In the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was, within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through all that...
In the midst of winter, I finally found that within me there lies an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy.
For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there's something stronger -- something better, pushing right back.
-- Albert Camus, The Stranger
Being an addict means I have a disease.
Not that I AM a disease.
Within us all is something good reaching for the light.
When we first get sober it is fighting to survive.
After a while it is fighting to be seen and heard and embraced from within.
Ultimately it is fighting to deepen its roots; to breathe and grow.
And if we remain sober, and make full use of the "spiritual tool kit laid at our feet" well then, eventually, it will ripen, and flower, nourishing not just ourselves but, magically, miraculously, others as well.
Apologies for the late posting today. Apparently TypePad is recovering from a DDoS hacking attempt which impacted authors' access to our blogs. (I guess this is a thing now, in the 21st Century.) TypePad is all over it though, and no information was lost or compromised.
When I read about -- or someone tells me about -- a "great new study" from X University about some Important Topic my initial reaction is usually something like: "Wow! I'm glad someone is studying that!" followed closely by "Wow! I bet that Study is really long and boring to read!"
Fortunately I can assure you that the link below may reference a Study, but it is neither long nor boring.
Brown University recently completed a study on Mindfulness Meditation, the results of which have been circulating around the news of late. To absolutely no one who studies meditation's surprise, the results add to an already impressive body of concrete, scientific evidence as to its positive effects on a person's health.
The link will take you to a page summarizing the Study, with simple definitions of terms and a few commonly asked questions. Beyond that -- and here is what I was excited to find and share here, and what I will be exploring myself -- are twelve links (including two for phone apps!) that take you to everything from examples to guided exercises.
The 11th Step of Alcoholics Anonymous, "Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out" does not include the word "or." It does not say "prayer OR meditation" as if you can opt out of one by choosing the other. Yet I know any number of people who give themselves a pass on actively trying to develop a meditation practice. I am certainly not perfect on this myself, but hopefully, if you're stuck for whatever reason, some things at the link below will help you either get started or get back on track.
I hated the people. I hated the meetings. And I hated the Steps.
I didn't have a lot of options back then, so against all odds, however grudgingly, I kept coming.
After a little while, maybe a couple weeks or so, couple dozen meetings I guess -- lame as this sounds (and I know it sounds pretty lame) -- I realized that all that meant is what I really hated was myself.
Which is also kind of weird, since in a way I didn't even know who I was back then. But I was pretty sure that whoever -- or whatever -- I was, I hated it. I wasn't much for Oprah. Had never been able to afford therapy -- not that I had been willing to go, anyway -- but it was a real lightbulb moment for me. Like that all the hate I had, all the contempt, pouring out of me was coming from a place inside which I was kind of drowning in; and all the drinking, all the drugs, all the... everything... was tangled up in that too.
By then I had heard enough people speak and share and though, like I said, I hated a lot of it (I couldn't shake that -- and I was sure as hell not willing to do much, at the beginning) I DID believe that a lot of you used to feel like I did, but that you didn't feel that way now. So then, along with hating myself -- like, right along next to it -- was something else I felt, though I hadn't in a really, really long time: Hope."
A person isn't who they are during the last conversation you had with them -- they're who they've been throughout your whole relationship.
I wish that you may find patience enough in yourself to endure, and simplicity enough to believe; that you may acquire more and more confidence in that which is difficult, and in your solitude among others. And for the rest, let life happen to you. Believe me: life is right, in any case.
Let everything happen to you / beauty and terror / just keep going / no feeling is final.
Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.
Special Bonus Quote, for my Dead Sponsor, he whose wise counsel I miss every single day:
Do not assume that he who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise he would never have been able to find these words.