Ian's personal-vision project
If I'm not mistaken, it's been about 11 months since I added a similarly named project to my task-management program ... and I've done next to nothing to produce something. Clearly, this is something I'm going to need some support around.
I had an experience a long time ago -- 9 years, I think? -- that showed me how painful it has become for me to have dreams, to listen to what my heart says about how to live what remains of my life. A sponsor in another 12 Step program took me out for pizza and he asked me to just sit with him and draw up a quick "mind map" with him of what I'd like different parts of my life — friendships, family, career, health, hobbies & recreation, etc. — to look like 5 years down the line. As we dove in, it didn't take long before I realized my mood was sinking like a stone. In fact I was quickly going numb with despair: I wrote down things like "fitness: get back in basketball shape; family: get married, have kids and be a good father; career: pull myself out of a stall, make the most of the talents I had, and grab hold of a director-level position at an organization I could believe." The problem was, with each word I knew perfectly well that there was no freakin' way I was going to inhabit my life fully enough to reach such goals. I'm the guy who never made a promise he couldn't find a way to break — to myself, or to anyone else. I'm the irredeemable fuck-up; there's simply something wrong with me and failure is inevitable.
Eventually, I pretty much ran out on my sponsor and stumbled home, feeling slack and hopeless. I didn't really understand what had happened — I was in a program for another problem; doing this exercise made me acutely aware that at every stop along the way since I was about 12 I'd left little mark except for tons of wreckage of things unfinished or poorly executed. I remember thinking about it and talking with my sponsor about it and agreeing that the exercise had brought up powerful memories of the unmanageability that had followed me around. What I see now is that the wreckage isn't just unmanageability — it's a central drug-of-choice for me. I ensure that I'm a disappointment to myself and others. This gives me some control over the out-of-control fear I have over trying my best and not being good enough. And its what I know — it consistently provides a familiar shame and self-hatred that wallpapers over other feelings that are unknown/unpredictable. (I'm well aware at this point — at least consciously — that the pain I know is surely wayyyy worse than whatever pain I'd find in terra incognita. But there's some very powerful part of me that refuses to trust that this is true.)
Point is, I've proven over and over to myself that alone, I really don't have the strength to dream freely and then go after my dreams. I need a new sponsor around my procrastination/"under-being"/work anorexia; I also need to resume the practices — meditation, prayer (to what, I don't know. But it still tends to help), reading spiritual texts — that give me a sense of connection to the concept of higher power, however tenuous. Maybe I can also use this board to chip away at articulating my dreams, bit by bit.
Enough for now.
Just taking a break right now from work and thought I'd force myself to write something down.
LIFE GOALS: RECOVERY
» I want to actually work the 12 Steps all the way through. I've been attending meetings in different fellowships since 2002, and I've still never completed a 4th Step. The solution, from all the evidence I've seen after a thousand meetings, is in working the steps.
» I want a dependable sense of connection to higher power. It's difficult for me — I simply don't relate at all to the concept of a sentient Supreme Being, there's no feeling of truth in it for me. But in the past I have found ways (Buddhist practice, Eckhart Tolle, etc) that do feel true to me — when I actually put in the work of meditating, reading, doing my best to live from spiritual principles, etc. When I don't do the work, I default to feeling alone, isolated, forsaken.
» Someday, I'd like to look around at my life and see that I've become a pretty honest guy, that I've developed some real integrity. I still lie to people, and the truth is that I pay for it every time — it eats away at any sense of self-worth.
Anyway, I should get back to work.