March 31, 2020
Today, I took my Iphone to the digital scale and weighed it. I was dumbfounded to find that it did not even register 1/10 of a pound. The scale read 0. I would have sworn that the phone would come in at a minimum of 250 pounds, although we hear around the rooms that the phone actually weighs 500 pounds. Often it seems that way. Now that I have done the research, I can no longer claim a higher weight for the phone than it is. So, what is there to do with the information?
Well, one great thing about having unexpected long periods of time on our hands is that it provides opportunity for discovery. Discovery can be very rewarding. It offers us time to tap into self-awareness, our feelings, even to find why we like or don’t like something. Discovery in every category is possible. Identifying and understanding God-winks is also a part of discovery. Many of us discover just how available God-Winks are. I’ve learned they are available 24/7. And, why not take time to discover this valuable gift!?
Of course, on good days, when I’m feeling calm and centered, awareness feels easier to access. Also, employing an honest practical use of Step 11 works wonders. During times of stress, such as these, I can be less in touch with my feelings. I’m not always aware if I’m in a good place or not. Beth and our sweet dog, Maddie, usually let me know where I stand. They also have their own stressors to deal with, so it’s important for me to be a mirror for them too. Many of us are not in relationships now, and therefore don’t have the benefit of the mirror they offer. What is a recovering person to do?
Of course, this presents a challenge because it’s not the greatest time to feel calm and centered. And even though Zoom meetings are a great way to connect, one on one interactions are the essence of the program; one recovering person talking with another until the discussion leads one or both to take better (healthy) actions they may not yet believe in.
Now enter the concept of right sizing the 250-500 pound phone and it’s tremendous upside for connecting. C’mon you introverts. Get onboard!
Think of how many times in meetings we hear members share something that brings to mind, “that’s just what I needed to hear.” The multitude of times I have had this experience amazes me. Maybe you have had those experiences too. Now, think about how often these “amazing awareness’s”, can be so helpful, maybe even lifesaving. We need them.
At present, we have less time for excuses for avoiding connection. Our busy schedules aren’t so busy, don’t you know? We are not on the move to the next important thing, so engaging people is more available. As we work through the current lock down, we can choose to keep our phone right sized and make some calls before the weight of the phone increases.
So now, I am saying out loud to myself, “Bob, with all this time on your hands, there is no excuse not to pick up the phone to connect.” If you can relate, say this out loud to yourself. “There is no excuse for me not to pick up the phone today and call a program person.” Go on. It doesn’t hurt one bit. And, not just one of your buddies either. How about calling to find out how people are that you haven’t talked to in a while? Or the big one, which is to get to know other group members we don’t interact with much? Give them a call too!
Okay, I need to take action! So, I took time to call a couple of people from our homegroup phone list. The first number answered by a recording. I left a message with an invitation to return the call (I did get a return call later, awesome!) Then I connected with a member whose shares I like a lot but have not spoken with after the meetings. I liked the conversation. I found out what kind of work he does, that he is married and has two young children. We talked about how we were dealing with being home and what steps we were taking to stay healthy. Real life stuff. I didn’t even notice the weight of the telephone.
I took a couple of minutes after the conversation to reflect on the experience. What had I learned? How did the experience make me feel? Why didn’t I choose to do this more often? Well, I liked the conversation. It was real and genuine. I liked the feeling. I liked that I did something outside my comfort zone and made a connection, which was good. The phone was it’s actual weight. How about that?
It occurred to me to write down questions to ask. For example, questions you might like to be asked: How are you coping? How’s the family? Have you done a Zoom meeting yet? What do you think of this or that? Practice getting out of your comfort zone. Pick up the phone. Make a call. It’s a good way to get out of ourselves, as well as being an aerobic weight lifting exercise until the phone is right-sized.
Now, then, what brain cells I have are in second gear. Our home groups and Zoom meetings are a place to be safe. We need to take what we have outside the rooms too. Think about people from your home group or Zoom meetings anywhere who are elderly, wheelchair bound, or have other disease issues to deal with and see if they would like a call. You can connect by chat while in the Zoom meeting. When you’re out of the house, say hello to people who are using walkers, in wheelchairs or being helped by care-givers. Look children in the eye with a smile. Observe their response. Recognize your choice to be present for life on life’s terms.
And here’s another thought. With your new-found phone savvy, consider reaching out to people to help meet you and your family’s needs. Ask questions. We all learn that you can’t get a yes or no answer unless a question is first asked.
The current situation is causing many of us hardships and it’s possible more will follow. I think it’s time to help each other rally against fear. What could this look like? How about this:
- If you are a renter and may need some relief call your landlord and ask for it.
- If you are a landlord and can offer some assistance, make the call before you get a call.
- Call the power company, credit card companies, car payment services, banks, or any monthly creditor to see if relief is available. Programs are being put in place and you need to call or as a last resort, check internet web sites to find out what’s available.
- If you have success, call people and let them know. Beth and I are starting today.
By right-sizing the telephone, you may find many doors opening with answers you have been searching for. Here is a quote by Jim from San Jose, shared in the Butte County 8 AM Zoom meeting, “At meetings, we hear people put into words what we have not yet found words for ourselves.” It all began with one alcoholic talking to another. I like that a lot!