Friday, January 9, 2015

Internal and External Unmanageability

Step One of Alcoholics Anonymous states: “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.” Most of us, including me, seemed to interpret that step as acknowledgement of the external messes we had made of our lives. That certainly was the case with me. My life was a mess – filled with unpaid bills, being emotionally absent in personal commitments – especially with my children, cars that were poorly maintained – if maintained at all. In short, my external life was a mess waiting for a disaster to strike.
That aspect of my unmanageability was cleared up. In fact, most of it was cleared up within a year of not drinking alcohol and working the steps.
But there is another kind of unmanageability – an internal hotbed of chaos.  For some it is the inability to control one’s emotions. For some it’s the inability to control finances. For some it’s the inability to control the need for instant gratification. For some it’s the inability to control the need to gossip and criticize others. For some it’s the inability to get up off a pity-pot.  For some it’s a combination of several of these. They will morph from one to another.
Emotions and thoughts! Judgments and expectations! How unmanageable can these be?
At least they are for me – and they can make my life seem miserable. They can destroy my peace of mind. Felix (my lower ego), of course, has a ball playing with these thoughts and emotions. He loves the unmanageability. It seems to him to allow him to stay in control, because I have abdicated to him. Felix gladly accepts the challenge and attempts to “fix” the issue by doing more of the issue.  For example:
·      Can’t control instant gratification? Just adopt a budget, fail to achieve it, and go shopping to “fix” the bad feelings you have for yourself!
·      Can’t control emotions? Just pout until you explode or just yell, scream, shout and slam the door – that’ll “fix” them!
·      Can’t control your calorie intake? Starve and deny yourself until you just can’t take it any more – then go and bake a cake, while eating the whole can of icing you bought with the cake mix. When you realize what you’ve done, that’s the time to get on your pity-pot, or go shopping, or yell at your spouse.
·      Can’t keep from gossiping? Just get more involved with someone else until their “issues” become more than you can bear – but what a treasure trove of material you now have first-hand to talk about – for weeks!
All these efforts are simply attempts to “fix” an illusionary perception I have by trying to “fix” the person on whom I have foisted that perception. It’s never really worked for me. But I’ll continue to try because, at least temporarily, I have removed the focus off myself – which, of course, is where my problem is.
I had a friend in AA called Tommy who was about 6 months sober when I came into the program. He was diagnosed with cancer shortly after he began his recovery. He died within a year of my beginning. He used to always begin to share in a meeting by saying: “Hi everyone. I’m Tommy and I’m and alcoholic. I’m also addicted to everyone and everything that will keep me from looking at me.”
I am discovering that I cannot will myself to get out of myself. I cannot rely on neat little yellow “stickies” stuck on every imaginable surface and containing great little sayings to truly get my thoughts where they belong.
What I can do is stop my thoughts in their tracks. I do that by going into a quiet place inside me where I am calm, peaceful and totally spirit. Sometimes I can’t get there. But more often than not the attempt, itself, is enough to break the cycle. There, with my quiet Self, I am in a position to listen for the whispers of my Holy Spirit. I am in a position to begin perceiving His vision of Now and using it to see my situation rather than relying on my egoic sight to help me out. Sometime it works better than other times. But it’s a tool – a process – that is mine for the taking. It allows me to begin being honest with myself. It allows me to begin being honest with others.
Being honest with myself and others and being willing to see things differently are the keys to my emotional stability and serenity.
I am reminded that I am not a body nor am I my egoic “Felix” thoughts. I am more than that. I am an already-love eternal spirit currently living a human existence, which is akin to dreaming a dream. Going into my quiet place allows me to begin to awake.
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.
#2 January 2015

Copyright, 2015

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