Monday, January 26, 2015


"Progress, not perfection." ~ Al Anonymous

When I wrote this it was a perfect summer morning in St. Louis. I realized at the time this might be as good as it gets on a day in early July. And that was OK. I'll take perfect when I can get it. Perfect doesn't come for a visit very often and certainly not a result of something I do or say.

Perfect, most often, is a gift from Mother Nature, God, the Great Creator, the Universe, or a joint effort of many - a perfect sunset, a perfect morning, a perfect evening out with friends. Perfect comes reluctantly and only to those who have the eyes to see it when it appears. Perfect is definitely not man-made. [There has never been a 27 strike out truly "perfect game" in Major League Baseball.] Perfect in Nature is the Great Creator's acknowledgement of her love for us in sunsets, rainbows and fall colors. Even the perfection required for a moon landing, a rendezvous with an asteroid or a space flight to Pluto is born of the laws of physics, a God gift we've only been able to "see," or glimpse, in the last few centuries.

The Perfect that we so often strive to achieve is what got us here in the first place. It does not allow for bumps in our road, detours along our journey, hedgerows or wide ravines impeding our progress.The pursuit of perfection provokes us to ignore and fix, control and enable, feign bliss and feel despair. These are the dichotomies of being parents of addicted children before we take those first few imperfect steps in our recovery. We've all been there. Throughout our many attempts at perfection we never realize how close to perfection we really are as human beings. This perfection we are closest to is not one that compares us to societal norms or mandates. This is the perfection of what we can be as individuals, our closest pass to our best self actualization, our truest selves.

We are, by being human, by being our truest selves, perfect enough.

When we stumble, it is most often over our own two feet. Once we abandon the bygone notions of perfection, if we can simply let go of our need to be perfect and allow ourselves the freedom to experience the journey of being the best we can possibly be, it is then that beautiful vistas appear before us on our recovery journeys. The pathway levels, the rivers seem less treacherous. Taken one challenge at a time obstacles once thought insurmountable become manageable. We decide those awful events we once thought were sure to happen will no longer hold us back.

We've become nimble expression of our truest selves. We become free, unencumbered by our own former unreasonable thinking. We approach with anticipation the wholeness and ideal of what the Universe offers us, and what it sees in us even if we cannot.

The beauty of it all is that we never attain that thing called perfection. We realize perfection is is the ultimate arrogance that has kept us from growing, from progressing. Instead, now, we are constantly journeying, traveling along our recovery paths, exploring, learning, and yes, failing.

We'll see glimpses of perfection in ourselves. We may even approach the "ideal." We know we've grown when we can laugh at ourselves for the conceit, then move on.

It's certainly a load off! It is freeing letting go of the "P" word. Imagine what we may find along the way.

… keep coming back

"Mistakes are the portals of discovery" ~ James Joyce

Friday, January 23, 2015


"Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most." ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky
"In order to catch the ball, you've got to want to catch the ball." ~ John Cassavetes
"Whatever God has blessed you with, take it with great hands." ~  Horace

I have over the past year chronicled over 200 quotations in my little 8-1/4" x 5" booklets in which I write my first drafts. These quotations have been bestowed upon me in readings, conversations and too many hours spent in front of my wide screen television screen. I am awaiting a long, rainy weekend during which I may be able to digitize, sort and categorize these timeless bits of wisdom, soul searching and humor for ease of access.

Sometimes when I discover a quotation I will use it as inspiration for my writing or just as often, my eyes and mind will wander to the quotes transcribed on the inside and outside back covers of my booklets and just the right quote will appear as if highlighted for the immediate purpose, as if gently beckoning, suggesting, or in some cases, jumping up and down screaming, "Pick me, pick me!"

Most often I find my inspiration is provided if not immediately, eventually, in time. I find the right passage as I always seem to find the right words, when I am meant to receive it.

In her book The Artist's Way and in subsequent articles and interviews, author Julia Cameron describes something she calls "synchronicity." More powerful a force than fate or coincidence, synchronicity is the inevitable positive intervention of the Universe poised to help us along whatever journey for good we embark upon. All we have to do is to show up, believe and accept the nudge, the gentle suggestions, the directional beacons guiding us toward our next best possibilities.

In a July 2012 posting Cameron wrote:
"Learn to accept the possibility that the universe is helping you with what you are doing. Be willing to see the hand of God and accept it as a friend's offer to help."
Imagine my surprise, my stunned awareness, as I realized what was in front of me was meant to be, the three quotations above written one after another in a tablet filled almost a year prior.

Like so much of what we experience as parents of children who have spiraled into addiction, a message was here for the taking, beckoning, a chorus of "pick me!" ringing in my ears.

Sometimes it is so obvious, the messages and signs along the road that we don't often perceive as important. We chalk these up to coincidence, to chance juxtapositions we may even find humorous. We'll often bypass the opportunity of the Great Creator, the gift of the Universe, not because we're not yearning for it, but because we may just not be ready to receive it.
"Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most." 
"In order to catch the ball, you've got to want to catch the ball." 
"Whatever God has blessed you with, take it with great hands." 
These quotations. laid out one after the other were a reminder of what I personally needed that day as I sat down to fill the next few blank pages of my booklet.

Admitting to the fear of the unknown and taking that "new step" allows us to perhaps be humble enough to change, and allow a partner more powerful along for the ride of our lives. With this knowledge, we allow that as fragile human beings who have been through too much already what we are contemplating is a little crazy. We acknowledge and OWN the fear.

So we have owned the fear but are not sure why. We simply know we're no longer beaten by our old foe and can proceed with a determination to push forward. Cassavetes' quote rings true.

When I coached baseball I would tell my fielders to quietly whisper to themselves these words before every pitch:
"Hit the ball to me."
Whether they believed or not, I explained that the mind and body work together. Heady stuff for middle schoolers but the kids who bought into the crazy concept of "wanting" the ball began to field like major leaguers.

We have to want it, the change, the possibilities. We have to want to see that ball and guide it effortlessly into our gloves.

Admitting to the fear and wanting the change are often not enough. When we can look lovingly upon ourselves and realize we have inside of us the strengths and qualities to move along with our lives, to love our children while abandoning the addiction, only then can we really take that first step.

What may seem like accidental is most often nothing short of a miracle - and the miracles are happening every day, all around us.

Dig deep. We have within us gifts from the Universe, a Power to utilize to begin our journey and a Partner to accompany us. The pathway, possibly laid out months, years, decades ago, will appear if we are open to the possibilities. Take it with great, and grateful, hands.

. . .  keep coming back
"Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially their children than the unlived life of the parent." ~ C.G. Jung

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Wanting More - Manifesting A Counterintuitive Existence

"I want some more, Some more and then some." ~ "Tell Me More, And More, And Then Some" by Billy Holliday, Arthur Herzog & Danny Mendelsohn
Recovery for parents who watch as our children struggle with addiction is all about counterintuitivity. We do not seek the contrary for the sake of obstinance, simply to be different or contrary to past life practices. This is no time for knee-jerk reactions, the black/white mentality that keeps us from growing. We do not merely seek the different as a mad alternative to old behaviors. We are seeking more than just the different, the mere exact opposite of how we have traveled prior to beginning our journeys. The different, the opposite, may lead us down familiar pathways, those oft-travelled roads more often taken that society mandates. Obstinance is an angry alternative, a counterproductive pathway.

We are desperately searching for new behaviors and experiences that our learned, and unlearned natures tell us to avoid like a plague.

On our journeys counterinuitivity is not obstinance. We have learned that obstinance, leads to abstinence. We abstain from our feelings, our friends, our children and ourselves. We abstain from life. Obstinance focuses on feelings we do not wish to feel, behaviors we will jettison when we should be focusing on a life previously never experienced that lies directly ahead if we would simply seek it out. We are looking for a positive look at life, we are seeking for what we wish TO do and not, what NOT to do.

Our recovery requires we embark on journeys down roads not travelled, frightful pathways that society, our life mentors and even our "common sense" tell us are ill advised and perilous.

It is time for us to want more for ourselves, more time, more love, laughter, creativity, more peace. For so long we wished for this and more for our children. Then, at a crossroads with the help of countless seen and unseen angels, we began, sometimes covertly, to wish for this "more" to be bestowed upon us as well.

For too long we may have travelled the road with Addiction, mindlessly wandering hand in hand with the disease. To retain its vice grip on our children this is exactly what Addiction requires of us. Addiction craves that willing partner with our children who enables and protects.

Addiction is an occupying army that coerces collaborators to further its endgame. For too long, we have been the collaborators.

It is time we took the fight to the disease in the only way we can. We realize a direct assault is pointless. We can't fix this though God knows we've tried. We cannot control or cure the disease. Truly believing we did not cause the addiction, the first of many epiphanies we encounter along our recovery journeys, we often, incorrectly, think it possible that we could undo what has happened. Our (correct) abandonment of a direct causality between our behavior and the onset of addiction somehow provides a false bravado that we can simply fix this thing if we can only ride it out.

Our heads spinning, we have become our children's worst enemies and Addiction's closest ally.

This is what collaborators do. Collaborators lose themselves and give their lives and souls to the occupiers.

We cease to exist. We lose all self purpose.

It's time to want more, and then some, for ourselves.

Is this counterintuitive enough for you?

The counterintuitivity comes when we become just a little, then a little more, and then some more, selfish, about our needs, wants and dreams. We recapture our souls. We begin to look at our lives in the NOW, the immediate. We begin to live in the moment. We hit a bottom where we become horrified by what we have become. We have too long taken a journey of distractions, detours and back roads counter to our truest selves.

When we begin a new journey borne of self worth and self actualization, living OUR lives and not an existence dictated by the Addiction, amazing things can happen. We become militant champions of ourselves.

We are happy for the first time in a long while. Our horizons expand to possibilities long forgotten during our failed attempts to drive out, then mollify the disease. At first we feel guilty but soon we are witness to astonishing events. Left on its own, the Addiction can lose its grip on our children. Our sons and daughters, seeing us living fulfilled lives are left to face the consequences and anguish of the disease.

We are loving our children and hating the disease. We have no time for the Addiction. We have more time for ourselves. We are no longer collaborators. We are simply loving parents. We know we will be there, present for our children when they are ready.

We witness the miracle of the Addiction loosening its grip on our children. We know the difference between the Addiction loosening and losing its hold of the addicted and understand this is a life-long journey. We understand the Addiction will not go down without a fight yet know we cannot battle it on its own terms. What we can do is slowly destroy the bridges, railways and command posts that had linked our lives to the occupier. We can stop fixing, controlling, enabling and begin living our lives on OUR terms.

Start small, with little baby steps. The path can be dark, rocky and a little scary. It is certainly not a road we're accustomed to. Start by not reacting. Reacting takes us away from ourselves. Listen instead to ourselves and our put-on-hold dreams. Live life, don't obsess about it. Then, we can make this our mantra, our OM:
"I want more, some more and then some."
… keep coming back 

"Go to your bosom, knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know." ~ William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure [II.2.903-904]