Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Out of the Woods and Back Again

“When you start on a long journey, trees are trees, water is water, and mountains are mountains. After you have gone some distance, trees are no longer trees, water no longer water, mountains no longer mountains. But after you have traveled a great distance, trees are once again trees, water is once again water, mountains are once again mountains.”

This is a Zen teaching that I found in a wonderful book called “Art and Fear—The Perils and Rewards of Artmaking.”

It speaks to the process of any creative journey, any recovery.

It also reminds me of one of my favorite experiences in AA meetings when the topic for discussion begins with a metaphor—any metaphor—and the discussion plays it out in many serious and silly ways. Maybe driving and the members talk about their lives as cars or journeys or car repairs. Or climbing a mountain with tools and base camp and slipping and sliding. Or maybe as shopping and there are sales and bargains and disappointments and great finds.

After 20 years of recovery we have seen many trees, much water and lots of mountains.

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