Life Anonymous: 12 Steps from Starving Hungry to Beyond Full

Starving Hungry. I heard that crazy term while working at the post office. That is some serious emptiness I thought and something I would never want to experience. Just what level of hunger is required for one to be both starving and hungry, if that is even possible? Well, today I was Starving Hungry and became quite full, all without having ever put a single morsel of food in my mouth. By now you all should know my stance on judgment; I don’t have any because I won’t have to answer for your actions. But I learned today that if one isn’t careful, judgment can creep in by way of some everyday, superficial un-Godly attitudes and behaviors.

Beyond Full. Today is my grandmother’s birthday and I am full from all the humble pie she and God served up to me today, candle in it and all. I am humble. When it comes to my work, my creativity, things I have, things I’ve done, etc., I don’t brag. I share, sometimes, and often I’m reluctant to do that and when I do it’s only with a select few. I’m private, a born and raised Singleton where sharing was a foreign as well, foreign. I am Wilbur, hear me oink! This is who I am, or who I thought I was until it was revealed to me that being a perfectionist, resistant and impatient (just to name a few) are just as bad if not worse than being judgmental and they are most certainly not of a humble nature. I admit when I’m wrong (humble) but just leave it at that, no need for you to say or add anything to it (not humble). Time was given to me today to examine my body language, voice tone, responses, you name it and let me tell you, on more than one occasion was humble booted out by perfection, resistance and impatience, and I wasn’t even aware of it. Apologize, yeah, I do. When I feel I’m wrong. Sometimes. Apologize if I feel I’m right? Ummmm, no? Nope.

Have you ever read and contemplated the 12 Steps? You know, the 12 Steps associated with AA. I’m no alcoholic but being resistant, impatient and a perfectionist are some pretty addictive behaviors. I always knew those things about myself and thought I worked hard at removing them. Turns out, I wasn’t working as hard as I thought I was. I’m lazy. I’m human. I’m a lazy human because life and everything in it takes work and I don’t feel like working ALL the time. It takes a lot of effort to live let alone live a decent life and not decent by monetary standards either. Oh don’t get me wrong, I work and don’t mind putting forth effort but its human nature for me to want to do it when I want to do it or better yet, have someone else do it for me (can you say Brrrraaaattt!)

Martin Luther King said “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
Step 4 is Moral Inventory. The constant attitude of taking stock of all traits, good and bad and if and how they have transgressed us. Traits of dysfunction that served us well in childhood that cripple us in adulthood. Traits that need to updated, outsourced, reconfigured or just altogether scrapped and new ones shipped in. Businesses take inventory all the time, if they don’t it is unlikely they will be very successful for very long. We humans, rarely, if ever take inventory because it is too much work. To search through the confusion, contradictions and convictions – that have been fed to us from breast and bottle (milk or otherwise), served up on religious cones and community plates – to find that which is truly decent, AND to do it on a regular basis, takes a great deal of work. Some of us are less lazy than other but lazy is lazy. I guess that is why in AA you have a sponsor. Someone who has been where you’ve been and experienced what you’ve experienced. Someone who put in the work, took inventory and is in recovery. Someone who, by all accounts, has been Mended.

I have a sponsor. I have several actually but my main sponsor had every reason to be a perfectionist, to show resistance and impatience and yet he was and is the definition of humility. In AA they have The Big Book. It serves as a guide during your recovery. In life we have a big book. It is difficult to read, often misinterpreted and frequently misused and it serves as THE guide during our recovery. Everyone, regardless how small it is, everyone is recovering from something. Everyone needs to Get Mended.

Life and living take work. Continuous, effortful and courageous work. Working makes you hungry and Humble pie is quite filling. It is dry, without taste or of the worst taste imaginable depending on who’s serving it up and you definitely do not want seconds. Even now, I must fight the urge to scrutinize each line and word, sentence structure and spacing until it is perfect.

AA is about recovery. Life is about recovery from all that is thrown at us each day. I wonder…If I went to a meeting, stood up and said, “Hello, my name is EJ and I’m a lazy human” would they look at me like in disbelief? Would they be angry, thinking I was making a mockery of their program? Or would they simply say “Hi EJ”. If they’ve completed Step 4, I’d bank on the latter.

Step 9 is Making Amends. I made some amends today. Some may be accepted, some may not, but acceptance is not, cannot and should not be the goal. The goal was, is and should always be to put in the work – continuous, effortful, courageous work.

I’m full. Pie anyone?

Post no Placards

My absence, like my living, has not and is not in vain. I am on a spiritual journey and like all journeys, I have been asking the every annoying yet simplistically valid “Are we there yet?”. For the last few months and even as of this moment, the answer has been a sweet but resounding NO. See, I’ve been trying to establish a relationship with God, I mean my own relationship. I grew up in a home that had so much faith it was akin to living in the Dugger’s household — everything is handed down. My faith and subsequent relationship with God in my very younger days was quite parasitic. I grew up with Jesus and Allah breaking bread and watching Jeopardy all at the same dinner table, so regardless where I went, I knew I was covered by grace and didn’t matter who was providing it because that was irrelevant to me. My grandparents and my dad were THE BEST hosts a parasite could wish for because they were full of faith, hope, charity, love, and all those things every religious book tells followers they need to have. I had so much of those things I would have been considered a hoarder by today’s standards, but life, as good as it was and can be, can turn on you. My loans got called in and like any debtor, I was not in a position to pay and most certainly was not ready for the margin call. Life is the best and worst temp agency around and death is the boss from hell. There I was, a lowly parasite with no host, they were gone. Dead and gone and along with them went my supply of faith, grace and all my other WW2 rations. Oh, I still believed but the dynamic had changed. I went from the cornucopia of faith, love, hope and charity, etc. to passive belief. My relationship with God had been reduced to that of feminine products — only think about it when you need them. Sad. This went on for a while until I had to admit that I’d pretty much been a moocher for a great part of my life. Yeah, yeah, kids are supposed to be moochers, users, but there comes a point in time when you gotta do for yourself and THAT is what I had no clue how to do. So, like Snoopy, I ran away from home (not really, running away is so overrated!) to start my journey.

We humans love our labels. Democrat, Republican, Rich, Poor, Catholic, Atheist, etc., and during my journey I was trying to discern what label I was meant to live under. Ever notice how every, or almost every form where you have to declare race, a qualifier exists for most races except White. “African” American, “Asian” American, “Latin/Hispanic” American and the worst oxymoron ever written, “Native” American. IJS. Same thing with religion – Baptist, Catholic, Muslim, Jew, Protestant, etc., and this led me to ask… If one professes belief in a higher being (God, Allah, Jehovah, etc.) then would that not make them a believer? And if they count themselves as a believer, is that label enough? My dad is so wise. He told me that our relationship with God is just that, ours and like all relationships everyone wants to dictate the rules of that relationship. But the key to a any good ship is to do what is best for you and your mate. So God and I sat down and I told him what was on my mind. He did not judge or question, he simply said, Whosoever will, let him come. I was so relieved. Why does it matter so much whether I’m praying in a burka, blahniks or burkenstocks? Not like I get retail and service discounts for being a Catholic, Baptist, Jew, Muslim, etc., so why is it a must that I wear yet another label? Yeah yeah, there are rules and stuff but when I took off my adult glasses and put on my kid glasses, religion isn’t all that complicated. To each his own, live and let live for your opinions of another have nothing to do with them and everything to do with you. As I understand it, all I’m supposed to do is love you. Didn’t say anything about liking you but love you as I love myself. We humans make it so hard for people to speak to us, helps us, and live with us, more less love us. There is a saying that you should never talk about money, politics and religion. This is said because it tends to bring out the worse in people but I say talk about all those things and more and when doing so, remind ourselves that our opinions belong to us and represent our truth. Your truth may look different from mine and that doesn’t mean that you are wrong and neither am I (actually it does mean that you’re wrong but let’s not quabble over small stuff 🙂 haaaa) and differences of opinion most certainly aren’t worth dying over, are they? You may catch me praying to the East, counting beads on a Rosary, rushing off to market before sundown Friday or shouting THANK YOU JESUS in the aisle at Whole Foods because my items at 25% off and you may have an opinion and you may not, but if you should, ask yourself this… why and more importantly how does the appearance of my opinion (truth) affect your opinion (truth) to the point that it would cause you to question if my opinion (truth) is right or wrong? All that’s required of you is to love me. If you can’t do that, then just leave me alone.

Assalamu alaikum
Shalom aleichem
(see, we all speaking the same language) PEACE!!!!