I want to start by saying two wrong things.
- I am weak, broken, and not to be relied on.
- I carry a message from God.
With this paradox, I offer myself
as an example of being human.
If I want you to take my message seriously, I need to be up front with you about my brokenness.
My friends we are in this together.
(Ok, the broken self)
I want no pretense in our conversation as we go forward. If I am failing, and I know it, I want you to know it.
This is not about me, this is about us,
a spiritual community, living and finding its way in the late stages of Industrial Civilization.
It does not matter if I fail. I will fail, that is, I will fall short of my aspirations. But even our failures can be valuable if we are paying attention.
And if we hold them in love.
I’m not saying what I’m doing is right for anyone but me. I am saying “this is really important stuff to talk about.”
All right, already! My confession:
(Ugh! Wouldn’t you know that after my success with the grand opening of this site, that I would be called upon to address my alcohol problem here!)
Let me say that, in the last year, my drinking has less of a problem than it used to be. Still, I need to be careful. And I need to further improve, not backslide.
For over a year I have been seriously watching my drinking, with some help from a program called “Moderation Management”(MM). On their website, if you click on *Abstar* Online Drink Counters & Support, under “Tools for Moderation,” you will find a list of us who are counting our drinks each day and recording them, right there on the internet. The page also allows us to share our goals for the days ahead, green for abstinence, blue for moderate consumption. MM advises us not to use our real names on this page. My name on this page is “Rosboler.” Since January a year ago I have been counting my daily drinks and recording them here. Recently, I’ve been following the MM program pretty well. I started 2007 with a “30-day dry,” which is a standard MM practice, and my goal after those 30 days was “drink no more than three nights a week, and have no more than three drinks in a night.” My deal with myself was that if I exceeded either of those limits, I would immediately begin another 30 day dry.
Well, last Saturday I drank for the fourth time in that week, so now I’m on the wagon.
I share this partly because I want to up the ante, knowing my friends might be following my progress on the MM page, but also because I believe, as a society, we desperately need new ways to talk about the issues I’m raising. We need to talk about how our addictive tendencies and behaviors may arise out of a failure to follow “our path,” denying the importance of the guidance we are being given. (I have come to believe this has happened to me, many times.)
I ashamed to say, after that slip on Saturday, although I didn’t drink on either Sunday or Monday, I did not immediately re-commit myself to another 30 day dry. Then last Monday night I had a dream. It was rather unpleasant, and as I lay there pondering what it meant, it came to me, “Richard, you are going to rot, like that thing in the dream, if you slip out of doing another 30-day dry!”
My friends, that dream helped! I’m now firmly set on a period of abstinence which goes through April 11.
The big news here, for me, is that I was able to feel the importance of the dream.
My friends, many of us regularly take our dreams seriously. And many of us, like me, are reluctant to do so. “Dreamer,” “dreamy” and “you’re dreaming!” are generally put-downs in our culture. I was raised to want it “hard and fast,” with “facts and figures.” And yet, if ever there was a place to look for messages, to look for guidance from the invisible fields, our dreams are a prime candidate.
I come with a message which transcends us, which can unite us!
I am stepping upon Lady Gaia’s stage.
She has bidden me perform.
She has prepared me.
I know I will not win first prize in the state tournament, but I need to show you what I have. I know that some of you have been touched by my efforts, because you have indicated so, in large and small ways, and this gives me courage to offer myself.
This is about us. I offer myself as an “entertainment*” so that we may come together and discover together a wonderful, holy, thing. I am not a leader in the sense that I can tell people what to do. I am a poet with a message from on high.
And it’s my message is that’s important, not me.
And my message is important only to the extent that it quickens meaning in your hearts.
I believe my message is about us, and is in us. I am confident some of what I am saying makes sense to some of you, that you know something similar to what I know.
And I call it forth from your hearts, as you are ready.
needs to be acknowledged and shared.
As a community forms around this understanding I believe we, as a society, can find the guidance to lead us out of the dire circumstances we are in.
But this will take
a willingness to endure the brokenness of ourselves and others.
As Quakers (and Christians? and children of Abraham?) we are called to do this. We have been practicing, and at times we do it pretty well.
In the name of Gaia, I re-call us to this effort.
And to those of you, my friends, for whom this makes little sense, I say, “that is fine too.” I invite you to this, my performance, trusting that if it seems silly to you, you will be kind. If my attempts at subversion seem dangerous to you, I beg you to entertain them in love, as I offer them, and I invite you to come to me or to my elders, with your concerns.
*”Entertainment” derives from Middle French, meaning to stand or hold between, as in the legal phrase, the court refused to “entertain” his plea. The act of being entertained calls for a temporary “holding between,” the suspension of laws, rules and judgment of and by all concerned. (source)