Enlightenment

I know that’s a big title!  In this case, it’s the title of a series my SO and I have been watching.  It’s on HBO Go which is accessed by AppleTV-not sure how to pick it up otherwise.

For a little background, we watch a couple of hours of TV in the evening.  Our favorites are always Masterpiece Theatre or something else similar. Then we start looking for a series that we can watch in increments.  There are many that I start watching and then as they go on and get progressively violent, I opt out-like Boardwalk Empire.  We’ve watched several on HBO Latino-as long as they have English subtitles.  One that we liked is called “Alice”.  Takes place in Brazil. This one is not violent.  And some kinds of violence don’t bother me-like Good Behavior with Michelle Dockery.  I never really liked Lady Mary-but I love her in this! It’s amazing to me the amount of violent, kind of dark stuff my SO can watch-especially since he’s spiritual, a meditator.  But there you go.  If there’s any kind of animal violence, I’m out immediately.

And so, after finishing up a series-I found myself scanning through the list of series and came across one called “Enlightenment”.  It stars Laura Dern who in the first episode we learn has just come out of a re-hab facility. She’s been there a couple of months (we’re led to believe). She had had an upper level job at a major corporation.  Had an affair with her boss, went totally out of control with alcohol and whatever else came her way.

So, she’s just come out of re-hab and is in a totally different place.  She’s very spiritual, saying affirmations to herself, reading and re-reading self help books.  Trying to look at and be in the world from a different place.  She’s broke and has to move back in with her mom-who thinks she’s a nut case and who has her own intimacy issues.

There are times that this show is really funny and other times it’s sad.  Often there were scenes that had my SO extremely frustrated saying how unrealistic it was.-(He always forgets that this is entertainment)  But to me, it was realistic. It was realistic because here she is, newly sober with a new way of looking at life. Trying to find a new way to deal with situations.  A new way to “be” in the world.  The problem is is that she also has a naivety about her.  Time and again she’s disappointed to find that people don’t think like she does.  My God!  How many times have I made that mistake? “Illusion is for disillusion”.

And while she continues to move forward and believe in her new found philosophy and way of being, she keeps re-visiting her past in the form of her ex husband played by Luke Wilson.  While he’s receptive to her, he’s still drinking and doing drugs.  Doesn’t want to stop. We see in one episode one of the catalysts for him being in this situation-why he is trying to medicate his feelings and reality away.  She still loves him and even stays with him through a whole night of  “getting high” ordeal-but she finds it sad.  Not a place she can go back to.  And yet, she can’t completely cut him out of her life. But when he finally does get help-she doesn’t want him anymore..

I don’t want to give away the whole show.  But what I got from it is about staying “on course”.  Staying true to oneself-even when others betray you in the sense for not thinking the same way.  In her sobriety she found a connectedness to others that she didn’t have before.  I know that one too!  You think you’re connected to those drinking buddies, but you’re not.  They are just the excuses we give ourselves to drink.

All of her feelings are new to her-because she’s sober. She is seeing things in new ways because she’s sober.  And, because she’s sober, she’s able to have much more empathy for her fellow human beings-she is becoming less selfish. It’s a process.  One of the things that was made clear in the show is that she did the work.  It wasn’t a magical awakening. And there were times that it would have been easy for her to slip back into her past persona.

Getting and staying sober is a process. It involves work and is a process that needs to be continually nurtured. Life itself is a process.  Each day holds new opportunities for us to be our best selves.  New opportunities to be different.  To see things in a new way-to connect in a new way.  Sometimes that means giving up or leaving behind some thing or person that no longer fits. Opportunites to shed old illusions and drop old patterns.

In my last post-about hitting the one year mark sober, I said something to the effect that I really haven’t experienced any Aha” kinds of things- That yes, day to day life was so much better.  But, now at my 388th sober day, I can say that I have noticed that I am experiencing a kind of joy and awareness that I haven’t felt for years. I wake up happy and grateful.  I have clarity and energy.  I feel good.  There’s a very subtle undercurrent of overall wellbeing.

Am I enlightened? Probably not!  I’m not levitating….yet!

Namaste

 

 

 

 

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Illusion is for Disillusion

I think I’ve had a very subtle energy shift. Thank God!  I have been so upset since the election here in the US-it seems like everyday brings something new to be horrified and afraid of in this new regime.  Even so, one of the things that has upset me the very most is the realization that my oldest BFF  voted for this newly elected President.  And, unfortunaltely I can’t seem to see it in any other way than that she voted for hatred and racism.  While I can kind of get my head around someone in the Rust Belt who is really desperate thinking and hoping that the things this man has promised will help them, I can’t understand a college educated, upper leval management, woman and a Jew voting this way.  This has caused me so much grief.  Struggling with the fact that this is someone that I love and who has been in my life for 50 years to how can I have someone in my life that feels that way.  I actually disconnected from my college roommate because of her racism years ago.  We had been very close during college and continued to be close for years after-until she made some comments that I found extremely offensive. And not just against one group of people, but several.  After much soul searching, I told her-nicely-that I wasn’t comfortable being around her anymore and no longer wanted to be in a relationship. And that felt great!

But this time it’s different.  I hadn’t heard from my friend since the day before the election-even though we normally text several times during the week and speak on weekends.  She called this past Wednesday-while I was watching The Piano-and I could barely speak to her.  Especially after she replied to my statement about being upset about the election something to the effect that she just didn’t think about those things. There were other things that she said that really rubbed me wrong and also mad me realize that she hadn’t really done any homework on the the others involved with this President elect- like the Vice President. At one point I even commented/exclaimed “Surely you read up on the people that you voted for!”  If she did, that saddens me even more than if she didn’t.

What I realized though is that it’s My illusion that’s been shattered.  If I think about it, there have been hints through the years that she is in fact different thinking than me- just the fact that Duck Dynasty is one of her favorite shows should have been a huge tip off.(this is a hillbilly reality show-and one of its “stars” was one of the few celebraties that actually supported this new President)

I have been in such turmoil over this, I finally wrote to one of my Spiritual Teachers about it.  Explaining all. Telling him about my illusion being shattered.  Saying that I knew Martin Luther King had been quoted as saying something to the effect that “God said you have to love your enemies, He never said you have to like them”.  I have no doubt that I still love my friend-or that if there was some emergency and she called, I would respond.

I also know that everyone is a mirror in our lives.  Even these elected officials that I find repugnant and scary.  And it’s brought to the surface things with in me that make me struggle.

One of the things that my teacher said in his response to me is that “Illusion is for disillusion”. He also told me that first among all the evils is ignorance (he was quoting Saint Mark here) and that ignorance is only a matter of degree, not a matter of anyone being exempt.  He reminded me that everything is part of a Divine plan and that if we forget that (which I seem to do on a regular basis) we can cause ourselves problems, worry,undue apprehension about things that may never occur.

Whew! I needed those words!  And, I was reminded that one of my biggest issues is that I tend to give people too much credit-in the sense that I often don’t see them as they truely are until something explodes and then I am hurt.  My Illusions again. I can understand that if one “has no illusions” there is no suffering.  No let down.  I also realize-again- that it’s really hard to ever really know another person.  That this whole “shattered Illusion” that I am suffering over my friend is really about me. She is no different than she’s ever been. I just haven’t seen it-or when a red flag did go up, I just kind of filed it away.

So, while I still want some space from her, I’m not feeling so sad right now.  I am trying to send her love in my prayers.  God, I sound like some kind of religious fanatic!

I’m also so glad that I’m not drinking now.  Oh!  I can just see myself!  Ranting, crying-having a reason to open that second bottle of wine-finding friends to “commiserate” with just so I could have more reasons to drink.  Probably sending off an email or a text that I would regret the next morning-if I remembered that I’d done it.  Probably having to read it to “jog” my memory!  My SO going into the other room to get away from it all.

Yes, being in the throes of alcohol gives us another “illusion”.  The illusion that we are in control.  That we’re sophisticated.  That we’re relaxed. That we need it. And so many more illusions-that is, until we become disillusioned with it.   For me, I was disillusioned with it for years before I actually stopped.  But, stop I did and I am so glad-because I know that in the end, it would only make this hard situation much worse-sloppy.  Instead, I am able to let my emotions play through me-painful as it is. Uncomfortable as it is.  Yet at the same time, it’s so real!  So life affirming in the sense of not dulling out. To be honest, this is probably the biggest emotional thing I’ve been through since I quit drinking-if you don’t count the emotional roller coaster that actually occurs for the first few months after quitting.

So this election is the one that keeps on giving!  Not all in a good way but it has brought many things to the surface which I feel that are good to confront within myself.

And now, I’m going to make a few phone calls- to the politicians that represent me to voice my concerns-to the House Oversight Committee to do a bipartisan review of conflicts of interest of our elected officials.

I’m not quite at the point where I can call my friend yet.

Oh!   And my takeaway from The Piano?  Sometimes you have to lose a part of yourself to find something new.  Sometimes we have to go through extrodinary pain to grow and to find love.  To live a new life.

Namaste to you!