“We are all just walking each other home.” – Ram Dass
A lofty goal, to stay there, holding hands with serenity, not over here, in the anxious unknowns, the fear. So prone to wander, to want something Other, to never stop the ruminating and trying to step on the gas while the emergency brake is on.
I was flipping through the racks in a thrift store, treasure hunting. I saw so many t-shirts with today’s popular inspirational quotes. Live, Laugh, Love. I Am Enough. I Love Myself. Peace, Love, Joy.
I am simply not a word-wearing kind of girl. Unless the shirt says something like “This is my jam!” next to a boom box. I’m totally cool with that. But something in me steers clear of the more common sayings, like I’m adverse to looking too ordinary or something. Obviously, I revel in the ordinary, it says so right at the top of this page. But I guess I bristle at the Live Laugh Love kinds of phrases because they’re over-done. We over-do everything and then really important words lose their meaning.
But I want to live in a way that means LIVING, not just living, and humor sustains me, and love is all there is, so…live, laugh, love.
Wear the shirts, people. Drink from the coffee cup. Put the plaque up on the wall. Live, Laugh, Love. I’m right there with you, on Pinterest, pinning the best and most relatable quotes. Well okay, I’m not there that often and so much of it makes me says BLECH, but hey, I’m trying to soften, bear with me.
It may happen sooner rather than later and I might not be as unique or as much of a Phrase Elitist as I planned. Lately I keep finding myself thinking and saying seemingly trite and easy things to say. But it’s not easy for me, not at all, to keep it simple with words, or to see those simple words as profound. Yet there they are, meaning so much more than nothing.
For years I’ve been digging so deep, trying to pull out all the answers from some hidden well of wisdom inside of me that wasn’t even there. It was so obviously outside of me and taking detours is how I stumbled over it over and over again without even knowing it. And every doubt and fear and question has led me back to myself. Back to believing in so much I could not see, could not have predicted, but held in another well inside that was rising and rising up ever-so-slowly with fresh water, a place to drink and start again. To simply put one foot in front of the other and move away from Should to What Actually Is. It just IS.
I thought I was all totally Ozzy Osborne in church, or Ding Dongs at a Trader Joe’s. Or maybe the other way around, I don’t know. I was subtly trying not to fit anything. But what I fit is my humanity, in this skin, with these bones and marrow, my tendons and my heart and lungs and soul. I knew that I was the same as every other of us, but I was trying not to be, or something. I’m thinking out loud, again.
I think most alcoholics, in recovery and not, see themselves as so different, and this can lean the wrong way. We have felt Other for our entire lives, in a way that we can’t really put words to, but it can’t be denied. We used largely because of this, to just get (a lot) of breaks from feeling so alien, so alone no matter how together. We gulped down the drug of choice to fill up and wake up and get funny and smart and talkative and to belong. You forget you’re an alien when you drink, for the most part. Until you don’t.
Sobriety means being fully awake even when you don’t really want to be, but it also means coming to understand that you are not alien, you are actually just fine and utterly the same as the rest of the misfits of always and today. We are all misfits here, it’s so obvious. No one knows what they’re doing.
Suddenly I really like not knowing what I’m doing. I claim it. I stand on it. I want to shout it at strangers in this Barnes and Noble where I type. I think it would probably make them feel better. (After they stopped wondering what’s wrong with me.)
All we really know is that we are just walking each other home. I want to be an excellent companion. That’s all I know.
I’ve had the humbling honor of bearing witness to new sobriety in myself and others. I’ve gotten to see the moments of alien-belonging, and the freedom that comes with abstaining from a balm that isn’t real.