Many years ago I took up golf. Like the good alcoholic that I was, in my all-or-nothing mentality, I immersed myself in it. I watched the Golf Channel, I subscribed to one or two golf magazines, watched golf infomercials with a keen eye, picked up several beginner and advanced golf books, and listened to anyone and everyone on the course when they gave me pointers and hints (and boy did I need them). They even had slogans and sayings (AA wasn’t the first!) – “You don’t play golf to relax, you relax to play golf” and “Your worst day golfing is better than your best day at work” were common ones. So what became of something that was just a mere happenstance of swinging and ball chasing that I enjoyed now and then? I was enmeshed with an overload of information. I over-thought every swing, I made battle plans in my head before putting my shoes on, I was already resenting bunkers and hazards before teeing up. I was raging against the game that I used to really enjoy. In my zealous nature in trying to conquer the course and the game, I had found that I conquered myself before golf could. Self-doubt invaded me, uncertainty washed over me, and anger became another club in my bag. My mind tricked me out of the pleasure that once came from poking a ball around some lovely grass and trees.
The same sort of thing has been going on for me on my spiritual path. In my once again zealous all-or-nothing nature (I’m working on it too, I swear), I have collected countless books, have listened to countless spiritual gurus, have listened to podcasts, read blogs, watched DVD’s and am about <this> close to getting bumper stickers with funny, but poignant, zen-like expressions. Ok, maybe not the latter. But once again, I have soaked myself in a lake full of information that only serves to drive me from the very purpose of my journey – to find and be myself. Whatever that entails.
During my stellar drinking career of 25 years, there was the Paul who I thought I was – cool, laid back, selfless, loving, confident. And then there was the me that no one saw – fearful, resentful, timid, anxious, weak and did I mention fearful? There was no middle ground, so safe place, no sense of true identity. My conscious self and my ego were entwined, and my ego ran the show. Self-will ran riot, as the big book states. Selfishness and self-centeredness – that was the root of my problems…ALL my problems. And luckily, for me, God brought me to AA and AA brought me to God.
So since being recovered, I have struggled in finding my core, my true self, my place of being. I stumble over myself at times, wondering whenever I speak who is it that is speaking – Old Me or New Me? False Self or True Self? Ego or God’s Will? But the biggest question regarding this navel gazing is – why do I bother even to question this? Isn’t the act of being just that, being? Like my swings on the course, why do I find the need to out-think myself? With all the information at my disposal, why do I find it more and more difficult to have the simplest of relationships with myself?
That’s just part of the journey, simply stated. I spoke to my sponsor about this not too long ago. He seemed non-plussed by my metaphysical and spiritual driveling about this all. He just asked “How is your relationship with yourself?” and just left that hanging in the air, the way that sponsors are apt to do.
So I vow from this moment on to not judge my own thoughts, to not try and find the source of my “who-ness” and just be savage and ruthless to the over-riding thoughts that cloud each thought. I don’t seek outside what is internal. I don’t need to figure it all out – that’s what I tried to do when I was drinking. I just need to be here. Being. Being. Be.
How simple is that?