Friday, March 6, 2009

Follower's Lament, In My Wake

I joined a particular local company back in 1983, a couple months after I first got sober. There I met a most unusual man, full of energy and really irritating. The trouble was, he could back himself up in pretty much any way. He really knew his job. He also knew how to handle himself if things got dicey, let’s say in some local bar. He was pretty much the last man standing in any arena he entered. It turns out that he really is a genius at what he does, a construction manager, but not a socially competent man. In fact a couple posts ago I talked about being nearly fired for my arrogance one time. This man is far and away more abrasive than I ever was…but he can back it up. I have said about him, Billy is always right, except sometimes, but even if he is wrong, he can easily point out how he was wrong in the right way. One time one of the guys called him a narcissist and he preened and strutted. He thought he’d been given a compliment.

Finally he parlayed a particular position into a way to start his own company. That was back in 1993. That was the year I too left the company we were both part of. I banged around for four years, knowing he was out there but really not wanting to work for him. In 1997 I ran out of options, so I hired into his new company. I have been working for him these last twelve years. This has been my tolerance test in my final working years. There is one major advantage. This man deeply values loyalty. If he senses you are loyal, then within the limits of business realities, he is loyal. I won’t go into all that, just suffice it to say, if at all possible, so long as I can do the work, he won’t ever fire me.

The thing that drives me crazy the most is a built in trial to our kind of business. We are constantly pressured to do more with less. Our work is necessary but not valued. Our profit comes with corporate resentment at us also. My boss is hypersensitive to this pressure. At the beginning of our projects he presses hard on the “get it done, don’t over work things, are you done yet? Why not?” Then at the other end, “why did you cut this corner and that one? How could you not be more thorough?” So I get to decide on any given day, when I am going to take the criticism, now or later? Or perhaps both, because I am living in an unrealistic expectation in any case. Heh.

So I wondered what this would look like on a spiritual walk.

Follower's Lament

But you already
Told me the way I'm to live
A long time ago.
You're changing that now?
I can't believe you'd do that
To me, oh okay.

Bow to east, now to west, hah.
Wash in morning, now midday.

Wear saffron, now red
And I have to grow the beard,
And walk on, keep on.
A pilgrim's duty,
Following your holy lead,
Trust you know the way.


Here come the roses again. This is a story about a conundrum. If I really get to know something worth knowing in my spiritual walk, it will be because I see with God’s eyes, so to speak. When I return to human form, how will what I see fit into human form? The vision won’t fit for sure if I do not change my fundamental shape. Seeing with God’s eyes will require that I take a God-like shape. How can I do that? Not without help. Certainly not without asking.

In My Wake

Whirling in circles
Spinning, dancing, skirts flaring,
My dervish mind shines
With light from the life
You tell me to lead today.

I follow the lines
You draw in my soul.
Rosy velvet petals drift
In the wake I leave.
Please, I want to know
When I enter time again
That I was once here.


  1. Please, I want to know
    When I enter time again
    That I was once here.

    I loved these lines.....

    ..that's a long time sober...I have 7 and a half years up and even that feels like a whole new lifetime :0)

  2. Goodmorning Christopher.
    The first one, I feel like that sometimes.
    The second one, just...

  3. Michelle, at seven years, you've made the cut. The bad news about that is, if you get drunk from here on out it will be quite deliberate, because there is no longer any way you can be blindsided all the way along the path to the drink. There are too many turning points that you know well enough to say to yourself, "this is not good." The good news is, you have already every last tool you need to stay humble enough that you can stay sober no matter what.

    I don't mean that you have earned the right to coast. I have a friend who learned her sobriety was "Relentless Forward Motion" very much like the running of a marathon. So you don't by far have every tool that you might want, nor that you might find better ones to replace ones you already have, so keep it up.

    What I mean is that as you already may understand, seven years is long enough that the full spectrum of the sorts of things life offers to challenge sobriety, that full spectrum has been represented in your life already in some meaningful way. You have weathered every type of thing. Now in the infinite variety of experience you will always find a reference point in your experience if you have the courage to look.

    Pretty cool.

  4. Jozien, my most favorite Dutch girl in the Yukon, I am happy to have your presence on site.

  5. Oh shit, I think I do that too. Hurry up, get it done, hey why did you cut corners?? Damn.

  6. {{{Rachel}}}

    This is so completely understandable but then again they say of a person like this, "You are talking out of both sides of your neck!" When the authority is added in, then people will follow both directives as best they can.

    You get sloppy work, but maybe in budget. We say, or at least I do, there is always money to do it over, because it is new money. So there is this 80% rule in engineering. The last 20% will take far too much time and money and will kill your profit.

    My trouble is I can't figure out how to stop short like that. The rest is, well, it is part of my job description to take the heat, to stand up and say no, I am not done yet, too bad. My skin is usually thick enough to take the insults I get. Because later he leaves me alone, and he keeps hiring me back in. I almost never get real praise and am mocked often. This stopped mattering, mostly, a long time ago.

    I get my hugs somewhere else. I make money sufficient for my daily needs. I remember that and integrity in my work is what it is all about. My boss is essential to my pay but irrelevant to my integrity.

  7. My company is run by a man who I respect and admire. It would be hard to go back and work for someone I do not hold in high regard as I did in the past. I too loved the lines Michelle loved. Nicely said.

    Have a great weekend.

  8. "When I return to human form, how will what I see fit into human form? The vision won’t fit for sure if I do not change my fundamental shape. Seeing with God’s eyes will require that I take a God-like shape. How can I do that? Not without help. Certainly not without asking."

    if you keep doing those kind of things you'll end up looking like this...... or a psychedelic pretzel of some sort.....

  9. Christopher - in my position, nobody ever calls to tell me they've had a good day! :-)

    In My Wake - universal sentiment, I think. In some ways, isn't this what we all want to know? Love it.

  10. Sao,
    It would be nice to work for a man who was somewhat kind along with all the other traits, who could actually remember a little what it was like, but then he may never have experienced his job the way I do. I actually do hold him in high regard in certain areas, for example I do trust him to call me back to work, to not actually deal with me dishonestly. That goes a long way. For example, when he lays me off he carries the medical insurance right on through it.

    Ghost, I would worry about your prediction except it isn't one. It's rather more saying what my past has been :) If I keep doing these things...I have been doing these things since 1966. My wife told me I was not a real hippie. She said I was a redneck. She oughta know...

    Karen, this sentiment can't be called universal in an actual sense, though it probably is in some way universal among the ones who actually value the spiritual journey. Atheism is a real position among sincere thinking people and they would not value this sentiment, even if they in some sense understood it. There are other directed (rather than inner directed) spiritual dogmatics who rely on a code and directives to know they are travelling the right path. They would see this vision as the height of spiritual pride, a complete sin. How dare you place yourself on some form of equal footing with God? There is more in this vein that can be said.

    But in my opinion there is a kind of spiritual evolution that places God ever closer to the heart of the human experience. Transcendant God becomes as well Immanent God in this way. The path to freedom is specially ever present in the human experience, at right angles to it, but it can't be the same path depending on where you might stand. The bringing of the Kingdom of God, to use Jesus' term requires Immanence if it is to happen through us here. Otherwise it must be imposed as a victory over the rebellion. That explains the eschaton.

    I would prefer the Immanent flowering of the Kingdom within over the Transcendant violence of the eschaton imposed from without.

  11. Yes, I do.

    However I find the easiest one is to just not give myself the choice. Ever.

    "No matter if your ass falls off etc etc"

    It's not hard anymore, and hasn't been for quite sometime. And I've learned a hell of a lot about me....most of which ends up in realisations about how little I know, and that's okay too... :0)


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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