The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes —Marcel Proust

Outside a front door of my childhood home—where, by dumb luck, I find myself staying, seemingly for the duration—the driveway asphalt gives way to grass

Firmly, tenaciously, an April snowbank holds fast

Against the cold melting rain

A slender striped plastic pole, reminding one of a sightless person’s cane

Juts up from the earth, marking the spot where the snowplow must yield

Near the top of a hill, above the edge of the stretching field

(For those of you not into rhyming at the expense of clarity (but who may be okay with metaphor):

The plastic pole is a guidepost for the friendly neighbor who plows the driveway…when the snow covers the asphalt, he can’t tell where the driveway ends

Were he to roll past the pole, he might drive his pickup truck over the underground septic (sewage) tank…which may not support his vehicle’s weight)

In a month or two—more or less—the towering trees ringing the lower field will hang themselves with green leaves

You and I will—hopefully—be less burdened by being caught in the grip of our current dis-ease

For now, you too look over your shoulder, suppose, towards your old childhood homes

Sentenced to circles—for me, it was seventeen to life…I saw myself as trapped, while in fact living life under a blue-sky dome

When I was seventeen years old, I could not wait to grow up—to leave the place where I grew up behind!

You’re maybe can’t waiting for “staying at home” to give way into a situation, one from which you find

Yourself escaping, fleeing, your psychic feet underneath you, plowing ahead, making the ground churn

Someday…our own cold rains will burn

Our April snowbanks away, and their life-giving water will feed summer’s lush sumptuousness

(Just try and find a word that rhymes with “sumptuousness”, if you’ve got the gumption-ness)

And, if you’re anything like me…and many of you see far more clearly than I…you’ll find the life you left behind you, left you meaning and strength

The suffering you encounter(-ed) now and in your past, it’s intensity, root causes, and length

Will reveal itself a blessing, not a curse

To paraphrase Marcus Aurelius…our danger is of the ground beneath us collapsing, plunging us into a sewage pit, thus—of course—making things worse

And this often happens—as it happened to me, to be sure—when we allow ourselves to be consumed by feelings of anger and grief

Yet when from those things that caused those feelings, there will—when the seasons change—come relief

We’ve never encountered a situation like this one we’re all in together! Yet if there’s one thing we’ve experienced, again and again?

Everything ends

I didn’t understand, when I was seventeen and dying (almost literally, with the path my intoxicants had me on) to escape through the door

That I had the freedom to choose my attitude—to nurture it to a state of health, or neglect it, so that it remained poor

It’s likely my suffering at seventeen paled in comparison to what challenges many of you now face

I had the world at my feet! My potentials for happiness less limited than the vastness of space

Yet I chose to dwell mostly upon what I thought was wrong with my world

For a decade I allowed grief, anger, and misery to unfurl

There was an April day in 2003: I’d begun my long slide into methamphetamine psychosis…a family member and some close friends conducted an “intervention”, driving me to see a psychiatric MD in the emergency room

I believed they were attempting to have me involuntarily committed to a psychiatric institution—and would do it again—I chose to view my circumstances as a portent of doom

I could just as easily have chosen to see that day in April as a striped plastic pole

An opportunity marker, signaling me to pull up, and turn to a path of spirituality, self-improvement, service to others…drive with my future within my control

Which is what happened! Eventually, years later…today, I remind myself: my circumstances could be far worse—those of imprisoned Viktor Frankl, or Anne Frank…or a slave shackled in the hull of some nightmarish ship

Frankl wrote—the last of human freedoms (is) to chose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances…and thus I choose to remind myself…when the negativity, fear, and doubt begin their creep, or onslaught, as they do for me and most of us…one day, everything I’ve suffered will seem little more than a blip

On the radar of life

All the suffering, strife

Have guided me to some beautiful purpose, life has revealed

A springtime spent in a blossoming field

While I was past the edge of and plunging towards disaster in April 2003

Ends bring beginnings…then, as now…and it’s a very bright new start, that I May choose to see

What new beginnings are arriving after your endings?

Resources For You

If you know or are a person who is struggling, check out my free PDF: Ten Helpful Questions to Ask When Someone You Love is Recovering From Addiction

Simply go to my website, and hit the “Download PDF Now” button in the lower right. When you enter your email, you’ll be signed up for my weekly newsletter, Meditations on Meth. Feel free to unsubscribe if you don’t want it.

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