1,700 Days

Guess who woke up 1,700 days sober today? This girl right here! I am not really a day counter so much anymore, but occasionally I check my sobriety app and yesterday I happened to hit it at 1,699.    Last night before I fell asleep, I was thinking about my first AA meeting. Not really my first, because honestly, my first meeting was after a 28 day stay in a treatment center when I was 21 years old. I was battling an addiction to methamphetamine then, and not an alcoholic (in my mind), so I really couldn’t relate and didn’t feel like those meetings were the place for me. (I’ll share more on meth addiction another day) My first meeting on my journey to getting sober was here on Oak Island. I think it was early fall. September or October, but I could be totally wrong about that. Because I was drunk. I woke up that morning to find that my husband had hidden my car keys and wallet. A sure sign that the day before had not been a good one. He had also hidden my bottle of bourbon. Or poured it out. But, he didn’t hide the Mike’s Hard Lemonade (which I typically mixed with vodka). So, at 8 am, I started drinking Mike’s Hard Lemonade because that’s what I had.  I was very much drinking it to piss my husband off. I was drinking AT him. That was something I did regularly. Like a child. I called a friend to start a bitch session about what an asshole he was to hide all of my stuff.  She stopped me short to ask WHY I was drinking at 8 o’clock in the morning. She couldn’t wrap her head around it and proceeded to tell me that I was drinking way too early and it was happening way too often. She told me that I might have a problem with alcohol and that I should go to an AA meeting.  She offered to take me to a meeting that was starting at 9 am.  I got off the phone and got ready to go, still drunk from the previous day and working toward a new day’s drunk. A few minutes later she called me back because her car wasn’t in her driveway. She had forgotten that she got a ride home the previous night and didn’t have her car. Immediately, I felt it was shady that I needed a meeting but she didn’t? For whatever reason, I was ready to go and kind of set on it, so I called another friend who came to my house, picked me up and took me to the church where the meeting was. She recognized the blue AA sign in the window, told me this was the place for me and dropped me off with my Mike’s Hard Lemonade. What a freaking mess I must have been. And really, her too, for recognizing the AA sign from her own attempts at getting sober and for letting me into and out of her car with that drink. But, Whatever, I was the one who was drunk at 8 am.  I got out of her car, took a big drink or the Mike’s, and poured the rest out. I walked into the meeting late and disruptive. As soon as someone tried to speak to me, I immediately became angry. Really, really angry.   I had nothing in common with these people. As far as I could tell they were a bunch of miserable old men who were forced to go to these meetings every day for the rest of their lives and that was it for them.   A miserable existence that I wanted no part of.  It terrified me.  I acted like a complete asshole in hopes that everyone would hate me and I would never be invited back. Imagine my surprise when they told me to “keep coming back.” And I did. As it turned out, everyone I knew was incredibly happy that I was going to meetings. In their minds it meant I was not drinking. In reality, it meant I was hiding my drinking and drinking even more because nobody knew. Let me tell you, once a person starts hiding their drinking, it goes downhill quickly. Since nobody knew, I could drink at 6 am. And I did. I just had to keep the ice quiet as I was filling my glass. I drank all day. Everyday.  I even woke up in the middle of the night and drank myself back to sleep.  The next year and a half was horrible. I was never not drinking, and therefore always making poor choices.  My therapist was treating me for Borderline Personality Disorder. Since nobody knew how much I drank, there MUST have been some real mental health issues going on with me. And I went with it. I took that Borderline Personality Disorder and owned it.  I even had the shirt. Seriously.  A shirt with the diagnosis code on it.   It was easier to go to therapy and work towards living a good life with Borderline Personality Disorder than it was to not drink.  I joined a Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT) group and went every week. I sat in that group and judged all of those people in my head. They had real problems. I obviously did not. My life was a constant attempt to be drunk, without appearing drunk. My entire life was a lie. And it was hard. The reality is that I wasn’t really fooling anyone but myself, and at some point I stopped hiding. I landed in the ER countless times. On one occasion, because I no longer cared about anything at all, I went to bed in the middle of the afternoon with a half gallon of vodka. I proceeded to drink the majority of it straight out of the bottle and what I didn’t get in my mouth, I spilled all over myself and the bed. My husband decided I was probably going to die that day and he wasn’t having it. He called 911 and I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. All of those trips to the hospital run together for me and I don’t have a clear memory of exactly what happened next. Some of those trips ended with me locked in the psych hospital. Sometimes they ended in detox or a treatment center. Never was it a happy place for me and never was it where I wanted to be. All through this process I was attending AA meetings and resisting the program because I didn’t believe I was powerless over alcohol and that my life was unmanageable. Can you imagine? THAT was a miserable existence. That miserable existence is one I never want to go back to.  Every day I am grateful for the moment of clarity that hit me on day 5 of my final treatment center.  The day I chose to live.

That’s why I do the work. I choose me. I choose to live. Some days I think it takes a lot to be me. Some days I slack, but there are so many things in my repertoire, that I am hitting on at least two or three of them daily. Meditation. Yoga. Journaling. Meetings. Energy Healing. Therapy.  I’m adding Kirtan and Dancing to that mix because they feel so good to me. There’s healing in all of it. In the past 1,700 days I have built a life that I absolutely love. It is through my recovery that I discovered my gifts, my passion and my purpose. I am FULL of joy today. I know what it’s like to live in the dark, and I am grateful when even the tiniest light shines my way.   Today, the whole sun is shining on me.

Comfortable in My Own Skin.

The best gift sobriety has given me is the ability to be ME. Whatever that is at the moment. And it is ALWAYS changing as I live, learn and grow. A daily process. A few weeks ago, I was looking at my “professional” bio online and it made me laugh so hard. I’ll spare you the complete bio, but the sentence “Shannon started her yoga journey in 2013 and instantly fell in love with the way it nurtured her body, mind and spirit” really jumped out at me. Anyone who knows anything about me KNOWS that I did NOT instantly fall in love with yoga. I hated it so much. Every time I got on my mat I cried. I had no idea why and I didn’t know what was wrong with me. In the beginning, there were often times when I stayed in child’s pose for the entire class. Because yoga sucked so bad. I was sure everyone thought I was a freak as much as I thought that about myself. I hated yoga for a long time. The only reason I kept going back was because it was a wholesome way to spend an hour that kept me from drinking and because I had that therapist who was sure it would be good for me. Slowly I began to come around and hate yoga less and less. “Instantly fell in love with yoga” is just not true. I am sure I thought that’s what the world wanted to hear and who I thought I was supposed to be. I’ll eventually get around to changing that part. I doubt I’ll edit the bio to say that I fucking hated yoga, but you never know.

I am getting quite comfortable in my skin as of late and it’s something that is still new to me. I’m not always there, but it feels amazing when I am. Opening Rebel Soul Yoga and creating a space that is exactly what I need for my own healing has been a HUGE part of that process. I am constantly amazed by the amount of people who show up on their own journeys with their hearts open every day. People who are getting exactly what they need and pouring their love into the place. That space is FULL of love and healing energy for sure. I am comfortable being myself in that space. I don’t worry if people like me. It’s OK if they don’t. I am not for everyone. I get to show up, every day and be exactly who I am. Awkward. Hilarious. Overly excited about things. Unfiltered. Weird. Whatever.  It’s all good because it’s all ME.

This little blog right here has quite possibly been the BIGGEST catalyst in making me comfortable in my skin. I started writing here as a way to share my recovery journey. That recovery journey has turned into a journey of healing and to wholeness. I had no idea how much my words would touch people and how many people would relate to me. I live in a small town and it seems that everyone knows me. It always blows my mind when someone stops and introduces themselves to me and tells me they read everything I write. I probably shouldn’t be surprised since I do share everything on social media, but I still am. And every time it happens, it feels as if I am standing in front of said stranger completely naked and completely vulnerable. Because this person knows so much about me. WOW. It’s very humbling and overwhelming. I struggle for a moment and then I find my breath. I say thank you because I appreciate every single person who takes the time to read my words. I appreciate every single person who goes out of their way to tell me how they can relate to my words or how my words have helped them in some way. Being vulnerable is a beautiful thing.  I am learning to embrace vulnerability and allow it to strengthen me. Blogging has helped me to find my voice in so many ways.

Recently I have found something else that is helping me find my voice. Kirtan! I was first introduced to this during my yoga teacher training and just like everything that is new to me, I resisted it and thought it was weird. Today I am in love with this beautiful form of Bhakti Yoga. Chanting. Singing. Praying. It’s absolutely beautiful and I have turned into the girl who rides around in her car singing all the sacred songs. Loudly.  It fills my soul.  (I doubt the days of gangster rap are completely behind me.)  Sunday morning I went to the beach for my morning meditation practice. I sat in silence for 30 minutes. I had my blue tooth speaker with me and thought it would be nice to sing a little while I was there. So I did. People walked by while I sat on the beach singing in Sanskrit swaying and moving to the music. I might have looked (and sounded) weird to the people on the beach, but I honestly did not care. Nobody stopped to talk to me, which I absolutely loved. I might have discovered the best way ever to keep the creepers away AND I enjoyed every minute of my time. Completely comfortable in my skin and also completely aware that it’s still a very new way for me to feel. It felt like joy. It felt like freedom. One day, maybe I’ll be there all the time. For now, I’ll take the moments as they come with a heart full of gratitude. Little by little, all of the pieces are falling into place. And by “falling into place” I really mean coming together for me because I’ve been working my ass off, on myself, for myself.

Heal the Child

The moment when you realize you named your business after your inner 16 year old rebel girl. Yeah. That moment happened for me a few months ago.  I have always been aware that there was a part of me that was eager to jump out in front and handle things for me. An angry girl that is reactive and maybe more than slightly pissed. A Rebel Soul. She needs love. Now I know WHY she is there. I am going to take this back a bit. In the last blog I mentioned how I don’t like to talk about the REAL things with my therapist. I prefer to share my joy and happiness. You can read it here.  After I wrote that, I knew I had things that I needed to share. I began having terrible dreams, all involving some kind of trauma to my throat. A clear indication that I needed to communicate, but either couldn’t or wouldn’t. I emailed that blog to my therapist. Wouldn’t you know that the next time I walked in she wasn’t so quick to let me breeze through. Which is great, because I needed that push. Almost as soon as our session started, she asked me to close my eyes and then focus on my breath as I entered a meditative state. She took me through a guided meditation where we invited my own inner children into a conference room. I invited them all to sit at a table with me. It seemed weird and I felt vulnerable, but I kept an open mind and went with it. A few little Shannons came into the room and just wanted to play. They didn’t want to talk and they were genuinely happy and playful little children. Then an older child came into the room. A 12 year old me. She stood near the wall, barely inside the room. She didn’t want to be there. She was fearful and didn’t want to come to the table. My therapist asked if there was someone I could invite in that would make the little girl more comfortable. This is where shit got real. I wasn’t prepared for any of this. Little 12 year old me asked an older version to come join us. She was about 16. A rebel girl who came right in and sat down at the table. She was pissed and didn’t want to be there. She didn’t want to talk to the 12 year old and she didn’t feel like she should even have to be there. If you have never done any inner child healing work, this is probably extremely weird for you. I get it. I am doing the work and it was weird for me too. In the space of that conference room, where I was supposed to be the adult talking to those children, I got pulled into the role of 12 year old me. It sucked so bad. She was in a lot of pain. A lot of things happened to her that should never happen to a child. Sitting on that couch that day EVERY BIT of it came back and my entire body hurt. Physically. Some memories came up and came pouring out of me. Things that I have never said out loud or written about. It was the most uncomfortable experience I have had on that couch.   But, we made it through. Over the next few days, I began to make sense of it all. My process is slow, but oh so thorough. That 12 year old me wanted the older child in the room because she is her voice and her protector. That rebel girl who will tell anyone to fuck right on off is the voice that the younger girl didn’t have. She can say no to anyone at anytime. The rebel girl is pissed that she even has to be there because she thinks none of this should have ever happened to the younger girl in the first place. She’s absolutely right, but here we are anyway. WOW. Mind Blown. Really. I was 12 years old when I started getting high. I smoked pot, huffed cleaning products and took any pill I could get my hands on. Escaping my reality. I completely ignored that little girl. I pushed her to the side and pushed through. My heart hurts for her. She needs love and compassion. She feels very broken and unlovable. She is terrified of everything, but my God is she tough. Every unhealthy coping mechanism she ever picked up was a survival tool and not only did she survive, she is thriving today. It took her a long time, but she grew up and she is figuring all of this out. She is not unlovable and she is not broken. She has a voice now. She is healing. My therapist and I talked about how I can work with these “inner children” and get to know their wants and needs. She believes that once I connect to them and learn how to nurture them and meet their needs, that feeling of “something is missing” will start to dissolve and I will feel whole. I spent a lot of time disconnecting from and ignoring these parts.  Reconnecting takes time. I’m getting there. It’s a process like everything else. I am loving myself through the process because that’s what ALL the parts of me need.

Human AF

Writing helps me figure things out. Myself. The world around me. My place in the world around me. All of it. I typically have everything sorted out before I bring it to a blog, but I am still in the process right now and thought I would try it this way. I might be all over the place, but that’s where I am.
I am a thinker. Sometimes that’s a good thing, and other times, not so much. I try so hard to feel my way through situations, but that just isn’t who I am. I have a hard time talking about my feelings because I have a hard time knowing how I feel about things. I prefer to figure everything out in my head and make sense of it. I suspect that can make it a bit of a challenge for the one who gets to therapize me. Don’t question that word. I love it. Yesterday I spent my therapy time on the couch NOT talking about the things I should have been talking about. Those things don’t feel good. I don’t necessarily know how they make me feel, but “not good” works. I tend to keep it light unless I absolutely know that I have to throw the uncomfortable thing out there. I like to share my joy. At the end of our session I felt like my therapist was ready to “kick me out of the nest.” I let her know that she would have to die to get rid of me. Which, for the record, isn’t true and I MIGHT not say again if given the opportunity. But she is fabulous and assured me that I didn’t need to go anywhere. On the drive home I was being less than compassionate toward myself for being so clingy and for not discussing the things that I should be sharing. Whatever SHOULD means. And yes, I know the quote about “shoulding on myself” because I am a walking, spiritual self help book. I felt like shit when I got home because I spent the entire drive in my head focused on all the things that are “wrong” with me and how I got that way. If Jon Kabat-Zinn had been there, he would have reminded me that as long as I am breathing there is more right with me than there is wrong with me. But he wasn’t riding with me. He’s a busy man. When I got home an amazing thing happened. I received a message from a Facebook friend. I don’t know this woman. I have met her one time. She seems to know me and really knew what I needed at that exact moment. She sent me a poem (I think it was a poem) called “Hiding.” It was absolutely beautiful and absolutely ME. It was about how I had spent that hour on the couch hiding. It was about how the horrible memories that keep coming up for me have been hiding because I wasn’t ready to know my truth. It was about how I hide from the world when I get overwhelmed. It was about all the ways I hide and how it’s all so necessary and completely OK. I let out that breath I didn’t even realize I had been holding. I began to relax. I let this woman know how timely her message was and how much I appreciate her. I even opened up to her and shared from my heart. Just wow. A beautiful God moment. A beautiful connection. And I am grateful.
Now I’ll take it back to the REAL issue I was upset with myself about. My need to cling. It’s a known fact that when I love a thing, I really love it. It’s been the joke of the week with my cacao consumption, but it’s true. I love it and love it and love it some more. I tend to feel like I can never have enough. It could be green smoothies, Buddha bowls, or kombucha. Driving home from Wilmington yesterday it occurred to me that my feeling of needing more might be (IS) a deep rooted feeling that I am not enough. Some days I know that I am broken. There is a piece missing that I have tried to fill in so many ways. With drugs. With sex. With alcohol. I have become more skillful in the ways I fill that hole. I have yoga, meditation, community and God. I have an amazing family and a ton of friends. Yesterday afternoon the feeling of not being enough was strong. That hole felt very large. Something is missing. What the fuck is it and what do I do about it? Sit with it? Keep doing the work until my heart and my head catch up with each other? Because I KNOW I am strong, powerful and capable. I know I am loved and that I AM LOVE. I also know feelings aren’t facts and not to believe everything I think, but I am human and some days are harder than others. I know a lot of things intellectually. Feeling them in my soul is another story. Maybe life is designed that way to keep things interesting. Maybe I need more. Maybe I need to stay out of my head so much. Writing helps.
I mentioned in session yesterday that as much as I love my work, something is missing. It was the first time I allowed myself to say those words out loud. It didn’t occur to me until I got in the bed last night that the Universe heard that statement and responded. I received a phone call just an hour after I got home yesterday from a woman who is having a very difficult time recovering from surgery. She is depressed and she is struggling. She wants to work with me one on one. I am going to meet with her today. I have more than enough to keep me busy and out of my head. I’m not sure I even need another thing on my calendar, but my heart said yes and I couldn’t argue with the fact that this was the exact thing I had just said I wanted. The Universe always responds.
Today is a new day. The sun is shining and right now at THIS moment I am content and I am grateful. Perhaps the trick is just to stay with the bad feelings until they pass. That sounds so simple. Maybe too simple. OR, perhaps the trick is writing about it, reading 5 books, therapy, energy healing, sound healing, yoga, meditation and a healing circle or three with an AA meeting thrown in there just because. Clearly, more is better. Today I am going to live my life, love the Hell out of the things I love, obsess a little less and remind myself that I am so enough I might even be too much. I’ll overthink that one another day. Being a human is hard.

Balance

I was getting really good at writing consistently for a minute. Until I wasn’t. Writing is the one thing that always feels like home to me, and yet, sometimes I avoid it. I missed all of April. It was a good month full of really high highs and some really low lows. I’m not bipolar and I don’t need medication. I just feel all the feels in a big way. It’s a good thing. Especially for someone who spent a lifetime numbing all those feels. I hosted Kirtan in the studio last month. It was powerful and it was beautiful. I am so in awe of this life that it occasionally takes my breath away. This was one of those times. To be in my studio surrounded by an entire collection of people I love and am loved by from all the different areas of my life was beyond amazing. AA peeps, yogis, Goddesses and a few friends from way back when. It was pure love. The vibration of that evening was so high that it took me a few days to recover. It was a huge crash after an outstanding high.
That weekend, Leon took me out to a rooftop bar for a concert in Wilmington. I wasn’t feeling it at all. That’s just not my scene anymore. But, Leon has loved the band that was playing since college and seeing him in his glory was fabulous. It was crowded and loud and as the evening wore on people were more and more obnoxious. Read drunk. I was well aware that I used to do the exact same thing, and I really tried to not be judgemental. I stepped out of the crowd and found a corner to chill in. Away from all the people. At that moment the Azalea Festival down below was coming to a close and the festivities ended with a huge fireworks display. I stood away from the crowd watching the fireworks which were phenomenal. What was even more phenomenal is that at that moment, I heard the lyrics of the song from the band. They were singing “Jesus Christ” over and over. They were calling out to THEIR Higher Power. It was like rock and roll Kirtan with awesome fireworks. It was so powerful that it’s hard to put into words. In that moment, in the sea of drunken chaos, I felt God. I shared it with Leon, but I’m not sure if he got it or not. I’m also not sure it was for him or anyone else to “get.” I got it. Loud and clear.
Then there are the lows. The lows for me last month came in the form of more repressed memories surfacing. I no longer feel crazy when it happens, but I do feel violated. It takes my breath away in a completely different way. My therapist assures me that eventually I will start to recover joyful memories once I clear out all the shitty ones. I can’t wait. For now, I’m still dealing with the shitty ones. They leave me feeling raw and vulnerable and afraid. When this happens, I want to hide from the world. Sometimes I can and sometimes I can’t. Sometimes I have places to be and things to do that I can’t put off. Those are usually the exact things I need in my life to distract me and put me back into the present moment. I’ve always thought gratitude was the quickest way to raise my vibration, but after an experience I had working with another woman last week, I think selfless service ranks right up there. Those AA people were right again. Who knew? Life goes on and I move forward with an entire network of awesome humans who love and support me. I let go again and again and again. As many times as I need to. I remind myself that I am safe. The present moment is a beautiful moment.
My month ended on an incredible high. I was asked to sub “Yoga Church.” People who know me understand why this was so huge for me. For those of you who don’t, here’s a little backstory. The woman who teaches the Sunday morning “Yoga Church” class I attend used to be my therapist. I paid her a lot of money to sit in her office and bitch about how much I hated my life and almost everyone I knew. There were times I would show up drunk for therapy and be a complete asshole. I called her in the middle of the night on the emergency line on more than one occasion because, clearly, I needed her. Her response to those calls was always “oh, it’s you.” Then there was the time she called me out for wearing a tiny skirt by telling me she could see my vagina. Because, obviously, nobody else was going to tell me. I’m sure I called her and bitched at her for telling me that after I got home. I could go on and on with the ways I loved to hate this woman. She was hard on me and she was exactly what I needed at the time. She’s so special to me. Eventually, I started to hear the things she was saying to me. I trusted her and she didn’t steer me wrong. She introduced me to yoga, meditation and a complete different lifestyle. A (mostly) wholesome lifestyle. Sitting in her seat to teach was one of the highlights of my sober life thus far. Not because I did an amazing job and taught a packed class. I didn’t. The class was tiny and I hopefully did alright. The fact that she asked me to do it was everything. I was so emotional on Sunday morning as I drove to that class. I experienced love, compassion and forgiveness for the girl I used to be. I also experienced the soul explosion of joy and gratitude for the woman I am today and this beautiful life that I have worked so hard for. In fact, the soul explosion was so huge, that I took a three hour nap on Monday and used the day to recover. Balance eludes me. I have big emotions. I think it’s just who I am. I know for sure it’s better than being numb.

Connected and Divinely Guided

I hosted a moon circle last night. Like I do. It was powerful. Like they are. I LOVE holding space for women to heal, grow and support one another. During the new moon we always spend time writing in our journals. We use the collective energy of the group and the power of the new moon to set our intentions. I always take a peek back at my last new moon entry to see if my intentions are now my reality. They usually are. Last night I laughed so hard at the fact that all of this shit I have been dealing with in my own healing journey is exactly what I asked for. Seriously. I could tell by my writing that I was a bit angry at the last circle. Or maybe defeated. It certainly wasn’t joy and optimism that I was experiencing. I wanted to be open and vulnerable and feel ALL THE FEELS. And guess what? HAHAHAHAHA The Universe handed that gift to me in so many ways. I am in the process of working through some newly unrepressed (that’s totally a word now) traumatic childhood memories. I have been sitting with a lot of anger and a lot of grief. But the world keeps spinning and moving and life goes on while I figure it all out. I’m not exactly sure how long that takes, but if there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that I can’t force anything. I am just riding the wave and allowing it all to unfold. There is a purpose to all of this. I know that my own experiences will help someone else. Somehow. Someway. I am slowly finding gratitude. Shifting into a space of gratitude happens in waves. I just knew that these memories were coming up because it was time for me to let go. I knew it was time. I knew I was safe. I knew I was creating space for something better. And then it happened. I was sitting in an AA meeting on Monday when I received a text from my landlord. I told him I could call him at 1:00. Then I proceeded to think of everything in the world that could possibly be wrong that he must want to speak to me about. Because as much as I teach others not to do this, my mind still goes there. One day maybe I’ll get control of that bitch. In the meantime, I’ll keep practicing. And guess what? There was not a thing in the world wrong. Everything was so right in fact, that my landlord wanted to let me know that when the time comes and I am ready to expand he wants to build onto the studio for me! WHAT?! Say it with me…..HOLY SHIT! I had already accepted the fact that expanding meant I would most likely have to relocate to a different space. This opens up a whole new world to me. Further confirmation from the Universe that I am in alignment with my divine assignment. The idea is exciting and I have more options now. I have a new list of things to think about. A bazillion to be exact. I haven’t been in the space very long, and “the season” hasn’t started and I am not sure how much yoga this island can support but I’ll figure it out. Rebel Soul is a healing space. There is so much potential. I have no desire to play small. I can do great things. I am loved and supported by a tribe of amazing people. I am connected and divinely guided.

Strong Enough

“That thing you are most afraid to write. Write that.” ~ Nayyirah Weed

An interesting thing happened to me last week. And by interesting I mean fucking horrible. I am not necessarily ready to write about it yet, but here I am anyway. Last week I had a lot of ugly and completely repressed childhood memories present themselves to me rather suddenly. I say this was suddenly, but maybe it wasn’t so sudden at all. I have been back in therapy for the past four months working through a lot of things, including childhood trauma. I began to process these new memories with my therapist last week. So many of you have reached out to me to talk about EMDR and how helpful it has been for you or a loved one. I am thrilled to hear your success stories. That has not been my experience with it. I just don’t process that way. Fortunately, the therapist I have isn’t Hell bent on continuing with something that’s not working for me. We are talking through a lot of things and I take it to my journals and my meditation. Sometimes things come out on my yoga mat. I process slowly but I am thorough. It seems to be working. It’s always helpful for me to share here because there will always be someone who will send me a “me too” message to help me through and remind me that I am not alone in this. Whatever this is. I’ve had a hard time with theses images coming back to me and honestly, it made me feel a bit crazy. I have a wonderful and wise friend who pointed out that I know these things happen to other people, I just didn’t think it would happen to ME. She was so right and so helpful to me in that moment. When I opened up to my therapist about this she had the sweetest smile on her face and she looked genuinely happy. It is her opinion that it’s time. I am strong enough and I finally feel safe enough to deal with this. This was somewhat comforting, but I’m not quite there in sharing in her happiness. And, because I am who I am, I questioned if maybe she was the crazy one. I called a friend of mine who is also a psychologist and opened up to him. I value his friendship and his opinion. Imagine my surprise when he seemed genuinely happy about this too. I began to feel a bit better about it and the way I’m thinking of it is starting to shift. It actually is interesting to find more pieces of my puzzle. Maybe this didn’t happen to me as much as it happened FOR me. I am trying to get into the space of feeling empowered by this. It might take a minute, but I’ll get there. Last week’s full moon was so powerful that I can’t help but think she was shining the light of awareness on this for me. Clearly it’s time for me to know these things so I can begin to let go of them. I know that when I let go I create space for better things to flow into my life. I asked The Universe to help me be open and I think this is how the Universe has responded. I’m creating space. None of this feels good to me and it’s not particularly fun to deal with. But, I’m doing it. Never once did it cross my mind to numb myself with alcohol or any other substance for that matter. There’s beauty in learning how to stay. I am not sleeping well because along with this came nightmares. I know they can’t last forever. In the meantime, I’m napping when I need to. I’m participating in immersive experiences that nourish my soul. I’m eating the things that make my body feel good and I’m journaling my way through this. And it’s working. I am learning so much more about myself through this process. My word of the year is “Learn.” I even got it tattooed on my arm. Just WOW. I keep coming back to “be careful what you ask for or you just might get it” statement. I feel connected and I feel heard. I don’t feel crazy. I feel healthy. If my mind wanders to that weird place that tries to tell me otherwise, I have a family to remind me that I am so loved and I have a host of amazing people to remind me that I’m a bad ass warrior. I’ll get through this and I’ll help others as I do. THAT is everything to me.

Trust

I have been a bit stuck lately. In a bit of a funk. Feeling heavy. But you know what? That shit doesn’t last forever and I am back on top. Today anyway. After kicking my own ass for what seems like forever over my perceived inability to keep my heart open, I went to see my friend AJ. She is a bad ass warrior goddess and one of my favorite people in the world. She is also an an amazing massage therapist. She has a good idea of what’s going on with me and we talked about it for a bit before she gave me the best massage of my life. She did some energy work on me during the massage and helped open me up, because really, I was stuck. I left there feeling completely drained and the only thing I wanted to do was cry. But there were no tears. Also, I had shit to do. I stopped by the grocery store for a couple of things, but as soon as I walked in the door I knew it wasn’t the place for me. But as I had one foot inside the store I saw my beautiful friend Nadine. I wrapped my arms around her and got the sweetest hug and felt the Nadine love that anyone who knows her has experienced. Then I immediately left the store. Because fuck that. I went home and drank herbal tea and rested for a bit before I ventured back out to live my life. I had a 4 o’clock yoga class to teach and then a moon circle to lead. My yoga students are always loving and kind. They were fine with me teaching an extra gentle class that day. Next came the moon circle that I didn’t really have the energy to facilitate. And guess what? The goddesses in my life didn’t judge me. They loved and supported me. We loved and supported each other. And we had a moon circle. A powerful moon circle. In the center of our circle was a jar of journal prompts that I wrote for the women to take home and reflect on. It was quite amazing to see how everyone reached their hand in the jar and happened to pick the one that was right in line with what they had shared about in the circle. The Universe is always awesome like that. My journal prompt said “What does trust mean to me?” So perfect. Because trust is a hard one for me. It’s part of the reason I do that thing I do. The “closing off” or if we want to use the word dissociate, we can. Whatever. I disconnect. I do it because I don’t feel safe. I don’t feel safe because I don’t trust. I don’t trust because I’ve been in situations in the past that weren’t safe. So I learned to go elsewhere. That came up for me in therapy this week. My therapist wasn’t nearly as bothered by it as I am. She is sure that when I am ready, I will let go of that protective mechanism. Maybe it’s just not time yet. Seems things don’t always happen NOW just because I want them to. They happen when they are supposed to. Or maybe when I stop forcing and start allowing. I think that’s the key. Allowing. I love everything about that word.
The trust word came up with my therapist Friday and I was asked to answer that question from my journal prompt. “What does trust mean to me?” The only thing I could come up with was non judgement. I have a fear of being judged. I always feel like I’m being judged. This opened up a whole can of worms that led me to investigate exactly who it is that judges me. Can you guess who it is that is constantly judging me? Because it only took me about two minutes to figure it out. Shit. It’s ME. I am so hard on myself. I criticize myself and am never quite as good as I think I should be. One of the women from moon circle even mentioned to me on Thursday that I seem to be hard on myself. As much as I teach about self love and self acceptance, there is always that little voice in my own head talking shit to me. She’s a bit of an asshole and likes to make me think I’m not worthy. That’s the voice I need to question. That’s who isn’t trustworthy. Now I get to practice the art of “taking a deep breath and remembering who the fuck I am.” I get to practice radical self love. Thank you Universe for the perfect timing on this lesson because yesterday I spent two and a half hours at my studio attending a workshop all about self love. My friend Sandi taught the workshop and it was wonderful. I connected with women I know and women I had never met. I was especially touched by two women who were 70 years old and learning all of the things that I am learning now. It reassured me that I am not behind and that this life is always a journey of learning, unlearning and relearning. I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this moment. I allow my life to unfold naturally. I flow. I don’t force.
This morning I woke up at 4:30. Partly because all of these thoughts were swimming in my head and partly because I was excited to go to yoga church and practice with my favorite teacher. My Catherine. Another bad ass woman in my life.
There’s really no way for me not to heal, recover and thrive. There’s no way I could possibly stay in a low vibration for too long. My life is a steady stream of experiences that nurture my body, mind and spirit. I have designed my life that way. My entire life supports my healing and recovery. That is bad ass! I did that work. Me. The more I look at that and think about it the more I realize that I can trust myself. I am trustworthy AF. I know exactly how to care for me. I know how to keep me safe. I know how to love and support myself. I know exactly what I need and I am capable of making sure I get it. It definitely helps that I have an amazing tribe of bad ass women to love and support me and hold hands with me along the way. It takes a village. For all of us. My village rocks so hard. ❤️

Inner Child Healing

This week my therapist asked me if “I ever have anyone sitting in front of me in circles or what not who obviously don’t want to talk about something.” She asked what I do when that happens. She said she uses that time to take notes. And then she took notes. Can you believe that it was hours later before I had a clue that she was talking about ME? Of course I don’t want to talk about things with her because the things she wants to talk about don’t always feel good. My preference would be to go in, sit down and tell her all of the amazing things going on in my life. My life really is FULL of amazing things that I am grateful for every day. I especially feel good when I can present her with some work that I did on my own or some fascinating discovery I have made about myself. It’s a classic “Look at me, I am so good!” moment. And really, all that stuff is great. What’s not so great is the actual work I am doing. Inner child healing. First of all, I know I said I wasn’t going to “work” on myself anymore. Obviously, that’s not true. Second, It’s more like figuring things out than work. Third, I am my favorite project. Inner child healing is no joke. She mentioned this to me over a month ago. I bought the book she recommended and jumped right in. If there’s a book involved, I am usually all about it. But then it got weird. Unfamiliar. Uncomfortable. So I stopped. My favorite line is “that’s weird and I’m not doing it.” It was that way for me when I got to AA. It was that way when meditation was suggested to me. It was that way when I went to my first yoga class. Weird. Not for me. I ignored the idea for a month and eventually came back to the book. I skipped the first few chapters because they were weird and not for me. Then I hit on the inner 3 to 6 year old. And HOLY FUCKING SHIT. So that’s what happened? Mind blowing really. I won’t get into specifics, but I will tell you that there was some trauma I first experienced at this age that shaped the way I processed, dealt with and lived in the world. This little girl needs to be protected. She needs to feel safe. She needs lots of love and support. She is me. Her experience makes me sad because she is also the little girl who learned to numb herself with drugs and alcohol at a crazy young age. I haven’t even started on the 7 – 12 year old and wonder just how that works since that child was already using. And missing out on being a child. Guess I’ll figure that out soon enough. Or not. I still really struggle with staying open with my therapist. Some days I do great, and some days I feel the wall go up and I feel myself become numb. I don’t know how else to explain it. She tells me she experiences me as going in and out of being present. I think that is called disassociation. I’ve read the DSM too many times for someone who is not a psychologist. I am just going to call it throwing up the wall and closing my heart. And I hate it so much. I know that it is a way I protected myself in the past and that it served me well then. It’s time to let that go because it truly doesn’t serve me today. I just don’t know how. I can do yoga poses to open my heart. I can meditate and recite mantras. I can write about it, teach about it and talk about it. I have yet to figure out how to get there and how to stay there. On the days when I shut down like that, it feels like a giant step back. A friend told me it’s a stand still day and not a step back. I can live with that. I can be still and be ok. Meditation has given me that gift. I don’t have to hurry through this process. I don’t even have to love the process. I just have to love me. I am being extra gentle with myself through it all. Making sure to sleep enough and eat the right foods. Random daytime baths are a must. The main thing is to remind that little girl that it all turns out alright. She’s a little warrior. A survivor.

Born to Fly

“If you want to fly you have to give up what’s weighing you down.” I love inspirational quotes because without them I might not have survived 2012. Seriously. I would scroll through my FB newsfeed and feel those quotes in my soul and sob because I just couldn’t pull it together. Letting go of what weighs us down is never as easy as it sounds. Especially when you don’t even know what you are holding onto. Alcohol was a hard one for me to let go of, but oh my, when I did, I began to soar. I’ve basically had two lives. The drunk life or BS-Before Sobriety and my current, sober life. Sober life is the shit. It’s all the feels all the time. Unless I am throwing up an emotional wall to not feel things, which I still do, but that’s another post for another time. I am always in the process of letting go of something. It’s a practice. I’m not a one and done type of person, but I am oh so thorough. This week’s practice is all about letting go of self limiting beliefs. I am worthy of all the good things in my life. I have done the work to be where I am. I am letting go of doubts. I have a little voice that will talk me right out of doing the things I want and need to do if I listen to it. I am letting go of judging myself harshly. I’m letting go of all the ways I get in my own way. And then there’s the list of things that I’m just not ready to let go of yet. And that’s OK. I have a beautiful (to me) reminder in the form of a tattoo on my rib that I can “Let it Be.” When I let go of the things that weigh me down, I create space in my life for the things that inspire me. I create space for the things that bring me joy and lead to my ultimate happiness. When I let go, I create space for spirit to enter me and flow through me, working its magic and helping me shine my light into the world. ❤️