Bill Alexander: Four days in May, from His Blog “Silver Tea”

williamalexanderblog1Bill Alexander is a self-described “free-lance storyteller” who leads sobriety workshops at such venues as Union Theological Seminary, the Esalen Institute,  and  Hazelden Foundation.  He is now in the process of moving to Ojai, California, to work with Byron Katie.

alexander_bill_001He recounted his recovery story in the classic book, “Cool Water” (now known as “Ordinary Recovery”), and his story of living the sober life in Still Waters

Hi, I’m Bill and I’m Old” is his latest work.

Bill and Lama Losang (David Bole) will be teaching at KTD August 2 – 4: a weekend workshop on “How Buddhism and the Twelve Steps can help in Recovery from Addictions.”

Buddhism and Addiction Recovery
At the conclusion of Bill Alexander’s program at KTD last year, a Twelve-Step Group was started here. The group is now celebrating its one-year anniversary.

May 7, 2013

Dear Will,

For reasons that remain between you and me and Masha and L.A. Peter and a couple of anonymice, I want to remind you of a prayer that the theologian Howard Thurman taught to my mentor, Sam Keen, who taught it to me.

Thank you, thank you, thank you so very much, thank you.

My friend Byron Katie said recently that she’s at the point where her life is entirely about gratitude. She added that she sees little difference between gratitude and humility.


“The only wisdom is humility.”

Let’s talk, quite soon.

Now I’m going to put on that brilliant and perfect buffalo felt Stetson that Win gave me last night and head out into the open, and finally, warm air.

Love, Dad


May 8, 2013

Dear Will,

Here is a truth it only took me 70 years to learn.

I hope you can see it and adopt it now. It could save a lot of needless suffering. And it could also reframe the suffering you may already have had.

I can say, truthfully, that all of the hard times I have gone through, including the challenging calendar year just past, were gifts.

So here it is:

My life does not happen to me; it happens for me.

Love, Dad


May 9, 2013

Dear Will,

Today I’m telling you something you already know. So this letter is for the dozen or so people who read these meandering thoughts from time to time.

On Monday, I came to an agreement with a teacher and friend and remarkable visionary named Byron Katie, that I will be working with her, beginning in mid-June.

If there’s a lesson in this astonishing gift, it’s that when I stay out of my way, live in aliveness (my preferred way of saying in the present moment) and pay attention, there are currents deep in my life that will carry me, without my intent or volition, to the unknown waters of my destiny.

I didn’t plan this. All I did was listen and act, without knowing where I was headed.

One place I’m headed is Ojai, California. I will leave Minnesota early in June, probably right after having dinner with you and Julie in a restaurant of your choice, and on your nickel (I envision burgers and fries and iced tea – the three basic food groups) and then, as you have seen me do, us do, in the past, I’ll hop in my beat up Jeep, which will be packed with everything I own, and head first to the Northwest, then south down the pacific coast, on into LA to spend a little time with Masha and then to Ojai, the day before my 71st birthday.

I guess. Katie said to me recently that “guesses work in my world as all is only that.”

Minnesota has been a wonderful gift for me. And, in a sublime way, for Toni, my soul mate who died here not many months ago. She told me, right before her death, that she reckoned I came here so that she would.

And I see, as well, that the hard times I’ve had here were necessary in order to open me to the deeper realities. So I’m grateful to those who pushed me to what I thought were the limits of my tolerance and patience and taught me love in a different way.

Who’d ‘a thunk it.

I repeat – my life doesn’t happen to me, it happens for me.

As is inevitable, I’ve got to quote Leonard Cohen:

“you lose your grip/ and then you slip/ into the masterpiece”.


Love and beauty, Dad


May 10, 2013


My oh my, what a wonderful day
Plenty of sunshine heading my way

Mister bluebird on my shoulder
It’s the truth
It’s actual
Everything is satisfactual

Love, dad

PS – pay attention to what song is playing on your emotional jukebox – more wisdom there than in any of our ponderous figuring it all out minds.


Bill Alexander’s “Silver Tea” blog here

Content reprinted courtesy Bill Alexander, 2013


2 thoughts on “Bill Alexander: Four days in May, from His Blog “Silver Tea”

  1. You are right of course,but if I was a person,,say,,with no legs, I would tell you that dealing with that karma is more difficult than you can imagine.And i would tell you to be careful of using the lessons of experience,as a rationalization. The last hard time is dying,and maybe you’ll remember in the next world and say, wow ,that was a great learning experience,I’m in a much better place. I hope you do.

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