Day 9 of the #everydayinspiration challenge asks “How do you maintain balance, what do you do when not writing?”

I need to look at this from a slightly different angle than the wording of the question. Writing is something I do to help maintain balance in my life, it is one of the tools in my armoury. Everything else is ‘What I do when not writing.’
That armoury is a lot deeper and vast than I tend to give myself credit for. It has developed over a bit of time and I’ve absorbed it piecemeal. Its been a necessary process, frustrating at times. I have a tendency to reach for instant gratification. Learning patience was a high priority when I was starting out on this journey of self-realisation. Its life that I have to maintain a balance with and how I deal with its often annoying challenges. I’ve have had to grow a thicker top skin and that in itself was painful. Absorbing others’ negative charge. Tolerating egos and reflections of my own (I would like to say old, but…) defects without loosing it big time. Sitting with the desire to control without sticking my size 9’s in. These and many more have been uncomfortable at times without the aid of the anaesthetic of drink and drugs. Living Sober – Life on Life’s terms. However I think I’ve documented all this enough in recent posts, so what about the solution?…

When I first came out of rehab, trying to get my head around the program, it was obvious how much I enjoyed and benefited from the fellowship. Meetings especially would rock my day and I loved them, still do! But back then that was all I thought I would need, not so! Working the ‘Steps’ requires me to change – I had to… the old way didn’t work!!! Been open and honest with a sponsor, about what I’m finding difficult on a daily basis, especially my sponsor who constantly challenges me to step out of the dreaded ‘Comfort Zone’. Been willing to take on board suggestions are all things that have lead to me trying new things. That is where I’ve found ‘balance’.

Meditation – That mystical Far Eastern practice of Buddhist Monks. If you believe thats what it is then you will believe any old Horseshit (most people do anyways). Even the USMC are doing it now. It has been a staple practice of warriors long before the birth of any Marine Corps. I love it, It has been one of the most fascinating aspects of Recovery. It helps me to get grounded into reality, disconnect (temporarily at least) from the constant chattering of my destructive thought processes, and experience inner peace! Try it, but trust me it will change your view on everything in a way you will never be able to return back from. It ain’t for the faint hearted! I meditate whenever I have nothing in front of me that absolutely requires my complete focus and even then thats a meditation in itself. The mind on one thing, not scatter brained fantasy, present and in the here and now. Anywhere anytime whatsoever… Trains, Buses, Planes (was tempted to say automobiles but I avoid them as much as possible). Eyes closed with headphones playing relaxing music or spoken guidance, or my favourite Zazaen. Zazaen isn’t an ideal way to begin practicing meditation (forgetting that we are always beginners). It requires sitting crossed legged on the floor in silence and staring at a blank wall. You may say it sounds boring and difficult, I agree it does sound that way. It isn’t, its massive in the way it gifts the benefits I described earlier in this paragraph. I would no sooner be without it now than I would food or sleep.

Yoga – Again something that sounds very different from what it actually is. One for the girls! Thats what the old me would have thought. Well the old me’s thinking put me right in deep shit! I was always one for the macho bullshit. Long before drink and drugs started to take a heavy toll on my body I could exercise obsessively, running 10 miles was nothing. As for lifting heavy weights I could bench more than a fully grown man when I was 12 years old. 15 Rounds on the bags before heading to the pub on a morning became a daily routine whenever I found myself out of work. My shins, knees, back and shoulders remind me of this stupidity on a regular basis, more often with each passing year.
Yoga gives me so much more than an exercise fad to obsess over, not that I need a reason or excuse to obsess over anything. It develops a core strength, flexibility of the body and a focused healthy mind. Its also a lot of fun as long as again I remember not to take it or myself too seriously.

Writing – its so therapeutic and I enjoy it a huge amount. I value reading to the same extent and always have a book on the go!

Meetings – I still love them and the amazing people that visit the rooms. They are incredible Survivors, interesting and very often hilarious.Teachers and  I learn something new on each occasion!

Family – Spend time with them people!! Make amends to those you’ve hurt, forgive those who have hurt you… Life is so very short!

Travel and anything that pushes me to the boundaries of my comfort zone… I have seen a lot of the World but accept I will never see it all. This Rock that we hurtle through Space on is a wonderful place occupied by fascinating creatures (some at least more than others). I try to do something new on a regular basis, some I enjoy more than others. The ones I enjoy least are the ones I should do more often (push the boundaries).

Theres more, quite a bit more, but thats it in a nutshell. Im alive and awake. The journey continues. Thanks again for reading, and don’t forget… do something your future self will thank you for – step outside of that comfort zone, it is a strangler of dreams and creativity!

“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca.

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” – Nelson Mandela

D&O in Fresno


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