Do you have faith?
This is a question I must ask myself at times when I feel that things are not necessarily going the way I feel they should or could be going. In other words… the times when I am playing God and of the mind that my way is the only way to go. There is a saying in the program that reminds me that my best thinking brought me to a program that continually teaches me a better way to live and think (or in some cases NOT think.) Where that may sound like a good choice, it wasn’t necessarily a choice I made for myself. My best thinking had other results in mind. My plans were not designed to end me up in any type of program. I just got lucky that where this thinking took me is actually the better bet. I am grateful that I became willing to listen and learn, and was able to change (pretty much) everything as a result.
Patience is not my strong suit. But as I am attempting to point out in the paragraph above, it is usually through impatience that I will find myself creating any issue rather than opening my mind to a solution which would undoubtedly be the better fit (even if I don’t necessarily see this reality from the onset.) When I am not in patience of a process it is an illustration of not living in the moment. It is a solid example of future tripping, where I am not able to see what may be right for me through my ego’s attempt to control all outcomes and direct the show and all its players.
After all, what is impatience if not simply the fear of not getting what you want or possibly losing what you have?
The logical answer for believing change is necessary (and needed) is in remembering the FAITH that my God has a plan in store for me. I would likely not see this result in my time simply because it’s unveiling has not yet happened. I am not to that point in the path. But how does one understand faith while being impatient? The two concepts seem unable to make an appearance in my spiritual program at the same time. In fact, one could say, the impatience is a mask that blocks me from the sunlight of the spirit and places my head back in charge.
That’s never good.
While in impatience I find myself agitated and frustrated that the outcome is not happening the way it should. It’s easy to justify why my ideas and thinking are better suited to the result I am trying to force. I am likely not seeing my path clearly or attempting to take the deep breath I need in order to bring me back to my center and pull God back in, taking me back off the detour I have been on.
I trust my path. The greatest percentage of the time I am on it and very satisfied. I find the changes it brings exciting, challenging and meaningful. I learn lessons and accept outcomes because I know it is necessary to remember the choices the world offers are often clean slates and opportunities for my spiritual nature to continue to its outstanding growth process. Unfortunately my best thinking (without being in line with my faith) is only going to stunt my progress and provide me one of a thousand (invariably necessary) lessons I have either previously experienced or simply needed to be in touch with.
My impatience is a default. I cannot blame myself for being human. I know that once the God awareness sets back in and I will aligned with my spiritual program once again. I will jump back into the moment and allow for the path to take the direction (and time) required to move me to the next steps and adventures. I accept that I am going to need to be reminded. I accept that I am often going to fight the spiritual side because of old behavior. I am grateful that I have learned to be patient with patience and I remember that the result is always, without fail, exactly what I need, even IF it may not “seem” to be something I would have wanted based on my own thinking.
If I am impatient it is OK as long as I am strong enough to grab on to the awareness and use the tools I have learned.
Stop. Smile. Breathe.
This week I am doing a cleanse.
A couple of times a year it feels necessary to make sure that I am cleaning out the digestive system and ridding myself of some bad habits and evil toxins that can very easily invade and take up residence in my body. Each cleanse requires a commitment and, especially in the first couple of days, a great deal of focus towards the purpose and end result. With each cleanse I set myself a healthy goal and change the way I am thinking in order to best alleviate the cravings and built up stumble-blocks that tend to create the disorders and dysfunctions in the first place. I don’t eat horribly, but I do sometimes use food for comfort. As an alcoholic I can still find myself gorging in loads of sugar, a friend I deem as legal, but never a friend without a couple of remorseful side effects.
While cleansing I find myself with a different mindset and a shuffled routine in my day. I am currently not eating the standard breakfast, lunch or dinner. I am not having morning coffee and I am not reaching for snacks or grabbing cookies or other tidbits in meetings. I am free of the everyday litter in the inner shell… so why not speak to the toxins and routines that can sometimes invade the outer and spiritual worlds as well?
What to do with extra time: I have always found time for meditation and prayer in the busy world I have created for myself, but if I am suddenly free a little extra time I can build out different and possibly unique ways to listen to God, sit still and simply relax. Part of the reason I find the need to rid myself of the toxins in this cleanse is because of the stresses my work world can put me under. I tend to go on a sprint between Monday morning at 5:30 am and Friday night around 11:30. There is rarely enough time in there to fully stop and remember the true purposes my life needs to hold. I get so much accomplished but I don’t spend enough time able to relax and enjoy the FULL benefits of a successful and happy life.
Granted a cleanse will not change everything I am doing, nor do I honestly want to make this much of a change. What it does do is allow for me to refresh my thinking and reboot some of the systems and workflows that help me to be as awake, astute, responsive and responsible in the day-to-day activities that make up the full picture. A cleaner body and mind help me to think healthily and take the appropriate actions and service that keep me motivated and complete as I have so fortunately been taught within the last 22+ years.
A cleanse is a clean slate. It is an internal body inventory. It is wiping off the blackboard and beginning again with opportunity, hope and intention. Sure, I will miss some of the pleasures of food that I have no intention of giving up as I have other parts of my life. But I sure can start to retrain myself about how to eat certain things AND, even more importantly, how not to.
As I write this entry today I am completing the second day of a planned 10 to 12. Within the cleanse I will learn and enjoy more about myself and interact with the world around me with heightened senses. It is a project for betterment and thus another reminder to:
Stop. Smile. Breathe.
I see your true colors shining through…
There are times when I question my world. Who wouldn’t? If the spirit is not properly tuned there can be mysteries, mis-communications, roadblocks and frustrations. Even when I am clear I can be conflicted and must be reminded I cannot control how others behave and what my path places in front of me in the form of challenge and puzzle.
What I can control is my reactions.
The truth is I find change somewhat exhilarating. I dream about it. I crave it. This coming from a man who loves a good routine and can be thrown when said routine is interrupted or ceased for one reason or another. Over time it has become clear that every routine evolves from a change into something unfamiliar, and like a habit it can be uncreated (or stopped) just as easily as it was created.
My world is filled with changes amidst the routines. Some of these changes are welcomed with open arms. Some are seen as opportunity and introduce a clean slate which could potentially provide things I might find healthy, possibly lucrative and, in some cases, have been long awaited. Not all of what is going to change is known and it is important that I do not try to manipulate them without clear and honest intentions.
I also don’t want to internally control the outcome by creating expectations of what others think or believe based on what I might see as the reasons the changes should happen in the first place. Once I start to control an outcome whether internally or externally, unconsciously or physically I am starting a cycle that can only end up with a disappointment of one degree or another. My expectations are almost always a direct nose in the air to the trust and faith I have placed in the direction of my path. My expectations are akin to control and when I run the show the end result is simply not the same.
And what of my motivations? Am I approaching an opportunity with the right attitude? Am I looking at it honestly or am I convincing myself of something I feel I want or need at the expense of someone or something else? I have asked myself this question whenever I am looking at opportunity or change. The answer always comes back to intention. There is no guarantee that I will be perceived by everyone the way I would prefer, but how I feel about myself and handle my intentions towards every situation is paramount to how I will feel in the end.
I don’t usually get what I want, but it seems that I will always get what I need… even if it doesn’t feel like I need it when it arrives.
So it seems, in a time where I have wondered if my intentions are honorable, I am moving forward with integrity and honesty. There are pieces that will not always be comfortable, but I can be honorable and stick up for what I believe without sliding into selfish motivations. Some days will be easier than others, but I will close my eyes at night knowing my intentions are something I can be proud about.
Knowing that I am always able to:
Stop. Smile. Breathe.
Silence is golden.
It’s a pity my ISM rarely allows for complete silence. It is, however, fortunate that the more I maintain a spiritual program, the quicker I can arrest the chatter and begin to laugh it’s sublime ridiculousness. In the meantime it is important to accept that I am very human and afflicted with a disease that will likely create new chatter endlessly throughout the remaining years of consciousness. I have, as a result, decided that the best medicine (outside of the spiritual maintenance previously mentioned) is to embrace my humanity and learn to understand my ISM as best as possible. In large part I have begun a life-long relationship with the voices in my head. Those uncontrollable and often rather loud bits of paranoia and anger that sprout at the first nano-second that I let my guard down and begin a pathway to a regression into self-pity and selfishness.
I have to be careful of default mode.
There is one place in-particular that I find myself the most susceptible to the voices creating a hostile environment in my head. When I leave my work after a long day, and most definitely when I have left without some feeling of ‘wrapping up’ whatever multitude of loose ends always going on, I get in the car to drive home and the process potentially begins. If I have read something that I feel I need to respond to (not instantly or defensively which is a very dangerous way to build relationships) I can very easily find myself fighting or plotting with the person or persons who is (allegedly) causing the ISM to flair. What this means is I am suddenly in dis-ease and creating the mighty “solutions” with people who are not only not with me to answer, but unaware as a whole there is any reason for this possible furor and strife.
I believe my ISM feels it is protecting me. The world I have created around me for years had been one of defense and fear. It wants the best (however misguided and misdirected) and often without my even realizing it, makes sure I am not going to be hurt or bested. Control of situations, people, places and things is a vital goal of the unconscious and uncomfortable fears that lie in awaiting within me. Quieting them down is the ultimate purpose, but shutting them up permanently is as unlikely as becoming immortal. As one would learn to live with any disease, I have and continue to learn to live with my astonishingly creative and volatile voices.
There are days, too, where the voices are stronger than my ability to work within my program. I am hungry, angry, lonely and / or tired. I am weak from disillusion and not practicing the most important means of escaping the self: being of service to others. On these days the voices can throw me into a mood instantly and take me to places where I willingly and effortlessly sabotage other areas of my life, often not even remotely related to the fabricated source of the original “problem.”
Kicking the dog, so to speak.
But with vast improvement and proof that I am better off with the awareness and resulting peace, I am able to continue growing and practicing the arresting of this behavior which seems to need to be constantly subdued and wrangled to the ground. First there is the fight in my head, then comes the awareness that the fight is false and futile, and finally comes the willingness to solve the issue simply by no longer giving it the credence it seems to demand. My ISM demands attention. It claims its importance and will scream louder than any rational thought if allowed. If I am to believe that all it pronounces is real and my reacting upon it negatively necessary, I am doomed to be angry, sad and likely alone (if not simply tolerated.)
My program has taught me willingness, awareness and counseling. First and foremost I counsel myself. I am patient and kind to what is happening if only to cease its proclaimed importance and move it out of what feels like my reality and back to the fiction section of my conscious or subconscious mind.
I do my best to laugh at it. I do my best to not take it seriously or provide it too much power. I remember to….
Stop. Smile. Breathe.
Life can be ironic at almost every turn. Take for example a control freak trying to control the tendency. Surely you can see the irony there?
Question: how will a control freak know when they are trying to completely run the show? Answer: when they are unhappy during the process or with the result. Why does this happen? Because we assume the power role and let go of our faith in anything outside ourselves.
When it comes to trying to control my life and all that is within and around it, I have struggled for as long as I can remember. I have been able to learn, through years of sobriety, that the endless need to run the show and dictate its outcome is tantamount to playing God in bits and pieces throughout my day. When I am assuming this role I am producing a faulty show. When I am channeling that self-centered behavior I am asking for a result that will provide my life (and the lives of those around me) with less than fruitful results, tinged with doses of arrogance and anger.
The moment I play God and try to run the show will be the moment I begin to slide into the bad moods, resentment and dis-ease that are so easily located and adopted in any normal day in my head. My control is motivated by the very same fears that seem to justify most of the things that have the potential to go wrong in my life: Will I not get what I want or will I have something I want taken away?
On the better days I will arrest the controlling patterns and behavior. I will look at the fear and recognize it for its ability to spin fables and fabrications that seep slowly (sometimes quickly) into my susceptible mind. My ISM (which some say stands for “I sabotage myself” or “incredibly short memory”) is what sets me apart from my fellows and is the reason I must constantly learn and relearn the methods and actions I have been prescribed to bypass the need to control and accept the methods towards faith in a result.
So what if I am in fear of losing something? Why wouldn’t it make sense that it isn’t “mine” to have or that the “loss” I fear wouldn’t provide me with an opportunity for something better or more “correct” to my path? What about the fear of not getting something I want? Have I reviewed this or challenged myself with the question of why I feel I need it, or looked at the difference between a perception of need and the reality of this being a selfish or self-centered “want”?
Common sense might help me to return to grace and remember that I have learned to practice faith in all matters relating to my fears. But my ISM is strong and needs constant spiritual medication to be reminded of this. I am forever trying to control my tendencies to control, thus providing me with one of the greater ironies of my existence. It certainly continues to keep things very interesting.
My name is Mark and I am a control freak.
Stop. Smile. Breathe.