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 have all my needs provided for or acquired. I find myself craving more. As the result of paying close attention to my desires and potential drives behind them. I have found that I can never really have what I am hoping to possess in some way. I have yet to figure out why I become obsessed with what I can really never have in the way I imagine.
I am in fact sure that if I did get it, I would no longer want it with the same passion that I wanted for it in the first place. What is it about me that I contort my principles to appeal another that I might be found in their favor, while at the same time the reaction to me is one of ambivalence or perhaps even indifference. It leaves me wanting it even more
While all along there are those that are available, yet there is only mild interest on my part.
I think I am afraid to make authentic connections and receive the Love an appreciation that I’m not sure I deserve but should.
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.
As I feel the pain, anguish, and despair. I remain silent in solitude.
“But before we come to that which is unspeakable and unthinkable, the spirit hovers on the frontiers of language, wondering whether or not to stay on its own side of the border, in order to have something to bring back to other men. This is a test of those who wish to cross the frontier. If they are not ready to leave their own ideas and their own words behind them, they cannot travel further.” Thomas Merton No Man is an Island
If I had not been broken to the point of utter despair, by the Grace of God. I would have no use for the forgiveness, comfort, and peace available to me from that source. God so loved me, to allow me to attempt every avenue of escape from my true self and Him that I might, and did collide with reality.
Now I can fly. Suffer the feelings, without want of escape from them. I can contemplate the peace I have been blessed with and radiate the love, the Perfect Love I can summon when chaos erupts. It is truly available to any and all that find a need for it.
Remember those for whom you care. Tell them what they mean to you and scatter your love and light, as that is the only solution to dispell Hate and Darkness
And boy, do I have some. Astronomical in size comes to mind. What brought this on? One might ask. Well, I’ll tell you. If you have been following along, you know of my desire to help. Well, it has become painfully apparent that I can do more.
Through reading blogs, scripture, news and so on. The question arises, what have you done for “the least of mine”. Not a lot I must admit. Lately, though I have given some dollars to those requesting “anything helps” at intersections.
I had, in the past, thought that these people were actually just doing this for their job and that they probably made more money than I do. Upon reflection, I found within that this was devoid of compassion.
Another area in my sorted life, where I find room for improvement is in refraining from the judgment of others. This has been brought about reading from Thomas Merton’s No Man is an Island “If we are to love sincerely, and with simplicity…We must somehow strip ourselves of our greatest illusions about ourselves, frankly recognize in how many ways we are unlovable, descend into the depths of our being until we come to the basic reality that is in us, and learn to see that we are lovable after all in spite of everything”, and that we are loved precisely because of our flaws.
As I emerge from the other side, I am better able to love, any and all. And, most important understand.