I am pretty sure I’ve shared a bit of my journey as a recovering alcoholic…the up the downs…and, sometimes the sideways twists and turns that life has taken. As a member of the recovery community, I have a tendency to feel ‘special and unique; different than my brothers and sisters who don’t share a predisposition to chemical dependency. However, as the fog clears and the clouds part and I walk on the planet as a clean and sober member of humanity I am observing a much larger all-pervasive condition. It is seeming to resemble an infection and touches just about every person…ok, every person…waking up this morning, preparing to begin a new day…no matter where on this sphere-hurtling-through-space you call home.
We share a common malady I refer to as the “human condition”; “addiction to suffering”. Let’s see how well I can describe it…
• “Why did he/she just do that TO ME”
• “Why does this ALWAYS happen TO ME”
• “This crap NEVER seems to work out FOR ME”
• “Crap it’s only Tuesday. Will Friday ever get here? I NEED the weekend”
• “Damn I am so stressed today. I NEED a drink”
• “THEY have no clue. I WISH they would just listen
• “Leave that alone. It’s MINE”
I, I, I. Me, Me, Me. Mine, Mine, Mine. Possessiveness, driven by a thousand forms of fear, cause us to live in a world incredibly small.
Think about it. NO, REALLY think about how much real estate/space in your mind is consumed by the fear of “I could lose _____ if ____ ” or “If I don’t ____ I may not get ____ “. The possibility of LOSING WHAT I HAVE or I may not GET WHAT I WANT kicks us into fight/flight/freeze mode. It ain’t pretty. It ain’t ever pretty.
Ok, I hear the minds of many of you churning away. You’re saying, “I’m not addicted to ANYTHING”. I think I’ll take you on and challenge the smugness with which you comfort yourself. Here’s the challenge. Sit for a moment and tune into the flow of thoughts rolling through your mind right now. Remain aware for just a minute and listen to the shit that begins to show up. It might sound like this:
• “This is so lame”
• “What a waste of time. What does it matter anyway”?
• “Jesus, I can’t keep a train of thought if I try”
Wait long enough and you lose touch with conscious thinking. Tune back in. The activity going on “in there” is like sitting down to watch tv with a roommate. Your roommate begins talking and he/she is saying shit like:
• “That bulge sitting heavy on your belt is getting bigger every day. You’re looking like a grain-fed cow”
• “Idiot. you forgot to ___________ again”
• “That is the lamest-ass idea I’ve ever heard. You’re not serious”
• “Have you noticed your phone isn’t ringing much these days? Nobody really gives a shit about you”
• “She hasn’t called in days. She has obviously found someone way better looking and way more successful than your pathetic self”
Have you ever noticed that this ‘roommate’ rarely has words of encouragement, kindness, motivation or appreciation? Every waking minute of every day this asshole of a roommate drones on and on and on and on. You demand they shut the f^@k up. Your demands are met with an even greater barrage of accusations and insinuations.
If you lived in the same house with someone like this, you’d toss his/her ass out on the street. Here’s the deal though…that roommate is in YOUR HEAD.
That’s the BAD NEWS…Bad and Universal.
Is there a way out? God, there has to be a path through the morass. Lucky for us there just may be. The challenge is as I and many of my ‘sober’ friends have discovered, you CAN’T THINK your way to freedom. In fact, I’ve heard it put this way: “You can’t think your way into a new way of living. You can only LIVE your way into a new way of thinking.”
We are lucky that there are several very simple and effective things we can do in order to quiet the chaos within. Over time the quiet deepens and lasts for longer periods of time. Again, here’s the deal though. The way out requires we take ACTION (requires living your way into a new way of thinking)…EVERY day or almost every day.
I am going to list a few. My next post will expand each:
• Set your phone aside, turn off the TV, video game, radio, iTunes NOW. Sit – Breathe. Pay attention to each breath
• Get off the sofa and go for a walk
• Sit with a friend and tell him/her how much they mean to you
• Reach out to someone with the intention to be present and LISTEN
It isn’t wasted on me that most of this is pretty bleak. It was intended. Intended to spark awareness. Awareness is the gateway to power and freedom.
Until next time; be a poet and pour light into a spoon. Lift it to nourish someone’s beautiful parched holy mouth.