476.5 Actioning excavation


On my course recently we had a reflective exercise.  We had to choose a picture of Jesus.  There were literally hundreds of Jesus’s.  Contemporary images, art work, rasta Jesus, black Jesus, blonde Jesus, cartoon Jesus, angry Jesus… you name it and there is was.  We had to take our chosen image and go off to a quiet place and have a conversation with this Jesus.  The image above is the one I chose.

I went to my room and thought, hmmm this is a bit pointless.  A conversation… with this picture?  So I sat there on my bed and thought… ”shit, that lovely girl thought we were around the same age and she is 55, shit shit, I used to be able to make myself up and think I looked ok, that just isn’t happening anymore, its going south and quickly”.  Then I thought about a refund I should be getting from the car hire company.  Then I wondered what time breakfast was the next day, and if I could pop into town and get something at the shops and eat breakfast and be back in time for the course starting and go to the morning service.  Then I checked my texts.  By the time I really looked at the picture, I realised that I was rather distracted.  This Jesus is holding the woman, and very gently telling her something, or maybe kissing her cheek?  ”What are you telling me? ” I wondered…

”Did you notice what distracted you from our conversation?”  was my answer.  Always a question.

The things that distract me from really living my best life may just be…. preoccupation with looks, money, food and social media.

I wanted to go away from that short conversation and think about how I cannot be preoccupied with these fairly important things.  That they may be in my life but not overly important.  This is my task in my 8 weeks between residentials.

We can all notice things.  If we take time.  It is doing something with them that ultimately makes a difference and changes our course of action and eventually our lives.



476. Excavation


This is not a new opinion.  Excavation, unlearning, returning, remembering…. all these words hold a promise of something old being found new.  How lovely.

I am convinced that this excavation and unlearning can only be done deliberately with silence, reflection and noticing.  Then once you’ve noticed, being silent and reflective once more.  Then some action.  Take what you have noticed and do something with it.


471. Paying attention


What characterises my state of mind from being a drinker, albeit a fairly high bottom-ed one, and being a non-drinker, is the fact that I decided to take seriously the task of not-drinking.

I was definitely the ”fuck it” kind of person.  In the ”Okay, I’m not drinking during the week this week” and I get a text, ”Apéro? I have a lovely bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon…?” and I definitely was the ”Oh fuck it yes, Marlborough is the favourite vineyard and I will not drink the rest of the week”.

Which of course never really happened, because there would be another fuck it moment, and I’d find some other excuse to just have one, or just a couple.

It strikes me that that is a very hard attitude to shake.  Because even now, when I see people taking something too seriously, my instinct is to say,  ”lighten up you assholes” in a kind and gentle manner of course.  And then it makes me want to be naughty.  I am doing a course which requires a certain level of seriousness and indeed it has to have that element given the nature of the course, but when I see someone too earnest and eager, I can be found doing an inward eye roll.

So that rebel part of me still exists alive and well.  But I was the girly swot taking seriously my not-drinking.  Why?

Drinking is SO life draining.  It is so insidiously creeping.  It is incredibly innocent seeming.  I just was not a one glass girl.  No point.  And maybe not everyones’ life is drained, maybe some people can have half a bottle of wine and just laugh it off and get up raring to go in the morning.  But I was just not that person.  The drinking guilts, the wondering what I’d done on occasion, the general apathy and feeling low and shit, from even a little tame session, just stopped being worth the night before.

It stopped being worth the night before some 20 years ago but I still plugged on….

Focus, Barbara, I had to say.   It is time to take not-boozing seriously, like a full time job.  Just for a short period.

And fuck it, it has worked.


460. Life Saver


Stopping drinking has saved my life.

NOT in the way you may think.  I did not have liver disease, or was not a hopeless alcoholic who had lost family and jobs and so on.  No, none of those.  But it has saved my life anyway.  I am now more alive than I have been in years.

By LIFE I mean… things are happening.  Hope has sprouted wings and is flying and soaring.  I have started a course – which I absolutely love – which I don’t think I could do with total integrity if I was occasionally getting rat-faced.  I certainly could not wake up early every day to do my meditation.  This small tweak starts my day with a still, silent, plugging-in to a great loving energy source which sets me up with enthusiasm and energy to face the day ahead.

I have ”met” a kindred spirit through my blog who is encouraging me to write.  Writing is something I have DREAMED of doing ever since I can remember.  It feels like an electric shock to even broach the possibility of writing.

Tonnes of tiny connections are forming all over the place which make me certain that I am riding a wave of synchronicity.  I am feeling like I am really living, growing, changing and transforming.

I doubt that it would be the same if I was still hanging over at various points in the week.  Even if I was just a little tired and jaded from one or two wines too many more than once a week.

The ability to like oneself and trust oneself that comes with sobriety is singly the most valuable thing.  The most life giving thing you can imagine.

Not drinking has given me LIFE.

I am very grateful.  Because it is hard….. but life is back in technicolour.

455. Setting the stage


Being sober sets the stage for a great show.  Not a show as in a performance, as in acted out.  But a real show.  The chance to show who you really are in a good way.  Alcohol blocks real connection.  Connection with ourselves and connection with others.  If we get used to always using it on social occasions, our capacity to really connect is hampered more or less every time we drink more than one or two glasses.  Without connection nothing real happens.  It is just empty role play, no room for being who we really are.

Each one of us is unique and has a particular role on lifes’ stage.  We want to be playing ourselves and not putting on a mask or a false persona.  Our greatest mission is to find out what makes us feel passionate and alive and energetic.  Whilst I don’t doubt that certain drinkers can find their ”calling” while drinking, most of us cannot.

Alcohol in excess drains our passion, life and energy.  If only this were not true.  But it is. So some of us choose to do more life and less booze.

Of course there are times where I feel totally on the edge of the social circle.  That is a story I am making up in my head.  I can be exactly right there in the inner ring if I wanted to.  But I just do not belong anymore, somewhere where people are hectically putting an anaesthetic into their heads.  I am outcast – by my very own self.  But there are others who see this truism and don’t pour lots of anaesthetic into their heads either and they can be my gang 😉

I can only find my passion by paying detailed attention to myself and what makes me spark.  And to be honest, a hangover would not make things spark.  I can take the time and energy now to find out what my real role is in this whole THEATRE OF LIFE.  Take the time to connect with people and myself in a real way.   To notice notice notice where I find life and energy and to go there.  A great life does not happen by itself, a great life takes deliberate concentrated action.   It is much easier to do this sober.

I am in a theatre mood, so perhaps tomorrow I will post again about something else I have noticed about sobriety 😉

Night night xx




438. Food for thought


This is not original (obviously)… but I thought it was well worth a broad share… It is to do with ”Doing the Homework” and speaks of meditation.  But however, it ties in exactly with sobriety.  If we do not do the ”work” it takes to stay sober we will not stay sober.  Simple.  It is the work that only we can do, no one does it for us.   Like I said a few posts ago, a great life does not just happen.  We have to build it.  We have to do the groundwork.

Enjoy the read and let me know your thoughts….. Change the God reference if you like and insert your own idea…

Doing the Homework
Sunday, October 13, 2019

Contemplation is an entirely different way of knowing reality that has the power to move us beyond mere ideology and dualistic thinking. Mature religion will always lead us to some form of prayer, meditation, or contemplation to balance out our usual calculating mind. Believe me, it is major surgery, and we must practice it for years to begin to rewire our egocentric responses. Contemplation is work, so much so that most people give up after their first futile attempts. But the goal of contemplation is not success, only the continuing practice itself. The only people who pray well are those who keep praying! In fact, continued re-connecting is what I mean by prayer, not occasional consolations that we may experience.

The capacity for nondual knowing that is developed through contemplation allows us to be happy, rooted in God, comfortable with paradox and mystery, and largely immune to mass consciousness and its false promises. This is true wisdom knowing, and it is the job of elders to pass it on to the next generation so we need not start at zero.

Contemplation is meeting as much reality as we can handle in its most simple and immediate form—without filters, judgments, or commentaries. The ego doesn’t trust this way of seeing, which is why it is so rare, “a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:14, New Jerusalem Bible). The only way we can contemplate is by recognizing and relativizing our own compulsive mental grids—our practiced ways of judging, critiquing, blocking, filtering, and computing everything. But we first have to catch ourselves in the act and recognize how habitual our egoic, dualistic thinking is. Each person must do this homework for themselves. It cannot be achieved by reading someone else’s conclusions.

When our judgmental mind and all its commentaries are placed aside, God finally has a chance to get through to us, because our pettiness and self-protective filters are at last out of the way. Then Truth stands revealed on its own—quite simply—and we will experience a rebirth of the soul.

434. Journey time.


I do feel very much like I am on the verge of an exciting journey with this non boozing.  It seems like life has opened up wide and the possibilities are endless, due to not being hampered by ”Will I be hungover?” ”Can I trust myself to just have one or two?” “Shall I drive or will I be regretful and wish I had taken bus?” ”Can I commit to that if I am going out the night before?” ”Will I feel like shit the next day, so therefore should not say yes to this or that?”

Everything is just so much more manageable.  So much calmer.  And really – from the point of view of a NON DAILY DRINKER.  A NON ON MY OWN DRINKER……(I have said this before) the difference is totally out of proportion to the smallness of what I have stopped doing.  That being just not putting a glass to my lips – a glass containing ethanol in various guises – and sipping.  Very little change.  Very small movement that is no longer occurring.  Bizarre.

So I have another exciting project that I am going to start blogging about, because I believe that clearing space, both physically and metaphorically is very important.  This seems to be my ”new” thing.  I have signed up for “Uncluttered” – a 12 week online course with a money back guarantee to get your home ship shape and ready to rock and roll.  I am moving out of my current house in two months time, directly after a three week holiday.  So I need to be organised.  I am a master procrastinator.  When I feel like I have too much to do I get overwhelmed.  I make myself a cup of tea.  And I write a list.  Instead of just doing one thing that I should be doing.

I am also doing a course in Spiritual Direction.  This has meant that I need my own Spiritual Director.  This has been unbelievably useful for me – a person to come alongside one in their search and discernment of ”God” in their life.  It is just my thing.  I love it.  Anyhow, I have needed to write a journal daily about what brings me life (and love and energy) and about what drains me.  So a ”noticing” journal.  Nothing judgmental. And the thing that drains me the most is when I waste my time and faff around and do too much facebooking and then think, okay I’ll go to bed now and do all that tomorrow.  I can waste plenty of time because although I have a few small jobs, I don’t actually go out to an office, or place of work at a regular time.   There are plenty of things that bring me energy and life, but the overriding draining one is the irritation at myself of wasted time.  I don’t mean I should not take time out and rest and read etc. but I hate being unproductive.

Funnily enough, as soon as I stopped drinking, if you were with me reading the blogs from day 1, you will have noticed that my productivity stepped up 1000 fold.  I was baking, making ginger beer, crocheting, etc and so on… I am still fairly productive, but because I can be on my total own for days at a time with no actual structure I can get quite distracted.

So productivity and house organisation with a twist into the metaphorical de-cluttering to follow…..And the odd nod to no booze Barbs.

Have a great evening.