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!

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Lessons Learned

The other day, it came to me that for a very long, long time I knew that one day I would quit drinking.  I wasn’t sure when or how-it was kind of a vague knowing-if that’s possible. I knew how I didn’t want to do it-I knew that AA wasn’t for me or various other programs that I checked out off and on.  But I KNEW that one day I would stop.  I also knew that my struggle with drinking was also a Spiritual one. That it was one of the things that I was meant to conquer in this lifetime.  This may sound a bit wierd to some, but my belief is that we are all here to learn lessons.  Learning these lessons will help us progress not only in this lifetime, but in future ones.  That if we don’t choose to face certain struggles in this lifetime, we will have to go through it again in the next one.  Of course you have to believe in re-incarnation to go with this premise. Or not.  Because even in this lifetime, a person can keep attracting the same issues over and over until they learn to deal with it and change their behavior.  A good example of this is continuously choosing the wrong person to be in a relationship with. I know several women and men, that seem to always choose the wrong person to be involved with. Or the wrong type of job. Always ending up in some kind of struggle-some kind of drama.  Getting out and repeating.  Over and over.  Because they haven’t dealt with THEIR stuff.  Always looking for an external soulution instead of an internal one.  Always blaming the situation. Of course in many ways that’s easier.  NOT!   All it does is to put off the work that needs to be done. And trust me, there will always be another opportunity to confront the issue.  The issue is not them or the job-the issue is why am I always in this situation? What is it in me that is attracted to a person or situation that is not healthy for me?  Why is that a comfortable place for me-even in my discomfort? Why is dealing with the why scarier than being in a bad situation?

One theory is because the bad situation is a known factor.  For instance, a woman who has an abusive partner.  The partner comes home every night, drunk and abuses her-verbally, physically.  The next morning that same partner is apologetic-sends her flowers during the day.  Why doesn’t she leave? Well, it’s not so bad. She has a nice house, friends that she doesn’t want to know (which they probably do), a nice car, maybe standing in the community.  And, it’s not so bad-and he’s nice most hours of the day.  Putting up with that abuse is less scary than facing the unknown. Then leaving.  Then delving into her own psyche as to why she would be in this situation.

Drinking is the same.  While I had the 3 am regrets, I also often started that whole cycle of regrets while drinking-while drunk.  Even while drunk, I would be thinking about quitting.  Needing to quit.  Wanting to quit.  Promising to quit.  Until the next afternoon, when it would all fly out the window.

What changed? I think several things.  For one thing, I think I was able to release the pain that I carried in me for so long.  The pain that I wanted to numb out and medicate from. Oh I didn’t think of it as pain while I was drinking a nice dry Sancerre out of an expensive glass!  I thought I was unwinding, enjoying being with friends, getting a buzz before dinner-I thought anything and everything except that I was trying to retreat from MySelf. I think that I realized that the reasons for my pain were no more prevelant in my life.

I read so many blogs where people have so many Day Ones.  Some without having even a Day Two.  Using so many excuses as to why they weren’t able to go ONE DAY-24 hours without drinking.  Not even 24 hours when you factor in sleep time.  So many people who aren’t able to allow their system to be free of alcohol. So many people who can’t take the steps to do whatever it takes to not drink that day.  Forgetting the promises they made to themselves that morning.  So scared of facing their pain.  Afraid of knowing who they are.  Afraid of facing life without alcohol. While it would be easy and is easy to get frustrated with these people and question their sincerity and intent to quit, at the same time, my heart goes out to them.  For continuing to live a shackled life in spite of they fact that they have the keys for freedom.  In spite of the fact that there are many, many people reinforcing all of the good things that occur with sobriety and many ways to acheive it.

I don’t take this sobriety for granted.  I am grateful for it every day.  I am grateful for it everytime I see a drunk person-or a person who has all of the physical attributes of a heavy drinker. I am grateful for it every morning when I wake up without a hangover or regret. I am grateful for it when I observe someone in a restaurant getting antsy because their bottle of wine isn’t arriving quickly enough. My SO is grateful for my sobriety as well.  He likes the less expensive nights out.  He likes that he doesn’t have to prop me up as we are leaving somewhere. He likes that I am totally present during intimate moments.  He likes that he doesn’t have to repeat whole episodes of a series that we may be watching because I was too drunk to remember that we had already watched it.

But, what I am most grateful for is that this is a lesson that I, hopefully, won’t have to repeat again.  And even more than that, I am grateful that I have been able to have overcome the pain that started it all.

Namaste