Saturday, July 31, 2010

Milestones Blogfest/The End of Seeking

Thank you to Donna Hole for hosting today's Milestone Blogfest! I can't seem to finish the post I've been working on for days (yes, angels, I'm stuck again) so I am reposting an article from September of last year. While it isn't current (as in of today) it was a huge turning point in my life, the milestone that gave me permission to be where I am today: living a simple life and writing.

I call this milestone The End of Seeking Aka The Light at the End of the Tunnel. Read on. And when you're done, click on over to Donna's for the links to read the rest of the entries. I'll be doing the same thing.

What milestones brought you to this moment, this place, this time?

A woman met a man she didn't want to meet.
She liked him. She saw in him a burning light.
From deep within a feeling unbidden
overwhelmed the woman. The feeling
frightened her. How could this be from the
sight of the light in the man she didn't want
to meet? The woman sat still. A memory of a
far off place came to her and remembering
the beauty, the awe and the wonder, her fear
left. The man talked on, unaware. His flame
burned bright in the night. - Olivia Herrell


This is from my personal library, and was penned painstakingly one February, years ago. I was early in recovery in AA, stinging from a long weekend in Hilton Head with my wonderful, but alcoholic mother, who'd spent the entire weekend whining about anything and everything in general, but mostly about me in particular.

There was a man in my life, just then, who was a member of Al-Anon, the sister organization to AA. Though I was sober in AA, I had no defense against my mother's drinking, nor against her tongue when she was drinking.

That man introduced me to Al-Anon, where my recovery continued and grew.

It's been almost 19 years since I started down this long road of recovery.

Over that time I have peeled away one layer at a time, doing personal inventories, making amends, clearing up wreckage, learning to say no. Then learning to say yes. I've spent countless hours in AA meetings, Al-Anon, group therapy, individual therapy, motivational seminars, ashrams, self-help books, meditation, walks in nature, journalling, writing, thinking, feeling, being, sleeping, reading, dreaming, cell, one breath, one heart beat at a time.

I've had good teachers. The best. And, I'm a good student.

But there was always another.

And another.

Today, that came to a rather abrupt halt.

I even heard the "eeerrrrrkkkkkkkk!"

It was a peculiar sensation. Rather like being slammed against a concrete wall. The wall at the end.

Now, for all my fellow seekers out there: Have you ever wondered how you'd know when you reached the end of your long search? I don't think I'd ever even pondered the question! Yet, now, here I am, at the end. And knowing it.

"What's at the end?" you ask?

The light.

The light that burns bright in the night.

The big surprise? There's really no surprise, at all.

It's what every weary seeker must find.

I don't feel cheated. Not at all.

I do feel deep gratitude. And relief. And not just a little silly.

I bow to my divine, to that burning light within me.

Baba Muktananda advised, "Honor your Self, Worship your Self, Meditate upon your Self. God dwells within you as you."

Tonight, I know, more than ever before, what he meant.

Thank you, to all my teachers. I love and respect and appreciate you, more than you may ever know.

And, thank you to Karen Anderson, Angelic Intuitive, whose loving Spirit helped me to recognize the end.

I will close with this. We all know this story. But...guess what! I found the teacup! :D

Taken from an NPR script:
A seeker has heard the wisest guru in all of India lives atop India's highest mountain, so the seeker tracks over a hill in Delhi until he reaches the fabled mountain. It's incredibly steep, and more than once, he slips and falls. By the time he reaches the top, he's full of cuts and bruises. But there's the guru, sitting cross-legged in front of his cave.

Oh, wise guru, the seeker says, I have come to ask you what the secret of life is. Ah, yes, the secret of life, the guru says. The secret of life is a teacup. A teacup? I came all the way up here to find the meaning of life and you tell me it's a teacup? The guru shrugs, so maybe it isn't a teacup.
~Olivia J, Herrell, September 13, 2009

More than anything, I hope this post gives you permission to look around your own life. Eyeball that huge milestone. What was the turning point that got you here? To today. Are you happy with where you are? If not, what would you change?

I changed everything. I sold my worldly goods, left my practice, changed coasts, stepped off the hamster wheel. I will admit that the dismount was less than graceful. I'll even admit that I did a face plant. It took a while for me to regain my sanity and my bearings. But thank God. Because that is what shoved me in to your world. And birthed my novels. So this milestone? It's a big one.

What about yours?

~Olivia J. Herrell

Picture of that rebel (yeah, that would be me) in Oak Canyon Park across the street from my apartment in Oak Park, CA. Even better, my sister (Cheryl) took this picture only a few months before I wrote this particular post. Good memories. :)


Aubrie said...

Very powerful post! I enjoyed reading it.

I've had some great teachers that have shaped my life as well.

Elliot Grace said...

...your post was wonderful. Caused me to bristle when speaking of your past demons, and those of your mother. My father is currently battling the drink...and giving in far too often.
Thanks so much for writing this...

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Very eloquent, very moving, very brave.

Alcoholism consumed my father, consumed his marriage to my mother, and nearly ended me when he abandoned me in an alcoholic haze on some nameless street.

I've found that there is truly no "end" -- just a bend in the neverending road we call life -- and the ending we see as death, perhaps it, too, is just another bend in the road.

Have a healing trip over that path this weekend, Roland

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Aubrie, thank you. I hope the succession of teachers never ends. For either of us. But the desperation is gone. That feels good.

Elliot, alcoholism is a devastating disease. It's often called a disease of denial, one that tells you you don't have it. I'll hold your daddy in my thoughts, and you and your family.

Roland, alcoholism took my daddy, my brother and my mother. It created havoc in my own life. I was on a dark street or two. But I can not imagine the horror of being eight years old and being left, forgotten. Anywhere. Much less on a scary street. At night. Alone. For weeks. How utterly and profoundly awful. My heart aches.


Francine Howarth said...


Very touching prose!

It takes great courage to reveal demons that stalk the inner self despite hammering them to the wall.
very best

Unknown said...

Wow that was a great post, a very powerful representation of a very personal milestone.

Congratulations on your quest,

Jules said...

Saying merely "Very powerful" does not seem adequate for this post. Heroic, super woman, are actually what come to mind.

Heroic for sharing such in depth struggles and demons. Super Woman for the mountains you have climbed.

I too am a fellow seeker but now am humbled next to you.

Love this for all the right reasons.

Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Justin W. Parente said...

I was blown away by the raw, emotion I was able to gather from your piece. It's hard to believable how some people are so connected by these self-caused diseases like alcoholism, but finding the best out of the situations and able to turn them around into personal milestone accounts such as this make me love being a writer, and twice as much a reader when I get to experience it through you. Awesome post and thanks for sharing!

dolorah said...

Olivia that was a very awe-inspiring milestone. What a journey you've had. I'm so glad you found your "teacup".

And so very appreciative that you shared this with us on my Milestones blogfest.

Thank you, from every portion of my heart.


February Grace said...

What a completely beautiful, generous post.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I can't say any more than that at the moment, I am speechless.


The Words Crafter said...

This was very moving and I admire your courage, not only in sharing, but in doing what you needed to do and to keep at it. Wow. Good for you!

JC Martin @ Fighter Writer said...

Very well-written! It really conveys how much your milestone has meant to you! Looks like you've made loads of life-changing decisions yourself! Thank you for inspiring me!

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