Gratitude is the most vivid colour in my paint box. My own private pink cloud is like a rainbow some mornings, to wake up and realise I never have to drink again. For years I just drank because I just drank, no feeling of choice or decision or enjoyment. To be spared that terrible compulsion is a great joy.
At the moment I am engaged in tricky negotiations about attending a zen retreat in June. The retreat centre staff mention yoga blithely. I have little experience of yoga and don’t want to feel like a fool among yoga adepts. They are vague about the fees for the retreat and I need to know if they want a deposit. They are vague about food but assure me it will be delicious. Most Buddhist vegetarian food is heaven to me, as opposed to the lovingly prepared but unspeakable boiled veg, frozen fish and brisket or salt beef served up by German Dominicans at Catholic retreats. I can’t afford to do a Catholic retreat because they are now luxurious establishments that cater for tourists. Ditto AA retreats run by rehab centres and also geared towards tourists who want five-star facilities and pay in euros or dollars. But the Buddhists still retain some notion of service and accessibility, so this is where I am going.
Brilliant frosty weather, the garden full of birds. Most of our exotic species have left on the long journey across the Atlantic to summer in Europe. My eye is hurting less and I am rereading the 12×12 to keep my mind aligned with AA. As I sit in meditation each morning, distracted by bird calls, I notice how tired I am and how in need to some kind of renewal. I miss the service opportunities I used to have while able to attend regular AA. Service erodes natural selfishness and that is a great help for me.