second stage sobriety

sunday kind of love…….. todd rundgren

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i  have been posting music for as long as I’ve been blogging. 2006 was the year of my first post. I was really just investigating the medium. i was 2 years into my recovery and needed something more. In the process I met a circle of like minded individuals across the continent and further who enhanced my support network and helped alleviate greatly the anxiety that my early recovery heralded.

Along with the beautiful addition of online support, the evolution of my 10 year journey with blogging has cemented my lifelong love and reliance upon music. This continues to this day. Today’s offering….. Todd Rundgren. His name music will speak for itself.-

 

 

 

reconnecting with thanks

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“No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night.” ~Elie Wiesel
“No one is as capable of gratitude as one who has emerged from the kingdom of night.”
~Elie Wiesel

there are so many things to be grateful for in this life. i forget often that gratitude is a place of grace so i drift to other places in my mind and my heart. but truth be told, it is a blessing to be here, it is a complete adventure, it is a wild ride, and it is always filled with surprises.

today i just take a moment to remember my beliefs about being thankful and to reinforce them. i have learned that when push comes to shove, gratitude trumps most of the negative thoughts i am having and whisks me to a place of peace in my mind. it doesn’t change the situation. it changes my perception of the situation which affects my response.

[playlist ids=”280

holiday favorite

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“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”

dustin’s sober blog post today gave me a smile- for a few reasons really. firstly, his post reflects living in a mess and the havoc that it wreaks upon our psyche. holidays become just days with more holes. empty and dark, just as the depiction of the realm of the hungry ghosts suggests. secondly, it highlights how these dark days become the turning point for change in many peoples’ lives. the darkness becomes so big that it takes on a personality of its own and most often dominates the world it inhabits.

i can relate to these aspects of the addiction and recovery landscape. they echo my own. but the holidays can be double-edged sword because there are so many memories and are a ritual that we trudge through or skip through each year touching upon the very sacred and the primal in us.  these memories can be a slippery slope. many a person slides back down when push and shove become real. the spiritual practices i have in place may be the only protection i have some days from sliding down that slope myself. i have new coping skills and have honed them and invested in them over the years. the light that the holidays have developed over centuries to bring into our hearts and hearths is meant to be a comforting cultural spritual practice providing sustenance to last through the rest of winter. it intends to remind each other we have a past and we have a future.

in my life, this is exactly what it achieves. it provides light by asking me to remember what the value of light is. it offers me the memories of life without light to compare. double-edged sword- those dark days were potent. toxic and potent and memory wiping.

none-the-less i am grateful to have read dustin’s honest holiday offering. it stirred memories of secrets and lies and reinforced the hope and promise of today. thanks to him- and give him a shout.

dustin’s blog- remember the eve of christmas

 

 

there’s something about mary j

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I know who I am. I am not perfect. I'm not the most beautiful woman in the world. But I'm one of them. Mary J. Blige
I know who I am. I am not perfect. I’m not the most beautiful woman in the world. But I’m one of them.
Mary J. Blige

 

that’s it in a nutshell. she is just something else. i have not been a fan forever, but i have been a fan for some time now. she is real. she is down to earth. she is easily relate-able. i don’t have to guess who she is. it’s pretty clear. what is surprising though are a couple of things. the first is how she remains relevant. after the success, the ups and the downs, she continues to be a testament to telling the truth. if there was ever a symbol of healthy growing up, mary j is “it”.

shine on mary. shine on.

“Whole Damn Year”

Tryna find a way to explain this
Why you can’t touch me tonight?
I can feel you’re getting impatient
But I really can’t let you inside
Bad, how deep the pain is
Or you just couldn’t believe
And yes I’m good on the surface
But I’m a mess, I’m a mess underneath
See winter took most of my heart
And Spring punched right in the stomach
Summer came looking for blood
And by autumn, I was left with nothing

It took a whole damn year to repair my body
It took a whole damn year
It took a whole damn year to repair my body
It’s been about five years
Gon’ take a long long year for me to trust somebody
Gon’ take long long year
Gon’ take a long long year for me to touch somebody
It’s been a bad five years

i purchased her new collection titled london sesssions and really glad i did. here are some of the highlights for me.

 

progress… not perfection

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The present moment contains past and future. The secret of transformation, is in the way we handle this very moment. — Thich Nhat Hanh – Understanding Our Mind
The present moment
contains past and future.
The secret of transformation,
is in the way we handle this very moment.
— Thich Nhat Hanh – Understanding Our Mind

 

we only see as deeply as we look. even then, we have no guarantee that we will really see.

i certainly realize how easily it is to look past things that cause me discomfort because the fear of the unknown beneath that is more powerful. even when life seems so painful the way it is, there are many times i would rather endure than risk not knowing what’s next.

faith definitely helps with this, but it doesn’t erase it. lately i have been referring to the white lies i tell myself and other as “flash cards” that i have preprinted and hold up as answers sometimes when having a conversation about the truth i don’t feel ready to face.

a big part of the work in front of me is to become aware when i am using flash cards instead of being authentic. sounds easy i know, but lemme tell you it ain’t at all. i am an accomplished storyteller and faker.

“It Takes A Lot To Know A Man”

It takes a lot to know a man
It takes a lot to understand
The warrior, the sage
The little boy enraged

It takes a lot to know a woman
A lot to understand what’s humming
The honeybee, the sting
The little girl with wings

It takes a lot to give, to ask for help
To be yourself, to know and love what you live with
It takes a lot to breathe, to touch, to feel
The slow reveal of what another body needs

It takes a lot to know a man
A lot to know, to understand
The father and the son
The hunter and the gun

It takes a lot know a woman
A lot to comprehend what’s coming
The mother and the child
The muse and the beguiled

It takes a lot to give, to ask for help
To be yourself, to know and love what you live with
It takes a lot to breathe, to touch, to feel
The slow reveal of what another body needs

It takes a lot to give, to ask for help
To be yourself, to know and love what you live with
It takes a lot to breathe, to touch, to feel
The slow reveal of what another body needs

It takes a lot to live, to ask for help
To be yourself, to know and love what you live with
It takes a lot to breathe, to touch, to feel
The slow reveal of what another body needs

What are you so afraid to lose?
What is it you’re thinking that will happen if you do?
What are you so afraid to lose?
(You wrote me to tell me you’re nervous and you’re sorry)
What is it you’re thinking that will happen if you do?
(Crying like a baby saying “this thing is killing me”)
What are you so afraid to lose?
(You wrote me to tell me you’re nervous and you’re sorry)
What is it you’re thinking that will happen if you do?
(Crying like a baby saying “this thing is killing me”)
You wrote me to tell me you’re nervous and you’re sorry
Crying like a baby saying “this thing is killing me”

feeling good

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“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” ~Charles R. Swindoll
“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” ~Charles R. Swindoll

Every bad experience, painful relationship, and compromise you’ve ever made in good conscience will somehow transform into a beautiful inner reservoir of spiritual gifts and blessings.

Life wants you to take notice of three things when you’re going through a difficult time that may seem eternal:

Trust life. There’s a higher purpose behind every seemingly impossible and difficult phase. You’ve just got to hang in there and know that it’s for the best.

Change. If you find yourself feeling bad a lot more often than not, take time out to reflect on whether or not you’re happy deep down with what you’re doing.

Believe. Believe in yourself, even if the world around you doesn’t. If you don’t, who will?

Hold onto what you believe in. You’re meant to emerge as a beautiful butterfly from your chrysalis. Always remember that, with a smile, and give yourself a chance to delight and revel in the mysterious workings of the universe.

it’s a new dawn

it’s a new day

and i’m feeling good.

new things i love

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needed a new ride
needed a new ride- at least it’s a hybrid

 

couple of updates for December 1, 2014…

 

renewed sense of purpose

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Your work is to discover your world  and then with all your heart give yourself to it. Buddha
Your work is to discover your world
and then with all your heart give yourself to it.
Buddha


The Third Step Prayer

God, I offer myself to Thee-
To build with me
and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness
to those I would help of Thy Power,
Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!

this has been a stand-out year. i have taken 2 months away from regular work and experimented with renewed soul searching, setting boundaries, letting go, saying no, trusting my intuition, practicing living as a human being not a human doing, journaling, and listening.

at the very least this has been a hella ride. i have no real idea where the journey goes, but have made a renewed commitment to finding value in the experience.

for this i am eternally grateful.

take me to the river

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I don't know why I love her like I do All the changes you put me through Take my money, my cigarettes I haven't seen the worst of it yet I want to know that you'll tell me I love to stay Take me to the river, drop me in the water Take me to the river, dip me in the water Washing me down, washing me down .....Talking Heads
I don’t know why I love her like I do
All the changes you put me through
Take my money, my cigarettes
I haven’t seen the worst of it yet
I want to know that you’ll tell me
I love to stay
Take me to the river, drop me in the water
Take me to the river, dip me in the water
Washing me down, washing me down
…..Al Green

life is queer. or at least mine is. the circling and cycling of emotion, perspective, and clarity can be exhausting as well as exhilarating. time is the factor that is the most friendly in this dance. i am often acutely affected by situations that freeze my emotional availability. time is the ingredient that turns the stone to sand and lets the wind swish it away. time gives the gift of perspective and de-escalation. time washes away some of the grime.

i have come to realize that a very unpleasant set of encounters that i have had probably are connected to an unconscious letting go of a toxic pattern. i have gotten to a place in my life that i feel comfortable erecting boundaries around the way i am treated. and there has been depression around this perhaps because i am grieving the old ways. the independence and serenity that accompanies a lack of bullshit takes some getting used to.

i haven’t been immediately clued in to the telling signs of healthy grief, but they are now a bit more familiar. it is sad business to let go of old beliefs and habits. i just hope it doesn’t remain infinitely sad. i am hoping that some joy and room for growth comes into play.


The Eighth Step is not easy; it demands a new kind of honesty about our relations with other people. The Eighth Step starts the procedure of forgiving others and possibly being forgiven by them, forgiving ourselves, and learning how to live in the world. By the time we reach this step, we have become ready to understand rather than to be understood. We can live and let live easier when we know the areas in which we owe amends. It seems hard now, but once we have done it, we will wonder why we did not do it long ago.

…The final difficulty in working the Eighth Step is separating it from the Ninth Step. Projecting about actually making amends can be a major obstacle both in making the list and in becoming willing. We do this step as if there were no Ninth Step. We do not even think about making the amends but just concentrate on exactly what the Eighth Step says which is to make a list and to become willing. The main thing this step does for us is to help build an awareness that, little by little, we are gaining new attitudes about ourselves and how we deal with other people.
– Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text, Chapter 4/Step 8

serenity prayer

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God take and receive my liberty, my memory, my understanding and will, All that I am and have He has given me God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference Living one day at a time Enjoying one moment at a time Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, Not as I would have it Trusting that He will make all things right If I surrender to his will That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy in the next. AMEN ... from aahistory.com
God take and receive my liberty,
my memory, my understanding and will,
All that I am and have He has given me
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference
Living one day at a time
Enjoying one moment at a time
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to h will
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy in the next. AMEN … from aahistory.com

there recently has been a crack in the veneer of doom that loomed over my life this year. whatever triggered old feelings has led me to a place that i am encountering a new idea- subconscious restructuring. this is not my original idea at all, but it is an concept i will be exploring over the next few months to determine if it may be a healthy and effective pathway to lead me to higher ground.

in the six realms of existence, there are said to be heirarchies that one inhabits depending upon their actions in life. having managed to emerge from the hamster wheel of a potent realm there is a current revelation that a deeper acceptance is required to continue to enjoy peace and tranquility in life.

there are some cyclical themes in my life that have become apparent.

1) my family continues to support me and accept me. all the while some of those players cause me to revert to old mindsets with their failure to evolve. recognizing my own role in this dance is imperative to healthy moves forward.

2) the inability to say “no” and remaining visible during conflict are character defects that stem from a primal thought process. i am not certain, but it is possible that i am attracted to conflict in order to cause me to withdraw and/or runaway. it is not clear what thoughts and beliefs drive this cycle. it is clear however that it feels broken and unhealthy.

3) i have learned through journaling and through life that creativity is an expression of gratitude to the universe for the blessings of the journey. the smoke has not cleared near the area of whether my expression is valid or appropriate. this again seems to be enmeshed with old beliefs and old programming.

this last tumble along my path has afforded unexpected time for reflection and review. with this has emerged this opening of hope. relief. possibility. perhaps a new deal.

therefore i need to reiterate the serenity prayer at this fork in the road. i am not clear on what can be changed and what cannot. i need help in determining clarity in those areas. this is that prayer. this is an ask for wisdom and patience. trust and faith. acceptance and letting go.

Two weeks late like a surplus reprieve
I found a hair the length of yours on my sleeve
I wound it round and round my finger so tight
It turned to purple and a pulse formed inside

And I knew the beat since it matched your own beat
I still remember it from our chest to chest and feet to feet
The easy silence then was a sweet relief to this hush
Of ovens, aeroplanes and distant car horns

A fire a fire, you can only take what you can carry
A pulse your pulse, it’s the only thing I can remember
I break you don’t, I was always set to self destruct though
The fire the fire, it cracks and barks like primal music

I said I knew the beat ’cause it matched your own beat
It’s become my engine my own source of heat
The sea between us only amplifies the sound waves
Every hum and echo and crash paints my cave.