We seek peace and love in living soberly after our battle with addiction. The great gift is it is easy to see where to go to find contentment after being our worst selves, but we do not have to completely fail before we view life in a stagnant way. Everyone has a next-level version of themselves. Is lying dormantly satisfied a way to peace? Does anyone feel completely at peace and in love all of the time? No… Everyone eventually will be bit. People who care to do the work to build a perfect world are the ones who gain the satisfaction of endless fulfillment, and perfecting the world begins with perfecting ourselves.
The next level is a dangling carrot, and we, who chose so, are the oxes after it. People who know there is a perfect higher-power know the carrot will always dangle in our faces, either from our own desire to better ourselves or by any of an infinite array of catastrophes that complacency leaves us. Nobody can jump ship, and captains must sail ships to paradise and protect their passengers and crews at all costs or face the failure of paradise lost, and we are all meant to be captains.
Peace and love is in doing spiritual work–knowing that the next step is never further than our very noses. We can always expect there to be more spiritual work. Arriving means that you can teach others to be captains of their ships. Arriving is a level of realizing that the joy never ends–never can we rest while the world sleeps. Joy is in the journey of nourishing our planet and everyone living here and in letting go of expecting things to change without first changing our own destinations.
It was a whirlwind up to and past 30 days clean, no lie–being tired all the time, smelling the fruity green around work, and being thrown back to the doctor’s office for some meds. Finding my true friends and reconnecting with family is a joy. Sober friendships are a new thing that set an abounding future in sight. I believe I’m heading on a clear pathway to real, sustainable goals. Writing remained a fancy while stoned. I did write, but I could only write from within a very limited cloud.
This blog has changed course, and I’m not sure about a specific purpose in it. I love sharing for people to read. My old/new intention in my writing is back to creative writing–that story I’ve kept locked deep below the pit within my heart. I have the gift of writing. It was my first dream as a boy, and I never let it go, though the thread stretched pretty thinly and almost broke in my deep depression.
Today I battle to remain constantly productive, not just with my dream, but also in producing the life I want now. Turning corners is a present passion. I view everything as an opportunity, mostly generated by everyone in my life. The aim is to take everyone with me to a higher plane of existence. This is spirituality and science–“match your thoughts with the reality you want to manifest” (roughly A. Einstein), and it works. I’m lucky to have the merit to have found the greatest spiritual practice for myself.
I found hell when I quit smoking weed, especially the first week. I felt like a newborn baby every morning for the first seven to nine days, but, now, the vision I have gained is a vision of the lack that I left before myself by being so removed from the reality I could have created. I missed the starting gun in life.
Beginning to live, I found this poem last week, and read it over and over again. Its the most beautiful thing I know at the moment. Richard Wilbur is a giant among giants in modern poetry.
The speaker observes the ocean, some gulls, some girls, and the waves washing over rocks from a beach at the bottom of a volcano, and reflects on the opposition between beauty and war. We are all at war. If you have found complete peace, please alert the media to your secret. God help us.
I am gaining firmer ground gradually. Literature like this poem finds me in perfect timing. Enjoy this timely piece…
On the Marginal Way
for J. C. P.
Another cove of shale,
But the beach here is rubbled with strange rock
That is sleek, fluent, and taffy-pale.
I sare, reminded with a little shock
How, by a shore in Spain, George Barrow saw
A hundred women basking in the raw.
They must have looked like this,
That catch of bodies on the sand, that strew
Of rondure, crease, and orifice,
Lap, flank, and knee—a too abundant view
Which, though he'd had the lenses of a fly,
Could not have waked desire in Borrow's eye.
Has the light altered now?
The rocks flush rose and have the melting shape
Of bodies fallen anyhow.
It is a Gericault of blood and rape,
Some desert town despoiled, some caravan
Pillaged, its people murdered to a man,
And those who murdered them
Galloping off, a rumpling line of dust
Like the wave’s white, withdrawing hem.
But now the vision of a colder lust
Clears, as the wind goes chill and all is greyed
By a swift cloud that drags a carrion shade.
If these are bodies still,
Theirs is a death too dead to look asleep,
Like that of Auschwitz’ final kill,
Poor slaty flesh abandoned in a heap
And then, like sea-rocks buried by a wave,
Bulldozed at last into a common grave.
It is not tricks of sense
But the time’s fright within me which distracts
Least fancies into violence
And makes my thought take cover in the facts,
As now it does, remembering how the bed
Of layered rock two miles above my head
Hove ages up and broke
Soundless asunder, when the shrinking skin
Of Earth, blacked out by steam and smoke,
Gave passage to the muddled fire within,
Its crannies flooding with a sweat of quartz,
And lathered magmas out of deep retorts
Welled up, as here, to fill
With tumbled rockmeal, stone-fume, lithic spray,
The dike’s brief chasm and the sill.
Weathered until the sixth and human day
By standing winds and water, scuffed and brayed
By the slow glacier’s heel, these forms were made
That now recline and burn
Comely as Eve and Adam, near a sea
Transfigured by the sun’s return.
And now three girls lie golden in the lee
Of a great arm or thigh, and are as young
As the bright boulders that they lie among.
Though, high above the shore
On someone’s porch, spread wings of newsprint flap
The tidings of some dirty war,
It is a perfect day: the waters clap
Their hands and kindle, and the gull in flight
Loses himself at moments, white in white,
And like a breaking thought
Joy for a moment floods into the mind,
Blurting that all things shall be brought
To the full state and stature of their kind,
By what has found the manhood of this stone.
May that vast motive wash and wash our own.
By Richard Wilbur
Wilbur, Richard, New and Collected Poems, First Harvest, 1989
Less is more. If you boil down success, you find commitment. That’s just about it, and everything else is going through the motions. I’m committed to writing because it may be the only thing I do well. I wrote a blog of poems from a severely low place for a few years. They came easily, like a flash, from a small mode of consciousness that I was comfortable in. I say “small” because what I saw was completely myopic. The vision I had was drawn from a greatly deep, vast depression that I allowed myself to enter as a stoned junkie smoking weed every minute. Cue: less is more. In my case, none is most.
Fortunately, I’m committed to just say “no” like I was taught in school. Do they even teach that in primary school anymore? Now that marijuana is moving towards legalization, something friends and I craved, I’m off the roller coaster–week 1 of Narcotics Anonymous. Hooray! A commitment, and less (none) of something I don’t need. This is practicing what I’ve been so focused on after reading Seth Godin’s blog post, Don’t Shave That Yak!
Not to share all about the twelve steps, I feel like my next adventure has begun. There is a lot of love in the program, and it is very humbling. The most exciting part is knowing that I have much greater things to offer in my life without the choice I made everyday to use the weed. Less is more. I committed to not anymore giving myself a choice. When I write poems, I make lots of choices. To leave a word in or out, to punctuate differently, or to use different line breaks are all choices that affect my readers. The choice used to always be “yes” to toking up. How differently will my being affect others not being stoned?