Sunday, October 31, 2010

Curiosity Killed the Cat ...

Lady Lula's Bright Eyed Stare
Originally uploaded by Zulpha

Remember my post from Friday about "Replace Fear of the Unknown with Curiosity" ?

Fuck that.

Curiosity killed the cat.

I am wading neck deep in the unknown right now. Any ounce of curiosity I had or false sense of adventure is gone. I need night vision goggles ! It's blacker than black. How fitting for an entry made on Halloween night !

Here is what I am clear about:
1. I am powerless.
2. I need to believe in the God of my understanding to keep me sane.
3. I need to turn my will over to the care of God. Any time I try to take it back, I am spinning out of control and making myself nuts.
4. I need to repeat Steps 1-3 early and often.
5. The Serenity Prayer is my go-to tool, kind of like an Allen's wrench -- good for adjusting mostly anything.
6. Lastly, I will not drown or die from any of this.

Here is the part that really gets me. Imagine a person in your life who you love beyond anything. And you are totally aware that they are struggling with the fight of their life. And you cannot help them and they do not want your help because they need to walk this alone.
This requires total faith and trust in their process. And, that you have no option but to completely surrender and let go.

The sneaky, curious cat who persists in finding other ways to get something it wants does not always have 9 lives to borrow from. Sometimes it just goes splat.

This is a one moment, one step, one day at a time operation. I ain't snoopin around to figure a way out of this discomfort or darkness. I want to land on my paws and hold my head up to see the light that's promised on the other side of all of this. I have to trust that.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Originally uploaded by *Zephyrance - don't wake me up.

The title in this photo speaks volumes:



This is so simple, it's fucking brilliant.

In last night's meeting, we were reminded about the life or death importance for an alcoholic to stay in the day. And how fear of the unknown, particularly the future, was not only unhelpful and even paralyzing, but it is the breeding ground for picking up a drink.

Part of not blocking the flow of life, I am learning -- painfully and slowly -- is being open to whatever presents itself and moving WITH the current of that situation instead of trying to control, detour, avoid or become completely irritated about it. Today is a perfect example. I arose very very early this morning to prepare for meeting with my sponsee. As 5, then 10, then 15 minutes surpassed the time she was to arrive, I texted her to see if she was alright. 10 minutes later, she texts me back to say that she overslept. After some initial minor irritation about the fact that I could've slept in later, I relaxed. I was thankful to have a jump start on my day and I answered several emails that I wouldn't have gotten to. I had a leisurely breakfast. At 9a, I was to have a practice call with some non-dual healing classmates. As I was the lone person in the "conference room" for almost 15 minutes, I hung up. I emailed the other members to tell them I'd waited and wondered if all were okay. I laughed out loud. Here was yet another scenario ! I did the practice anyway and enjoyed it immensely. I read all of the group papers for one of my classes and sent the students their grades. These are some gifts that come with approaching the events of my life with curiosity and wonder versus fear, personalization, disgust.

Here's the real deal: the shift in forms or rhythms or whole events are not happening to purposefully scare me. They are not looming with an intent to catch me off guard. They aren't even about me !

Curiosity can take me on an adventure. I can follow my curiosity to somewhere I may not have considered exploring before. Fear of the unknown is blown out of proportion from exaggerated tall tales that I create about what I believe could happen, based on past bad experiences. No part of that equation involves being in the present.
Being curious is in-the-moment and is active. It is VERY alive. Fear of the unknown is passive, it is waiting for and expecting something bad. It is crippling. It lacks life.

Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity. Now that's a mantra I can really LIVE with.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Surviving the Big Wave ...

Sandy Beach
Originally uploaded by © KristoforG

In a session with my healer yesterday, I got to the heart of what is scary for me when life stuff feels too big or overwhelming or too painful to feel ...

A wave too big that I'll never survive it.

It is from this place of terror whereby my dam and concrete wall construction is done. In non dual-healing terms, it is the territory of nega-Chesed: counter to flow, loving-kindness, it is tsunami-like and spinning and chaos. For me, it is the stuff I believe I can't bear or that I don't want to feel for fear I will drown in it.

The truth is ... I have survived big waves. My means of coming out on the other side may not have been very functional, yet I did make it to the shore. My alcoholic drinking was a temporary and illusory means of perceiving control over the accumulating wave of all of my history that I could no longer keep at bay, for fear it would wipe out everything. My busyness and workaholism during my long-term partnership was another way I surfed over the very same waves of my childhood home, packaged slightly differently, but able to spill and crash just the same.

So why not just get the surf board out instead of building a fortress ? Why do these waterfalls of chaos terrify me still ?

My healer's response to this: Because you think you'll die.

Another truth: I am going to die, AND, not likely from life's messiness. I may get very very soaked, feel uncomfortable, damp, washed out ... but probably will not die from feeling this.

One of the ways I have tried to fool myself and others is to silently build my dams underground and operate from the guise of "being serene, at peace". This is Chesed's partner, Gevurah, trying to counter it and ending up being out of balance with Chesed. My healer tells me that the real healing is in not believing my presenting Gevurah. The peace I convince myself and others of during times of distress cannot always be trusted. It is one of my covert ways of trying to escape the waves in an effort to not die. It feels more like burying my head in the sand, when the onslaught of water is eventually gonna come whether I keep it down there or decide to look at where and how fast the water is coming !

Another truth:   the "Big Wave"  is a construct of my anxiety about the unknown,  an embellishment of the challenges in life.  My belief that a situation is too enormous is my fear about my ability to be able to handle it.

Surviving the waves of life is not for the faint of heart, yet it's not about heroics or bravery. I believe I understand in this moment it is about willingness to be in the flow of life. Any act to dodge or avoid this turbulence is an attempt to get out of the stream, thereby missing life in all of its currents and movements and surprises. Through a barage of tears yesterday, I said aloud to my healer that I don't want to block the flow of my life, I want to be in it. This, for me, is how to survive the "big wave".

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tuning In ...

Cuba Gallery: Radio / vintage / retro / grass / wood / background
Originally uploaded by Cuba Gallery - Now on Twitter!

As a 48 year old woman, I still surprise myself. I forget sometimes how such small things are so enjoyable to me. It's simply about remembering what I like. My merging with and wanting to please others in the past, particularly my former partner, found me abandoning the memories of the things that brought me real joy. I re-discovered another one just yesterday: the radio.

The impetus for this reunion with the radio had to do with my baseball team being in the playoffs.  I could listen to them on the radio in the car,  but alas,  not online because these are the "big" games and aren't broadcasted online.  In several conversations with my sweetie,  a deeply passionate baseball fan and radio listener,  she was stunned that I didn't own a radio!   This is when it really hit me -- how I turned my back on a former pleasure.  So I took myself to a Radio Shack yesterday and purchased a good old fashioned radio.  I haven't had one in years.   I was beyond tickled last night as I sat in my big overstuffed chair in the livingroom,  grading mid term exams and listening to my ball team's nail biting last game,   losing their opportunity to enter the World Series this year.  

I am listening this morning to my favorite college station, which has a lovely Sunday morning program called "Sleepy Hollow". It's often instrumental or jazz or blues music, featuring songs from movie soundtracks. I used to listen to this program every weekend when I first got sober, 20 years ago. It was part of my morning routine. Then, when I began dating my former partner, she didn't like the music on this station; she preferred R & B. And, like the good co-dependent ACOA, I ditched my favorite station and adopted hers. I like THIS music and would never choose an R & B station over it today.

And here's another thought ... as a person living alone, I forgot what incredible company the radio is. Transmission from the outside brought to the inside. There is a whole world out there amid the giant signals towering high above life on the ground. I love being reunited with musicians and instruments that I haven't been this intimate with in quite awhile ... Joni Mitchell,  Tom Waits,  violins and saxophones.

I am finding great comfort spending the morning with my old, forgotten friend. And even more so, appreciating the return to myself  because I was tuning in ...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Breaking Down the Dyke ...

Little Falls Dam Panorama
Originally uploaded by photobunny

Dyke: an embankment to prevent flooding; a barrier or obstruction; a disparaging name for a lesbian.

The last structure came loose at about 7am this morning and the floodgates opened up, pouring their glorious waterworks down my face. My writer's block was pent up in this well-constructed dam.
I have a classmate to thank for this in part. She chose the absolute right healing and it has everything to do with flow. My "Gevuric" protective wall had been keeping out my "Chesedic" river of aliveness. I understand in this moment that this particular dam was not one of my typical "keep everyone out" concrete walls of years past; this was carefully and quietly built from the inside-out to keep me from falling apart. It has much to do with my current circumstances involving someone from the past and how 4 years ago, this situation nearly drowned me --- hence the new and improved super dyke (pun - intended !)

I have had a challenging relationship with Gevurah: a sefirot in Kabbalistic terms that has the qualities of judgment; boundary; structure.   For much of my adult life until a couple of years ago,  I had no real sense of boundaries and,  consequently,  this skewed my judgment and ability to discern.   These things are at the heart of the situation I refer to from my past.   As I began my non-dual healing program,  I went to the other extreme:  any hint of danger in the air, like a busy beaver I am feverishly building a barrier that will keep me protected. The dams I have constructed over time have either been over-the-top as in "large enough to fit around a castle, complete with a moat" OR poured with so much cement that they actually hurt people who want to come near and block me from intimacy.

In this recent episode, the construction seemed to have been going on silently underground, with hardly any noise or tinkering. What felt like "peace" was not quite that, yet I couldn't put my fingers on it. I got a bigger hint of this in the form of not being able to write. I literally had nothing moving inside of me, which is highly unusual these days. Lastly, I spent this past weekend with the woman I love. I was so moved in the fluidity of her expression of emotions. At one point, we were lying together and tenderly kissing and her tears began to fall in the midst of this moment onto my face. I was envious of her utter letting go in such a space of intimacy. I tasted each salty tear and longed for my own to fall and alas, I could not muster even a miniscule drop. This was my final signal that a full blown dyke was up in operation -- right under my nose !

I cannot protect myself from the outside no more than I can protect the outside from me or protect me from myself ! Damn Dam !
This is an illusion I have bought into so many times and, while there is temporary relief, it never truly brings peace.

After my healing yesterday, I began to feel the stirrings. In my AA meeting last night, the sharing of some of the women tugged my heart in a way that I hadn't let myself experience in a couple of weeks. And then, when I arose this morning, I could feel the outside of this structure begin to quake and bend with the impending pressure of the waterfall behind it. I put a load of wash in down in the basement and I could barely get up the stairs and into my apartment before it all broke loose. Tears, glorious tears, came streaming from of every part of my eyes, snot running from my nose, and audible sobs jetting out into the atmosphere. It was sad and it was not sad and it was a joyful release and it was grief and it was forgiveness and it was allowance of just being a human trying to make a life here on earth, one day at a time.

And then the words and the melody of a tune that my love and I listened to several times over the weekend would not stop playing and more tears and more tears kept coming. I have this gorgeous song below.

What a relief, breaking down this dyke ...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Making Something out of Nothing ...

this is the end
Originally uploaded by bogotagothic

My schedule as of late has not afforded me time to write. I also have not been called or motivated to write. Perhaps a block or too many daily things that are wanting of my attention more so than the empty page. I have actually thought, at times, when I am answering emails or doing other work on my computer, "Why am I not writing?" It is fleeting and then vanishes. "How can I make something out of nothing?" is the delayed response I am having to the first question about not writing.

I have learned in my non-dual training that everything is information and has a place and even has nutrients. This would then mean that believing I have nothing to say is indeed information about my current state and that I need to give this a place and see the nourishment in it.

Which brings me to my AA Big Book meeting tonight which looked at the chapter entitled: "We Agnostics". When it was my turn , it was clear to me that there was no mistake that I should read this passage: "Imagine life without faith ! Were nothing left but pure reason, it wouldn't be life. But we believed in life -- of course we did. We could not prove life in the sense that you can prove a straight line is the shortest distance between 2 points, yet there it was. Could we still say the whole thing was nothing but a mass of electrons, created out of nothing, meaning nothing, whirling on to a destiny of nothingness? Of course we couldn't. The electrons themselves seemed more intelligent than that. At least, so the chemist said."

The threads of seemingly nothing that have been blamed for my writing roadblock are actually the gateway into something much larger than I.     Let me stay here and see what arises ...

My body is pulsing with a highway of sensory activity. Hands tingling, in-breath, out-breath, heart thumping, solar plexus throbbing, swirling thoughts put pressure on my temples. I place each thought in front of me:
"There's nothing interesting here."
"You'll only be making it up."
"Just go to sleep."
"This is stupid."
"Give it up !"
" Who cares?"

Heart racing. Head hurts.

"God does." This is the response to "who cares?"

It is very, very quiet now. A rhythm in my body feels like a gentle wave.

It doesn't matter if there is nothing to say or write or to be profound about. God cares. It matters only that I am here. Whether or not I write is secondary. Perhaps my quandry was this: "Am I actually enough, just as I am, if I have nothing interesting to say?" Can it just be this ? Do I actually have the balls to hit the "post entry" button and leave this mish-mosh of nothing here on the page ?

I am back to the Big Book passage. "Imagine life without faith!"

I need to trust this nothingness. Having nothing to say is my truth in this moment. I am not going to analyze this or dig deeper or beat myself up over it. This is what is here.

I feel the tired press into my eyeballs. The screen is getting blurry.

Nothing more.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Seesaw of Sobriety

Pinhole Seesaw
Originally uploaded by Darren C.

The last 2 nights at AA meetings, there has been discussion about Step 10 -- specifically, the aspect of this step that focuses on emotional balance. That we don't just look at the "debits" but also the "credits".

Most of us alcoholics had (and still have) a distorted view of life, especially our relationship to others, to the outside. I have suffered greatly at the hands of all-or-nothing thinking. When I am engaged in this mind-fuck, it is literally like experiencing the world only on one end of a seesaw. I was either flat on the ground, feeling lower than low, inferior and self-deprecating OR I was high-as-a-kite, flyin in the air with seemingly no cares and being all in my head, ego fully inflated, looking down upon everyone from my superior position, like teeny ants to be squashed on the ground.

When the seesaw isn't in motion and you are sitting on one-end only, no matter how you slice it, you're stuck. Until there is some movement. If I'm sitting with my butt hitting the ground, then I need to let go, surrender to put the seesaw in motion. But I need to do this a little at a time, with intention, mindfulness -- otherwise, I am catapulted into the air and I am back in a place of being out of balance. If I am the one dangling in the air, I can't remain in this elevated position. Something or someone is going to bring me down. I can choose to surrender to this process so I can descend with some grace or I can be dropped swiftly and pay the price for landing painfully hard.

The 10th Step is a checks and balances tool. Where did things not go so well today and what was my part and what can I do differently and who do I owe an apology or an amends ? And, as equally important, what went well today and what am I grateful for as a result ?

For me, the 10th Step is what keeps me in integrity throughout the entire day. My every action is thought about, not acted on impulsively or impatiently or out of anger or fear. This Step helps me with restraint of pen and tongue. It guides me about when to slow down, when to pause, when to act and put something into motion.

I experience the greatest serenity when there is a back-and-forth, give-and-take ride whether it's in relationship to others or in relationship to myself.

The Serenity Prayer perfectly describes each aspect of being on the seesaw:
The one suspended in the air: accept the things I cannot change.
The one on the ground: courage to change the things I can.
Balancing between the 2: the wisdom to know the difference.

This is the seesaw of sobriety.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Removing the Veil to Forgive ...

light in the window
Originally uploaded by ati sun

I haven't listened to a lecture by Tara Brach in many months. I have to trust when it is right timing; tonight, I was moved quite strongly to sit quietly in my livingroom and select one of her recent podcasts. I chose the one entitled: "Blessings of a Forgiving Heart". It could not have been more fitting.

At the beginning, Tara offered a visual image of what happens to the heart when we are stuck in our resentment or our victimhood about being hurt by another. She described it in this way: "a fist balled up around a hot coal in the middle of our chest." She instructed the audience to close our eyes and to connect to a situation in which we have been hurt by someone and to identify where in the body we felt sensation and , in particular, around our heart. For me, I felt constriction around my temples, intense tightness in my neck and shoulders. Around my heart, I felt a solid barrier that was seemingly impenetrable. These sensations were very palpable and real.

Her talk incorporated a series of guided meditations throughout: the first one in relation to a situation in which we hurt another and the feelings that we have about causing such an injury. Second, a situation in which we've experienced a resentment about an injury done to us by another. Third, connecting to the feelings that are underneath the injury, when we are able to drop the story of judgment or blame. Last, watching ourselves remove the veil and make an intention to forgive the person who has harmed us.

All of the meditations were incredibly powerful. I applied each of them to the current situation I have been writing about. It was incredible for me to allow myself to explore all facets of this situation through the lens of understanding the process toward forgiveness.

Tara posed this question after the 2nd meditation: "If you would let yourself feel whatever arose about this other person -- WITHOUT BLAME or JUDGMENT -- what is underneath there ?" The feelings bubbled up quite abruptly for me. I felt let down and hurt. More so, I felt very vulnerable.

Tara shared an unbelievably true account of a woman whose son was killed by another teenage boy. At the boy's trial, she told him that she would kill him. And for the next 3 years that he was in juvenile detention, she visited him regularly. She began to bring him food, books. He had no family, having been bounced from 1 foster placement to another. When he was released, he had nowhere to go. The woman offered space in her home. She then said to him: " My son was killed and now he's gone. I told you I would kill you. But the person who killed my son is gone too. I want to welcome you into my home and I'd like to adopt you." My jaw dropped. I couldn't fathom being able to open my heart in this way, to forgive in the face of such tragedy.

Tara told this story for purposes of moving us into a place where we could "remove the veil" -- whatever barrier is present that separates us and the other person and keeps us from forgiving. She told us that we may not necesssarily be ready to fully forgive, but asked if we could make an intention, be willing to move toward forgiveness. With that, she took us into the last meditation.

I experienced more softening than I imagined possible, especially in light of the seriousness and harm of this person's actions. The intensity of my grievance and my harsh judgment and my wanting to make this person the "evil other" dissipated quite a bit. After the talk ended, I stepped outside to let my dog out and looked up into the night sky. It was crystal clear. One prominent star directly above me, fiercely shining. In that moment, I no longer felt separated or defensive or wanting to blame. I felt connected to a force that is beyond me, that is expansively holding this situation. I understood that there is nothing more for me to do.

When I came inside, I recalled that at the very end of her talk, Tara shared that Thich Nhat Hanh offers this instruction in situations needing our forgiveness:
Put your hand on your heart and say:
"Dear One, I know that you are suffering."

I did just that.

It was very comforting.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Nothing Can Save Me ...

Winter Beach - The Cabin
Originally uploaded by Osvaldo_Zoom

In the situation that I have written about over the past week, I have rode a roller coaster of emotions while being pummeled with thoughts. A healing session this morning found me traveling to the back of the hollow, dark cave of the unknown illuminated by a candle flicker of clear seeing and navigated with solid footing. All the while, feeling the sweaty chest of the Great Bear Mother pressing against my back, urging me to keep questing and to not be fearful of what I might find.

I then had a question posed to me by my classmate healer, something that is part of a reading we are doing to prepare for our advanced study group and directly connected to the Great Bear Mother. The question was: "What is the force that you have spent your life avoiding?"

Me: "Being completely alone."

And then, with more awareness, I shared how I looked to be rescued from the intolerable terror of this force through clinging, seeking pity, clowning to win friends, booze and drugs, merging and enmeshment, co-dependency, care-taking, over-committing.

Then, with clarity and solidity, I replied: "Nothing can save me."

You see, this realization of all the ways I avoided being alone and then dropping into the simple fact that nothing can save me is what is at the root of my current situation. I created this situation, years ago, because I wanted to save myself, but it was in the guise of being the ultimate support person for another. Messy boundaries. Projecting my own neediness and lonliness onto another. Care-taker supreme, complete with lifeboat and supplies. And then I woke up in the middle of the mission and backed up and pulled out. I caused anguish and hurt and anger in the other who also desperately sought rescue. And now, I must meet, head on, the wrath of their revenge.

A couple days ago, the reading in my Daily Reflections book suggested that I give thanks to the people or situations that cause me turmoil, as they are my greatest teachers. I had trouble wrapping my mind and my heart around the notion until today.

This situation is here so that I can clear my past and further heal. Tonight, in my meditation and prayers, I shall make an attempt to give thanks for the lesson that is being presented.

Afterall, I wouldn't have arrived at the goldmine I struck today at the back of the cave.

Nothing can save me.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Baby Steps ...

Learning to walk
Originally uploaded by fofurasfelinas

This past week has returned me back to Steps 1, 2 and 3. For me, they are both the baby steps of the recovery program and the foundation on which sobriety is built.

It is literally, for me, about learning to walk all over again on the vulnerable, raw, scary path that I began 2 decades ago.

There is something so so humbling and sobering about returning to the very 1st Step. To say outloud, on my knees, in prayer with God, that I am completely and utterly powerless over my present situation.
As I first began to do this, I felt so fearful and exposed. Like standing in the middle of a busy highway, naked, and having to admit that I had absolutely no control of the frenzy that was zooming by me in every direction. That is how my circumstances have felt most recently. I felt startled and anxious and scared.

Doing Step 1 over and over, morning and night (and sometimes midday) began to help me settle, little by little. And then, partnering that with the 2nd step -- that I could be restored to sanity by a power greater than me -- was such a relief ! In the middle of all of this chaos, I felt the craziness of the whole situation and at times, I questioned my own stability because of how surreal it has all felt.

The greatest gift, however, was to add Step 3 to the 1-2 recovery punch. The most anxiety-producing aspect of all occurred every time I felt my urgency and my desire to take my will back. To make all of this speed up or, better yet, disappear. I am not only lucky to have these Steps as a steadying force, but I also have fellow travelers who "get it" and lovingly nudge and reign me back in when I start to go astray.

And the pennies have helped tremendously. In my days of clinging to any sign for hope, I would see pennies show up in odd places. Over the past couple years, I have not relied on outside signals to let me know that I was okay because I developed an internal barometer that informs me about my "alrightness" , which has a direct cable link to God. But when I found myself not fully grounded in Steps 1-3, those shiny coins in my path were just the tangible things I needed to get my attention and get re-focused on my program.

1, 2, 3 ... 1, 2, 3 ... 1, 2, 3 ... a tender dance of baby steps.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Only as Sick as Our Secrets ...

“Love to faults is always blind, always is to joy inclined. Lawless, winged, and unconfined, and breaks all chains from every mind.”
Originally uploaded by Vashtia

I told my story of experience, strength and hope at my regular Sunday night AA meeting tonight. This is probably the 10th time at least that I've shared my story in the past 2 years. I never know what I am truly going to say, having learned that I should ask God to talk through me in the moment.

The very first thing that I said tonight as I began is that in order to bring myself into the room fully and into relationship with everyone, I need to not hold inside the fact that I am struggling and that it is an issue from my past that is now here and that I can't say more about it other than the fact that I have learned in these rooms that we're "only as sick as our secrets". This is the place where I can ask it to be held, by the room and by God. And that when I do this, I am not taking on the burden alone.

What would unfold as I shared my story was the theme throughout every segment having to do with,  you guessed it ... secrets.

My father's drinking was held a secret that was to be kept hush behind the walls of our home and, even in there, it was never to be discussed even though it was right out in the open spilling all over us.

My adoption was a secret until I was 9 and then it wasn't, though much of the important details were for a very long time.

My chameleon teen years were filled with the secrets I crafted in the forms of pretending and manipulating and lying. These would later fuel the mechanism that kept my alcoholism running at full speed.

The dirty secret that I had buried underground during my entire childhood and adolescence was stabbing and jabbing me throughout my drinking years -- that I was ... GASP ... a lesbian !
And that my "coming out" would coincide with my stopping drinking was the first recognition that we are indeed only as "sick as our secrets".

And then my 13.5 year relationship during my "dry" period. A basement full of secrets. The ones I kept to myself and the ones she kept to herself and then the ones neither of us could even let ourselves know about -- like the fact that we "didn't work" and were totally co-dependent and dysfunctional and unhealthy and shouldn't be together ! And all the years of deceit in the form of her using substances and pretending that she wasn't and telling me I was crazy for accusing her. And then her use was right out in the open and I repeated what I learned from my mom and swept the secrets under all of our rugs and into our closets so that no one on the outside would ever know what was happening on the inside.

And how my secret of being unhappy and out of love and totally dissatisfied with the relationship would finally be disclosed a week after my partner gets out of a rehab and it totally splits our world in two and then we split and go our separate ways.

And then there's the financial secrets that come to a head in '09 and I have to confess to loved ones the trouble and debt I'd been trying to hide and this is on the heels of re-entering the rooms of AA after a long absence.

Fast-forward to a couple of days ago. The final "secret". An issue from the past that is here for healing. What form and shape it will take is yet to be determined. Which brings me back full circle to the start of the meeting.

One of the members who shared this evening said that what struck him the most about my story was the gratitude that he could see and feel and hear in me. And how this reminds him about not holding things in because when we are no longer keeping secrets, we are living soberly and honestly. And he was right. Amid all that I disclosed in my story and what I am grappling with right now, I am grateful for my program, for being sober, for having the willingness to meet this, to be able to use the Steps to help me get through difficult moments.

May I not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. May I comprehend the word serenity and know peace. Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave me. These are just some of the Promises that are at my fingertips if I choose to work for them.

I am only as sick as my secrets.

Today, I want a life in the whole Truth, nothing but the Truth.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Seated in the Face of Chaos

Red Hot Ice - Jökulsárlón (Glacier Lagoon), Iceland
Originally uploaded by orvaratli

I am grateful this morning for all of the work I have done up to this point in being with the unknown. I am drawing upon every tool in my belt for the job that is before me.

Yesterday, upon opening a piece of mail, my entire world flashed before me and rattled me to my core. For reasons I can't disclose, I am not going to write about the details of the matter. I can say that this is the one situation from my past, the proverbial "skeleton in my closet", that has now surfaced in the most invasive of ways. My future will be altered in either a small way or a very big way depending on the outcome and hopeful resolution of this situation.

The difference in my response yesterday then perhaps a year ago, as a loved one pointed out to me, is that I am seated in the face of chaos. I am not panicking nor catastrophizing or drowning in it. I feel its intensity, its tremoring underneath me and I also feel my roots firmly planted.

I did some self-care activities yesterday that enabled me to bring forgiveness to my "who was" that was previously involved in this situation. I described it to someone as "being haunted" by a ghost from the past and taking in what it is carrying in the present time. It is somewhat surreal and very real all at once.

Last night before going to bed, I lit sage and cleared each room of my apartment of any lingering negative energy that entered as part of the news I received. I then sat on my meditation cushion and prayed and did loving-kindness meditations toward myself, toward the other party, and to all of my loved ones and to all of my enemies and to every living being.

I had a fitful sleep, with periods of deep dreaming. My mind was active and thinking ahead and it took a lot of effort to quiet it. I arose very early today and, upon the suggestion of a beloved one who is also a non-dual healing classmate, I did the MAGI process (a conflict resolution healing process) about this situation. It transported me to a different space -- from the restless one in bed to one who can sit up straight and feel the strength of her own container to hold what is here and what is to come.

On another note: I will leave shortly for a funeral of a good friend from my AA home group. He lost his 7 year battle to cancer this past week. He suffered greatly for the past year or more and selfishly I am deeply relieved for him and for all of us who witnessed him.

May each of us who are courageously encountering the Realities of Life, in their ever changing forms, find our center, our base, and our infinite cord of connection to God and the Universe.