Be Here, Be Here Now

Alcoholics Anonymous’s “live one day at a time” is a seemingly sacrosanct slogan. The interpretation that I hear from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous is more along the lines of ‘a daily reprieve’ connotation. Yet when I put it into context of meditation and mindfulness, it’s a life saver for me. A foundation, a touchstone for my recovery.

Jon Kabat-Zinn says mindfulness is, “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment.” Or simply, “Mindfulness is paying attention in a particular way on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.”

Thich Nhat Hanh elaborates mindfulness and the peace and beauty in Present Moment Wonderful Moment. I often suggest that for me, being sober means being fully present, aware to the realities of the what is happening now. Though I have read many meditation and mindfulness books and have practiced several forms of meditation and living mindfully, sober these came to mean very different things to me and I practiced them with a different intention and urgency.

These poems were each written after meditation in which I struggled to be aware of difficult feelings, on the verge of being swept away by fear, anger, and resentment from which I wanted to escape. Each of these reminds me of a time and a place that even though I wanted to escape, that I chose to feel, to be here, and to be here now.

I

This moment
A refuge of peace
A reservoir of hope
I let go and sink
Sink slowly
Gravity takes hold
I rest in the void
The space
Between
Feelings
And thought
No coming
No going
Abide here
Here I abide

II

Listen
Oh listen please
Listen if you will
To the gentle sound
Of your breath
The in
The out
The pause between
It is true
True I believe
There is peace
Peace in every breath

III

I clung to yesterday
And yesterdays before
Oh how I did cling
But they slipped from my grasp
Running through my fingers
Like so much loose sand
So I reached for tomorrow
And tomorrows after that
Though they were quite out of reach
Stretch and try as I might
Yesterday and tomorrow evaded my grasp
Thus I was left with today
Just a little slice of now
And there I was and here I am

IV

To be here now
A remarkable gift
Living an ordinary life
Ordinary in every way
Full of wonder at every turn
Neither coming nor going
Awake and awakening to now
The expansive beauty of now

V

This moment replete with wonder
Wonders of wonders to behold and to cherish
A bee crawling atop a delicate bloom
Water falling from the tip of a leaf after rain
Fledgling finches – their first clumsy forays
The sweet relief of a gentle cool breeze
Dappled shadows beneath a tree
These and more the very breath of life
In the sweet sweet air that I do breathe
Give birth to a moment replete with wonder
This the moment I had long since sought
A moment where the past fades and the future waits
I breathe deeply I sigh quietly and I smile gently


About the Author

Robert B. is a sober alcoholic in Madison, WI participating in AA and AlAnon at Fitchburg Serenity Club. He has been sober since April 21, 2007. He also began writing and sharing poetry on Facebook during his first year sober as part of his recovery from alcohol dependency, acute anxiety and chronic depression. He has found that creativity expressed primarily through writing poetry and playing various stringed instruments helped him heal and thrive.

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