a.messenger is a pseudonym for the author of the new book: "Living the 12 Steps of Recovery - One Day at a Time" released October 5th, 2010 by Gorham Press, published by Wing & A Prayer Publishing LLC, Spokane, Washington. Website: livingtwelvestepsrecovery.com.
The author resides in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, writing articles, fiction, poetry and prose, as well as penning an award winning play: The Insurrection Aboard U.A. Flight 93, 9-11-2001.
Our very own technical director and Web site “ace” (The Magical Spice Bunny) has beaten the thwarters to the curb and we are back! (They tried to pimp our site on the net for thousands and finally, they were beaten down).
Unfortunately……this means we’ll be down for a few days for conversion…………………… but upon our return, you can reach us at the old, or the sorta new address —– both! I know! How does she do it?
So puhlease………”bare” with us (snerk) while we adapt… that’s what it’s always been about, right?
Like the tree blown by the wind, we bend, we adapt.
In the meantime, you can order direct from NOOK and Amazon, and keep your Jones’ at bay on our FB page, filled with book excerpts and all sorts of current articles on Recovery! Here’s the link:
Here is a story out of my archives that I wrote in 2001, my first year of recovery. It still gives me Goose Bumps,…but not quite as often.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and contentment found by those who are struggling to live a life in recovery. I’m okay, still clean, still sober, and wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday, from under a blanket of mid-day falling snow. Got Hot Chocolate? Into your Chair? Blanketed and warm with a Fireplace if you have and some soft Christmas Music in the background? Read on,……………………….
WHAT IT WAS LIKE
The first Christmas of my sobriety, my spirit felt like a rudderless ship with no port of call. I was meandering aimlessly and much like the ghost of Dickens Jacob Marley, carried a crushing weight of chains formed from my deep, dark, resentments: towards God, at my apparent fate and naturally, the people who had so wrongfully and bitterly disappointed me. Laden with a hold full of cynicism, bitterness, and anger, I lived in a state right out of the book: restless, irritable, discontentment. My body was suffering from uncontrollable weight gain as a result of Type II Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Chronic Insomnia and a myriad of other physical and psychological maladies. Alcohol had made both my physical and spiritual life so unmanageable; I felt as though I’d been given a view into the abyss of Marley’s Ghostly endless walk of death. That Christmas, I had become the very visage of Ebenezer Scrooge. “Bah! Humbug” I say!
But in my own foolhardy account, I had heroically saved my own life by agreeing to in-house 30 day treatment. After release, I had bravely (and heroically, of course) walked alone, peeking through the doors of my first AA meeting. I did their damn 90/90 meeting program. Some days I needed 2 or 3 meetings, just to stay sober,…..and keep my head. Having read the book and done the first five steps in treatment, really didn’t need any condescending, self-deprecating old dry drunk to sponsor me in anything, thank-you very much! I was told that I never had to be alone again, but as I stubbornly reminded myself, I was just fine alone. I was sober, doing their deal, and that was quite enough……………or so I thought.
The first Christmas and New Years I worked in the kitchen of the local Alcathon as much as I could. Though my efforts were acknowledged as service, I was really there because I lived alone, had no place else to go and on those terms, was terrified of the compulsion to drink and the anguish of my own company. I had turned my back on my family and friends you see, for they had staged a nasty intervention, abandoning and betraying me in my hour of need. I was mistakenly convinced my resentments were totally righteous and naturally, deprived them allof the sheer joy of my company. At least I was among the sick, like myself.
Delighted when both Christmas and New Years had passed, I was patronizingly grateful for having somewhere to endure them. “Good Riddance to holiday rubbish” I muddled under my breath!
I despised their silly promises. To me, they were idiotically extravagant. Were they “being fulfilled among us”? Perhaps, but let the weak and naive have their miracles. Quickly or slowly realized, they were the morphine of A.A. as far I was concerned. Bill W. must’ve been thinking he had to create some S&H Green Stamp Program to bolster the fortitude of the inherently unresolved, and to sell his Big Book to this world of stragglers.
I knew better. It was, sadly, just another battle in my endless lifelong struggle. Dignity, Honor, Love and Respect were to be the earned rewards through the endless but righteous suffering my fate left me to endure. I would do it, but there would be only rare pleasure in it. No leisure or rest for this soldier of sobriety. I accepted my lot, most begrudgingly of course.
At each meeting I would here How It Works from Chapter V of The Big Book. A voice would read: “without help it is too much for us, but there is one who has all power, that one is God, may you find him now”. Fat chance of that, I thought to myself. In desperation, I sought to find their God of my understanding. Beginning to pray, I asked only for the removal of the compulsion to drink, and slowly, it was removed. One day, I realized its near daily nagging was gone. It had simply vanished; however by persistence I was convinced. During the few times it had ventured back into my consciousness, it would become more and more easily dismissed. I suddenly realized God was doing for me what I could not do for myself, if by no other result than coincidence.
I embraced the program, opening my heart to the sober community. Soon, I met a woman in the fellowship whom I fell madly in love with. Then an excellent sponsor appeared for me. I got a Big Book, 12X12, other pieces of literature, and devoured them voraciously. Feeling alive, my emotions were responding and my health and well-being were returning. Everything seemed wonderful,…………….. until it all changed unexpectedly.
The love that I thought had come to complete me by God’s hand exposed her hidden side. She’d been prospecting for gold and in an overnight reversal dropped her feigned affections, having found a better vein to mine. I felt I had not only been deceived, but had lost my best friend and lover, though she’d proved to be neither and 1,000 miles away.
I clung to the program, grasping for courage and strength by my newfound faith in God. But try as I might and pray as I did, I could not seem to escape the disappointment. Once again i found the ghostly specter of regret, remorse and resentment were finding their way back into my life. I was losing my faith in my God and had stopped praying in the prescribed direction: only “for the knowledge of his will and the power to carry it out”. I was so afraid to put it all on the line, for I had felt abandoned by God once before in my life and it appeared I had fallen for the same “Kool-Aid” again.
Still I believed. I believed that if I asked only for the knowledge of his will and the power to carry it out, I would never be disappointed in the message of the 11th Step. Already, I’d experienced how I could depend on God for his help when the compulsion to drink had been removed. So I prayed, for the serenity to accept, the courage to change, and the wisdom to know. Though struggling, I hung onto my sobriety and my sanity.
The conditions became worse as the next Christmas approached. I became very ill as well as experiencing some financial difficulties. Though I was trying to hang on, I could feel my insane thinking re-emerging. Each morning and night, I prayed for a sign of God’s reassuring love; its strengthening power would surely shore-up my faith.
A month before Thanksgiving, my sponsor left on his fall vacation. Luckily, I met a very kind woman with 23 years in the program who agreed to “temp me”, acting as my sponsor. She taught me how gratitude should be specified in a list, then referred to and added onto when we feel there is little to be grateful for, ( a practice that still works for me today) I was to always keep that list and continue to amend it, making a regular practice of counting my blessings.
Like the year before, I worked at The Alcathon kitchen on Christmas Day. While sitting down for a break, I caught site of a man walking up to the counter whom I had never seen though his face seemed so familiar. He came back into the kitchen and began talking to me, introducing himself only as Martin, (pronounced Marteen). He was a truck driver from Arizona who was just passing through. Having never been to my city before, Martin explained that he was an alcoholic in his ninth year of recovery. He had a soft voice and a gentle smile.
While making a point of trying to help him feel at home, I introduced him to everyone that came into the kitchen. We continued to talk while I was working, covering several subjects pertinent to my life and sobriety. It seemed we had a lot in common. When he spoke, it was calmly, almost reverently to me about spirituality. Using a gesture, he would point his finger up to the sky whenever he would speak of God, never mentioning him by name. In time, we had covered most of the dilemmas that were eroding my faith.
Martin was unusually kind and understanding. All during that time he was smiling, and from time to time impishly looking as if he had known me all along. I remembered a poster I had acquired in college called, “The Laughing Jesus” and it struck me odd how much of a resemblance there was.
When I was done with my shift we sat at a table and talked of my lost love and her disappointing behavior. Martin explained to me that there were some things I would never know or understand and that that was okay. That was what Acceptance was all about. It had only been a small part of my life and not worth obsessing over. He then told me to be strong, and that he had faith in me; that he was sure that I would be all right. Tears welling-up in my eyes, it dawned on me that Martin was the miracle that I had asked God for. I had to leave then. We stood, and he hugged me like a brother. I could feel extraordinarily reassuring and unconditional love enveloping as my spirit was comforted.
We said goodbye. I turned and left. I walked a few feet and turned to waive back at him, but he was gone. It seemed he had just disappeared. I was certain that he was there. Then I wondered, could it have been that he was just there for me? Not very much later, I returned to look for him. He was gone and there was no truck parked outside.
WHAT ITS LIKE NOW
I’ve told only a few people of this story; my sponsor and some others that I am close to. Martin was right. I do not have an explanation for some things, and as I recall him saying, Acceptance means: I don’t need one, for I may never have one. I know that as to myself, I had been told many times at meetings of the fellowship, “Don’t leave until you give the miracle a chance to happen. In that chance meeting with Martin, I feel as though it may have occurred that Christmas Day. It struck me as a little like what had happened for Ebenezer Scrooge. The Ghost of Christmas Present had come to me as Martin, restoring my faith and giving me a chance to see life anew again.
Right now my faith is strong. When it becomes challenged again, I will think of Martin and how he came to visit me, renewing me with the message in a spiritual awakening. He was doing for God what I could not do for myself, just as I had asked. Given the chance, I will try to do the same thing for others. I write to you in the diminishing twilight of a January night sky, wishing each of you a Happy New Year, and a visit from your own angel, your own miracle. If you hang around long enough, you just might find enough faith through acceptance to receive it.
Now it’s almost 15 years since I wrote this piece. I am amused, humbled and more than slightly chagrined. You see, “The Pink Cloud” of early recovery has long since sailed. I no longer get the eerie feeling of “warm and fuzzies” and a rarely use the worn out cliches that permeate this old piece. BUT —- I have never forgotten how important it was to me in finding some sense of contentment and belonging, and although I rarely use the term “miracle,” with some timid nostalgia I remember Martin and his visitation as my Ghost of Christmas Present.
“My – Oh – My”! Time so flies when you’re havin’ fun writing and ya know what? “I have had fun”! (Okay. most of the time,…..). I’m a worldwide recognized recovery writer with two solid awarded books on the shelf. The first is being used to fortify the daily recovery of friends in 5 different countries.
Available in NOOK/KINDLE Ebooks or in signed print
Then, here’s the follow-up, in the tradition of our original reference, a collection of 18 true stories of sobriety and recovery by people who got the message and stuck with it for 20 years. They’re still going ahead:
Now,….how about something new to keep you abreast with changes in the recovery communities and their changing thinking. Can I invite you to check-out my “Living the 12 Steps of Recovery” presence on Facebook?
You’ll find some of the most pro and con recovery works by other authors, periodicals on recovery and related subjects, plus spiritual essays, music and video by Eckhart Tolle, The Daily Ohm, Betty Ford Clinic, The FIX Magazine and a continually evolving group of others. So if you don’t see me posting here then catch me there almost daily. You’ll see and read constantly updated discussions, even have a quick shot at dropping your own remarks. It’s like a Recovery Tweet Board. You can even use your phone or tablet! ( Technoriffic, huh?)
I was scarcely out of a recovery treatment center, at home, eyes glued to the Television, radio blaring in the car, as well as all over the NET.
Over the ensuing months I wrote a complete account of the attack and the people that were involved in it on Flight 93, in large part with information researched and found in Tod Beamer’s Wife’s Book: “Let’s Roll”
That work spawned my play: “An Insurrection Aboard United Flight 93″ born from those days. The production was written for a Secular Grade and High School Drama Class who took it to Los Angeles and placed 3rd in a West Coast competition with all the “big money prep school” drama classes from all over the West Coast. The audience wept when they performed it, with a minimalist stage setting like Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town.” The timeline it was written from is still on my hard-drive, one of the earliest of my works.
Today I am offering it in memory of all who died on 9-11-2001, but especially for the heroic passengers and crew of UA Flight 93. As it is lengthy, I am offering it to you all today in Pdf. Unfortunately, I cannot convert the older files so you’re going to have to open it page by page. Click on each ( or open in new window) —- however you can get it to work <grin>
In reflection, this was some of my best writing (albeit sp and grammar editing). Now then,….. how about a few pics from the Flight 93 Memorial which opened yesterday amidst VP Biden’s remarks.
Remarks by Vice President Joseph Biden at Dedication of Flight 93 Memorial
2:25 P.M. EDT
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Ladies and gentlemen, my fellow Americans, I’m honored to be standing here today, standing with two former Presidents.
President Clinton, as he said, the passengers on Flight 93 knew that our common humanity is what united us most. Well, Mr. President, the same can be said of you. You spent your time as President, and the years since, deeply committed to embracing and strengthening our common humanity. (Applause.) And, Mr. President, we all thank you for what you’ve done and what you continue to do.
Let me also recognize a man responsible for bringing our country together at a time when it could have been torn apart, for making it clear that America could not be brought to her knees, and helping us stand tall and strike back — President George W. Bush. In the darkest hour of our generation, your voice and leadership, Mr. President, helped us find our way. And for that, you deserve our gratitude for a long, long time. (Applause.)
And I say now to the families that are gathered here today, I know what it’s like to receive that call out of the blue, like a bolt out of the blue. And I know this is a bittersweet moment for you. And I want to tell you, you have a lot more courage than I had. You have a lot more courage just by being here today, because I know, and many others know, how hard it is to relive these moments, because it brings everything back in stark, stark relief and stark detail.
But I also know, like your loved ones, what you probably don’t know, that you are literally an inspiration to the thousands of people across this country who right now are feeling the loss of an intense tragedy that they’re suffering. They know, looking at you, watching you on television today, that there’s hope to be found after tragedy, that there’s rebirth in the face of death. You, in a sense, are as courageous as your family members were. And we owe you all for being here today, just the act of being here. (Applause.)
We’re here today to remember and honor 40 men and women who gave their lives so others could live theirs — decent, honorable women and men who never imagined 10 years ago tomorrow that when they said goodbye to their children, when they kissed their loved ones goodbye and walked through that door, that they were doing it for the very last time.
They didn’t know the horror that awaited them, but they confronted unimaginable fear and terror with a courage that has been summoned only by the truest and the rarest of American heroes — 40 names etched on each of those panels on the wall, the Wall of Names. But, more than that, their names are going to be, as President Bush said, etched forever into American history. They join an incredibly elite list of women and men, and a long history filled with ordinary Americans doing extraordinary things — men and women of undaunted courage, uncommon resolve, and a stubborn perseverance in the face of unfathomable challenge.
We teach our children that these are qualities ingrained into our national character as Americans. And I believe they are. They animate our national identity. And I believe they will continue to define America, because of the example of the men and women who we pay tribute today, the passengers and the crew of Flight 93.
None of them asked for what happened. They didn’t go on that plane — they didn’t board that plane to fight a war. But when they heard the news, when they found out what happened in New York, they knew that they were going through, it was something more than a hijacking. They knew it was the opening shot in a new war.
And so, they acted. They acted as citizen patriots have acted since the beginning of our country. They stood up and they stood their ground. They thought, like Captain Parker said at Lexington, and I quote him, “If they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”
As many times as I recall, and all of you who are not family members like me, have recalled this incident time and again over the last 10 years, I never fail to be astonished, literally astonished by the courage they demonstrated.
And so, we stand where it began. We think of them. We think of our nation. We think of our history and we think of the future. And we think of it, because of them, with a confidence knowing that ordinary citizens will continue to stare down fear, overwhelm evil, and bring forth hope from what seems to be none. And although it will continue to amaze us and inspire us when it happens, it should not surprise us. For that heroism is who we are. And that courage lies deepest and beats loudest in the heart of this nation.
We know that these 40 men and women were more than ordinary Americans to all of you sitting in front of me. They were more than passengers and crews. They were already heroes. They were already heroes to you.
They were the father that tucked you in bed at night. They were the wife who knew your fears before you even expressed them. They were the brother who lifted you up. They were the daughter who made you laugh. They were the son who made you proud. They are irreplaceable. I know that. We know that.
And we know, and I know, that no memorial — no words, no acts — can fill the void that they left in your hearts. My prayer for you is that 10 years later, their memory is able to bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye. And I hope you take comfort in knowing that a grateful nation understands that your loved ones gave their lives in pursuit of the noblest of earthly goals: defending their country, defending their families, sacrificing their lives so we could live ours. Those of us who were in Washington that day, without knowing it for sure at the time, now know we owe them an overwhelming special, personal debt of gratitude.
The collective spirit of your mother, your father, your brother, your husband, your wife, your sister, your best friend — that spirit lives on not only in you, but in your country. It lives on in the Cross of Steel made from the World Trade Center beams, placed on a Pentagon-shaped platform that rests proudly outside the Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department. (Applause.) That Cross of Steel is an enduring symbol of the steel and the spine of this region, and the spine of this country.
And it definitely lives on in a new generation of warriors — the 9/11 Generation, inspired by what happened here, 2.8 million young Americans since 9/11, that 9/11 generation, have joined the United States Armed Forces — thousands giving their lives and tens of thousands being wounded to finish the war that began right here.
Maya Angelou wrote, and I quote, “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived. However, if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
Ladies and gentlemen — we are not here to unlive history. We are here to honor those whose courage made history and is going to inspire generations of Americans to come.
So, I say to you, even as we struggle with this tragedy, even as we grapple with the profound loss and devastating grief, we can look up at the heavens and think of these heroes and know, know with certitude that there is not a single, solitary tragedy that America cannot overcome. There is not a single moment of hardship that cannot be transformed into one of national strength. The seeds of doubt, planted by those who wish to harm us, will instead grow into flowering meadows like this one where we stand in today, for they cannot defeat the American spirit. We know this with certainty. We know it with certainty, because it’s the history of the journey of this country at every stage of our history. (Applause.)
As President Clinton knows, my mother used to say, “Courage lies in every heart.” And she would go on to say, “And the expectation is that, Joey, one day it will be summoned.” “Courage lies in every heart, and one day it will be summoned.” On September 11, 2001, at 9:57 a.m., it was summoned and 40 incredible men and women answered the call. They gave their lives and, in doing so, gave this country a new life.
We owe them. We owe you a debt we can never repay. Thank you all. Thank you, family members. And may God bless you. And may God protect our troops. (Applause.)
May God Bless and Preserve the United States of America as we remember those who died on 9-11
Death lies on her, like an untimely frost Upon the sweetest flower of all the field. Act IV, scene 5 Romeo & Juliet 1528
Why does death so often rob us of goodbye, leaving us regret that may forever be unsettled?
Neither of us thought much of it when our schedules wouldn’t mesh, leaving us with no chance to meet prior to Shelean Marie’s trip; she’d visit her parents in Montana leaving in late May. With Global Warming again evolving much sooner than anyone expected it would be the hottest Summer on record, blistering our region with sweltering spans of scorching 90-107 degree heat. Prognosis? Stay low and keep cool. There were other things ahead neither of us had any way of knowing; epic changes that would make the heat seem like a small nuisance; life changing events that swelled like sudden Tsunamis. Our revelations arrived with no warning, no premonition.
I had given her copies of my books: http://www.livingtwelvestepsrecovery.com/to take to her father who had been “tipping” for 20-30 years,….hard. Her plan was to manifest a life-long repressed event by confrontation with him. I don’t know if she found that moment, but rumors had reached me that the trip was cut short over family problems. I’ll probably never know what that was all about, butI do know she’d logged-in over a year clean and sober after a 2013 relapse.
We were Sobriety ship-mates In our mutual recovery and like me, she’d had an epic journey of using and gulping. Just like many others she had slipped,..hard,.. a couple of times. I was glad to be helpful to her in putting down the wine-box, the one she drew her all day and half the night plastic glass from,… for her very last time. She had been happier for it. I was too, for my small role in which as always, such helping had fortified my own 14 years in recovery. That’s how it works. You carry it and it comes back to you in strengthening your own resolve. It’s a surety, rewarded with humility. We know who and what we are,…………
In anticipation of her return, a few weeks ago, I IM’d her on FBook saying how happy she looked and that I missed her, looking forward to her coming home soon. She sent me back a emoticon thumbs up and a smile. It would be her last reach,…ever. In checking her status one evening last week, wondering if she was back in town, there was a time stopping – shocking revelation: she had died suddenly in her sleep of a brain aneurism,……. “just like that she was gone.” Not even 50 years old.
No chance of goodbyes. Death is permanent. Dead is forever. Sudden death is personal and shocking. Maybe it’s time we had a little humor on this constant mortem.
Initial Shock and Grief
THESE are the immediate reactions to the sudden death of a loved one, but in the initial onslaught, shock and grief can be profound. In a soul wrenching state of mental stress, we repeatedly ask ourselves,…..Why?
The simple cause is often an explainable medical condition, accident, death in war, but that isn’t the question we are dying to resolve, “the why” we are asking of the universe. It’s more like: “Why them, Why us, Why now,… Why ME? This can easily become a counterproductive obsession. What’s more important is to ask ourselves: How can I pick-up the pieces and move on from here? But all good things in time. We are never ready for the huge loss and separation anxiety we feel, in which every moment seems like an eternity.
But, we are in recovery and we must take special care in remembering our need to allow time to process,…. and so we wait awhile. We must remember our principles in spiritual survival, because death is often a trigger; an excuse or justification for us — no matter how long we have been clean and sober — to reconsider our resolve and become tempted to begin drinking or using again.
We know this must not happen
Surely we know our loved ones would not want that.
We have our fellowship, our clean and sober friends and there is no shame in going to them for support. They will understand while being of counsel in our time of tremendous need for their listening ear.
We have principles to use… providing us with guides to cope as we move towards eventual understanding and acceptance. We can and will adapt for we know with certainty that: “This too shall pass”. As we take time to allow ourselves to respond, not react, we find it could be awhile before our survival instincts fully kick in, but they will. We begin by not counting the moments. Any inventory of agony is counterproductive…..
Everyone goes through these phases yet not necessarily in that order, intermingled with the potential for guilt, despair and hopelessness, vulnerability and heightened anxiety. These are emotional reactions, not responses, yet a very real part of the adjustment towards acceptance and eventual peace. When we are going through this during death and loss,we remember: Feelings are not facts !
Difficult as it may be, we recall that all flesh is mortal – no amount of love can outlast that fact. We will all die and it is as much a part of life as birth. Our human culture has always made a dark and demonic funeral dirge of death, (save the anticipated ascension into “heaven”) but in this new millennium of pragmatic Humanism, we celebrate the lives of those who have come to their ending, cherishing their memories and promising to find our own peace and contentment at some point. We know that is what they would have us do. When we obsess on loss, doing so is just just another form of our old nemesis, self-pity.”
When we recognize a benevolent spirit of love in the universe that flows through all life, it prevents us from reverting to the absurd: that this loss is our punishment, that our loved one was taken by some selfish deity to be with it. Life is born and then it dies. Do we need to complicate that fact with religious superstition and morose mythology? Isn’t that practice well passed in human intelligence? Not for some and they are entitled to their own way and solution.
“To thine own self, be true”. We have a primary responsibility to ourselves of care, especially during mourning.
“No-one needs me more than I when death comes knocking”.
How about this mantra that aids the preservation of our recovery: “Anytime we look to an outside source for our primary happiness, we are setting ourselves up for a fall.” It’s difficult to except, but in my heart it rings truth.
When we face the death of someone we love so much, we look into the specter of FEAR and that old acronym: False. Evidence. Appearing. Real. sweeps us with its cold and clammy non-reality. So very often, we project irrational outcomes on future moments only to find out our anxiety was wasted andWe were wrong!
Let’s look to our 12 Step Spiritual Principles for insight in living with death:
Step One: We are powerless over death and for awhile, it can make our lives somewhat unmanageable.
Step Two: Our insanity is temporary and we can find recovery from it.
Step Three: We willingly turn our emotions over to the universe of our understanding for it’s care.
Step Eleven: We made an effort to rely upon our conscious contact (through prayer and meditation) for the serenity to adapt to death.
Then, having taken these steps and practiced them repeatedly through this transition,we found acceptance by learning to live with our loss.
Dedicated to Shelean M. J. – my friend – my fellow Sobrietarian – artist – hippie – unicorn
Please Note! In the banner at the top of the blog, some jackass has hacked in a link for “Exotic Asian Women” DO NOT click on this link, it will only aggravate them. We are working on the problem and are presently trying to call in a devastating DRONE STRIKE!
Here since time began, Earth’s Majestic Mountains have been a meditation focus for all of man. As is so often the case, I bring you insight from my friend and mentor, Madisyn Taylor at TheDailyOhm.com,………..
February 19, 2015 Mountain Meditation Finding Your Pinnacle
Meditating near a mountain can be both powerful and grounding in a most profound way.
Throughout history, humankind has stood in awe of mountains. The strength and sturdiness evident in the rocky crags and smooth slopes of peaks around the globe have from time immemorial inspired creativity and kindled courage. Mountains have been venerated by many cultures, which worshipped great summits as gods and sacred beings. In their looming presence, humanity has seen power, steadfastness, and resolve. Yet you needn’t live near a mountain to tap into this vast energy of commanding grandeur. Conversely, since mountains are as unique in form as human beings, your locale may exist under the unwavering gaze of a small mountain without your knowing it. As you practice mountain meditation, the power that lurks in the heart of all mountains will flow into you while their essential beauty reminds you that you, too, are a creature of the earth.
If there are mountains in your area, plan to spend some time enjoying the peaceful embrace of Mother Nature, which can be a potent meditation aid. Likewise, grasping a rock or stone in your hand will enable you to easily tap into earth energy. If you are prevented by circumstance from visiting a mountain, however, begin by visualizing yourself at the base of a towering summit. Holding a rock can be helpful to tune into mountain energy. You may find yourself picturing a steep and majestic snowcapped peak or a lush, tree-covered mass that rises gently from the earth. Sit or imagine yourself sitting at the mountain’s base and spend a few minutes simply coexisting with it. When you feel tranquil, express your intention to commune with your mountain and ask to receive its energy. Project your consciousness onto the mountain’s peak, and look down upon the flat-lands over which it stands guard. Send light to the flora and fauna that call the mountain home. You may discover that you ! feel wonderfully immense and unshakable as you delve deeper into the meditation.
Finally, ask the mountain to serve as a guide and give it your sincerest gratitude. If you have literally visited a plateau or summit, pass time with the mountain by camping, hiking, or picnicking upon it. Or, if your journey has been a spiritual one, use your imagination to survey the sights, sounds, and scents of your mountain. As your explorations progress, you will become ever more grounded, growing gradually into your personal power. When you are finished meditating with mountain energy, give thanks to this strong and powerful energy for sharing time with you.
Happiest of Holidays everyone. I’ve been busy promoting both of the books and am dipping back in today to pass along some of the wise thoughts of my mentors at TheDailyOhm.com and author Madisyn Taylor.
Whenever you’re angry, ask yourself the question? “What am I afraid of, really”? My fears are very often irrational, but the key to controlling this anger emotion and its really ugly children — rage and frenzy— (Tasmanian Devil stuff) is to sense it coming on and stop to adjust and query the self.
Here’s some “food for thought” on the subject of anger ( like the frustration often surrounding Christmas and the Holidays )…..
December 18, 2014 Habitual Anger Unblocking the Ally
Anger can easily become our go-to emotion; to remedy, start noticing when and why you get angry.
Sometimes when we feel anger, it is coming from a deep place that demands acknowledgment and expression. At these times, it is important that we find healthy ways to honor our anger, remembering how dangerous it is to repress it. However, anger can also become a habit, our go-to emotion whenever things go wrong. Often this is because, for whatever reason, we feel more comfortable expressing anger than we do other emotions, like sadness. It can also be that getting angry gives us the impression that we’ve done something about our problem. In these cases, our habitual anger is inhibiting both our ability to express our other emotions and to take action in our lives.
If it’s true that anger is functioning this way in your life, the first thing you might want to try is to notice when you get angry. You might begin to see a pattern of some kind. For example, you could notice that it is always your first response or that it comes up a lot in one particular situation. If the pattern doesn’t become clear right away, you could try keeping a journal about when you get angry and see if you can find any underlying meaning. The good thing about keeping a journal is that you can explore your anger more deeply in it—from examining who in your family of origin expressed a lot of anger to how you feel when you encounter anger in others. This kind of awareness can be a formidable agent of transformation.
Anger can be a powerful ally, since it is filled with energy that we can harness and use to create change in the world. It is one of the most cathartic emotions, and it can also be a very effective cleanser of the emotional system. However, when it becomes a habit, it actually loses its power to transform and becomes an obstacle to growth. Identifying the role anger plays in your life and restoring it to its proper function can bring new energy and expansiveness to your emotional life.
After having just awakened at 4 with another night of “on-again-off-again sleep. You others out there “sigh” and know exactly what I mean. Thus, a little something to read while you sip your water and get ready to go back to bed.
My friends at ThedailyOhm.com come to my rescue again with a a great thought from Madisyn Taylor, my spiritual mentor:
November 21, 2014 Creating a Nightly Ritual A Special Goodnight
Bedtime can be a perfect time for a nighttime ritual of sending love to the world and finding gratitude for your day.
At the end of the day, as the sweet, dark stillness of night beckons us to lay down our bones and rest, we find ourselves at a clear transition point: Behind us lies the previous day and all that has come before; ahead of us, dawn heralds the unfolding of all that is yet to be. While many of us have morning rituals that connect us with our center and help us to set intentions, we may want to explore the magic and power of nighttime ritual as well. It holds for us a beautiful chance for self-appreciation and blessing. Before you go to bed each night, you can send gratitude, compassion, and healing to the being you have been up until this moment. And you can send lightness and love into the future for the one you are in the process of becoming.
Though simple, this action honors the journey you have taken thus far, while opening you to the wonderful possibilities still ahead. When you consciously engage with your own evolution this way, you may find that your sleep gets sweeter, filling your night with a deeper sense of trust and relaxation. As you rest, you can surrender to these peaceful hours, knowing that the road behind you has been seen and acknowledged with respect and kindness, while the path ahead now holds your own benevolence and well wishes.
This bedtime ritual empowers you as the only one who can determine the meaning of your own past and the hopefulness of your future. By setting this special time aside each night, you can begin to orient yourself on your path of growing. It allows you to let the past have its place, to trust that the future is taken care of, and to simply rest yourself in the graceful arms of the present moment.
Like the tree blown by the wind, we bend, we adapt.
“Our first effort is to calm ourselves”….
Now and then, my old friends TheDailyOhm.com carry the message so well that I feel compelled to share it with you. You can sign up at their website for daily mail and I recommend it. In the meantime, here are their thoughts on Patience – a calming virtue we all ought to aspire to acquire:
November 2, 2014 Patience as a Balm If you are feeling quick tempered today, you may react strongly when circumstances do not match your expectations. You may become impatient with others, particularly those with whom you share close relationships. Endeavoring to be aware of your emotions at all times can help you understand what is triggering your feelings. Taking a few moments to breathe deeply and compose yourself can help you approach others and deal with your situation with more patience. If you choose not to react emotionally to challenging people or circumstances today, you will likely experience a sense of peace. Remember that even though a person or a situation may trigger emotions within you, your emotions are still your responsibility and you should deal with them in healthy ways.
Patience can be the balm that soothes your emotions and makes you more agreeable to others when conflicts arise. When you exercise patience, you think before you speak or act and take a moment to consider whether your feelings merit your acting upon them or if they will naturally abate as time passes. Your responses are based upon conscious thought rather than the heady push of rash emotions. Your loved ones will also sense your willingness to look past the heat of the moment and be willing to do the same. The patience you exercise today will allow you to interact well with others in difficult situations.
Patience: The ability to wait
Hazelden is on the same page. Here are their reflections on patience for the day:
Today’s thought from Hazelden is:
All things pass… Patience attains all that it strives for. — St. Teresa of Avila
Some days, it seems like our struggles will never end. The pain, the loss, the heartaches, the failures we can recount them all. Where is the strength to go on?
What if we began our day by acknowledging that all things pass? That given time, effort, and patience, we can accept or accomplish most anything? But patience does not mean complacency. On the contrary, each day in recovery requires a new attitude, a new outlook that in time generates its own positive energy for growth and change.
We need strength and patience not only in the difficult moments, but in the easier ones – the days of comfort when things seem to be going almost too well.
Soon, we can look back across the months and see growth. As the skills of the dancer or the carpenter increase with time and patience, so do our skills in recovery. As we grow in recovery, becoming ever more patient, we become ever more in tune with our Higher Power and the promise of a new life.
When we rationalize our bad motives underneath a justification of being good, it takes a hard look for us to uncover the real truth of the matter. Perhaps we “constructively criticized” someone we were sure needed it, but when we step back and look at our real motivation it may have been little more than an effort to win a useless argument, justifying our superiority to soothe our egos. Perhaps we thought we were helping others to understand them – their not being present and all – when in actuality our true motive was to feel superior by pulling them down; so much easier when they are not around.
On occassion, we hurt those we love because we’re sure they “need to be taught a lesson,” but underneath that reason may be what we really want: to punish them. There have been moments we might have said we were depressed and felt bad, when in fact we were mainly seeking sympathy and attention.
An odd trait of our minds and emotions, is this perverse wish to hide a bad motive underneath a good one. It seems to permeate human affairs from top to bottom. Subtle and illusive, this form of self-righteousness can underlie the smallest act or thought.
If we pursue it with good effort, this examination becomes regular
practice for us, resulting in a marked change of our behavior patterns. We’ll observe that things are often not as they appear and with practice, we can alter these commonly premature and cynical conclusions. When it comes to our motives we will need to search our conscience with an effort to find their true appearance.