Yesterday was supremely difficult and uncomfortable, and this morning I woke with something of a new attitude once more. I’m like a goose, I suppose; every morning it’s a new world. Yesterday I was in a state of paralysis dwelling on a seemingly unending chain of loss and despair and, frankly, shame. Once more I traced the outlines of a fading image, knowing I’d burned my ships on the beach and could never go home, knowing that much of that notion of home was itself just another illusion I’d constructed and informed to find something authentic in me and, failing that, had destroyed and discarded. This morning I am once again in the present moment.
The last few months have been something of a winnowing process as I have continually stripped and shook away attachments and become willing to let go of old ideas and find some kernel or essence of myself upon which I can build something new. I find that there is something of value to be preserved, but there is much clutter. And maybe this was necessary. Maybe it took this shock to create an environment sufficient for me to be willing to even stop and look. I’m sure it did, actually. And it took this sense of dread over what lies in front of me to force me to remain in that state of willingness and effect that change and to behave differently.
There is much work to do. I used to think that life continually handed me an open-faced shit sandwich on one slice of bread, and my job was simply to chew and smile and declare that the taste was to my liking. The truth is that I made that meal every time. Life handed me a never ending set of possibilities, and I chose the ingredients that suited my appetites. That truth is difficult to chew and swallow, but it provides a much better nourishment than the plate I created in the past. And it gives me the freedom to choose a different menu now.
Is it necessary that I face more? The difficult certainty for me is that it is. My only concern at this point is that I have something to build upon and a place from which I can move forward. The truth for me is that I can create that out of nothing, and the world will cooperate if I am, in fact, truly willing. There is a great deal of fear for me in that, and that is the real bogeyman in my life at present. That is the thing to be faced.
I don’t think I could have ever done that so long as my father was alive. Perhaps I could’ve never even done that so long as any of those old men in my life who behaved as surrogates for him were present. My attachment to my teachers was always too strong for me to carry their example forward and walk alone. At fifty-three I can sometimes still be very much a child in that respect. That is also a difficult truth for me.
There is another truth I have discovered. I was prepared to fake compassion but not to feel it. It is an awkward instrument in my hands, but its effect on me has been surprising. I have begun to reach out and find it in that space between me and others who are fumbling around in this same mist of uncertainty and fear, this fog of attachment to old ideas and muddied thinking. It is a powerful tool, so long as I wield it from a place that is authentic to my experience and grounded in a motive of honest willingness. I have found that I can be kind for the sake of being kind.
I am thankful for today. I am thankful for my sobriety. I am thankful for my friends near and far. I am thankful for George. I am thankful for the companionship of my dogs. I am thankful for the roof over my head and food to eat. I am thankful for my health. I am thankful for the possibility of continued change and understanding. I am thankful for the talents I possess and the opportunity of their expression. And I am thankful for the gift of willingness.