Getting real; staying clear


Jesus holding a baby and a lamb“Hurt people hurt people.”  My friend Christi said that to me once, when I was reeling from some blow that I was trying to avoid feeling. I wanted to understand it first, as if I would have some sort of control over grief and unspeakable sadness. She helped me to learn to stop talking and breathe sometimes, and that process has changed my life, for the better. Experiences pass through me these days, with the help of some Spiritual tools, but do not stay trapped beneath the surface of my consciousness; armed for a reaction in an inappropriate time, or on an innocent bystander. I feel less dangerous in the world these days; to myself and others, when I allow my self some time to feel things as they arise, and with my whole being. It still pains me to recall those times when I hurt myself or others because I didn’t know better, and didn’t take responsibility for my reactions. Recovered Alcoholics speak with great humility and reverence for the Grace that saved us, many times, from committing even more heinous acts than we did, while we were in blackouts, or simply reactive unconsciousness.

Before the news of the Connecticut shootings yesterday, I was preparing to launch the print version of GOING NAKED BEING SEEN into the world. I was very excited, and poised to do so. But, it just didn’t feel right. And, I couldn’t really move, or think or speak either. I just prayed, and hung out with some people who I love. We didn’t talk about it, or my book. We sat together, and did really normal stuff. I helped a woman who made the courageous decision to leave a job that was killing her, to find work and write a simple cover letter. I sat outside and watched the birds. I went to sleep really early.

And this morning, I feel better. So much of life is not about time, it is about process. That has been true for me in sobriety, even though we mark our sobriety by time. It’s a way to measure Grace in my eyes, and I join happily in the custom, and celebrate it for others because what many have done to get well and come back to life is heroic.

There is a woman who walks at 6:00 a.m. with a walker around a newly installed Soccer field, right across the street from my loft. Rain or shine, she’s there. She inspires me. I watch her and think, ” I have no right to complain about going to the gym.” My body is healthy; my limbs move, and I feel good most of the time. That was a process for me too, and it has required my attention, daily discipline and devotion to more than my body. I am well because God healed me, and I take care of the miracle.

In light of that, I believe that the message in my book is one of light, and I will work to release it this weekend after all. I believed before I saw the miracles, and then I lived them. It can, and will happen for all of those who are willing to surrender to the greater mystery, which is love, and light and life, and allow it to shape, inform and return them to Heaven on Earth. Heaven touches Earth, not just once, and not just after we are dead. But, I needed  a structure for Heaven to fill with its light, and that allows that light to pass through me, or be reflected. It’s not my life; it’s life moving through me, and that life is Eternal.

Knowing that, I can pray in the wake of great sadness, and not have to understand it. God’s design includes enormous freedom for all of us; mistakes and miracles alike. God’s got this.

Here’s Tracy Chapman with Heaven’s Here on Earth.


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