Are we all addicts?

What I am called to write about this week has taken many faces within me. Some passing thoughts were pushing me in the direction of the play of independence and interdependence in our lives. With these musings came the idea of living in balance, moving between extremes, gracefully bringing ourselves into balance when we find ourselves living to close to the edge. And finally, as I write, my mind is landing in different places within my thoughts and feelings about addiction. So this posting will be a bit of a mumble jumble of these ideas. Addiction, quite a complex disorder. It is front and center within me because my family still suffers with the active disorder. Once again, I find myself feeling deeply sad and a bit helpless about the current activities of which I have become aware. As I ponder what I might say or do to relieve my helpless feelings, I am well aware that it is only an attempt to relieve myself of these burdensome feelings, that whatever it is I say or do may have little impact on those that I love and care deeply about, and may minimally effect my sadness. Because, no matter how many times I step into this circle, I once again know deep within me, that the changes will happen when THEY are ready, not because I wish it so or ask for it.

Addict – definition - to devote or surrender oneself to something habitually or obsessively. Now is not the time for me to write a professional statement about addiction and it’s complex nature. Presently, I am just extremely sad that we live in a culture where we are continually perpetuating addictive behaviors. Devoting or surrendering ourselves to activities habitually or obsessively - let us all take inventory of this - in any small or large ways, how are we devoting or surrendering ourselves to activities, habitually or obsessively? As we look about us, we can see the places where we have become habitual doers. Habit – definition - a behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition. Many of us are acting out of habit, the long slow process of acquiring patterns by repeating behaviors, whether we want them, or like them, or not. It is our ability to suspend our consciousness about the whole picture of what we are doing that allows us to develop these self-destructive habits.

How do we turn this around? By looking at it, by not turning away, by acknowledging the whole picture, not just the parts we have a preference for. By feeling the feelings we hold within in regard to the issue at hand, no longer finding ways to numb them or not experience the feelings and the full wisdom of their energy. Many times we continue poor habits because we know no other way of proceeding. How unresourceful of us! So I challenge everyone, including myself to look at our lives and find the places we are behaving habitually. Review them – all of them. Is this what you really want? Everything that is connected to it? For instance, and I use a fairly universal one, is your television on? Do you turn it on habitually? Are you sitting and staring at a screen instead of talking with your family, those that you say you love? Are you ignoring problems or issues that seem insurmountable or unmanageable and just sitting there, complaining? In the deep recesses of your being, will you ask yourself these questions; take responsibility for the quality of your life?

If our lives feel out of balance it is because we have allowed it, created it. Not because imbalance is the natural state. If we come to listen deeply within, we will hear the calling of our inner wisdom, moving us towards balance. Our inner wisdom will engage us to seek balance; it is a natural occurrence when we do not let our mind-made worlds tell us otherwise. And our mind-made world is that which convinces us to just relax- chill- turn on the television and make it all go away! (This is just one example.) But it does not go away, it does not go anywhere. It sits somewhere inside us waiting for its day, its time of attention. Without timely attention, it often becomes so distorted that we no longer recognize it for the smaller issue it began as, before it was compiled with time and emotion and our sense of powerlessness to create change.

Our problems do not go away. We resolve them when we feel powerfully in balance inside to illicit change through our actions, individually and collectively. We can act independently, but our actions will impact those around us, and the change will be felt and usually responded to. This is the fact of our interdependence. We are more powerful than we know; how we use that power is a choice, conscious or not. But, still, I didn’t realize what I was doing, is never a good excuse. No one buys that in the end, truth or not. When we ALL wake up to our small and large choices?