[Note: The first iteration of this meditation was delivered under extraordinary circumstances. I am a sleep disordered individual- there’s another coming out (what’s our color/flag/anthem?). Sunday morning, I slept through three separate alarm clocks, not getting to Jubilee until the service was in swing, I had a flu-ish bug that that made concentration and exertion a hoot- nevermind speaking!- and technical foibles paired with a miscalculation on timing called for a heavily reworked second service, with minutes to spare. But by golly gosh, it was actually bettermuch better. Transparency means being able to say that hey- the first go around blew. But it also means that I could let go of material, focus on what worked, and let myself be guided by intuition over form. Sometimes, fuckups lead to feathers.]

October 1999. St. Joseph’s ER. Coming to- remembering only despair, wine and pills. Is this rock bottom again? I already had one after getting clean in ’97, moving to Asheville after heroin was taking out our friends one by one. Man, I thought everything was under control. Pretend it’s not there, but you never lose your shadow. A social worker asked me if I was trying to kill myself, leaning over my with a clipboard- a job I’d later have. He was suggesting I go upstairs. Upstairs means psych ward. Mom worked at those, she’d take me along when short on babysitters. Between that and a developmentally early affinity for Woody Allen I was busy self-analyzing instead of reading comic books. I’m grateful for my unique childhood. I plead my case to be released, yet inside, I knew that I was so broken that I made Humpy Dumpty look stable. Something had to give. I stepped outside that hospital when BAM! Clocked upside the head by an Epiphany, one that continues to create miracles, including this one right now. It was this: Congratulations, Jay, this the worst day of your life! The rock bottom, but if you choose, life only gets amazing going forward. The worst becomes the best- look at it as a cosmic reset button, a single chance at renewal when destiny is tightfisted with favors. Whenever asked, I recommend accepting the Universe’s offer. Breathe deeply.

Q&A: Once you recognize that you are in some way participating in an addictive cycle

SOA Behandeling online – Medicatie tegen SOA

, the first hurdle is to admit it, that’s where the support comes in. When you think of addictions, what comes to mind? ______________________  Yep, there’s just too many to name. It can be everything and anything.IMG_0117.PNG

In Twelve Step Fellowships, affirmations are repeated to become constant reminders of hope, one of which is: “We do recover.” Sounds nice, a happy dance to a designated date where you’re suddenly
cured, and everything’s a safe, sparkle-filled paradise of “it’s all good” it’s not. Nada. To use a highly clinical term, recovery sucks. We do recover means we do cry, we do feel worthless sometimes, we do yell into the darkness- sometimes there’s no response- or if there is one, it’s slammed doors, social prejudice, and arsonists busy with your bridges. Tolerating unfiltered reality, unflinching self-examination, and practicing rigorous honesty are challenging yet vital demands of transformation. I direct a residential recovery program; we have a saying so pivotal to our work that we enshrined it as art- just as the Via Negativa teaches, sometimes we have to “Do the things that suck.” From day one we’re socially stymied by two distinct messages;

Number 1: any discomforting experience is bad! “We have a right to not be inconvenienced!”

Number 2: we’re set up to confuse wants with needs. I NEED this to do THAT. Think big- think globally- on that one. How many ways does that fit into, and possibly effect your life? Our culture? Doing the things that suck requires unlearning these ingrained, automatic responses and making authentic, contemplative choices, avoiding shortcuts. There are many paths to healing, most of them at some point suck. From the Psalms:

“Shall Your wonders be known in the darkness or Your righteousness in the land of the forsaken?”

So Big H and I were apparently working from different translations but you get the drift. If the land of the forsaken is reachable to the Divine then that journey becomes our charge to keep- holy work is needed everywhere to touch the untouched. Ridiculous laws and social piety may draw borders around the forsaken, but the justice of a loving Creator is stronger than any barricade, it doesn’t matter how high you build that wall- love breaks through and the forsaken shall not be forgotten. Breathe deeply.

From the Tao Te Ching:

“Too much amassment leads to great loss; Knowing contentment avoids disgrace; Knowing when to stop avoids danger. Thus one can be long in safety.”

While pacing this particularly brutal cage as individuals, there’s no denying that there’s visible evidence of a hooked planet from space. The emptiness-es we fill are optional luxuries, at the cost of whole ecosystems, surging sea levels, and masses of plastic in our oceans that as a cluster are larger than several nations combined. Amassment Addiction may be a more accurate word than consumerism. 2,600 year-old wisdom says “Too much amassment leads to great loss.” Sobering- pun intended.

It’s the Via Negativa guys! YAY! Don’t you just love it! Call me a masochist, I LOVE the Via Negativa for its brave honesty. While difficult, we’re strengthened by saying to the darkness “I choose to withstand you. I accept that in experiencing you, I am experiencing life as it is- without need to look away.” That’s why laughter is required when dealing with life’s dingy side. Forget the tropes you see on TV, people laugh in recovery meetings, often at the same old jokes, but still:

  • Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
  • We’re all here because we’re not all here.
  • Come to ninety meetings in ninety days. If you’re not satisfied, we’ll refund your misery.
  • And WC Fields: “Once during Prohibition I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.

2015-10-11_VIA_NEG)Laughter, like getting together is good medicine. At Jubilee and in recovery groups, the most important person is the newcomer. In the rooms, it’s also about the person who picks up the white chip a ritual symbolizing their first day clean, while reminding that each of us can have a Day One at any time. Jubilants, our world needs to check in upstairs and detox. The symptoms are clear, and each of us is knowingly or unknowingly part of the problem- but we’re also part of the solution.

So I invite you in your heart to virtually pick up a white chip today, to renew our commitment to recovering and restoring harmony. White chips are the only ones offered twice; sometimes you have to build up the courage to say yes, it’s time. Well, it’s time.

Occasionally we push the envelope here at Jubilee, going into musical territory that might not be for everybody, but the World Beat Band ain’t pop radio. To be true to the theme, I wanna honor the many people with whom I’ve been blessed to work over the years. When considering music for this service, the replies were consistent: “This song tells my story.” So if you have a stick in the mud, yank it out and belly up to the salsa, because we’re going to do some Red Hot Chili Peppers. The progression of lyric
s in this song is very deliberate. Let’s sing:

Sometimes I feel Like I don’t have a partner
Sometimes I feel Like my only friend
Is the city I live in The city of angels
Lonely as I am Together we cry {beat}
I drive on her streets ‘Cause she’s my companion
I walk through her hills ‘Cause she knows who I am
She sees my good deeds And she kisses me windy
I never worry Now that is a lie {beat, chorus}
I don’t ever want to feel Like I did that day
Take me to the place I love Take me all the way
I don’t ever want to feel, Like I did that day, Take me to the place I love
Take me all the way (yeah yeah)

 The first prayer I ever learned was the Lord’s Prayer, which I solemnly recited when my first goldfish died, because what else does a little rugrat say? Bye could’ve worked. There was a time when I couldn’t stomach Christianity, but Jubilee brought me back to understanding the teacher Yeshua in a whole new light. But it’s the good ol’ KJV “Give us this day our daily bread” that jazzes me up. It’s revolutionary; we have a basic human and divine right to be nourished, sustained, not taking more than we need. Yet when you’ve been cast aside, labeled, misdiagnosed, and repetitively jailed for a disease by a system so broken there’s no justice in it, hope is just a four letter word. If you want to help, get involved now, lives are on the line today. The addiction stigma will only be broken by those willing to understand, which means going into the darker places, and offering a hand, to freely give daily bread, not another hand-out.

It’s hard to believe That there’s nobody out there
It’s hard to believe That I’m all alone
At least I have her love The city she loves me
Lonely as I am Together we cry
I don’t ever want to feel Like I did that day
Take me to the place I love Take me all the way
I don’t ever want to feel Like I did that day
Take me to the place I love Take me all the way (yeah yeah)
Ooh no (no no yeah yeah) Love me I say yeah yeah

Sure, we have a spiritual sweet-tooth, but if we’re gonna say that God is in the cute critters we blessed last week, we’re gonna say that God is under a metaphorical and real bridge as well, a shelter for those whose will has been overcome by a massive spectrum of debilitating dependencies. Going under this bridge is to fully enter the Via Negativa and raise up Creation from the discarded, that the Holy shines brightly enough to offer the most important choice there is… LIFE!

Under the bridge downtown Is were I drew some blood
Under the bridge downtown I could not get enough
Under the bridge downtown Forgot about my love
Under the bridge downtown I gave my life away (yeah yeah)

Giving your life away is not what you think. Death comes to mind but that’s life taken away. Giving your life away is entrusting yourself to the Holy. Surrendering to the One. Recognizing that you and the Earth are inseparable and what you do to your body you do to Her. Ending the lies and the secrets, letting the sunshine in to reveal there’s nothing to cover up- you’re beautiful, blessed stronger than any need. Let’s answer a call today, let’s be the sacred activists this world needs, let’s rally as compassionate warriors and heal the causes of addiction and let’s give our lives to the guidance of the miracle that brought us here… as they say “Yesterday is history; tomorrow is a mystery; today is a gift – that’s why they call it the present.”

Under the bridge downtown I gave my life away (yeah yeah)

Oh Yeah, and keep comin’ back.

W/M © 1991 Flea, Frusciante, Kiedis, Smith