Day 55: Ghosts and Crumbs

“The Journey. The Journey is what brings us happiness. Not the destination.” ~ Peaceful Warrior

Kahlil Gibran

When I hurt, I try to understand others’ pains and struggles.

I use my pain for humility.

I use the pain to knock me off my pedestal and out of the driver’s seat.

I use the pain for clearer vision and rebalancing—to question my bearings, my ego, my strength and determination.

I am so blessed, as hard as the journey is, to be able to empathize with a variant of types and degrees of pain.

To learn from pain.

To make pain my teacher.

To connect with other people through pain.

I know this. I understand this.

I accept more pain will come.

Pain is not my enemy.

No one and nothing is my enemy.

Every person has good inside of them, even if the good is masked or painted over in the cloakings of black.

I bring Pain into the light.

When Pain is no longer hidden in shame, buried, or ignored, Pain stands equal with Joy.

 

Prophet by Kahlil Gibran: On Joy and Sorrow

 

On Joy and Sorrow Kahlil Gibran

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater thar sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits, alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

 

 

In my years of living, I have seen the most pain and the most strength in the rooms of support groups.

This piece is dedicated to anyone who has ever frequented the basements and halls of recreation rooms and churches, in search of companionship, understanding, and support.

I have found that the most accepting, loving, and open-minded people understand pain.

This is a true and fictional story. The essence is truth, but the facts and details are not. Because of anonymity and out of respect to others, I would not attempt to write a prose of someone’s actual experience, except mine. The feelings are true. The pain is true.

Some people claim recovery is like an onion; in the way you peel one layer of experience and emotion away to find another.  To me, recovery was more liken to being trapped inside the core of the onion itself and trying to forge my way through so I could breathe.


Ghosts and Crumbs

Fifty-eight chairs, thirty-three occupied, thirteen bodies standing, one body entering; I added and subtracted the numbers.

My ears felt immersed in water:  echoed breathing.  Hot apple-cinnamon steam shot up from my Styrofoam cup.  A faceless man drifted by—dark beard, dark shades, pale blue-veined hands over his mouth.  I pressed my lips together.  Inside, I was a twisted rag, every last drop of courage wrung out of me, but I was here, wherever here was, my head filled with numbers and fear, mostly fear.

I was twenty-one about to graduate college.  I was twenty-one and messed up.  I had too much flight in me, not enough fight.  I wanted to throw up.

A man spoke with a heavy voice, with long, drawn out words.  He was welcoming me.  I didn’t have to pay a buck.

Newcomer: another title.

Newcomer to what?

Basket, pass the basket.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Rules—announcements—steps—steps to recovery.  What was I recovering from?  No alcohol, no drugs. I was so messed up I didn’t even have a substance.  Oh, yeah: Men.   My substance was Men.  Better lock the men all away, keep them out of sight.  Yeah, that’ll work.

The lady three seats over took a recovery chip, a blue glossy chip.  It reminded me of blueberry-scented markers. I missed my scented markers.  I missed the Bambi character Thumper.  What odd things I miss in loneliness.

The lady with the buttercup-hair and honey-colored skin spoke.

“In with the good, out with the bad,” I said to myself, breathing in the good and out the bad, fast, uneasy breaths.

At least there was God here, a church above the ceiling of the basement, above my head.  I could crawl under a pew. No one would find me.  Someone else spoke, another Adult-Child. What a perfect compact-label for what I’d matured into.

Twenty-two minutes passed.  There were one hundred and nine feet in the room, mostly tennis shoes and high heels. The guy with one leg, he wore a high black boot.  An Emily was talking.  My mind was focusing.  I could at least grasp a name, squeeze it into my jam-packed head and hold it.  The tears cascaded down her face.  Emily was window-washed clean and I could see inside her, all her pain, all her shame.

Something snapped.  A slinky uncoiled jabbing me inside.

Emily knew my story, not all of it, but some.  I picked up a crumb from my pants.  Gretel, I was Gretel in a forest searching for crumbs.  This Emily, she was a crumb.

An hour later and I had collected five crumbs.

A man in a plaid-tweed suit, penny-loafers (with pennies), and wire-rimmed spectacles raised his voice.  His tears didn’t come but they were there, held captive for his own survival. If they came now, he’d drown.  I kept expecting his voice to transform, for him to speak like Scottie on Star Trek. Maybe it was the plaid or the thick waves of frizzy, maple-colored hair.

“She’s dead,” he said.

Many eyes watered.

“I found her today,” he said, his words quaking.

Two men behind me whispered.  I guess it was important enough to break the no cross-talk rule.  “Did you know her,” one said.  “Yes,” the other replied.  “She just got her two-year chip.”

For a blink of a second every possible human noise in the room stopped.   The radiator croaked louder—a gigantic mutant toad crying for its mate.  Time didn’t exist.  I was frozen and then walloped.  I was in his head.  I know I was.

“Some of you knew Jen and I were together this last year.  And forgive me.  I’m having trouble forming my words.  This was our home meeting,” he said.

Nods everywhere, everywhere nods, my head alone stiff.  The sniffles were a reverse rainstorm, the wrong sound, a backwards sound, liquid being sucked up.  My own nose breathed in.  I was crying.  A dark hand gave me a tissue.  I smiled, felt the tears shimmering down my face—tiny ballerinas twirling down my flesh.  Naked.  I felt naked.

“There was a note.  She wrote me a damn note.  ‘I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry.  I love you.  I can’t take the pain.’”

“That was it.  That was all of her.  And there she was:  her body limp, her face blue, the rope around her neck.  Right in my kitchen—shit, why did she have to kill herself in my kitchen?”   His voice cracked on kill.

One woman left the room to sob.  I could hear her in the bathroom.  Only one wall separated one sad room from the other boxes of pain.  Someone had mentioned earlier this place was haunted, a weeping in the closet, apparition in the stairwell, chains clanging in the attic.  There was no doubt it was: each of us here carried a thousand ghosts.

A room-full of tears later, the meeting ended with a full circle of hands, an agreed upon prayer, a reminder to comeback.

I would.  I would return, if only to prove to myself I could. And to fill the emptiness inside, to dispel the ghosts and to find the crumbs—the crumbs that pointed the way home.

The Goodbye Girl

Laura Marling: Night After Night

You Light Up My Life

Below is a gift I received through the action of two kind souls.   

Soma  nominated me for the 1-in-100 Warrior Award, an award that originated from Miro’s Warrior Poet Wisdom Blog.  I admire and respect both Soma and Miro.

Soma is courageous, creative, supportive, uplifting, encouraging, and a joy to know. Her blog is a wonderland of beauty. I suggest that you pop over to say hello to her and visit her marvelous poetry and writings. She is one of the many bloggers I am blessed to have in my circle of support and friendship. Her blog also radiates with positive energy. Soma’s blog

Miro’s words for Soma are perfect: “Her writings always contains a blend of wisdom, strength and playfulness necessary to keep one’s wits about them in this often times unwise, weak and far too serious world. A beautiful heart and a warrior’s spirit, she’s 1-in-100 and we are lucky to have her.”

I have been awarded other awards, but have decided not to collect them or distribute them. I am happy for those that receive awards and I am thankful for those that send me the awards. The 1-in-100 award resonates with me. So you will see the symbol for this award on the right side panel of my blog.

Thank you Miro. Because of you, I was honored with this award at the exact moment when my soul needed the most nourishment. You have caused a beneficial rippling of love and kindness.  I feel no honor in accepting this award, only tears of gratitude, knowing all is happening in life as intended. Thank you for this.

Warrior Award Message:(The parts I highlighted especially resonated with me an my journey.)

 “Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.” ~Heraclitus

What exactly is a warrior? Someone who wears a suit of armor and swings a sword around? A participant in a war? Nothing more than a soldier?

If these are the thoughts that spring to mind, think deeper.

A warrior is more than weapons and armor. It is a way of life. It is the belief that the greatest purpose in life is service to others. It is grace amid frustration, peace amid turmoil, and strength amid weakness and misery. We most often use this word to describe the brave men and women who risk their lives in the military and law enforcement to ensure our freedom and safety, but warriors are actually all around us. They’re in factories. They’re in offices. They’re in schools. They’re in hospitals, both as doctors and nurses, and as patients.

Courage. Honesty. Fearlessness. Grace. Peace. Service to others. No complaints. Nothing thought of as a blessing or a curse; everything simply accepted as another challenge to be conquered.

They’re not perfect, and don’t try to be, because they know such aspirations are futile. But they do the absolute best they can with what they’ve been given. Warriors no longer have potential. They are potent! They understand that knowledge is knowing, but wisdom is doing. And they are a very rare breed: as Heraclitus once said, only one out of every one hundred is a true warrior. This award is named in honor of those words and that truth. The symbol of the sword is used to represent their courage and strength, and the symbol of the feather quill pen represents their grace, beauty and creativity.

Guidelines for the 1-in-100 Warrior Award: Warriors are not motivated by awards or fame. They see awards not as an opportunity for the ego to rejoice, but rather an opportunity to honor other warrior brothers and sisters. To acknowledge and honor the rarity of the warrior, it is recommended that the recipient passes this award on to only *one* other blogger that they feel goes above and beyond to serve and inspire others, and who maintains their grace and positivity even in the face of difficult challenges, such as health issues, tragedy, injustice or loss.

Once an author is given the award, they may continue nominating one new blog author once a week, month, year… or whatever seems appropriate. It’s like a knight’s ability to bestow knighthood onto another whenever they choose. But only one at a time. The patience of a warrior is required.

 

I am humbled by these beautiful words. Thank you.

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22 thoughts on “Day 55: Ghosts and Crumbs

  1. Hey Sam you are an inspiration and your blog is a place where i find the much required wit and humour to survive and rejuvinate..am blessed to have a friend like you
    hugs and love :)

  2. Hey Sam! How wonderful! What an apt award for you. Congatulations! :)

    • :) So you found the last part hidden beneath the post. Wasn’t sure if anyone would. :) Thank you. I’m excited about looking through your blog to find photos. How would you like me to give you credit. Link below, name below that has hidden link, etc. :)

  3. Hi Sam…thanks for sharing all your blogs…I am in awe of all your writings…you are a gifted writer–full of wit and humour, wisdom and compassion…I find comfort from reading your blogs :) Thanks for being a friend :)

  4. A Quiet Week says:

    Thank you for sharing your lovely story. Very touching. And congratulations on your award! You are very deserving!

  5. Cat Forsley says:

    GLAD TO HAVE FOUND YOU .
    BLESSINGS AND LOVE XO

  6. Congratulations! Your writings are deep and intriguing! I think you deserve this!

  7. onecoolgriff says:

    I am thrilled to follow your blog. My mom has a grand-boy with Aspergers (Kashess) and I love it when he visits. He likes to lay on the couch with me and snuggle for hours and hours. Mom keeps looking over my shoulder to see what you’ve written- so I guess you’re getting two followers for the price of one here- I hope that’s OK. Also thanks for the follow- I’m not a rock-star or anything, just a little dog making a big mark on his part of the world- which you are now part of. Welcome!!

    • It’s a pleasure to meet you, your dog, and your mom. Waving a big hello. I don’t tend to look for or follow rock-stars :) Much prefer little dogs. Thanks for letting me know a little about you and your family. Hugs ~ Sam :)

  8. Miro says:

    Beautiful, powerful and inspiring post. Thank you!
    Peace & grace,
    ~Miro

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