A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Poem - "Sex"

Sex

Sex is not always the means to Love
Sometimes it is the path away from Love
Where the pleasure and the heart part ways.

Yet sex can masquerade as Love
Wearing costumes to perform in rituals
To brand the person,
To chain the body
To this person or that person
In the sad dance of a compulsion,
Of yet another addiction.

Yet when sex is born into the world through Love
It becomes the dance of the first chakra
Where Love uses the body like an artist
Using the medium of the physical
To make each breath turn into a kiss.

It is not sex, the profane or sacred,
That is at the pinnacle
Bathing in the clouds
Lightheaded from the altitude,
But the warmth of our innocent hearts
Joining one to another
With not any touch of abuse,
As pure as we will ever be
In our short lives on earth.


 Listen to Audio

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Get Honest

If you want to get healthy, get honest.  But I think a lot of people don't really want to get healthy.  I know I resist when I smoke cigarettes.  Or when I don't exercise.  Why don't we do what we know is healthy for us?  If we were motivated by healthy logic only perhaps we would behave in a healthier way, but we are conflicted, emotional, reactive creatures.  Logic plays a crucial part in allowing us to understand complex things.  Just having the understanding of complex things is a kind of liberation.  There is also a logic behind chronic emotional problems.  It can be hard to analyze ourselves because the logic of our impulses and acts are obscured by a lack of self awareness, which is one very good reason to be around others and really listen to what they say and try to apply it to ourselves.  The logic of why we resist healthy options might be simple:  we don't want to live up to an ideal of ourselves, that would be too much pressure, too much work.  We want to be what we are, human and fallible.

Those who do try to live up to an ideal of themselves hurt themselves with their own perfectionism and create a distortion of their realities.  Neither approach, too lax or too controlled, work.  Lack of balance is illness.  Getting honest is about finding balance in everyday life.  Our own honesty unites us with reality, just as our own dishonesty unites us with delusions born from distortions of reality.  We tell ourselves being dishonest is self protective, but it is really self sabotage.  Dishonesty does not fit with personal integrity and integrity or wholeness is what keeps us healthy.  Honesty takes clarity and courage.  Sometimes it is easy to be honest when there is no threat around.  Other times it is hard, especially when we judge ourselves as failing or having been harmful.  We are still animals and animals are high wired to any kind of threat, real or imagined.  We are so imaginative and most threats we perceive come from our own imagination.  It's a weird way to live.  It's neurotic at best and psychotic at worst.  I see this phenomenon clearly with my cats.  They are easily distracted by any kind of sound, tense with the idea of nearby danger.

The difference between a delusion and an illusion is that in the first case the distortion or lack of reality is seen by one person only whereas with an illusion it becomes a collective misperception.  How many misperceptions do you think we have about each other, ourselves and the state of the world?  I'd bet a lot.  I think we all kind of know this, but stay in denial about it.  We're all in the same boat and we all have plenty of weaknesses to work on.  But a commonly shared illusion can be very dangerous.  When groups of people are not anchored to reality, their motivations and behaviors can move towards a collective sickness.  And when sickness is the norm then you start having problems with abuse and violence.  Since the  mid 1940s the big example of this is Hitler's Germany.  A whole country suffered from psychosis.

I think that kind of national psychosis goes right back to our incredibly damaging dualistic thinking about "good" and "evil."  Right and wrong.  Us and Them.  Strong and weak.  Reward and punishment.  So what's the block to getting honest, to integrity and balance, to health and love?  We block ourselves and partially because I don't think we know any better.  We are so conditioned and so susceptible to peer pressure right from our beginnings in this life.  Being pulled under by addiction is obviously pretty horrible, but it gives us the opportunity to break out of our conditioning.  And instead of interacting with our using family and friends, we seek out other people committed to becoming more aware, more sensitive, more honest and responsible.  In our addiction our lives were consumed by multiple illusions, but new healthier peers can guide us out of those illusions and back to base line reality where we can start again on a better path.

Small Abstract Drawing



Friday, July 29, 2016

To Addicts Who Are Sitting On The Fence

"'Sitting on the fence' is a common idiom used in English to describe one's neutrality or hesitance to choose between two sides in an argument or a competition, or inability to decide due to lack of courage."   Wikipedia

Something that struck me years ago is that addicts can approach recovery attitudes and behaviors while they are still using.  You can sit on the fence and still read support books, listen to audio recordings, watch YouTube videos, listen in on telephone meetings, go to face to face meetings, begin or continue a practice of prayer, practice honesty especially with yourself, write in a journal.  You are then at least considering the other side and continuing to learn on a daily basis.  It's a way of acknowledging that you have a serious problem, a way to re-learn how to love yourself.  I say re-learn because I don't think we start out as infants and small children hating ourselves.  We are taught self hatred young by others who don't love themselves and this self attack, the internal critic, leads us down paths that often touch addiction.  I believe that there is such a thing as an addictive thought pattern and what runs throughout the core of the pattern is negativity.  Self-blame and judgment and blaming and judging others creates a vicious cycle.

I think it's wrong to tell addicts that they have to stop using before they can get into recovery.  That's like saying that because they use, there is something wrong with them that they have to fix before they can be included.  There is nothing wrong with using addicts.  That's back to a shame based mentality which keeps them stuck in the cycle of addiction.  They are sick human brothers and sisters who deserve help, not judgment.  Who they are inside is excellent, but they need the support and they need to train themselves to care for themselves.

Perhaps there could be separate meetings for people who are still using to go to, maybe meetings in people's homes.  Those who are in a firm recovery could be speakers for those groups.  It might be a gentler way to reach using addicts and lead them into abstinence so they can move on to go to all the other meetings that are available where they can practice recovery behaviors in earnest and be surrounded by others who are doing the same.  It just seems to me that fewer people would have to hit bottom (and possible not survive it) if there were transitional meetings for people who are not yet willing to go into withdrawal.  We are still too puritanical.  We still judge addicts as weak and immoral when they are actually strong and sick at the same time.  How can we teach using addicts about compassion for themselves and others when we won't practice compassion ourselves?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Sanity

"When you think of yourself as 'restored to sanity,' what picture of yourself comes to mind?"
                            Stephanie S. Covington, Ph.D.  A Woman's Way Through The 12 Steps


Sometime in the last twelve months I downloaded an e-book to my Kindle.  The title is Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain.  I thought I would try doing some visualization techniques to imagine what positive changes I would like to happen in my life.  I quickly felt myself resisting trying this.  It seemed wrong for me to imagine my desires being fulfilled.  Now I think that this must be some kind of residual sickness within me.  Imagination is a tricky thing.  It can work towards the negative or the positive.  It seems to me that knowing what I want that is healthy and reaching for it is a worthy goal.

Living life with a strong sense of sanity is what I want always.  Sanity is balance, clarity and harmony even amidst outer turmoil.  I literally know what it is like to be insane and now I have been partially restored to sanity.  This is the clarity of contrasts and it makes me very grateful to be alive.  Part of my sanity comes from living in the present moment.  Before I went insane I was a fantasy addict.  I imagined being in a relationship with one person or another, but never approached the person I was fixating on.  I lived inside my head a lot.  Then I crashed into out and out delusions.  My sense of isolation from humanity reached a peak even when I went to support groups or talked to my therapist.  I knew that no one could really understand what I was going through.  I sat with that for years and in some ways I still sit with it.

My life is a lesson about needing to learn how to take care of myself.  My therapist told me last week that I was spiritually advanced and was just now learning to reconnect to my body and other people.  Reconnecting to my body lately has been changing my diet to mostly vegan and getting daily exercise for nearly two weeks now along with stretching off and on throughout the day.  I have also been connecting with a few people by going to my first Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous meeting and to three Al-Anon meetings.  And I keep in touch with a dear old friend every week.  And there are a few others that I am developing a friendship with.  But, of course, there is more work to be done.  I still smoke, though I tried quitting a couple of times this year.  My home is disorganized and dirty.  I have not been using the studio space I leased.  I am going through the twelve steps very slowly.  Compared to being in a love addicted relationship and in acute psychosis these are relatively minor problems.  But still, becoming fully restored to sanity means living a deeply healthy life in body and mind.

To become very healthy I must work, plug away every day.  Eat right, exercise, try to quit smoking again, commit to creative work and spiritual work, clean and organize my home.  I am relieved and happy that there are now two Al-Anon meetings fairly close to my home that I can go to each week.  And there are always many telephone meetings available as well.  My therapist is great and I look forward to meeting with her each week.  The friends that I have are great too.  I am making progress. I have all that I need to be happy.  So I see my future self as slim and healthy living in a clean and organized home with plenty of friends focused on creative and spiritual work.  That is the creative visualization I am going to try to manifest in my life; that is sanity.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Choices For Health Or Sickness

I just listened to the Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous' Inspiration Line (215-574-2120) and someone named Steve talked for about five minutes about the freedom to choose either a return to an addictive lifestyle or to going into recovery.  He chose recovery because he knew that if he didn't he would quite possibly die.  In choosing recovery he had to go through a three month withdrawal period of severe depression.  Gradually he chose to get up in the mornings, eat, brush his teeth, get some rest and get on with life.   The choice for him and many of us was the choice between destructive pain and healing pain.  Healing pain ends after a time.  Destructive pain does not, but rather spirals downward.

I have made many choices in my life, as we all have.  The nature of life is about choices.  The two major categories of choices are the choice to follow health or the choice to follow sickness.  It is the same with our attitudes; we can choose to remain positive or to remain negative.  Over twenty years ago, when I was in a love addicted relationship, I started out following sickness.  I lived in denial and in the delusion that I was "in love."  Over time my delusion about being in love faded and I knew I was caught inside a terrible sickness with my partner.  In desperation I called a couple of domestic violence hotlines when I was alone and eventually made it to an Al-Anon meeting.  I bought the daily readers and began to read them as well as other books on addiction and toxic relationships.  I began to believe that there was still a benevolent force in my life, a Higher Power that I could turn to for guidance and comfort.  I began to pray to be released from a relationship that was spiraling downwards and stifling my spirit and soul.

One day, when I had the opportunity, I left my partner staying with my parents for a couple of months.  I chose myself over my addicted partner.  After having been abused for over five years I was raw and I was angry.  My anger helped me to commit to myself and my parents helped me to work through my process in a safe place.  When I returned home after my partner had left my house, I was still raw, but I was also self protective.  I wrote in a journal.  I got a guitar and began writing and singing songs.  I also made the mistake of remaining isolated.  I didn't reach out to others in recovery from addiction and so I stayed in partial sickness.

Three years later I would enter into a psychotic state.  Choosing myself over my partner had not been enough.  I needed therapy and support groups.  Soon after I became psychotic I was guided by some of the voices in my mind to find a therapist quickly and once again join Al-Anon and another group for domestic violence victims.  For the most part I have continued with therapy till this day.  Me going to support groups has been more uneven because of my perhaps addiction to isolation and doing it on my own.  My choice now is to commit both to therapy and support groups along with taking my medications daily.  It's been a long time coming.  Recently I found out that there are two new Al-Anon meetings in a town close by which is a godsend for me because I need these meetings badly particularly to stay in contact and connection with the people who go to the meetings and want to go more deeply into recovery.

I do believe in the twelve step program for myself.  I do follow.  I am choosing health over sickness day by day.  People have said the program is simple but not easy.  I agree.  It requires rigorous honesty all the time along with self reflection and meditation.  It requires pushing beyond unhealthy comfort zones.  It requires reaching out to others for help as well as helping others.  Each day there is a fresh choice, but I have been conditioning myself to consistently choose health over sickness.  That is how I turn my will and my life over to the care of God.

Friday, July 15, 2016

God And Intelligence

Perhaps you are in pain right now.  Perhaps you are lost.  I go in and out of that, too.  Depression, the pain of it, can serve a purpose.  We live in a world of contrasts, of duality.  Darkness helps to define the light.  Depression can help to give clarity to happiness, when happiness comes, and happiness does come back.  The key to clarity can be found in cultivating awareness.  The path to awareness is through receptivity to the present moment.  That means you have to come to a stop.  A lot of people seem to have trouble with this - stopping.  I learned about this from Jon Kabat-Zinn.  He wrote a book called Wherever You Go There You Are and I bought an audio recording of the book and listened to it many times the year before I became psychotic.  It was a meditation tape and it helped me in my own meditation practice to learn the art of mindfulness.

It's been a long time since I meditated by stopping and doing nothing, letting the world around me go on its way without any effort on my part.  I do meditate, but there are multiple ways to meditate.  I am meditating right now while I write this.  But sitting in my living room and doing nothing has in the past been a special form of meditation for me.  My voices are uncomfortable with me even considering doing this again.  I feel so different from myself back then when I only had voices now and then.  Now they are always there moving from foreground to background and back again.  I am never alone, nor do I want to be anymore now that these voices have become my friends.  I do stop and listen for some kind of guidance throughout the day and night.  That listening is subtle and intuitive.  I remain receptive and I wait.  And I have faith that not only my voices are listening and being receptive to me.  Some greater intelligence is always there, listening, ever aware of my small life.

I want to improve my conscious contact with this intelligence.  My understanding of God is still abstract.  I don't know what it is or where it came from.  I do not anthropomorphize my idea of God.  I do believe intelligence is God given.  Or in other words, no God, no intelligence.  From intelligence comes understanding and I yearn to understand.  There is so much harmony within understanding and that is really what I yearn for, harmony, which, to me, is the essence of God.  This is not a random universe.  We do not live in chaos.  There is a sense and a logic to even the smallest things.  The atom is the smallest miracle.  And then there is the beauty in discovering the logic behind all life and its actions.  There is a logic to all life.  Discover the logic to make the sense to gain the understanding to find the truth.  Seeking the truth is my motivation for engaging in my life.  There is grace in understanding the truth in anything or any living being.  All the interconnections express God, lead back to God as I understand God.

Nothing exists in isolation.  Even black holes exist in relation to all that is not a black hole.  I believe that there is intelligence in space.  Intelligence is not biological; it has no heart, no brain.  We are a materialistic species afraid of the unknown, of what lies after death.  We are experts at distraction.  And yet wherever we go, whatever we do we cannot escape our own intelligence.  Our spirits are intertwined with our intelligence.

I'm going to try writing in this blog more often, just explore some of my daily thoughts, work with my intelligence.  I took my nighttime anti-psychotic medication before I began writing this and I am feeling quite tired.  It's time to get some rest.  I just wanted to put some ideas out there, some food for thought for whoever reads this.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

My Dysfunctional Family

Sometime in the last year one of my voices was guided by the Higher Powers to tell me that I had been raped by my brother when I was around 7 years old and he was around 10 or 11.  My brother had begun using drugs when he was 9.  I was told that he was high on something when he raped me, but I have no recall of it and can't quite believe it.  But I have a history of not remembering a lot of my life which is pretty common for people who have endured through trauma.  There are certain memories I can remember, but they are always the same ones.  Lately it has been bothering me that I can't remember so much of my experience because without the memories I can't access the feelings and without the feelings I feel a lack of depth to my life.

The idea that something so traumatic might have happened to me as a little girl does make sense.  I didn't develop in a healthy way when it came to interacting with the opposite sex.  My first examples of the opposite sex were my father and my brother and they were both wounded.  My father was very emotionally withdrawn I believe because his father had been an alcoholic and a compulsive gambler. It was almost as if I didn't have a father, but rather a kindly man who lived in the house with us and just minded his own business when it came to me.  Yes, financially he was very responsible.  He took care of his family that way.  Yes, I did go on bike rides with him, to the movies, on vacations, but a true intimacy was not there.  My mother was openly resentful of him.  When she and my brother would gang up on him, I felt a surge of compassion for him and stepped in to defend him because he was not good at defending himself.

I intuitively knew, as children often do, that my father was emotionally handicapped.  My mother knew, too, hence the resentment.  She had to raise my brother and me without a lot of emotional support.  And my brother started showing signs of being "emotionally disturbed" when he was just a little boy, possibly when I entered the picture.  I know he was jealous of me.  In the beginning I was cute and cuddly, but I soon learned that my parents were not so cuddly as I was.  My father appeared to be less threatened of me than of his son and showed me affection openly till I was 4 or 5.  Something negative seemed to happen to me around that time.  We had just moved from Brooklyn Heights to Park Slope Brooklyn.  My brother turned 8 that summer and I started kindergarten at P.S.321 that Fall in 1966.  My response to going to this rather large school was to dislike it immediately.  There were a bunch of kids and some teachers, all strangers.  I had little preparation for going there and I refused to fit in.  I felt abandoned by my mother for the first time.

My mother was not so easy to be intimate with either.  Like my father, she was very responsible about the practicalities of raising me.  Emotionally, past a certain point, she was invariably guarded.  And so I became an insecure child.  When I felt her pulling away from me, I clung to her and she really disliked that.  But who could I turn to if not her?  My father was so withdrawn and my brother was often hostile towards me.  Somehow, despite the neglect, I managed to fit in in school by being a good girl.  I was pretty and polite and I did my work.  I must have been bright, too, because I was always in the more advanced class.  But I was also withdrawn and repressed at school a lot.  I did develop friendships, which did help, both on my block and at school.  And, of course, there were always my cats.  I felt more bonded to my cats than to my family.  They were always open and affectionate and accessible and I could touch them.

My brother and I lived on the top floor of a three story brownstone.  His large room was facing the street and my medium sized room was facing the backyards.  There was a sliding door that connected the two rooms, but that stayed closed, except for the times when I would sneak into my brother's room when he wasn't there.  His room fascinated me because it was not at all like mine.  I had a neat and orderly room and he had a room that looked like a tornado had gone through it.  All his stuff spread across all corners of his room was more interesting than my stuff - leggos, wooden trucks, plastic soldiers, MAD magazines, home-made flip books, records etc...   And I was curious about him.  Who was he this alternately kind and then angry hyperactive boy?  I was a bit jealous of him and his friends on the block and when they were in our house I tried to tag along.  It didn't work and my brother always told me to go away.

It's true my brother had sickness in him.  He followed my mother and acquired her same resentful orientation.  He was perceptive enough to see that my parents had emotional problems that they weren't dealing with and he felt like a scapegoat for the family.  He was the problem child and the rest of us were just okay, which I knew wasn't true either.  Neither of us were getting our emotional needs met.  So he got frustrated and angry a lot and my mother got frustrated and angry a lot and fought with both her son and her husband.  I was in the weakest position; I was the youngest and I was a girl.  My brother took priority over me with my parents.  And so I watched them and often stayed silent.  I didn't feel as if I belonged in this family and later speculated that I had been adopted.  Not true, my mother showed me the band that had gone around my wrist as a newborn with my name and date and time of birth.

It was the 1960s in New York City.  My mother was a frustrated feminist, my father a staunch Democrat and my brother a hippy kid.  I was a hippy kid too in some ways, but too young to engage in the politics and music of the times (except for the Beatles).  My brother was very engaged in part because he was so bright and was going to a lefty school called Woodward.  He was fascinated by many things especially music, politics, soccer, astronomy, gardening and the space program.  But this very bright, verbal boy could not really read and write until he was eleven years old which was something I just didn't know at the time.  And, as I said, he began tripping and then smoking pot when he was 9 years old.  Later he would try downers and speed.

When I was 6 years old my mother went back to school to get a library science master's degree at Pratt Institute.  She hired a housekeeper to do the housework and keep an eye on my brother and me while she went to school for two years.  I was miserable without her and I did not like the housekeeper, an efficient, humorless West Indian woman, who had left her children to earn income and send it home.  She may have had her reasons for not bonding with my brother and me, but that really hurt me and again I felt abandoned really by both parents.  There was no one at home to turn to for guidance and comforts, there were only my friends and my cats.

If my brother did rape me while on some messed up drug like PCP it would have been during this time period.  It could have happened when my mother wasn't there and the housekeeper was busy at work on the first or second floor.  My brother had on several occasions been violent towards me and I was generally wary around him.  But I just do not remember.  I've told some of my friends and my therapist and my sponsor.  My therapist and sponsor think it happened, especially since I went in such a dysfunctional direction in life and became severely mentally ill.  They've asked if I've told my brother about this, but when I wrote to him once about the possibility of me having experienced sexual abuse at home and with some of his friends, he became very defensive and didn't want to discuss it.  And really, I don't want to talk about it with him, especially since I have no memory of it.  But here I am stuck wondering about it all with no answers.  I've heard it said that people who experience trauma often don't remember sometimes until years later when they're ready to remember. All I can do is keep exploring what memories I do have and wait.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What Is It To Be In Love?

"Love is our true destiny.  We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone -- we find it with another....We will never be fully real until we let ourselves fall in love -- either with another human person or with God."    Thomas Merton, Love And Living, p.27

My reality is that I am in a love relationship with my voices.  I see them as all aspects of one personality belonging to a person I have never met.  He is a person who was deeply wounded by personal experience at a very young age to the point where his mind split into separate personalities.  Our psychic connection was established nearly 18 years ago.  The first 3 years of this connection led me straight into psychosis where fact and fiction mingled.  Then there was a long period where I rejected the idea that I was connected to a person though the voices remained despite taking high doses of antipsychotic drugs.  I committed to studying Buddhism, to pursuing visual arts, to writing in this blog.  Three years ago there was a shift.  One of the voices asserted that it was indeed this same person and had been with me all those years.  Though I knew virtually nothing of channeling, that's what began to happen.  He spoke through me aloud and we began a dialogue.

I realize that for most people this is not believable.  My official diagnosis is schizoaffective disorder and based on the common understanding of this illness my voices are merely audio hallucinations, completely unreal and just a split off part of myself.  Taken from this perspective my story is just that, a story, made up but deserving of some compassion due to the fact that I am ill.  I do not deny that I am ill, but also I have yet to meet a truly healthy person.  My illness is no longer due to the voices in my mind, it is due to being dysfunctional in our culture.  I struggle to take care of myself, to brush my teeth, to clean my clothes, to pay my bills, to live in a clean and ordered home.  I appear to be alone and isolated, but my reality is that I am in a relationship and am never alone.

I believe in God.  I believe that there are other non human sentient species connected to this world.  I believe these beings were directed here by God.  I believe these being are telepathic in a way that humans are not and yet they have the ability to join two people together psychically.  Is my belief in God and "aliens" just a delusion?  Of course, I do not think so and I have to write from a place that strikes me as true, so bear with me.  If this story has truth in it the question comes up -- why would these beings connect two people together psychically?  I don't know and yet not knowing doesn't remove the lessons I have been learning.  The story of this person is complex and involves other people.  Perhaps our connection is serving to influence more than ourselves.  I wish that to be true if the influence is healing to us and them.

The lessons are about the nature of love and loving.  How far can a human go in loving another person?  I think we have all heard stories or experienced ourselves how far someone will go for the sake of someone they love.  People have sacrificed themselves for others and are doing so now all over the planet.  Love is even worth dying for.  That is how powerful a true love can be.  But the real goal is to survive and thrive in love.  In order to do that a lover must be willing to go through all kinds of trials and tribulations, willing to sacrifice self for other.  For a true lover the sacrifice is worth it if their beloved grows spiritually.  What is sacrificed is never a person's true self, the parts of self that know instinctively the value of love.  If that had been sacrificed there would be no motivation to sacrifice for another.  This is the difference between true love and codependent "love".

I believe my love of this person is a true love.  I have endured through insanity and hell with the Higher Power's permission in order to reach inside another person's soul.  The reason this worked, the reason I survived, is because I placed God above him and let myself be directed.  And what has happened since the point where I fell down so deeply into his insanity?  Spiritual growth for both of us.  I loved my enemy and now my enemy is my friend.  Mostly we coexist in peace.  But we are both not well yet.  I know that I love and respect myself, but I still struggle to take care of myself.  I have more lessons to learn.  And so does he, the greatest one being how to love and respect himself, to love himself unconditionally.  Parts of him continue to accuse other parts of being evil, though those parts have quieted down a great deal and have also stopped calling me evil, which they did for many years.  He cannot manifest a true love for me or anyone until he cultivates a true love for himself under the guidance of God.

This is his journey, his calling.  This is everyone's calling to love ourselves, take care of ourselves and extend that love out to others from our true, healthy selves.  This is the only path to transforming this world from a world of sickness to a world of peace and love.  The revolution starts individual by individual and grows into a collective movement that covers the globe.  When people can stop blaming the enemy outside themselves and turn their focus onto the enemy within with the intention of making peace with themselves, then war will end in the world.  Some people say that these are the end times, but I say these are the beginning times.  Being in love with yourself, another, with God is not about intoxication, lust, not about the world falling away and the beloved being put on a pedestal to worship.  Being in love is not the blissful stage before the hard work of love begins.  Being in love is the spiritual practice for daily life and follows all of its ups and down.  You are your own eternal witness and the more present you can be to all your thoughts, feelings, words and actions, the more you train yourself in the ways of love.  To be in love is to be unconditionally accepting.  If you can accept yourself as you are, you are then free to go to work on developing yet a deeper love of yourself in the world.