About Me

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I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Attending AA Meetings in Second Life

Second life is a virtual world and here is their website.

Here is a pic of the 12 Step Recovery Meeting Hall. Inset is the interior and the sunset pic is an example of a more ! attractive environment one could create as a meeting venue. Meaning the range of options is !!! limitless and this recovery hall looks a little ! Spartan. The meeting could be held in space, in a jungle, anywhere ! really. Gawd knows. Perhaps a more 'plain' one is better.. ? No idea.
To set up a 12 step meeting.
Figure out a weekly time that suits you.
Then IM Spike Willard to request a schedule weekly meeting.
That's it. Job done.

Or else just show up at the same time after you tell your mates in SL.
Or set up your own meeting hall. Even better!

I had a look at second life and immediately saw !!! Loads of stuff that hadn't been added yet and immediately wanted to create about a !! dozen environments.
Anyway. This is only the online version of 'cleaning under the cooker' when a more !!! onerous task presents itself. Of which right now I have MANY :)
A pointless distraction basically.

But yeah. Its interesting, but I imagine it's use will reflect the web trend of being led primarily by po*n and sexual activity. But hey, just like the web has done, beter things will piggy back on that online trend and eventually environments will emerge that appeal to our vastly superior (Yeah right!) Tastes!! :)

So yeah. Go waste even MORE time than you already do on the net by sorting yourself out some Avatar and waste MASSES of time being a tourist in virtual environments. Hehe
There is a bog standard naff looking avatar you can get upon registration, but it should do. First name is the interesting. Second name is predesignated. Ie so a bit naff. But first name is whatever you like to call oneself.

So there you go. Just thought I would share that with you :)

Like any new medium I advise being a tourist and hanging around before you commit to anything. But that's just me. I always prefer to err on the side of caution.

But seriously there is a TON of stuff I would love to set up but my free time is a bit too thin on the ground right now so I figured I would put the idea out there for all you guys to jump on in your inimitably enthusiastic ! alcoholic fashion. ...If you ? fancy it anyway. Or just to mull over.
I don't use online meetings as typing takes far too long and I don't feel the urge to take part. SL meetings offer you the option to talk as well as type. So the time wasting part of typing can be avoided. Whatever. Other people could eavesdrop though unless you restrict access to the meeting space. Also there may be audio controls you can implement which will restrict who can overhear spoken conversations. I'm sure it's all doable though, if you can be ! bothered figuring it all out. So yeah privacy issues may be relevant. Anonymity as well. Obviously. So yeah there is stuff to figure out. But im sure you tech heads will figure it out in a heartbeat. :)
There are tools online (including the HStick - Proximity Scanner) that allow you to detect the presence of other visitors to your site
Hehe Go shopping crazy in onrez.com and go buy yourself a castle as a venue :)
If you LOVE shopping you may find Second Life very !! addictive Im afraid!

So there you go.
Right I'm off!
Too much stuff to do! Oh well
Doesn't help that I'm sat here instead of getting on with it!
Have a gorgeous Tuesday! :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy Joyous and Free: Inspirational Speech by Dr. Randy Pausch

This is great if you haven't already seen it. There are many entries on you tube and the full length final speech is also on there.
I really like his approach.
No victim mentality.
Fun. Enthusiasm. "We insist upon enjoying life" What that means...being "Happy joyous and Free"
The love inherent in constructive criticism.
Loads !! really. Its a great lecture. This is the short 10min version he did on Oprah. Hope you like :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Andrew at The 4th Avenue Blues is precisely ONE YEAR sober today

Andrew at The 4th Avenue Blues is precisely ONE YEAR sober today.
I have been watching him deal with all manner of difficult circumstances and am terribly !!! happy to see that he has accomplished one years recovery a day at a time. I find him particularly generous hearted and totally without arrogance or unkindness, except unconsciously toward himself in the form of self doubt and deprecation.
What a lovely guy! He has come an ! astonishingly long way in the last 365 days and is an example to all of us, that presuppose our life circumstances mean we cannot get well using the programme of recovery.
His recovery inspires me and I am profoundly happy to see how differently he relates to his family and the world since he realized drinking was no longer working for him. His steady improvement is wildly impressive.

His kindness and generosity literally shine out of what he writes, but I know he cannot see these things anything like as clearly as others are able to see them in him. I look forward to the day when he is better able to see what a worthwhile, inspirational, kind and compassionate human being he truly is.
Ah bless. So go wish him happy aa anniversary if you feel so inclined. :)

Well !! done !! Andrew. Happy AA Anniversary!!!!!
There are PLENTY more of those anniversaries available to you, a day at a time. Virtual cake and streamers your way!
Keep coming back Friend. It gets better.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

'Unlocated': Distresses and exasperates the thinking mind.

That's my favorite word of the day. Something that defies ? Location. Cannot specify its boundaries. Does not have a 'postcode'. Like no beginning and no end. Doesn't start 'here' and end 'there'.
Cant be grasped by the mind. Cannot be held. Cannot be possessed. Defies being 'pinned down' to a specific meaning or place in the world.
Feels slippery in the mind. And makes the mind flail around getting more and more upset as its limited range of function cannot 'get' it. Very upsetting for the mind. Very frustrating.
Cannot be encapsulated by a neat mental code or description. Just when you think you've got it you haven't. Like trying to capture a butterfly in your hand. The moment you exert yourself to contain it, the moment vanishes and the butterfly is squashed by the act of grasping.
Its like walking a rope but forcing yourself not to look down. You deprive yourself of the opportunity to get a 'fix' on your location. And you STAY that way. Free floating unlocated undefined experience. Scary!

I think the first time AA's get this type of experience is when they try to define a higher power. ..Well once they have settled into AA and start trying to think about what an HP actually is.
When people are new they tend to be very !!! confident about whatever their belief happens to be. That there IS a god, or there is NO god, or that they are an ATHEIST. Basically its all very neat and tidy. All sorted. Even if they are undecided they are very confident about the fact that they are undecided. Full of confidence in their beliefs basically.

The 'HP' defies definition. And so the act of mentally trying to define it will exasperate the mind, and always have an unfinished quality. Something lacking. Something not yet located.
This is what Amaro calls unlocated, and he often refers to this term when he talks about things.
I have the same experience when I (!) try to understand monastics or the like. I get the same slippery exasperating, unfinished quality of mind in their presence.

The pathetic hankering of the mind to satisfy it's need to DEFINE everything and create boundaries for every experience makes me laugh. Its pathetic really. Such an inadequate attempt to nail down some thing that cannot be nailed down. Reminds me of a cat pathetically pawing at the door trying to get in. kind of feeble. Gets the mind nowhere. Just an instinctive ITCH (what Amaro would call the grasping mind) to get an answer. To define and categorize everything.

Being around unlocated people is weird too. I get that feeling around monks and nuns and the like. They are neither one thing nor the other. They are neither here nor there. You cannot nail em down. They !!!!! confuse the brain. Thankfully they also create something whilst in their presence that reassures sufficiently so as to not create a sense of !! total flailing. There is a parallel experience of 'all is well' in addition to the unlocated presence they emanate.

Every now and again I (stupidly) think I can second guess these kinds of people. I try really hard to guess what they will reply to questions and answers sessions for instance. What I LOVE about them, is that they never say what I anticipate. Which is great.

An example of just how valuable this quality is, is to examine its polar opposite. (This is just an idea and may be worthless BTW). But we all have got to know a troll who posts abusive hate speech about AA in defiance of the regulations Blogger and google imposes upon such acts.
But that's beside the point. What's very interesting is how 'located' his thought forms are. There is nothing inherent in his statements that renders uncertainty in any form. All is certain. All is 'placed'. All is nailed down.
Well I don't think you can nail the universe down. Or any of its constituent elements. There are many clues in his speech which point to greed hatred and delusion, so I'm not claiming to have stumbled upon anything particularly clever here. I'm just saying that the 'fixed position' is the opposite of 'unlocated'.
And that I do not trust any kind of fixed position. I see the exception to the rule, splintering the validity of the 'rule'.
But there you go. Open minded versus fixed closed positions on the world. Nothing new there. But yeah I am in love with the word 'unlocated' at the moment. It is helping me see where I would like my mind to be, and to teach me to learn how to endure the distress in the mind when all attempts to categories and name 'it', fail.
But there you go.

Hehe. Anyway. That's today's pointless meanderings. Like I always say. Amaro say it much, much better than I ever could, and manages mot to sound like a pompous fool when he says them. So if any of this piques your curiosity, then listen to how he explains it in his mp3's. He's very, very good. Well I think so..

And I hope you americans manage to do the 'next right thing' when you vote today. Which I hope you will. I am sure I need not remind you of the voting conditions that led to the last US president being voted in. Basically ALL the votes would appear to count after all, if the last election is anything to go by.
My favorite old timer used to say "Ask yourself.. Which is the most COMPASSIONATE person/party? ..when deciding who to vote for" which I found useful.
We may not have an ideal person or party to vote for, but the least we can do is vote for the lousy best out there and see what happens. If we wait for ideal conditions, we will be waiting a Loooonnng!!!! time! So please follow your conscience and express your right to choose the lousy best out there. It may help or it may not, but you just never !!!!! know. No harm in trying.
So yes, good luck to all you ! anxious americans out there. Hope your nerves are not too shattered. :) Good luck!
Anyway. I'm off. I have essays to write :) as usual! Have yourselves a grand old Tuesday.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Life is a lot more like Vanilla Sky than you would think

Vanilla sky is about a man who is experiencing a nightmare which he believes is his real life until he is FORCED to examine his experience more carefully because of 'pain and unremitting suffering'.
Admittedly. His experience is a bit trippy at times. One person changes into another for instance. So we won't experience it in quite this (!) dramatic way. But yeah. He is dreaming. But he doesn't know it.
The nightmare gets his attention, and he struggles with familiar unconscious parts of himself (the therapist and old friend) in his attempt to make sense of the predicament he finds himself in.

More importantly the film VERY ACCURATELY shows how the TINIEST act can literally pull the whole thing apart.
Not just a mediocre of average thing.
But a SERIOUSLY GREAT, seemingly bullet proof thing.
Yes. I'm afraid that's a reality we are ALL capable of experiencing. At one year sober or 50 years sober. Our flaws and lack of judgment, or innocent oversight can pull everything down around our ears. Everything.

Basically its a lesson in cause and effect, impermanence, (that everything can disappear in a moment) and the maxim, 'you snooze you lose'. Very painfully illustrated by the devastating effect of Toms momentary decision to take a short car ride with Cameron.
Yeah I know its a very theatrical scene in the sense that Cameron acts like a !! total loon in the car, but even if we do not meet total loonys, we can STILL fall foul of poor choices that REALLY land us in it. They can be VERY SMALL and SEEMINGLY INSIGNIFICANT choices. And in their isolated sense, they probably are.
But in regard to the knock on effect down the line. They are NOT.
And that is how the world IS im afraid.
You would become TOTALLY paranoid about the smallest acts if you knew how tragic events trail back to insignificant sources. So its just as well we cannot see the causal links so clearly.
Anyway. I digress. As usual.

But yeah. Life is like vanilla sky. It really is. More so than you realize.
Its a great undiscovered film. Nobody realizes what a great metaphor it is.
Very accurate in a lot of ways.

For those of you that routinely experience the metal tape loop of

"when anyone said they liked me I used to think one of two things.
They were either LYING
Or they were STUPID"

(And I count myself among one of the people that experience that particular mental tape loop of destructive self loathing)
Then the TOTAL MISJUDGEMENT of the love that Toms character HAD during his life THAT HE HAD NO CLUE EXISTED
Is a valuable and VERY HUMBLING lesson.

Yes we are VERY OFTEN oblivious to the love and concern that others REALLY have for us.
That's why we look to ? 'feed' off of other fixes. Food. Tv, anything really to absorb into as an 'out', a way of running away from what Amaro calls 'the craving mind' (Tahana) or the hungry ghost as other call it.

Anyway. In his (Toms) despair, he DOES NOT SEE Penelope's love, or his friends love. He is oblivious to the GOOD people in his life. He FAILS to notice them because he is in pain and cannot see the wood for the trees. But unless you really PRACTICE gratitude and ACTIVELY LOOK for the GOOD people and GOOD things in your life, then YOU TOO will miss these wonderful people in your life. They are there already! You just forget to keep looking out for them! Thank god. We all have SOMEBODY who looks out (of HAS looked out for us). Well I think so. Even if we cannot see them. I am sure they are there.

Anyway I digress yet again.
What im saying is that this film is a fantastic illustration of how we unconsciously 'dream' our existence into being, and how the tiniest acts can destroy or save us. How we do not notice the love around us, and how we GET IT WRONG. ALL. THE. TIME.
Even if we are 'nice people'
Even if we 'mean well'
Even when we 'try hard'
Even when we 'do our best'

So yes we are pretty much at the mercy of our habitual thinking, and view of the world. Every (!!) act and thought counts. You snooze you lose. And sometimes you can lose everything on a dime. The tiniest thing.

Is it any wonder that it is so essential to connect with something greater than ourselves?
To 'move toward and become like' something greater than ourselves in order to make sense of the impeccable complexity partnered with utter simplicity? How in !! Gawds name are we supposed to make ANY sense of it all without that?
I have no idea.
Thank god the ? 'heart wisdom' is infinitely more expansive than the mind and can hold dozens of contradictions in place and STILL see the wood for the trees.
Complicated and simple at the same time. And the faultless infinite complexity need not be a problem. Just a feature of the landscape. Just another 'thing' in the mix.

So yes. The mind just doesn't have a strong enough 'engine' to get you there. Whereas the heart is like some sort of ? portal. A gateway into the world the mind simply cannot see. A landscape that sees all. Can hold it all.

Yes it means dropping the thinking mind temporarily. Which can throw you into BLIND PANIC if the only way you have ever ! Tried to make sense of the world is by being able to frame it in some cozy little mental box of classifications.
But yeah. If you can stand the SQIRMING mind bleating in the background because it can't 'fit' the experience into a neat little box,
AND you can resist the urge to let the mind gallop off like a dog with a stick the !! moment it sees a juicy morsel to THINK about, then you might !! just be able to enjoy a nice moment of what sogyal rinpoche calls Just BE (ing)

I have no idea why I decided to type all that.
What I MEANT to say was, Vanilla Sky is a GREAT film and works on MANY levels. All true. So watch it a few times and see what you think.

Imagine (for one horror stricken moment,) that the 'story', might not be such a 'story' after all. But more real than most of the stuff you think of as your daily reality.
Now THAT'S a scary thought. But I am afraid to say I see a lot of reality in that film. Not all of it. But a lot more than you see in most. Which IS scary I suppose.
But never mind eh.
We just do our lousy best and try to stay in (reasonably) fit spiritual condition.
That's all we can do really. Seeing as how we see through the (god dammed) glass SO !!! darkly. Its like we don't really have much choice!

The OTHER great thing about this film, is that it is an accurate reflection of the inherent UNREALITY of the 'nightmare'. is that the nightmare is JUST THAT. A nightmare. Its an illusion. A 'seeming' as Amaro calls it. Important only insofar as to our need to RECOGNIZE it for what it is so that it becomes transparent to us, as opposed to this large looming chunk of reality staring at us. It is not 'real'.
The good news? Like some monk said.. IT IS ALL. ALL. RIGHT. Yet at the same time we are required to be aware of this subtle trick of the mind in order to not be consumed by it. Easy to say. Hard to do.
So there you go. A vaguely cheery note to end on. :)

Sorry for rambling on.
It just once I start I cant stop :)

Right Id better go do some mundane household stuff. Go clean the bathroom and put some laundry on.
Same ol same ol basically.

BTW I am tempted to put a ? warning disclaimer on some of these posts because they are not ? Quite what I normally put here, and I am just kindof typing the first thing that comes into my head. So please do not feel that you have to agree with me or like it. Or anything really. Im just thinking out loud. And I may have got it wrong as I am not used to writing about this. So forgive me if I am sounding a bit cr*p. Im afraid its jus one of those things. Its VERY easy (unfortunately) to sound like a bit f a tw*t when you talk about these things, so you will just have to bear with me while I figure out (if ever!) how to write about ? this type of thing without sounding like a grandiose loon. It aint easy!

Hehe. Right off to tackle the bathroom with a strong cup of tea!

In the meantime, have a great Sunday! I on the other hand.. Have some serious cleaning up to do! Hey ho. Amaros 'zen bliss' (a my sister calls it) will keep me amused in the background!