Umm, hello. Let me introduce you to these magical little headphones. Put them on, because you catch recovery through the ears. But before you can do that, you’ll have to bring that nasty little mouth that runs like a freight train inside your head to a screeching halt, and (no disrespect intended) but you’ll have to zip it for a second.
We are one. That’s pretty much the bottom line. That means you, me, the fat Wall Street guy stuffing his bedroom with prostitutes and his face with foie gras, the cashier at the check out at the Quickie Chick…yup, we are all connected. And that my friend is a FACT whether we like it or not. (Pain is required. Suffering is optional.)
I did not like this fact when I arrived in A.A. Actually, I vehemently rejected the concept back then (and for many years after) so if you’re still in that space…I’m different, I’m separate, you don’t understand me, I don’t give an eff about you, peace and love. It’s all good. When we know better, we do better.
But if you stick around here on the planet long enough, you may just kind of start to get this sneaking suspicion that we are inter-related and inter-dependent (uhhh…and yes, science and medicine both agree.) Sometimes the pain of that feeling overwhelms me. In fact, I often think the knowingness of that kept me using for years. Because there is a lot of suffering on the planet. And I can’t really do much about a lot of it. The Earth itself suffers from our abuse. I am a part of that. And in many ways, powerless over it.
So sometimes my response to that feeling of powerlessness is to deny that suffering exists. That looks like getting really really super busy and staying that way. It looks like a Louis Vuitton purse or some CHANNEL sunglasses (and by the way, no qualms here with either LV or CHANNEL.) It can look like
eating and eating and eating stuffing my feelings, stuffing my voice, stuffing my fear that I am small and insignificant, and alone, capable of nothing. It can look like me curled up in a ball in my closet with the door closed screaming “I don’t give an EFF!”
For many years, my response was not denial, but instead, the yeah buts…
For example: the animal is already dead and wrapped in cellophane…why shouldn’t I eat it.
And this isn’t about meat eaters vs./vegetarians. Disclosure: I just made ceviche. “Of course I contradict myself, I am large.” That’s Walt Whitman.
It’s about….awareness I guess. And awareness is a journey. That means I can eat ceviche. My journey began in sobriety, and if I could wish you anything from your sobriety (other than not waking up next to a stranger covered in your own puke) it would be awareness. Being present.
Being present began with NO MATTER WHAT we don’t drink and use. NO MATTER WHAT. I don’t know why, but that NO MATTER WHAT stuck with me. It was like they (all the people I was definitely NOT inter-connected with) were daring me to stay sober. No matter what (for an addict or alcoholic) will get you right into the present moment.
No matter what?????????? Seriously? Now what?
There is NOTHING like pain for waking you up. But I didn’t think it would last so long.
When I was newly sober, the pain was like: I’m going to take a tire iron to your face and then let’s go get you some stitches.
Now it’s kind of a slow dull ache that just comes in the middle of shimmering green leaves, warm gentle breezes, the smell of my daughter’s hair. It’s this realization that I have expanded. The internal me, the space inside, is wider, deeper, more fertile and more barren. And I’m human, and I respond to the strangeness of it awkwardly a lot of the time. Last week I was busy being really busy, and I thought, I’m not going to write this freaking blog anymore. Then somebody liked a post or sent a comment or something and it connected me back to that space. The heart space. The put on your headphones and listen space.
I guess I keep looking for a place in my sobriety where I can get comfortable. You know what kind of comfort I’m talking about right? I’m talking about an SUV of comfort. I’m talking about a big ass MOTORHOME of comfort. I’m talking about the foie gras of comfort, the mow my lawn for $32 kind of comfort.
Except somewhere, my ‘comfort’ started getting a little itsy bit uncomfortable. And now when I see an email in my inbox with a quote for mowing my 1/3 acre of lawn for 32 bucks, I can’t help but think about the poor person (or more likely, persons) who are going to do that back-breaking work busting their butts for 2-3 hours for like $3 an hour.
I just don’t want to have that kind of relationship with another human being anymore. I just don’t. I don’t want to look at you and think I know who you are before you open your mouth. People have suffered so much to be here, alive, taking up breathing room on the planet. It’s so important to respect one another’s journeys.
I don’t want to decide who I’m going to be right this minute and stick to it. YUCK! I reject that. If it’s a mistake, so what. We’re having this magical magical experience here…god’s little science experiments. I need you. Nothing happens in a vacuum.
And we need to listen. To each other, to the breath of the planet around us, to ourselves. To our center.