Inclusive sharing, is a way to share as a peer group may, on equal terms and me the same size as anyone. I am not here to teach or lecture just share my thoughts and those of others which seem relevant today.
An explosive outburst from me which on reflection might have been somewhat abusive about Rehab.
Mentioned several times yesterday in one of my meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, and a reminder to self, I speak for me and not AA, there are no spokespersons for the AA fellowship, AA being anonymous.
Already broken again by life, rehab was my last ditch attempt to get help, almost beyond the last chance saloon as drinking was killing me and I could not stop on my own.
Broken literally, and physically and spiritually. And then in rehab to be broken more? Or just plain tortured by the way it was run to break people even further until nothing was left. Odd to feel so angry and enraged?
A regime to help people follow a twelve step programme, indeed it is a wonder anyone got through those last months in my rehab from hell. That rehab is closed now, their methods I am sad to know still prevail elsewhere.
Break a person down, we need build them up, if this is the aim? I still have no clue to the regime and torments inflicted as daily torments led to me discharging myself after three months. I drank on my rage and ended up on the streets. So rehab was not my key to sobriety, AA was and is the Key for me,
So with all that return to unpleasant memories and a relief that my health is still manageable for now, I was tired out.
And of course sharing about progress and not perfect is and remains my central message these last few months. To feel that anger out again in the gaze of others, it was not really cathartic, it just made for me expressing my outlook and experiences of wounding times rather than mending times.
Patience and as a friend wrote to me earlier, doing the next right thing, often slowly and deliberately is paramount for me today.
I know in some areas of endeavour burn is a feature and the experiences we hold inside which provide for more torture are clearly unhelpful.
An angry and abusive outburst by me left me saddened and also reminded me that I see in others what bothers me about my insides.
I was indelicate and most likely wrong yesterday sharing my thoughts about recovery and where do these elements of us come from in our history. Progress is not perfect and I am far from perfect in all departments of living. Glad this is so or life would have no meaning.
This is me and long may it be so, and in fellowship just this one day will do to have a go at living and experiencing all life may be..
29th November 2006
What is our primary purpose? Do we have any idea? Actually somewhere in living life we often forget we might have a primary purpose. And indeed it seems to me we can be so bogged down with so much going on we forget it completely.
Somewhere in the dim dark of my memories it feels like I heard the message in a song. And the song was "all you need is love." Not so hard as a primary purpose.
And quite like the needs and wants we all get smothered by, needs being essentials and wants being more than basic needs, we get bamboozled and fogged up with all sorts of things we think we want, forgetting our need to feel in love with living.
If we truly only need love, then why is it we make it so hard and so complicated? Actually we are probably suffering from technology overload and every for of bum steer we can invent to make life worth living. We forget from infancy we are driven by our need for love. We can be fascinated by a full life, and without love it has some austere feel to it we cannot put our finger on. Its loneliness.
I was, as has been the case for some days, quite fed up and uncertain what to do. Why I feel this way is really quite simple, I had lost touch with foundations of me and what I am about. And truly it is about love. Not needing it and not wanting it are not the issue. Its just love as it is and simply I had lost touch with this vital element of living. We need love, yes we do. All we need is love and in a world of billions why is it we can feel alone and unloved.
I feel it has to do with what is going on in our hearts. What we really need is opportunity to love and be loved. And society has got so cock eyed and love has been built to be more than just what it is. Love is the simplest of emotions and the most complicated to express and also receive with an open heart.
So what makes we want to write about love tonight?
I go to fellowship meetings as if they are part of my living these days. I go to my fellowship meetings every day if this is possible, and the number of days going, to the odd one I don’t, well there is always a difference in how I feel and how I behave when I miss them.
When I don’t go to meetings, I feel alone and left with feelings which can really make me feel unhappy. That in some way expression of them is lost, that expression of them may be unwelcome, that in some way expression of love can be met with repulsion. Repulsion and repulsive. These feelings are ignited somewhere from pain and hurt felt over the years.
We can be completely repulsive to some people while others will love us for what and who we are, just another human being, just another average Joe, and of course just about able to get from one day to the next, with feeling, rather than suppression of feelings.
Love and honesty
They sort of go hand in hand like not loving and dishonesty. Yet it seems to be when we express love, and share it, we always run this risk of repulsion and rebuttal. As if in some way our love, or is it something we feel is love, is to be rejected as our love is really unwanted and not wanted, where we may wish it most.
Seems wishes and fantasies play big parts on where love may end up, repulsive and unwanted. And at the same time we might offer more of it as if that will work. And actually the more we may love, the more we are unwelcome, for its not being received or due, or even dare I say it recognised as love.
Love and dishonesty
Seems also we might offer our love and be dishonest in it too. For we may want something for our love, that there is some payment involved, or some favour bestowed because of it. We are given love because we have some facet we are able to give and make good for someone. Seems there is plenty of love around for materialistic, as well as other securities on offer. Yet this is not love. Its just security from hardship and not secure anything, but a bargaining we might do well without.
Love is all we need
And certainly we need to start with ourselves. We need find our right size and value in just being able to love a bit of living just one day long.
How do I get to love?
I go and find out everyday how to love and be loved, from my fellowship. A bunch of what might be described as extreme individuals on a path back to ordinary. The ordinary of living life just one day at a time and with sober heads. We have been bashed and beaten by our own self loathing and unfulfilled outlook. And we learned to love ourselves as best we could to avoid pain and hurt. And our journey into sober living, its as much a way to learn to love reality and our part in it. The reality of being present to feel anything and everything as it occurs.
Being present means we do learn to be involved, open to love and be loved. And actually we do, we learn that we might be loved, and we might be hated. That we are here to feel is pretty darn amazing. For we have trodden the path of self destruction with no love for man nor beast, just obsession and oblivion.
And as we get sober and be ever present in our living, we see a big change in our outlook to love and be loved. Remember though we are reality seekers and part of reality is to see love and see no love, that we see all elements of living just as they are. Not easy as our path is torture in early days, only maybe getting better as we learn to accept and know we can make as many cock ups and failures in sober life as we do in obsessions. The truth of reality is its just like everyone else, sometimes good and sometimes just plain awful. We know the difference and learn how to get more to the good and less to the horrid. It is just the way it is, and we need be learners all over a day at a time.
When I went out tonight
Even though I had no real idea where I was going until I got on the bike, I headed to Chelsea. And not to the nearest meeting. I went out of my way. The reason, a longer ride on the bike, because I need exercise. I need exercise but walking just hurts. So riding the bike is part of my primary purpose to keep active, even when walking hurts and I cannot get far.
Enlightenment comes where it will without planning and without contrivance I might make. Whatever guide I have in my head which suggested I head for Chelsea did me a power of good. My good conscience was part of it as I needed exercise and keep my system active, even when I cannot walk any distance, the bike provides opportunity, and this is a bicycle I need to power myself. Weird but true I can cycle even when I cannot walk.
This one was special it felt cold and was distinctly chilly, but within moments of hearing the share and the share back from the fellows there, I was definitely in the right place to get the right message.
And the message was easy, and the suggestions heartfelt and just plain common sense. And the spiritual message was keep living reality with a sober head and we can feel present in this ever present, present moment of now.
Now how hard is that to express. As hard as it is to live a lifetime realising we don’t get life at all, because we can only really get life from living it with a clear mind and clear support and fellowship from people who care enough to turn up and share their experience strength and hope. So easy, we are so challenged by the morass of life and life wanting, that we forget the simplicity of living at all. That love for ourselves and our fellows is always there when we connect to it, rather than milk it and squeeze it out of others we encounter. Its just give and take, sometimes one way, sometimes both ways. And we need not dally when things are not right. We simply need to move on and find our balance again. As life offers and we can recognise.
Along the way we experience every human quality we might consider vices and virtues, they are merely all elements of love and hate. Love and hate go together as if we can ever realise one without the other.
Testaments to good or bad
We hear them as often as we meet, its our challenge to make what we learn and wisdom gained from ,living reality and not dreams we might conjure to fill the gap of life. Emptiness gives room for learning, we might reflect on this as we next fill up with nonsense we pick up as we go and diverts us from our purpose, simply to live life as it offers.
<>bNovember 29th 2005
A Challenge To Democracy
"Democracy in its ideal sense is the notion that "the people" should have the right to rule themselves. This ideal is pursued by implementing a system of voting such that the majority of people rule, either directly or indirectly through elected representatives." Democracies may be "liberal," where fundamental rights of individuals in the minority are protected by law, or they may be "illiberal" where they are not." We in the western democracies are forever challenging our own democracy and challenging others who are on their way to democracy. We forget how long it took us to extend democracy to more and more people who live within our geographical boundaries. And we sometimes forget how fragile, how new and how difficult it is to maintain democratic process, especially if things do not go our way. We would be foolish if we thought we could develop democracy faster than we do in our own back yard. And we would be very foolish to believe we can graft democracy on to another political and cultural system which has no basis in democracy. At least we would consider it foolhardy to go try change say, China or Russia, who are in turmoil currently and certainly big enough to repel foolish people who might try to interfere, us. What are we doing these days, when we continue to believe we have the one and only answer, that we must not only share it, but worse, impose it on others? The are many systems of living we might take in account, especially those systems we have within our families and those within our 'faiths'. There is no exclusivity of right, surely we have learned this lesson over and over through history. When we 'put down' others way of life, we might be better engaged in living our own lives and improving our own lot. When we judge others and view them with prejudice, we might reflect on why we form prejudice.
We live in a world which evolves as fast as it can to ever changing political and economic systems. We hold to our democracies because we value them.
I would argue we are best deployed making our democracies safe and working toward them being more inclusive and robust. I would suggest we are best able to influence other world systems through legitimised bodies, for example the United Nations. When we are unhappy with our influence, we need to find the means to strengthen our influence through democratic process. We need to ensure we deploy our best resources and agencies of democratic change to make good our beliefs, values and principles. We continue our democratic process with countries big enough and bad enough to give us a bloody nose. And now we have found we can be equally hurt by others less militarily potent, through terror and terrorism. Terrorists are born out of belief, values and principles, just as strong as our own democratic process. And the world has learned no matter what size opponent is these days, they will be heard one way or another.
Surely we must find the means to inclusive and democratic process, to develop and acknowledge the rights of all world citizens. And only when we have reached a view, which has included all interested parties, a multinational view, might we then consider a military outcome of last resort? After all, that is the basis for the United Nations, made better with use than ignoring its process. And with our current terror threat from within, we in democracies must be robust in our vigilance, be fair in our practice, inclusive in our due process and mature in our outlook.
Two thousand years of prejudice in the Middle East surely sets an example of how easily we can become imperilled in life threatening conflict. And a conflict over what? Beyond faith our world turns on resources. Our most able resource is mankind itself. Best we settle our differences and make best use our resources.
November 29th 2004
the more I develop the habit of noticing goodness, the more my own sense of wellbeing rises.
Keep a weather eye to goodness, its always there, the right thing, the glimmer of hope. Even when invisible to us, it shines on, and on, lest we forget, darkness will pass