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Facing Our Own Dishonesty

 

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”  — Prov. 25:11

Facing our own dishonesty can be daunting, but maintaining absolute honesty is a basic premise of our recovery program.  12 Step programs of recovery describe it as “rigorous” honesty.  Belief that we can be honest without a solid commitment simply won’t work.

The more we grow, the more we develop our ability to make one choice at a time, to experience one feeling at a time, to tell the truth one situation at a time.  We admit to ourselves when we feel guilty, angry, fearful, and resentful – the negative feelings that are difficult to face.  Being honest is how we finally come to know what used to baffle us about our addiction.  When we create a unity between honest feeling, honest thinking, and honest action, we find that we have become honest people.  Personal honesty is a gift for which I thank the Universe every day.


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It Is, What It Is

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“There is no greater enemy to those who would please than expectation.”       — Montaigne

A friend and I were recently rehashing some difficulties – ridiculous drama,  that we recently experienced, courtesy of a mutual friend.  This friend I was talking with suffered from the drama much more than I, to the tune of about $3,500. In my friend’s most recent session with her therapist, she was encouraged to accept; “It is, what it is.”  I began to realize that we both had certain expectations of our mutual friend.

Later that day, I found myself thinking, as I watched one of my neighbors attempting to give some order to her cluttered apartment, ” Why is she doing it like this?  This isn’t the way I would do it.”  She was making more chaos than when she began.  And how about this: on my roommate’s behavior today I was thinking, “I don’t understand why she’s acting like this.  What’s wrong with her?”  I wondered, “Am I setting myself up for disappointment by my expectations or am I realistic about what I am expecting from myself and other people and life?”

When we start to say things such as what I have said, we can stop and look inside ourselves.  Chances are, we’ll find expectations.  When we want people to act and live according to our wishes, we have set ourselves up as arbiters of their behavior.  Somewhere within ourselves, we cling to the idea that we know the best way.

Underneath our expectations may lurk such feelings as abandonment, fear, insecurity, grandiosity or anger.  We worry that we can’t control what’s happening – and we’re right, we can’t.  But the more we respect other people’s right to make their own choices and mistakes, to express their uniqueness, and to grow in their own time, the more freedom we have to do the same.  We can use our power for our own good, and not give it away to hidden or not-so-hidden expectations.  It is, what it is.

Readings From the Runes

Beautiful bag for beautiful Runes

I begin most days with a reading from the Runes, asking what my course of right action is for the day ahead of me.  Before I draw a Rune from my special sack, I recite to myself “The Prayer of St. Francis.”  If I anticipate a situation before me that could be intense or turbulent, I may meditate or pray for specific strength, wisdom or guidance.  With a clear mind, and a strong will, openness and the intention to know my direction for the day, I then draw one stone.  My Runes are made of rose quartz and I found them in a metaphysical shop in Sedona Arizona.  I feel that because they come from Sedona, which has a special energy from the vortex’s there, my Runes are highly charged.

Like me, there are many who set aside that special time of day to consult the Runes.  Some light candles or incense. It is important to compose one’s self through meditation or a focus on breathing.  It is important to free the mind of all cares and concerns.  To the beginner, even to have the mind cleared for just one moment will be helpful.  The key here is focus and to control one’s mind.  Life happens however; the Runes can be consulted or read without the more formal preparation I’ve described.  One’s need is what brings forth the energy of the Runes.

The consultation of the Runes is referred to as “casting” and is considered “play.”  This however is a very sacred form of play.  I find that a particularly good time to consult the Runes is when one is faced with a decision.  Especially situations one is facing where one’s own resources are exhausted or one possesses little or incomplete information.  For me, the Runes serve as a decision making tool.  Focus the issue clearly in the mind.  Reach into the sack of Runes, making contact with the stones.  Each time I reach my hand into my bag of Runes, some of the stones feel cold while others feel hot.  Intuitively I know, without looking into the bag of course, which Rune is the “right” Rune.  The individual that introduced me to the Runes said to me, “The right Rune always sticks to my fingers.”

When Runes are being cast for someone else, this person should be asked to put together their question or concern in their mind, but not say it out loud.  By keeping the matter to themselves, any unconscious personal bias is removed from the reading.  Rune readings for others don’t have to be face-to-face.  A connection through the Internet or telephone works just as well.  What is required is the individual’s focus on their issue.

Let’s say that one wishes to consult the Runes on behalf of another person, but their permission to do so can’t be obtained.  This is when the Runes should be consulted for “the course of right action.”  The Runes can be asked whether such action is timely or correct.  “Yes” or “No” questions may be asked.  If the Rune is drawn in its upright position the response is “yes”.  The reversed position indicates “no.”  Nine of the Runes have no upright or reversed position.  When I consult the Runes regarding an issue that requires a “yes” or “no” response and I draw a Rune that has no reversed position, I continue drawing Runes until I reach one that does.

I have made reference a number of times to “the course of right action.”  This form of request is very appropriate for the Runes.  I have consulted the Runes for myself and many others regarding issues such as career moves, real estate sales, investment opportunities, business dealings, relationships and much more.  My preference is to use the word “issue” as opposed to “question” when consulting the Runes for myself or others.  Often, someone will ask, “Should I quit this job?” As an issue, one would say, “The issue is my work.”  It may seem trivial but re-framing a question into an issue is a crucial distinction.  If a question is asked and the Runes provide an answer, the role of the individual facilitating the reading is a passive one.  If an issue is addressed, and the Runes comment on that issue, one is able to extract one’s own answer and determine for one’s self what the course of right action should be.

If there is no specific issue at all in mind, and one still feels drawn to consult the Runes, ask, “What is it that I need to know for my life right now?”  The response from the Runes will always be just what is necessary at that moment.

My Work Toward Personal Growth is Starting to Feel Routine

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“To live and let live, without clamor for distinction or recognition; to wait on divine Love; to write truth first on the tablet of one’s own heart – this is the sanity and perfection of living, and my human ideal.” — Mary Baker Eddy

Some days, I feel like the work I do for my personal growth seems simply mundane. I make a choice and then I make it again. Unlike the uncontrolled life I had before, of an uncontrolled maniacal person with bi-polar, life now has a greater degree of sanity that comes from making good choices until they become new habits. Every part of me, may rebel at this from time to time. Does this signal what I fear; a downward spiral?

My old behaviors sometimes try to replay the old tapes in my mind that tell me that a sane life is a boring and mundane. But it’s not: it frees us because now life is more manageable.  I’m finding out in this process that it’s the small choices that count. Maybe I change something in my life-like the kind of television show I watch or the music I listen to. Maybe I change my lunch routine or take a different bus route than the usual standby.

One of the simplest concepts I came to understand through this most recent exercise, is that I only have to choose for twenty-four hours. The bottom line for me is to have the willingness, humility and tenacious faith. I will try to see day-to-day routine as giving me the sanity and stability which I know I need to feel safe.


Where Is My Light?

 

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It seems as though my Light went out on or about the twenty-first of June, 2005. That was the day that my partner of 11years ended our relationship. From that day forward, and for many days thereafter, I could no longer stomach my life, or even my own existence. I wished I were dead. And with that thought in my head, a dull, constant pain in my heart began in my chest, My Light had gone out.  That bulb blew so hard, that I haven’t found a way to turn it back on again. Everything changed after my Light went out. No more jokes from me, and no more smiles either.  The way I look or the way that I live. I began hating myself so much, that all I wanted was to die. I wanted to be dead, or dying. One of the two. It didn’t matter. And then my wish came true. The first suicide attempt. Botched. The second attempt, failed. An admission to a psychiatric facility for management of my bi polar disorder and rehab for my addiction to crystal meth. I began faking my progress through treatment. I said all the right things that were expected of me by the staff at St. Luke’s.

And then I found out that I was not only HIV+, but in full-blown AIDS. At last, I was at least dying. My Light was really gone now. Everything I knew in my life began to fall apart and fell away from me. I couldn’t grasp anything that mattered to me. I couldn’t go back to the home Joel and I shared for ten years. Our pets were to be split up between us. Our furniture sent to be auctioned off. I would move in with my sister, apply for welfare assistance and hope for the day when I might be able to live independently once again. There was to be outpatient treatment, and twelve step groups. There would be no using of crystal meth, and no consuming of alcohol. I was watched as though I were an escapee from an asylum, someone on the verge of committing some terrible act of harm against society. Without my Light, I began feeling lost, alone, and afraid.

The only echoes of my previous life were those of the hurt, pain and suffering I inflicted upon those I claimed to have loved. There were dances in my head, of lies, deceit, cheating and manipulation. Without my Light, there was no life for me to love or for me to feel was worth living. How could Joel ever forgive me? I beat myself mentally until I felt that I was worthless, almost subhuman.

Then there were small sparks. An apartment. My independence. Welfare and food stamps. Friends to support me emotionally and to help me feel at least somewhat loved. A bigger spark still, I met my present partner, Christopher. Things moved quickly. We stated our love for one another the very first night that we met. He never left after that first night. We decided he would move in. This was my love at first sight experience. A glimmer of light. But not Light.

Something was wrong though with this relationship with Christopher. Our dreamy beginning suddenly turned cold and dark, as his temper flared, outbursts we eventually would call them. Physical harm. Hurtful, hateful words that still sting like a nerve pain. Without Light, life was in chaos. I couldn’t manage my life, Christopher couldn’t manage his, and neither of us could fully support the other. Our lights were shut off by the power company and for nearly three months we lived in darkness until we were evicted from that apartment. We lived in disarray. Whose fault was that? Why even bother to cast blame. Joel turned his Light upon me and I saw the way in which I was living, and it was not the way I have ever lived in the past. I could see it all, but only for a few moments. My ex-partner stretched out his arm and said he’d help me out this one time. This one time only.

A new apartment and a fresh start, but not the best choice. Close to the home I had with my ex-partner, and in my old neighborhood, but not safe. Still, life was not managed well. The car is lost, stolen, towed. Who really knows? We got caught driving it with a suspended registration and no insurance. I had to go before a judge and I still have not yet dealt with the fines. I should be filing for protection under bankruptcy. I can’t manage my money at all. And Christopher will spend it faster than I have ever imagined anyone spending money. My ex-partner remained by my side for a time, with ideas to make life manageable. He helped in many ways. His Light shining on me confused me then. I found myself fantasizing about being back in relationship with him. With every crisis in my life, I called him and was there. Shining some more of his Light so that I can see a little better than before. His shining Light revealed strange pathways of mine that appear when I make choices and decisions. I began to become aware that I wasn’t on the path that I should have been on.  Sadly, my ex-partner has completely severed all ties with Christopher and I, apparently having gotten in touch with some latent resentment and anger, for which he claims he will never be able to come to any form of forgiveness, the forgiveness from before, he says, wasn’t authentic.

Without my own Light, I feel that death is near. Surely without Light, my life shall end. I prepare for my own transition. Memorial service and the entirety of its music is selected, Last Will and Testament complete, disposition of the animals noted, Health Care Power of Attorney chosen. Now why won’t death just come? I’ve got to wait here in the dark? This isn’t even funny. I already feel so lost, alone and afraid. Christopher seems to be getting somewhat better though not really committing to taking his meds or going to therapy.

In my darkness I can’t see. Even my glasses are gone most of the time, worn by Christopher. I find a new area of discomfort in my gut. It’s vile and poisonous and comes through my darkness in the form of mean, hateful, hurtful behavior. Words that I know will cause equal pain and suffering to mine are hurled out against Christopher. And following these waves of anger grew despair and deep depression. A depression so deep that I can’t even move. Nothing looks good to me. I see no positive to my being here or my existence. My body feels as though each day, it is shutting down just a little more. I experience chest pain so severe that I have to stop and catch my breath and to rest until it subsides.

I take many, many pictures of myself. Christopher takes many as well. In these pictures I try to smile, as though I would be filled with Light, but each photo reveals a face that is contorted or in pain with each attempt. I look at these pictures and think to myself, “There is no Light living here”. I begin to edit each picture making each look even more gloomy, and dark.

With each day comes greater waves of anger and loss of self control. “I want Joel” I tell Christopher. “Joel will help me. He’ll rescue me. He always does. Joel is always there for me”. Christopher hears this many times over, and eventually begins to doubt my love for him. He believes it is Joel that I want. And if that’s the case I should go to him. But Joel has moved on. I have not. If I had my Light, maybe I could see my way clear, and move on from Joel. Or is that just an excuse to hang on to something familiar and someone who forgives and gives generously? My Light doesn’t even come on when I’m in the house we once owned together. It’s all so different and it doesn’t feel like my home any longer. All I hear are the echoes of the life we once lived there. Echoes of family gatherings and parties with friends. Of projects and crafts. And of course the things I did there that ruined the Light. Shameful, disrespectful, deceitful acts.

I miss the life that I had when I also had Light. Life was Spiritual. Life had a rhythm and a cadence. Life to me now, has a loud bullying voice that embarrasses me. Which of course I retaliate with my own viciousness that is sure to hurt. This life is filled with loss. The loss of things that was once dear and valued by me. Destroyed by someone who had no regard for their meaning and felt there would be a better use for them as an art project. The actual loss of a pet (Precious) and the impending loss of Cinder. I still grieve the loss of Pepper, Blue and CeCe. All of this is what I believe put out that once beautiful, shining, glorious Light that I had been filled with. Now, I have nothing. My writing this will certainly not please my partner. But it is the truth. I can’t go on living a life without Light. It doesn’t even matter how many days I may have left. Even if it’s just a few days of life yet to be lived, I would choose to have it filled with Light than all of this darkness.

I would like to know the steps I must take to reclaim my Light. How exactly do I get it back? Where do I begin? I wish to laugh again, and make jokes. I want a smile on my face to come naturally. I want to feel the love I have for another, and in turn the love one has for me. I want to turn to my God when I feel my Light begin to dim, to talk things out the way we used to. I want to enjoy the routine of life, and respect the entire world around me. I want to be responsible to the pets in my charge and give them the best care possible. I wish to cry less. I cry so hard that my Soul begins to hurt. And Souls aren’t supposed to hurt. I want my Light to return. It has taken much of my strength to cry out for help. But I did. I welcome feedback and feel assured that help will come. And so will my Light.