Thursday, October 2, 2014

A fish, a bird, and a monkeybar.

Walking down the street I sensed that my life was about to change...drastically. To an onlooker, I was just a young woman who seemed to be having a bad day. Tears rolled down my cheeks and my pale face was pink from fighting back tears. 

Sobriety had been forced upon me about 4 months prior, and my problems still had yet to go away. I had had a choice, of course, an addict has to want to get sober - they cannot truly be forced into anything... I didn't want to quit drinking, but I was desperate. And when desperation meets alcoholism, willingness and recovery peek their bright little eyes around a corner and ask to join the conversation.

After a few months of stumbling around, going to rehab, attending self-help meetings, and seeing four different therapists - I still felt lost and confused. I was learning about alcoholism, but was no closer to figuring out how to solve my problems.

I need an explanation for ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. I need a plan, a roadmap, and specific instructions. In early recovery, I wanted to know how ALL my problems would end, when, and with what results. 

"Trust the Universe and it will work itself out," my new friends said.

...as if I was supposed to step forward into nothingness and believe that the road would magically appear under my feet! 

Yeah, right.

The reality was that my problems were a direct result of my drinking. They were conflicts that would take several people months to resolve. So even if I TRULY needed an answer, no one could give it to me. 

All I knew was that my life was going to change drastically, and it could happen at any moment. 

It wasn't until recently, when I stumbled across this quote from a Zen master that the advice from my new friends finally started to make sense. 

"A fish swims in the ocean, and no matter how far it swims, there is no end to the water. A bird flies in the sky, and no matter how far it flies, there is no end to the sky."

A fish never runs out of water. A bird never runs out of air. There is always somewhere for the fish or the bird to go.

Why would my life as a human be any different?

The fish doesn't need to cross the entire ocean to know that it can keep swimming. 
The bird doesn't need to see over the horizon to know there is more air. 
I don't need to see the ENTIRE road laid out before me.
I may have to change course or walk on unpaved ground, but even if I hit a pothole, I will always be able to continue moving forward. 

I don't have to know where I'm going because the destination doesn't matter.
I just have to move!  

Waiting for a specific explanation is like climbing onto the monkeybars but not moving a finger. You have to let go of one hand and reach for another rung. Fear of the unknown tells us, 
"Lack, trial, and suffering are inevitabilities of life. If you let go, you will fall, get hurt, and be unhappy. Don't let go."
NOT letting go of the rung is when your life is controlled by fear. 

Letting go is what happens when your life is inspired by hope. When you trust your own strength, you discover how far you can really go.