I always want to “top” my last essay, which can’t always happen, it’s not natural. Life is a wave; incoming, pause, outgoing, not a straight left-to-right line as my thinking often is. Nature is cyclical; time to contract before another expansion. Life ebbs and flows, it waxes and wanes. As a leading American Buddhist said, “…but it’s still the moon”
I understand my impulse as a mixture of things; a need to grow/shine/stretch; a need to communicate what’s inside of me outside of me, also some component of the disease of addiction (or my ego) that always wants “more” all the way to some kind of impulse to heal my (mostly gone) family. The longing for family that still lives inside of me. Life’s been coming at me fast with plenty of travel around the state and out-of-state including an invite from my brother to hang with him as he musically directed the 18th Annual Mark Twain Awards in Washington DC.
A comedy award that went to Eddie Murphy this year and was broadcast on PBS this past Nov. 23rd (and will be re-run). It was great to see my brother and instructive to see some of the best comedic minds alive including Dave Chappelle & Chris Rock at work and up close. I did not get any selfies just a shot of me speaking to Dick Gregory, with Chappelle behind me. Dick is a hero of mine, a comedian from way back, late 50’s -60’s, successful, very funny and he, like Richard Pryor, had an epiphany in his life and he actually left show biz and turned to political commentary, action and advocacy.
Anyway, I’m looking for a thread throughout all this coming at me and I’m at a loss.
My life feels a bit like the slow-motion scene of a film due to the death of my 93-year-old Father, Geno. His wife, Maryanne took such good care of him right up to the end. Due to her efforts he was blessed to die at home. My father was a classic Italian-American immigrant tale; dirt-poor childhood, fought for the US in WW2 then came back and assimilated, losing his thick Italian accent and climbing the ladder of the American dream. He was a sweet heart, a wonderful Italian chef-the best spaghetti you ever had-a good provider, a successful white-collar executive (who longed to have his own restaurant and did) and a man who kept his feelings bottled-up. At some point I realized that the poverty of childhood and his war experience were crushingly horrible and that led to what we call PTSD and bottling his emotions was a coping mechanism that was quite effective for him. I am grateful that he got to experience me in recovery, which I think for him mostly meant I was not hitting him up for money anymore. He smoked cigarettes until the end, toughest guy I ever knew. I love him and miss him terribly.
As Richard Rohr reminds us, Teilhard de Chardin, wrote of the sacredness of life and that there was an evolutionary plan in every living organism. He believed that the ego and body are one and that the act of surrender to all of our feelings will ultimately lead us home, allowing the embodiment of spirit. He saw love as the most powerful force in the universe. We are love. Our purpose is to love and my character defenses are essentially blocks to loving.
The truth of my life and recovery have shown me the importance of grieving, healing layers of abandonment issues, and the blessing of life events triggering grief past and present. So despite feeling a bit lost I’m grateful for it all. I will continue to do my footwork as more will be revealed.
Happy New Year to all.