Sep 9 2013

Paul Williams



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Change, Trust



I’m almost a golfer.  I love the game, always feel like I’m about to break thru to the next level and usually don’t.  There are a couple of reasons my scores don’t improve and they’re mostly related to the amount of time I practice.  Because I don’t.  Schedules, travel, whatever the excuse is I just don’t spend much time on the range.

But, I play when I can, take lessons and while my friends are hitting the ball 50 yards past my feeble little drives I have a good time. I don’t really get jealous of their strengths and most importantly, I miss quickly.   I don’t linger over a chip or a putt very long.  I line up, take a deep breath, have maybe one or two current swing thoughts then hit the ball.  The player furthest away from the cup plays first so many times I’m still away. So, I hit it again.

I miss quickly.  I don’t want to slow down their play so I keep moving. I don’t celebrate my occasional sweet wins or mourn my losses too long

There’s a lot of good information there. Life is a succession of changes. Some major. Some with intense feelings that need to be processed and not raced through. There are losses of jobs, friends, family members and pets.  Losing a pet is for some of us especially painful.   When I don’t get something I want or have to let go of something I’ve always loved it’s important for me to take time to grieve.  I give myself permission to be sad and then angry or whatever comes next in the stages of loss.  I could Google them but they show up without my remembering their proper names or order.  I feel things deeply, express my emotions without shame and then move on.  I miss quickly.

If  Trust was a door you might say I reach for the handle faster today than I did twenty-three years ago.  That’s when I had my last drink, left the cocaine habit behind and found a new way of living.  My guide through the recovery process was a wonderful man named Jerry Hunter.  He passed away a decade ago and I miss him still.  He had strong opinions about how to deal with loss.

There was a young lady at the time that I was convinced was ‘the one’ and she’d left me.  Suddenly starring in this Shakespearian tragedy I’d call him from some metaphoric ledge and tell him I couldn’t go on!  He’d always reassure me that the Big Amigo had something better in mind, suggest I give myself a maximum of fifteen minutes on the pity pot and then get back to ‘grateful’. Where I belonged.

He was right.  The quick miss allows me to get back into that place where I can truly see the gift my life is, the wealth of love coming from family and friends and a history that suggests there’s somebody bigger and better than me lining up the shots in my life.  A quick miss and I am back in the sunlight of the spirit and living a fuller life in 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.