Before moving to China I enjoyed walks in the Southern California desert to see the wildflowers that grew in the spring. Since the topography of desert floor never changes much, I could walk for hours without feeling I was going anywhere. Only when I glanced backward did I see how far I had traveled. My recovery program is like that. Change happens so slowly, I only become aware of change if I look back to where I came from. It’s surprising to see how different my life is today.
Looking back I see that I struggled in all areas of life. I believed struggle was necessary. I watched my parents and everyone else struggle. Today I know that belief is a lie. I’m surprised at how easy my life is. The peaks and valleys have flattened out.
Somewhere along the way my competitive instinct fell away. I am no longer interested in “keeping up with the Joneses.” I don’t even enjoy competing on the golf course or a game of cards anymore. I don’t like to gamble like I used to. I’m beginning to see through the illusion of winners and losers.
I used to think that the person who dies with the most stuff wins the game of life. Today I know true comfort comes from having just enough. I read that a spiritual person is someone with two shirts who sells one for a dollar and uses the dollar to buy a flower. I aspire toward a life this simple.
I no longer need to figure everything out with my mind – to lay awake at night resenting, planning and scheming. Today I am more willing to accept life as it comes at me, not all the time, but much more often than even a few years ago. I sleep a lot better these days.
I seem to learning how to respond rather than react to life. I more often than not say and do the right things, even when my buttons are pushed. Sure, I still get angry. Stuffing it is not healthy. But I get over it quickly instead of chewing on it for days and weeks on end.
I’m certain that much of my mellowness comes because I’m getting older, but I’ve met enough old bitter people to know that it is more than just old age. The dynamic work of the steps created the space for my higher power to enter my life and change me at depth. My life today is simply a reflection of this “psychic change.”