The Divine Place of Not Knowing

Photo on 1-23-15 at 11.31 PM

I’m at the Divine place of Not Knowing. I’ve been here before and because I’ve been here before, I know that it is a place where I am afforded the opportunity to walk through and inordinate amount of fear. Experience has taught me however that it is a place that can also afford me an immeasurable amount of growth. It’s a place form which I can find a new and better way to live.

I’ve heard it said that fear and faith can’t coexist in the same mind at the same time. I disagree. My faith is what has allowed me to walk through unfathomable amounts of fear and yet keep moving. I was afraid at war. My faith carried me through. I was afraid growing up in an unfriendly environment. My faith carried me through. It may sound odd to hear a man say that faith is so important to him when that same man has so openly and often rejected most religious concepts of God. In truth I can tell you that whereas the God of the religion of my youth was a God that most people around me spent a lot of time describing– the exactly nature of that God, I really may never understand It any more than I do right now. And that’s okay. I don’t pray so that I may change something in the mind of an outside, anthropomorphic God but so that something may be changed in my own mind. I believe that happiness, abundance, success, peace, serenity, and all the other things I desire are right there for the taking. I also believe the extent to which I don’t experience those things in my daily life are because of the ways I stand in my own way. In short, I believe my problems are of my own making.

Resentment and self-pity are dead-end streets. I can either use the painful experiences of my past as an excuse not to excel or I can use the strength of the lessons I’ve learned from those experiences to help me climb to greater heights. I’m proud of many of the things I’ve accomplished in this life but there’s yet so much to do, I can’t rest on my laurels. I am only truly happy when I am on purpose with what I feel is my mission in life and in so doing also being of service to others. Being of service to other is what brings me the most joy.

Last June, I prayed a powerful prayer to be of greater service to my fellow humans. I prayed it so fervently and in such a way that some of the people in the sweat lodge with me at the time expressed fear for me. There was a lot of “I don’t care what it costs” and “I don’t care how much it hurts” on my part. I believe that perhaps part of what happened is that some better part of me was choosing a path that even now I don’t completely understand. As always, when I prayed that prayer, I had some idea of how the Universe was going to let that happen. Perhaps people are served by my struggles and by my sharing so publicly when I am obviously acting out on character defects that I’d be better off letting go of. I get to tell the Universe (God if you prefer) that I want to be of service. The Universe gets to make the decision about how that’s going to happen. Does that mean I have to let go of my goals and dreams or that goal setting is a bad I idea? I don’t think so. But my goals definitely need a shake-down. Not because there’s anything wrong with owning a yacht, I just don’t really give a shit about it and weak goals are goals I won’t be excited about working towards enough to push through the fear when it comes time to “suit up and show up.”

Before I stopped drinking, I knew that it was destroying my life. I wasn’t so stupid as to think that I could continue on like I had been and survive it. To be honest, if I thought it would have killed me, I would have just kept going. But it had come to seem that I just couldn’t die from it. I did so many ridiculously dangerous things during my active addiction, I can say it’s a true miracle I’m alive. I used to crawl out of the driver’s side window of the truck that I was driving at 65 miles an hour to piss out the back of the truck. Whoever had been in the passenger seat would have to jump over and take the wheel so that we didn’t die. What a selfish asshole I was! But I had done so many things like that, it seemed like my death wish was just not going to be granted. It was the fear of insanity that ultimately lead me to beg for help getting sober. I don’t use that word “beg” lightly. When I talk to people who are newly sober now, I usually tell them I wish for them the “gift of desperation.” I definitely had that gift. I also tell them that I hope they feel like shit. I sure did. Not only leading up to my getting sober but for a good long while after. Sure, I did experience the euphoric high many describe upon first experiencing the hope that a life after active addiction could be possible, but there were many, many rough times in the first year or so after I got sober (each time) where my sobriety had to be pretty much all I was focused on. The memory of how hard those early days were are part of what keep me sober today. I find myself now at the same place with underearning.

When my friend started talking to me yesterday about the support group centered in helping people recover from underearning, I was a little resistant at first I’ll be honest. But that’s part of the disease of addiction and in some ways I’ve been addiction to the mind set and behavior patterns that are encompassed in that term, “underearner.” She lead me to a place online where I could read a list of “symptoms” of an underearner. Although it wasn’t formatted that way, it reminded me of one of those “are you an alcoholic” quizzes one can take. (I always prided myself on not answering “yes” to all the questions. After all, I had never drunk while pregnant. Whew! 43 out of 44.) When I was reading the description of what an underearner is, it felt like I was reading a description of myself. Yes, that’s a tough pill to swallow (bad metaphor for an addict) but it also gives me hope because I haven’t had a recreational drug in 17+ years and I haven’t had a drink in over 20 years. I know that if I could recover from that, I can recover from this. I’m a guy who needed to get loaded every day. Since that time I’ve seen a lot of people come and go. People who came into sobriety claiming total defeat but who then went back out to try to make it work again. In twenty-five years in the recovery community, I have buried quite a few people killed by the disease of addiction.

I know that underearning kills people too. It has very nearly lead the gun to my mouth before. Scratch that. It has lead the gun to my mouth before. I just never pulled the trigger. There was a period of time when, in a perverse sort of way,  I had really come to love the taste of gun metal. As I mentioned before, I recently sold my pistol— probably a good thing. It’s as if the disease of addiction has said, “Well it looks like we may not get him with drugs and alcohol. How else can we kill him?”

I want to live according to a reasonable spending plan and I want to make a living doing the things that I’m good at. That seems like a simple request but it has always alluded me. I don’t think this is because I’m lazy or because I don’t work hard. That really doesn’t describe me. It’s not because I’m stupid or lack education and resources. I don’t think God loves the people who are able to live as I described more than He, She or It loves me. I don’t think that my life’s mission is any less noble or important than anyone else’s. In fact I think the role of the Artist is one of the most noble callings there is, especially in times like these.

Let me return to where I started tonight. My problems are of my own making. I am beat-up enough to admit that I am as powerless over this thing as I am over drugs and alcohol. You might as well throw in the handful of “process addictions” that have nearly taken me down over the years as well. I’ve been here before. To try to rely on my own intellect to get me out of the mess I’ve taken the last 144 days to describe to y’all is in essence relying on what got me into the problem to get me out of it. If smart fixed the problem, the problem would be fixed. I know I’m smart.

I’m at the place of Not Knowing. I’m at a place of total surrender. If I can remain teachable and start living a life in recovery from underearning, I believe I can have a life that exceeds even my dreams. If not, I’m afraid that no matter how many people would be saddened by it, that gun would eventually find it’s way back into my mouth.

I intend to do what I’m told, be gentle with myself, take it slow and easy, and trust that a power greater than me can help me out again.

See y’all tomorrow.

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