Monday, August 11, 2008
It's a beautiful day here in San Francisco, and a very quiet and peaceful one in the Cole Valley Cafe where I'm sitting right now. Brought my own sheepskin to sit on because my butt's so bony I've got no glutei to cushion the spine against that hardwood bench.
Yesterday I wrote a single sentence that said it all: "The truth is, all my happiness was dependent on another."
How's that for an admission of co-dependency?
And the additional truth is, that'll never happen no more. I'm divorced and alone, maybe for good, and if I'm ever going to be happy again I have to learn how to be emotionally self-sufficient.
Better late than never, I guess.
So with that in mind, I rolled out this morning determined to write a gratitude list. And the truth is, I have no business feeling sorry for myself. I have a great deal to be grateful for.
To wit: I'm a non-drinker and a non-smoker. I banished alcohol from my life a long time ago -- it's been almost 15 years. Smoking went out the window a little more recently -- it'll be a year on October 10.
Beer and cigarettes always got me in trouble, especially when I did 'em both together. So for anybody out there who's having trouble with alcohol and/or nicotine, all I can tell you is there's a better life, if you're willing to crawl through a swamp full of alligators to get to it. If you can do that, you'll be glad you did. And I'm grateful for it.
Here's another thing: I suffered most of my life from inflammatory bowel disease, but now it's completely under control as long as I watch what I eat and don't get careless with hanging around in restaurants or swallowing processed food. A few simple dietary changes is all it took; now I live on raw fruit and boiled eggs, mostly, supplemented with a little bread and cheese and vegetables cooked in chicken broth.
Good fruit is a miracle food. Oranges bathe the intestines in citric acid, a natural anti-inflammatory. Australian navels are the best this time of year because it's winter down there right now. And eating an avocado a day will do wonders for a person's skin and hair.
However, the first rule when it comes to eating is to avoid doing too much of it. For me, that means what I see when I stand in front of a full-length mirror with nothing on, like I did this morning, is a 64-year-old guy with a healthy peanut tan color and a full head of gray hair who carries something between 120 and 125 pounds on a very spare, five-foot nine-inch frame. And I'm grateful for that. Some people tell me I look like a concentration camp escapee, but I kind of like the way it looks, and as long as my guts function the way I want 'em to, why not?
Finally, there's yoga practice, which over time gets more frequent, deeper, more significant in the impact it has on the rest of my life, and directly addresses the question that started this meditation: what do I need to do to get emotional self-sufficiency, and put an end to co-dependency? If you put any credence in the philosophy embedded in the source document of the ancient practice of yoga, the Sutra of Patanjali, the way to inner peace is a matter of very specific kinds of mental and physical discipline. But I won't attempt to explain here a teaching which I'm only just beginning to apprehend, and have little understanding of at this point.
I'll just say I've got the opportunity to learn more, and I'm grateful for that.