Today I took care of my mind, soul, and body. Most notably, and at times exhausting, I worked intensively with other alcoholics. And it was a special day for a number of reasons. One woman, under two weeks sober, came to my home and we we shared our experiences. Side by side. I am honored, as ever, to be a part of another’s Recovery. When I work with another alcoholic in this way I’m reminded of my early sobriety – a precious memory to me, today.
Today was also my mother’s natal birthday, and my sponsor’s sobriety birthday. Both these women are so incredibly important in my life. I have a different relationship with each, and I have different ways of honoring them. Each friendship has its own tenor, but they are each a source for me.
My mother is one of the largest influences in my life. If there is any quality you find in me and admire, I could tell you a bit about where it came from, and I have a conscious contact with roots in what I’ve learned from my mother. Whether a quality she brought, or one she lacked, all paths lead back to her. I found her failings so distressing as to lead me through painful journies, and today I bless the memory of those more difficult times. Her assets, however, eased my path and in turn bless all those in my life. From my mother, I learned a steadfast loyalty, a wicked sense of humor, a joy in sensual pleasures, an appreciation for the lovelier things in life, and a genuine trust of and love for other women.
My sponsor – thinking on her brings tears to my eyes. I have had so much help and from many quarters, but it was she who taught me the meaning of dignity after catastrophic lowness. She taught me about Forgiveness; and I watched her for quite some time to see if it was real. But, it was – she had forgiven things I did not think were possible to forgive. She has taught me about patience, kindness, and honesty. If you have ever thought I had a modicum of empathy and compassion, she is one of my greatest teachers. Our friendship is entirely reciprocated in equal measure and with a great deal of warmth. In many ways she is a mother to me where no other mother quite rang true, and she has been a steady friend in ways practical and spiritual. She is truly a blessing in my life.
This morning I took a bike ride to the track stadium and steadily climbed up and down stairs; I am attempting to strengthen and heal my knees. I took my time and rested between flights, and listened to a Buddhist podcast. I laughed aloud in recognition many times by the simple truths I heard, and I sat on a humid little wooden bench and looked out on green fields. “Life is not so serious as the mind makes it out to be,” I remembered. I felt a gladness I could touch something calm, and real, with my mind, which still needs much healing.
Home after my outing I cooked, and cooked, and cooked some more: dishes for my children, for my friends, for my mother, for my husband, for myself. Cooking, washing dishes, patience and persistence and service. Sliced ripe mango; perfectly over-easy eggs for my son. Butter-fried jalepeño slices over pressure-cooked beans with fresh garlic – warmed wheat and corn tortillas. Sharp grated cheese, fresh lettuce. Cooking itself a meditation, if I let it be one. As I sliced garlic I thought, “I am slicing garlic now so I can pay attention to you when the time comes.”
A mindfulness practice. So I can be here for you.