Tuesday, October 10, 2017

The Challenge of Staying Awake to the World

The news gets worse and worse. Natural disasters exacerbated by our choices and those thrust upon us by the greedy and powerful. A rampant culture of violence against others by those in despair and rage. Polluted water and air. The stupidity of teenagers with fireworks who set off a widespread chain reaction of destruction and death in a nearby forest. If I let myself get overwhelmed by all this, a few dozen drinks or a few gallons of ice cream seem pretty tempting.

It didn't take me long in sobriety and abstinence to figure out that the challenge wasn't in giving up the drink or the food, it was being willing to stay awake and to do it all the time. To be present to what is going on in my life and in my world. To keep my eyes open and my heart open too. If I did that, I would see the astounding beauty of the world and the equally enormous suffering. And I would need to learn to do what I could and sit with the rest.

These days I'm finding this challenging. I want to numb myself into a sugar-induced nap for the afternoon. I want to watch mindless TV on an overly full stomach. I want a drink. I won't do that. I know only too well where it leads, but I want it to all go away for a while. Las Vegas. Houston. Florida. Puerto Rico. Eagle Creek and the Gorge. Feeling a lot of sadness today. 

1 comment:

Mollie Hunt, Cat Writer said...

Your point, "...it was being willing to stay awake and to do it all the time" really hits home to me. I was addicted to a lifestyle where I had the option to zone out on a regular basis. I used alcohol to alter my mood, to go to an easier place. Of course it didn't always work and it never did last, so I would find myself slung back into a reality that hadn't improved by my taking my little brain vacations.

One of the things I found astounding about getting sober was the consistancy of a life. At first it was difficult, but I learned that when one is "awake" all the time, one learns how to deal. It's not always easy, but balancing the bad with the beauty is a good place to start.