Thursday, May 1, 2014

Smile And Watch The Pure Joy Of Doing Things Differently

Living, loving, learning and growing is always all about changing. Yet, most of us don’t like change. We’re used to what we perceive as “the way it is,” and the question we ask is not is this good or bad or beneficial or not. We simply ask a question or make a statement: “Well, it’s a familiar rhythm and, to a degree, it’s predictable.” We like that. It’s comfortable. It’s routine. It’s – well, familiar.
Then it doesn’t seem to work anymore – at least not like we remember it working.
Then what?
We change or we hold on to our perceived past. If we hold on, what will become our new normal will be frustration, irritation, resentment, anger and intolerance – all fueled by fear. It’s not a pretty picture.
My pattern of drinking was pretty much the same for over 15 years. I would have a vodka (or two) when I got home from work, have a glass of wine with dinner, and have a bourbon (or two) in bed with some munchies while I read a novel. Soon I would begin getting sleepy. Next day – same routine. Then it stopped. I wouldn’t be sleepy. Or, after my second vodka, I’d almost pass out. I was panicked. My drinking went downhill very fast after that.
There’s a tried and true saying in AA that goes like this: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.
But, you may be thinking: “Aren’t there ways you are supposed to do things?” or “Why reinvent the wheel?” or “If it’s not broken, why fix it?” In short, we resist.
I think this is especially true in the realm of attitudes, beliefs, customs, or cultures. Like it or not, I-Phones, I-Pads, Kindles, Nooks, Facebook, or Twitter have all changed – very, very quickly – how we communicate. That’s not threatening, so it’s okay. But our attitudes toward those with much wealth, those struggling financially, those who believe differently than we, those who have a different political perspective than we, those who believe literally (or not) in the Bible, those who hold onto the fear and disdain of people of different races or those who appear to be foreign doesn’t seem to change very much, too quickly, or too often.
When I was in graduate school at Princeton Theological Seminary, I watched “All In The Family” with Archie Bunker (Carroll O’Connor) and his son-in-law, Meathead (Rob Reiner). I really identified with Meathead. At the time I was working with urban, inner city black youth. I was progressive. I was very avid in my beliefs. Then the show went off the air. Some fifteen years later, my son had come to live with me and we began watching re-runs of the show. He identified with Meathead and I was identifying with Archie. Wow! When did that happen? How did that happen?
I have found out for myself if I am not moving forward, I’m trying to hold on to my perceived past. Holding on is not my way to move me forward. When I asked some old timers in AA about what it was I was supposed to change as I got sober, they said ”You only have to do two things: Stop drinking and slowly change everything else about your life.” I was flabbergasted. They were laughing.
But, in the end, they were right.
As I followed the suggested Twelve Steps, everything about my life, values, and attitudes changed. I was no longer who I had been. I truly am a miracle! And I am so eternally grateful for those grizzled old men whose vocal chords allowed my Higher Power to speak to me. However, I could never verbally express what had happened to me or was happening to me until I read the words in A Course in Miracles (ACIM) that were describing the reality of life I had come to know, but could never find the words to express.
I was no longer doing what I had always done, and I most certainly was not getting what I had always gotten. I was moving forward. Changing. Learning a different way of living. Learning how to be loved. Learning to be a new me – a transformed me.
Watch this video at the link: [ ]. You’ll see things that simply aren’t supposed to be. Just relax and smile as you watch the pure joy of doing things differently. Perhaps this will remind you, as it did me, that “new” may not be better, but it is not clutching onto past behaviors – thus not stifling change; not stifling growth; not stifling life.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#1 May, 2014

Copyright, 2014

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