Clean and sober


I’ve been clean and sober for 6 months now. I’m feeling a little shaky about it at the moment. Probably it takes at least this long to detox from it and to actually come face to face with myself.

I’ve committed to 12 months clean and sober. Living in Sonoma County means I’m surrounded by really good wine and really good pot. It basically falls off the trees as you walk down the street.

I would not have said that I had a “problem” six months ago. But I note the discomfort, now, that I feel facing myself from a somewhat detoxified place.

And that is what this is all about. Coming face to face with myself.

I’ve never been attracted to pharmaceuticals; I won’t even take aspirin. I have a deep distrust of the pharmaceutical industry. There are people close to me who have been on anti-depressants for 20 and 30 years. Are they “better off” for it? Or is the whole thing all about making money? You be the judge.

There are many ways I can numb myself. Working too hard is very familiar to me. Being physically exhausted is another. In the past, I’ve “used” running and outdoor athletic adventures as an escape.

Pretty sure that this isn’t sounding like a “happy” post. I am experienced with “happiness” as a way to distract myself also.

Like I said, right now clean and sober feels uncomfortable. But like getting back into climbing or running shape, when my body hurts, I know that I’m getting back up off the couch.

Living is an uncomfortable enterprise. It just is. If I am growing and pushing my boundaries, my body hurts. If I am opening myself up inside, I feel raw and vulnerable.

I have a pattern of waves. Sometimes I’ll sit numb for months on end. This is a time of beginning again to feel the feelings.

“They” teach you to avoid the feelings. The pharmaceutical industry depends upon it. The stoic cowboy myth of manhood I grew up with thrives on it.

But as I have learned, the only way “out” of difficult feelings is to go through them. Either I feel my feelings now or else they sit there, for years and decades at a time, waiting to be attended to.

Feel the feelings. The way out is through.

This step, my step

Happiness is an inside job. For me, it’s the result of a lot of personal work.

I don’t think happiness serves very well as a landmark with which to orient my life the way that, say, the top of the mountain would serve as the guide post for a hike up a mountain. Rather happiness is more like the unexpected hawk floating by as I sit on the peak, enjoying the success of the climb.

Suffering is the result of thinking things are supposed to be different or that I am supposed to be different than the way that I actually am right now.

It’s supposed to be hot, sweaty and uncomfortable down on the lower flanks of the mountain pushing myself upward early in the day. And true, I might not make it. But for now all that there is is taking this next step, my step.

The success of the peak is only granted meaning by the effort of the climb. Happiness is more like the attainment of nothing — a vibrant emptiness — than the receiving of something.

Trust the flow, my friend.

Life has done a good job of creating and re-creating itself on this planet. There is a flow to that forward movement. You are in that flow.

I notice that whenever someone is talking about “good” people and “bad” people, the speaker always sees themselves as one of the “good” ones. Always.

People are dying. Tectonic plates are shifting and the sun is burning up. Just as it all is supposed to be.

I am reminded this week as close friends around me are getting older (but not me of course) that life is moving in the direction that it is supposed to be moving. How else could it be, right?

Trust the flow, my friend.

the sky is falling - chicken little

Real power

What is power and who has it?

These days of political rancor have me thinking about “real power”. Back in the day, a younger Tony Robbins used to say that for him, personal power was the ability “to do what you want, with whom you want, when you want.” According to current chatter, the US President has “the power”. But is that true?

Under this perspective, the aim of life is to get as much as you can, ride all the rides and be very popular before “it” is all over. But what is “it” and is “it” over when you die or does “it” only begin after you leave this little party?

But, check it. Here’s what I’m thinking.

“Real power” is the clarity to make choices (actions and speech), in favor of supporting life on the planet, free from the drama, unconscious needs or the currents of emotions running through my body. You know, real freedom to make choices.

Real power is the willingness to choose the sovereign nature of my own consciousness regardless of the circumstances around me and/or the emotional baggage within me.

Real power is not personal. I only get to choose whether or not to allow real power to move through me. So called “personal power” may or may not be “real power”.

Creation is real power. Destruction is not real power but merely its opposite.

The sun is real power. Springtime is real power. Winter is the absence of this real power which supports life.

The avatars, the great ones, created even (especially) while dying.

Nelson Mandela had real power while sitting in prison for 30 years.

Rosa Parks had real power.

Vincent van Gogh had real power and he only ever sold one painting. During his lifetime he was considered a madman and a failure. Today he is one of the most famous and influential people in the history of Western art. Real power creates in a lasting way.

Ordinary power comes and blows away again with the wind.

A humble place

There’s something about settling myself into “I know” as a daily practice. This is the antidote to uncertainty and the suppressed fear that I am not good enough.

The shadow side of that would, of course, be cockiness and arrogance. But even if I just “did it wrong”, with practice I remind myself that I am deeply connected to knowing how to move from here, what to do and what to say.

We all are connected to the knowing. It is accessed from a humble place.

Meeting weekly with my men’s group helps me to distinguish between my feelings and my story. I’m a work in progress that way.

My book Warrior Uprising is, in part, my personal journey into feeling what I am feeling and getting outside of my story about who, what and why. “I am sad.” “I am angry.” “I am afraid.” Period.

“I am angry because …” is, I have found, almost always an illusion; a story that I have made up which takes me out of feeling the feeling and into creating a drama.

It requires concentration to feel my own feelings and to own them as my own. The training I went through as a boy was all about how men don’t (or shouldn’t) feel.

Best that I can tell, anger lives inside of me like an entity, like a demon, waiting to be awakened and brought out to play. Anger just sits there until the usual suspects or situations “trigger” my anger and wake it up once again. It’s not really “my” anger as it seems to live in many people and not just me.

I’m still in research mode on fear. I suspect that what I call “fear” is often times a story about something deeper. Probably, that something is “I don’t trust.” It might be “I don’t trust myself.” Or it might be “I don’t trust the bigger game.” (You know, God.)

The fear

The fear is percolating up to the surface now. That’s because it’s always already been in there.

That’s a good thing, by the way, like puss oozing out of a wound.

As a culture, we are afraid of fear. We numb, deflect and mostly blame. But fear can be your friend.

The only place to heal fear is deep within yourself. I can’t heal your fear. For sure, I can’t tell you about your fear. But that’s fine because I can heal the collective consciousness by healing myself. I don’t need to worry about what “he” is doing. I only need to heal myself.

You know, grab your own oxygen mask first. Most everybody else will grab their own too … when they are ready.

This is the time to make friends with fear. Get to know it. Bring it out to the light to play.

Blame is self denial. The fear isn’t out there. It’s in here.

What do you see?

“The Separation” is the fundamental philosophical choice. Either you see yourself fundamentally connected to all of it or you see yourself as separated. Inside of this “seeing” you create the world in which you live.

Nobody makes me feel anything

“I am angry.” – truth

“You make me feel angry.” – false

“I am afraid.” – truth

“I am afraid because …” – false

It’s easier for me to be angry than to deal with my own anger. Almost always, when my anger gets triggered, the anger was already always there from long, long ago.

It’s not personal. The upset is an entity within myself waiting for an opportunity to come out and play.

Nobody makes me feel angry.

Nobody makes me feel afraid.

Only I can do that to myself.

Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

haters gonna hate

The man in the mirror

During those times when I was in resistance to the person that I was partnered with, I was stuck. Only at the moment that I stood up and walked away, did I become free. Once I was done for myself of being that kind of person, “dancing” in that way with someone else, then I opened up a new possibility for myself of how I would relate to this world and to this life.

No one ever changed anything by resisting it. The laws of nature and physics require that which is resisted to become stronger.

All relationships are a mirror for ourselves. Until I can own the person that I am being in this world, life will continue to reflect my inner truth back to me with the people I am close to, in bed with and whom I am talking about on a daily basis.

Blame is a form of resistance. It’s a denial that the other person is a messenger showing me that which is deep within myself.

Revolution is a higher art than blame. The moment of revolution is a personal decision that “I am not going to do that any longer”. I will no longer be that person living in that way ever again.

As above, so below. Whatever is “out there” to be healed must first be healed within myself.

man in the mirror

Teddy Herzog received his training and certification as an Integrative Holistic Coach through the Legacy Training Institute. The 6-month program requires the completion of five weekend Legacy Seminars with a minimum of 1500 coaching hours.


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