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.
I can’t see it, touch it, smell it or hear it. I do know, however, that it is there. I can feel it if I am open and attentive to it. Love is infinite, unbounded and beyond description. I must, if I am to pass it on to those I encounter practice faith in it. Devote my entire being to it continually, perpetually. From that Love comes Forgiveness, Gratitude, Hope and Generosity
The act of perceiving. Well, that’s just great. Admitting that my perception is egregiously flawed, I have arrived at a crossroads where I must summon that which cannot be fathomed by the human mind but know is there.
I have a choice to allow myself to be devoured by all the injustice and chaos swirling in the news. Or I can choose to be consumed by what is now and what is true. Because what is on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook is most likely merely a distraction. Come on Twitter…Really with tens of thousands of fake profiles, this is where we place our trust in gathering accurate information? God help us.
What after all is really important? That I am looking down at the dirt, rather than looking up at it. I am able to devote my life to helping. I can express and acknowledge immense gratitude for the opportunity placed before me to Be Here now!
Stop and discern the vastness of this moment and perhaps the love and light will become apparent.
Allow me to introduce you to the Yellow Jacket Wasp.
These little bastards are fucking mean! They are considered to be beneficial because they eat other insects like mosquitoes, apids and the like. I have become acquainted with them, quite painfully 6 times in the past week.
They will defend the colony very aggressively. A giant, pushing/chasing a lawnmower over the nest is to be attacked mercilessly. The sting is painful initially leaving a sharp ache the rest of the day.
When the ache subsides, what you are left with is not unlike a large mosquito bite that itches for a week or more. I am amazed at the tenacity and courage of these little fuckers. Imagine giving your life trying to kill a creature several thousand times your size to defend the queen and her brood.
What I have learned.
They only nest annually
Only the inseminated queen survives the cold winters (not sure how I don’t care)
She starts a new colony in spring
Late summer the nest is at its highest density (ah now I am beginning to understand)
Upon discovery stay away, let them settle down and take another pass if necessary.
The Takeaway. I have a profound curiosity for all of God’s creatures. There is something to be learned from nature that I can apply to the miracle of life and existence.
Courage, what are you willing to give your life for? Survival of a representative republic?(that’s a worthy blog post by itself) Tenacity, How adamant are you about your faith? I feel I could be better. Defense of your family. I know I can be hard on them, but I only want what’s best and will expect the same in return.
God bless all of you and thank you for reading to the end.
A. (chemistry) a substance that initiates or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected
B. something that causes an important event to happen
For purposes of this ramble, I am referring to definition B. I am reflecting on a particular event or series of circumstances that left me without any certainty. I found myself confused, almost distraught. I had believed that what someone had expressed to me was sincere and authentic. I remember specifically experiencing an intuitive thought, that this person is not what they insist they are. I’ll never know for sure as they are so deep into the charade that they believe the tales they’re telling. I knew though I was a goner.
Nothing is what it seems, solid stone turned to quicksand. Everything I reached out to hold, evaporated the moment I touched it. I was experiencing absolute anguish and despair. I had exhausted every natural remedy. I wanted something, anything to make it stop.
I miraculously was compelled by a source not of this earth to turn within. A degree of which had never been explored. By me anyway. Turned the devices off. I sat, lit candles and incense, and experienced absolute silence. Every spare moment of my, “me time”, after the kids went to bed. Was dedicated to delving deeper. I was determined to experience this completely.
I found unconditional forgiveness, understanding and a love of myself and seemingly everyone I now encounter. I don’t do anything that is not motivated by self-interest. And neither does anybody else. If I can forgive myself for the worst I can be, because I’m human and develop another way to be. So can anybody, given the time and motivating set of circumstances. My catalyst was an encounter with another creature motivated by self-interest. And a lovely creature they are no better or worse than I.
When I do something for you, I’m not doing it for you, I’m doing it for me. “Charity is really self-interest disguised under the form of altruism” Anthony de Mello Awareness
My life today depends on being of service. Not only am I self employed in a service oriented profession, I have integrated a desire to be helpful and generous wherever possible. The most important realization to me about this is, that it truly is selfishness that is behind it. By recognizing and admitting that, I am relived of the urge to pat myself on the back. It’s just something I have to do today. I must give back in measure of what has been freely given to me.
This is, in case you were wondering, the last installment on principles to live by. (For me in particular) Service is the principle behind the 12th step from Alcoholics Anonymous. In the book this is where it describes how by sharing our experience with recovery from alcoholism/addiction, we are able to stay sober/clean.
I am of the mind that I can take this idea and incorporate it into the entire way I am. Looking for and finding ways I can be helpful. Being generous with my time money and acquisitions. Listening when someone is speaking, without formulating a response before they’re finished. And most of all acknowledging and expressing gratitude when someone is helpful to me.