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    • Donald Sanders

    • November 11, 2013 in Columnists

    Outie vs. Innie — the death of my inner self

    I think my “inner being” is dying. It no longer communicates with me. When this first occurred, I found it meant big trouble for my physical, outer being. It seems the two are connected; interlaced like a vine through a tree. For simplification, I will hereon refer to them as my “innie” and “outie.”

    Our “innie” is our only link to the great cosmos, if you will, or the great lake of super intelligence from whence you may sip tidbits of information that quenches the thirst of your very soul. Our “innie” is not of this Earth. It is a gift from God to give us direction; the right from wrong thingy.


    Donald Sanders, 1970.

    Some 40 years ago I experienced a traumatic event that my “innie” could not handle. I began getting “error” messages from my “innie” forcing my “outie” to fend for itself in a war zone. I had been in Vietnam for over a year and a half when my “outie” decided that we didn’t need my “innie,” because therein lies internal pain and sorrow.

    “We can survive on our own,” it said. “We don’t need that stuff.”

    As it turned out, if you don’t listen to and use your “innie,” it slows down, gets sick, and eventually dies. So here’s the whole ball of wax. The truth is, if your “innie” is sick or dying, you can bet it’s just a matter of time before your “outie” follows suit. Your “outie” belongs to the physical world, so when it becomes sick, others will notice your lack of direction and focus. What is right and what is wrong is no longer clear, so a slow but ever-growing distance begins to separate you from everything that you need to lead a happy and productive life.

    Since that terrible day in 1971, my “outie” has been searching everywhere for information about how I may nourish and sooth my troubled soul. Unfortunately, the “outie” is restricted to the physical world. Here, nothing is to be found but logic and science; both of which have caused immeasurable horror, suffering and sadness to the universe. War, famine, disease and all other unimaginable evil things that occur in our physical world are a direct result of science and logic.

    Like so many other men of yesterday and today who find themselves in a war zone, unable to find nourishment for their soul in the physical world, I turned inward but there I found the “error” message. It seems that your “innie” has trouble interpreting warfare. Nothing of value can be found anywhere in any war; absolutely nothing.

    Your “innie” will scream as loudly as it possibly can, “Wait, stop, don’t do that, please, please!” Of course your “outie” cannot comply, or you become a statistic of war. Thus, the conflict between inside and outside begins and as many have found, the conflict between the two is continuous and will never end. “Error, error, error” is all that you will receive from your “innie” for all of eternity.

    I have seen hundreds of doctors and taken thousands of pills. I have talked with 50 or so psychiatrists and I have come to the conclusion that none of this can help my “innie.” I have accepted this as a simple fact of truth. The thing I cannot accept is the fact that we are still sending our children to worthless, no-account, bastard wars where they too will lose their “innie.” We will pack away our sons and daughters, without question, without reason, and send them to slaughter or be slaughtered. The very moment that we agree to send them to a needless war, we become our own worst enemy. We do not need someone to kill our children — we are doing it ourselves.

    Taking the life of another human being and watching the life blood flow from his body will, in a single moment, tears your soul apart. It cannot be fixed by doctors or pills and it will never go away. You cannot go back and do things in a different way. There is no second chance.

    It is horrible, the act of killing — it sends an evil ripple backwards through time and space to your earliest ancestor and forward to your unborn descendants. The ripple affects everything the killer and his victim has ever been conscious of; it takes everything away forever and gives you nothing in return.

    There are two things that I would hope to be true. First, I would like our president to be a man of peace. The second thing is a requirement of the first. A man of peace must have a healthy “innie.”


    Donald Sanders, 1970.



    • Donald, I am so sorry for your loss of your “innie” and I know that war is beyond awful and it does take away so much from so many. I can only hope that you find solace and realize that you were a kid, following orders and too young to have any idea what the rest of your life would hold. I feel sorry that this happened to you and I am glad you can talk about it and still find love and peace with your family. Your “innie” might have died but your spirit is alive and well and I have seen it.

      • Maya North

      • November 11, 2013 at 8:00 am
      • Reply

      Donald, I feel about it exactly the same way. I wish I could soothe your innie’s anguish. Good people are so wounded by seeing and doing what the soul knows on the most basic level is wrong. You are one of the people for whom I wrote my own column. And so I say to you, “Look at all the good you have done since and let that bathe your innie with healing. I am so glad you made it back. Welcome home, and thank you.”

      • Ralph

      • November 11, 2013 at 10:27 am
      • Reply

      Very well put Donald. Those who have never faced war and and were never in a position of taking a human life will never understand…..those who expound on the “glory” of war started with a sick “innie” and never truly faced the desolation of battle……be well my brother……

      • Terry

      • November 11, 2013 at 5:32 pm
      • Reply

      Vietnam was decades ago and people are still suffering and dying with the cancer from Agent Orange. No one should have feel the pain my friend endures 24/7. I’m sure he’s not long for this world and he says he’s ready. I can’t help but grieve for everyone who gets sent to war because of the lasting damage it does both emotionally and physically. You’d think this world would have evolved enough to find another way. Donald, I hope you are stay well physically and that you find the peace you deserve.

    • I can not even imagine. I am so sorry that you had to experience that hell. Today on my blog I posted a poem my Grandfather wrote after World War II. Judging from his words, I think he felt very much like you. After the war, he was an alcoholic, and was prone to rages and violence. War destroyed him, and has affected generations of my family. I know you have a healthy awareness and want to heal, and I believe you will. I have great belief that you will, Donald. My grandfather never did.

      • Heather Lee Alani

      • November 12, 2013 at 7:41 pm
      • Reply

      Donald Sanders you are a man of incredible character! I find myself digesting the internal impact your words had on me. I could relate to the trauma of your war zone. This angst of war has created a strength of character in you that is undeniably powerful. I had no idea you wrote for ipinion or I would have read your articles far sooner!

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