The Long Journey

I am enjoying the longest sustained employment in my life. Funny. Among a number of other superlatives this past year, I will be singing as a guest soloist in my first concert with an all girls choir; I just produced my first green screen video explaining a mnemonic device to learn the names of all the South East Asia countries (view here); I am about to move into my own house and buy my own car; WHAAAT?! I play more soccer than I have played in years, and my body is stronger and faster than it has been in years – since college.

The really cool stuff isn’t as grossly measurable as the material lists of change. It’s the subtle stuff, the spiritual stuff, the very stuff that the material manifestations of empowerment are founded upon – as Allen Watts might say, “the space between the notes.” We hear the melody out of the silence, the gaps between the notes and tones. The creativity is in the stillness and silence as much as the active hits of materialized vibrations. This is such a good analogy for my experience over the past 4 years.

How do I explain the subtle stuff then? How do I tell you, my 3 readers, what transformation feels like? It is specifically configured around AA, which is at heart a consistent growth and maintenance of spiritual experiences. Spirituality has become a number of integral practices designed to intervene on my will. All my ideas about how things should unfold have to be utterly smashed. My identity is literally being born again – Christ was right. The problem with my will is its complete obsession with itself which stunts my ability to act differently. The self (with a little “s”) is absolutely bent on serving its own narrow livelihood. Eventually, it binds/contracts/grinds down under the weight of this management – an obsessive cost/benefit analysis – that leads to futility, and in my story, loneliness and addiction.

Perhaps all this is simply age. I am 34 years old, I feel like a late bloomer. I am a body that divides the space between Gen X and the Millennial’s – a mixture of political and historical identities. On the left an intellectual radicalism and counter-cultural values and on the right a deep care for sustained responsibility and faith. Those go together right? Perhaps I spent to much time in San Francisco. I recently joked that I have PTSD from having spent to much time in San Francisco. I’ve resided in Chattanooga, TN for over a year now. God help me if I spend to much time here!

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