At 3:30am on August 13th, I dragged my mother outside to watch the Perseid meteor shower at one of its peak shower hours. I hadn’t yet put in my contacts, so squinting only upped my anticipation. I ran back into the house to grab my Dodgers hoody (compliments of one of my besties in Boston–an Irish, beautiful Boston Red Sox-lover at heart) and my seeing eyes. I came back outside just in time to witness some action. I was so excited when I immediately saw a bright meteor shoot across the sky. A couple of minutes later, I saw a second, less bright, meteor make a dash on the night. It didn’t take long before my neck ached from looking up for 10 minutes straight. I stood there willing the meteors to show themselves, waiting impatiently in the dark. I kept my gaze fixed on the north-eastern part of the clear Petersburg skies. It had just rained a couple of days before, providing a crystalline backdrop for stargazing and Perseids-hunting. I wanted to see more, then I realized how fucking cool it was I saw any action at all. I smiled with the thought of two close friends in LA who made the trip to Joshua Tree to watch the Perseids under desert skies. We star-gazed in solidarity–together–in different time zones under the same stars.
I had insomnia that night, so I took to watching my favorite bedtime standby, 30 Rock, on Netflix. The episode I saw featured Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) schooling Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) on The Shower Principle. Lemon gets bummed when she meets with her accountant, who tells her that she does and says the same thing every year. She starts a meditation practice to find clarity; she finds a journal she kept the year before to trace her problem-solving steps. Jack explains to her that the brain needs distraction in order to figure things out. He opines that the best place to have ideas that come without effort is in the shower, when the brain is distracted by nothing but relaxation. He credits Lemon with distracting him enough to problem-solve for his company, Kabletown.
This show is my kind of ridiculous. I want to be like Tiny Fey one day. I’d like to have Alec Baldwin-as-Jack Donaghy’s confidence, too. But this episode made me think even more than it made me laugh. Standing there, under the meteor shower, I started to try too hard to will something into existence. I wanted the perfectly beautiful and natural fireworks show to give me more than it already had. After I watched 30 Rock, having mediated and journaled myself, I realized that I was experiencing The Meteor Shower Principle: peace coming to me when I least expected it.
I can’t will shooting stars into falling, just like I can’t will time to move faster. I am a tiny person under a behemoth sky, watching particles of dust burn up in the earth’s atmosphere. The meteors I saw happened in my periphery–when I least expected to see them. When I try too hard, I tend to miss things that happen in the present. I like the idea of truth coming to me unexpectedly, when I am open and willing to see it.
I am 17 months sober today, August 17th. I got here by living a program of action rather than will power. I surrendered my attempts at controlling alcoholism by yielding to a power greater than myself. I never expected that I could live my life without using alcohol to comfort me. I never would have come up with that idea if I had been trying too hard to find a solution. Recovery came to me because I stopped looking for myself in other people and things. I’ve had to work every day to do my part in staying sober. The rest has come through grace. I have an abundance of love and support today because I adhere to The Meteor Shower Principle–love given is love received.
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