This morning I awoke early, which allowed me to get up and go hear the two spiritual speakers at the rally, first the Al-Anon speaker, and then the last AA speaker. The Al-Anon speaker was very difficult to hear, and much of what she was saying was unintelligible. I found myself daydreaming throughout her talk, unable to concentrate, because I couldn't distinguish what she was saying. The interesting thing about this, to me, was that even with this being the case, the energy in the room was undiminished. I've noticed this at meetings I've attended. Sometimes, a person will speak and their voice is so soft that they sound more like the whisper of a breeze rustling through leaves, than a person speaking. But somehow, the attention of everyone in the room upon that person, the active listening and the respect we give to each person talking, is no less for the words being unheard. The feeling carries us.
The second speaker was wonderful, he'd been in AA for many years, and was humble, honest, and funny about his own character defects and attitudes. I love it when a recovering member, whether in AA or Al-Anon, truly begins to grasp the insanity of their own thinking, and see the humour in what would once have caused them stress and anger.
Overall, I found the rally a great experience, and I'm very grateful to the friend who gave me a ticket as a gift. I'd have gone anyway, but this made it more fun, because when she asked today how I was enjoying it, and then said, "You don't need to reply to that, I can see the answer in your face" and we grinned happily at each other, the sense of shared understanding was a lovely feeling.
At the last AA meeting, when the speaker reached the point in the introductory reading from How It Works: "Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go ... Many of us exclaimed..." an audience member leapt to his feet and yelled "What an order!" He was no sooner back in his seat before another rose to shout "I can't go through with it!"
This was obviously pre-arranged, and made most of the audience laugh, but a middle-aged couple at our table was grumbling about it. They were saying to each other how much they'd hated it, yada yada yada. I wanted to, but didn't, turn to say, "If you just decided not to let it annoy you, you wouldn't be sitting there in an AA meeting, feeling annoyed instead of grateful or at peace."
I had decided ahead of time that I was going to have a marvellous time at the rally, and I did just that. But how many times in my life have I fixated on the one thing which hasn't gone the way I thought it should, or expected, and that has been what I've obsessed about, while allowing the chance of enjoying the present moment to pass me by unnoticed? Many times. Most of the time, when I was very new to program.
I am deeply grateful that I don't focus on what annoys me, and the corollory of that, which is that fewer and fewer things annoy or irritate me. They just aren't worth my time and effort. I don't need to feel superior or turn up my nose at the things that others find fun. I can allow them their joy, and feel my own. Life is good, thanks to this wonderful program.