Look at the trees…

“When you go into the woods and you look at trees, you see all these different trees… and some of them are bent, and some of them are straight, and some of them are evergreens and some of them are – whatever. And you look at the tree, and you just – allow it. You appreciate it. You see why it is the way it is, you sort of understand that it didn’t get enough light, and so it turned that way, and you don’t get all emotional about it, you just allow it. You appreciate the tree.

The minute you get near humans, you lose all that, and you’re constantly saying, “You’re too this,” or “I’m too this,” or – that judging mind comes in. And so I practice turning people into trees, which means appreciating them just the way they are.”

Ram Dass (Richard Alpert 4/6/31-12/22/19)

Judgement

When our judgements are allowed to become what we believe is true, as far from the truth as they might be, it is then that the heart becomes restless. Fostered judgements are the enemy of community. Agitation replaces peace. When embraced as truth, they block vision. Self-judgement breeds shame, grief, remorse, isolation, hatred, rage, fear and hopelessness.

When judging another, it is the same judgement we will often find in our own heart if we look long enough, deep enough and hard enough.

Or honest enough.

Once found inside our own hearts, we have a choice to make.

We can deny it…. and with that denial we can push back and bury all the pain of seeing it in ourselves. And continue all that keeps us at war. With ourselves and with one another.

Or, we can embrace it. Resistant at first- stiff with unbelief- but stay with it. Ask your Creator for the compassion to see yourself through the eyes of His Heart. This work is not easy nor will it produce instant results. But if done with a sincere and open heart, those same judgements will soon be seen for what they are…. fear. Lies that create separation from those around us and from ourselves. The whispered lies that keep us disconnected from our soul and unable to love our neighbor…. or ourselves.

Aren’t we called to love our neighbor as ourselves?

When I can see and accept- and not only accept but embrace- the thing in myself that repulses me in another, I am free. Because we finally see there is nothing to hide from. We are all the same. We each have the same capacity to be goodness and light…. or the other. And none of us is purely one or the other. We’re a mixed bag hopefully with the desire to move in the direction of our best and highest version of self.

I have struggled with the perceptions and judgements of being a misfit and outsider my entire life. As a result, I have adjusted my life to these misguided beliefs. I stopped participating in life where I thought I would be judged. I am a person of solitude and the natural world but we humans are not meant to live as islands. True joy and happiness come from serving others- not ourselves. The happiness that “attaining” something brings, whether it be a person, place or thing is temporary. Soon, we’ll need another fix. The cycle will be unending.

I recently gave up another drug- nicotine vaping. I’ve used nicotine since I was 12 years old to distract and bury all sorts of emotions. Mostly grief and sadness but even happy emotions needed to be quelled by smoking, as well. It was as if my heart couldn’t handle any feeling too big.

Smoking was a way to not feel.

It’s been quite a ride these past couple of weeks. One morning I woke from a dream about my ex-husband who, by the way, is a dear friend these days. We were divorcing and the emotions of abandonment, grief and sadness were there as if it was happening now…. we’ve been divorced for 10 years.

As unpleasant as it was to feel that stuff, I took it as a good sign. The remnants of what I was incapable of feeling then are coming to the surface. I believe these bits and pieces of me that were not able to be felt will continue for some time…

….but I sense a clearing.

I think I see a rainbow.

Thanks be to God.

I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me, freeing me from all my fears. I cried out to the Lord in my suffering, and he heard me. He set me free from all my fears.

Psalm 34: 4,6 NLT

THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL — HEATHER KING

This is an essay that appears in a collection of my selected Magnificat writings called Holy Days and Gospel Reflections. “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” [Acts 9:4] Authentic conversion always comes from realizing that we have been “persecuting” Christ. In the fall of 1986, I spent thirty days at an addiction treatment center…

THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL — HEATHER KING

Happy New Year!

I survived 2020 without a drink. 

I think a tee-shirt or baseball cap is in order with that slogan for those of us who’re not shy about shouting out how good we feel about it.

In the event you did not escape 2020 soberly, please, please, please, don’t stop trying.  It ain’t easy- especially in the horror show that just had a record run; but there are enough of us to vouch that if you hang in- and  get some time in, you will be amazed at and with life sober.  Guaranteed.  Anything worthwhile is worth the struggle, energy and commitment you put in….. but you need to do the work.  And you need to give it time.

Wait for it.

When I think about how hard it was to live with alcohol but at the same time how I despaired of living without it, I am so grateful to Belle  and all those that went before me and supported me here. The inspiration, courage and strength came not from me but from them…. and God led me here- to them.

Well, I’m on the run and off to work…..

A Joyous, Peace-filled and Safe New Year to all!

🙏

From the Twitter feeds of: 

2020 written by Stephen King, directed by Quentin Tarantino-Winona Simons 

If 2020 were a person…., -Sushmita Panda

2020- Wouldn’t recommmend- Jimbel1

Christmas # 4 Without the Whine…

and this has been the most challenging yet. Experienced cravings for alcohol like an itch I couldn’t scratch….

Haven’t posted since my 3 year anniversary in June- journaling very sporadically if at all. Like most, 2020 has left me scrambling for mental and emotional health. I’ve succeeded in killing off the monsters one by one. I’m sure they’ll be waiting for me but as long as I stay vigilant, I will survive.

At least mentally.

How I managed the cravings was to really allow myself to sit with that itch. Not try to resist but just allow it to be; but at the same time, replaying the video in my head of my last bottom. Still makes me cringe. My life is so, so different now. I am so different now. And I know that if I drink again I’ll be crawling under a bar lower than the last. No thanks.

Seen too much suffering this year. Keeping the rage at bay and the howling at the moon (and not at fellow humans) has required enormous faith, strength, and fortitude.

And we move forward. With faith and hope… Lord give us hope.

I intensely dislike this new format for writing so going to keep this short- not in a good mode for learning. Hoping I can find a way to go back to the old WP format for posting.

I have missed being here and keeping up with y’all. I hope and pray that everyone is healthy and sober and staying somewhat sane in this insane world.

Love and miss each of you.

Have a Blessed Christmas and a Peace-filled New Year.

May God be with us.

Friends Before Family

This is so important and needed. Beautiful, amazing and incredibly wise. Thank you, kyesubire.

Kyesubire's

This season I have had disturbing conversations about friendship.

My heart breaks over and over hearing people talking about the pain of relationships in the time of hardships. I have been blessed to have long lasting relationships that are judgement free but deeply accountable and I have been judged and denounced by those I thought were friends. True friendship is intense and often hard to maintain because it needs extreme vulnerability that keep it alive. The hidden truth is that you cannot have many of these deep relationships. You cannot be naked and unashamed with many people.

Friendship is the foundation of all relationships even in the family. Just because we are born of the same father and mother and raised in the same home does not mean we are automatically friends; friendship must be cultivated. Many of us are closer to our friends when things are good and when…

View original post 1,026 more words

What we got here is a failure to communicate!

Irritated.

 No reason in particular… just feel like I could whack something really hard. Something. Not someone.

Really good thing I’m not drinking.  I wasn’t a happy drunk.

Actually, one problem I’ve been having is this:  lately, more often than not, I am not getting return calls or messages from people.  Some are friends, some just acquaintances.   I’m not talking about the lack of responding in a timely manner- I’m talking not responding at all!  What the??   The rudeness and lack of consideration astounds me.

There must be 50 ways to leave a message.

And maybe the above hints of where the problem lies:  two problems really.  My expectations, for one and two, there are just too many options when it comes to communication.

The good ole days-  a telephone.  Just call.  No answer? not home.  Busy signal? on the phone- but at least you know they’re home.  Then comes the arrival of answering machines. Ahhh…  now the screening of calls begins.  So as you’re leaving a message, paranoid self is wondering if there is someone hovering at the other end to see who it is before they commit to picking it up.  Caller ID made it simpler- you didn’t need to wait for the message to know who you wanted to avoid.  Email arrived soon after that.  Or before that?   Then cell phones- great- not home?  call the cell.  Don’t forget to check the cell phone voicemail.  Or iMessage if you’re rich enough for an iPhone.  Oh yeah, I almost forgot the text messages.  OK folks, now we’ve also got Facebook and the countless other social media sites where messages can be left.

Anyone else see how insane this is?

Rant over.

Thanks for listening.

Thanks be to God I’m still sober.

🙏 6/21/17 🙏

Image: By Warner Bros. Entertainment – Screenshots from the original trailer, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27935250

 

Today I am 3…!

And not looking back.

Well… except for the occasional review of history.  The present moment sometimes requires that re-assessment for optimal growth.  It’s called a searching and fearless moral inventory.  The 4th Step.  I’ve done many and will continue to do so.  Too often pointing the finger only leaves us stuck in our own muck and mire. But I am so weary-  oh so freakin’ weary, of making the same mistakes.

You see, I’ve been a slow learner.  An extremely, painfully slow learner.  Maybe the lessons that I’ve been needing to learn over the past 10 years have been strongholds-  iron hard lessons about character and personality.  They need to be confronted with a raw and brutal honesty.  Blindspots- named such for good reason.  Most times it takes an epiphany or breakthrough to reveal them.

And when they are finally revealed, seeing these behaviors and issues in ourselves can be incredibly painful.

But if we hang in there and continue the trek, peace will be found around the corner from there.

I think I’m finally up for it.

Lord, please help me to be up for this.

Now that I’m typing, I’m not sure how much I’m ready to reveal regarding the exact nature of this stronghold.

What I will say is that it’s all about emotional control.  Emotional sobriety.  Emotional intelligence.  Also known as EQ.

And my incredible lack of.

It’s also about maintaining sobriety vs being alcohol free.  Now being AF all by itself is a huge accomplishment.  But growth and change and true freedom all require work.  Heavy lifting on the psyche.  Without the emotional control that needs to be cultivated in sobriety,  things can get pretty ugly.

The term is dry drunk.

 I believe that is exactly what I’ve been experiencing for the past year.  Since last spring when the chaos began.  A chain of events, probably around 8 or 9, separate and unrelated events occurred in my life over the course of about 3 weeks, give or take.  I’ve not gone to AA meetings this time around but I began attending daily mass.  Last spring I stopped attending due to one of these “events”.   Had to do with another parishioner.  A male parishioner.  I’ve had traumatic events happen in my past that have centered around men.  I also grew up with a violent, morose, alcoholic father.  Until I was 8 or 9 anyway.  Enough time to leave it’s mark.

Let’s just say I have issues.

With men and with boundaries.  The boundaries could apply to everyone, not just men. Actually, I’m going to re-phrase:  I have had issues but I am healing and becoming healthier in both those respects.  I am changing.  Actually, God is changing me.  This is way bigger than me.

Can I hear an Amen?

‘Cause it’s been damn hard work.  Damn hard emotional work, lemme tell ya.  But I’m determined.  Where there’s a will there’s a way.

So I’m owning it.  Or rather, I’m going deeper.  I’ve owned it my whole life.  Thank God, I found a wonderful therapist and I’ve been “let go” from my job….. nice way of saying I was fired.  But it’s been an absolute blessing in disguise.  I handled myself with grace and integrity; much different than I would have even 2 months ago.  It’s given me time.  Time that I’m using wisely and productively.  Clearing, cleaning and organizing.  Both in mind, body, soul and environment.

I am becoming my own best friend.

This pandemic has triggered such deep stuff in me.  Things from childhood that I thought were gone.  It’s the layers of an onion analogy.  I wrote a post about the scars left behind a little over 3 years ago.  Not long after, I hit my final bottom.  Pray to God it was my final.  I take nothing for granted.  Especially my sobriety.  I had 11 years sober at 40 years of age and went out again.  It took me 22 years to get back.

So while I’m not looking behind me, sometimes a review is necessary….and that’s ok.

Thanks be to God.

And every one of you. 🙏

Finding Our Way Back

“The way home every single time is this:

After my worst failure, after I am convinced this time I have gone too far and destroyed too much, I must believe who God says I am.

I am not defined by my erratic behaviors but by something so much deeper, infinitely strong and constant.  I am a new creature.

When I find myself risking to trust this way of seeing, the power of the lie begins to vanish and that increasing confidence in who I really am becomes the bedrock that will break my shame and addiction so I get to live free for the rest of my life.”

…….Traylor Levvorn

Although this quote from the film “The Heart of Man” relates to sexual addiction, all addiction stems from the same misguided attempts to make ourselves whole.

I’m coming up on 3 years sober and free and in spite of tremendous upheavals and emotional pain in my life, and I know that I am far from alone in this at this time, I still remain with no desire to drink or medicate myself.  Thanks be to God.

Haven’t been around as ya’ll know…. I’ve been on an extended self-directed retreat of solitude.  I am blessed to be able to afford myself this opportunity.

Ending this with one more quote from the same film.  William Paul Young, author of The Shack, is the author of this one. 

See you next time I come up for air. 

“We have no idea about the truth of our beings.  We do not know how relentless this affection is that will pursue us, wrap itself around our brokenness and sing us into healing.

We matter.

Every single one of us matters and the choices we make matter.

Every choice to forgive, to be kind, to be authentic, to open up our inside worlds to tell our secrets-  these things change the cosmos- not just inside you, but inside this whole created universe in which we dwell

Who you are matters and who you’re becoming matters.

You’re the one He left the 99 to go and find.”

 

With much love and prayers to all of you amazing warriors.

And thank you…. I wouldn’t be sober without all your love and support.

🙏❤️🙏

 

Image Credit:

“IMG_6587” by {studiobeerhorst}-bbmarie is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

 

The Great Awakening

Redefining What Is 

And just like that, the busyness suddenly stopped.

And everything became quiet while reality grabbed hold and fear gripped the world.

And, in mere days, what was once important no longer was, and what was necessary was redefined, and what was needed found a way, and what was to be, slowly became so, and the people listened, and God waited.

And what followed would be remembered as The Great Collective Pause.

And the children stayed home, and the parents that could, worked from home, and families played together, and they took walks together, and they cooked and they ate together.

And they smiled, and they laughed, and they cried, and they cuddled, and they reassured each other, in spite of their fear and worry.

And in the forced stillness they began to pray, and God listened.

And while everything was closed, the air became cleaner, and the water became clearer, and the sky looked bluer, and the sun shone brighter.

And answers that at one time were lost in the chaos of too much, were unearthed in the presence of simplicity, and the winds of Mother Nature whispered of rebirth, and the picture of life began to change.

And the people prayed for guidance and mercy, and God heard hearts calling his name, and He answered.

And neighbors checked on neighbors, and friends called to cheer, and hearts began to heal, and rifts began to close, and egos began to crumble, and love flowed like rain, and life took on a slower, softer pace.

And parents remembered, and children learned, and people let go, and ‘I’ became ‘we,’ and we became one, and the consciousness of humanity turned its face toward love.

And what was broken began to heal, and what was missing was found, and what was no longer needed faded away, and the world shifted so abruptly on its axis that everything stopped spinning such that all that could be heard was the angels trumpeting our return to God.

Chris Coyler, March 22, 2020

Image credit: mysterious landscape by lxrowe@deviantart.com