Thursday, November 13, 2008

Just for Today: I Will Stay Intensely In The Present

I look around, my big, rented house is empty of people. Have lots of furniture, from my premarital days, pretty nice furniture, no big AT&T spool tables, food in the stainless steal refrigerator, which I bought from the last rented house for a great price, because I am a negotiator and cheap, my car starts, and I had a great nights sleep.

No one is "out to get me." There is no one outside my house with a gun. I have zero debt. I have my health. I am very, very fortunate.

What Happened?
So, what is wrong? You would say, in all candor, "You are an idiot for worrying." You might not say the word, "idiot," but you should and, frankly, you would think it.

Damn, I was spinning out of control Monday. I was spinning out of control a week ago. Everything I learned in Al-Anon seemed to evaporate at certain points and intervals.

I repeat; So, what went wrong?

My Mind Took Over - It Became A Cruel Master
My mind. My mind took over. I was a slave to my mind. I said before, "The mind, a cruel Master, but a good servant." I allowed my mind to become the Master. I did not use it as a tool.

Well, as I look back, I did not exercise (running/jog is my thing), and I did not sleep well.

The sleep thing was the biggest issue. Not sleeping allowed my mind to take control and govern my reactions and responses and my worries and fears GREW in size.

The Edges of Serenity
I look around - having had a good nights sleep - and I feel - well - very fortunate. I feel grateful. As I type those words, grateful and fortunate, and feel them, I also feel a peacefulness, maybe feeling the edges of the place where serenity lives.

I am rereading a book, The Power of Now. It is not CAL approved literature, but it has a lot of good tools that reinforce Al-Anon's tools - or vice-versa.

Intense Presence
The words on page 55 - bottom - "Intense Presence." I am drifting from the writing of the book now into my interpretation . . . When things go wrong, things that trigger fear etc. etc. I become unconscious. I react from the past. I cast my past on the future fast and I become last. I think of people, places and things that can harm me rather than for what they are, and all this thinking is not reality. But my body reacts, and the adrenaline flows, and the emotion comes up. My emotion is my body's reaction to what it believes is happening because of my thoughts. Even though nothing has happened, my brain is causing my body to emotionalize its defensive mechanisms.

One trigger, in this case my soon to be ex-wife's attack through an email, and my lack of sleep and just the pressures of a divorce, a move, a new job, the economy, all in the background, is amplified. And I play into the email trigger by responding with an email, and a follow up phone call which turns into a dozen conversations with someone who can push more buttons.

She knows all the buttons to hit. She is my qualifier. She is like a concert pianist - she can hit the right keys - and I jump. I realize now I am dancing with alcoholism - again. But I have provided the piano. And I am the one dancing. She, well, she is somewhere, in a car, driving, laughing her buttooski off. She got me to react and she got just what she wanted. And - I am the one that allowed it to happen. She is probably a good person - it is the alcoholism. She has buried the alcoholism in her mind and this is what bothers me too. I need to stop trying to play with an inferno of fire and just leave it alone. Instead, I remind her of it. Why? I know why. But why should I try to convince her? I am "going to the hardware store for a loaf of bread." This is an Al-Anon quote. This is my obsession, as I have learned in one of the free pamphlets from Al-Anon about our "disease."

Just for Today I Will Practice Intense Presence
Just For Today - I am going to practice INTENSE PRESENCE. I am not going to allow my mind to drift into the future or past. I am not going to feed these two time devices with anything else other than "distant observation."

I am going to see if I can remember this. I am going to visualize myself in a row boat on a lake, rowing away from shore, and observe from the boat what my mind is trying to grow when it occurs.

A Row Boat - (Or A Life Boat?)
The row boat thing comes from a negotiators book I read years ago from Harvard Negotiations Class. I cannot recall the name of the book right now - but it was a great book. Let me look on Amazon and come back to you . . .

Found it: Getting Past No. Like I said a great book and an easy read.

Intense Presence. I will not identify with my negative thoughts. As soon as I identify with the thoughts, I give the thought more energy and my body starts reacting. If I observe, it takes away the time (past and future) according to Tolle - author of the Power of Now. If I can step out of the time dimension - the thought loses power and I become intensely present.

Let's see if I can remember the rowboat and rowing away from the thought and just observing it from afar. Maybe it is my lifeboat. Interesting thought Joseph.


Syd said...

Joe, you might want to get a rowing shell. Great exercise and you can live the analogy because by rowing you stay in the present.

I like Tolle's books too. If my mind isn't quiet at night, then I open up one of the daily readers or one of the meditation books and read until my mind settles down.

Kim A. said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has those moments of "Alanon? Whats that?". For me, it is also when I forget H.A.L.T. and someone that I love does something that I don't like. I'm glad there is Alanon so I know that I'm not crazy and alone. I'm healing and amoung friends.


Anonymous said...

I go a little further than forgetting what AlAnon is. I say to myself "that AlAnon is for suckers." Then I know I am in big trouble with my thoughts and my feelings and I have to stop and get back on track.