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no money on my mind


“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separate from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affectation for a few people near us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”


i have had quite the week. it seems that the sludge that overran the rivers of virginia may have made its way into the culture in which my days are spent. i have conferred with far too many individuals who have lost their jobs or lost their housing within the last week or so.  it has been a little daunting and a little bit more heart wrenching witnessing others’ emotional self-sabotage patterns trample through their lives like an ever-ready bunny. it’s very much like the 1st half hour of “war of the worlds” or “independence day”- destruction and chaos is rampant. so crazy it seems beyond belief.

there are no easy fixes here. and although i want to feel helpless, it just isn’t so. being present is often the best gift i can offer. and serving up hope is my chopping wood and carrying water at my workplace.  i continue to try to spread it around and hope that it will be of use. then i have to let go of my expectations around that. in 12 step circles this is what may be called a “gold problem” – hard to deal with, but hardly a risk to life and limb.

i got a call from someone who was having difficulty breathing and in distress reporting a 10 day drinking binge. when asked how i could help, i was asked to listen which i tried to do. i did listen for a few minutes and then i brought up detox which was rebuffed as definitely not an option. the hospital came up next and i encouraged a 911 call. there was another couple of minutes of resistance, followed by some desperate sounding moans around statements like “i’m so scared” and “i don’t wanna die like this”. i revisited the 911 call which was received with more embrace. i agreed to remain where i was while the emergency help call was made bargaining for a return call after 911. i got the return call and waited until the paramedics arrived. the breathing pattern was frightening as was the self-judgement on the other end of the line.  it felt like a bracing arctic wind.

i also stood today in a pool of icy disbelief as i discussed a situation with another while they fabricated tales, lied, projected, redirected, and lied again to avoid personal responsibility. the sheer audacity caught me off guard. that and the complete science fiction quality of it all.  i was lied to- blatantly and without regret or concern- lied to (he fretted indignantly).  how very dare you….

of course that was a feeling and a thought that has not been allowed to linger. it does no good whatsoever to talk the talk about breathing in compassion for myself and breathing out compassion for others if i am unable to muster it when a small situation arises.  luckily, muster i have done.

truth be told- i am no different from the suffering and somewhat sedated individuals before me. i have been in those shoes. under the influence of substances and my own shame- enough to the point that untruthing was commonplace and done without care.

i am those suffering souls i see and hear. i experience myself. this angers me at first. but i hope i am drifting to compassion. and then hopefully love.

When the sun will set Don’t you fret No I have no money on my mind No money on my mind No money on my mind No I have no money on my mind No I have no money on my mind Just love…… Sam Smith “Money on My Mind”

#chopwoodcarrywater #compassion #samsmith #tonglen

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