One evening a grandfather was teaching his young grandson about the internal battle that each person faces. “There are two wolves struggling inside each of us,” the old man said.
“One wolf is vengefulness, anger, resentment, self-pity, fear . . . The other wolf is compassion, faithfulness, hope, truth, love . . .”
The grandson sat, thinking, then asked: “Which wolf wins, Grandfather?”
His grandfather replied, “The one you feed.”

This blog is about the constant struggle. Mostly about mine, but then all the major themes running through my life are universal to everyone else. If my experiences are able to help even one single person find their way through the labyrinth of life, then I am better equipped to stand in the face of any adversity and say, "Bring it. BRING IT! And pack a lunch." Its not about me at that point. And for me, that is the point, the whole point, and nothing but the point.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rollercoasters, Neuropeptides, and oysters. Oh my!

Gotta love life. Its times like these that make you look at roller coasters in a whole new way. At least it does for me; times like these make me realize that if it weren't for the major climbs up the steep hill, there wouldn't be the exhilaration of the drop- and I do like the intense roller coasters. I wouldn't want anything less. No one stands in line for a flat roller coaster.

Lately I am on fire with ideas. I know, I KNOW that they are all gestating, waiting to bloom; these do not feel like the ideas that you have and then just sit on, maybe talk about over coffee one day. These are ideas about healing, recovery, education, values, relationships, empowerment- about how to take a non profit and make in such a way that it doesn't have that 'non-profit' look to it- you know what I mean? So many non profit companies really look like they are doing it on a shoe string. If I were to do a website to empower women about making choices by understanding how their value system is constructed and possibly needs demolishing and rebuilding, or to identify if they are victims of psychological abuse,o r if they are trapped inside mediocrity of experience due to limiting belief systems- then I would want to use directors who could make small movies that convey the subtleties and the complexity of self discovery and being a survivor. I would want to have amazing interviews with strong women who are fighting the good fight and want to teach others how to be organic, authentic women. I would want it to be, well, cool, for want of a better word. I would want women who need to be reached to want it once we find them, not a website that is decked out like an institution, with royal blues and clouds and italicized serif fonts. I think healing and recovery can be packaged differently with the same content- if you put Yoohoo in a can it would still be the same Yoohoo, right?

I also want to find a way to propose a bill to include a new sort of class in the public school system, one that teaches values and self esteem, what it means to be human, self discovery, boundaries, identity, respect. These are things that used to be taught at home, but its a different world now, and families, even really good ones, are lacking in that nuclear way. I think the future of the country is in jeopardy if the value system that is in place with most kids will be the prevailing (and entropic) value system- and this will be handed down to their kids, and it will continue to corrode- it does not bode well. If we can get to them now, then there will be less need for non-profit treatment centers, abortion clinics might go out of business, the abuse hotlines will need fewer phone operators, suicide-rape, drug abuse, teenage pregnancy, violence, you name it, will be, not eradicated, but curtailed. If this was in ALL public schools, every single one, in every single grade, as part of the curriculum.

Moreover, I am also interested in taking recovery to the next level. My recovery is undergoing that transformation; I need it. I love the program, and the steps, sponsoring, fellowship; I love everything about the 12 Step program of AA. I owe it my life and will continue to be active in it one day at a time. But there is more. That isn't all. Now that I am sober for a little while, I need newer, deeper, more profound spiritual experiences. I don't know what exactly, because spirituality is such a personal issue for me, and I am not interested in borrowing someone else's, lock , stock, and barrel. The next level for me will involve social experiments (like giving away money at freeway exit ramps or getting a group together and walking around hugging strangers- we'd ask first, of course...) but the purpose of which would be to not only give me a brand new experience, and allow me to see the looks on peoples faces, but also allow the people to have a moment of pure delight, wonder, surprise- to allow them, even if just for a second, to light up the nerve receptor sites of delight, because the more that is lit up the more likely it is to again, as the nerve receptors build relationships. I'd like for people to want to have that feeling again, because it is fresh and pure and spontaneous, and there is nothing bad about that. Its almost childlike. (not to be confused with childish.) I would like to video tape these antics and show them on a website so even more people can experience the joy second hand- Like the Bhoddisatva in the Metro clip on youtube- good humor, is contagious. I am happy that it is, and I want to infect as many people as possible. Laughing, smiling, delight, wonder- all these are spiritual experiences. For the time they are present, we are in the moment, we are not self conscious. Its healing. Its like a magical elixir- the ecstatic state that Jung says is a necessary state for human beings, and if we don't get those experiences in positive, legitimate ways, we will seek them out in negative ways, like drugs and alcohol. And if people crave ecstatic experiences in legitimate ways through outrageous compassion and spiritual rambunctiousness, then that opens up a whole new door for a whole lot of people. It creates the desire to wake that up in others. And the more people want to encourage awakening in others who walk around in a trance, self obsessed and myopic, the better chance we have to stay connected to God consciousness, not just for an hour or a 10 minute meditation, but all day, every day.

And I still want to show people that life in recovery is anything but bland or boring, like we had planned to do with the now defunct 247 Recovery Channel- that in truth it opens the whole world up to you on several different levels. Its hard to know that when you are using, because you aren't even aware of the full range of feelings available to a sober person. You can not imagine what a spiritual high is, or a pink cloud, or the feeling when you have been of service to someone, or spoken at a meeting, or when someone says, "I trust you."

Finally, I want to start talking about the sacred space that a relationship is, that marriage is not an outdated concept, its the ideas we have about it that need an overhaul. Trust me, three months ago I would never have said such a thing; but I have come to realize that we all carry God within us, and when we unite in relationship and marriage, its also God re-uniting, and the space that is created IS sacred. And a child being born into that sacredness is in the lap of God. There are a lot of details that distract us from the truth of this, a lot of ego and fear and confusion about what the role of a man and woman truly is in these modern times, but its really one of the most spiritually profound journeys, and worth living for. It isn't really looked at like this now- in fact, what I am proposing sounds old fashioned, but it only sounds old fashioned in a modern world with a weak value system. Very few people are happy in their relationships; if they are, its new. And very few people are truly happy single. None of my girlfriends are happy; they are having a terrible time dating men who got used to how low women, as a rule, set the bar for a man. They get away with murder while we sit staring at our phone. I thought the idea was the empowered, emancipated woman? I've recently been hearing a few girlfriends say, "Er, no. You can pull the panties out of your ass and grow up. Its not cute anymore. You can not only make a choice, but stick to it. thats commitment, and I am not interested in anything less. Call me when you grow a pair." This isn't hard ass- this is a woman valuing herself. And no man will unless we do first.

Then there is the intellectual aspect of the quantum world, which is, for me, absolute proof of the Divine Order of things. I can hardly be afraid of anything in a world so beautifully constructed, and so dependent on the observer to exist. There is the science of the cells, the receptor sites and neuropeptides, which are fascinating and answer a lot of the questions about behavior in terms of how we all are addicts- we ALL become addicted to certain feelings and experiences and continue to recreate them to satisfy the cravings on a cellular level. If you think you are heavy set in your physique, for example, if that is all you talk about, then you are addicted to the feeling that produces, you are looking for situations in which that negativity will be reflected back to you so you can talk about it more, create more scenarios, and perpetuate your deep seated craving for that negative experience. You will stare longingly at clothes you think you can't wear and detest others who have figures you admire. And your whole world becomes reduced to this, forms around it, and defines the quality of your life experience. This stuff fascinates me, it stimulates new thought in me and allows me to have a new experience when I am able to understand that I have a HUGE struggle in front of me always to liberate myself from my own programming. I want to create a forum for this sort of dialogue, an internet salon, a place to share the new bits of scientific data we are exploring that open the eyes up to new possibilities, and dismantle old structures and habits that no longer serve us.

I have a lot to do. I have no idea how, but that is none of my business. Yet. The next step will be revealed. What I do know is that the more of a community there is, the more that people are interested in these same things, the more likely they are to happen, and on a grand scale. I know that the people with money who believe that these things must exist will come forward until other funding can be made available through grants or non profit fund raising. I learned in the 247 Recovery Community project that the energy that flows through a community makes a movement, and the enthusiasm of that movement is also infectious, and begins to lift off and takes on a life of its own, above and beyond the original seed project. I believe that its time for a new spiritual movement that is hip and fun, ecstatic, empowering, sexy, relevant, healing, helpful, connecting, thought provoking, inspiring, and accessible.

In the midst of my financial struggles right now (oh, and are they truly challenging currently, to a degree that is almost comical- the word 'ghetto' gets tossed around a lot to describe how I am getting by right now) and relationship uncertainties, kids who are becoming teenagers and an ex husband who wont pay child support and want me 6 feet under, I get to have thoughts like these. Marianne Williamson says that the trick is to have 'immortal' thoughts in the mortal world. Mortal thoughts are the worries and fears and plans and schemes and details and hurrying and list making....I don't have room for those thoughts. In my old ways, I would be consumed with fear and anger and more fear and worry, I'd probably be on my way to a strip club to make money. But now I know that everything is happening exactly the way it is supposed to happen- in fact, this whole blog would not exist, these thoughts are exactly a manifestation from recent experiences, seemingly 'hard times', that allowed new thoughts to emerge. There is never a pearl without first there being an irritation that creates a thing of beauty. It is always from the seed of discontent that new hope springs.

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