Heroes of Love
It was such a potent question I asked of God when I surrendered to accept help over seven years ago. “What’s in the way?”
How did I know that I didn’t need anything else, I needed to see clearly? There was no where left to run and I was exhausted by trying to behave correctly, and still feeling despair; choosing unconsciously. In a fleeting moment of clarity in my motel room that cold January day in 2006, I chose differently. I lived terrified of making a mistake, especially in my profession. As I continued to drink, it would have been inevitable. I realized that I had an idea that a committee of blue suited men, members of the State Bar, had become my dragon. Somehow, I vested them with the power over my life and death. At least that’s how it felt then. Well, that morning, I wanted that power back. I didn’t want to live in fear anymore, especially of guys that I had never met. Over time, I learned the dragon wasn’t outside me after all, it was the way I was seeing myself that had to change.
For most of my young adult life, what I wanted and needed came pretty easily. I would put my mind to something, sometimes work hard, sometimes not. But things just fell into place. After my first job as a Law Clerk, I had experienced some serious trauma, and I was ill-equipped to deal with the suicide of my mother, the death of my Dad, and the entry into a profession that I was really ambivalent about. I took a job as an associate in Saginaw, Michigan, for a firm that was actually in shambles, and in a city I had no affinity for. I was feeling desperate. When I left that job for good reasons, I felt deeply inadequate, and now I had proof that maybe I wasn’t good enough after all. I couldn’t see then what I do now. I should have never accepted the job in the first place. Desperation breeds contempt, and I had it for myself, in spades. I spent years reacting to life, because I was usually feeling desperate. I projected my inner pain to outer conditions, and they were often full of the pain I had yet to face coming from within myself.
It’s twenty years later, and I behave differently. I’ve been transformed by love, and that sure doesn’t mean I don’t get frightened. It just means that I recognize fear as a teacher. There is something coming up that needs to be acknowledged, but not engaged, so I don’t behave desperately again. If there was one thing I could impart to people in recovery, it would be this. Have the courage to sit in the cave with that dragon, to feel the pain of something that threatens you to the core. Don’t run away from emotional pain. Try to stay conscious, and connected to other people who are safe. It’s the only way to defeat it. And when you do that, you will experience freedom. The Hero’s experience. You will know the power of love to transform.
I knew one thing when I surrendered, for sure. I was ready to give up anything that was causing me pain, to gain freedom. That included forgiving what had hurt me, but more importantly, myself.
I can always get back to love. That’s really all that matters anyway. So yes, Brian. I wake up, no matter what, loving the world all over again.
Here’s Isis by Tina Malia. Just Beautiful.