Day One

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. --Albert Einstein

So what does this mean, on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, the day after one of the most divided Presidential elections I've seen in my lifetime? Because I need to find the miracle in this. 

Choosing love and compassion every damn day feels like a miracle to me. And when I say that, I am not just talking about compassion for the marginalized, but compassion for the ones with whom we disagree, and even the ones we fear. Because when we are talking about the marginalized, as much as the white, liberal, educated elite (which includes me, by the way) don't want to look at this, we are talking about the unemployed or underemployed, uneducated, and sometimes addicted white person that voted for the one person they thought was listening to them. My kids are watching me and they are acting how I act, doing what I do and I can't teach compassion unless I'm doing it. There is a miracle in that.

If we've hit rock bottom as a country, and many of us know a lot about rock bottoms, the only direction to go from here is up. And being in recovery, I also know that that requires change and making good choices and showing up and staying present and pushing up my sleeves to get to work. If there was ever a time to be sober and present, it is now. If there was ever a time to ask, "Where does it hurt?*", it is now. I can't ask that if I'm shackled to the throes of self-absorption and pity-parties that I was in when I was drinking. There are miracles in rock bottoms.

So what do we do now? I'm going to look for the helpers, as Mr. Rogers would say. Helping always yields miracles, without fail. I will continue to speak up for injustices, to not agree with the unagreeable, but I know I need to be a listener. Because that is what feels right. There are miracles in listening. 

*This was a question asked by Ruby Sales in an interview she did with Krista Tippett on On Being a few months ago. I highly recommend listening to it, twice even, as she talks about non-violence, public theologies, finding true middle ground and really makes sense of the spiritual crises in white America (and why that white America would elect a man like Donald Trump).

God, Help Me Change The Things I Cannot Accept

I've had a couple of friends in my life recently that have wanted to talk to me about their drinking. I really like these coffee dates as it forces me to dig back, way back before this blog, before I met my beloved recovery community, before I ever Googled "Am I An Alcoholic?", before I'd ever uttered one word of the Serenity Prayer. It wasn't that long ago. It's a lifetime ago.

That morning in the summer of 2014, I woke up and knew it was finally time to change the things I could no longer accept. It was one moment in time, like the Sun breaking through a cloudy sky, and if I didn't raise my hands and my head upward, the next moment would be different, it would be dark again. 

I could no longer accept breaking promises to myself. I could no longer accept breaking promises to my family. I could no longer accept disappointing my son and hearing him say, No More, Mom. I could no longer accept my unpredictable behavior. I could no longer accept my lack of sleep, interrupted nightly with 2am full body sweats and shakes and the sensation that my heart was beating out of my body. I could no longer accept spending money I didn't have on booze, spending my kid's money on booze, selling family heirlooms for money to buy booze. I could no longer accept waking up and not knowing where I was or waking up and saying, "Thank you for getting me home safely" to a God that I only spoke to when I was up Shit Creek. I could no longer accept those tingling hands, the year-long eye twitch, the normal of feeling like curdled milk everyday. I could no longer accept not seeing one single dream of mine to fulfillment. Not one.

I didn't know what I was going to do or how I was going to do it, but I was going to do something. I took some of my power back that day. Now, every day I live sober is a celebration of this new life. There is not always a parade, but I am grateful every damn day. 

Gratitude is an action and making some art expresses that. So many friends I've made in the last two years, friends that I am so grateful for, are converging on Austin in November for a conference. I want to be armed with not just any old business cards but with my little cards of gratitude, and since this is right around the corner, I best get started!

I love LOVE collecting boxes of cool, vintage playing cards. And these little artist trading cards you can get at any art supply store and HOW CUTE ARE THEY?? Other supplies you'll need are pens, glue, easy peasy.

I like to wing things, so I'm going straight to pen but that also means that each one will be different and that is what I'm going for. After I've added a butterfly and sufficient info, glue. Done.

I'm in love with my cards almost as much as I'm in love with my life. This is not just a thing I'm doing. I'm not just trying to get through it. This is my life now. This is me.

What can you no longer accept?