I attended a Northeast Regional AA Service Assembly last weekend... my first big AA conference. It was a three hour drive and I drove and roomed with a woman, Christine, that I met at the monthly District meeting. There were over 1000 people in attendance from 11 states (ME, VT, DE, NH, MA, CT, NY, NJ, RI, MD & PA). It still boggles my mind how many states are crammed in close together... the perspective of a Colorado native.
I was in observation mode. I had no idea what to expect. The program was not available until we arrived. (That was about the only evaluation comment I had - "An agenda online in advance would have been helpful.) I also have to separate out, my experience with Christine, for now and comment on the conference. I want to be alone, now that it's over and I'm home. I really don't enjoy being around so many people at once... even sober (myself and the others). When people ask how it was... (I'm still processing...) interesting is about all I can come up with. So... let's take a look at "interesting" and go from there.
1. engaging or exciting and holding the attention or curiosity.
2. arousing a feeling of interest
The definition of interest goes on and on... all good things. The word is actually a PERFECT match to my feelings, (minus any negative implied cultural association). I was going to delete the "example sentences" to save room... silly me! the examples are helpful and I changed them to match my situation.
1. the feeling of a person whose attention, concern, or curiosity is particularly engaged by something: She has a great interest in the workings of AA.
2. something that concerns, involves, draws the attention of, or arouses the curiosity of a person: Her interests are sobriety and growth through participation in AA.
3. power of exciting such concern, involvement, etc.; quality of being interesting: AA issues of great interest.
4. concern; importance: experiences of a higher power are a matter of primary interest.
5. a business, cause, or the like in which a person has a share, concern, responsibility, etc.
6. a share, right, or title in the ownership of property, in a commercial or financial undertaking, or the like: He bought half an interest in the store.
7. a participation in or concern for a cause, advantage, responsibility, etc.
8. a number or group of persons, or a party, financially interested in the same business, industry, or enterprise: the banking interest
To be continued...
I just posted a journal entry from March 2001... 17 years ago. It's worth reading, I guess, if you want perspective on what I'm going to write today. It's not complicated... I am basically frustrated and seem to be stuck in a loop. The drug of choice, the blocking tool changes or has changed in the last 4 years from alcohol to cigarettes and food to only food. Reading the entry for that date and a few after that... I wrote myself...
"Addiction is what you do to feel safe."
I still don't feel safe, apparently. Or, being a bit more kind to myself. I'm in fucking recovery and working on feeling safer and safer every day. I don't think I'm afraid to be happy. Maybe I am afraid to express my potential... it scares me because it's uncomfortable and unfamilar. Unknown!
Clarity has such an odd way of presenting itself. Rather bit by bit and puzzle piece followed by a piece from a different puzzle entirely. Fabulous really. The one consistent thing is change and the unexpected unpredictable nature of it all I suppose.
I came to notice recently how utterly god damn pissed off I was - at myself - for blatantly and repeatedly ignoring every plan that I devised to manage my eating. Day after day new plan... blow it... new plan... nope blunder... a twist to yet another new plan... BIG fumble, Cresent Gate (a run in with a package of cresent rolls, salami and pepper jack... Yum!).
The anger came later, upon weigh in time and reflection and with significant indigent frustrated pissed off-ness. Fuck you! Really! You have no respect!! What the fuck?! Why bother!? I am not nice to myself, true, but I also totally disrespect myself over and over. Jeez!
This reminds me... dejavu-ness... of trying to stop drinking and quit smoking. There were repeated eerie moments of virtual amnesia, yes, also familiar. No thought let alone argument or discussion. Day after day, plan after plan the same thing happened around the same time of day... the witching hour... 3pm. Once the plan was compromised all bets were off. How many times just in the last six months have I been oh so certain that I had finally figured it out? Apparent breakthrough after epiphany and still not working.
The Artist's way describes the situation as creative blocks. Week 10 - Dangers of the Trail. Shit! She describes my relationship to food exactly. But I never really thought of it as an expression of fear... avoidance... resistance, perhaps, sabotage for sure. I don't have the time or energy to go through the whole logical sequence right now. I'm not sure I care or that it matters really. It feels like just another pseudo milestone. I wont' know until I know for a couple of days strung together. Right now I have a new view... a new appreciation of faith in free falling. The anxiety and out of control-ness is fuel...
"As we become aware of our blocking devices... the blocks will no longer work effectively. Over time, we will try - perhaps slowly at first and erratically to RIDE OUT THE ANXIETY and see WHERE WE EMERGE. Anxiety is fuel...
"Anger is fuel. Anger is meant to be listened to. Anger points the way not just the finger..."
"The object of all this blocking is to alleviate FEAR. We turn to our drug of choice to block our creativity whenever we experience the anxiety of our inner emptiness. It is always FEAR - often disguised but ALWAYS there...
She doesn't say it but I know that I need to BREATHE along with my SURRENDER and PAUSE to fucking WONDER! Take a moment to consider my silent, sneaky, motives or fears or whatever the fuck is going on. AGAIN... STILL... Perhaps I will experience this scenario that she describes in the book:
Try: using the anxiety!
Feel: I just did it! I didn't block! I used the anxiety and moved ahead! OMG, I am excited!
That would be awesome... I'm creating using the anger and anxiety and mindlessness to move me forward. Good luck! Thanks! =)
I'm submitting some of my poetry for consideration for an upcoming poetry month event. I need to write a 2-3 minute "bit" about why I write poetry. So here we go.
I started out saying to myself... because... I "need" to. When I started to break that down by looking up the definition of need more useful words presented: necessity, requisite, urgent, requirement... still not quite hitting the proverbial nail... I do crave and long for something from poetry. I realized it's the ability to express a way of self declaration and intimate vulnerable way to reveal myself. This concise communication of my thoughts, experiences and feelings has always just flowed forth. There is an element of growth and processing and learning as well. Elements of my experience are solidified, truths revealed as well as the awareness of mysteries ongoing. Tools and perspectives are made available to me through my own self expression and review. There is an archival aspect as well. That the seeds may be thrown up and recorded so that they may be noticed and identified and planted years later. I am constantly surprised by the relevance I find re-reading things hours, days or years even decades later.
So I write to express, to reveal, to grow and to record. Always this pursuit has been for myself by myself and never shared. Only recently have I chosen to be more vulnerable by making it available to the world through my website. Now through this event and possibly through an open mike night... I'm living the dream. Why not share it!
People who know me have probably been waiting for this day to come. The day that Laurie Anne McCauley finally fucking figures out that life IS HARD! I just finished a Courage & Renewal Cohort retreat. I'm sitting in the library at the Bishop Booth Conference Center in Burlington, VT all alone. I stayed an extra night precisely to write and process what may be the most meaningful recent breakthrough. So settle in... I'm in a beautiful place and not in a hurry with a lot to sort through.
I have experienced things as easy that others have undyingly described as hard. Quitting smoking is the example I'll use. I rankle when people say it. Especially people who never smoked or quit smoking. "That's so,.,, HARD... Wasn't that the HARDEST thing ever?" and on and on. It pisses me off actually, (which should be a nod that there's something there for me to examine further.) My experience of not smoking is EASY... there is no desire to smoke,,, there is no temptation... no longing... no internal battle. The obsession has lifted. The process of quitting was annoying and required a lot of creativity, persistence and perseverance.... but that doesn't register as HARD... just tenacious endurance and necessity.
So maybe in my definition of Hard, I'm grasping at pins or smoke or something.,, oh straws, I'm grasping at straws... (that's a weird saying for Grant & Martha.) Anyway, you get the picture. It's fucked up and apparently I have been resisting anything that seems hard and just not doing it... Shit! Hello!?!
I can usually tweak my perspective, point of view, attitude and head space to convince myself that things are not "hard" but if it really is hard I simply avoid it. I don't think that's surrendering so guess what...? I'm surrendering my avoidance of things I perceive as hard. Or scary for that matter... but let's stick with hard for now. (See how I want to make it more and harder so I can avoid it!! I'll save scary surrender for another day.) I am REALLY attached to things being easy. I just realized I am really PROUD of the fact that things are easy for me, especially if others think it's hard. If it's not easy then it's not meant to happen or be or it's completely going to remove me from the "flow." Talk about convincing... I have no idea where it came from or how it protects me or why but I am adamantly secured to the concept of Ease and Grace in all things always. You can find blog posts about the untruth of "No Pain No Gain" and other rants about how unfair it is that the suffering is directly proportional to the gains realized. The fact that we are in a paradoxical, relative reality... I'm still fighting it!! Silly but true.
The situation with food and eating and adjusting my "in the moment" attitude is fucking hard, dammit! There's nothing easy about it. The fact that I have been wanting and waiting for it to be easy is, apparently, part of the fuel that fires it's continuation. There is no obsession to be lifted in this dilemma. There is a huge shift and complete 180 in thinking about time and logevity and food and self care. Things I have never really considered before without judgement or rules or fear or embarrassment or expectations.... without loads and piles and mountains of fucking baggage I didn't even know was there.
Here's the source of the breakthrough.... I have for my life written poetry, my entire life. It has been easy. So far there has been nothing hard about writing poetry. Anything that appeared as hard I promptly and completely evaded and deflected. It is and was always about and for me and only me. A form of self expression that I seldom shared or even felt the inclination to share. I also realize now that sharing risked vulnerability and judgement and all kinds of nasty possible feelings so it was easier to just keep it to myself. I also could harbor delusions of grandeur and live in certainty that all my poems would absolutely be discovered, monumental and wise once I am dead. Once again much easier to live in the fantasy world than actually expose myself to the light of day and see the truth may not be what I imagined. Excellent plan!! It's worked for me for decades! Yeah!
The breakthrough.... I'm getting there! Reading other poets just started a year ago when I started coming to the Courage and Renewal retreats. The last time I read poetry other than mine was when I was very young. It provided much need clarity, perspective and inspired me to write and that was enough. Now I'm noticing the positive, enlightening impact that poetry still has on me and I wonder if there is something in my poetry that others may benefit from. I know I have talent... raw talent... and here's the rub... honing the rawness is HARD! I perceive it as WORK... (new word alert...) to acuminate the natural ability I have to put forth time and effort and think hard and listen to people who may know more than I do... I have to be vulnerable and brave and kind to myself. SHIT!! And I have to practice over and over... another core belief that needs to shift... repetitive practice, repetitive anything is boring and boring is Hard and Hard is to be avoided at all costs. Here it is... the universe presented a teacher for me for poetry. When the student is ready and all that jive... and I had the courage to ask for help. And I had the courage to accept that there may be "hard work" involved AND... AND that that is OK!
The breakthrough is so fucking simple... I'm just growing up. That's all! This involves work and collaboration and reconciling my fantasies and my feelings and my being with the world I'm living in and the people around me. Not loosing but finding myself whole in that reality and figuring out what the fuck I want to do when I grow up! Damn!
So everything is OK.... even when it's not OK and it is apparently true that HARD is also OK. Surrendering or getting over or around or under my resistance to "HARD" is just the next step. Onward & upward... Ho!
I decided back in November 2015 to make my poetry available and journal online. I'm not exactly sure what "blogging" means but I am quite sure this is an online journal. Feel free to read on with an aire of open minded curiosity. At no time do I intend to offend, judge or pretend to know anything really, I'm just an observer and explorer, as we all are. Feel free to "boldly go" through my observations and perhaps it will spark or inspire. Comments are off because I don't want to be worried about political correctness when I'm writing. I'm not thinking about "you." I'm just writing because it feels "right". Feel free to enjoy or surf on.
Fibber McGee's closet!