Most of my poetry writing occurred between 1972 and 1980. In 1980, I gathered together all of my poems and assembled them into this journal book that I had picked up in a second-hand shop in NYC. I wanted to have them all in one place. Once recorded in here, I discarded the originals.
I didn’t write much poetry during the 80’s, a period in which I struggled to achieve some sort of sustainable recovery from addiction. This became my priority. Sustained abstinence began on St. Patrick’s Day, 1980, but I can trace the beginning of actual recovery from the affliction to St. Patrick’s Day, 1984. Up until that point, things really could have gone either way.
In 1991, I took a life-changing workshop called Abundance, an intense 7 day life-changing event. In short, I learned how to shed what I’ve come to know as a “lack”-consciousness, and to embrace the idea that I am worthy enough to enjoy the fruits of life – that we all actually are. I simply needed to open myself to what the universe had to offer. Clear a channel in order to be in a position to receive. That was the whole idea behind this workshop.
Admittedly, up until then, life had always been a struggle for me. I believed that if you didn’t work hard for it, it couldn’t be worth it. I’d put in a lot of labor in my life to that point, with very little to show for all of my efforts. I did have recovery, I had a decent job, a good relationship and a family, but everything was still a real struggle. There was always a sense of impending doom, a waiting for the other shoe to drop. I lived a life of quiet desperation.
In 12 Step Recovery, I’d learned that in order to keep what I’d found, I had to give it away. I’d gotten that concept, the importance of giving it back and passing it on. I just hadn’t learned how to receive – how to accept the gifts that life has to offer, with grace and gratitude. That concept was foreign to me. In Abundance, I learned that certain things block my channel to receive. My job, if I wanted to enjoy an abundant life, was to identify those things, and let them go.
We were instructed to bring in an item that symbolized what was blocking the channel, something we were prepared to let go of in order to move our lives forward into an Abundance consciousness. It had to be something significant. I brought in 2 items – one was a carton of Marlborough cigarettes. I’d been trying to quit for 12 years, with no success. Nothing had worked. If this stuff is for real, if it can take this blocker away , I’ll buy in. It worked - I never smoked again, save 2 unfinished cigarettes that I lit up a month later, before I realized they weren’t what I was really craving at the time.
The second item was this book of poetry. Why? I don't know. It must have been something I needed to let go of at the time . A leap of faith? I threw it on the pile, along with the carton of smokes, and never looked back. I never thought about it much after that.
Things did change. We began to travel more. Took vacations. Life expanded. We struggled less and lived more. We moved from South Jersey to Northern Virginia. Work became much more meaningful, for both of us. An abundant life began to happen, just like they said it would.
Several years ago, for no apparent reason, I began to think about some of my old poetry, for the first time in years. A couple of the old ones just popped into my head. Some of the lines came back to me. Part of me wondered why I ever threw that book on that pile of stuff. "What did they do with all of that suff that people brought in, anyway? Is there some attic or basement where it's all filed away? No way. I'm sure it all just went in the trash".
Then one day, this package shows up in the mail. I didn’t recognize the return address. I hadn't ordered anything. I opened it, and here was my old book of poetry, along with a note:
“Peter – there is much good stuff in here and it should be reread, rethought, and shared. God’s richest blessings, and thanks for the gift of yourself – John”
Just like that. I wrote John to thank him, and said “By the way - if you still have that carton of smokes, I don’t want them back!”
This was a couple years ago. I never have figured out what to do with the poems. Until Cowbird. Another gift from the universe. Thanks! Another of God's richest blessings!