NOTE: In these troubling times, I thought the following special edition of Meditations on Meth might help you

ALSO: If you were kind enough to purchase a paperback version of my book, and haven’t learned of the BIG MISTAKE that may affect you, please click here to learn how I’m attempting to make it right for you (and, please accept my apologies)

Now, here’s your blog…

The other day, I steered my silver Honda through the Massachusetts country roads, on my way to do the weekly grocery shopping

Through woods and past ponds—having to stop at one point, to let a wild turkey cross the road

Adjusting the car heater as I did so

Parking in the supermarket lot, I soon found myself following social distancing’s protocol: Forced to wait in line outside the Market Basket…for almost ten minutes!

How could the Universe do this to me? I was tempted to demand

If you’re anything like me, you get tempted to let resentment get the best of you

(Which isn’t to say your circumstances aren’t challenging!)

Yet gratitude erases resentment

It’s hard to be both grateful and resentful (or angry, despairing, negative, etc.) at the same time

Here are a couple of stories that may help you focus in your gratitude

I’m reading a book, Black Elk Speaks

The first-hand account of a Native American medicine man, whose people—the Oglala Lakota—are driven from their homeland, in the late 1800s

NOTE: There is controversy around the book…

Wikipedia tells us: While the book is lauded by non-Native audiences…traditional Lakota people and Native American scholars do not consider the book to be representative of Lakota beliefs.They have debated the accuracy of the account

But, that controversy doesn’t change what is (hopefully) the value of the following story

Black Elk and his people are forced to flee their homes forever, to run to Canada

It’s wintertime, nightmarish cold, blizzard conditions, far too little food

One night, a family of porcupines approaches their camp…the rodents are crying, because it’s so cold

Game is scarce…yet one day, Black Elk and his companions happen upon four bison, and give chase upon their horses

The bison crash through the woods, the Oglalas close behind

The bison suddenly plunge from view, as if through a trap door

Black Elk straightaway realizes what has happened…the bison fell into a hidden ravine, filled with snow

But…Black Elk is riding so fast, he can’t stop his horse in time

He plunges into the ravine, too

So…here’s Black Elk, on his horse in the freezing cold, buried in a snow-filled ravine…with four terrified bison

Somehow, he manages to shoot them…it’s so cold, his hands stick to the gun-metal, the flesh is torn from his palms

His companions cut the meat and skins from the bison, but Black Elk is unable to help…because his hands are frozen

You can imagine the rest

What life must’ve been life back then

The struggles just to set up camp, build fires, cook, eat, sleep, bathe…scarcity of toilet paper was likely low on a list of concerns

All of it in the winter blizzards, and knowing they may never see there homeland again

Makes waiting ten minutes in line at Market Basket look pretty good!

It makes the rest of it seem like a blessing, too:

In 2004, I lived in a box of a studio apartment

After having sold the dream home that I’d smashed into a burned-out shell, driven by demons sprung from methamphetamine psychosis

I spent a year descending deeper into a valley of despair and addiction, with those thrashing drug-fueled demons

That winter, I found a family of dead mice in the cushions of my green couch…they’d apparently crawled in there for warmth, and frozen

I used to come to on that green couch with the barrel of my 12-gauge shotgun resting on my chest

It was how I’d passed out the night before, waiting for gangsters…born of my meth psychosis delusions…to kick down my door, drag me away, torture me to death

One morning, I came to on the green couch, the disembodied voices screeching at me

I yanked the trigger of my .357 pistol, believing it wasn’t loaded…accidentally firing a shot into a wall

I hastily lit a cigarette, to cover the acrid smell of gunpowder filling the air

A miracle the bullet didn’t hit a living being

Today, as I write this…

It’s during a late April snowstorm

I’m sitting on a plush pink armchair, my steaming coffee at-the-ready

Reflecting upon all I’m grateful for

And thus able to use lessons learned from overcoming my poor decisions, to give some small small gift to the world

Following the path of Black Elk

The gifts he gave and gives…of healing, and storytelling…far eclipse mine, of course

The more we give, the more we get!

Wherever you are, there are times when it’s no fun being sheltered-in-place

Yet what we focus on, tends to expand

It’s easier, sometimes, to be grateful for what we do have

When we reflect upon what we’re not forced to endure

How are you telling your story of overcoming your hardships, in ways that inspire others to overcome theirs?

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.

2 Responses

  1. Great message, Ed! You hit on some truths that really resonate with me: what we focus on does expand, and we can’t hold onto gratitude and anger at the same time.

    I don’t know if you’re familiar with the musical term dissonance, but it’s the word for clashing, incompatible sounds. (think of a cat jumping on a keyboard)

    All of our favorite songs have moments of dissonance. A song’s evolution from dissonance to resolution gives it movement and complexity. And, if you’ll allow the metaphor, our species is enduring a period of dissonance right now. The road back to harmony is winding and thorny. Your voice is a helpful one to hear on the journey.

    I hope that you’re safe and healthy.

  2. Thank you Theo my friend! Much appreciated. I play a little guitar myself…am striving to arrive at the point where my songs contain moments without dissonance 🙂

    I love your insights around the road back to harmony…indeed, there are many paths up the mountain. Some are easier traversed than others, yet all lead to the summit.

    Indeed what we focus on expands. Stay healthy and strong my friend, you bathe in the Light of the Spirit.

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