By Paul Galewitz
Working at the Kiloby Center for the 10 months has enabled me to get in touch with what I now call a Holy Moment. When people feel triggered in any way to partake of a certain substance, behavior or other habitual reaction to a feeling they don’t want to feel, more than likely it may already be too late to refrain from reaching for that something. This of course simply prolongs the suffering, something we all know quite well.
But there is a moment, even a tiny sliver of a moment, where we can actually become aware of an alternative to our habitual behavior. That alternative is to simply stop, even for that sliver of a moment. This is a very tiny interruption in the normal course of events that lead to partaking. That moment is what I am now calling a Holy Moment.
Why use the word Holy? As I tune into that moment right now, I feel the infinite space that moment presents. Infinite space, infinite emptiness, all possibility. Yes, even the possibility of just being with the feeling that has so blatantly commanded us to do anything but feel it, the avoidance of which has lead so clearly to our destructive behavior.
The more you can remember to simply pause, even for a second or two, before reaching for that substance, or engaging in that behavior, the more elongated those moments become. Something happens as those moments become longer and longer. The craving can die down, become less intense. You might even have the wherewithal in that moment to actually feel the feeling you have been running from seemingly forever, and ask it, “Where is the command to use?” You might be in for a surprise, in that your craving might have diminished enough to where you might actually refrain from using.
I’m not downplaying the intensity of the cravings that are present when you are in the midst of using drugs, alcohol, sugar, cigarettes, etc. Letting your mind list all the reasons those substances are bad for you, well, we know that doesn’t work, as it just activates the craving. We’ve seen much evidence to that effect at the Center. There needs to be a certain level of readiness to finally turn around and face the feelings that have been driving the cravings in the first place. Many clients at the Center have reached that readiness point where they are prepared to look. Taking that moment, even for one second, before using can be a first and giant step toward putting that readiness into play.
Once we have noticed that we can indeed take moments of rest even during a craving, these Holy Moments can become opportunities for feeling what we have always avoided feeling.
The Enneagram has been a very useful tool for our clients, as it can help identify the particular flavor of the patterns we fall into. These patterns are the result of our reaching outside ourselves for comfort, for love, for purpose, for fulfillment, for meaning in our lives, as opposed to looking within. Once identified, we get to watch the parade of patterns in which we have engaged, and it takes some fortitude to do this looking. It can be very sobering, to borrow a phrase, to face how inauthentically we have been behaving. We get to see the many ways we have been employing in order to avoid facing the feelings that are arising in any given moment.
I have been looking at my particular patterns very intently these past several months. My number nine patterns have been made quite evident to me, as well as my powerlessness in trying to behave differently. There is only one way out of this predicament, and that is through; through the overwhelming and oppressive feelings that are with me now. We have a phrase, The Thank You Phrase, that we use at the Center, and it has become a daily part of my life. When I can feel that I am resisting a feeling, I say to the feeling, inwardly or out loud, “Thank you for arising. I love you. Stay as long as you like.” It is a very useful phrase, as it allows us to become completely aware of the feeling itself, and if we are still resisting it, to feel the resistance and be with that. You don’t even have to mean it at first – you might be tempted to say, “Yeah, stay as long as you like, as long as it isn’t more than 5 minutes.” Just keep using it despite your reservations. You might be surprised at isn’t more than 5 minutes.” Just keep using it despite your reservations. You might be surprised at its effectiveness.
In this moment, as I write this, every thought that arises seems to intensify this feeling, even those that are totally unrelated to one another. I woke up this morning with this feeling, carried over from yesterday, and the blessing today has been that whatever thoughts might have been velcroed to it are not sticking. I know it’s only about me sitting here and feeling this, even as it feels un-feelable in its intensity. I’ve been asking for this, to be able to move more authentically through this life, and this is what has presented itself.
Holy Moments, Holy Opportunities. Opportunities to discover our unique expressions and creative aliveness, and to live our lives in the infinite space, possibility, and flow of life.