here i am on wednesday evening after finalizing the agreement to list my townhouse for sale. it has become embarrassingly evident that the loss of 28 percent of my annual income has taken a toll. i am a mixed bag of emotion- shame, sadness, worry to name a few, and have been scattered and detached for awhile. once i came to the decision that i did, i have felt myself pulling back into the present.
i have changed my job duties, my job title, and the department i work for and now am beginning a transition for my residence and my financial life. i have been in the middle of a storm of sorts in my life and by the grace of a power greater than myself, i have managed to maintain a spiritual life. sometimes the ordinary can appear so very extraordinary.
it is sad to think of leaving my comfort zone. i have been here for 4 years and have grown up quite a bit emotionally here. i first truly came to feel and recognize how stunted my emotional life had been before sobriety. i never understood how toxic shame really is until i found an ancient seed germinating after reliving a drama. it has taken almost 4 years for me to learn how to begin to soothe myself when someone i trust does not continue to be trustworthy. and it does continue to happen. and i am sure i trust much less easily.
with all this in mind, perhaps this residence shift is a metaphor telling me it is time to move on. moving on is not the easiest task for people with trauma. my experience is that i am much more comfortable when terrorized than i am when things are unknown. and today, i feel confident that moving on will reap some rewards and offer me new insight and a new focus for my future.
my friend jim chandler passed away this week. he had been staying at a hotel in ohio (on kaiser’s dime) waiting for a liver transplant. something went awry and he was in icu for 21 days and the whispered away. jim was a minister at the denver church of religious science. he contributed fairly regularly to the newsletter we publish. jim was always wearing a positive message with spiritual undertones.
i remember when my friends and i wanted to start a gay men’s 12 step meeting that focused on meth, he offered space at the church. there were already other meetings there, however my understanding is that many board members did not want tweakers roaming free in the building in the evening. jim advocated for the meeting, citing the outrageously high number of gay men who had meth issues, as well as the hiv transmission rates that involved meth. he never boasted about this, he just did it quietly- and potently.
i watched part of the 2011 vma award show and particularly liked russel brand’s tribute to amy winehouse. he pointed out succinctly and lovingly that although amy lived with a very evident drug and alcohol issue, that there indeed is a solution for this. and he wanted to remind all the patrons of the show that a solutions did exist.
i have remarkably come to believe that living with an active faith is far more prudent than not. i love my atheist friends, but i am more enamored with the safety net that faith provides. i never wanted to have to rely on anything like faith when i was young. it seemed so weak. but as the gray antiques my temples, i realize that i struggled with relying on anything because i didn’t grow up with a lot of that around. i believed then that a rolling stone was less prone to heartbreak and i lived much of my life that way.
and here i am on the move again.
“People get into a heavy-duty sin and guilt trip, feeling that if things are going wrong, that means that they did something bad and they are being punished. That’s not the idea at all. The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings that you need to open your heart. To the degree that you didn’t understand in the past how to stop protecting your soft spot, how to stop armoring your heart, you’re given this gift of teachings in the form of your life, to give you everything you need to open further.” — Pema Chödrön
i keep reminding myself that no matter what happens i will be fine. and actually, i have already taken steps to reel in the wreckage. i must admit that i feel a bit like the manager of the nuclear reactor in japan- dealing with a very volatile situation, yet too proud and too stunned to ask for help. and the disastrous results of the inability to make smart and timely choices leaves a path of desolation in its wake.
and all the while this is being revealed, i find that my security in other arenas of my life is up for discussion. i learn that doing the right thing is not always enough to guarantee me getting what i want. and even though getting what i want, and having things the way i want them is not how i perceive myself to operate, it seems that i still value those attributes very very highly.
believe me, this is not the story i wanted to see the 1st quarter of 2011, but here it is anyway. i don’t know it all, i am effected by the world around, and my ego continues to rule my decisions and lead me down dark paths.
what has changed, though, is my willingness to look at how i operate in my own life. and i have let go of being a victim of my own tendencies. i am at the mercy of my nature often- much more often than i’d like. but i am also connected to the undeniable currency of struggle. if i can refocus as i move forward, i can expand my heart. and if anything is true, it is that my heart implicitly needs to expand.