I worked at the O on Bowen Island for 12 years. Starting the day with addicts in early recovery was a trip — so to speak. Some days were a challenge and others were filled with inspiration and hope.
The O is where I learned to set the bar low.
For a lot of people in the world, high expectations are the norm. We are encouraged to reach for the stars, shoot for the moon, crawl out on a limb. You know… push.
But, at the O we learned to set the bar low.
Most addicts in early recovery have not had much success in quite a while, and just waking up sober is a challenge. So, the bar is set low and then celebrated when met.
I remember Daryl, a counsellor at the O talked about this. He said the bar is set so low, that if you don’t drink for a 24 hour period, we applaud you!, Go a month and you get a chip, a year and we give you a cake! Plus can stand up and talk in a meeting, and no one will stop you, no matter what you say. At the end of the day we are on your side and will cheer in celebration with you.
I also remember my friend Cynthia teaching us the money and business mantra of “Do as much as you can, for as long as you can, with as little as you can. When you can do more — do.”
Ever since then, I’ve set the bar low in life, and congratulate myself when I reach it.
The bar I set, be it for sobriety, exercising, or for living below our means, is always low, and so far has always been met.
In Tai Chi we are asked – How little can you do, to accomplish this?
I ask myself, what is the least I can do? Then I do that. If per chance I do more — gravy.
Because of this low standard, I must admit, under the circumstances, I do pretty well in life.
This brings me around to watching the Women’s Olympic event of snowboard slope style last night.
First off, the weather forced the cancellation of qualifying runs. The wind was gusting, and in a sport in which the competitors often weigh less than 100 pounds and wear baggy clothes, this was a set up to turn any athlete into a friggen kite.
Basically the medals were awarded to the women who conserved their talent, and got down the mountain without being blown to kingdom come by the wind, or crashing down on their head when they were.
The bar was set low. Finishing on your feet was the least and the best they could do. The reward for survival was gold, silver and bronze.
It was a shame as the women, in this crazy sport, had a hard time showing the world, what they could do under crazy circumstances.
However come to think about it — that’s exactly what they did. Salute!