David Shepherd, the MLA for Edmonton Centre, recently lost his father.
Offering my condolences, I told David that my memory of my dad’s death was that the world opened up and kindness flooded in. Colleagues, friends and even relative strangers took a moment to offer sympathy and encouraging words.
You’ve been so kind to me over the past few days, after I published a blog post about my 10th anniversary of sobriety.
Funny concept that, sobriety. It means “not intoxicated by substances” but it doesn’t say anything about being content, or happy, or fulfilled … or focused on the world.
I’m still guilty of living in my head too often. I’m still guilty of self absorption. I can get “triggered” by an angry or condescending constituent — or by a Staples column 🙂 — all of whom are entitled to their opinions and, often as not, being upset with the City or city council.
This is why I love the Buddhists for their concept of practice. I need to practice being humble, kind and of service to the community, not my own ego needs. For me at least, the practice needs to be daily, hourly and, well, minutely.
I’ve had several clear lessons learned over the years. I love it when I suddenly get a bump in self awareness. I want to keep learning and my teachers are everywhere. (Gawd, that sounds New Agey, sorry).
A few months back, my executive assistant Roxanne Piper barked at me. Roxanne is never like that. What the heck? She told me I was moody; that my staff didn’t know what I wanted anymore.
She was absolutely right. I was being a grump. The election was difficult and I hadn’t cleared my head of the criticism and pressure. I was feeling sorry for myself. As a 12-step veteran would say: I was comfortably sitting on the Pity Pot.
Roxanne snapped me out of it. Once I realized what I was doing, it was far easier to process the negatives from the election and realize, well, that we’d prevailed.
But the point I’m trying to make is this: Quitting drinking was easy; being a mature kind, healthy and helpful man is my ongoing challenge.
Your kind comments helped remind me that we’re all human. We all suffer in some way. The vast, vast majority of people are kind. Thank you.
Oh. And if you see MLA Shepherd, offer a kind word. He needs it right now.
By Scott McKeen, City Councillor Ward 6