“When we look back, we realize that the things which came to us when we put ourselves in God’s hands were better than anything we could have planned.”
~The Big Book
“Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher.”
I hated those cruel commercials early on in my recovery – the ones where stunningly beautiful friends partied merrily, laughed cheerfully, looking chic, holding colorful cocktails or frosted mugs (I would have been holding one of each, by the way.)
I wanted that but couldn’t have it.
But a wise sponsor told me, “Oh yeah? Well mentally put yourself in that scene. Now fast forward 5 hours of so. See yourself now? Is that you with your mascara smeared under your eyes? What’s that you spilled on your shirt? Is that your voice blabbing too loudly and slurring your words? Keep going… where are you waking up? With who? Eww. There may be puking.
I didn’t want that but had lived it.
That fast-forward suggestion helped me change the channel in my mind when those unrealistic yet tempting scenes showed up. Thankfully now I fully realize which is illusion and which is reality. If for some insane reason I might ever feel enticed to play with fire, I know just what to do. Phew…
But I always remembered that “fast-forward” tip.
Recently I got to experience the fast-forward in reverse. It never occurred to me then to fast-forward out of an icky, uncomfortable, or hurtful experience into a scene that was much stronger, way more joyous, and extremely and utterly positive when I felt stuck. It wasn’t until years later that I realized the fast-forward concept is a variation on the New Thought principle of visualizing with intention and expectation. I was very short-sighted in those days.
Like the short-sighted way I felt stuck during and after my divorce from my ex-husband years ago. Though somewhat amicable as those things go, there were plenty of painful, hurtful, and difficult times. There were also times in the ensuing years that my relationship with one of my children felt strained, awkward, and stuck. I had gotten into and out of another marriage before getting sober. One of my best friends from the crazy days had stayed out there too long, and relapsed once along the road to recovery, which thankfully she has since rejoined. So many fragmented pieces of relationships simmered and blended in me for a while into a sad stew of discontent.
But even if I had known how to “fast forward” during those discontented years, I could not have imagined the amazing scene that actually unfolded in my very own home last week, starring some of these very same characters. A simultaneous visit from my son and my dear friend from across the globe whom I hadn’t seen in many years prompted an impromptu gathering complete with siblings, offspring, ex-husband and new wife, new family, in-laws, and old friends all in a jovial, authentic, fun reunion where kids had grown up, alcoholic adults had sobered up, where bygones were bygones, and the future looked promising.
It was a miracle actually. And it could not have happened precisely that way had it not been for each and every moment leading up to it over each and every year. How much stress and grief could I have saved myself if I had only known during those years that all of it was leading to something greater, and that the discontent would not, could not last forever. I have heard these words, and believed them. Now I have lived them in a deeper way. And my task is to remember them next time I’m grumbling about what is going on. I will fast-forward, visualize, call it whatever but use it to consciously imagine the desired outcome.
But back to the magical miracle moments of that un-visualized day, I didn’t fast-forward or even look back. I chose to stay as fully present as possible during that snapshot afternoon, full of awareness, gratitude and awe. That was enough.
Reflect on a period of time in your lift that felt bleak but was really the prelude to amazing coming attractions.
Can you lose yourself in the glamorized fantasy of a movie or book character (or even a commercial) while maintaining your connection to your desired reality?
Is there something going on in your life now that would lend itself to a fast-forward vision?
In gratitude, harmony, and support,