matters of the heart

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jude law image credit… john stoddart
“People get into a heavy-duty sin and guilt trip, feeling that if things are going wrong, that means that they did something bad and they are being punished. That’s not the idea at all. The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings that you need to open your heart. To the degree that you didn’t understand in the past how to stop protecting your soft spot, how to stop armoring your heart, you’re given this gift of teachings in the form of your life, to give you everything you need to open further.”
“A psychotic drowns in the very same stuff a mystic swims in.”
pema chodron

i stopped by to see my sponsor today to check in about our meeting. during the conversation, it became clear that i have some  real resistance to looking honestly at myself right now. i am not liking this realization, but i can neither ignore nor deny it. i have some reservations. about what i am not exactly sure. but i do know that i need to lean into the resistance.

i have developed too many ego issues. i have wrestled with emotional safety. i have allowed my drive to succeed to overshadow my sense of inclusion. i have opted to feel numb in lieu of feeling uncomfortable-this is fairly scary. amid all this, i have become slightly isolated. i have set boundaries with family members and this has become a fence to keep them out. in some ways i have become fearful of others and thus prideful because i don’t negotiate my fears. i let them control me and keep me like a stone sculpture. this trend has become like dining on a frozen dinner- without flavor, without adventure, and much too easy.

i realized today that i would like to speak publicly. i believe that the experiences i have catalogued might embody some valuable information. i am walking through recovery of a few types, mental health, bi-polar disorder, ptsd, sexaholism, and hiv. perhaps it sounds like a lot, but it is the road i am travelling. i’m not finished, but if i am to retell my insight, i must be more diligent about my own housekeeping. as i look around my house, i realize what a double entendre this is.

i have been listening to bettye lavette, shirley horn, and ernestine anderson lately. the vintage jazz standards create a sense of familiarity and wonder at the same time in me. but today i’ll leave you with some etta james. she passed today and i am attempting to underline how blessed i feel she was here.

4 thoughts on “matters of the heart

    Jeremiah Andrews said:
    January 20, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Hey Rod …

    Before you can give it away, your own house must be in order. Speaking is a gift and only comes when the time is right. One might wonder why all of a sudden you feel like speaking, when you can't even look at yourself honestly? That speaks volumes. You can't get sober and keep your EGO. It just doesn't work that way. Eventually it will take you down or someone else will call you out on it.

    It is time for you to work your steps in earnest so that you can take a look at all these issues. Fear, Ego, Pride … all those things we look at in the 4th step.

    You can't be in community and isolate yourself behind fences and boundaries. Seems like you have 1 foot in one location and the other in another. Time to stand up straight.

    Are you writing all these things down so you can talk them over with your sponsor? And are you making good use of his time, or by your own admission not willing to look at yourself intensely thereby not utilizing your sponsor to his fullest potential?

    Only you can take these steps to continue your sober journey. Do not tarry because if you alienate yourself any more the nearer the drink or drug might get and you don't want to go down that road do you?

    Write me sometime if you can't talk to your sponsor. Do something.



    warrior scout said:
    January 20, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    j- your comments seem very distant from the 1st quote posted. i just may prefer the buddhist perspective. it seems a losing tactic to pretend my thoughts and feelings unclean. they are part of me. i am a dichotomy. i am light and dark- good and sinister- stable and crazy- all at the same time. i think there is much for me to discover as i walk my path.


    Jeremiah Andrews said:
    January 20, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    I just think that before you can stand up and speak in front of others about your recovery, that you should be able to look into yourself honestly and take what you see and share it. And if you can't do that, then what good is it to talk about that which you can't see, therefore can't share.

    I know Buddhists in recovery here and they follow the big book too. You have to marry the traditions and make it work. You've stated a lot of issues that you need to iron out with a sponsor. This is too important to pass up. And if you aren't comfortable with your sponsor then find someone who you can be comfortable with. I am only reading what you are saying above.

    It's hard to put into words that good things will come if your own house is in order. And the same goes for speaking. If you don't have a clear message about honesty and integrity, then better to hold your words until you investigate these issues.

    We all get to speak. And we all have our first shares. It is in practicing how to share and each time is different, you may not have a clear vision at first, but it will come. I am not knocking you or your journey. By no means. I just write what comes to mind. I have sponsees myself who have these same issues and we are working on them.

    Know I care, that's why I comment. One day we can talk on the phone about all this and maybe I can help you?



    warrior scout said:
    January 21, 2012 at 5:04 am

    thanks j- my impression is that my point is not clear. the goal is not to speak, but to be available for it. and yes the things you write have truth. my reaction to your first comment is that you don't trust that i am connected to a process that will take me towards the light. i have learned that it's imperative to talk about what is going on with me. this is my journal. because i share introspection and confusion may not indicate that i am not solution-focused. the 12 steps are 1 solution, but as “the doctor's opinion” reminds us, people must be emotionally and constitutionally available to hear the message of the book of aa- “There is the manic-depressive type, who is, perhaps, the least understood by his friends, and about whom a whole chapter could be written.” ideally, my process includes feeling what is in me, looking at it if possible, and letting it go. when that process is muddy, i try to investigate. after years of numbing, and only a few not doing so, it is often still first response to take the numbing route-especially with certain types of issues. i am learning this about myself- family issues, authority figure issues- these especially invoke an “automatic pilot” response that my history designed for emotional survival. i don't need it anymore, but i still engage in it. the beauty of all this for me is in understanding and recognizing who i am and how i am. i need to do this before i can let it go-even if it is painful. i am certainly flawed- big time. but i believe that this is where i gather my strength- understanding, accepting, and working to minimize them.


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