It starts with a speck in the eye of the heart. An unflushed irritant. I peck and pick at it, unable to pluck out what abrades that sensitive place. As it grows and shifts about, it begins to spread and aggravate. It churns into itself and becomes harder to pinpoint the exact spot of annoyance. It's like a rash that seems to burn no matter where I itch. Some days I can only let it corrode me as I stand in the swirling water, wondering why it still hurts when I move.

I have been feeling this turmoil for some time now. It's been a uncomfortable comfort. It's a crusty live-in lover with talons. It boils skin down to the gelatin. It happens when I close myself off to the spirit. When I starve the soul. When I play cosmic chicken with my purpose in life. It happens when I deny what has been handed down to me to sow. When I make a fist over the small weathered burlap sack in my hand. I cut it all off and the field remains barren.

As a man in recovery, I have been given a chance to harvest from my sorrow, from my experiences. I have been given Grace. It's not an easy task sometimes, to take this Lazarus-Lite school skit and turn it into a masterful Citizen Kane to be played upon a larger-than-life screen. Breathing and being sober are great foundations for a life, but it is not life as a construct alone. There is more. There needs to be more. 

There must be more.   

When I feel that speck dig into me, it is a reminder that I am needed in some way. I am pushing away against the reason I was allowed to walk the Earth a free person. I am alive, yes, but am I alive? When I feel the speck, I feel that there is something I am fighting. I rage against what speaks to my spirit. I spit and scratch and tear away at the very things that should bring me a sense of calm.

It's all tied to self-worth. Or lack thereof. 

Who am I to write and produce and flourish and succeed? Who am I to play at the court of Higher Self? Who am I to get off my knees and wipe the mud off and climb the oaks and feel the sun on my arms? Who am I to deny myself when I have been supposedly freed from myself?

It's a tricky spot, this speck. This dirt. This self-induced coma that drags me into the shadows when I really want to shine. And that is my struggle—to give myself the permission to be worthy. Not seek it from others. To not allow my stock value to be determined by outside forces. To build a tapestry from golden thread. Gold that was mined from within. God-given.

This will play until no longer plays. Until then I can only recognize the undertow. Clench my fists and let the waves crash about me and wait for them to recede. Breathe a bit. Admire the sand castles ashore. And realize that I was not meant to be standing in shallow waters, trying to itch something that shouldn't be there in the first place. I am meant to speak what is in my soul, free it, examine it, let others hold it. And learn from it. Grow from it. Give it all back to Source.

It ends with a speck.