Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Sobriety Date

What changes for a person who is an addict practicing a spiritual program of recovery? Everything!  I meet these people in my work, since churches seem to have lots of meetings for these people.  On many levels, financial, relational, spiritual, and physical, they are so much better, more whole.  What changes for such a person when they stop practicing their spiritual program? Their sobriety date changes, and sometimes they die before they get a new sobriety date.  These people are my teachers.  My prayer life has no shelf time.  My meditation practice for today, does not seem to carry over through the next day.  I need to practice each day.  The excuse, "I have no time," is just that, an excuse.  Whenever I want to practice bad behavior I seem to have all the time in the world for that.  A little quiet desperation is not such a bad thing.

Monday, August 22, 2016


If we are growing, not stagnating, then life will be a series of transitions.  This is not the same as Geographic Solutions to our misery, that is, moving somewhere else because I am unhappy.  You might be in a quite wonderful situation, place, job, income, but something gnaws at you inside.  If you are growing in an interior or spiritual sense, this gnaw is a good thing.  It is telling you that you are drawing to the end of this part of your life, this manner of living.  The present was good for your development.  It has done its job.  Now you are feeling a call to move on to the "next."  A physical move is not always part of this transition.  One can live in the same place, but one will begin to live in a different manner.  Each person is different, but growth always has transitions.  It is like a child who is physically growing.  The child cannot continue to wear the same clothes forever.  It would become a bad fit.  So it is with life.  From time to time, we outgrow a good fit.  At times, I ask myself, "What's next!"  Where and how I live and what I do might be a good fit for now.  But even with that I find myself changing in the way and manner and content of what I do.  I do not see myself "retiring" as in not doing anything anymore.  People who retire well are people who transition from one way to another way that is growth.  A full life is not a series of lateral moves, at least not in the long term.  So, what is next for you?

Sunday, August 21, 2016


People who think that suicide might be a solution often are into balancing out living versus being dead depending on the pain level for one or the other.  Which might hurt worse?  If a person believes that being dead would not hurt but that being alive hurts a whole lot, then they are in a very difficult spot.  We sometimes say, "How could they do that to themselves?" as if their suicide, slow or fast, was a whole lot worse than their staying alive.  That is an opinion, a belief, a teaching about the wrong of suicide.  I suspect that many a person who was against suicide, got very fuzzy about it when living began to hurt to the point where their judgment, their upbringing, their beliefs in the value of their life got real fuzzy.  I try to have compassion.  Then I ask what their death can each me about how I need to take care of the life that I still have in this body.  And then I pray for gratitude.

Saturday, August 20, 2016


I read where a person spoke about thoughts this way: "Squirrels running around in my head before I could get a leash on them."  This is a wonderful metaphor for thoughts that come to us when we are trying to have a quiet mind, as in meditation.  You cannot control thoughts any more than you can control squirrels with a leash.  Let squirrels be squirrels and thoughts be thoughts.  In meditation, what we try to do is ignore thoughts, not give them any focus or attention.  We are aware of them, but we don't follow them around and see where they are going to end up.  We let them wander around in the mind.  This is the point of a breathing or mantra technique.  Some people might even use soft music to fill the background of their mind.  Squirrels seem to multiply if left alone.  Thoughts seem to just drift away into the background of life when we ignore them in meditation.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Drink

A friend of mine once said, "I am only having one drink.  See, I am not an alcoholic."  I said, "Oh?"  She had more to say.  To her, an alcoholic was someone who drank too much, which of course she was not going to do this evening at dinner.  I pointed to my broccoli.  I said, "See this broccoli?  I don't look at it and think that I am only going to have three pieces and no more.  I don't think about it at all.  I am not thinking about more broccoli now or later tonight."  She look puzzled.  So I explained to her that normal drinkers don't think about how many or few drinks they are going to have.  A little wine to add to the flavor of a meal, or relax with a friend, but nothing more is thought about the wine.  Alcoholics think about their drinking.  They are going to prove they are not alcoholics by not drinking or by drinking only one drink.  They are going to prove that they do not drink too much, or can control it...this time.  I have never been accused of eating too much broccoli.  The inevitable time comes, soon enough, too soon, when the controlling drinker has one too many and then whines about how no one loves them, no one cares, the world is a mess, and so on.  I don't end up that way with broccoli.  I don't need broccoli to whine!  Maureen, pray for me.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Margo II

If Margo liked you, trusted that you were basically a good person who was about to make a not so good decision she would say something like, "Don't be a jerk."  I liked this type of phrase because it does not accuse you of being a jerk.  It is not judgmental.  It says that you are not yet a jerk, but if you go down a certain path, that is the path of jerkiness.  You are a good person with options.  Of course, me being somewhat dull, I would have to ask her what she would recommend.  She would give a solution and then give the reasons why she would choose this particular solution.  So I would have a chance to learn something as well.  If you tell someone to their face that you think them a jerk, then they will resist any change.  They will not listen to you.  Beware of the bruised ego.  It has trouble changing course.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Inevitable Next Time

The "Inevitable Next Time," is not a good solution to life problems.  It is a solution of choice for many people because it seems to bring some short term gain or relief.  Then you realize that the solution has its own problems.  So now you have two problems, your original life problems, and now your solution, "The inevitable next time."  You vow you will stop this solution.  You use knowledge and will power.  Phooey!  You fail.  That is why the solution is inevitable.  It keeps coming back to hurt you.  An example: running makes you feel better.  You run 10 miles three days in a row, hard.  You get injured.  You have to stop running.  You say, "Now I know I cannot run three hard days at 10 miles per day."  Injury heals.  You start up running again.  You feel better.  You like feeling better, and would like "more" better.  So you up milage and days running, and boom, you get injured and now the injury is worse, maybe chronic.  And so on.  I know.  I have been there.  So what to do?  Talk to someone who knows about my inevitable next time solution.  I find someone with experience who can coach me, show me a better way.  With help, I solve my solution problem,  on a day to day basis, and now I can go on to find a healthier way, to work on my life problems.  There are coaches, counsellors and sponsors for that too.