Thursday, August 30, 2012

Loving the Whole Person

A few years ago a friend of mine died.  He wanted to be considered a guiding light and a spiritual leader in our recovery community and, at the same time, he knew that view of him was based partially on illusion.  People then and now idolized him and he loved it when they quoted him at meetings.  On the other hand, I watched him steal some books from the Quaker meeting house where we hold some of our meetings.  I then encountered his anger and rage when I confronted him about the theft.  Later, he asked to work with me since he knew something was wrong in his life.  Through our talk it became quite apparent that he was distorting his past and, in part, living a lie.  He then made it quite clear that he intended to continue living the lie.  A short time after that he indicated that he would like to have lunch with me, but then declined to do so since I would tend to “pop his bubbles”.  In short, he was a very good man and also very complex and human.  I prefer to love and remember the whole man, not just the illusion that he and others would like to promote.  The illusion is simpler but not as real or complete.  I was able to connect with the whole man and, though it made him uneasy, he and I honored that.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I attended a meeting today that was about the difficulty of dealing with the clients I work with, young men in early recovery from addictions to various drugs and alcohol.  Generally, they lie, manipulate, are extremely self-centered and have frequent emotional out-bursts.  They are difficult to work with, but I enjoy the challenge and realize that I used to be much the same way.  I spend a great deal of time each day on self-care, in order to maintain a high level of ability to connect with these young men without judging them or losing myself in the process.

At that meeting was a close friend who knows how much I do each day in order to maintain my equanimity.  He asked “Is it worth it?”, a very good question.  I did not even know it was possible to achieve the level of connection that I achieve with these young men and, through that connection, I am able to change their lives.  So, in answer to his question and in order to do what I do, I would say “yes”.  However, for other people in different circumstances, the answer would probably be “no”.  There is a whole range of options between being totally wrapped up in the material world and the relatively monastic life I lead.  The best choice for most people would be one of those options.

Monday, August 27, 2012


I went to a movie today.  It was a pretty silly human interest story with chase scenes and some violence, engaging and entertaining and a good break from life's intensity.

Tonight it hit me that very soon, perhaps within six months or a year, my chewing difficulties will be part of the past.  The chewing problems have been part of my reality for the last two years.  The problems started out as quite intense and constant and now are only at mealtimes and pretty moderate, but still troubling.  When this first happened, I asked for the strength to deal with it and to be taught what I needed to know to change it.  I was given both.  I have been guided, through meditation, to use a variety of mind-body healing techniques, such as described in the first entry this month.  They have worked, though not as quickly as I would like.

When I realized the problems would be gone soon I felt a mixture of immense gratitude and some sadness.  Such life changes always seem to be associated with some sadness because of moving on.  I experience the same sort of sadness whenever a period of connection/interaction is over, like working with a family for a couple of hours or participating in the fellowship before, during and after one of my recovery meetings.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Creation and Treatment of Sacred Sites

Much has been made of the conflict between the idea of snow making using recycled water on the San Francisco Peaks versus those that oppose it based on the peaks being sacred land.  Apparently the only reason to pursue snow making is to promote skiing, recreation and making money.  I generally stay clear of this sort of argument, since, to me, it seems to serve no purpose in my life, other than to stir up drama, which I don't need.  The reason I choose to consider the topic is that the subject has come up with my friends and within the sweat lodge.  To me, the question of what is best for the people, this planet and God/spirits, is important.

As far as I can tell, all land is sacred.  The designation of certain pieces of land as sacred is similar to designating certain days of the year as more important than others.  In that such designation promotes awareness, it is a good thing, if a little silly.  I find the emphasis on money and material pursuits over treating the planet as a sacred and limited resource, to be very disturbing.
God and the spirits exist within the absolute of love, compassion and connectedness.  Within that absolute there is no question of desecrating the earth the way humans have been doing.  The issue simply does not come up, if a person follows the absolute.  We tend to be self-centered, entitled and short-sighted as a species.  God and the spirits seem to know that.  Isn’t that part of being human?