My mind is tired of mindfulness
You will lose everything. Your money, your power, your fame, your success, perhaps even your memories. Your looks will go. Loved ones will die. Your body will fall apart. Everything that seems permanent is impermanent and will be smashed. Experience will gradually, or not so gradually, strip away everything that it can strip away. Waking up means facing this reality with open eyes and no longer turning away.
But right now, we stand on sacred and holy ground, for that which will be lost has not yet been lost, and realizing this is the key to unspeakable joy. Whoever or whatever is in your life right now has not yet been taken away from you. This may sound trivial, obvious, like nothing, but really it is the key to everything, the why and how and wherefore of existence. Impermanence has already rendered everything and everyone around you so deeply holy and significant and worthy of your heartbreaking gratitude. Loss has already transfigured your life into an altar. Jeff Foster
I’ve seen this before and every time I read the words it reminds me of how true this statement is. I will never forget when I was battling cancer. I was really feeling sorry for myself. No job, financially bankrupt, my hair, eyebrows, eyelashes and toe nails had fallen out. At the time I found myself feeling like my world was over. Father Michael encouraged me to volunteer at the homeless shelter at my church. I agreed.
My first day I received the greatest blessing ever. A huge dose of humble pie. All of our guests who were lined up outside came in to have breakfast. I had never met so many people who exuded more gratitude than those people I met that day. They had nothing. They were living in the park and yet their gratitude was overwhelming. I found myself feeling overwhelmed with a feeling that reminded me of just how ungrateful I had been. I couldn’t hold back the tears so I went to the back room and cried my eyes out. That day changed my life forever. I see others with a compassionate heart. Every time I feel sorry for myself I think of the wonderful people I met that day. Hence, a reminder there are always others who’s story is worse than mine.
The last 24 hours have been rather challenging for me. In truth, there’s a part of my heart that’s broken. However, I’ve been praying really hard for strength and healing. Sometimes life throws us curveballs that aren’t necessarily comfortable. Despite it all we still have to keep moving.
Tonight I was on my way home from a meeting. I looked toward the Cascade Mountains and found myself in awe when I saw this beautiful sunset. It reminded me of the words Father Michael once told during one of his homilies at St Dominic’s in San Francisco.
Father Michael shared that when things in our life aren’t going as planned it’s important to remind ourselves “Something Wonderful Is About To Happen”. As I looked at this sunset and took these photos those words that I have held close to my heart for several years came to mind reminding me “Something Wonderful Is About To Happen”. I can’t say for sure that something wonderful is about to happen but what I do know is God really does exist. Maybe this sunset that took my breath away was just a reminder that no matter the circumstances he’s with me and everything is going to be ok. I hope so any way
This is so true. I’ll never forget when I was in San Francisco. My ex had been so awful. To the point I cried profusely. I left the house and went to my church and prayed at the altar. On the way home I was angry at God. Even yelling at him. I stopped at a convenience store before going back home. As I walked in, an older man walked in behind me. As we walked towards the back he suddenly said “I want you to know God heard you tonight”. I looked at him and said “excuse me”. He said “God saw who hurt you tonight and made you cry. He wants you to know he will deal with him but he also wants you to know he has a plan for you. Everything is going to be alright”. I was so taken aback. He told me God had a plan for me. He said don’t worry about the person who hurt you. God will deal with him but as for you he has a plan and everything is going to be ok. I began to cry. This stranger put one arm around me and raised his other arm in the air and said “St Catherine of Sienna I ask you to intercede for this woman tonight. May you offer her the same gift you offered me years ago!” I looked at him and asked “Are you Catholic?” He answered “we are all Catholic”. He went on to share a story when he was in Europe and was down and out. He prayed even praying to St. Catherine of Sienna asking her to pray for him. A miracle happened. He prayed that I too would receive the same gift of a miracle he received that time.
Now you might wonder who this man was. I have no idea. He was just a business man who was lost in the city. He had google map on his iPad and wanted to ask the store clerk questions. Before he left he said “I’m so glad I walked in here tonight. God bless you.” He walked out and got in to his Mercedes and drove away.
I probably will never forget this night. They say God speaks to you through people. I have always been grateful he spoke to me through a stranger that night.
March 4th for the past 17 years has been my sobriety anniversary. Every year I celebrate another year of sobriety. This year I didn’t have that opportunity.
Many of you look up to me for being strong. I often hear I’m an inspiration. I’m extremely embarrassed but today I have to be honest with myself and all of you.
Up until last July I have faced my challenges. Often times white knuckling life and often times on my knees praying for god to grant me the strength to get through another day. Last July I had my breaking point. I gave up on myself, god and life in general. I don’t feel the need to share the personal details of what happened but I will say for me it was the last straw. I picked up a bottle. In the beginning my drinking was occasional but by December my drinking had become my only way of coping with the many challenges that life continues to throw my way. What can I say? I relapsed.
Last fall, I somehow managed to get myself in therapy as well as seeing a psychiatrist. It’s no secret. I am battling chronic PTSD. I also succumbed to agreeing to anti depressants. Still I kept drinking. I wasn’t going out or anything like that. In fact, I have to find the humor in the fact that I spent my evenings like a hermit isolated in my room, watching Hallmark, CNN and even Dr Pimple Popper while drinking a glass, or shall I say, a bottle of wine. I am so embarrassed.
Through the grace of God I recognized my downfall. I picked myself up and got my ass to AA. I was not only honest with myself, but honest with the people I love. I didn’t sugar coat it. I owned it. I have owned it ever since.
Today I’m 30 days sober. It sucks to start all over again after 16 1/2 years but I’m sharing because like anyone in sobriety I’m only human. I’m also sharing because I want everyone including myself to recognize relapse happens. The important thing is to recognize it, own it and start doing the work. I am attending AA four nights per week, celebrate recovery one night per week, I see a therapist and a psychiatrist. I also have a life coach.
I owe myself an apology for letting myself down but more importantly I owe the people I love an apology for letting them down too.
Sobriety is hard work. Especially when life throws you a curve ball. Or in my case one curveball after the next. However sobriety is possible if you want it. I want it! I’ll do anything to stay this way including being honest. I’m not always perfect. But who is? One thing about me that those who know me is if I did it, I’ll admit it. Relapse….I did it and I admit it. I recognize it and I’m doing something about it. Thirty days may not seem like a lot after 16 1/2 years but I did it once and I’ll do it again. Thirty days is only the beginning.
With that said I hope that my honesty helps someone struggling today.
No one is coming to save you. Drop the damsel in distress act and pick up your goddamned sword. You know what you need. Get up and make it happen.