Tuesday, March 29, 2005


  • Big Bend Texas, where Laura and I last vacationed after our handfasting.

  • My friend Omni posted that she had never been on a vacation, that she and her husband never took them. This made me feel very sad for her because vacations are actually a very important part of my life. As a child my parents took me to Europe and tried to leave me there, but those clever French caught them and made them take me back to the states. Apparently those uptight Europeans object when your children ignore the barriers and try to climb the sculptures in the Louvre. Conservatives and I generally agree on one thing and one thing only: we should definately bomb France. It wouldn't be a bad idea to invade either. In fact, maybe we could take turns. Let the Brits do it one week, the Germans the next and we can do it the third. The only thing good about France is the posters of naked chicks outside the movies (they were there in '79 at least) and the hot chocolate.

    Oh, yeah, we were talking about vacations.

    I figure vacations played a large role in saving my marriage during my drinking. After all, they gave Laura the chance to see me drunk in entirely new environments with a whole host of new people to alienate by behaving like an asshole. Actually, I often would stay sober through much of our little trips into the mountains, to Utah, into Wyoming. The drinking was wearing on me as well and was becoming less of a thing I did because I wanted to and more of a thing I did because I HAD to. I believe that during these trips, Laura would get a glimpse of the man she married, the kind, gentle man capable of love, and these glimpses nursed the marriage along through these rough years.

    I find that vacations, short or long, are very useful as periods of renewal in my life. Spiritually, when I step outside of my routine, I often find it easier to "connect" to my Higher Power. Let's face it, I can pretty up my altar at home all I want, but it's still the same old thing and easy to take for granted. It is also easy to start thinking in terms of things rather than relationships. I mean that I get focused on the objects rather than the Goddess. Taking a vacation gets me out of my home and environment and I find it easier to focus on the relationship I have with the Goddess.

    Even back in the drinking days this was true. No matter how angry and depressed I was, visiting a place like Dinosaur National Monument or the Black Canyon of the Gunnison would refresh and renew me. Bill W., cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous apparently had the same experience as his wife Lois would often take him on trips to sober him up. Writing in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous Bill said:
    We looked upon this world of warring individuals, warring theological systems, and inexplicable calamity, with deep skepticism, We looked askance at many individuals who claimed to be godly. How could a Supreme Being have anything to do with it all? And who could comprehend a Supreme Being anyhow? Yet, in other moments, we found ourselves thinking, when enchanted by a starlit night, "Who, then, make all this?" There was a feeling of awe and wonder, but it was fleeting and soon lost...
    Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous: We Agnostics, p. 46

    The emphasis on the words awe and wonder in the above passage is mine, because that is exactly how I would feel on top of a mountain or watching an eagle fly. And quite simply, this is why I believe that the Divine is immanant, present in nature and the world around us. It is no surprise that I found my faith in a nature based path; it was the path I had been trying to walk all along. It is my belief that material things such as money and oil distract us from what is really out there; it is a form of idolotry to place these things ahead of that which was given us by the Creatress.

    Vacations are important for me because that is when I renew myself mentally, spiritually and physically. I get away from the things that have a claim on me; the house, the cars, the furniture and clothes. Without the things to distract me, I find my vision clearer and my connection to my Higher Power stronger, more vibrant. That is why vacations are essential to me and to my marriage.

    I want to leave you with my favorite quote from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, the quote that always fills me with hope and energy:
    Much to our relief, we discovered we did not need to consider another's conception of God. Our own conception, however inadequate, was sufficient to make the approach and to effect a contact with Him. As soon as we admitted the possible existence of a Creative Intelligence, a Spirit of the Universe underlying the totality of things, we began to be possessed of a new sense of power and direction, provided we took other simple steps. We found that God does not make too hard terms with those who seek Him. To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all men.
    Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous: We Agnostics, p. 46

    I love it. Nobody is excluded. Nobody is left out. We are all invited. We are all welcome.

    Have a blessed day.