Archive October 1 2007 DonInLondon 'Day in the Life'



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The Big Issue Foundation's core ethos is self help. We offer support to homeless and socially excluded people who seek to gain control of their lives and help them move off the streets and into a home and a job.We work with over 2000 vendors across the UK, supporting them with a diverse program of opportunities either delivered through our own services or in partnership with specialist agencies. Each new vendor has a Needs Assessment, and from this an individual action plan is set, which is monitored in supervision sessions with support staff.





Ghandi

There come to us moments in life when about some things we need no proof from without. A little voice within us tells us, 'You are on the right track, move neither to your left nor right, but keep to the straight and narrow way.

A person falsely claiming to act under divine inspiration or the promptings of the inner voice without having any such, will fare worse than the one falsely claiming to act under the authority of an earthly sovereign. Whereas the latter on being exposed will escape with injury to his body, the former may perish body and soul together.

You have to believe no one but yourselves. You must try to listen to the inner voice, but if you will not have the expression"inner voice", you may use the expression "dictates of reason", which you should obey, and if you will not parade God, I have no doubt you will parade something else which in the end will prove to be God, for, fortunately, there is no one and nothing else but God in this universe.

For me truth is the sovereign principle, which includes numerous other principles. This truth is not only truthfulness in word, but truthfulness in thought also, and not only the relative truth of our conception, but the Absolute Truth, the Eternal Principle, that is God. There are innumerable definitions of God, because His manifestations are innumerable. They overwhelm me with wonder and awe and for a moment stun me.
























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October 1 - 7 2007
copyright© don oddy

October 1 2007

DonInLondon - ĎDay In The Lifeí Feelings are what they Are

How am I Feeling?

Many years ago in a different life, I was lucky enough to meet many professionals who were able to help people with their personal skills. Skills like how to be assertive and not aggressive. How to have empathy and not be putting our own feelings down for the sake of others. I guess its very like my fellowship todayÖ Alcoholics Anonymous.

Yesterday was all about discovery in the meetings I managed to get to yesterday. Close enough and yet with the other parts of doing yesterday, time was just about enough to fit everything in.

In the morning at flood Street, the topic chosen, as itís a topic meeting of AA, was personal relationships. Most of us in AA have or had lost the art of developing healthy relationships as we slipped into the oblivion of drinking away life. So its very relevant and a very sensitive issue. We are all adult in AA, yet we find our way of living has led to underdeveloped understandings some times of the most basic elements of relationships. Not least with ourselves.

So as the topic picked and spoken about was done by someone who shares bluntly about their outlook, it was offensive to one or two who left. And I donít blame them. Whenever we talk about intimacy in relationships, we probably shudder inside because its painful and new and difficult. And worse our experiences may be just horrible in the past. Intimacy is where most of us found our ruin one way or another. So people can be switched off very quickly.

And of course intimacy is something we need develop with ourselves first to understand what makes us tick. And open and honest sharing can lead to real discomfort in mixed groups.

Lucky

We were lucky as a balance was shared by both men and women. And of course its about basics, so every element seemed to get aired. There is no point here trying to relate the experiences shared generally. But what seems very straightforward is we need to find our own sense of self first.

Who we are and how we feel about today..

So the simple message seemed to ask myself, how am I feeling? Why? What can I do?

How am I feeling? Why? What can I do? Three simple questions for me to learn each day, a little more about me and myself. It helps me assert my "self." this may seems like simple stupid, but it took me a long time to realise that I went about life on auto pilot and drank away my sadness forever.

Assertive

Its something we donít do very well, simply because we donít try it and utilise it. itís a touchy feely thing we donít like, its about us. So asking these simple questions is about asserting our needs and wants. We cannot expect though to succeed if they involve others.

Empathy

We need empathy and communication. So as we ask ourselves How we feel why and what to do, we can ask others these simple questions transparently and honestly. Some people can share back and a simple understanding develops. Asking ourselves, how are we feeling now? Why? And What can we do? These simple questions almost never asked and never understood can hep us find our way on a daily basis and develop better interactions with ourselves and others.

Easy to Write, Hard in Life

We will get knock backs on this type of assertive and empathy behaviour because it leads to us confronting some simple truths. And the outcomes can be a rather hard lesson in reality.

So itís a daily process for me about living to these simple questions. And I can be evasive as anyone can, for a quiet life, but still not living to my needs.

Its practice over and over just like the fellowship of AA suggests. A day at a time makes a small difference as we change and find our path in life.

Later

I did some basic stuff yesterday, tried to fit a London bar to my door, but it was not going to happen. Then lunch with my mother and sister, Sunday Lunch was lovely.

Photoís

I took a few photoís up and down the Kings Road in the afternoon. Some seem ok, but I never know quite how they will turn out.

A meeting before bedtime

A finally to a meeting in the evening. Solid and basic AA sharing around being human and living by the day, the simple solution for complicated people like us all.

Insomnia

As insomnia has been a constant companion in my living all my life, I am surprised I got to sleep for eight hours with a break half way for a glass of water. Unusual and very welcome. A head all woolly this morning as my cold and system is very fatigued by so much change these last months. Not surprising with death and life changes a plenty..




October 1 2006 [Last Year]

Doing a Chair - Insightful Painful - Cathartic

Oh my God, will it ever be so? To speak the unspeakable past, to share the awful truth of me.. Well there are some grim moments to recollect and share, and some hard truths. And there will always be more to tell, after all a career and what a career of thirty five years and more.

And when I mention a career, my working life went hand in hand with a drinking life and culture. Somehow between the two, life went along with a lot of success. And so I related my story, how to be a success in working life, and how this led to a life involving an ethos of live hard and play hard.

I suppose it was very much the way to be, all the people, places and things we were about. All involved working as hard as it took, and then celebrating success. And the celebration pattern most likely reinforced my dependence on the drink.

I am not sure it would have been any different had I been a failure, maybe my passage to alcohol would have been quicker to alcoholism? Who knows. What I do know is at the beginning of the millennium, when my life had gone pretty off and clinical depression was as much a part of me as anything, oblivion from the awfulness of life was just the only way to survive.

From being comfortable and reasonably ok, to being uncomfortable all the time and very worn out, and poor! That is the gist of the story. And I donít really know how cathartic it is to tell it. Maybe if I were less self aware it would be cathartic to get a grip on truth. Truth is simple I was worn out and an alcoholic. From age 12, with a pattern of work, sometimes for my Dad and then in various jobs in retail, distribution and finance, actually working life had been pretty constant until 2002. At least 35 years of hard work. And nearly as long drinking. No wonder my head and heart were pretty mashed up. There is no resentment in this, merely observations.

In that time, a hard working and diligent individual, me did his best to make it all stick together. But the glue came unstuck. I realise my feelings and my heart never really got over a lot of hard knocks along the way. And the result in sobriety has been a return of my feelings about life and living and how to make the best of the time I have now. This is what the AA programme gives me today. A purpose and way of living a day at a time.

What I know from the pathology, gone through with specialists, is I have always had severe depressions along the way, the exact nature of them, and what classification they may be, well it matters not. But my way through them was always to self medicate away hard pains, and get through to the next best time. Sometimes it was years in depression and certainly most of the 1990ís, well they were a nightmare, working hard and seeking some way out of a place where no one functions with much joy. A time of desolation.

But now with help. And the right outlook, the day at a time programme and the fellowship, each day works as it may. I know what is wrong and right in me. I know what causes low mood, a chemical imbalance in my physiology, and the chemistry can be kept as well as it can, with specialist help. I work with professional help, rather than avoid it these days.

So what makes my life work? AA and the fellowship for my emotional and spiritual care. Spiritual to me is making the reality of now the experience, and not just oblivion it used to be. This means I get the good and bad as it comes my way, and just deal with it a day at a time. For my physical I do rely on modern science and Type 1 diabetes needs day by day monitoring. With help support and encouragement, from professionals and friends to make sure I am on track, it can work a day at a time.

Over the last year, there have been months when I was in so much pain, I could hardly walk. And now with the right analgesia, I am walking better, but not without pain and not very far. It was a long time getting confirmation of what it was, diabetic neuropathy, and this is now managed as well as can be for now.

I donít know whether I have really got acceptance over the disabilities and reduced capacities I have or what this means beyond just the day. Every part of living is affected. And this really has not been my priority, as surviving was all I could do for a while. But there are some things I need find out. And soon, or I may find myself with worse problems, work and where I may live are a concern for me.

The concern is not how I feel about what next. Its more to do with what is expected of me now. And how much I can do to keep making life work. I feel I need work at something, where I might live, I am still registered homeless in emergency accommodation. And with three things to keep monitoring and living with, recovery, clinical depression and type 1 diabetes, with the physical impairments which will never get better, well I reckon I better ask sooner rather than later. Advice, itís a tough one, and where to get it.

Meanwhile as the mood is always lower after this cathartic exercise, which others find lifts them up and does the opposite to me. I best take a bus and feed the cat, and then go on to a meeting and be silent and listen a while.

I am lucky to still be alive. And there are some days which work better than others, sort of ordinary days, and they are worth having and living.

One thing is really bothering me, and that is the loss of that sharp edge I had before the analgesia for the neuropathy. Its early days and with a change in medication, it may sort itself out, and will seek advice on this. But there is some trade here, between walking and a sharpness of mind. And I am uncertain for now, which is ok, what happens next. Sometimes the pain is worth it, but not for months on end? I am a reluctant acceptor of this hard choice, and I feel it will be acceptance of the pain, as one faculty wins in priority for me, and that is clarity of mind.

-/-




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Be Tolerant

You have the power to tolerate anyone and any situation. But tolerance is not just suffering in silence.

It means going beyond any personal discomfort you may feel, and giving a gift to whom ever you would tolerate. Give your time, attention, understanding, compassion, care - all are gifts, which paradoxically, you also receive in the process of giving.

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The Big Issue Foundation's core ethos is self help. We offer support to homeless and socially excluded people who seek to gain control of their lives and help them move off the streets and into a home and a job.We work with over 2000 vendors across the UK, supporting them with a diverse program of opportunities either delivered through our own services or in partnership with specialist agencies. Each new vendor has a Needs Assessment, and from this an individual action plan is set, which is monitored in supervision sessions with support staff.





Be Tolerant

You have the power to tolerate anyone and any situation. But tolerance is not just suffering in silence.

It means going beyond any personal discomfort you may feel, and giving a gift to whom ever you would tolerate. Give your time, attention, understanding, compassion, care - all are gifts, which paradoxically, you also receive in the process of giving.

And, as you do, you will experience your own self esteem and inner strength grow. In this way you can turn tolerance into strength.






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Ghandi

There come to us moments in life when about some things we need no proof from without. A little voice within us tells us, 'You are on the right track, move neither to your left nor right, but keep to the straight and narrow way.

A person falsely claiming to act under divine inspiration or the promptings of the inner voice without having any such, will fare worse than the one falsely claiming to act under the authority of an earthly sovereign. Whereas the latter on being exposed will escape with injury to his body, the former may perish body and soul together.

You have to believe no one but yourselves. You must try to listen to the inner voice, but if you will not have the expression"inner voice", you may use the expression "dictates of reason", which you should obey, and if you will not parade God, I have no doubt you will parade something else which in the end will prove to be God, for, fortunately, there is no one and nothing else but God in this universe.

For me truth is the sovereign principle, which includes numerous other principles. This truth is not only truthfulness in word, but truthfulness in thought also, and not only the relative truth of our conception, but the Absolute Truth, the Eternal Principle, that is God. There are innumerable definitions of God, because His manifestations are innumerable. They overwhelm me with wonder and awe and for a moment stun me.



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