Collecting

March 26, 2010

Tiny Miracles

Greetings, fellow trudgers on “the road of happy destiny”…

I have a hobby I’ve been working on for years: I’m a collector.

My favorite thing to collect? Injustices. Particularly those done to me. I scour each day searching for instances of my having been wronged, unfairly accused, mistreated, abused, misled, held hostage, ripped off, victimized or made to look the fool. Once found, I retrieve these treasures – often rough little knick-knacks in need of some restoration, some amplification. I bring them back to my laboratory. I carefully clean, polish, brush and preen each one (hence the expression “pet” peeves). I “enhance” them.

Once they’re ready, I include them in my collection. This bag of goodies has a label on it that reads: You Owe Me. I carry it around. It only weighs about three hundred pounds, but it’s okay, I can manage. Just because it keeps me doubled over in pain, don’t worry about it. It’s all going to be part of my upcoming “My Life is Harder than Yours” spring collection.

Given the amount of aggravation and discomfort inherent in Injustice Collecting, you’d think I would “Drop the Bag of Rocks” at some point. But it’s not just any Bag of Rocks. It’s my Bag of Rocks.That’s why, rather than giving up collecting, I was so pleased to hear a friend suggest an alternative obsession: keeping track of miracles. You know what I mean: the tiny ones. Those little miracles that happen every day when we’re “working it.” When I’m recovering to the best of my ability. When I’m taking things one day at a time, one step at a time, or one action at a time. When I’m learning how to live life in “conscious contact” with you-know-who. When I seek to “practice these principles in all my affairs.”

So, just for today, I thought I’d write down the miracles that have happened to me so far. Right now it’s only 8:30 am. So far…

I woke up. That’s One. I was greeted by a insanely cute cat asleep next to me. That’s Two. I said good morning to my wonderful daughter as we got ready to start our day. Three. I made super-tasty oatmeal, on a stove we have that cooks food, that’s powered by electricity (which we have had restored after the storms). Four, five, six. I took a hot shower that felt so good I said “OMG” when the water hit me. Seven. I did my little routine – candles, reading, meditation and prayer. Eight. Put on extremely comfy clothes. Nine. I took my daughter to her fantastic school. Ten. I finished this sketch and am writing this message, using the gifts I’ve been given that allow me to put voice and pictures to feelings. Eleven.

And, somewhere, you, my fellow trudgers on this most miraculous road of happy destiny, may read this today. That’s Twelve.

Pretty good for one morning.

Happy Trails!

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Who’s In Charge

March 12, 2010

Who's In Charge?

Who's in Charge?

Greetings, fellow trudgers on “the road of happy destiny”…

“If everything seems under control, you’re just not going fast enough.” — Mario Andretti

I’ve been reading an interesting book* on spirituality, the theory of which is that spiritual change and recovery is, at the core, a control battle waged daily between each of us and our Higher Power.

My insistence on maintaining the illusion of control over my life manifests itself in cunning, baffling and powerful ways. Maybe I just want to help. Is that being “controlling?” If I don’t show up — how is that being bossy? I looked up “control” in a thesaurus — several, in fact. I thought I’d find two dozen or so synonyms (by the way, “to predict” is listed as a synonym for control). So far, I found 123…

administer, advise, arrange, ascertain, assure, be at the helm, be in charge of, be in the driver’s seat, be in the saddle, bind, boss, bottle up, bridle, bully, call the shots, cap, captain, care for, carry on, check, change, choke off, collect, come to grips with, command, conduct, constrain, contain, coordinate, corner, cow, curb, dampen, deal, deal with, direct, discipline, dispose, dominate, domineer, eliminate, ensure, exaggerate, exercise, exercise restraint over, fetter, get it together, govern, guide, handle, head, head up, hogtie, hold back, hold in, hold purse strings, hold sway, instruct, insure, juggle, keep, keep in check, keep in line, keep a lid on, lead, let go, lord over, limit, manage, manipulate, master, mind, minimize, mismanage, modify, monopolize, order, operate, organize, overlook, oversee, pilot, possess, predict, predominate, preside, prevent, process, push buttons, put the brakes on, quarterback, quell, regiment, regulate, reign, rein in, repress, requisition, restrain, restrict, rule, run, run the show, run things, see to, shackle, simmer down, smother, steer, subdue, subject, subjugate, superintend, supervise, suppress, take care of, tend, test, tether, transmogrify, verify, work,

and…

work it! Feel free to post more…

Happy Trails!

J.

*PS The book is Recovery: The Sacred Art by Rami Shapiro.

Things I Don't Want... To-Do List

Things I Don't Want... To-Do List

Greetings, fellow trudgers on “the road of happy destiny”…

A friend of mine recently emailed about me…

“Below is a list of things I would like to have completed in the next few days which I have proved to myself that, left on my own, I cannot (or will not) do them.

I need help. Will you help me?”

Being far more clear-headed—and willing to share opinions—about anyone’s task management issues other than my own, I wrote back “Sure!”

And so, I got right to work on a “To Do” list pad — a list of things I don’t wanna do.

In my case, unless my “To-Do” list reads “eat entire chocolate cake,” “sit in sun & bake self silly,” “pick out new sports car,” or “catch up previous seasons of Battlestar Galactica,” chances are pretty good that for a number of the items on my list, my plan is simple:

I JUST DON’T FEEL LIKE IT.

Growth and change can be difficult, sometimes painful. I heard a person at a twelve-step meeting say “This program is really difficult.” I thought to myself, “Abso-lutely right—but if you think this program is difficult, try no program.”

They don’t call it work because it’s easy. Who wants to forge into strange and painful territory and poke around in those hurt emotional spots, searching for truth? Who wants to give other people permission to be honest with us—sometimes painfully honest—about our character defects? Who wants to live in a state of discomfort, be challenged, and encouraged to strive constantly forward into fact-facing and fear-facing that can be scary—even heartbreaking at times? Who would want to do that?!?*

*Answer: Anybody who has ever lived in or around addiction or alcoholism—that’s who.

Does it matter if “I don’t feel like it?” Actually, no—not much. I can take note of it, like, “Oh, look—I don’t much feel like doing that. Isn’t that interesting? I’m going to do it anyway.” Perhaps, like my friend, I have to admit I can’t do it—at least not alone. Perhaps I have to face something worse than procrastination: isolation.

So, just for today, I’m can..

1. Make a “To Do” list of things (research suggests 3 to 5 maximum**) I may not feel like doing today, but want to have done.

2. Start each item with “I don’t feel like ______” and fill in the blank.

2.5. Say something like “On my own, this isn’t going to get done.”

3. Ask myself where I can find the help to get it done.

4. Go to the source, ask for the help.

4.5. Receive the help (hint: for some, this is the hardest part of all!)

5. Then, do the thing—whether I feel like it or not.

6. When its done, be grateful and celebrate!

Very important last step there! Once it’s done, I can make a very big deal out of how wonderful that is. You know, tear off my coat. Go running down Main Street like the village idiot. Scream out “I balanced my checkbook!!” or “I wrote the stinkin’ report!!” or “Even though it scared the crap out of me, I told the truth!!!” or “I told my sister to mind her own business!” or whatever. I know that people will be leaning out of their windows, showering me with flowers, chanting “Go! Go! Go! Go!” Grandparents at red lights will lean down and whisper to their grandchildren, “There goes the guy who did the right thing TODAY.” YAAY!!!

Happy trails!

** PS Productivity research indicates that the average person’s “To-Do” list contains 12 to 15 items. The same research indicates that most people accomplish on average about three (3) of those items per day.