I was able to set these past three days aside to explore some loss in my life. Indeed, these past months have been a time of learning — learning to feel, to grieve, to accept. But, these past weeks have been particularly intense as I explored some deep pain from my past. I also started a process of taking my inventory of fears and resentments as part of a recovery workshop I’m in. For a man who has spent most of his life learning to numb and avoid feelings, this is all very much outside of my comfort zone. But, with the help of the rooms, and friends in recovery, and my devotional time, I’m living through the feelings — and coming out on the other side alive.
I took some time these past days to meditate, to read, to walk outside, to take pictures, to travel. I started an art project for a poster I want to create for Indianapolis. It felt good to connect with my passion from days gone by. Photography, like travel, is in my family’s blood. My grandfather had more camera bodies and lenses than he knew what to do with. And, he shared his love of photography with his children and his grandchildren. So, to find myself walking along the new cultural trail here in town, taking pictures of my surroundings was exciting. My senses were more aware of everything around me. My eye searched out the right composition, or the right moment, or the right perspective to capture what lay before me “on film.” What fun!
I also tried to reflect on what I learned from my friend Scott who passed away on Friday. He took a brave step few have the courage to ever do — to leave the security of an established corporate career to follow his passion. He became a certified, independent life coach. He fulfilled his dream before and during his treatment with several “students” or “coachees.” He was my life coach at a difficult part of my own transformation and recovery. He shared tools to help me develop a more principle-based pattern of living. He listened to my struggles in early recovery and shared his own spiritual experiences. For the short time I knew him, I was changed. For that I am grateful.
Scott returned from California just a few short weeks ago. He had gone there, hoping to get an intense stem-cell based bone marrow transplant
to attack the cancer. But, the cancer had spread too quickly and too deeply for them to get very far in the treatment. They modified his treatment strategy to one of quality of life. When he returned to Indiana, I understand that he sat down and wrote out a bucket list
. Of course, he had already realized his dream of life coaching
– but there were other things he still wanted to do in this life. Sadly, the cancer didn’t afford him much if any success on his bucket list.
I share this because his life coaching and his bucket list have been on my heart during these recent weeks. Do I have dreams I’ve shelved, or passions I’ve failed to follow? Do I have a subconscious list of things I still want to experience in this life? I hesitate to say accomplish because I’ve learned that it’s not what I do that matters in the end – it’s who I am – how I choose to live my life – the principles by which I strive, with the grace of my Higher Power, to live each day. But, with or without an illness, is there value in having a bucket list of my own? I think so. What about a set of principles that I can point to and use as a guide? Definitely. These are two of the many gifts and lessons I’m taking away from my friend, Scott. Thank you.
In closing, I realize that while a time of mourning is healthy, particularly for this addict, it’s also healthy to move on. That’s not to say I’m done grieving. But, I’ve paused to grieve…not just Scott’s passing, but the losses I’ve connected with from my past. Several weeks ago, I had even made my Facebook photo black. It raised many questions from friends of course, so I explained:
Working through some grieving, loss, mourning. So it’s a small reminder to myself to remain open to feeling the pain of my loss(es) so I can find healing and move on…
But, it’s time to restore my picture, shift my mind and meditations away from the intense focus on grieving…and just allow what comes to unfold.
It’s time to move on…
- Pausing to grieve (ctrecoveryjourney.wordpress.com)
- Do You Have A Photography Bucket List? (photofocus.com)
- Bucket Lists (bonniemelt.wordpress.com)
- Bucket List – updated (scottpaterson.org)