The Andromeda Strain of New Happiness...
Ok, so I had a weird night. I fell asleep early - I was tired. Paddle boarding around Santa Barbara harbor all morning and walking the beach all afternoon left me blessedly and lovingly tired. It was a beautiful day and I soaked in the joy and peace of the day much like I did the sunshine.
I awoke this morning multiple times and each time the thought running through my mind was Andromeda Strain...like five different times, I woke up and this was all that was in my head.
So when I finally woke up I looked it up on Wikipedia. I knew it was a movie from some time ago but I couldn’t remember if I had seen it, if I liked it or really anything about it.
After acquainting myself with Wiki’s version of the movie, I recall the film. Sci-fi where a weird extraterrestrial life form lands in a satellite and kills an entire town in New Mexico except for an alcoholic and a baby. The alcoholic survives because he has been drinking sterno and his blood ph is so acidic and the baby survives because it has cried so much that its ph is similarly off. The movie goes on through lots of twists and turns but ends with this alien life form mutating into something foreboding for the future...
Apparently my psyche is concerned about the COVID mutations going on at the moment and has linked that up with a movie that I saw a million years ago. Again WEIRD!
Then a good friend wrote this morning about finding a new freedom and a new happiness, and the connection was complete for me.
For me, sobriety has been this Andromeda Strain in my life, changing and mutating in me and around me causing me to have to constantly re-evaluate myself, you, my definitions of good and bad, happy and sad. It is like since I stopped drinking the sterno (not really - I swear to all that is holy that I never drank Sterno and I am immensely grateful that I got sober before I did that - let’s be sure - I would have totally done that eventually) that I have been possessed by this ever changing, mutating force, this strain that has caused me to fundamentally and wholly change how I think about myself, you, life, happiness and the like. Everything I thought was one way, has kind of turned out to be something else completely.
I have a constantly evolving new happiness today. I spent yesterday paddling around Santa Barbara harbor with my daughter and a few girlfriends. I can’t even begin to explain how much I felt, how grateful I was to be able bodied, to be ok in my own skin, to share the board and time with my beautiful daughter who at 13 thinks my friends and I are interesting, and somewhat cool. She is fascinated with us and our lives and how we live. If that isn’t a cause for happiness I am not sure what is...
Happiness has morphed and changed for me and is undergoing yet another revision. Life is different every day. My feelings change like the tide. I am living on this ocean of fear, angst and discontentedness that often up ends me like the swells that hit California in January. But because I have been wholly and completely changed by my own Andromeda strain of sobriety my life is completely different. I feel like that guy earlier this month that caught that once in a lifetime ride up at Maverick’s recently. That wave and his ride epic in not only his life time but in everyone who witnessed that ride.
Life keeps coming at me in a wave like fashion, me never knowing what rolls beneath the water that rises beneath me. As I lay on my board yesterday, floating aimlessly in the salt water, I looked upward toward the sky. Pelicans glided above me, a few whispy clouds streaked the sky. But I was there, pinned to my board, present, content and experiencing a new happiness that I had not known before. I longed for nothing. I wished for nothing in my life to be different. I just was there, with my daughter on that board, floating in our own galaxy.
I have been willing to be possessed by the tides of change that often felt like I was being invaded by an alien host. I have often felt like what I want for my life, out of reach and not meant for me. I have been wrong a lot about what I thought would bring happiness and what I was sure would bring pain. I am so grateful that I have been so wrong for so long. I just keep offering myself up to this ever changing life, sober and because I am willing to live the principles, I get to continue to experience a new freedom and a new happiness. And both of those almost always have to do with me getting out of me.
Yesterday I didn’t really think about myself all that much. I thought about my friend Nan who invited me and has always included me and never stopped asking me to go even when I was always too busy. I thought about other women who were there who, I was being provided an opportunity to get to know. New friends on the path. I thought about my friend Elizabeth who walked out of her kitchen while the sink overtook the space, getting things to a stable but unresolved state, and did something for herself even though her choice to leave caused her angst and worry. She took a few hours for herself and allowed the sink and all of its drama to take a backseat to her self care. I thought about my daughter and how lucky I was that this 13 year old girl who spends all of her free time with her horse, gave that up for a day on the water with me and my friends. I thought about getting another paddle board. I thought about making this activity my new Saturday morning routine. I thought about the sky, the water, the air, Santa Barbara. I thought about the world and how it has changed. I meditated on my board and enjoyed the gentle movement of my body with the ocean. I thought about nothing and everything all at once...
And I was delivered to a new happiness and a new freedom. I, have undergone my own Andromeda experience, possessed by this new strain of alien life form and I am altered by it. It almost killed me, but somehow I was blessed with a fundamentally changed interior. A gift that came in the form of certain destruction. I was reborn into this new life where there is no waste, there is no vacuum. All that happens to me is used on a daily basis to create an ongoing evolution of new everythings. Over and over and over again. I am so blessed to be the person I am today. And all the people I have been all this time. I am so grateful that I was possessed and altered from the inside out.
I can’t tell you what the new freedom and happiness feels like other than what I have described. But I hope you will take the time in your own life to go find it, every day. I can promise you, it is likely not to be at all what you think it is and I hope you will stay forever open to the strange satellites that land in your life. I hope you readily open yourself up to the alien life forms that come in oddly shaped packages and often look like really bad news that wholly change the landscape of your life. I hope you are able to forever look up into the sky above your life and see your own amazing Andromeda galaxy swirling above you on a moonless night and that brings a constantly shifting and evolving freedom and happiness to you and those you love.