that’s the good news. and it is good. the other side of the story is that i have not been on my best behavior nor in my best frame of mind. i have wallowed in a little pity, played a bit of the victim, been a bit gamey and childish, and worked it more than i would like to admit. being human is really damn humbling…
am offering 2 selections with today’s post- 1 with homage to the mindful part of myself and the other with a nod to the diva that walks the catwalk inside my head with repetition…. mercury in retrograde leaves november 10- fingers crossed we make it without too much more destruction and re-creation..the title of this post is practicing mindfulness – the emphasis is on practicing.
“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. (10)”
there has been a definite shift in my psyche. the game board seems to have gotten suddenly larger and i feel as if i have a lot more room to play. my financial situation has cleared up- so maybe there’s some pressure that has been lifted. i find i am tired of holding grudges and feeling afraid. i don’t know that this will make me more forgiving or less fearful, but i know that my attachment to those things has shifted.
i needed a 3day weekend badly. i went to the mountains for a day and a half and had a weekend here. it feels glorious and i am basking in it. i have said “no” on several occasions which is truly a new development for me. i have faith in a future. i look forward to it, too. and i can now count on my fingers the number of people i think of as friends.
it may seem as if these are juvenile and simple things. maybe they really are. but i am not bothered. i have struggled so much with self-esteem issues that these basics are very important and a true sign of growth. i have needed to learn to stop going to “it’s my fault” every time something stank. presumably, i still go there, but i try my best not to land there now.
i was asked on a date last weekend for the first time in i can’t remember when. it didn’t happen, but the fact that it was discussed caused a shift. it still does actually. i am to see this person later this week and am curious about it all. not hopeful really- but curious.
it has been a restorative 3 day weekend for me. i needed it more than i realized. i am co-chairing a rally this september and will spend most of the summer working out the details. as is my style, there will be overthinking upon overthinking. so a couple more kickback getaways like this one to sustain my pace.
i shared in a meeting yesterday that i have realized that one of the hardest things for me in life has been to manage my feelings. for so many years, whenever i felt fear, anger, anxiety, doubt, embarrassment, shame, or any other somewhat challenging emotion, i would get high and change the way i felt. when i got clean, the coping skill i had used was missing and its absence was impactful. it has taken me all these years to feel comfortable with those feelings. i don’t report finesse or expert abilities, just abilities. this alone has been life-changing and worth the effort.
spent the weekend finishing up training for peer coaches for afr and my workplace. the shift in the trainees from start to finish can be so dramatic. as these folks start to expand the concept of what is possible in their recovery and what it can look like, my own concepts shift. always a work in progress.
i haven’t had much time lately to write. besides, i have been un-numbing from the news that my financial situation has become clearer and more focused. if i really look, i see that my many roles in my lives seem to all be shifting. it should be comical.
if there was a situation for the practice of faith, i might be finding myself in the middle of one. my nature revs up and i feel compelled to pull out a packet of dried drama and steep it in my world. this urge beckons me like the spirit of barnabas collins to let it live in my world once again. i am in zones of unknowing on several levels and i am pausing.
this in and of itself is a short miracle. i honestly don’t know if i will see it through without recidivism- not substance- just behavior. but i am gonna work at it. it is very much like wearing a new pair of shoes. they feel great, but foreign none-the-less.
it’s all nutsy and new, but i am certain that i am moving in a direction i need to go. i move forward in faith not certainty. and with hope.
the 5-points jazz festival is tomorrow and i am going with a friend to see this local band. i have a full day of training new peer coaches at work and then off to the neighborhood next door for some tunes. the funny thing is that my friend thought we would be going to see a european techno-chillout ensemble, but we will be seeing a local cover band. ah well- it’s a saturday night..:)
i stopped by to see my sponsor today to check in about our meeting. during the conversation, it became clear that i have some real resistance to looking honestly at myself right now. i am not liking this realization, but i can neither ignore nor deny it. i have some reservations. about what i am not exactly sure. but i do know that i need to lean into the resistance.
i have developed too many ego issues. i have wrestled with emotional safety. i have allowed my drive to succeed to overshadow my sense of inclusion. i have opted to feel numb in lieu of feeling uncomfortable-this is fairly scary. amid all this, i have become slightly isolated. i have set boundaries with family members and this has become a fence to keep them out. in some ways i have become fearful of others and thus prideful because i don’t negotiate my fears. i let them control me and keep me like a stone sculpture. this trend has become like dining on a frozen dinner- without flavor, without adventure, and much too easy.
i realized today that i would like to speak publicly. i believe that the experiences i have catalogued might embody some valuable information. i am walking through recovery of a few types, mental health, bi-polar disorder, ptsd, sexaholism, and hiv. perhaps it sounds like a lot, but it is the road i am travelling. i’m not finished, but if i am to retell my insight, i must be more diligent about my own housekeeping. as i look around my house, i realize what a double entendre this is.
i have been listening to bettye lavette, shirley horn, and ernestine anderson lately. the vintage jazz standards create a sense of familiarity and wonder at the same time in me. but today i’ll leave you with some etta james. she passed today and i am attempting to underline how blessed i feel she was here.
“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.” — Kahlil Gibran
i have been working as a counselor for a few years now. it is not the samo samo thing at all, really. i mean, most of the people i encounter are stuck somewhere in their lives. many have been stuck for a very long time. what i am learning about my work is that it continues to be more about helping them see that there may be another way, and not necessarily about helping them find it.
in someways, it seems that if they can actually “see” that there is another way, or a way out, they will muster the where-with-all to journey forward and do things a little differently.
but as humans, we are definitely creatures of habit. this being true, we without fail love our own pain and discomfort. if stuck, we have probably been numb to our own pain for some time and have forgotten that it it even hurts. often, not hurting is more frightening than hurting.
it continues to be fascinating to me- this process of education and counsel. there are definitely successes as well as distinctive misses. there is a mosh pit of unclarity sometimes around boundaries, professionalism, and my own human-ness. this doesn’t appear often, but it does appear. people who are in flux or stuck are often rife with drama. and drama is compelling for me. it makes life interesting. it makes the days go by. and i am comfortable with drama, because i grew up with so much near by.
i have let myself forget once or twice that i am on my own journey. those i work with are on a journey, too. part of the work is allowing these two arcs to play themselves out without trying to steer. oh this is without doubt part of the work.
Loving-kindness is a meditation practice, which brings about positive attitudinal changes as it systematically develops the quality of ‘loving-acceptance’. It acts, as it were, as a form of self-psychotherapy, a way of healing the troubled mind to free it from its pain and confusion. Of all Buddhist meditations, loving-kindness has the immediate benefit of sweetening and changing old habituated negative patterns of mind…. reprinted from www.buddhanet.net
― Pema Chödrön
Ani Pema Chödrön was born Deirdre Blomfield-Brown in 1936, in New York City. She attended Miss Porter’s School in Connecticut and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. She taught as an elementary school teacher for many years in both New Mexico and California. Pema has two children and three grandchildren.
While in her mid-thirties, Ani Pema traveled to the French Alps and encountered Lama Chime Rinpoche, with whom she studied for several years. She became a novice nun in 1974 while studying with Lama Chime in London. His Holiness the Sixteenth Karmapa came to England at that time, and Ani Pema received her ordination from him.
Ani Pema first met her root guru, Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, in 1972. Lama Chime encouraged her to work with Rinpoche, and it was with him that she ultimately made her most profound connection, studying with him from 1974 until his death in 1987. At the request of the Sixteenth Karmapa, she received the full bikshuni ordination in the Chinese lineage of Buddhism in 1981 in Hong Kong.
Ani Pema served as the director of the Karma Dzong, in Boulder until moving in 1984 to rural Cape Breton, Nova Scotia to be the director of Gampo Abbey. Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche gave her explicit instructions on establishing this monastery for western monks and nuns.
Ani Pema currently teaches in the United States and Canada and plans for an increased amount of time in solitary retreat under the guidance of Venerable Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche.
Ani Pema is interested in helping establish Tibetan Buddhist monasticism in the West, as well in continuing her work with western Buddhists of all traditions, sharing ideas and teachings. She has written several books: “The Wisdom of No Escape”, “Start Where You Are”, “When Things Fall Apart”, “The Places that Scare You”, “No Time to Lose”, “Practicing Peace in Times of War” and most recently “Taking the Leap – Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears”. All are available from Shambhala Publications.