Wednesday, May 23, 2012

On top and in the wind

Hey all, this will be short but wanted to share. This morning I was up inside the elevator cleaning, climbing the steel ladders came much easier, was even able to carry broom up a level with me. On the 2nd to the top level you lift off a manhole like cover and sweep the dust and corn into a deep dark hole, this was very un-nerving the first few time a couple of weeks ago, the pitch blackness topped with knowing it is a 100ft drop, today I manuever the covers with little fear. I was told I needed to go outside and clean the top of the annex, the annex is reached by walking across a 50ft catwalk, think of a narrow bridge across a deep gorge like in the movies. The annex itself is 3 concrete bins, 10 stories above the ground. I was able to walk across the catwalk, carrying a broom and a shovel without too much fear. I was able to get comfortable fairly soon, walked around a bit, looked at the town all to get relaxed, by the time I was done I was up against the rail pushing bits of corn over the edge. Oh I forgot to mention the wind was blowing about 20mph.

I have been doing some prayer and mediation on this fear of heights and it is paying off. I have asked for strength to handle the heights when the occasion to work outside finally came around. I have mediated on focusing to be in the moment and the task at in front of me. I honestly believe the prayer and mediation worked, I tapped into an inter source of strength, tapped into being mindful of my surroundings, breathed myself into calmness and did the job I was assigned and paid to do. Thank you God I am no longer coming to work hungover or still intoxicated!

Just thought I would let you all know I was walking around outside 10 stories above the ground and I did it without freezing up or soiling my jeans;)

Peace Love Light

P.S. see Kristin I can write a short post:)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Happiness/ Inter-Peace

Sitting here this fine Saturday morning, just Carter and me, Mich took Angel with her to a friends last night and hasn't come home yet. Carter is being good as long as I keep the vanilla wafers coming:) Since I wrote the first sentence; we have played with a ball, airplane, watched blues videos on YouTube and taken a shower/bath, taking a bath is Carter's 2nd favorite thing to do after eating, he is now laying in his room talking to himself, he will doze off shortly.

Work is going well, managed to get just over 40hrs last week and 39.5 this week. We had hellish winds Thursday and Friday. I have been working out and around the open bulk storage bunkers, the 40mph gust were threatening to blow my 155lb butt over a few times plus I was covered in dust from head to toe; Thursday when I got out of the shower I looked in the mirror and notice I still had dust caked in the folds of my ears. I have used a shovel and hoe quite a bit, hammer and crow bar to pull 2x4's and remove nails, plus the weed trimmers, I come home sore and tired. But you know what campers, I still like this job! I enjoy the lack of heavy pressure, my co-workers all tell me to just keep myself busy, stop take a break, drink some water if I need to, grab a quick smoke every couple of hours which is another way of resting the muscles. The supervisors are around but not over your shoulder or micro-managing your work.

 I see lots of toads and mice, saw my first rat yesterday it was running across the big pile of corn. I saw a baby bunny no bigger than a hamster the other day, I was trimming, stopped and told it to move along so it wouldn't get hurt, just stood there for a moment and watched it's brown body slowly hop away. I see lots of worms and birds, talk to both of them and play the devil's advocate, warn the worms of the birds and tell the birds have fun searching for the big fat worms. I keep waiting to see a bull snake, they are prairie constrictors who feed on mice, rats and small prairie animals, I think we may be too close to town for their satisfaction. I would like to catch a few bull snakes and try to get them to live around my trailer for mice control but now have my doubts. I will be going to the animal shelter next week to get a half way grown kitten to see if that helps with the mouse problem. No matter how hard I try I can't get ride of the mice, I catch 4 and 4 more show up, the grain storage building behind my house is the biggest contributor to this challenge.

Thursday night my sponsor celebrated 30 years of sobriety, there was a roast pork/potluck supper followed by a meeting for him. I have a lot of love and respect for this man. He took me through the steps, was there for me when Mich was getting into trouble and eventually had to go into a group home. He is big time involved in state level service work, currently he is the state delegate and just returned from GSO in New York. He has guided me in service work, showing me it is about service to AA and not service to me, introduced me to others and helped me get over being shy in large gatherings. He has always told me to try and understand what things mean to me, whether it is a passage from the Big Book, discussion during a service meeting, life experiences etc. Over the last couple of years we haven't had much contact with each other due our work schedules, he is a counselor in a halfway house. When he was in his late 40's he went from being a farmer to a college student, so he was an example for me when I made my decision. We have reunited lately because I am back in state level service work and also my work schedule is such that I can attend more meetings so see him at meetings. He lives recovery, he admits what he is doing wrong and talks about what he needs to do better. He is spiritual and religious but never talks about his religion unless asked, allows others for follow their own path. I was blessed to have him as the man who guide me in my first couple of years in recovery.

I rode to the celebration with my 2nd sponsor as irony would have it. This is the woman who I am doing a Big Book study with and going through the steps again with. She became my sponsor because I saw her every Sunday morning at my home group, would talk to her and when I had a challenge call her because since she is retired I could usually reach her. I share a lot of things in common with her so find her easy to talk to the everyday stuff which gets on my nerves, she is another liberal person living in a pretty hard core conservative area. I will be finishing my 4th step tomorrow and do a 5th step either this Monday or the next. This 4th step is about relationships I have had in recovery, I don't have any resentments but I do need to look closely at the different relationships and also the hurt I allowed my sister in recovery to create within me. I can analyze what I think my part in the relationships are but believe doing a 4th and 5th step with an objective person is healthy. Another thing about this woman is; it has been very helpful to sit down and talk with someone once a week face to face. I am not a good over the phone person whether it is with a sponsor or friend, kind of suck at talking like this but face to face I open up. If I am hurting or confused about something and I need to talk to someone Now, I will make a phone call but still prefer to see someone face to face as soon as I can. I am not keen on taking online classes for this same reason, would much rather a personal interaction than an electronic one.

So it is now Sunday morning, Mich and the kids spent the night at her friends. I am sure living here is a bit of a burden for her because her friends can't come around and drink. I don't mind her drinking as long as the kids are safe. I have to trust her and God that they will not be put in harms way. If anything bad does happen then I just have grab the big bag of tools and do my best with the assistance of others to get through it all.

Last night there was another potluck and speaker gathering, it at guys place in the country west of town. I had planned on going, I got in the truck started driving west, something about driving and listening to some good music changed my mind. I felt the need to just drive and listen to music, I needed to be alone in a round about way. I say round about because I wasn't alone, I had Stevie Ray, Steve Earle and Bob Weir with me, I had my God with me. I took off on the back roads, driving about 55mph, opened my mind and eyes to the beautiful countryside. I got off the paved road and on a gravel road which runs along the Platte river, I was hoping to see some eagles but never did. I was at peace just tooling along the roads with good music playing but not aggressively loud. I like social gatherings but God was calling me to the road, back to my roots of fields and pastures, back to a shallow river winding along a gravel road, washboards and all.

I have been hitting the 5:15pm meeting at least 3 times a week, I get off at 4:30 so by the time I get to town it is meeting time. I have always enjoyed the 5:15 meeting, it is a place to gather with me like me, people seeking the same solution to the challenges in life. My other 2 meetings are my home group and the Saturday noon 12 and 12. I thought I would be going to 8pm meetings but with getting up at 5:45am I am tired and ready for bed by 9pm or 10pm at the latest. I is a pleasure to be able to hit meetings again, to interact with newcomers and people who have been around awhile. I am making some new friends and reached out to a couple of new guys who were hurting. We can only keep what we have by passing it on  and everyone needs to know they are not alone or others have felt the same pain.

I checked my favorite blogs this morning and read, she titled her post Happiness, I was going to change the title of this post but have decided not to, so E here is my comment back to you my friend.

I titled this Happiness/Inter-peace because this is what happiness is all about to me. It is the simple things in life, it is contentment in the mundane ordinary ups and downs in life. Even when I wasn't content with my job I found inter-peace, I found the inter-peace in just living the life which is in front of me. The good in life always out weighs the bad if we have the awareness to look for it. I have stuff going on right now which makes me a bit uncomfortable but who doesn't. Recovery has opened my mind and eyes, the spiritual awakening is seeing life in a different way. I don't like being too high or low, I like my Yin and Yang to be in balance. When the Yin and Yang get out of balance the HP nudges me to do something, like keep on driving past a social event and look at the world out my window, so smell the rain, the plants, to see things I sometimes missed when I was trapped in my addiction. I was a nature freak in my addiction too but my vision was blurred, I would see nature for a bit then it was gone because my brain would go to the dark place of self pity and despair.

The Big Book has helped my see the world around me but so have books by the Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh. Having said this; I can read all I want but unless I put the words into action I am still stuck in my own pile of shit. I can have faith in my God all I want but unless I do some footwork God will not show me the things I need to see nor hear the things I need to hear.

In each thing I wrote about there is happiness and inter-peace because I was present for each and everyone. At this mornings meeting we talked about ththise common solution which has given us a way out. I have found it is from  common solution I find peace and happiness.

Well campers I need to wash up yesterdays dishes, then I am helping a friend move. Hope all of you are well and know you are loved.

Peace Love Light

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Week in the Sun

This isn't exactly like the elevator I am working at but it is close enough to give you an idea of what I will be talking about.

I started work on Monday, the morning was spent watching training and safety videos. After lunch the production supervisor who will be my boss took me on a tour of the plant and grounds. When I did the interview with the plant manager, he never mentioned there would be times when I would be asked to assist in cleaning the elevator from top to bottom. We first went to the shop, it was nice and organized, next we went to the elevator, my boss asked me if I was afraid of heights, well yeah I am kind of:( Side note; If you don't know it, corn dust is very explosive, so federal regulations require there be no more than an 1/8 of an inch anywhere inside of the elevator. Inside the elevator there are large tubes which transfer grain from various bins, also different pits and machines used for taking grain in and out of the elevator. We ended up at almost the very top of the elevator outside on the platforms, this is where the fear of heights kicks in, we had to climb some ladders made with round steel bars which for me are less secure feeling than wide step ladder rungs, there are cages around these ladders for safety though. On one platform there is a machine which vibrates shaking cobs, dirt clods and other debris from the corn before it is sent down a chute to be loaded on a truck, picture me standing on a 15ft by 6ft platform with only a guard rail between me and the ground some 200ft below. We also crossed a 30ft cat walk from the main bins to annex bins. So here I was walking around the top of a grain elevator probably 10 stories above the ground, checking out conduit and being shown how to clean up spills when the conduit leaks, we found one conduit where a bolt had broke through leaving a pile of corn, so it need fixed and clean in the very near future, my mind goes shit will I be up here tomorrow cleaning this up.

Driving home Monday my thoughts were turning to "what have I got myself into"? If I would have been told I would need to clean on top of the elevator and annex bins on occasion I might not of been so eager to accept the job.

Here is how the God of my understanding works in my life. I have been seeing my sponsor on Tuesday's, listening to Joe and Charlie review the Big Book and going through the steps. With my new hours Tuesday evenings won't work for her, so we changed it to Monday. I got to her house told her about the job and my day, had a good laugh over the height thing, yes there is a beautiful view of Gibbon and the surround country side but the view wasn't completely on my mind while I was up there even though I did look around. The section of the Big Book we listened to was the section on fear as it applies to the 4th step. You got it, just what I needed to hear. The solution to fear, is prayer and mediation. You would think I know this which I do but it wasn't in the forefront of my mind, so God gave me this reminder, every morning on the way to work I have prayed for strength to overcome this fear, to be aware of all the safety devices installed which keep me safe and the knowledge in time I will be walking around up there like a pro. I haven't been on top of the elevator since so not sure how the pray and mediation is going to work out:)

Tuesday, Wednesday and 1/2 of Thursday I spent with a gas powered weed eater over my shoulder. The plant has 2 large corn bunkers like the one in the picture, huge corn piles surround by a wall, there are also 3 large steel buildings east of town which hold grain during harvest. My job was to trim away all the weeds from the edges plus any areas which couldn't be taken care of by a mower. I suppose the trimmer weighs about 20lbs, my arms, hands and wrist were sore by the end of the day but I didn't mind, I was so grateful to be out of manufacturing and basking in the sunlight of the Spirit.

My awareness kicked in right off the bat. I notice the different types of plants, how some grow on the north side and others on the south side, noticed their color, fragrance if any, I chopped up a small patch of wild marijuana of which I still love the smell of. I thought about the Native Americans, I wondered which plants they used for food, medicine or other things, one plant has tough fibers so I wondered if they used the fibers like thread. I took in the smells, the smell of corn took me back to the years spending time on my uncles farm which was a mile away from our home. My boss called the smell of wet rotting grain a horrible stench but to me it was full of memories of a simpler time and place, the days of the small family farmer, of feeding corn to cattle and hogs.

This week it has been hot and muggy, high humidity and no rain except for .20 inches Wednesday night but I was enjoying every minute of it. The trimmer has plastic blades which need replaced once they are worn down, between replacing the blades and refilling the gas tank I was able to take small breaks, drink some water and rest my arms, God was looking out for me campers.

Thursday I was sent home shortly after lunch because there wasn't any work for me to do. There are 5 full time employees, all nice guys, 2 of the guys take care of the elevator doing maintenance and cleaning, 2 guys work in the open corn bunkers loading trucks and moving corn around so it can dry and one guy is a jack of all trades, does a lot of equipment maintenance. Thursday we didn't load any trucks, so 4 of the 5 guys were assigned to cleaning and doing maintenance on the elevator and other odd jobs which left me out of odd jobs. My boss told me not to come in at 7 on Friday, he would call me at 9 and let me know if he had work for me to do. So once again fear set in, fear of not getting enough hours to make ends meet. I prayed on the way home knowing with some financial discipline and faith, God would take care of me. I was called in Friday, the boss had a bunch of 2x4's which need to be removed from the edges of the bunkers, once remove I was to drive the nails out and move them to a different location. I worked from 9:45 to 4:30, had to stop a few times to assist the shop guy so it was an easy day. I also had a "duh" moment when I checked my hours, I work 7 to 4:30, I didn't calculate this before hand but it isn't an 8 hour day but a 9 hour day, 1/2 hour lunch, so even if I get cut lose on occasion I am still getting close to 40 hours, sweet relief.

So far this job change has been positive, my supervisors are good guys who thank their people for a job done well, I like the guys I work with they are all friendly and helpful without being smart asses, I enjoy working outside, my arms are turning the color of a coffee bean very fast, there isn't a lot of stress or pressure, we are given jobs and trusted to get them done. I am sure I will have down days, get bent out of share by job, be muscle sore, get really tired of a tedious task, I have to wear a hard hat and it kind of sucks. What I have remember is the reason I changed jobs and be grateful for finding this one and the new freedoms it allows me.

Having my evenings and weekends free is a joy. I have been able to go to meetings. I have my flower garden all planted, put the bulbs in last week which was the last thing to do, now I need to buy some tomato and pepper plants and maybe a cucumber plant for the pots. I have been able to adjust my sleep pattern fairly quickly, awake at 5:45am and asleep by 10ish. Mich has been fairly good at doing the housework and keeping dishes washed. I cook supper but don't mind, I prefer to cook what I am in the mood for and try to make it something the kids will eat also. I have put pressure on Mich about a couple of things and will continue to do so. Angel and Carter are just who they are, 2 little kids who want to be with their papa as much as possible, Angel loves to watch me cook and help out, I have carefully allowed her to stir things, hold the mixer when I mix a cake mix, scramble eggs and other things, yeah she is kind of in my way but believe this is something special between us and she is learning in the process. Carter is just a very busy 2 year old, swear the kid is ADHD, he is teaching me more about patience, he is also very stubborn so I have to think of creative ways to correct his wrong behavior. Mich is good about correcting the kids but when I am home they both gravitate towards me, she does understand I need my space and helps me get it as much as possible.

Well campers, this is how things are going in my world. I hope and pray your lives are going well and you are finding some peace, love and light. Remember to take the time to smell the wonderful smells of spring and listen to the birds sing and squirrels chat.

Peace Love Light