Monday, August 24, 2009

Dantes Woods

"In the middle of the journey of our life, I came
to myself in a dark wood where straight the
way was lost.
Ah! How hard a thing to tell what a wild.
and rough, and stubborn wood this was, which
in my thought renews the fear."

These words are from the poet Dante, writing the Inferno.
Doesn’t it sound familiar? He wrote in 1302. But here are the woods which we know as this recovery path we are on together, and look, he says in the middle of “our life”. Yes it is himself but that “our” includes us too.
“A dark wood where straight the way was lost.”
We know that as well
and then he says, “Which in my thought renews the fear”.
When you think about your life before recovery, when you “keep it green”
Doesn’t that renew your fear?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Beach Vacation

I leave tomorrow for a week of vacation. Two city days for museums and food and then four beach days for ocean goddess time and reading, beach walking and especially beach prayer.

Since early recovery I have taken all of my biggest surrenders at the beach. When I sit on the beach and talk to God and look at the ocean I am very clear that there is something bigger than me. I also do a prayer ritual at the shore. I take a stick or a piece of shell and just above the tide line I write the names of all those that I need to turn over to God. When the ocean moves and tide rises those names and my intentions are taken to sea, dissolved in salt water and taken from me.

As a mermaid at heart, this works for me.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bob Fosse at Jacob's Pillow

At Jacob’s Pillow I saw a video interview with jazz choreographer Bob Fosse. His work includes A Chorus Line and Chicago as well as many ballets and jazz pieces for concert and Broadway.

In the interview he talked about the development of his distinctive style. He said that he had very bad posture for a dancer so when he choreographed he created moves for his dancers with his now signature curved and turned-in shoulders. He talked about having “bad legs” for a dancer--and so rather than use traditional turn-out as in ballet he turned his dancer’s legs inward. He also mentioned that he had started to go bald when he was only 25 years old and so he wore hats all the time hence his incredible use of hats as props in all of his major works. He said: "All of my gifts have come from my defects."

What if all of the things we are trying to fix and hide and change are the things that are part of our distictive style and that could become our creative signature?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Oldie but Goodie

“Become the man that you want to marry.”

-----------------------------------------Gloria Steinem

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Integration or Insight is the Booby Prize

Today I am in that painful place of having insight and understanding but not change. I’ve been working through some things and had great moments of “Aha, now I’ve got it.” I see why I do it; I know where it comes from; I know what change would look like, but grrrr…I’m not doing the new behavior. Frustrating.

It’s not integrated. It feels like I have the understanding in my head but it has not “dropped down” into my heart or body.

My prayer is to get what is in my mind to integrate with my body and behavior.

I think this is also the “X” factor in Steps 6 and 7.

In this equation “X” equals God.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Pride and Shame

In the program we say, “It’s not what you think of yourself but that you think of yourself.” It’s a way of getting at this partnership between pride and shame. Though they look different on the outside they are sisters and they work in terrible tandem.

Pride puffs up and shame hangs down.
Pride boasts and shame hides.
But they come from the same parents.
Pride says, “You’re too good.”
Shame says, “You’re too bad.”

Pride goes before a fall, and then shame keeps you from getting up afterward.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Bag Lady

Yesterday I had lunch with a writing friend. I was telling her about work, John, money worries and I said, “I just always imagine I’ll end up a bag lady.”

She looked at me and said, “Are you saving your good bags? I always save bags from Saks just for when that day comes.”

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Temp for God

Here is a spiritual strategy that I began practicing a couple of years ago. I wish I remembered to do this every day because when I do, my days are so much better.

This came to me when I was working in an organization that hired temps to get thru busy times. I noticed that most of the temps were pleasant, hard working and very willing to do whatever needed to be done. They showed up each day and did what was on that day’s list. There was no sense of right, wrong, should, shouldn’t, not-my-job or why me? I thought, “What if I came to work like that each day?”

So now, when I remember, I think of myself as a temporary worker. The temp agency that I work for is God. In my morning prayer I say, “OK, God I’m temping for you today; whatever shows up is what you are asking me to do and like a good temp I’ll do it pleasantly, willingly and without debate. Where are you sending me today God?”

Maybe this new agency needs plastic mugs that say: Temp for God.