Archive for the ‘Higher Power’ Category
Step Three: Made a Decision to Turn our Will and Our Lives Over to the Care of God As We Understood Him
This time, much like the first time that I worked my way through the steps, at Step Three, I feel as though I am standing with my toes dangling over the edge of a vast cliff and attempting to will myself to leap. Before me, a self and a way of living that is uncertain and unknown, behind me is my past self, all that I have believed and known and been and all that I must let leave behind. What is before me is less uncertain today and what is behind me that must stay behind is much less that it was the first time. And Yet, where I am going MUST be where I have not dared or been capable of before and what I will leave behind is clearly what I have clung to and been unwilling or unable to release before.
Highly metaphorical, I know, so what exactly would I be leaving behind? and What awaits when I leap off that cliff? To the first point, I am not sure that I know right now. I only know that holding on to it has been allowing me to slip back into spiritual and emotional sickness. The central task in this step is to ask yourself how far are you willing to go? Am I ready to really and truly hand my life and my will over to the care of God? Get ready because here comes the insanity, not having done so is allowing me to fall back into sickness, threatens to get me drunk again and is potentially causing me to make other people miserable and my response to the central questions of this step today, at this moment is: I don’t know. Not the response that I want to have, and I see in it the absolute insanity of my sickness, but there it is in full glory.
What if this time upon examination I realize that I have to change my views on sex, or am called upon to truly take up my calling and dedicate myself to being a prophet? What if, I have to let go of writing all together? Or feel compelled by God to become a real minister? What if my entire world view must change? Am I ready to join a religion or a church? Because I don’t actually have a defined understanding of God and maybe that is the problem! What at the end of the day am I willing to change, relinquish or bring into my life in order to achieve the promises entirely, have serenity and know that I am serving God and my fellow man at my best potential.
I suspect that moving past this and starting my next 4th through 9th step will illuminate the answers, but there is the rub eh? To get to those steps, I have to take a leap of faith, I have to drum up within myself the worst case scenario, assume that I must go that far and then say “yes, I am willing” – In short, I have to be Abraham with his son on the rock and blade in hand, ready to go to any lengths. I don’t know, I doubt, I am not sure. I am afraid.
It isn’t all fear and negativity. I dream sometimes of a me for whom God has expunged fear, doubt, rage and frustration; A me without violence, who knows and understands the path of serenity, love and compassion well enough to teach it and who reaches first for spiritual solutions to all of his problems. I dream of a self that is patient and kind and loving; who pursues his dreams and goals, that is useful to himself, his family and his community. I dream of using my gifts in some way that it benefits the sea of humanity around me. Though each of them frighten me because, I don’t know how to be sure what those paths or how to achieve any of it, or what I might miss over here if I do. It all scares me, but I really do want it and I always have. I wonder (not doubt) what my wife would say if I told her I I want to go to divinity school – not saying that I do necessarily, but who knows right?
Anyway, today was more of a rambling attempt at self discovery than I real blog entry, but this is where I am at. God Bless us all
has been in the hospital for a week, she went in because she had been feeling weak and on Sunday last week she laid down, she stayed in bed until Thursday and didn’t eat or drink much. She has always been very able and independent, so no one checked on her and didn’t think much of it when she didn’t return calls. It was quickly determined that she had a large tumor in her colon and maybe something in her Liver. She has cancer. Yesterday, it was determined that it has in fact spread to her liver where it is ‘inoperable” She is 77 years old and some of the opinions so far are bleak. The truth is that the biopsies are not back yet and we have not heard from the Oncologist (Cancer Dr.). So, we wait.
The emotion of it all seems lodged deep inside of me and apparently, no ready to deal with it yet, I am yet to get it out. I can say a few things from a perspective of gratitude however, I am grateful that, unlike in the past, I am present and capable of being there for my Mom, for my oldest sister, whom along with myself have taken the bulk of the load in dealing with this. I am dealing with it properly at this point, feeling it, but not reacting like an alcoholic and just doing my best to be helpful and be there for my family. My sister said today “I know I can rely on you (and Kim) and you will be there”. This is new. That I have taken time off work and have been doting on my mother and making it to the hospital often, all of it new and I am so filled with gratitude to God(s) and AA and my wife, which is another story.
My, wife, my Mo Anam Cara, my sun, my moon and the stars in my sky. Kim has been there for me and my mother and sister every step of the way, staying home, leaving work early and when she is at the hospital, doing what she can to keep us all engaged and look after Mom. Alone, at home, she is supportive and attentive and loving. This is hard for her too, she has just really started getting close to my mother, she sees it hurting me and it also opens relatively fresh wounds about the loss of her own father.
Facing the potential loss of my mother to Cancer is hard, it brings into laser focus the reality of our mortality and I look at myself and around me, wondering “when”, when does it happen to the rest of us. Also, those things I am grateful for are another source of pain. I want lots more time with her, I am just beginning to be a real human being, to be a decent son and I want her to get to see more of that, to be a part of it.
The summary lesson here I suppose is, whenever I start taking people and relationships for granted, I need to remember that our existence here is fragile and we never have as much time with people as we think we do. If there is someone or someones out there that you love, don’t neglect that and don’t put off engaging with them because you might run the clock out long before you think.
Mother, I have left the desert
and there is no more suffering
I return to you, new and ready
hoping to serve and make good
A new journey, I look inward
Praying will you lay with me
press me with your sweet flesh
coat me with your salted sweat
envelope and hold me until
i lay languid in spent surrender
just whisper and sing to me
the words and music of the divine
rekindle the flame within
doused in the bootleggers water
through memory, I can see and hear
your voice calling out to me
Mother, I’m saved from suffering
that old desert is far behind me
in this prayer, I am kneeling
Surrendered, please take me
It is perhaps one of the things at the root of my craziness these last few days, and I have been crazy and my life has been crazy; that for a few brief days I could feel the presence of The Word, I could see the beautiful and the divine. I am at my most confident and the height of my…”Muchness” when I can feel that presence, though I never, ever say that outloud, at least not in those words.
I don’t know what it is like or how it comes for other people, but for me, it always comes back to two things, writing and, for lack of a better word Information. I do not know why, but my conscious contact with God, comes less from kneeling down and praying, than sitting down to write. In the average moment, my mind is the most interesting and distracting thing around. Constantly in motion in my head is a minimum of 5 different, focused, active and constant trains of thought, with literally hundreds more whirling around unfocused and skipping across my consciousness or running deeper in less conscious parts of my brain.
Done correctly however, when I sit down to write, everything can change, if I pause and try to feel idea, the problem, or simply the presence of The Word, then shortly after I begin writing everything can vanish and I disappear too, thoughts and all, my mind is quiet and my whole being is a conversation between my fingers and God. I may not know what I am even writing once things get really cooking my fingers just seem to fly across the keyboard and words come out. When I make it to this point and for some lingering time after it has past, I feel inside of me a presence that is dense and heavy, but powerful and good and what is more I feel the energy, the material, the matter of the universe around me and I given to the impression that it is information, the Ones and Zero’s of the divine and beautiful creation that is our universe and it doesn’t feel like something that is touching me, but rather like the rest of the same great fabric that I am a part of, not an extension of me, but the same as me; something of which all of the “ten thousand things” are just an expression. All expressed different, but all part of the same system, One
01000001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01100101 01111000 01110000 01110010 01100101 01110011 01110011 01100101 01100100 00100000 01100100 01101001 01100110 01100110 01100101 01110010 01100101 01101110 01110100 00101100 00100000 01100010 01110101 01110100 00100000 01100001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01110000 01100001 01110010 01110100 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01110011 01100001 01101101 01100101 00100000 01110011 01111001 01110011 01110100 01100101 01101101 00101100 00100000 01001111 01101110 01100101
Like this, but different. I am not Neo, but it that is a very similar analogy to how it can feel. This is my love, this is my understanding, this is my gift and my song, this is my meditation and conscious contact and every-day from here on out, I will plead to hear the word, feel the muses moving in me and see and understand the divine and beautiful, because I must, I must in order to transform, in order to be useful, in order to do what I meant to.
who didn’t fit in, wasn’t good enough, felt abandoned, betrayed and punished by the world around him; he tried to be different, he tried to fit in, he tried to do what was asked of him and failing that he built walls around his heart, cut himself off, turning to rage, sarcasm and a false sense of superiority and to cope with the side affects of that, he turned to booze and drugs. Over time, he lost faith in mystical things, listening as his humanity, his soul and imagination whimpered and starved, caged off behind walls of fear, shame, guilt and loathing for everything including himself. All of those feelings of inadequacy, hurt and fear followed with him in his heart, making even accomplishment and success taste bitter.
I was that boy and though I am undergoing a process of recovery and there are very specific steps to healing that have been laid out before me, even though while I am actually doing the work and following those steps I can feel the pain, doubt and self loathing lifting from me, as faith, hope, courage, humility and gratitude take their place; I find from time to time, that I get distracted and pause in the process, and when I pause in the process I find fear and the moment that happens, that little boy hops into the Captain’s chair in my mind and suddenly everything that the day before was so beautiful, acceptable and right, turns dark and sinister and ugly.
I am in the middle of what are supposed to be the most transforming steps in my program of recovery and I paused because I allowed other things to seem more important and now I am suffering, now I am afraid. Now I am wrestling with what must seem to be a ridiculous question of faith to some and I am terrified of letting go suddenly of many of my character defects, because they have been like an armor to me, a cursed armor that has been killing me even as it protects me, but none-the-less it has been protective. To trust, really and truly trust other people, indeed to trust god and myself has a ring of horror to it. It is such a ridiculously simple thing, what it all boils down to in the end.
Come to trust and accept that all is as it should be, learn to relax and embrace myself and life itself, finding serenity on the other side of that surrender
or, reject that continue on in pain and misery.
What is the nature of my crisis of faith? I fear people will laugh and not understand, but it is very real to me and is not some kind of melodrama.
Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must”, then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. – Rainer Rilke Letters to a Young Poet, Volume One
Though beyond the odd poem or blog, I have written very little over the last 6 years or so, I have always considered myself a writer because I cannot stop the impulse, cannot stop thinking about it and it has been that way since I was in grade school. It has been known to me from a very young age that this is God’s universe and that I have been given these gifts for a reason. This is the cornerstone of both my faith and my current crisis. A little over three years ago, driving to an AA meeting in North Carolina, I had a spiritual experience, my first legitimate one since childhood. It suddenly struck me that I had not only wasted my talents for writing, using them for nothing but making money; I had chosen drinking and drugs over my gifts that mission that I was given. I was so moved that I had to pull over and weep. I made my apology to my own divine trinity, The Word, The Muses and The Divine and Beautiful.
I soon forgot, circling back from time to time, expecting some sort of order, for the Muse to tell me what to write, though I have had little conscious contact with them or The Word. I have many ideas, many impulses to write, but I left them alone, shrugging off time constraints or paralyzed by uncertainty which of things in my head are a part of the mission. Painfully, I see today that there is a possibility that all of it, any of it, could be what I was meant to put down. There will be no moment where Brigid or Gabrielle or any other muse or angel will appear to me and announce the instructions to my mission.
And here is the final bit that I hide from everyone I know, myself included: I believe – I am a believer, a mystic, transcendental poet, capable of working words like a prophet, with the heart of a child and the trembling soul of one charged with illuminating a divinity I myself could not possibly hope to understand. This is why I cry when I watch or think too much of Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh, or Alice – because while my head my have turned from faith, from the mystical truths and power of belief, my heart, locked away in the dungeon I created for it, never did and somewhere, I knew I was betraying my heart and the God’s that created it.
- Anything, anything conceivable by the human mind is possible
- That there is not a force more powerful or important in this Universe or any other more powerful that love. Which means it must be the very essence of our creator
- I believe in the power of words, that they are more powerful that medicine or weapons; so how we speak to ourselves in thought and out loud to others is of great importance. Negative words, construct negative ideas and drive negative behavior..from the choice of words to care with which they are spoken and cadence that they march out of us, every syllable counts
- I believe being awe struck, filled with wonder and incorrigibly optimistic are some of the best food for the soul
- I believe that every single thing in the Universe is beautiful and divine, and a part of a system created by the The Word that is perfect, that all apparent systems within in are copies of the larger system and that if you understand one of those systems, you understand everything.
- I believe in the muses, I believe that they not only work to inspire and illuminate for me, but actually push the message of the word through me, whenever I get out of the way
- I believe that all acts of communion among human beings are divine and wonderful, this includes acts of mercy, consenting acts of passion and sex, kindness, community prayer and worship, rituals, family gatherings and so on
- I believe in the message of Christ, of Buddha and other great religious figures
- I believe that Martin Luther King and Gandhi where recent avatars of God
- I believe requirements for faith are not God’s concern, that turning from your creator does not make his/her ego bruise, but will cause you suffering, because you must go through everything frightened and alone
- I believe that I should be writing more
I believe that if I can let that scared and angry little boy grow up to have trust, faith and wonder again, that great things are ahead for myself and for everyone else in my life. I believe too that since it will not leave me alone, one day, I hope sooner rather than later I will return to writing regularly and that whatever I am supposed to do will be done in time.