubt I’m alone,
Have you ever tried to be present, and still so far away?
Like your body’s in Topeka and your mind’s in LA?
You can’t live your life– with your heart in two places,
You can’t hug your friends– while ignoring their faces,
You can’t go away, and still try remain,
You can’t avoid love, and still avoid pain.
The peace that I’m seeking, in the noise that I need,
Is present right now– with each breath I breathe,
I don’t need to go further, I’m ignoring this chat,
If I stay where I am, I’ll escape where I’m at.
Sometimes you just gotta wonder what’s going on inside that skull of some people, don’t you? 
Copyright Steve Dahl 2015 for some strange reason. 
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I Am My Daughter’s Bank

Sep 01

She looks at me warmly,
With her sweet baby blues,
And I hand her some cash,
And she buys some new shoes.
I look like her dad,
But I feel kind of blank,bride
As I hand her more money,
I’m becoming her bank.
I’m her ATM Dad,
I’m her angel investor,
I’m her blank kind of check,
It’s MY credit I hand her.
I’ve created a monster,
Who feeds on my cash,
She’s ruined her credit,
And her life’s in the trash!
She’s dependent on me,
On my neck there’s a noose.
We’re both in too deep,
But I can’t cut her loose.
If I just cut her off,
From her frivolous spending,
She’ll resent me forever,
But my cash flow is ending.
I’ve my own bills to pay,
And she wants a new car,
How come I’m now the jerk?
This has gone way too far.
I’m her lottery winnings,
I’m no longer just Dad,
I’m her loan officer,
And for that I feel bad.
If I could go back,
To my parenting days,
I’d teach her of money,
And responsible ways.
For that, she won’t like me,
Might even get mad,
But she’ll learn self-reliance
From her teacher called… Dad.
Is it so wrong to give your children everything you never had? Wrong, no, effective no. Just think if you could go to the bank and borrow money, interest free, with no real deadline to pay it back. Wouldn’t that be sweet? Would you ever learn to be responsible with money?
That’s the business relationship we sometimes set up with our children when they don’t have any responsibility or accountability for their financial IQ. Let them learn. Let them earn. It might be a bit uncomfortable in the short run but they will thank you in the long run. And it’s the long run that matters. 
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