Boundaries

What are their motives?
If you learn to listen, they will be made clear,
The healthier I am,
The more I can hear.

Most, simply doing the best they can,
Taking this into account,
As I observe from where I am,
Each person trying to meet their needs,
Even if they are unaware of what they are.

Amazing vessels in which we reside,
Consciously we feel the craving,
Physiologically the body understanding what is needed inside,
Each of us seeking to meet these requests.

Discerning where your energy is spent,
More easily decided,
Based upon others intent,
No longer needing to fill an empty hole,
More thoroughly understanding my own worth,
Puts decisions back under my control,
Able to set boundaries,
Aligning my environment with my long term goals.

Having compassion,
Leaving space for whatever that relationship may be,
But only committing to actions,
Toward the path that always keeps me free,
Free from emotional deflections, limiting perceptions, social bondage, spiritual blockage, energy deleters, and dream disbelievers,
Choosing my circle wisely of spiritual seekers, passionate dreamers, enthusiastic supporters, and tenacious warriors,

Capacity to think more in the gray,
Which provides allowance for others to be how they may,
Non-judging but acknowledging my right to live my best life,
Which may or may not include you today.

 

Sleepy Thoughts

How amazing it feels to not be where you were and when someone is capable of taking you fresh from where you are. How long past impressions linger within others is unfortunate. We like to put people in categories based on our past experiences. We are so flawed as humans, seeing things from where we are. Through the lenses of our past experiences, our desires, our conditioning. It makes acceptance of others more challenging. I used to carry so much with me, anxiety, weird energy, paranoia, and defensiveness. This is what people saw. Now people comment saying, “you seem happy today what is going on?” What’s going on is I am no longer the person I once was. On most my good days, I can live presently without stories, allowing me to have an open energy and lightness about me I didn’t once have. I guess only repeated behavioral patterns over an extended period of time will change the existing perceptions others have of me. As recovery would say, “10 or 20 years of drunkenness would make a skeptic out of anyone.” I can’t fault them as I too judge others. It is just refreshing when I am embraced anew, without having to prove that change to someone.

I am now able on good days to ground myself and walk into situations with a sense of openness and curiosity. Not assuming the worst of others or feeling scared, guarded, or defensive. To do this required me to be willing to journey inward within myself and look at my own thoughts and emotions with a sense of openness and curiosity. When I start feeling some sort of way I no longer need to run from the feelings, numb them, deflect it onto others, or use it to beat myself up. I can simply look at it with space, neutrality, and curiosity.

I’m exhausted but I had an amazing conversation tonight with an incredibly intelligent and beautiful woman. I got to listen as she explained how she observed and broke down the feeling of jealousy. I love that. It was such a big deal to me when I was able to finally see something energetically shift within myself and not get drawn into it. The first few times it happened were in recovery meetings. When I would share and someone after me would share something either in agreement or what I interpreted as disagreement to what I shared. I noticed this very strong stir of emotions would well up inside. I didn’t know exactly how to interpret it other than to just label it as ego. I was attached to my words and others either accepting or discrediting them caused thoughts to generate which would tell me stories about my worth or people’s acceptance of me. This was especially true on topics I felt more strongly about such as spirituality.

Something else I realized while talking to this beautiful woman is something I do pretty regularly in many relationships and in general. Which is comparing. Comparing my life, my activities, my skills, my relationships to others. Which is such a silly thing. We are all so uniquely different in our personalities, our needs, our goals, and overall physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual paths. How can you compare??? But yet, it is still a repeated pattern for me. This I definitely feel is the thing reoccurring the most in my life right now, breaking this will provide tremendous freedom.

For some reason this made my thought process go to Buddhist Monks and the mandalas art they do in sand and then immediately destroy. I think the act of this teaches so many things. It allows for practice of acceptance and letting go. It removes the capacity for comparison.  It is the practice of doing something for the love of doing it without the desire for acknowledgement or acceptance. Doing something without trying to derive your self-worth from it. In the past, much of what I posted and did was for recognition. I do not want to portray that I am free from this quality as I think I still do this frequently today. I am aware of it though. There is so much inside that must come out. Releasing that need for recognition or acknowledgment allows for much more creative expression in your art or craft. The reward is the very act of expunging whatever needs to be expunged whether that be a blog, a drawing, or a speech regardless or not of it ever been seen or heard. You cannot be a failure when you are simply having the courage to share for the sake of sharing. To create for the sake of creating.

Recovery

Peers at work ask me about my plans,
Anything fun?
Yard work, perhaps some homework,
No doubt my life from the outside probably sounds lame,
Perhaps if I told them the whole truth they’d still think the same,
I drive to a church where strangers meet,
To sit in a circle and reflect,
In this divided society,
We sit and connect,
What my peers don’t know,
Is that I’m in recovery.

It was Saturday, talking to a girl from the other coast,
What’d you do tonight she’d ask after coming home late from a party,
I went to a meeting…
The conversation would shift, eventually we drift,
Clearly her night was better?
That Saturday I listened to someone share about their bottom,
Bringing back memories of the things I did when I was blacked out on alcohol,
I went home feeling lighter,
What were my problems? … I don’t recall,
Just another night of rolling around raw in vulnerability with others,
What a blessing,
Truly humbled,
I’m in recovery.

What is it that you do for fun? I assume normal people wonder,
The answer is anything,
I’m no longer encumbered,
Fear does not hold me back,
My fun no longer requires me to numb,
Most days I am happy with a cup of coffee, two people, and simple talk,
I have peace today in this life I walk,
Early on it was, “why’d I have to be this?”
Now I’m ecstatic that I get to live a life of service,
Continued growth and self-discovery,
Each day I get the opportunity to be a better me,
I’m in recovery.

 

 

 

 

Morning Meditation

The dog barks from somewhere outside,
High pitched shrill barks,
A small dog for certain, Perhaps a Maltese…
Clearly unhappy for being left,
Is this an irritation? Or an opportunity to become present?
The cooler which contains the 5-gallon jug of water,
Buzzes and rattles as it seeks to cool the water,
Smacking it will only cause it to reside briefly,
Is this an irritation? Or a reminder to return to the present moment?
The dog stops barking, the cooler ceases running,
Quiet. Lack of noise. Silence seems so profound,
Gratitude for the noise, causing the absence of it to bring great peace.

Sensing the body, how is it today?
Appreciating all the areas that don’t ache,
No tension headache,
The lower back is tolerable, the left knee feels great.
Enjoying a full breath.
The air is refreshing and cool as it flows through the nose,
Expanding the lungs in a fulfilling stretch,
Sitting deep inside this body.

Observing the mind as it tries to find problems,
After all, that is the job it has been given,
To find and fix problems.
The dog begins barking, bringing back the present.
Breathe. Set intentions for the day. Begin.

Compassion?

Where do you find compassion?
Where does it hide?
Why do I have so little?
Why am I so mean to me inside?
Others recommend, treat yourself as you would a friend,
Unfortunately, I am also hard on them.
If I have no understanding of my own mistakes,
How can I have any for yours?
How do I cross this ocean of self-damnation to forgiving shores?

It’s hard to see a future when things will be different…when I will be different,
When you’re in your emotions things feel like they will always be the same,
Looking back I know, that statistically, this isn’t true,
As long as I keep seeking change,
My circumstances will change and I will too.

Someone said recently, that what kept him going was the thought,
That what if tomorrow is the day when things will get better?
Castaway said it best, “So now I know what I have to do. I have to keep breathing. And tomorrow the sun will rise, and who knows what the tide will bring in.”

Vulnerability

I unbutton my shirt and open the window,
Revealing the dirty parts of my heart.
With my words I display my flaws,
Forming a mirror in which is a reflection of you.
Courage departs to doubt,
Did you hear me? What do you see?
Old wounds lying bare, scabbed partially bleeding,
Each disclosure rubbing them ever so slightly.
Am I being helpful or seeking acceptance?
Does it aid in my healing or delay it?
Painful to be seen, but even more so to carry this alone.
Relate and not compare.
Connection only through the removal of masks.
I will continue to expose myself to you,
Will you get naked with me?

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.