Tuesday, October 29

Great Memories Created and the Source for Boldness and Confidence, When Tried By Unpleasant Others 10/29/13

View while cruising in my son's car along the Silverado
 Trail in the Napa Valley, on our way to Angwin
     Good evening everyone.  How are you?  So many good things have happened since the last time I've written.  Where do I start??  Well, here's one story......

     Saturday, my oldest son and I ventured to the Napa Valley and beyond.  The weather, fabulous, the time spent talking as we journeyed there, a father's dream.  Honesty, mirth, openness, insights, vulnerability, reciprocity, respect and plenty of love was shared as we traveled 74 miles up Highway 80 towards our destination.  Finally, taking the Silverado Trail that skirts the many vineyards of the valley, we arrived at the Seventh Day Adventist town of Angwin.

     From the edge of this college town we mountain-biked 12.5 miles within the 2,000 acre forest located on Howell's Mountain, not on any established roads, because there were none.  The grades of this trek were at times 60 degrees steep, but fun. Frequently the sounds of birds were blocked out by the low, continuous screeching of the bicycle's brakes keeping me from going over a  mountain embankment or crashing headlong, as gravity had me skidding---helmetless---down the granite rock boulders interspersed with dirt.  Forty percent of our adventure was learning how to balance, while skidding and shimmying, down the narrow paths that cut through the wooded hills.  (Next time I'm mountain biking, my head will be encased with plastic-Styrofoam protection.)

     Grateful for the bottle racks on my steel steed, we chugged water as we took in the intense beauty of the forest.  Pine trees abounded, along with blue and live oaks.  More than 125 species of birds greeted us as we sped through the volcanically created hills.  The entire day, spent within the wooded sanctuary, not one car was seen nor heard.  Probably because this forest is on property belonging to Pacific Union College, a private, coeducational four year liberal arts college located in the Napa Valley.  The area we traveled had not one inch of asphalt, as in having a road of any sort.  Heavenly it was and nurturing for our urban-tossed souls.

      At last, we arrived at Inspiration Point.  A metal pole barrier, waist high, wrapped its edge as we stood at this precipice.  My guess is it was erected due to an exuberant visitor who took one step too many and viewed the area from a plunging, one-time only, jarring perspective.

      For my son and me, this vista was Exhalation Point.  There, we caught our breath after bounding off of root-strewn, boulder encrusted paths and straining ourselves---fighting gravity with our quadriceps---standing, shoving our feet into the pedals, while climbing its hills.

      The vista stretched for miles, unveiling the undulating forested Pope Valley, untouched since the creation of time.  Serenity was purchased with sixty minutes of sweat-producing and muscle-torturing time spent clambering hilly terrain on two wheels.  An additional hour-plus journey followed, as we cycled back to the warmth and comfort of my son's car.  What a person will sometimes do to spend time with a son, free from artificial distractions---phone, TV, internet, city noise.  Our physical adventure also allowed me to discharge stress while preparing for a challenging, but God-uplifting week.  I can't wait to see what God is going to do!

My Gratitudes for Today: 
1. For memories that will last a lifetime.
2. For a phenomenal time with family.
3. For my health. Sunday, I felt no effect from Saturday's ordeal.
4. For scrumptious New York pizza that my son and I inhaled that night, in Napa.
5. For traveling beyond 28 miles in a day, which has been my maximum, the last 20 months---in nearly two years---as I've only used my bicycle for transportation during that time.  I have not driven my car one inch since March 1st, last year.

The Sun of Loving Principles Will Dissipate Clouds of Discord
 Focus On the Common Good

       Tomorrow, I eagerly anticipate seeing God at work Wednesday night, at an Al-Anon Family Group meeting.  Those there and I have the opportunity to contribute towards creating unity, peace and a constructive environment, by applying Tradition One.
"Our common welfare should come first; personal progress for the greatest number depends upon unity."  Al-Anon Family Group's Tradition One
     Gossip by two women, three weeks of constant attacks and vitriol from this couple has invaded a once safe, warm, positive, staying-in-the solution, loving meeting.  Am I glad.  Why you ask? Because I'm the Attitude of Gratitude guy.  I see this storm for what it is.

     It is temporary---the issues will be dealt with tonight, and perhaps next week. This personality, codependency and impression management-driven storm has been, a great opportunity for characterological growth for all those affected by it.

     Many who attend are learning the value of placing healthy principles above personalities, our own, and that of others.  As a result, they are not freezing in the headlights of the aggressive and contentious, disharmony producing behavior of others.  This happens when applying the steps, literature and traditions that are foundational to Al-Anon Family Groups.  In tonight's case, Tradition One will be the major antidote for the toxicity this group has endured, but no longer will.

6.  I'm thankful that no one can get my goat if I do not let them know where it is tied.  I'm also glad that many of the goats in my past are now long gone, given their leave.  This freedom from being triggered is the result of not having expectations of others and retiring my cape years ago.

    Also, my joy, personal strength and serenity are the result of having loving, amazing, supportive others. They provide enormous, positive, emotional constancy. They undergird my sanity and emotional well-being. It also helps knowing, on the experiential, cellular level the quote just above. In my mind it hovers in the upper recesses of my being, providing the confidence that allows me to express my independence, even when others try to stretch me on the rack of their anger, gossip and personal attacks in front of others, without them  first even trying to approach me.

7. For boldness that is inspired from years of observing the results when constructive, loving principles, like Tradition One, are applied above pettiness, unkindness, and the cruel nature of others.
8.  For the fun I will have in the next 24 hours.  More to be revealed---stay tuned.


Syd said...

Sounds like a great bike ride. I have to say that it is inspiring that you haven't driven your car in over a year. That is totally great.

Carl H said...

Dear Innkeeper,

(with a "hint of Halloween in my prose...)

Our dear friends look after the oldest golf course in the county; in Pope Valley, so we visit from time to time. Beautiful countryside! You chose well for your bike hike! The road through Angwin, over the top of the mountain down to Pope Valley, is a marvelous route for a robust spin on a bicycle, a vintage motorcycle or an open-air roadster! Ah, yes, I am dreaming.

On this Thursday evening, I am grateful...

1. For time to respond instead of reacting. When I breathe...ask questions and uncover the facts, I can often piece together a coherent and realistic story, void of assumptions and drama. This can be far less "scary" than the one I conjure up in the dark, cobwebbed, oft haunted recesses of my obsessive/compulsive imagination. In this, I choose to give my sons, and others the "benefit of the doubt," and thus liberate myself from needless self-imposed, hand-wringing angst. This is a gift of recovery.

2. Struggling but slowly learning to sit and be still, listen and try to hear the heart of another, even when I believe ("know" is a bit strong) they are wrecking havoc on their own, potential serenity; doing themselves a terrible and needless disservice by choosing to dwell in the "haunted recesses" described above.

3. The fine, intriguing artistry of NPR murder-mysteries (Poirot, Mrs. Marples, etc.)we delight in while warmed by the wood burning stove, on some of these longer, darker, winter nights.

4. Providing a safe haven for a lonely soul, in need of family, friends, food and fellowship.

Pablo said...

Syd, great to see you back! Thanks for your kind words. It's now 20 months since I've driven a car. My guess is that I'll be driving soon, however. The weather is changing and it may be best for me to drive in the rain, rather than cycle.

But, I agree with you,cycling has been great, my carbon footprint has been minuscule. Hope to see you again, soon!

Pablo said...

Dear Carl,

It's always great, reading your comments. Thank you for the positivity you add to the inn. even when you are being taxed, emotionally and spiritually.

My ride was not on public roads. It went through private property owned by Pacific Union College, two thousand acres in size.

I commend you for your patience as you deal with family related issues. Patience is a gift of the AFG program, it's much harder to maintain in our strength alone. Leaning on God's power certainly helps. Are you putting your challenges in your "God box"?

You have my prayers this week, the week ending 11/9/13. Thank you for demonstrating that we can glean gratitudes, even during challenging and perilous-to-our-serenity seasons in our lives.

Carl H said...

Dear Innkeeper,

I don't actually have a God Box, though my wife does have one.

I need to start one, so will put that on my list of things to do for this week...

Thanks for the question, as it is prompting a positive step in my life...

Pablo said...

Dear Carl,

You'll find using a God Box very helpful. Let me know how it felt after placing your concerns in it.

Quotes from the Posts

"I'm mindful that our thoughts affect the words we use, our words influence our actions, our actions shape our character and our character determines our destiny."

From "My Character Determines My Destiny." To read it, please click here.

"Progress not perfection, is better than no progress at all, especially when we're trying to rid ourselves from unwelcome dragons that dwell within the closets of our soul."

From, "Still Learning" which, within four days, became the most popular post
written. To read it, please click here.

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its trouble, but it does empty today of its strength"
From the post: "Life Is Not a Correspondence Program." Click here to read it.

"Even though we cannot control our circumstances, we can control how we choose to respond to them."

From, "Handling Stress and Dealing With an Emotional Bully."Click here to read this post.

"Nope, being busy isn't exciting. Boring is good. Because boring is not boring; boring is being healthy, living a balanced life that has serenity"

From: "Do You Know What It Means If You Are Too Busy?" For more, please click here.