The Ruthless and Savage Act of Being

sorry being myself

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?

12 Comments Add yours

  1. sherryd32148 says:

    During this last year I have struggled with this very thing. “Just Being” seems to be the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do. I bought books. Sought counsel. Viewed DVD’s. Listened to Podcasts.

    And what did I get? Confused.

    So one day while I was praying I heard God whisper in my ear…”Shhhh”.

    And that’s become my new go to word. When my brain gets all kinds of crazy because I’m over analyzing the hell out of something (anything…everything), I stop, breathe and think, “Shhhhh…”

    Good luck on your journey to you.


    1. Wow Sherry – I got goosebumps with the “Shhh…” thing. I have heard some things during meditation that has steered me into this arena of my recovery. I am so glad to hear that I am not alone in this – to hear it from someone else too. Isn’t that the beauty of what we do – share and help heal and support one another?

      Thank you so much for your note – it really helped me today. 🙂

  2. Amy says:

    I get so worried sometimes about whether I’m doing it “right” or if someone thinks I look stupid that I forget to do it my way.

    Shhhhhhhh. Perfect. 🙂

    1. I think the idea of doing it “right” is what used to bother me so much. I asked myself if everyone else on the street is asking themselves the same question.


  3. Oh man, do you have my number. Some days I obsess over every thought… was that a sign from God? Was that part of my old way of thinking, or is it my new way of thinking? Wait, what about my questioning myself, does that mean God wants me to focus on this particular train of thought, or am I just reverting to type? The way Amy (above) says Shhh…, I am a little more abrupt with myself. I say “Stop!” and picture a stop sign. Thanks, as always, for your inspiration!

    1. Stop is another good one! I sometimes I do have to say that…I will catch myself getting wrapped up in something that is pointless and causing me to get all worked up and then I shake my head and say “ok, that’s enough!” I have to stop myself from going on, or else I work myself up into a frothy lather. Sigh. Part of the change we are going through. 🙂

  4. Dude, this is really good stuff. Fine bit of writing, indeed, you old duffer, you.
    Why is it that the hardest thing to do is be? I mean, aren’t I already being? Maybe that’s why I can’t “do” it. Ah there we go again, back to surrender.
    I need to stop trying to tilt the pinball machine and just let the ball roll between the paddles. Whenever I do, I realize Game Over is actually a good thing.
    But It’s so difficult, this cessation of effort.
    Thanks for writing, Paul.

    1. Old duffer…made me laugh. I really like what you said about the pinball machine…game over indeed. It does seem to come down to surrender more and more, doesn’t it? It seems that I am in a repeated state of surrender, cease the fight, go with the stream. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  5. I, too, find it difficult to have a relationship with myself. That has become painfully obvious the last few weeks. I have been running from myself and… well… it was a race I wasn’t winning. I’m grateful for a new sponsor who tells me to slow down and write about it.

    1. Hi Dorothy – I’ve read about your new sponsor and I think like my own sponsor, she seems to really be in touch with herself and makes it a point to make sure you do the same. That is the one thing I really have walked away with from my sponsor (other than working the steps, of course) – is the staying and feeling what is going on inside me. It’s amazing the inner dialogue we have going on if we only stop to acknowledge it. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  6. Love & Agree with your conclusion. I often get so caught up in how to just ‘be’ I forget how simple and effortless it can and should be.

    1. Thanks, Natasha. I think you are right at how we get so caught up in how to just be. And sometimes it isn’t so simple and effortless! That’s the work for me, I suppose. Thank you for your comments 🙂

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