Friday, November 29

Plenty of Parking



left the Windsor Recovery Club about one in the afternoon on Thanksgiving day to go visit with family, friends, and my kids for a few hours.

The Club had just launched over 150 meals out to three senior housing facilities in town. Individually prepared fresh hot meals  of turkey, all the sides, and gravy that I saw being carefully crafted for hours.

Many people loading up lots of boxes of meals, weilding carefully prepared lists and teams of delivery people, to ensure a hot meal, delivered on time.

Next 'in-line' - literally, were many dozens of people at the facility itself. Many of whom had not slept hardly at all in the past 24-36 hours. Attending meeting, helping be of support in many ways. A wonderful mix of young and old, men and women, backgrounds of all kinds. They were all there to give thanks, most were there to help others, some very much needed companionship. The holiday season can be very traumatic. It was a wonderful atmosphere.

I left feeling the warmth of God. That didn't last long ...

I left the parking lot, and saw the Church across the street, their parking lot was empty. It was unusual for me to be on the road at 1PM on Thanksgiving day, so I went for a tour around town.

   The two churches downtown, their parking lots were empty.
   The two churches on Park Ave, their parking lots were empty.
   The two churches in Poquonock, their parking lots were empty.

In ten minutes, I went from feeling God's love, to being enraged that the only spiritual facility in town that was open on this critical holiday serving food, was run by a bunch of alcoholics. I had visions of a social media rant... and so much more.

Then I remembered the serenity prayer. I smiled. I needed to accept the fact I could not change THAT day, that I needed to accept it. I reflected again on the one spot that was doing so much good. All with volunteers. I am humbled to be a part of those wonderful people, I have learned so much from them. I have so much more to learn. I will do what I can to maybe change next year. get a few more facilities open if needed. 

I pushed God out of my life decades ago because of activities I resented by Churches. Since then, I have come to know that Religion was created by Men for Men -  Spirituality was created by God for All. Churches can do a lot of great things, but a lot has been done over the ages in the name of religion - guided by man that was not do great. God is always right, he points me in the right direction, when I let him.

    Hey God, thanks for the tour of town ... got it.
    More help needed for next year - and in between.  I'm on it.

Wednesday, November 27

Happy UN-Thanksgiving

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving.

I have a Brother in Germany who gets about six weeks vacation and half a month of government holidays. So today is one of the only times of the year where I can gloat for a few moments. He is working today, I am not.  However, that moment is very short lived. It's not in my nature to do that. I miss him and his family for over fifty weeks of the year. I wish they could share in the festivities of today. 

This is a great holiday. One of reflection, humility, grateful thanks. It's loosely about the story of two vastly diverse cultures and peoples long ago who got together to share their food and their spiritualism. That honeymoon day didn't last though. The Indians got the Casinos and the Pilgrims got everything else, and now the pilgrims go to the Casinos and give it all back.

This has always been a holiday of a stressful roll-up of a mandated short week (unless you work in retail). Everything "needs" to be done by 2PM on Wednesday, so that we can all leave for four days. What was completed at 2pm is still there on Monday, but at least it got done. We come back to work a little fatter and more relaxed to start again, over and over.

Thursday morning traditions are great. The parades, 4 hours of football analysis to watch for 3 hours a gave that takes 1 to actually play. Let's not forget the wonderful vast food prep, the great smells. For those few families that are not torn apart by divorce, Dad comes in and becomes a cook for a few moments. guiding a large bird into the oven. Lots of real butter, sugar and salt. This is not a day for those who normally diet.

But this year, I don't really care ... I used to set aside this day, and get all emotional, reflect on the day, the month, the year. I used to wait for this day to let the gratitude flow in, connect with God. Not any more. This year - and today, I will care no more than any other day.

Why? I just can't possibly do it. After last year and going through many months of intense physical recovery. Having finally found God; after living in a void for decades. After undergoing a wonderful spiritual awakening, seeing things so different today than ever before, reflecting every day of my life now on what I need to do to help other people, it's too much to ask!

Every day I am full of thanksgiving: for my kids who are starting to see beyond the anger. For family and friends who have been with me through this all. For all those with experience that have inspired and guided me in my learning months. For the band I am in, being able to share this positive growth with countless hundreds so far. For my BillsBlend coffee journey, which will keep me close to Hell, lest I forget. For providing me with just enough, not too fast, helping me learn patience. For allowing me to be of service, to help others. And for one soul in particular, the ember still burns, I am nurturing it slowly.

If I try to be any more thankful today, I will implode.

Thanksgiving for me this year means my normal daily routine of checking in with my God. I give him grief about being away for so long, and then thank him for everything I have. Everything. This day this year means helping those who feel trauma during the holidays.

Friday will come, and aside from the huge crowds being gone, having received their support, they are off to the malls to get more things to be thankful for. I will do what I do every un-Thanksgiving. Wake up, and say a prayer of thanks, and get to work helping. Don't go looking for me a WalMart on Friday.

I look forward to celebrating 364 Happy Un-Thanksgivings with you!

Saturday, November 9

Perspective

Like a trail of ants.
I have a nice view from the 14th floor in my new office. All day long I see a stream of traffic ... heading somewhere.  I can't help but look at the lines of movement ... a steady flow of creatures, some larger, some smaller, but all following a trail somewhere.

Like the little tiny ants I used to watch with fascination as a young kid; I see the same lines of tens of thousands traversing somewhere, knowing that each feels important in their own way, each has their own needs, their own lives, their own happiness, their own sorrows.

Viewed from the 14th floor, you lose that perspective. You see only masses of motion. You forget that each vehicle, or human, or even the animals riding along; carry so many experiences, dreams and hopes ... from their perspective.

It's all about me ...
One of the great life lessons learned recently is that it IS all about me when it comes to interacting with other people. I have learned that if someone else upsets me, affects me in a negative way or distracts me ... it's all MY fault. I have the choice in my head in how to react to something. I also need to check my thinking.

When you pull yourself out of the situation, and say .. so what. So what if you don't agree... do you need to argue about it? Will their having a different view affect me? So the sky IS a wonderful shade of purple in your opinion? OK. Perfect. It's blue here. That is MY perspective.

The only wrong answer is not trying to understand the other persons perspective.

50 ways to leave your...
...own inadequate thoughts at the door - and listen to others.  Like the old song goes, there are many ways to do things. There are many ways to interpret the same few sentences based on your personal experiences.

I have listened to people discuss the same concept, the same exact words, that I read 4 times. Invariably, someone will hone in on a word that I completely missed, or overlooked. It was very important to them, from their perspective. Once they shared,,, I understood. It may not affect me the same way ... but I understood them better.

From my perspective?
I try to see past peoples actions, and understand them. Their world, their hopes, their struggles. I have seen Hell recently -  that gave me a wonderful new perspective on a lot of things.

Looking at things a little different  :-)