you will be changed,
never the same
“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for the knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.” Step 11, ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS
……down to the river to pray……..
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” John 7:38 (emphasis are mine)
Just another traveler on life’s highway hanging out in the slow lane. It’s quiet. It’s peaceful. Beyond the horizon is rest calling my name. Green pastures, still waters, my cup overflows.
Hangovers. We who partied hearty with the demon alcohol probably remember them well. And it is good that we do lest the allure of the good times overshadows the misery of the bad times. I continue to have drunk dreams occasionally and I welcome them as my Higher Power’s blessing. Those dreams keep me in touch with the reality of alcoholism.
We can also experience emotional hangovers. This past weekend all the excitement of worldwide “marches for our lives” built up to a crescendo of incredible hope for a humanity free of violence. The millions who participated displayed an energy uncommon in our society, one that brought together like-minded brothers and sisters who value the sanctity of all life over the various interpretations of citizens’ rights. The young speakers were amazing, the crowds were peaceful, and a sense of dignity for all humanity governed the atmosphere.
Then, later that evening, the disparaging tweets, comments, and hatred filled our airways and moved across our viewing screens. Yes, it was an amazing day, but now the reality of what we are as a society hit with a vengeance. The emotional hangover set in. Once again we faced the truth of a world which says that even as voices concerned with species survival speak peace, governments and government agents do not, the powerful do not, and those lost in the darkness of self do not. They thrive on discord and discontent.
At these moments I have a decision to make. 1) Forsake my truth to venture into their world of strife or 2) grab onto the power which leads me into a place of green pastures and still waters. President and Mrs. Obama called it “taking the high road”. Oprah defined it as “not giving power to negativity.” It’s one of the Buddha’s teachings: observe the thoughts that pass through our minds, do not dwell, do not judge, just allow them to be and then pass on. My serenity depends on preserving an inner sanctum, a space within where the world’s activity is observed and then dismissed.
That emotional turmoil does not need to be the controlling factor in life. That muck of strife and discord does not need to be wallowed in. Recognize it and then allow it to pass. Know it is out there, but don’t participate in its life-sucking discourse. That is what the Obamas, Oprah, and the Buddha encouraged us to do. Instead of wallowing, set a course on positive, empowering energy which will encounter and conquer that which is dehumanizing and hateful.
A childhood Sunday School ditty says it all: “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me.”
“Be still (cease striving) and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
Embrace my soul in warmth,
lift from me that which disrupts,
quietly lead me to your abode,
hold my hand in comfort,
open my mind to magnificence,
to light, to beauty, to stillness.
In this place we are one,
you and I are One
we release the pain,
We release it to your fire.
The realm of discontent passes,
it pales and disappears,
only You and I in the stillness,
It is well with my soul,
I do not fear,
I do not desire,
I do not despise,
it is well
for we are as One
“We have ceased fighting anything or anyone – even alcohol. For by this time sanity has returned. We can now react sanely and normally, and we find that this has happened almost automatically. We see that this new attitude toward liquor is really a gift of God.” AS BILL SEES IT, Bill Wilson, pg. 121
This journey I am on, the same journey all of us undertake, has met its share of stone walls, dead ends, and heartbreak. What seemed like a terrific idea yesterday becomes today’s need to backtrack and regroup. A person who comes aside and walks that path with me briefly decides to take the alternate route lying ahead and becomes just a memory of good times. The opportunity not taken shows up later in life as one of those “I told you so” moments. It can be a tortuous life through hell we build for ourselves or a meandering trek through serenity. We have the ability to make that choice.
I write as larrypaulbrown and as gabbygraywhiskers. Larry is the idealist, the one who sees the possibilities of life through rose-colored filters and believes in the innate goodness of mankind and the infinite power of an incomprehensible, undefinable God. Whatever turmoil and hostility abounds in the world, Larry believes it can be conquered by love and compassion.
Gabby on the other hand is a realist. He relates his world view from the experiences of a life deep in the nitty-gritty of addiction, disappointment, and social disapproval. His personality is a composite of the people who have joined in his journey through life. His world view is tempered by the harshness of ignorance and misunderstanding. Gabby is more of an in-your-face kind of man who sees injustice in the world and wants to single-handedly and vociferously confront it and then fix it. The compassion he envisions is backed by a good ole boy creed which ridicules and challenges stupidity. He’s got something to say and, “dang it, you’re gonna friggin listen.”
I continually struggle with these two personas that fill my brain with thoughts and writing material. Sometimes I think that, yes, dementia is finally taking over. But, more often, I simply go with the flow and allow whomever has a pressing need to vocalize to take the pen and fill the page with the my ramblings.
My goal is not to be published, not to become a noteworthy blogger, not to become a recognized name in writing circles. I merely want to touch lives in a meaningful way.
“Aw hell, there Larry goes again with that mushy crap. NosirreeBob, what we’re gonna do is change the friggin world whether the world likes it or not.”