Posted tagged ‘12 Steps’

Stuff We Already Know

April 14, 2015

indexMy wife, Muri and I, have not been sleeping very well lately.  To some degree, it seems to be a phenomenon that strikes human beings as they age, not sleeping then dozing on sofa in the middle of the afternoon.  And walking around yawning the rest of the day.  We each have our own peculiarities that wake us during the night and subjects that keep us awake thinking once we’re awake.   Saturday, while I was in the park I found and article in Forbes Magazine online titled Twelve Ways to Beat Insomnia and Sleep Better No Matter What’s Keeping You Awake , so I emailed a link to Muri.   She must have been sitting at her computer reading email because she wrote back within ten minutes:  Isn’t this Stuff We Already Know?  Indeed.

Spiritual Stew

April 5, 2015

park sunrisePassover and Easter often don’t coincide, even though the former is a significant part in the latter.  In case it’s been a long time since your last Comparative Religion class, Passover is the Jewish commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses.  The traditions include a rutual meal known as a Seder, in which certain foods are eaten (and not eaten) and the story of the Exodus is told from a book called a Haggadah.  In this country, it is more likely you know the significance of Easter, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus after his crucifixion on Good Friday.  A central element on the Easter story is The Last Supper, the last meal Jesus shared with his disciples before his crucifixion, an event that provide the basis for the sacrament of Holy Communion.  The connection, of course, is that Jesus was in fact a Jew and the Last Supper was likely a Seder which includes the ritual of wine and bread (matzo) at the table.  If you want a detailed discussion of why these related holidays don’t coincide regularly, you can find it here.   Suffice it to say that simultaneous arrival of the two holidays, a tradition of my youth and one of my adult life, is the perfect topping to the Spiritual Stew that was this week.


Monday Smiles – 2/23/2015

February 23, 2015

workingHere it is, almost 4:30 p.m. and I have not been out of the house, which means … since I mostly work at home … that I have not been out of the office.  The office, of course, at this stage of my life is wherever I am working.  After breakfast and spending some time catching up on the news on my tablet. I dragged my trusty laptop (still preferable to my tablet for real work) to the kitchen table and spent the morning reviewing material for a legal case on which I am employed as an expert.  It is the nature of that business that there are long breaks as attorneys negotiate or await the results of mediation, long breaks during which I forget some of the details of the case.  Now, mediation has failed and the case will go to trial, so I am rereading statements I wrote months ago to remind me of what I knew back then.  I spent the afternoon doing the same thing in my office.  There are thousands of pages of documents and even more information online to be considered.  I am missing a beautiful sunny Socal day.  This case has come back to life just as the largest job my partner and I have ever won is starting.  I am likely to be working more hours than I planned.   I never expected to be working this much as I navigate the second half of my seventieth year, and my age also means that I am required to withdraw money from my IRA this year.  I could get hammered on my taxes.

Into the Box, Too

January 18, 2015

god jarI suppose that with almost 1,700 posts hiding in the dark recesses of Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog, it was inevitable that eventually, I’d sit down to write a post with a topic … and a title … in mind only to find that I’d already written it.  Back in September of 2011, I wrote a post titled Into the Box concerning a spiritual artifice that I’ve some across on a variety of self-help venues, variously known as a God Jar, a God Can (as in I Can’t, God Can) or God Box.  It is a place to symbolically put things that you want to turn over to God.  If calling something an artifice sounds dismissive, that would be the work of my Inner Skeptic who used to be in charge around here.  He has a similar opinion of bumper sticker slogans like Let Go and Let God.  My Inner Skeptic, a close friend of my Outer Scientist, is results-oriented … if I put something in a God Box, he wants to know what happens.  If I let go and let somebody, he wants to know what that somebody does.  Although my Inner Skeptic doesn’t run the show around here any more, he can be very useful in practical pursuits like science so I don’t condemn him to my mental dungeon, even in spiritual matters. (more…)

What Was I Going to Write?

November 22, 2014

image Like most people my age, I find myself among older people a lot. It’s not so much a conscious choice as common interests. The movies we choose often attract an older audience and live theater would not survive without its senior audience. The park, particularly during the week is the habitat of the retired and semi-retired. And except for talking with my daughter and my son, I mostly communicate with people within shouting distance of my age. Even the men in my Men’s groups are aging with me (although, damn it, I seem to be staying ahead of most of them). There are those who tell me they like to be around younger people to keep them young. For me, that is one of the reasons God put my grandchildren on this earth … I don’t need to be young, I need to be childlike. I like being around seniors. They … at least the ones I choose to talk to … tend to be more honest, more comfortable in their own skin, more compassionate, and yes, a lot less noisy than all those younger adults out there. But the other side of the coin … there is always another side of the coin in this life … is that I get to see the effects of aging all around me. The forty-year old in my head can’t kid himself.

Monday Smiles – 10/20/2014

October 20, 2014

home2At about 4:00 yesterday, I pulled into our garage in Anaheim Hills, home from a weekend retreat at the lovely Santa Barbara Mission.  Muri’s car wasn’t in the garage but there was a note in the kitchen that she’d gone to a movie which was fine.   As renewing as the retreats can be, they are also exhausting … lots of meetings, late nights and, for me, the difficulties of sleeping in a strange bed … I always require a nap upon my arrival home.   I slept for over an hour and when I awoke, there she was, sitting on the sofa, smiling.   As we get older, we miss each other when we are apart, even for a day or two, even though, if we were both at home, we might be doing different things in different rooms.  It is interesting to hear some men give different things in different rooms as a reason for leaving a relationship when it is part of what makes ours work.  We are together even when we are not together.

Retreat. Powerlessness. Surrender.

October 18, 2014


It’s midnight.  I’m in a modest room in the Mission Santa Barbara Renewal Center for the Fall Retreat of my Thursday Night Men’s Meeting.  The first meeting is over, 32 men on a retreat talking about things like powerlessness and surrender, things you don’t usually associate with machismo.   Critics of 12-Step Programs often say that the Steps suggest we are powerless just when we need to take things into our own hands and that we are told to surrender when it is time to fight back.  Of course, what the Steps REALLY tell us to do is to accept powerlessness over things we cannot change and to surrender control that we never had in the first place.   Instead, we focus on the place we do have some power and control … over ourselves and our own lives.  And we turn to a Higher Power for the strength to lead better lives.

Have a good weekend. I will.

Letting Go

September 14, 2014

About a month after starting Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog, I posted Very Short Story:

It had been a long week.     People told him to Let Go and Let God until he thought he’d scream. Alone in the park at last, he asked aloud (but not screaming – how would that look?), Let go and let God what?  To his surprise, God answered.  o just what I was going to do anyway.  Isn’t that enough?

In the five years since Very Short Story, I’ve found a degree of spiritual peace that I never thought possible but still, no 12-Step slogan sets my mind to wondering more than Let Go and Let God.  In addition to wondering what I was letting God do, I’ve worried about what I was supposed to do once I Let God.   I am a man of action, after all.   I found an old Middle Eastern saying that matches my instincts perfectly: Trust God but tie your camel to a tree.  Yes, sometimes when we take our hands off a situation, it works itself out.  But other times, we still have to do our part, make decisions and carry through on them … or, finding they were faulty, make new ones.



August 26, 2014

Resentment is a poison you give yourself hoping someone someone else will die.

image I know this for a fact … I poisoned myself this weekend and no one else died. It just froze the joy out of my weekend. Resentment is like that. Anger burns. Resentment is cold and hard and casts a chilly pall over everything it touches … except the person you resent … they are, of course, oblivious. You’d think after 20-something years working the 12-steps, I’d have no resentments left but of course, there are a few hiding in the darker corners of my heart. This one is particularly vexing, since it’s a resentment for something done to someone I love, not to me. Yeah, freakin’ wonderful … a codependent resentment. It’s gotten in my way on several occasions before so it’s time to root it out. (more…)

Monday Smiles – 8/25/2014

August 25, 2014

truthI’m going to tell you the truth (I like to do that here on Bud’s Blog … except when I’m embellishing it for literary purposes which I’m not doing today).  There weren’t many smiles this weekend and it’s nobody’s fault but my own.  I know.  Old Abe supposedly said that People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be, but I don’t buy it.  Sometimes, sad things happen.  Not this weekend.   I was my own worst enemy, letting an old resentment poison my mood.  You know what they say … A resentment is a poison you give yourself hoping someone else will die.  They never do, by the way.  Fortunately for everyone, I’ve learned that my moods are mine so I kept to myself as much as possible and when I was with other people (including a friend’s 75th birthday party Saturday night), I tried to be cheerful even if I wasn’t happy.  Of course, after a zillion years together, that doesn’t fool Muri.  She briefly tried to talk me out of my mood … she has even more of a right to this old resentment than I do, but she’s been able to let it go.  How does she do that? (more…)