Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Letting Go of Those Not in Recovery

From my reading this morning of The Language of Letting Go by Melodie Beattie.  Love this.

Letting Go of Those Not in Recovery

We can go forward with our life and recoveries, even though someone we love is not yet recovering.

Picture a bridge. On one side of the bridge it is cold and dark. We stood there with others in the cold and darkness, doubled over in pain. Some of us developed an eating disorder to cope with the pain. Some drank; some used other drugs. Some of us lost control of our sexual behavior. Some of us obsessively focused on addicted people's pain to distract us from our own pain. Many of us did both: we developed an addictive behavior, and distracted ourselves by focusing on other addicted people. We did not know there was a bridge. We thought we were trapped on a cliff.

Then, some of us got lucky. Our eyes opened, by the Grace of God, because it was time. We saw the bridge. People told us what was on the other side: warmth, light, and healing from our pain. We could barely glimpse or imagine this, but we decided to start the trek across the bridge anyway.

We tried to convince the people around us on the cliff that there was a bridge to a better pace, but they wouldn't listen. They couldn't see it; they couldn't believe. They were not ready for the journey. We decided to go alone, because we believed, and because people on the other side were cheering us onward. The closer we got to the other side, the more we could see, and feel, that what we had been promised was real. There was light, warmth, healing, and love. The other side was a better place.

But now, there is a bridge between those on the other side and us. Sometimes, we may be tempted to go back and drag them over with us, but it cannot be done. No one can be dragged or forced across this bridge. Each person must go at his or her own choice, when the time is right. Some will come; some will stay on the other side. The choice is not ours.

We can love them. We can wave to them. We can holler back and forth. We can cheer them on, as others have cheered and encouraged us. But we cannot make them come over with us.
If our time has come to cross the bridge, or if we have already crossed and are standing in the light and warmth, we do not have to feel guilty. It is where we are meant to be. We do not have to go back to the dark cliff because another's time has not yet come.

The best thing we can do is stay in the light, because it reassures others that there is a better place. And if others ever do decide to cross the bridge, we will be there to cheer them on.

Today, I will move forward with my life, despite what others are doing or not doing. I will know it is my right to cross the bridge to a better life, even if I must leave others behind to do that. I will not feel guilty. I will not feel ashamed. I know that where I am now is a better place and where I'm meant to be.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Finding Contentment in Now

I went to a guided meditation this week.  It went about as I expected it would - uncomfortably.

Phones buzzing, doors opening, people coughing, foot falling asleep, back hurting (so bad), butt boney against the floor, head spinning, heart dark and heavy.

I went into it, however, with grace for myself regardless of the outcome. After all, it was a "compassion and loving kindness" meditation.  The least I could do is accept the experience for exactly what it is.

That last bit - the heavy and darkened heart - was the one gift of awareness I received.  I feel it sitting here even now.  The right side of my chest feels open and light, while the left side feels shrouded somehow.  In this awareness, I feel the dull, faint ache.  Physically.  My heart - the muscle - is literally aching.

I have been living my life waiting for it to stop. Everything I do - in work, in play, in relationships - has been a gesture aimed at attaining purpose and meaning in my life.  They are acts of hope and not necessarily presence.  I live my life in the meantime.

I'm reading the book, In the Meantime, incidentally, which suggests that it is a naturally occurring time in everyone's life.  What I can't reconcile, however, is how "meantime" and "presence" can coexist.  Great teachers and philosophers have said that happiness is not having what you want in life, rather, wanting what you have.  But if this "meantime" phenomenon is real, how can that be possible?  Who on Earth could possibly want a meantime experience?

Perhaps it is less about want and more about acceptance.  As painful and messy as my meantime experience has been, it is definitely reshaping me.  No doubt I am a better, albeit slightly more worn, person for it.  Maybe in my meantime "presence" just means having gratitude for the unseen gifts I am receiving.

I have a hunch it also means opening this aching heart of mine to actually receive them.