“There’s no place like home!” said Dorothy as she clicked her heels together. And POOF I am back in my home town again. Okay, it wasn’t a poof, rather a five hour plane ride, but considering the distances travelled, it was rather quick indeed. And here I am again in the city where I was born.
I arrived here two days ago. Last time I was here was almost two and a half years ago. It’s the same and it’s different. I arrived alone this time as I am separated. I’m staying with Mom at her home of over twenty years. She’s getting a bit older, a bit slower. My best friend Bill is no longer among the living. The city has finally removed the bus terminal and parking in the city centre and created a wonderful square. Some shops have gone and new ones have appeared. I went to a meeting this morning at my former home group from when I lived here, and they’ve moved to another location. Things move on, things change and yet they are still recognizable.
The river is constantly changing.
There’s a Buddhist saying that basically says we never step into the same river twice. The water is moving along. The bank erodes in one area and silts up in another. Trees die and fall off the bank of the river and new ones grow up and take their place. Nothing stays the same. After all, a river that stops moving is no longer a river; it is a pond and without movement will eventually become stagnant and smell. A river, by its very nature, must move and flow. Places change, people change and when I take an honest look at myself, I realize that I am not the same person I was the last time I was here. At least I hope I am not.
Sometimes change happens very quickly, such as a death, or an accident. They are very obvious and if we resist them; they can cause us much discomfort and pain. I think most change happens at a much slower pace, so slow in fact, that we fail to appreciate the changes that are happening around us. One day I stepped on the scales and realized that I had gained 25 pounds over the past few years. Another day I looked at my arm and realized that my skin was sagging and not as taut as it once was. These changes are slow but steady and can come as quite a surprise. However, I can use this rate of change to my advantage.
Small changes add up
I touched on this theme of change last week in suggesting that we do one thing at a time, rather than try to do too much all at once. Today I am suggesting that those changes I make do not need to be big ones. Small changes, with time, can add up to a big change. Smaller changes have a better chance at taking hold in my daily habits. I don’t remember the whole story of the race between the rabbit and the tortoise, but I know the tortoise’s attitude of slow and steady got him to the finish line first.
Progress, not Perfection
I think about my first sponsor in the program. He is a humble, loving man devoted to his program and his family. Yet when I first heard the story about his addiction, I couldn’t believe that he was the same man. And he really wasn’t. The Paul that he was is not the Paul who he is today. Why? Slow and steady changes: following the suggestions of the program, his sponsor and developing a relationship with his Higher Power. Our motto is Progress not Perfection. As long as I am moving in the direction of my goal, it doesn’t matter what the pace is. I can slip and fall but I can also get back up again and keep trudging ahead.
I am sure that I will notice more changes as the days of my visit go along. I have come back again but I am not the same person as when I left. Those I will meet up won’t be the same either. I will remember that change is most natural. I have stepped into the river again here, and it is not the same river. I am grateful.
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