Intentionality

The talk, recently, is about God.

I like to talk about God, because He is an integral part of my existence. God has been the thread that has woven into my life from the very beginning. And I can relate all those stories over and over. Just thinking about all the close passes of God, in my life, only reinforces the fact that, I am intimately connected to God.

For a long time, I was not sure I could live up to that standard, or if that kind of God conscious life, was even tenable. I was not sure, I could safely abide in God, in all things, or if I had to try and make it, out there, in the “real world.”

I am the kind of person, who would rather, cede control to someone or something, other than myself, because I know, deep down, left to my own devices, I really do not do very well, because of my monkey brain.

With Todd:read:God, I was able to turn it all over, all of it, and trust that He had my back, and I did not ever have to second guess him, “outwardly” that is. That took some time, but once I let go, all was well.

For a very long time, I did not trust myself to make right decisions. For a long time, I did not trust my own thoughts, or my own words. I always second guessed myself, when it came to what I know, and how I know it. And I sat on my hands.

Yes, I would talk, but it was always superficial talk.

If I needed to do something, learn something, or make a decision, for years, and years, I would always have a number of people, that I would run my choices by, people I trusted, whom I believed, would direct me to the right choices.

Once piece of advice I got was this:

At one point, I did not know where I was going. early on, after I moved here. One foot below the border and the other above it. I was unsure of my moves, early on.

The advice goes thus: If you don’t know where you are or where you are going, then st down, where you are. Take out your map, study the map, and study your surroundings. Get a lay of the land, and everything in it.

When you have done all that, being fully informed as you are able, make your next choice, roll up your map and start walking.

You can always sit down and consult your map.

The map usually has one point on it, with a red dot, that says: You are Right Here. The map does not extend very far into the future, for it only tells you where you are, and gives you a little headway, but not too much to overwhelm you.

It’s only been in recent months that I’ve begin to trust what I know and how I know it, based on the fact that there aren’t very many people, critiquing what I say in public. The chatter in my head is less than it used to be, but it is still there.

I talk about prayer this way.

If you sit, and you pray, are you moving your hands and arms outwards, away from you, or are you moving your hands and arms, towards you? Are you praying intentionally, or selfishly. Outwards:Intentional, Inwards:Selfishly.

When I talk about prayer, and I move my arms away from myself, I get a flutter in my chest, a feeling of right. That I offer my prayers in an outwards fashion. I don’t usually pray for myself specifically. But I, for the most part, converse with God.

Like I need to tell Him shit … That He already knows about.

But prayer is humility. It is a humbling to say to my God that I don’t know, and I would like to know, as I need to know it. I don’t have all the answers, but I know they will come, in due time.

To talk to God, like I would talk to Todd. I know how to do that.

I much more, trust the process, because I know, that I am in God Grace.

For a long time, I thought, that I would have to live in the world “out there.” And I did not like the world out there. I did not like it at all. As long as I was in Todd’s world I was fine.Inside a very finite circle of love and care. When Todd moved away, and I had to make it in the world “out there” my life became a disaster.

When I moved into the world here, in Montreal, I found another circle of care and love. I found good people, with good intentions, who did for me what I could not do for myself, until I learned how to do for myself.

I live inside that circle today.

I don’t have to go outside my circle for anything. For the last eighteen years, the circle has provided for me, in many ways.

God is in the center of that circle. I know that, intimately.

When we pray, we should always pray “Thy will be done. Or, If it is Thy will.”

What ever I ask for, I speak the words, If It Is They Will, and Not Mine.

Because I know how off my human will is. Left to my own will, my life becomes a disaster.

When I was safely inside God’s will, over the years, life got good. I see the differences in how my life went along, when I was running the show. it was not good at all.

Last night I wrote about the whispers, the two by four, and the brick wall.

God is pretty specific with me. He cuts me no slack, because He knows that if you give me an inch, I will take a mile. If I can get away with selfish, I will take it.

That has been the ongoing lesson lately. Selfishness.

God has been pruning my tree as of late. And He’s been pretty specific about it too. He isn’t joking around. This is big business. Getting rid of selfishness.

My Elder spiritual adviser tells me that I have been through the furnace. And I have reached the next frontier with God.He wrote the other day:

“I have read every word of what you wrote. And I am proud of you. Proud that you can speak these words to yourself. Proud that you have the courage to speak them to others. Proud that that you are here, proud that you have walked this road and made such astounding progress since the lowest of the low had you in its grasp.

You have arrived at the final frontier, the last great sacrifice that God demands of his sons when they truly seek him. That sacrifice is consecration, a complete turning of body, mind and spirit towards Gods purposes. Consecration, like sobriety, like conversion is not an event, but a process, and you are on the path. Consecration takes the mundane and makes it holy…

You have been where your children are. You have walked their path, you have carried their sorrows. Now you stand a few steps above them, you have matured, you have mastered, you have received a measure of light above them. Now turn, and stretch out the hand that was stretched out to you. Speak the words that your Father spoke to you, and the same words that one day your children will speak to their sons and daughters. 

Adopt them. Love them. Cherish them. Raise them to do good. Teach them that there is a God in heaven who loves them enough to save them. Be patient with their shortcomings. Catch them when they fall. Admonish them when they act against what they know.

Reach down and strengthen them when their knees are shaking and they are learning to walk. Be the father that you needed at their age in the process. One day they will write their stories, and when they write your name, a tear will come to their eyes, and a lump will come to their throats, as they write your name.

Jeremy:read:God.

These are Godly words.

I need not say anything further. Except to say: Grateful.

Selfish Motives

There are times, when I think only about myself. There are times, when my heart is pounding out of my chest, and I know this feeling well, it is the feeling I get when I decide to act on selfish thoughts, and I act, entirely in self mode.

Several times, in the past few days, I’ve had that chest pounding feeling, that always precedes a selfish motive of selfish action.

Tonight, prior to the meeting starting, i was sitting in my chair, friends in the room were having conversations, that did not include me, because I was sitting across the room from them, and I sat there, and entertained the chatter in my head.

For about twenty minutes I sat there, uncomfortable, and in my head. That feeling of my heart pounding out of my chest was present. Like I said, I know this feeling. Whenever I sit and ponder selfish motives or selfish action, I feel it.

We were talking about feeling things, rather than thinking them, on the way home.

I made a decision. And now I have to live with that decision. I should know that if I made a decision, based on Godly counsel, that I really should stick to that plan. Because I also know what happens when I say to myself, I know better than God. It is then, when I become God, in my head, and in my motives.

And I know that I am Not God.

I am in Locktober. So even if I wanted to act selfishly, I cannot.

That does not assuage the feelings, I sometimes have, that my body says, fuck that noise, just take matters into your own hands, and Act, On, Self.

You know what happens when you take your will back right ?
We Do Stupid Things.

And I know, God is watching me. He knows, everything, even before I think it.

We spoke about God tonight. Bill, in As Bill Sees It, talks about God an awful lot.

And I told my friend, on the way home tonight, that we haven’t seen any really militant anti God folks come through the room as of late. They’ve all Come and Gone. None of them have returned.

And I spoke my story about God to the room.

I know my Higher Power, Whom I choose to call God.

I relate this story….

When God wants your attention, he whispers, once.
If you miss that first whisper, He whispers again.

If you miss the whisper for the second time,
He hits you over the head with a two by four.

If you miss the third hit, of that two by four,
He drops a brick wall on top of you.

The two whispers came, and I did nothing, to intimate that I heard them.

A few weeks ago, I was in bed, and the third hit came, a very vivid technicolor dream.
I knew this was the third pass. And I knew that if I did not heed the suggestion, that was Divine, that I would definitely pay the price.

I know what it feels like to have the brick wall fall on top of me.

It has happened in the past. And I have avoided that happening because I usually listen to Divine inspiration.

I remember sitting in Westmout Square sobbing as a huddled mess. I knew, very well, that on that night, God dropped the wall on me because I did not listen nor pay attention.

I know God well enough to know when He means business.

Because I have that kind of relationship with my God. He does not play games with me, because in the past, I played games with Him. He cuts me no slack.

If I want to fuck off on God, I know, I will definitely pay the price for that Fuck Off.

Sometimes I just want to act on selfish motives.

And I know I cannot. For a couple of damn good reasons.

God either IS or He ISN’T. God is either Everything or he is Nothing.

God Is, and God is Everything.

These things I know are True.

I Testify …

” when we became alcoholics, crushed by a self imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade,we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else He is nothing. God either is,or He isn’t. What was our choice to be?

God Is … And God is everything …

Last night, I let go of the last vestige of who I was. Today, I took the last action, to turn all of myself over to my God. Over the past few days, I have been reflecting on my past. The other day I re-acquainted myself with music that really meant more to me, than any other music I had ever heard.

When I was a boy, and I told this story the other night, I was introduced to God. And His son, Jesus Christ. We, all of us, young people, on a particular Saturday night, in Lake Placid Florida, on retreat, were invited to commit our lives to Jesus.

That was a tall order as a teen-ager. What did that look at and what kind of life could we live, given the times we were living in, with all kinds of people, criticizing us, and mocking us openly, in front of our classmates. It was just untenable.

And my family, alcoholics they were, and abusive, were no role models, to speak about.

And I mused on this event today, while reading my Big Book with a woman I am reading with now. And for the first time in almost 18 years now, my Big Book exploded in my hands as I read the chapter – We Agnostics. Chapter 4.

Ag – Gnostic ( Ag – Without) (Gnostic – Knowledge) We are without knowledge.

For the first time reading this book, having read it over and over, in as many years, I became enlightened. I had words I never had before. I had insight I never had before. And I testified my faith to a woman who trusts me to guide her through the Book.

It was, simply, a Spiritual Experience. I had God on my mind. I prayed, and meditated on my way there. I know what I should do now. And for a little while, God was there, on that balcony as we read the book, because I’ve never read the book, in the way I was reading it today.

It was such an exciting day today. I think about the altar call, and thinking about turning my will and my life over to Jesus, and become “Born Again” with friends, whom I loved more than any other friends I have ever had. I cannot tell you how tight I was with all of my friends. The best years of my life, were spent in Youth Group with this group of young people. I’ve never again, in all my life, have had that kind of relationship with anyone.

And I think today, about getting sober. And both experiences are very similar. Because in order to get Sober – You must find a spiritual path. A spiritual experience, is the only thing that is going to save you. God is part of that experience.

Alcoholics will find any excuse, if you allow them, to wiggle out of the word and being of God. I’ve watch a multitude of people see that word, and are repulsed by it, surely, because, like the book says, we’ve had a bad experience, and God left a bad taste in our mouths, and really, why do I wanna go back there an be reminded of something that totally turned us off.

God is so much more than just a word.

I knew this chapter was in the book, but I’ve never really felt enlightened enough to relate what it says appropriately. Today, God gave me the words to do that. I started talking and the words were coming faster than I could think them.

We call that “Inspiration.”

We are told that when we are empty and we don’t have the words to use, God Puts Into Our Spirits, the Words we Need.

I so know that I am on the right track. For the first time in a long time. I feel so full tonight, that I am about to burst. Because I know, when I pray, that God listens. And my relationship with God, is particular, because God has always been on my side, WHEN I particularly listen to Him. And I know what happens when I ignore Him.

Life goes sideways.

Knowing Todd: Read:God … Was the most blessed time in my life, because for that little while, God was incarnate in my life. I lived. I survived. And I am still here. And the only way I can explain it was this … Every night, before work, I turned my will and my life over to the care of Todd:Read:God as I understood Him.

Todd spoke my language. And he still speaks my language, as if he were standing here with me. Because I hear him in my heart of hearts, and I know what he said to me was true. he never once, ever lied to me, or conflated the truth or the reality that I just might die, before this was all over with. He knew that was a possibility. But on his watch, he swore he would do what he could to make sure I survived.

Well, I survived.

God saved me. And it is God I turn my will and my life over to tonight, like the night I stood with my friends at that altar call, and we committed ourselves to Jesus.

I know today, being sober, what being Born Again, really means.

I know the truth. And they say the truth will set me free.

God Is everything. And that is true.

If you don’t know what to do, get on your knees and pray. Because Bob told me, to my face, that every time we pray we ratchet up our spiritual lives. So if you are not praying, then why not ?

Prayer changes everything.

I love my God and the life I have and the people I know.

Tonight I met a young man 2 weeks in before the meeting. I gave him my number and a Living Sober, and he is supposed to call me tomorrow.

Let Us Pray …

Sunday Sundries: Visitation

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My father died over a month ago, on January 7th. I have not dreampt about him, or even thought about seeing him return to me, in one form or another. I am the seer in the family. Most of my relatives have come back to me.

My father, on the other hand, is a different story.

However …

For the past few nights, I’ve felt an oppressive dark pall hovering in the apartment. I could not quite figure out what it was, but it was weighing me down. I could feel it, so it had to be there. Since I had not spiritually summoned my father to visit me, I did not think he would make the effort to visit.

I have posed the thoughts to the universe about all those questions I did have about him in posts, already written. Last night, as I went to bed, and closed my eyes, I was not feeling myself. My ears were ringing and I had a headache that would not go away. I took some Tylenol before crawling into bed. I could feel that darkness hanging in the room.

I realized that my father had been hanging around. He would not show himself to me, I could not see him, like I have seen other family who returned. But I figured that he was there. It would be just like him to hang about in the shadows and not really allowing for me to see him properly. So in the dark, he remained in the dark, to my eyes.

As I closed my eyes to sleep, I said to him, in my heart and mind, that I knew he was here and that I felt his presence. I told him that he needed to go … That he had no place returning and haunting me. I forgave him and told him not to return to my home ever again. That I did not need to see him, nor did he need to see me.

Yet he came anyways. Why did he want to see me now, when in his life, he had no desire to see me or acknowledge my existence? Did he need some spiritual forgiveness from me that I actually speak those words to him now, in his present form?

As soon as I had that conversation in my mind’s eye to him, the energy began to dissipate and I went to sleep. This morning I got up and the energy was gone. It would have been nice to see him corporeally, but he was here, nonetheless.

This is the only photo I have of my father, from his Face Book Account.

Forgiveness is about freeing us of the pain that others have done to us. In that forgiveness, it does not absolve the “other” of what they have done to us, but forgiveness allows us to move on with our lives, no longer carrying that old pain around like rocks in a sack, hanging over our shoulders.

There is a story about a woman, who survives the Holocaust. She lived in Berlin, after the war. One day she was walking down the street and a strange man approached her and spoke to he quite confidently …

Corrie, do you not recognize me ?

After a few moments of contemplation, she did …

The man was a guard in the concentration camp she was sent to. He had killed her mother and other family members in front of her. She knew who he was …

He begged her forgiveness.

In that moment, she denied him forgiveness, and sent him away from her, not so gently.

In the ensuing months, our woman found Faith, God and the Savior.

It happened a second time, that those two humans met on the street.

Our woman had found forgiveness. In her new-found faith, she realized the gift of forgiveness, in the end, she did forgive that man, so she could go on with her life, no longer carrying around that rock of pain around her neck.

At some point, we need to Sink Into God. And to allow Him to help us become the men and women we are meant to be. One cannot be faithful to God, and keep that part of us that feels pain, in the darkness, from God.

Turning it over, is a 100% proposition.

If you only allow light to be shed on part of you and not all of you, then why bother, if you aren’t willing to bring to the light, all of you?

I am all about The Light.

See the Light, Be the Light.

I’ve spent my life, studying family and I’ve been visited several times over by my grandmothers, and my grandfather. They all returned to me. I have concrete proof of their visitations. I know within myself that they exist on the spiritual plane.

I don’t know where that gift came from, or from whom it came from, but I have the eyes to see it. Because I would not be able to speak about it if it did not happen.

We all have gifts, spiritual gifts, we just need to open that eye to see them.

Saturday: Elder Speak …

Spencer 3

Elder Christensen, Right of frame.

Once again it looks like you are passing through rough water. I find it helpful sometimes when things like this happen to consider the destination. If the place I am going outweighs the pain, setbacks, and annoyances of the journey, then the trip is worth it.

I suppose what I am saying is take a moment perhaps to consider your goals. You recently hit a huge milestone in sobriety and in life, and now looking forward it might be a good idea to think about the big picture of who you want to be and what you want to accomplish.

When you have a vision for yourself, annoying and offensive people and situations cease to be worth your mental energy worrying about. Understand also that your experience will always set you apart from people who don’t get it yet. Sometimes a teachers greatest asset is being patient with stupidity.

kneel

If life gets too hard to stand, Kneel.

I talk to God, an awful lot. And I know this about God, that if I pray, and wisdom does not come to me personally, then I need to go out and listen to my friends talk.

Wisdom direct, is a vertical process, top – down.
Wisdom indirect, is a horizontal process – person to person.

They say, that our minds are not some place we should go often, or ALONE.

I sought spiritual advice last night at the meeting, from a man I trust with my troubles. Before I went to bed, I sought advice from one of my spiritual directors, who use to live here, but now is back in Provo, Utah, and Brigham Young University.

Thankfully we have a Google Hang Out tonight. And it’s General Conference Weekend in Salt Lake City, at the Temple. One of my favorite Speakers, Elder Robert D. Hales, has been admitted to hospital, at 85, he is not doing so well.

Last General Conference he gave a talk on Becoming a Disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I wept listening to his talk. He is involved with The First Quorum of the Seventy.

Last night, I scheduled off from my service commitment for next week, opting to see if I could get a reservation at my bed and Breakfast in Ottawa for Thanksgiving weekend next weekend.

Yes, Thanksgiving comes early in Canada. The second Sunday in October.

Then we hold our breaths because the Halloween shops opened over a month ago, to get a jump on business. And after Thanksgiving, it is a game to wait and see WHO puts up Christmas Decorations first, in the city malls and stores.

That usually does not take long at all.

Last year, the Pharmaprix we use regularly, started playing Christmas music in November, and people freaked out and went crazy.

It was obvious that they had to turn it off because of the backlash from customers.

I’ve decided to back off the meeting that is causing me strife. I don’t need the headache, and its not like I need to hit a meeting every night of the week. I’m far enough from the drink, but I know, that I am never far from a drink.

The length of my arm, so to speak.

Monday and Friday serve their purpose well. And I don’t have to sit in a room with people who are Spiritual Sand Paper.

You know what that feels like, “Sand paper on a baby’s ass ???”

God is listening. And I hear Him quite clearly.

The Spiritual Connection and the Spiritual Principles are there for a reason.

I know how to use them …

 

 

Thursday: Spiritual Principles

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What a day, what a week, what a life …

After two months of scheduling, one of my most favorite people, well, one of my most favorite young women, spoke for me tonight.

She Is Joy Overload !!!

A while back, my best friend turned me on to a book. The Spirituality of Imperfection, Storytelling and the Search for Meaning, by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham.

HE had read the book, previously, because a friend gifted him the book at a meeting some years ago. So, He read the book, and then gave said book to me. I read, said book, and while reading the book, time and time again, I saw my best friend within the read.

Meaning: He had learned, and then employed certain Spiritual Principles. Every time I hit a topic that he had learned, then employed, I noted it in the margin. I was totally impressed by the way he had learned and how he used what he learned with ME.

Now, my best friend, another one of my guys, and His Girlfriend, née fiancée, have read the book too. The book has made the rounds of people, in the rooms. I have certain friends, who have had a hard time with sobriety. I bought them a copy of the book, and asked them to read it, to maybe get a handle on simple spirituality, based on the premise that we are all that we are.

That we are NOT one or the other, or a This or a That.

That we are human, and imperfect and that to embrace our humanity to embrace ALL that we are, warts and all, in a tremulous balance of Love, God and Spirituality, there can be a beginning.

Our Imperfect-ness …

There are people, FEW, people I know, who haven’t necessarily read this book, but in knowing them, this far, in my journey, THEY live and inhabit spiritual principles. I can hear it in the way they speak, in the way they work with others, and if you listen closely, you too will hear it as well.

Back in June, I had spoken at the Thursday meeting, and that was a BIG shit show. The following Tuesday, I spoke at an evening meeting, talking about Step 11. Prayer and Meditation and God. Yes, I know this topic very well, and I can talk about it till the cows come home.

I was the opening act for my very favorite woman, Miss. Joy Overload.

When she finished speaking that night, I felt something I had never realized before. I had a feeling of spiritual truth, of honesty and of spiritual principles.  WHY ???

Because I had read this little Tome of a book, and I was listening with not only my mind, or my ears, I was listening to her with my heart and soul. I had learned this by reading the book. I have accepted certain spiritual axioms into my practice, therefore giving me the ability to “Experience.”

Experience is everything.

Spirituality is not a Sunday morning event. Spirituality is not a once a day prayer, or a once a night prayer. Spirituality is something that we LIVE, every day, every hour, every minute.

Spirituality is something we learn to LIVE. Every Day … Every Hour.

At this stage in my game, I’ve learned this way of life. I know what it looks like, and what it feels like. To walk near God. To live near God. To stay “On The Beam” for more of my day, than being “Off The Beam.”

The more we move Towards God, the better our life can be. Because when me move towards God, life tends to take a more spiritual tack. Learning this principle took a very long time for me.

For most of my life, in the In Between times, I thought I had to live life according to the worlds specifications. When I got sober the second time, I turned my will and my life over to the care of God as I understood Him, at that time in my life.

I’ve spent the better part of fifteen years perfecting my connection to the God of my understanding, by learning and inhabiting spiritual principles.

This did not come overnight, by any means.

Spiritual practice is like sobriety. You have to practice every day.

We need each other. We need each other’s stories. We need community, and the care, love and support it provides.

Together, we need to Remember, Together.

It is not good for man or woman to be alone. And we know, as my friend spoke words tonight, that together, we can do many things. And you know the axiom of “When two people get together, there I AM in their midst.”

When two drunks get together, there God is …

There is something to be said about the power the fellowship has to help each other heal those areas of life that need to be forgiven and healed. And the book does say, and we say as well, “That eventually, in a meeting, now or later, you will hear another human tell your story. The book goes on to say that “in community, when we hear our story mirrored back to us, we are forgiven and we are healed.”

The fellowship might give us a way to quit the drink, and never have to drink again, the truth is that, unless you live inside spiritual principles and come to learn and know the God of your understanding, your chances are less than average.

Because there are those too, who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. If you cannot be honest with yourself, How in God’s universe can you be honest with God ???

I have friends, they are friends, because we sit in rooms together, they might not call ME a friend, but they are … They who are just white knuckling it, who just won’t Let Go and Let God.

Tonight, my lady friend told us how to do that.

You never know when the message is going to sink in and settle where it needs to.

Which is why we keep coming back.

We stick around until the miracle happens …