Brief aside: better than last week. Down, but not out. It took me a bit, but I recognize that all the weight right now is temporary and wanting it to be gone NOW is only serving to produce a fantastic amount of suffering. As someone reminded me the other night: “Pain is obligatory; suffering is optional.”
As some of you may recall, I left the church I had attended for a bit over a decade a year ago (many of the posts under the “Sanctuary Should not be Underestimated” category are my attempts to work through the last hurrah of my years there). G. hasn’t, at present, left that church, though he is looking around for other options, stymied a bit by the relatively low number of Disciples of Christ churches in the immediate area (he’s very committed to that particular denomination, in no small part because of the weekly celebration of the Eucharist–I’ve suggested the Episcopalian churches, but that’s would be a pretty big swing for him, particularly the move to the creed-based denomination).
Anyhoo…where was I? Oh, yeah…
I’ve not returned to a church–and at present have no particular desire to do so. Part of the reticence comes from the specifics of my withdrawal from the church last year, but some of it is far more long-standing, as I’ve while I’ve never had a particular problem addressing a Higher Power as “God” (well, until recently), I’ve also never believed that the particular denominations–or Christianity for that matter–were the only route to…whatever. Insofar as I believe in anything that might be called heaven or hell, I believe they are of this earth and of our own construction and of now, not a hereafter. So, I was comfortable enough in a DoC church (at least the idea of one) because of the community it offered, and, especially, the community it offered to Tough Guy.
Comfortable enough until I wasn’t. I played the roles I was expected to play, including leader, until I couldn’t do it anymore (and even then I kept trying for a while). So, I get why G is looking for that kind of community; I understand why and how it remains important to him. I hope I will get to a point that I can rejoin him in such a community, because I know that is important to him as well.
At present, I’ve returned to meditation*, which is a spiritual practice and discipline that particularly appeals to me as it requires that I not think and not do. So, when the idea for this blog post popped up mid-session, I had to set it aside and not worry over it, think about it, obsess that OMGifIdon’twriteitrightNOW… I acknowledged that the thought came, noted it for what it was, and let it go off into the ether (I got lucky, it stayed in relatively close ether). My brain is rather unwilling to shut up most of the time, including during zazen (my meditation practice of choice), but I accept that and try to just–for 20 minutes–let worrying about my brain’s obsession du millisecond go.
20 minutes. That’s it for now. 20 minutes of relative calm. No getting up to fix this, no running off to write that, no jumping up to correct whatever my brain latches onto. 20 minutes of a commitment to be here and be compassionate (even to myself). It occurred to me that this particular practice is not just a bit like a marathon, in the vein of “it’s not supposed to be easy.” And I think that is part of what is so appealing.
That last thought sounded way less cracked in my head than it appears on the screen.
I think this is all part of the attempt to figure out who I am–to wend my way through the various masks and personas and assumptions, which is a rather odd experience. As I understand it, such a journey is not at all unusual to the alcoholic in recovery nor to the thirtysomething, but it feels for all the world like another brush with adolesence, which was, for me, abruptly ended when I chose at 17 to keep the pregnancy that would end in TG. So, perhaps normal with a dash of “oh, I never finished this part.”
The only “I knows” I have right now are: I know I want to be sober today, and I know I want to learn authenticity, compassion, and accountability** in my spiritual practice and in my daily interactions with life.
*I’ve meditated on and off for several years, usually while trying to convince myself that drinking wasn’t the real problem. Sober zazan is far more interesting, I must say. More on this later–I’m reading a book on this at present.
**As a matter of accountability, I had my sobriety date (December 28) tattooed on my foot yesterday, so that I have to see it every. single. day. It’s a major part of who I am.