Is Something Gaining On You?

The past is behind you; watch where you’re going!

I was just reviewing old bookmarks, and ran across the last blog entry of a writer friend who is no longer with us.  If you want to read it, you can find it here.  Marsha was a fine writer and teacher, and a good person to have in your life.  She brought the pleasures of poetry and literature into the minds and hearts of thousands of students.  A pretty darned good legacy, when you think about it.

Reading her poignant post got me to thinking about the idea of a “life well-lived.”  Who decides about that?  I am agnostic, so I don’t look forward to some Great Beyond.  As far as I know, this is it — the whole show, not a dress rehearsal.  (Although I generally hate being wrong, I wouldn’t mind being mistaken about that; however, logic prevails.)  That being the case, the only life I expect to have beyond the grave is in the memories of people, slowly to fade until the wisps are carried away by the winds of time; a tiny part of the whole, but unnoticed down the years by those to come.

So, unless I want to indulge in magical thinking I have to accept that the sum of my life is my legacy as well, and I have to ask myself whether I’ve lived that life so as to leave something worthwhile behind, however ephemeral.

My desire to take a hard look at that question has varied over the years. I stopped drinking and drugging in 1989 and thought I was sober. As it turned out, I really wasn’t. (Think unaddressed process addiction that far preceded the chemicals.) Only in the past few years, after another “rock bottom,” have I started to deal effectively with that one.

Overall, though, I think my total progress and some of the things I’ve accomplished are probably not to be ashamed of. Whether others share that opinion is none of my business. I’ve slowly come to understand, at least intellectually, that I live in my reality, and what’s going on in someone else’s is not my concern.

However, I think it behooves us all to occasionally look back, think of our lives to date, and decide if they’re something we can be satisfied with.  If we feel as though we’re on the right track, maybe we can attend to the details a bit more closely. If it seems as though we are a bit short, then we might sit back and consider how we can re-map our journey. Perhaps our criterion should be something like, “Have I helped others as much as they’ve helped me.”

I don’t know.  What do you think?

Community

This entry is a few days late, as we just got our Internet back.

I’ve just been looking at videos from the Florida Keys and reading about the devastation in the Leeward Islands. On St Maarten they have no food, water or shelter. The people have banded together to search the wreckage of supermarkets and other sources in order to gather and share what resources they might come across.

I was uncomfortable because, for about twelve hours and five minutes, we had no lights and no air conditioning. Of course we had several good flashlights and a big supply of batteries, and we had a little battery-powered fan that kept us reasonably comfortable. Essentially we lay in bed, napped, played with our cats, watched the storm on our phones, and I read a sci-fi novel on my Kindle. We snacked from the cooler. We talked. Our day was thrown off balance. We couldn’t go to work.

I’ve been thinking, though, about how easily our lives can be thrown out of balance. Continue reading “Community”

Thought for the day, sort of…

I’d be more than delighted to attribute this if I knew where it originated.

Hello! Is this Gordon’s Pizza?

No sir, it’s Google Pizza.

I must have dialed a wrong number. Sorry.

No sir, Google bought Gordon’s Pizza last month.

OK. I would like to order a pizza.

Do you want your usual, sir?

My usual? You know me?

According to our caller ID data sheet, the last 12 times you called you ordered an extra-large pizza with three cheeses, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms and meat balls on a thick crust.

OK! That’s what I want …

May I suggest that this time you order a pizza with ricotta, arugula, sun-dried tomatoes and olives on a whole wheat gluten free thin crust?

What? I detest vegetables!

Your cholesterol is not good, sir.

How the hell do you know?

We cross-referenced your home phone number with your medical records. We have the result of your blood tests for the last 7 years.

Okay, but I do not want your rotten vegetable pizza! I already take medication for my cholesterol.

Excuse me sir, but you have not taken your medication regularly. According to our database, you only purchased a box of 30 cholesterol tablets once, at Drugsale Network, 4 months ago.

I bought more from another drugstore.

That doesn’t show on your credit card statement, sir.

I paid with cash.

But you did not withdraw enough cash according to your bank statement.

I have other sources of cash.

That doesn’t show on your last tax return unless you bought them using an undeclared income source, which is against the law.

WHAT THE HELL?

I’m sorry, sir, we use such information only with the sole intention of helping you.

Enough already! I’m sick to death of Google, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and all the others. I’m going to an island without internet, cable TV, where there is no cell phone service and no one to watch me or spy on me.

I understand sir, but you need to renew your passport first. It expired 6 weeks ago.

~ Unknown

An Unsolicited Plug

For several reasons I make it a point not to review books or accept ads, “infographics,“ and guest posts on this blog, except in extremely rare situations.  When I tried it the first one led to more, and to requests that didn’t meet my standards (never easy to refuse for a codependent like me), plus other complications, like conflicts of interest, etc.  I don’t like hassles, and promoting business in whatever fashion is not the purpose of this site.  However, it’s my blog, and I occasionally make exceptions for myself when I think it’s important enough.  This is one of those times.

My long-time readers will probably have noticed the blurb in the sidebar for Joe C’s book, Beyond Belief, Agnostic Musings For 12-Step Life.  No doubt the word “agnostic” turned some of them off.  I’d like to comment on that, and explain why the ad, recommendation, or whatever you want to call it is there.

Continue reading “An Unsolicited Plug”

Fine Print

Education is what you get when you read the fine print;
experience is what you get when you don’t.

~ Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger is one of the Grand Old Masters of folk, along with Woodie Guthrie, Buffy St Marie, Bob Dylan in his early days, Joan Baez, Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey and Mary Travers, Odetta, Leo Solieau, The Carter Family, Fiddlin’ John Carson, Harry Belafonte, Dave van Ronk, and a host of others–not forgetting the Folk who carried many of the tunes in their oral traditions and sang them over the centuries before recording technology.  They’ve all contributed more to our culture than we may realize.

Seeger has always sorta been a hero of mine.  In addition to the obvious effect he has had on generations of music aficionados, he influenced major figures in the Civil Rights movement and other movements toward Liberty as did many of his contemporaries. He had a way of expressing himself that was at once deceptively simple and, at the same time, pretty damn deep.  The quote above is a prime example.  When I ran across it recently I was immediately struck by the subtle way in which it relates to my recovery, and maybe yours, too. Continue reading “Fine Print”

Turning Points

We say things like, “That was the turning point in my life.”  What do we mean?  Do we mean that life created a sequence of events that changed our direction?  Do we mean that we made a decision that led to a big change, or do we mean that “Fate” or a “Higher Power” intervened to create a new path? Continue reading “Turning Points”

Three Questions 

There are three questions that we must answer for ourselves.

There are three essential questions that we must answer for ourselves in order to live emotionally healthy lives. Others may try to influence us with their answers, but we – – as separate beings – – must find our own. 

These essential questions are

  • Who am I? 
  • Why am I?
  • Who are they? 

Ponder them well.