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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Perfection: What would it look like?

If I accepted myself as the unique human being that I am? I suspect that would mean that I would accept you and the world the way you and the world are too. How much more happy I would be then!

"I can now admit that most of my troubles stem from one large and glaring defect: self-centeredness. For how can I wallow in self-pity, weep over resentments, be sick with righteous anger, ache with envy, and tense up with fears and anxieties unless all my thoughts are exclusively on poor me?" (Drop the Rock, 23).

Several years ago a sponsor had me go through the fourth step in the 12 & 12 in order to extract the plethora of character defects that one could have. However, in the Big Book it specifically points to just four defects -- resentment, dishonesty, self-seeking, selfishness and fear. What I am coming to believe is that all other defects stem from these four issues untreated. They are all permutations of the same basic problems. Keeping it simple works much better for me than does having ninety different character defects to think about. At the deepest core, however is this self-centeredness, which I think also comes from the even more central issue of fear.

Fear stems from the belief that I am God (extreme self-centeredness). Fear produces perfectionism, which is the idea that "I know best." It says that I know better than God. How else could I find so many things wrong in the world, with me and with others? The definition in the dictionary of perfection includes the word flawless. Looking even more closely at this definition I realize that the definition of perfection can actually be equated with my definition of God.

Perfect: being entirely without fault or defect: flawless. Satisfying all requirements: accurate. Lacking in no essential detail: complete. Sane. Absolute, inequivocal. Certain, sure. Contented, Satisfied.

Syn. Perfect, whole, entire, intact meaning not lacking or faulty in any particular. Perfect implies the soundness and the excellence of every part, element, or quality of a thing frequently as an unattainable or theoretical state. Whole suggests a completeness or perfection that can be sought, gained, or regained. Entire implies perfection deriving from integrity, soundness, or completeness of a thing. Intact implies retention of perfection of a thing in its natural or original state.

Flaw: a defect in physical structure or form. An imperfection or weakness and esp. one that detracts from the whole or hinders effectiveness. Fragment.

God is perfect and I am a part of his universe. The one he created. That means that I am flawless and perfect as well. I was made by God as I am with my assets and my defects -- my so-called flaws. I am the one who looks around and finds a flaw in everything because I think that I know what perfect looks like. But I don't know if I can't see that things are already perfect and flawless. Finding these flaws first is a sign of my self-centeredness, selfishness and self seeking, it then produces resentment in me. All of this blocks me off from the sunlight of the spirit meaning that I no longer experience my relationship with God, which then sets me spinning into a world of fear, which reproduces this cycle of resentment and self-centeredness ------> fear. Dishonesty is tied up in all of these in exactly the same way. My dishonesty is coupled with my resentment and self-centeredness and fear. The flip side of dishonesty is truth. When I say that I am God and that I am flawed, and you are flawed and the world is flawed I am claiming that my judgment of reality is correct. My judgment may not be correct, therefore it may not be true, so it is dishonest to claim that my judgment of reality is the only one or the correct one.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Drop the Rock

Have you heard the story about the man who was searching for his keys where the light was even though that was not where he had lost them? He said he couldn't look for his keys where he had lost them because it was dark there and he was scared of the dark.

I'm thinking about how this relates to my challenge of letting go of of two major "defects" of character: self-pity and micro-management of my marriage. What is interesting is that I can see that God is working through these character defects to change me. I'm only just beginning to see this though. Indeed, last week I got an email from an astrologer who said that saturn quincunx all of my Aquarian planets explained a lot, including the moon which meant that I would struggle with feeling heard. In both cases, with self-pity over not finding my career path and the power struggle in my marriage that often leaves me feeling terrible but self-righteous, I feel unheard. I feel like I cannot express myself in this life. I feel that very few people can "hear" me and what I mean by that is that I struggle with expressing the true me to people. There are only a few people and a few places where I feel like that is possible. So my struggle with career and with marriage brings this issue to the light. God is working through those struggles to bring them to light. However, if I quit, run away, stick my head in the mud, drink or drug it is much less likely that I will become aware of what God is trying to help me to see so that I can begin to let go.

This has been my experience in all of sobriety. I have not known what defects God is working on, I have just known about the struggle I am in the midst of and which I often don't like because it seems like it is getting in the way of me living my life the way I want to. But when the defect central to the struggle comes to the light -- becomes painfully obvious -- something shifts and things seem to get easier. The defect loosens its hold on me. I begin to see that God is working in my life (again).

Not feeling heard goes way back. Even when I was a little girl of three I remember having a longing for someone or something to pay attention to me. All my happy memories involve people who were attentive to me in particular. They involve people who seemed to value me for me. People who didn't judge me constantly or abuse me or ignore me. My Aunt Lynne, my grandma, people at the temple who took me out or bought me a nice dress or shoes, people who listened to me, people who made it clear they wanted to spend time with me (Edward, Robert, Alyson, Betsy, Heather). And then there was always this seeking energy. I thought it was about my dad since he was mostly gone or we struggled to get along. So this seeking was about either how to get him back or how to get along with him. With my mum the seeking was about how to get her to spend more time with me. And I would take up her time by talking to her either about books I'd read, or my righteous cause of the moment.

Today I seek to feel heard by my husband and by the world at large in the sense that I keep trying to find the perfect career for myself. Something that will draw on my key talents so that the world will recognize them i.e. "hear" them. If they hear me, then I will exist. I wonder what would happen if I dropped the rock?

What if I let go of the need to be heard? What if I began to listen to myself? What if I began to value myself and my talents? What if I focused on myself? What would it look like if I stopped trying to convince others that I exist?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kaleidoscopic Me

I'm no longer a pregnant woman! I'm the mother of an almost one year old who has been sleeping for nearly two hours now. Go figure. Of course I get worried that she is dead, not sleeping...but then she awakens! The weather is starting to develop outside into a storm -- sprinkles, wind blowing, a chill in the air. I guess fall is really here. My mother is flying over the country as we speak ---> to visit my Aunt Noreen in Victoria, B.C., which I am awfully glad about. There's so much to report on, I don't know where to begin. Perhaps I will start with the challenges that I am facing career wise and my thoughts on faith.

Right now I'm in the phase of suddenly realizing "that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves." God is doing for me what I can't do for myself. And there is A LOT that I can't do for myself. I used to think this was a weakness. And, indeed, it is a *weakness* for it is that which makes me human aka *not* God. But these days, I see that acknowledging that actually gives me strength. It is powerful to acknowledge ones actual relationship with God rather than continuing to live in the fantasy of super-human power and strength. It allows me to get right sized in the universe. I can't see the whole picture. I don't know what the *plan* is. So to have faith today means to continue doing the next right thing even when I think everything has gone wrong because reality is not conforming to my expectations. More so this means that reality is not providing me with the confirmation that I am *okay* or even better than okay, in fact reality is triggering feelings of insecurity and fear in me. In the past this mean that something had gone wrong. That I needed to work harder to alter my experience of said reality so that I wouldn't feel that way. These days I'm coming to accept that I can live with such feelings without having to alter them OR assume that something has gone wrong. In fact, something *good* might be the outcome of walking through said discomfort. God might be working on me -- kind of like a cat scan -- even when I feel super claustrophobic and scared. When my view has been made so small by my feelings. God is working on me. Today my sponsor said that she doesn't believe in the concept of people *working on themselves.* She says God is working on us, that's not our job. Our job is to figure out how to be present, how to suit up and show up, how to do the next right thing. How to work with our resentments.

The book says "all men of faith have courage" and I have really been trying to live this and by that I mean that if I have faith then I will know because I am taking actions. Actions require courage, especially when taking them means that I may fuck up. Say the *wrong* thing. However, in reality, if God made me, then what I do and say is not fucked up. It's the right thing, at the right time, in the right place even if I feel uncomfortable about it. Even if at another occasion I say something different and do something differently based on what I learned from my prior uncomfortable feeling. We call this learning. But just because I learned to do something differently does not mean that I did it *wrong* the last time. This is ultimate faith. It's the willingness to be who I am--the kaleidoscope--at every moment. When I reject me or you, I reject God because God made each of us perfectly.