On my list

My list of things I am grateful for, living in Minnesota. The Mall of America is on there. This place is such a blast. I enjoy looking for things I might like to buy or be given should I be fortunate enough. There is also the opportunity to buy presents for those I care about. There is also a place at the center of it all, created for children of all ages. That being Nicolodeon Universe, a full-sized amusement park.

Here are just a few places I like to shop for myself and others. I’ll leave it up to you to ponder, which are for who.

I was here over the weekend and wanted to express my gratitude for being close to the wonderful place. I know that the time to be here is when most are still getting up. Of course, there are many other places of interest and utility, too many to list in my brief post. It’s just fun for me.

Bless all of you who have made it this far

Jeff

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Something out of the Ordinary

Or perhaps, for you, not so much. Today or I should say. Beginning late last night I went to Christmas midnight Mass. I felt led to participate in this blessed tradition and am not sure of why. I went embracing the mystery of it all.

I am not Catholic and am still mystified by all the gestures and rituals. I have found great value, though, in ritual. It has become the foundation for improving my life, from my however flawed, perspective. I did feel a bit out of place but welcome none the less.

Inside

I attended the celebration at The Cathedral of Saint Paul. What a magnificent place! I can only imagine what it must have been like in 1915 when the first liturgy was held on Palm Sunday, March 14th of that year. This is the biggest Church I have ever been in.

Nothing out of the expected occurred. There were carrols, prayers, readings from scripture, a homily by The Most Rev. Bernard A. Hebda, Arch Bishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. A profession of faith. The offering, and of course Communion. I did not take communion as I am not, or do not consider myself Catholic. I did, however, go up for a blessing Arms crossed over my chest.

Liturgy Guide

I am still processing the occasion and take away these

  1. All are invited
  2. I am flawed and in need of forgiveness
  3. I am forgiven in Christ’s Life, death, and Resurrection
  4. His Spirit as God Lives in me
  5. I am to give as I have been so graciously been given

Merry Christmas until then enjoy divinely inspired Rock Guitar

Demolition precedes Renovation

I am reflecting on this year. I started writing here about this time last year. My eyes and being have been subject to a wonderous eco-system of artists, entrepreneurs, visionaries and downright hilarious expressionists. All here to get out what can no longer be contained within.

Mine is a journey of ongoing and perpetual self-discovery and, hopefully, growth. None of which occur when things are going according to my particular sensitivities. I have found that before I have exhausted all of my self-determined solutions and am in complete despair I am unable to surrender.

inside
Demolition

Upon the occasion of surrender and acceptance of my inability to do anything of my self. That part of me must be demolished in order for a renovation to begin. Recovery does not take a linear path. There are pauses and serious faults found along the way where construction is halted, the architect is consulted and a diversion in the path is found suitable. The result, though is spectacular. An ever increasing gratitude and willingness to embrace the mystery of this mortal sentence is uncovered.

 

I am so blessed to be alive, willing and able to feel and express how lucky I am to be here. I wanted to be different than I was. I surrendered, asked for help performed the demolition, evaluated what was of any use, repaired the fractures in my relationships and am growing up.

Merry Christmas the wait is nearly over and All you have needed and will ever need is inside you right now. If only for the obstructions built by self-will. Ask for and accept help…Cry Out! Help is only too ready to assist.

The Objective Seems Obvious

I find the writings of Thomas Merton a profound foretaste to what is painfully obvious to me in today’s media and political and cultural discourse.

“A message to Poets” Thomas Merton  February 1964

“COLLECTIVE LIFE is often organized on the basis of cunning, doubt, and guilt. True solidarity is destroyed by the political art of pitting one man against another and the commercial art of estimating all men at a price. On these illusory measurements, men build a world of arbitrary values without life and meaning, full of sterile agitation. To set one man against another, one life against another, one work against another, and to express the measurement in terms of cost or of economic privilege and moral honor is to infect everybody with the deepest metaphysical doubt. Divided and set up against one another for the purpose of evaluation, men immediately acquire the mentality of objects for sale in a slave market. They despair of themselves because they know they have been unfaithful to life and to being, and they no longer find anyone to forgive the infidelity.”

Anthony DeMello
To be unaffected by praise or blame

Hope is not lost!

I have been blessed with the gift of being a drug addict. In being led as a byproduct of despair of epic proportions found a community where every walk of life come together in common search for a remedy for the Hell of active addiction. The differences that would divide us, in the workplace or social setting are forgotten for a common objective.

The recovery, recovering, recovered from whatever affliction is the same. In my opinion is a spiritual malady and the solution is an awakening to the Love that is inside all of us.

“Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will apparently be worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.”

That had been my exact experience with the people I encounter in “The recovery community.”

XIX

I am reflecting on receiving my 19-year medallion this past Saturday’s monthly sobriety recognition and speaker meeting. Ther was an Al-Anon speaker and an AA speaker. It very enlightening to hear the perspective of the emotions of the loved ones of addicts and alcoholics. The AA speaker was very good as well.

I am struck recently that, there is no more original thought. It has all been thought, proclaimed and disseminated throughout time. The thoughts and writings merely seem to be presented in a slightly different way and offered to a new generation.

Of course, this is all only a matter of opinion and I am most certainly wrong.

Here are a couple examples, where I feel as though I have felt these things all my life and are somewhat eternally true.

Heraclitus

Heraclitus or Heracleitos was a pre-Socratic Greek Philosopher he lived from c. 535 – c. 475 BC her is some of his writing

“The majority of men think they see and do not. They believe they listen but they do not hear. They are absent when present, because in the act of seeing and hearing they substitute the familiar cliches of familiar prejudice for the new and unexpected truth that is being offered to them. They complacently imagine they are receiving a new light, but in the very moment of apprehension they renew their obsession with the old darkness, which is so familiar that it and it alone, appears to be light to them.”

Sound familiar? It does to me. I cant say why or where, but it seems universal.

thomas-merton-150x150

And the next is an excerpt from The Literary Essays of Thomas Merton

(pp. 367)

“Since there is no genuine creativity apart from God, the man who attempts to be a “creator” outside of God and independent of him is forced to fall back on magic. The sin of the wizard is not so much that he usurps and exercises a real preternatural power, but that his postures travesty the divine by degrading man’s freedom in absurd and servile manipulations of reality.”

rose

Any of that ring a bell? Seems, to me we are surrounded by those that tell us down is up and black is white and bad is good. I’m happy to be on a quest toward emptiness.

God Bless You-Namaste

 

The most valuable thing

It was slightly more than 20 years ago. A delightful summer afternoon, ironically this memory includes me mowing the lawn. Ironic because I because I mow lawns for a living in the summer. My friend John is walking by. I stop what I’m doing to visit. He tells me about a new type of treatment program that is solely based on the spiritual principles found in the Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous.  At this point, having a little more than 2 years of continuous sobriety/clean time. I thought, boy I sure wish I could go there.

Well little did I know at that time, what the mighty Jester of the Cosmos had written in the book of my life. On November 16th, 1998 I entered the program at The Retreat.

The first thing that hit me was, during a Big Book study with Roger B. He says. “I hope you’re DONE and not just here to take a break.” Woah, just woah. Yes, I’m so done. The next thing was again Roger B. “Are you willing to believe in the possibility?” That a Higher Power could restore me to sanity. Yes! That would be the beginning of an intention to improve my conscious contact with God “as I understand God” which is impossible to comprehend. The basis of which is how I am willing to carry on without chemicals.

Fast forward to today. I have discovered the enlightened self-interest of, and the key to staying sober is helping others to recover. Wait, how can I help? What do I have to offer? Well as it turns out I have my experience. Which through sharing that, I am able to stay in recovery from addiction. I have found something else even more valuable than my experience. It is worth more than any material or financial commodity. It costs nothing but requires an immense amount of energy if offered with intention.

The most valuable thing is My Attention

Giving freely of my attention is the most generous thing I can do. With attention I discover understanding and that is what I get in return.