recovery

Listen to the heart!

“The Heart loves service, humility, hard work, dedication, self-approval and self-trust, listening to Divine Guidance from The Uni-verse which Whispers to us, taking action even though we don’t feel like it, getting up and trying again, not blaming but taking responsibility for the outcome of our lives, empathy, and having the willingness to dig in and get our hands dirty instead of leaving our dreams up to someone else.” Mastin Kipp: The Daily Love Blog

Pine cones

For three days I was hoping to write something less dark, more joyful than what has preceded on these pages. Yet my dance with shadow, my ego is the dance partner who seems to lead. Selfishness is the word or action that poked me this morning. My reaction to Mom’s disease, Alzheimer’s is distressing, and abusive to both of us. I realized the resentment I have about the situation taking up my time, my peace of mind, for I don’t know how or I certainly forget when I am forced to try to explain something a half a dozen times.

My heart may love service but not services that is forced, not service that has no seemingly end. There are moments when I feel boxed in trapped in our prison of “service”.  When I am angry and resentment takes voice I blame others, family, social services, mostly family for not showing up, not really being involved in this life/death situation with their own Mother! It is not about them, or is it? It is about my ego, my selfishness… plus being totally unprepared for any of this.

I don’t feel like doing any of it, I want out, I want to run away. What we need is help, social contact for both of us, people willing to spend time at activities with Mom. Social interaction with support group as well as friends.

Long Shadows

As I continue to write I keep hearing a voice say, you can’t publish this, not this crap again, not all this “pain” this darkness. I am writing what is. I am writing my emotional reactive experience.  Mastin Kipp in the blog this morning also writes this, ” Basically, our dreams need us to get over ourselves. Our dreams need us to take responsibility for them. Our dreams need us to SHOW UP even when we don’t feel like it. They are fragile and need tender Loving care. Dreams take time and are often tests of Faith. Let’s meet the test!”

Dreams may not be the correct word here yet the path to my dreams is to journey through this process, finding the joy, finding the magic.  That magic is in my photography, that magic is that walking with my camera I am much more conscious of my surroundings, much more aware of the magnificent beauty in a drying frozen leaf/plant, the way the soil pushes up at times, the bright blue sky against the bare tree tops, that birds still sing and flit from place to place. The scurrying squirrels leaping and chasing each other in search of a meal. The universe is alive, the universe offers each creature the gifts to live each day.

winter pods

That there is a balance to life even when the balance seems to be way off.  “Dreams take time and are often tests of Faith. Let’s meet the test!”  One of the principle of the artist’s way Morning pages is to “Show up at the page, (show up for life) Use the page to rest, to dream, to try.”  That certainly is a powerful way to be present for life, being awake, aware of all actions, good, bad or indifferent. Show up! Showing up is sometimes the hardest part.

I didn’t write yesterday because I didn’t want to feel, I distracted myself, i was too emotional, feeling shame or guilt for my angry, my madness. These are all part who I am. I could not even respond to the comments made my friends on the last blog until this morning because I was too moved by the compassion and support that was radiating there. I am most grateful for each and everyone for  your words. I bow in humbleness. I feel unworthy.

in the wind

Namaste!

Photos: 

{ This blog was written early this morning, I still doubted whether I should publish it. I listened to my heart}

Rarely have we seen a person fail…

who has throughly  followed our path.” Big statement yet placed with honesty, and continual practice of service to a Higher Power through the steady conscious awareness of self in daily readiness to help another human being.

Glimmers of light

Glimmers of light

At 12:00 am today I was led out of a tunnel of darkness, into a room full of light, well really crowded with men and women sitting around a table and lining the walls of a strip mall store, drinking coffee, smoking and chatting among themselves. Actually they were reading from a book,  a little blue book, The 12 & 12, which was either shared with me by the person next to me or I was given one while being shown which page and paragraph they were on. Yes I was late to my first AA Meeting at the Malvern Club House.

24 Years ago today those people in that crowded smoked filled room help me begin to change me life, one day at a time.  Being desperate enough to finely seek help for my drinking which had recently gotten me arrested for public lewdness or disturbance. My lover of the past few years had offered me a ultimatum,  it was him or the booze and crazy behavior alcohol and pot created within me. Imagine I went to my first meeting to save my relationship with another person? Yet I discovered after a few short weeks it was the relationship to myself and a Higher Power that would keep me there, allow me to get sober and be sober…

A moment

A moment

24 years is a life time, 24 years is only a beginning of the opening doors, the unraveling of years of unconscious behavior, ideals, and thinking that kept me in the state of want, the state of emptiness. In that state I felt the need to fill the hole in my soul, the ego needed to be constantly stroked. Every action was caused by those needs to be wanted  to be like, to be the best at something.

24 years of awakening, walking along many paths with many people, in meetings, books, in prayer circles, which for a time included religious organizations, than in spiritual community, who did I meet in all those places? I met myself, I meet myself in the reflection of each person and situation that challenges who I am, who I believe I am and who I am becoming.

24 years of re-discovery, have I throughly followed the path? Sometimes, sometimes not. The quote that begins this blog and is major part of the 12 Step Program written by recovering drunks for recovering drunks, and read at many many meeting everyday sets down the path, offers the tools to use, to a practice of a way of life beyond many peoples understanding. The reading offers bit of comfort with these words, ” We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.”

the imperfect path

the imperfect path

Thank goodness for that, I don’t have to be perfect anymore, and I am not by any means. I fall short every day, yet the main thing is I don’t drink, I don’t use a substance, to dumb me. I walk in the woods, I take my camera, and my two lovely animal companions who show me what unconditional love is on a moment to moment basis. I am granted today, this moment, to be present, each a gift to unwrap and savor, sharing with the world around me…

I am grateful.

 

Don’t be perfect. Be you.

“Don’t be perfect. Be you.
Don’t be what you think they want you to be.
Be what you know you are.
Don’t look outside yourself for anything. It’s all within!”

~Jackson Kiddard

Image

My friend shared this quote this morning on his FB status. My response was saying yeah but my insides feel like a mess. His response to me was that spirit was perfection, our inner state is Perfect. But what happens when the inner state doesn’t feel perfect, that truly the shadows have come to rest upon my days and play havoc with my mind.

And than I went to see what the daily reading was from Pocketful of Miracle, in which Joan Borysenko share this prayer:

“Great Spirit, help me awaken to the peace of mind that is my own true nature, my birthright in You!”

It seems sometimes it is only the words I have to comfort me, the awareness comes from the words, they are the light on the darkened path, as well as the bright light on the path that leads me forward. At sometime in the past few weeks it seems I have taken a step back or a road less traveled, or one that I have been on before and have not completely searched and cleared out the demons or made peace with them. Image

This whole blog maybe about telling on myself. It may be about that fact that on Saturday June 9, with the grace of God, I will be sober 23 years. I haven’t had a drink or a drug in all that time one day at time. Yet my emotional soberity has not followed such a rigorous path, or has it?

As I stepped back into the practice of my program, the program of recovery on a regular basis a little less that a year ago, even though the language and principles (spiritual principles of AA) have always been a guiding source of light during my search for my relationship with a Higher Power. It was the humans, the daily living among people in and out of the program that throws me into darkness.

Knowing I am not perfect, the ego always wants to lead the dance instead of being a partner and sharing the harmony we can make together I become confronted by who I think I am, maybe even who people think I am, most telling who I think people are suppose to be.

Even after all this time, I don’t have it right, I don’t want to have it right, I just desire to not expect, I desire to allow life to be, even when I don’t know what that Being is. Going within feels frightening right now. Going within feels dark, it tells “you are not perfect, you lead with your ego, you have too much expectations of those around, and even yourself.” Or maybe it is not that maybe it is the fear that Marianne Williamson shares about…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Image

As I began to step up my practice, use the tools of recovery, to empower myself to listen to the voice from within, to open up once again to let people in, to make friends, to take on new projects. Fear stepped in too, the feeling of abandonment and risk came calling. It all began to seem like work. Of course there was joy there, there was inspiration. So what shows self sabotage, reluctance, the monster “not good enough”, people began leaving… or did they?

So who is this guy 23 years later? with all the flaws and character defects still intact… was i this person drunk? have I learned anything in the past 23 years? sometimes it feels like I have not. Yeah the old timers say, “well you didn’t drink today.” and that is a blessing in itself.

As A human I am beyond perfect, as spirit I was born perfect. Just being me in the imperfect perfection of living life on daily basis. Image

The poetry of Fog

The fog is an illusion—
A master of disguise,
Which hides the tangible
Before our very eyes.

But when the fog has lifted
Everything’s still there,
And the tangible
Only seemed to’ve disappeared.

In the early morning
Or late at night,
The fog descends
Upon various sites.

It gives an air of mystery
That has long prevailed.
Dangerously intriguing
Is the fog’s foggy veil.

© W.S.2009

Walterrean Salley

The Dense Fog

I see not what others see
The fog is used to blind me
That fog of routine that is of life
Unable to see what is near
It is near impossible to hear
Only the little light makes it through
That light is what I see
The possibility of unhindered vision
But that is only for a moment
For tomorrow the fog will roll back
And that is how all life is
For my generation and yours
This fog is here to stay

Stephen Mueller

 

exercising your power of choice.

“… through exercising your power of choice judiciously, you can learn to see how you and your actions can work in harmony with the world around you. You may experience the grace of living in harmony with the universe only a handful of times, but the experience is characterized by a feeling of trust and a rapport with your surroundings.” Carolyn Myss

The power of choice

I read the above quote after having read the Fourth Step process in Alcoholics Anonymous: The process of taking an inventory of our lives, seeking the places we find resentment, anger, selfish behavior… and fear. These choices of fear selfish behavior, anger and resentments do not allow us/me to experience the grace of being in harmony with the universe, those choices do not create trust and or rapport with my surroundings, they do just the opposite.

Continual Flow

I say this because I find myself more and more in just those moments of choice, to control a situation, to be get angry because someone needs some or is hovering, in an unconscious caring way. I hear myself in those moments, when I am making a sarcastic comment, getting angry of a diver on the road that is going the speed limit, or even the dogs, when it seems to me an inappropriate time to want to take a walk, in those moments I have to breathe, I have to say how important is this to my sanity and my relationship to this situation. Constantly readjusting my attitude, realigning my self with the Higher Power. For each moment is a moment to learn who I am, or who I am not or even no longer wish to be.

Self-centered, resentment, anger, and fear...

There is some really wise words which when used as action to move beyond ourselves, from  Alcoholics Anonymous page 420 which states, “Perhaps the best thing of all for me is to remember that my serenity is inversely proportional to my expectations.” For I have unconscious expectation of how things are suppose to be, I have egoic reason why, a situation, person, place or thing should act accordingly, the wisdom goes on to say, ” The higher my expectations of other people are (and myself), the lower my serenity. I can watch my serenity level rise when I discard my expectations. But when my ‘rights’ (ego) try to move in, and they too can force my serenity down. I have to discard my ‘rights’ (ego) as well as expectations, by asking myself, How important is it, really?  How important is it compared to my serenity, my emotional sobriety? And when I place more value on my serenity and sobriety than on anything else, I can maintain them at a higher level – at least for the time being.”

For at least the time being, for the moment is just that only a moment, yet when anger and resentment have become present the moment lives on in my energy much longer. Yeah but ego says what about my ‘rights’ what about me, in a flash, you are not important, the state of being is, presence of mind, the action of Love is the state of being. Love of self, to be Love of others, Love to others.

I still have to ask, do I think that little of myself to continue to react in such a manner? The reason for this writing is to awaken that place of serenity, to create emotional sobriety on a regular basis, not a sometime, someplace experience, an experience that is a state of being, Being Love, I am Love. I use to sign off with I am Love, all the time, than something shifted, because what I was experiencing was everything put love from myself. So it was time to “trudge the road of happy destiny” once again.

Serenity

Once again the practice of choosing consciously or judiciously choosing actions that are in harmony with the world around will offer the grace of serenity, will allow me to be present and leave the present to the past when the next moment comes, and I have acted Lovely from self into the world Lovely .

Question: What are your choices saying about you?

All Photographs are register @ Jeff Stroud. and can be purchased through me or http://www.redbubble.com/people/jeffstroud

engaged in becoming…

Enchantment invites us to pause and to be arrested by whatever is before us; instead of our doing something, something is done to us. This is the way of the soul, which is primarily the receptive power in us; by letting ourselves be slowed down and affected by nature, we are fashioned into persons of substance, even if at a more active, conscious level we are forcefully engaged in becoming something else.  Thomas Moore.

into the moment!

My thoughts are to just offer the above words and photographs like I did yesterday yet at another level there is more creative juice desiring to be expressed.  The words and ideas in Re-enchantment are so refreshing in so many ways… offering views I have not witnessed for a while. If that makes sense.

The heat had made going outside so oppressive that spending time photographing anything was not really an option, the moments being outside where more to get from one place to another, but never really to enjoy, for the pleasure of a walk was taken away by 100 plus degree heat, the stillness where birds didn’t even sing, the sadness of the plants all dry and dropping along the paths, making one wonder why they are even still alive at all, they have to be really reaching down into their wells for a hint of water.

To keep my well juiced I have found sources of refreshing language, inspiring lives, creative work of people who are creative artist themselves. I heard the message to pick up “The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life” I had a copy that has been sitting in pile in my room, but I had come across the volume a few times in other places. I have had this book for years, I had even begun to read it but put it down because I was not ready for it than. There was a time because of my love affaire with Conversations with God books, other spiritual books lacked much interest or felt unappealing, even through many books are suggested by Neale Donald Walsch/God throughout the Conversations with God series.

in the details

Re-Enchantment along with Pronoia the wondrously outrageous writings of Rob Brezsny the river of ideas, inspiration, creativity have bathed me in renewing activity of the senses. That included a trip to the Town Center formerly the Mall, to a week-long used book sale with my friend Linda, which included a journey over to the library so she could use their computers while I perused the videos and books-selves.  Finding the selection of videos a bit wanting I headed the Photography section, and glad I did! First of all, the light in the area had been fixed, second the selves were neat and orderly, not always the case in under visited areas of the library.  I had just bought a half a dozen books so why was I looking for more books? Why was I in the photography section, the line of books informed me of that. I found a biography of Ansel Adams, not someone I am really drawn too but someone I thought could shed some light of photography and nature. Plus there is the wondrous “street photography” book, Bystander: A History of Street Photography, an over sized packed to the gills with wondrous photographs from the late 1800, into the 1970’s.

Grand moments

So I get to travel back and forth in places around the world, capturing moments of city streets, everyday moments and moments that caused history to change. I get to read about a man who was not only a photographer, a nature photographer, considered to be one of the finest nature photographers, but also a life long member of the Sierra Club .

an opening.

I thought there was more to this… it didn’t feel finished but I am going to let it go now! ( a few hours after writing).

Resting, reading, recharging…

For days I have had the urge to write, to blog, did I? No. Today not so much yet I have sense something would like to flow? I still not sure what that flow is, and it has been slightly interrupted by a chat with a friend.

4th of July festivities !

I guess I have to ask am I blocked? Am I using the last exhibit experience to hold me back? Or have I just been considering my options. I think both, I have been licking my wounds, as well as readjusting to from the excitement and expectation of a First Friday Solo show! To ask myself what I could have done, or could do for the next exhibit? Yet I have noticed I have not taken as many photos as of late. I did shoot of 4th of July at the local parade and festival. On the 6th I went to a free outdoor concert in Haddon Heights Park to hear Liz Longley and Hezekiah Jones as well as photograph them live. Photographing concerts is one of my other favorite experiences to photograph! I love the energy, I like to watch the performers expressions, and experience their of their music. I get very involved in the process.

Liz Longley

Liz Longley opened with short half hour set, of new music, which she said was break up songs. Even if they where break up songs, the music was lively and meaningful. ( Hot Loose Wire) After her performance I bought her to latest CD’s  and offered her my card. So she could view the photos I had taken. She had commented about us down there on the ground in front of stage taking photographs while she was performing, hoping we would get good shots, not of sweaty face and double chin from that angle. I think I accomplished that. I had messaged her on Facebook, she commented she like the photos I had posted and would like me to send her some to use via her email.

Hezekiah Jones, who I did know, yet was wandering around earlier chatting with the folks from the radio station XPN, had I known I would have taken pix than. But I have plenty from the stage. This band is amazing, blend of blue grass, country, pop… with three guitar players, violin, bass, drummer, keyboard player. These guys where jamming, have the best time. I bought their CD’s as well, and offered Raphael Cutrufello
my cards as well.

Hezekiah Jones

Have not heard back as of yet from him but hey I was out there working, doing what I enjoy doing. Listening to great music, out in nature for free! What could be better than that!

Reading, resting, recharging.