Future Me

This heavy sheath,
Draped around my shoulders,
Pressing against the curves on my hips,
Pulling on the skin beneath my arms,
Tugging on my second chin,
Hate oozing out from within.

Unable to perfect my goals,
Self-discipline steps out for a meal,
Dictating how I feel,
Not giving up,
But not getting there.
As my fat disappears, so will my isolation,
Acceptance and love, always just another 10 pounds away.
Unable to be seen, until I am worthy to be seen.

Cognitive dissonance puts the monster in hibernation for awhile,
Psychologically incapable of holding it for long,
But it returns,
It awakens,
Like walking out of a dark theater,
Disorienting.
Painfully blinding.

Digging in my heals,
Trying to stay in today,
Drifting,
Impatient for the future me,
You’d like her.

Faith and Fear

The topic tonight was Belief and Doubt or Faith and Fear. The lady introducing the topic altered the way I look at these two things. She discussed how she heard a speaker once talk about how these two things were inextricably linked. Which is totally contradictory to how it has always been presented to me which is the classic, “fear and faith can’t co-exist.” Thinking of it in this manner though is very black and white, which as I am learning, few things in life really are. It is a much more compassionate way of thinking of faith. The black and white thoughts caused me in the past, to feel like there was something wrong in what I was doing, because my faith at that time was lacking. If faith is on a spectrum though, then it is OK, in fact, only possible to have at any given moment a certain percentage of faith. It is vary rare that anything is an absolute.

Eastern philosophy talks a lot about this concept with the yin and yang. “..energy, which is in a state of constant flux, is composed of two elements that have opposing characteristics but are yet unified.” Supporting that you in fact couldn’t have faith without fear, if it indeed is something that is in constant flux, then it is not something to be fretted if at any point in time you have a moment of fear or doubt, because you will know, that it will pass, it will at some point flux in the opposite direction toward faith.

Someone else mentioned that it was like Netwon’s law of physics, that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That not only can you not have one without the other, but you would be incapable of appreciating one without the other. Which how true is that! It sort of reminded me of what Wayne Dyer used to talk about with silence and space. That you couldn’t have a vase without space. Without space it would just be a lump of clay. That it is the space that makes it a vase. Same with music, that it is the silence between the notes that makes music.

You don’t really appreciate breathing until you can’t due to either a head cold or having the wind knocked out of you. No one is able to fully appreciate something unless they’ve experienced the absence of it. Someone else discussed that this is why we in recovery appreciate peace and serenity so much, because for so long we experienced chaos and fear.

This flux, this ebb and flow, is also why Buddhism stresses to not get attached to anything, because nothing will last. It is this attachment to a thing that brings pain. If we get attached to peace and serenity, without the concept that it is not something that is a constant, when it goes, we become very distraught. For myself, when I revert to old thinking, I am so hard on myself. This new perception allows room for more compassion.

This provides a new way of looking at Steps 6 and 7 in recovery and our “character defects”. When I worked this step, my sponsor had me pull out my defects from my 4th step, then I had to list the opposite of those defects. For example, if my defect was selfishness, the opposite is selflessness. My goal then was to strive toward the opposite of my defect. To pray to have my “defects removed”. In that example, to have my higher power remove my selfishness. If we will never fully be rid of our defects (because you can’t have one without the other) it allows for more compassion when I still exhibit some of these “defects”. This thinking is not to provide permission to be a dick. I think it is just to understand as any other energy on earth, we cannot have one without the other, we cannot have good without evil. We would not even know what selflessness is without selfishness.

This same person who mentioned Netwon’s law also talked about when devastating things happen, like cancer, or what happened in the Bahamas, it causes many to question their faith. She mentioned Mr. Rogers, whom she paraphrased what he said, which was that in those situations to look for the helpers. To quote him, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news,” Rogers said to his television neighbors, “my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Tying this into the previous discussion, without the disaster we’d not be able to see the helpers. We are able to see and appreciate the good because of the bad.

Fear and Doubt allows me to understand and appreciate Faith and Belief. What a beautiful compassionate thing that is. If I am in fear or doubt today, I don’t need to worry, this too shall pass. Faith is on the other end of that fear. Nothing is permanent. Nothing. Not even Faith.

 

Energy Storm

A thick foggy haze of fuck you, surrounds me,
The forecast had not predicted disturbed energy,
Perhaps there was a red sky this morning,
Or other signs that this was forming,
The disease under my skin,
My allergies of people kicking in,
Itching to run,
My emotional clouds smothering the sun,
Zero visibility through this thinking,
The rains of this storm have me sinking.
It’s terrifying, the drama, as it rages through,
Wondering, will this be the one to cause me to unglue?

Eternal

No offspring to carry me on,
Once I die, what’s left of me is gone.
Two certainties in life, death and taxes.
The fear of not being remembered,
A struggle unique to humankind.

A tree worries not what happens when it’s time to feed the worms.
The tree thinks not about the futility of life,
By the strength of its limbs,
Within its fruits and flowers, the tree honors the past.
The habitat it creates with its leaves,
The creatures it feeds, the tree provides for the future.
Using my strengths, I honor my history,
Living my purpose, I become eternal.
Like the tree, I have one job.
Only one job.
To live my purpose.
Finding your purpose is as easy as reaching for the sun,
Simply grow towards what lights you up.

 

 

 

Chicago River Dreams

The most memorable trip I took as a kid was to Chicago with my mom and sister. My mom was there for work, and my sister and I were permitted to tag along. We got to miss a week of school, with a week’s worth of homework packed in our bags. My sister and I were allowed to roam the hotel while my mom worked. This meant vending machine snacks and time at the pool. This was before the days of cell phones or any other kind of technology that would distract us from hour long games of Marco Polo.

My memory is spotty at best regarding that trip, but what I remember most is the view from our hotel room. It looked out on the Chicago river in downtown Chicago. At night the lights from all the buildings glistened and danced across the water top. It was mesmerizing. I stayed up late every night just staring out that window.

I recall leaving that trip with a new drive to be a hotel manager. Not because I had any idea what a hotel manager did, I didn’t. It was just the idea of living in the permanent excitement of that week and that city. It felt like the life I wanted to live.

Who knew that a little more than 10 years laters, I’d be living out of my suitcase, and spending about 70% of my year in hotel rooms all over the country and the world. Finally I was living the exciting life in big cities that I’d dreamt of. Like most things, the reality didn’t live up to my expectations. I began having a huge case of germ-a-phobia and I couldn’t shake the thoughts of, “were these sheets clean?” and, “how many dirty asses had sat on this toilet before me?” I couldn’t figure out what was missing from that excitement I had as a kid, staring out at those sparking lights.

Perhaps it is always like that…the thought of a place or things far exceeding the reality of it. There were a lot of really cool experiences I had in my travels, but in many ways because of where I was in my life, much of it I was unable to fully appreciate. I was unconscious, unmedicated, and immature. I was still chasing happiness outside of myself. I became determined to get out of my traveling career and settle down. I was lonely and wanted the beautiful wife, white picket fence, and a dog.

I never got the white picket fence but I did manage to find the other two. There were moments of amazing beauty and pure joy in that marriage/relationship. There were also two sick people living under one roof destined to make each other miserable. Once again, reality failed to measure up. All those romance movies, The Notebook and When Harry Met Sally, had let me down.

When that dream unraveled, I was left only with nightmares for many years. My mental health rapidly declined, and everything close to suicide started sounding good. There was one last dream I hadn’t yet pursued, which was living the single life with warm weather and long walks on the beach. Salt air and sunshine for sure contained all the magic of every childhood vacation memory.

3 years now a Floridian and in many ways it has not disappointed. Florida is every bit as beautiful as I had remembered.

I’ve learned a lot from all my adventures.

Sometimes late a night in my pool, when the lights sparkle across the top of the water, my thoughts travel back to the Chicago river. I find myself trying to put my finger on what exactly my heart felt or had been seeking. What was it in those memories that I had been chasing all this time? Then when I come back to the present moment, treading water, staring up at the night sky…I realize that I’ve finally found it.

Appreciation Before Depreciation

Heart that beats without distress,
Comfortable nights rest,
Bending with ease,
Walks with pain free knees,
Driving with no restrictions,
Healthy with no addictions,
Bed that is safe and warm,
Umbrella during a thunderstorm,
Thoughts and no headaches,
Clear skin without outbreaks,
Food to eat,
Shoes on feet,
Free without a case,
An affectionate embrace,
Love of family on holidays,
Drives with no delays,
Snuggling with mans best friend,
Wounds that quickly mend,
Losing weight without effort,
Forgiveness for not knowing better,
Having someone to pay your bills,
Kissed booboos on your spills,
Roof to keep you safe and dry,
Spouse to dry your crying eye,
Full set of teeth,
Clear lungs as you breathe,
Spryness of youth,
Wrinkle free, soft, and smooth,
Feelings of peace and calm,
Security of your dad and mom.

While you have them take advantage,
Don’t take these things for granted,
Embrace them while they exist,
Because once they’re gone they are sorely missed.