Twenty-three years ago I could not imagine getting through a day without drugs and alcohol, and frankly, I had no intention or desire to do so.  Now, twenty-three years later, I cannot imagine a day that would include drugs and alcohol.  There has been a profound transformation at every level of my being.  Almost everything is different.  My body and my thinking have changed.  My understanding of the world and my place in it has certainly changed.  My relationship with the Power I cannot touch or see, while still ineffable, has developed into a very real detectable experience.  What has not changed is the Truth within me.  By definition, Truth is that which never changes.  Therefore, all the changes I just referenced cannot be considered the Truth with a capital “T”.  Yet, within this being called Tommy Rosen there is a Truth (as is the case for you) and these 23 years of recovery have served to bring me closer to it.

I’m never going to be able to do anything more profound than realizing that Truth within me, or perhaps helping another person to do so for themselves.  In Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan, the mantra which best expresses this idea is Sat Nam, which means Truth is my identity.  I did not set out to learn the Truth.  I just wanted to feel better.  For a while drugs did that for me.  Then the drugs became a source of more pain than what I was originally trying to fix.  Everything happened in stages for me.  There were the 12 Steps.  There was the path of yoga and finally learning to sit still and meditate, which has been one of the great gifts of my life.  There was the complete overhaul of my relationship with food and my relationship with money.  With each successive stage there was more strength, more clarity, but there was a lot of pain along the way.  I had to lose the myth that pain only happens if you do something wrong.  That idea compounded my pain and messed with me.  I have to thank all the sponsors, therapists, friends and family members who shined a light on the path and loved me along it.  As a point of fact, all the progress I have made in my life has come because of the efforts, care and love of my teachers. One of my teachers this year came in the form of a whole family.  They gave me a huge lesson about courage and taking life on life’s terms. Here is how it happened.

There is a man I have become close with through powerful face-to-face connections that take place each Summer Solstice at the worldwide 3HO Kundalini Yoga gathering.  I love this man and we have had a heartfelt connection from the beginning.  This year, I met and spent a bit of time with both he and his wife.  They told me a story that struck me to the core of my being and I am compelled to share it now.  Their son and his wife got pregnant with their first child together.  They ran through the normal necessary pre-natal tests and learned that their baby boy had a very rare disease.  He would likely make it to full term and be born, but he would likely  live only for a few hours.  The couple and their family could not imagine stopping their pregnancy before this little soul had a chance to live…even just a few hours.  Despite knowing that they were going to have to face excruciating pain and grief they decided to have the baby anyway.  Such is the emphasis Yogis place on the blessing that it is to have an incarnation as a Human Being.

I’m sitting there listening to this story and the sheer courage of it cracked my heart wide open. In a world where most of what I see is people trying to duck pain, here was an example of a family that leaned into it.  Who would choose to have a baby knowing they would only get a few precious moments with it?  Extraordinary people, that’s who.  Their beautiful baby boy was born and flourished for 3 days, much longer than anyone had expected.  The family reports that there was a sense of wonder and awe about this child.  He was truly grateful to be alive and they were truly grateful to have afforded it the opportunity.  When I ask my friend what the greatest gifts were from this whole event, he tells it like this: “It taught my children, my wife and I to live in the moment, one day at a time.  And not just to live in the moment, but also to actually notice the moment like when the dragonfly hovers there in front of you or when the goldfinch flies by.  We know for certain that life does not end with the physical and there is proof of that all around us if only we pay attention to the signs.”

What I have taken away from this story is a clearer sense that nothing would have been possible for me without the gift of recovery, without a spiritual approach to life and without a community of people who are carrying so much light that they shine a path ahead for all of us.

This is what occurs to me at the beginning of this new year taking life on life’s terms and one day at a time.

Sending you all my Love, Gratitude and Strength in our pursuit of the Truth within.

Tommy Rosen