Aug 27 2014

Paul Williams



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Addictions, Mindfulness, Right Action



One morning last week I fixed a delicious, almost healthy breakfast of gluten free cereal, berries, a little yogurt and low fat milk.  I say almost healthy because I quickly polluted the entire affair with some really wonderful sugar loaded granola.  A “habit” that began innocently enough months ago. My intention was to add a tablespoon or two of “yummy” for taste. That lasted about a day. My “just a touch” of granola had grown large enough to finally startle me back to reality.

Lesson number one.  You’re an addict PW so you don’t dabble.  You ‘crave’ sugar once you’ve ingested any amount of it.  Be mindful of your behavior.

There was more to learn at the breakfast table that morning; a fine progression of munchy mistakes and lessons contained within.  Observe.

Facing up to the major sugar slip I am suddenly struck by the distinct possibility that I’m gaining weight again.  For the record it was two pounds and they’re already gone.  But, not before a slogan is born. “Be Aware that’s a Bite you’ll Wear!”   I’ve gone from lyrics to bumper stickers.

Back at the breakfast table my imagination kicks into high gear. In my mind I’m sitting next to Tracey on our upcoming book tour with my shirt gapping open because my Buddha belly is fighting to breathe free.

Which leads me to wondering about our talks and what parts of the book we’ll each read and that quickly I am off in future-land until …

I’m suddenly clanked back into the present by the sound of my spoon crashing up against empty ceramic bowl.

Unconscious eating.  Lost in thought I missed breakfast. I was totally oblivious to the glorious tastes and blessed ritual of feeding myself. Missing in action.  The culinary version of driving past your turnpikes exit.

Mindful living is a wonderful expression. A friend in recovery was discussing her mind flights recently and I prematurely congratulated myself for generally staying in the moment.  Not so pronto, Paulie. Yes, a lesson there too. Humility? Not today, thanks.

The good news is that, for all of us, relapse offers a chance to recommit to disciplines we’re pursuing with fresh evidence that the old behavior still doesn’t work. For me that information leads to gifts that began with my continuous sobriety and now loops through a variety of behaviors I’ve added through the years that are constructive, or at the very least, non destructive.  Healthy habits at last.  Old dog, new tricks.

Tracey has been a major, positive influence.  Her ‘hit the gym’ daily example and food choices were instructive and proof that “Up all night to eat Gluten” was not a song I should be singing.  Her lyrics, not mine.  Yes, very funny.

Back at the breakfast table the clanking of spoon on bowl was a reminder that, lost in thought is not always the best destination. The daydream or the creative process takes us to marvelous places but there’s a time and place for such mind travel.  Too often it removes us from the blessed experience available in the moment and the joys, lessons and opportunities therein.

Deepak Chopra speaks of the journeys end being wherever you are.  That it’s in this perfect now that we embrace life.  These days I try to catch my little life stumbles, thoughtless actions or slips as quickly as possible.  When I do I adjust accordingly.  I get back on track, clean up the mess I’ve made and thank the Big Amigo for the awakenings that steer me back to the preferred path of mindful living in love and service, gratitude and trust.



Paul Williams

Paul Williams is a singer, songwriter, actor, recovery advocate and has been a fixture on the American cultural scene since the seventies. His book Gratitude and Trust is now available.