Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Tree of White Leaves

I haven't been good at praying lately. My friends in recovery tell me it's a must, that I should actually get down on my knees to do it, but getting down on my knees to pray to my creator has felt akin to getting down on my knees to pray to Hitler. Anyone would agree that it would be ridiculous to pray to a torturer, yet people pray to God all the time, particularly when life's torture is at its worst. Go figure.

But a curious turn of events actually had me on my knees last night, and here's what happened:

For reasons too long to go into here, the painkillers are back in my possession, and yesterday I took too many--big surprise. But it was really bad--the whole day. The facial and jaw pain was bad, and the addiction it set off was worse. There I was again on some kind of psycho auto-pilot, once again watching pills go down my throat as if it wasn't really me doing it.

I was so profoundly disturbed by this behavior (again) that this time it was almost a knee-jerk reaction to go to my bed and pray. I was feeling out of my mind and out of control, and when I kneeled down, instead of clasping hands in the typical prayer mode, I instead threw my head down on the mattress in the way a crying child throws her head down on her mother's lap when she's in crisis. I see my young nieces (ages one and three) do this all the time, and now I see it's actually a beautiful form of surrender, which is what I've been trying to do here all along.

When 3-year-old Catherine is at her wit's end, when absolutely everything is going wrong, the place of comfort is her head on her mom's lap where she literally throws her problems, trusting that the love and compassion she finds there will wash everything clean, and indeed it always does. Nothing earth-shattering happens, mind you; just kind, soothing words from her mom, a stroke of the hair, a soft and compassionate kiss on the head, and a warm smile. And with that, Catherine is always healed...always, and that's something like what my praying felt like last night.

I threw my head down in a fit of frustration and confusion, and something peaceful indeed came over me, so much so that I did it again this morning, much to my cat's confusion.

In my prayers I just said simple affirmations, but this morning in particular, I began to remember dreams I had last night, one of which was seeing beautiful autumn leaves in Philadelphia turning all kinds of reds, golds and purples. Perhaps most curious was a tree that had leaves of white, and I remember saying to the person standing with me, "How strange that they look so beautiful just before they die."

As I pondered this dream, head still on mattress, I couldn't make sense of it, nor of any of the dream's other aspects, but I was happy to have had such beautiful images go through my head in my sleep.

But then tonight, there it was again, the white tree, only this time I was awake. I was watching the end of "The Last Samurai" and just before the great warrior dies, he looks up and sees a tree with white leaves and says, "Perfect. They're all perfect."

I felt my aching jaw drop open in absolute astonishment, marvelling not so much at the meaning of this synchronious event, of which I haven't a clue, but at the synchonicity itself.

A tree of white leaves. Whatever can it mean? One thing's for certain: If I hadn't kneeled to pray, I never would have seen it.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Wearing Thin

In AA/NA, people are known to challenge one another, or more precisely, the newcomer. It's always done in a loving way, but this doesn't make it any less irritating, particularly when it's me that's being challenged about a flaw I'd rather not deal with.

For example, no matter where I go, I always seem to be late--not by much, mind you, maybe ten minutes, but nevertheless late. Habitually. AA/NA meetings are no exception, and my recurrent tardiness was recently pointed out to me by my new pal Troy, who I love, but who I'd like to smack at the moment for making me look at

If I were to stop and think about it, I suppose there are valid subconscious reasons for my stubborn refusal to be on time, but knowing those reasons wouldn't necessarily make me arrive any earlier. The fact is I just have to do it, and it's a habit I've been wanting to break for a long time (although I must admit, the thought of arriving on time for family functions makes me break out in a cold sweat).

I suppose addictions come in all forms, even if it's just habitual lateness, but as they say, nothing changes if nothing changes. I'm not sure what will change if I start arriving on time for things other than I'll just be at places 10 minutes earlier.

But hey--my pain is just miserable I'm willing to take direction on just about anything.

I know one thing; when the pain is bad, I get mighty angry, which I used to mollify with a fistful of pills. Now instead I'm told to attend meetings, like that's gonna do anything (for the pain, I mean). I know it's the right thing to do, but I'm pissed and feel like a brat...a LATE brat at that.

Still, I'm beginning to annoy myself with this behavior. It's wearing thin.