When I first discovered Ram Dass, I was a lost soul.
I felt stuck. I was still drinking heavily, but, I was starting to question the road I was on. I knew in my gut that there was no way for me to keep up with my own lifestyle. I was afraid of who I was becoming. I didn’t know how to change. I didn’t know who to be. And, I was afraid to ask for help.
In my confusion, I began to read voraciously. And, in a passage of Anne LaMott’s Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith, she mentions reading, and having a life-changing experience with, Ram Dass’ classic: The Only Dance There Is. I immediately went to my local bookstore and bought a copy. The moment I cracked open the spine, Ram Dass exploded into my heart. His language: woo woo, hippie-dippy, far-out, and super groovy, spoke to me. He was unapologetic about his place in the Universe. His presence was his own. I envied his clarity and confidence. In his own, marked place of presence, he made me feel PRESENT and ALIVE.
It was only a few months after reading The Only Dance There Is that I called my parents and told them I needed help: I wanted to stop drinking. And, with their support, I was able to leave my job and enter a six month, holistic, outpatient rehab center.
Without drinking or using drugs I had no choice but to be present. Of course, I tried to distract myself. I obsessed. I got lost. But, eventually, I found myself in a moment where I had to stay. A moment where I had no choice but to experience what was happening. A moment that is everything and nothing simultaneously. Yes, it’s far out.
When I found my presence, it was scary. I’d spent most of my adult life attempting to escape such moments. Yet, somehow, it came to pass that I was actually seeking my own presence, my own unapologetic being.
Sobriety is the ability to be fully present. Any type of addiction cuts us off from our authentic state. It was difficult for me to get to a place where that concept made sense. I spent a lot of time missing my drinks. I was convinced I was missing out on something. But, eventually the opposite was revealed: I had been missing out on lots of things by continuing to drink and use drugs. Being present is the ultimate tool. If you can live with yourself, you can be anywhere, do anything, and feel any and every emotion, because no matter what, you’ll be authentically you. That’s all there is.
For the first time, I became present. I became available to myself and to the infinite Universe of which we are all an important part. It is a gift that I sincerely hope everyone has the opportunity to receive.
This week I encourage you to stop and Be. Here. Now.
How will you show up for yourself and the world today? What stops you from being present? Share your story in the comments…I want to hear it…