Putting the puzzle pieces of myself together

Ever play the word association game? I say a word, you respond with the first word that comes to mind? It’s a pop psychology experiment born from the days of analysts who examined the ways in which people think and dream, seeking patterns and underlying motives.

An analyst attempting to follow my thought processes would need a seat belt and at least ten Red Bulls. My brain does a lot of ADD things that I’ve come to appreciate. I have moments where I feel like a scene out of A Beautiful Mind, but my brain seeks to understand connections between the many amazing people, artistry, music, and ideas in my life.

Example: This week I’ve been considering the words of a friend who reminds me that despite my best efforts to do 100 amazing projects simultaneously, that I only have just so much time and energy to devote. I have to choose what I value and devote my time accordingly.

There’s just all these pitfalls…Like, I love writing and it’s good for me to write. I feel better when I write. Then my ego says, “Hey! We should try to get more readers!” And my rational mind says, “That requires self-promotion and networking.” Then my emotional self considers networking a yucky thing to do and reminds me that in effect, I’d need to be finding time to do things I don’t truly want to do.

So I just write and it’s good and maybe someday Huffington Post will call and demand that I come write for them.

My tendency to spread myself thin is not a tendency at all. It’s a lifestyle. It’s based in equal parts gratitude for all the beautiful things and people my HP puts in my path and an insatiable longing for connection, passion, and purpose.

So…as I draw closer to turning 50 and consider the well-meaning mess that I am, my brain is playing with some puzzle pieces and looking at how they all fit together:

  • “Death inspires me like a dog inspires a rabbit.” – 21 Pilots
  • “Tell me, what is it youplan to do. With your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver
  • “My plans suck. My Higher Power’s plans are amazing.” – Most everyone I know in recovery
  • “If I could just let go I’d be set free.” – Linkin Park
  • “Surrender to win.” – Recovery adage
  • “I wanna get better.” – The Bleachers

Aging forces me to think about what I can reasonably do in the time I have. I don’t worry about my mortality or the amount of time I have. I just think about priorities, what needs to get done, and what I hope to achieve. Looking at just a week’s time and scheduling all the cool things I’m involved in is enough to keep me occupied.

I think about an old song by Bob Seger, “Deadlines and commitments, what to leave in, what to leave out?” It’s from Against the Wind and the song repeats, “I’m older now, but still runnin’ against the wind.”

Unlike the song, I don’t wish that I, “Didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.” I’m grateful for the wisdom and the peace I’ve come to have. Goddess knows I have the scars that accompany the lessons learned.

Moving forward it’s still a great balancing act. I’m asking my HP for the grace to know what to take on and what to let go of. I’m still a work in progress and I’m still pushing limits at every turn.

So, I’m reading the 3rd step prayer (pretty sure it’s going to be tattooed on me soon). It’s the only way I’ll get this right:

God, I offer myself to Thee To build with me & to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy love & Thy way of life.

Jim LaPierre

About Jim LaPierre

Jim LaPierre LCSW CCS is the Executive Director of Higher Ground Services in Brewer, Maine. He is a Recovery Ally, mental health therapist and addictions counselor. He specializes in facilitating recovery (whether from addiction, trauma, depression, anxiety, or past abuse) overcome obstacles, and improve their quality of life. Jim offers a limited amount of online therapy to those with very flexible schedules.