Monday, April 21, 2008

The Art of the Mundane....cure for addictions...

I was reading the Sunday, April 20th Parade magazine's cover story about Robert Downey Jr.
If you've followed his career at all, you'll know that his journey has been, despite his obvious genius as a talented actor, marred with bouts of alcohol and drug abuse. Serious bouts that have landed him in court, rolled him through three marriages and left him on the brink of self-destruct. But with this third marriage, something clicked--and he "chose" to care. Oh, others had prompted him before to change his ways--but it wasn't until something within him made a choice to change that it stuck.

The comment that stood out for me (sort of jumped off the page!) was when he said "Now its all about becoming rooted in the mundane, in the day to day stuff. Life is 70% maintenance....I'm learning the business of building a life. Instead of getting instant gratification by getting high, I push my nose as far into the grindstone as I can. The honey, the reward, is the feeling of well-being, the continuity, the sense that I am walking toward a place I want to go."

This could be the "mantra" of Life Puzzle making! As I say in the "finding meaning" chapter of the book, Life Puzzle...putting the pieces together, "great lives are the art of the mundane". It is about making the simplest of events--washing the dishes, cleaning the house, reading a book to your child or giving your partner a hug--that we find we are truly building our Life! Piece by piece to create peace--or as Downey says, "I am walking toward a place I want to go.

Downey was an addict for most of his life (he had his first drink at age 8). I've always believed that "addictions" are a choice. All addictions provide 3 things--instant pleasure, removal of pain and temporary quieting of the inner voice of self-dissatisfaction. They are tough to give up because once we've made the choice to release the 'quick gratification' of the addiction--we discover they are replaced with the "mundane of life'. And I think that's what stops most people from giving up their addictions--they are convinced the "mundane' will be so boring that they'll convince themselves its better to stay rooted in the addiction behavior because with it comes drama!

Only, as Downey has proved--the truly incredible drama of a great life is in the mundane--but you have to trust your SELF to go into it to find out! That is the best choice--but the hardest when you're stuck in addictive patterns!

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