Thursday, February 25, 2010

What Am I Seeing?

Drawing and painting in a realistic style requires that we set aside a large portion of what we believe about the world, and set down upon the paper or canvas, that which we acually see.

I must let go of my assumptions about this white lily, and be open to the truth about it - the shadows are the palest violet on one petal, and here, there's a pure green stripe running up from the base. When I sit and really look at this blossom, white is the smallest part of it - the only truly pure white on this flower, is the area lit up by the sun. All the rest of it is color, in incredible complexity.

In Al-Anon, I'm trying to learn to see myself and other people, with the same clarity with which I see this flower. I had so many assumptions - about the way the world should work: the way people should behave: the way I should feel. When I tried to live by my assumptions, life was a tangled mess of emotional discord.

One of the first assumptions I had to be willing to let go was: I can fix another person's alcoholism, if I put my mind to it, and if they would simply behave according to my regulations.

When I examined this belief in detail, I had to not only accept that I was powerless over alcoholism, I had to accept that it is not my right to tell anyone else how to behave.

That was the true shocker. How could I get what I wanted, if I couldn't give directions and make demands? I was not best pleased with any suggestion that the universe was progressing as it should, and I was not in charge of anyone but myself.

Reality is there before me, whether I face it squarely, or turn at an angle, trying to remove it from my line of sight. I have many times in a day, when I can pause long enough to truly look - at my thinking, my assumptions, my beliefs - before I continue. Oftentimes that few second's pause is enough to shift my attitude completely, from one of "full steam ahead" to "yield."

I'm not granted an automatic right of way in life. Courtesy, consideration, and respect are gifts. I give them willingly some days, some days not, but I can still give them. I don't have to indulge my character defects.

I can rise above them. I can let it begin with me.


  1. "I'm not granted an automatic right of way in life."

    THAT, my dear, is a keeper. If I could tattoo it in my brain, I would.


  2. Great wisdom -- and beautifully expressed.

  3. Beautiful post Cheryl. I just loved it. So much truth here and a great analogy.


  4. Setting aside what we believe. That's really at the heart of recovery, isn't it? Thanks for this lovely post. Thanks, too, for visiting my blog, and your insightful comments there.