Another day of trudging, a rainy and cold Sunday.
But I have to say that looking at the thought-provoking and intriguing artworks posted by recovery blogger ScottW in Attitude of Gratitude always gets the morning off to a good start. Art (paintings, music, literature, dance) is so core to living well, whether we are appreciating it or creating it.
And even the most piercing heartache doesn’t stop me enjoying a strong cup of coffee and a hug from my housemate. I am so lucky to be loved, really I am.
And talking of coffee, I am going to have to cut out that morning cup or two in the course of this week or I shall spend the first few days on retreat sitting with a headache from caffeine withdrawal. I don’t drink that much coffee (two or three cups a day) but strong cupfuls and enough to give me a mild pang or two of discomfort when I stop altogether. So I shall have chamomile or green tea and feel virtuously bleh.
I’d love to be elsewhere. But I’m not, and while doing a slightly chilly meditation this morning I could feel myself grounding again. The way I feel when I am sitting in an AA meeting, just there and nowhere else, listening and swelling with empathy and ‘me too’ stuff. Or that ‘Thank you God that her/his particular trainsmash hasn’t hit me yet’ stuff.
Sitting up in bed in the half-dark, paying attention and clearheaded, calm, no inner storms even though the rain and wind was hammering on the glass and rattling the front door. Sober at the dawn of another day. Thinkng: this is my life and this is all there is right now. I can go into the ‘thisness’ more deeply, I can wait for it to pass or change, but right now this is as good as it gets and this is reality. Awareness filling the bedroom like the quiet acceptance in my bpdy, that inner spaciousness I never understood.
Thinking: whatever happens today, I need not drink. I choose to stay conscious and mindful, I choose to live as fully as I am able. I choose to grow in skilful relating.
Telling myself: it’s OK, you didn’t do anything wrong, you just fell in love. It isn’t all your fault.
The breath so sly and subtle as it enters and leaves my nostrils, so cool, then warm, so gentle and soothing.
At this point I often start to ruminate with bitterness on what others have done wrong or how sad it is that I can’t seem to get my life together or to worry about the ache in my left shoulder blade and remember that the yoghurt is nearly finished and I will have to have a mingy breakfast etc, etc.
But this morning I just sat there and enjoyed being in my life and aware of myself sitting there, while the thoughts and feelings flowed in and out and my breathing expanded. Nothing to run from, nothing to avoid. Nothing to hope for, nothing to fear, everything right there in that moment. All the Maryness and Marylessness possible right there and then.
Consciousness is more interesting than I would have believed. Considering I spent most of my life desperately seeking obliviousness.
So I’m getting on with the day. Rain pouring down so I can’t walk anywhere. A leak dripping into a bucket in the kitchen, but slowly. Not enough yoghurt to moisten the muesli. But I have access to a computer, I have a house lined with books like a quilted coat of many colours, a garden spongey and green from rain — and I have a modicum of inner peace.
So I’m carrying on, just trudging and letting the feelings come and go. Our neighbours have given us four litres of freshly squeezed Eureka lemons in great big ugly jugs. And that means adding sugar, boiling it up and making lemonade, or, to be more accurate, organic lemon syrup to drink on spring evenings out in the garden. Life is blessed if I can open myself to that blessing.