faith

time after time

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doves

There is no fire like greed,
No crime like hatred,
No sorrow like separation,
No sickness like hunger of heart,
And no joy like the joy of freedom.
Health, contentment and trust
Are your greatest possessions,
And freedom your greatest joy.
Look within. Be still.
Free from fear and attachment,
Know the sweet joy of living in the way.
from the Dhammapada, Words of the Buddha

a blessing in life is that the lessons keep on coming. the burden in life is that the lessons keep coming. aggravatingly, as i go through this testing in life, the questions circle back around. as much as i would easily settle for a “c” or a “d” on this test,  but the answers that i got wrong somehow blow away with the wind as the questions reappear as if bran new, asking to have the multiple choices examined once again.

somewhere inside this path i take which mirrors the moon orbiting the earth, i get stunned again and again that i find myself under dressed after i have (metaphorically) given my clothes away. this dance is perpetual, rotational, and feels often like being on the tilt-a-whirl.

is it physical? is it mental health? is it a weakness? is it an intrinsic flaw? spiritual?  probably yes to all?

my own nature is what comprises my hopes as well as my demise.. i am consistently part of the dance. always will be that way. wherever i go, there i am… so i have to find a way to be at peace with myself.

 

 

no no samo samo

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“Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns...We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.”  ― Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha
“Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns…We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.”
― Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha

 

one thing i have come to know closely this last onth is that when i make efforts to change and the universe responds, well then thing are going to be different. damn! it is not easy to be different. it is easier to grow into being different. and of course that’s what happens when we change. we grow. and there is a death. and a dirge. and a birth.

tara branch’s quote is precisely reflecting my conundrum du jour. if i am to change, how best can i do this with true healthy change in view? how can i not make emotional decisions?

 

walking on water

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Waves are not measured in feet and inches, they are measured in increments of fear.

-Buzzy Trent.


SOUL SURFER is the inspiring true story of teen surfer Bethany Hamilton, who lost her arm
in a shark attack and courageously overcame all odds to become a champion again, through her
sheer determination and unwavering faith. The film features an all-star cast, including
AnnaSophia Robb and Helen Hunt, with Carrie Underwood in her film debut, and Dennis Quaid.
In the wake of this life-changing event that took her arm and nearly her life, Bethany’s feisty
determination and steadfast beliefs spur her toward an adventurous comeback that gives her
the grit to turn her loss into a gift for others…. Soul Surfer the film 
i watched the film “soul surfer” last weekend and have not been able to shake its message out of my mind. it is certainly an inspirational film based on the true story of aussie born surfer bethany hamilton who tragically lost an arm to a shark attack. with resilience she developed through her faith and honed by working with others, she returned to the sport (and lifestyle) that she loved- and returned with grace. 
yes i am almost embarrassed that i totally loved this teenager tale of recovery. yes i think it’s probably corny. and yes i have seen it more than once this week. for me, it is a quintessential tale of faith and redemption. and these are themes that i now believe in. 
at times in life, i have found myself devastated because my dreams and plans were shattered. it felt as if my life was obliterated, and i didn’t think i could or wanted to go on. but my plans are not the only blueprint at work in my life. i have a design, but not the design. this is pivotal. i have input, but am not in charge. 
what i love most about bethany’s story is the revelation that her life became so much larger when she began to accept her new situation and started working with her circumstances. just as she meets the surf where it is and finds the patience and skill to ride a wave back to shore, she shared her life’s joy and her experience with others in lieu of seeking pleasure for herself. this action opened a view of her life that was bigger than she could have guessed or imagined. and she triumphed and found peace.
on a more universal level, the scenes in the film of hawaii are breathtaking, the ocean shots, the surfing culture, the rocky pacific rim shores establish themselves as an integral part of the story. it is not a new story by any means. it is a yarn that has been spun and re-spun throughout the ages. it is, however, a real story. the fears that we encounter when our plans are trashed by life seem insurmountable at times. and this will continue to happen as long as we have dreams. and the grace that is bestowed when we let go of our plans and make room for another is life changing, right-sizing, and priceless. 
 i smiled, i cried,. and i liked it.

remain in light

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image credit … pascal meunier

Week 4: Smart Things 10 12 and A vision for you 

  • When you are hurt or upset, what do you do to comfort yourself?
  • How has your recovery helped you develop a personal compass in your life?
  • The Ninth Step promises in Alcoholics Anonymous, page 84, indicate that “we will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us.” How has this manifested itself in your life?
  • How do you respond to conflict or tension in your relationship?
  • What perspective would you need to take in order to see the tension in your relationship as an opportunity for you to work on your emotional sobriety?
  • What would it mean to you if you started to look at the real problem as how you cope with a situation rather than the problem being the problem?
  • Emotional sobriety creates emotional resilience. This means that we can stay clean and sober regardless of a difficult situation or circumstance, regardless of health or illness, regardless of success or failure. Is your recovery this stable? Do you have this kind of faith in yourself? What idea would you need to give up to have this kind of faith in your recovery?

from “12 smart things to do when the booze and drugs are gone” by allen berger

with the continuing change going on in my daily work life, i find myself perpetually moving or shifting or adjusting or waiting for any or all of those. the clients i work with have expanded to well beyond hiv. i am working with opioid replacement clients, with hep-c positive patients, and with dually diagnosed patients- all of which i certainly worked before, however the challenges and the life experiences are more diverse.

adding to this, i have been asked to chair a board for a recovery advocacy organization. this is a request which i am not quite ready to provide an answer at this time. i am waiting to hear a response from the lender who holds the note on my townhouse, because that transition will affect my life the most primarily. and to add to the shake-ups, i have applied for an additional counseling position to replace the 12K that i dropped this last year- which set some of this current richter scale action in motion and i continue to wait to discover if this is a good fit.

i am in awe of the confidence i have rendered in all this chaos. and i feel comforted by the lack of panic. i don’t know what is next, but i am moving forward with faith and trust in my relationship with the world. wow- did i even write that? but it’s true. i feel connected and i welcome tomorrow.

i don’t always satisfy the expectations of those around me. i still often judge my actions very harshly at first. i stumble in new situations and misspeak and misstep as often as i get it right. but what really keeps me going is my fairly newly acquired sense that i am okay. nothing great certainly, but nothing broken. for all my life, i felt-no believed- that i was flawed- twisted and warped. this is a belief that has had a metamorphosis into something else and been carried away with the winds. this is definitely an easier way to live.

image credit- bob jagendorf
i have recently heard some sets played by this dj named nick warren. i like him very much. it sounds so contemporary to me. i hope you like it, too.