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Years ago, when I hit my personal bottom, a man named John Skelly was put into my life.


John was not a man who would have made my “social circle” for my life up until 1994 when we met. He was rough and gruff, lived in the wrong part of town, looked like an unmade bed most of the time, was under employed and was given- lovingly by my wife- the nick name Grumpy- and it fit to a tee.


Yet John gave me insights in to how to live a new life better than any other human being. He lived alone, and a group of us starting out to recover life became his family. He brought us together for dinners and we ran the streets all over the place to go to fellowship meetings. He loved us when we couldn’t love ourselves, and in my case, he became a member of our “family” and was at all family events. It was hilarious when my wife would call him and ask him for dinner and before accepting, Grumpy would always ask what we were having.


John did not have a life I wanted, but had knowledge of the things I needed to get a life that I wanted desperately, and he gave freely.


There is a voice of “John” that I still hear when I’m agitated, a phrase he said to our “gang” on a frequent basis and the material below made it very real. “LET IT GO-TURN IT OVER”!


"To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day." -- Lao Tzu


How do we take something away? As we cultivate higher awareness, we begin to see just how much we have added things that really aren't there to our picture of reality. Our beliefs, concepts and emotions all add layers of meaning to physical reality, but that meaning exists for us only - it has no objective existence. For example, the word 'mother' has a complicated network of meaning for each of us.


Become aware of how your beliefs and emotions colour your perception of different events in your life. See if you can begin to step out of your fabrications to experience the truth and spaciousness of what is.


"When guilt rears its ugly head confront it, discuss it and let it go. The past is over. ... Forgive yourself and move on." -- Bernie S. Siegel


Just about 10 years ago from today, I had the misfortune of finding “Grumpy” dead in his apartment the afternoon after a “fellowship” wedding between two of the group that ran together. Grumpy did not take care of himself health wise, had revelled at the wedding (not drank), had dramatically over eaten his high cholesterol but loved foods at the reception, had got home and taken of his finery and was in his AA suit, sat in his favourite chair with a smile on his face, and before he could light a cigarette, had the big one. He let it go and turned it over for the final time. A real loss for many of us.


Today, I still here that grumpy hoarse voice, and hear it frequently during rough patches, “TURN IT OVER- let it go”. With practise, it has become easier and has helped me to replace old habits and living issues and add new skills. It has allowed me to live life in a real place and in the now. It has allowed me to forgive myself and live. It has given me balance back.


If you want an abundant life with large measures of hope and serenity, learn to let go of the garbage that steals daily from you. There re ways to acquire the ability. I was blessed to have a John Skelly in my life, my own Grumpy elf. If I can assist you, get in touch at,


-- keithb

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