Twenty-four years ago I left Rasputins in Burlington, VT and way of “coping” after a humiliating, frightening, dangerous and FINAL drunk. The next day I opened the door to a church basement to begin a program of recovery that I’m still practicing today. Whatever illusory “liquid courage” I imagined I had back then can’t compare to the badassery of living sober.
At our summer church in Kennebunkport a small group meets once a week in the rectory for Centering Prayer, a meditative practice founded in Massachusetts by three Trappist monks in the 1970s. We meditate for twenty minutes by focusing on a sacred word of our own choosing, then watch a short teaching by Thomas Keating on DVD.
The first time I went last summer I was very intimidated by the prospect of a twenty minute meditation! Sitting in a quiet room alone listening to the “noise” in my head is old hat to me and I often mistake it for being productive. Making mental to-do lists, planning, lamenting the past, worrying about the future can happen in the most bucolic of settings. Sitting with a quiet mind? It’s a challenge, but meditation gives me moments of inner silence, the benefits of which are deep and lasting.
I have a genetic predisposition to being at higher risk for skin cancer, so I see a dermatologist for an annual skin exam. I had a mole on my arm that looked different from all of the others and my dermatologist had said we should keep an eye on it. About two weeks ago I noticed that it was changing: it was darker and starting to have uneven borders. What really frightened me was when I happened to notice in a photo of me from 2013 that it wasn’t even on my arm! It’s not normal to grow new moles when you’re over forty. I called her office to be seen and she agreed that it should be biopsied.
Averyl asked me if I was willing to share what my daily diet used to look like and how it is today along with my “before” pic on her blog. I cut alcohol out of my diet when I got sober almost six years ago. I admit that I’m shy when it comes to talking about myself like this but she pointed out that it can help inspire others.
This has been such a creepy and shocking news day! Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor…
Today was also an odd weather day, but semi-lovely. It was 59 degrees and sunny for a few hours before the clouds moved in quickly and it began to rain briefly. Once it cleared the winds picked up and the temperature dropped ten degrees in one hour.
Wishy was sitting on the deck around 11:00 a.m. as was the squirrel who keeps hoping I’ll feed him, too. I always welcome the opportunity to step away from my desk, out of my thoughts and into the present moment–outdoors.
I’ve had some rough days since my last post, but I’ll start with the more upbeat stuff. The photo above is of Wayne looking rather tiny in contrast with the big colorful trees in our woods.
I’m often asked what gave me the idea to do a tour of Maine’s summer Episcopal chapels. The truth is that it just came to me, the same way the idea for my blog Serene New England did during Easter Sunday while sitting in church at St. Mary’s. I love to explore new-to-me places and meet new people. The theme of renewal and strengthening my relationship with God while appreciating unique places of worship in beautiful coastal Maine settings felt like it would be Episcopal Summer Camp. And in many ways, I was right!
After church yesterday Wayne and I went to Rising Tide for celebratory lobster to celebrate my 23 years of sobriety. We thought we were playing it smart by going between lunch and dinner so that we’d be able to get a table in a reasonable period of time (or a table at all!), but we almost had to turn around! Dozens of cars were illegally parked by beachgoers taking up the parking spaces intended for the boat launch and business. Scarborough police left so many tickets that they had to call backup to bring more! Continue reading “Lobster at Rising Tide/Pine Point Fisherman’s Co-op, Scarborough”
We got an early start this morning so that we could double dip by attending two services, one at St. Ann’s and the other at St. Peter’s By The Sea. Today is also my twenty-third sobriety anniversary! Our original plan was to attend services at a local-to-us summer chapel after a celebratory breakfast at the Black Point Inn. We had to change our plans but today turned out to be another magical Sunday summer morning in Maine thanks to the welcoming Episcopalian spirit! Continue reading “Maine Episcopal Summer Chapel Tour: St. Peter’s By The Sea, Cape Neddick”