Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Inner Weather

Around here in June, they say if you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes. I thought about that today, not because of the outdoor weather, although it’s been reliably irregular, but because of what it’s like to be a human being.

My inner weather is whimsical, affected by the least little breeze stirred up by outside circumstances. One of the things that attracts me about Alcoholics Anonymous is its promise that I can lead a life of serenity in spite of what happens around me and to me, if I stay focused on gratitude and helping others.

Live in an attitude of gratitude, they told me as a newcomer. You don’t just have a drinking problem; you have a THINKING problem. Your head is not your friend even though it’s attached to your neck. Address the problem of the mind, and you’ll straighten out, physically and mentally.

All of that, I’ve found in my experience to be true. But it does take work. Ten minutes after an uplifting AA meeting, I can be a sad sack all over again because a foul breeze blew in from outside. Someone looks at me wrong, my shoelace breaks, I have to do something that I don’t enjoy.
This week a woman said she fell into a bad place in her head and it made her start isolating at home, where nothing got any better, surprise, surprise. A man said he got a bill that was higher than he expected, and he was bummed out about it big time.

It takes so little to make our emotional weather go south on us. I have a lot of aches and pains this week, I’m fatigued by a new medication, gosh, life is hard. Next thing I know, I’m oblivious to all the grace in my life.

I’m working with a new sponsor, who has assigned me the task of maintaining a written gratitude list that I add to daily. I’m not batting 1000 in that area. But it has made me conscious of my inner weather. Today, I’m grateful for food in my refrigerator, for the way cats’ eyes change in the light, for living in a home that has flowers blooming in the yard. A foul breeze may in the next instant blow that gratitude all to hell, but hey, I can start all over again!

Each day brings its own bucket of challenges. I’m grateful for the 12-Step program tools that keep us going when life happens. I couldn’t do life alone. Without my AA fellowship, I’d be stuck in my head like a shoe in a dryer. I haven’t had a shoe in the dryer in a long time. Thanks, God.

The photos in this post are snapshots of northern California taken on my trip to visit my niece. Thank you, God, for landscapes.


Brian Miller said...

as with most things of worth it does take work...and yes it takes little to erode our emotional foundation but often much more to rebuild it when we let it get in disrepair...

Steve E said...

Me LOVES landscapes--the vast paintings of a Creator, the first Painter/artist. (And ESPECIALLY your header, lady!!!)

As immense I see it, also as miniscule it is, in the sand, earth rock, and grasses/legumes which form the majestic magic.

Only thing I like better here is your weather analogy, outside--INSIDE, and the changes wrought by our own mentalities


Bagman and Butler said...

Argh! Gratitude lists! Whenever gratitude is brought up at a meeting everyone groans. But we end up feeling better afterwards.

Andrew said...

I had a sense of Deja Vu when I started reading this.

Thank you for expanding. This has been my experience of late as well. I snapped out of it yesterday and now I can't sleep as I turn the corner to mania.

It'll pass, it always has. Such a trip this life in a body is!

The Bug said...

When I'm having a pity party I HATE to think about gratitude - it just pours sunshine on my rainy day & ruins it for me. I'm kind of grumpy about that. But it really does work, of course, if you can just think of that first blessing. One of mine is you!

TechnoBabe said...

This is a nice post. It doesn't take much to bring us down but remembering to be grateful for what we do have going for us helps keep us in a healthy place.

Rachel Fox said...

The ups and downs, the ups and downs... they can hurt!

Magpie said...

The thing about weather whether internal or external...
flowers and rainbows follow showers.

Scott said...

Chris, you sound well and you sound like you're keeping it real. Good for you! AA is some kind of miracle, yea?

Syd said...

The weather can be extreme at times. I can go from sunny to overcast, although I can feel the barometer change.

Albert Einstein Quotes