Comfortable in my skin.

What a difference a week makes. The sun came out. Of course it’s cold AF outside, so I am still in the house and never leaving. My sadness is mostly gone. I think. For now. It will return. I’ll be surprised by it again. Like always. And I will be sure that it’s never going to pass. Because this is how I operate. But I will write about it and be reminded that I am not alone. Thank you all for that. I am sure we are all doing our absolute best these days. Some days my best is better than others. On Friday I stayed in bed and read for 5 hours. The book was excellent. Then I watched a 3 hour documentary on Netflix. I feel great about that. Yesterday was watering day for my plants. I fertilized too. With stinky ass fish fertilizer. I think they loved it. I know I did. I repotted a few plants too. Because you need to know that. These little babies bring me much joy.

I received a random message from a random woman this week. A FB friend that I don’t actually know. A sweet message that made my whole day. She said that I seemed like a woman who is comfortable in my skin and asked if I could write a step by step guide on how to do that. I feel like that whole process is right here, strewn throughout this blog. But also, I never really had a plan when I started blogging so my organization is super scattered and she would have to do a lot of reading to piece the process together. I guess we can call that my lack of organization. I never really have a plan when I do anything. I just decide I want to do something and I do it. The “how” comes later, usually while I am doing the thing.

I am not and will never be the best yoga teacher. But I am really good at teaching people how to be in their bodies. Because I am obsessed with it. Not that it’s always comfortable. Because it’s not. Learning to be in our bodies takes time. And effort. And a bit of a fuck it attitude. And by fuck it, I mean exactly that. All of that nonsense that lives in our heads that gets in our way. What will people think? Fuck it. What if I look stupid? Fuck it. What if it doesn’t work? Fuck it. If that word makes you uncomfortable, fuck it. (I hope you realize how hilarious I am.) I once had a therapist that liked to say “Oh well.” She would follow that with a big sigh. It works exactly the same way. You can try that on if it’s less offensive to you. But, I know my readers, and you should all be fine with fuck it. Except for you Nanny. I love you! That same therapist also said a lot of fuck its.

To get comfortable in my skin I had to first spend a LOT of years being very uncomfortable in it. I spent the first 36 years of my life escaping my body in the normal unhealthy ways. Alcohol, drugs and sex. Until those things almost killed me. None of that was comfortable either. I was just numb. Until it stopped working. Those things always stop working and we can either find another way, or let it kill us. I chose to find another way. And it was uncomfortable to say the least.

Learning to be comfortable in my body was a process that began on a meditation cushion. Sitting still. It was awful. The voices in my head and the feelings in my body were too much. For the first few months I could only sit for a few minutes at a time. I literally wanted to rip my skin off. I felt so raw. Every bit of the things I had been using to numb myself were gone and all at once I could feel ALL of it. All the things I had pushed away. It was all right there in my head, in my chest, in my belly, in my back, in my body. Yoga saved my life. Practicing on my mat was a way for me to release a lifetime of stored up energy. Emotions. Trauma. Every single thing that I had pushed down was alive and well, right there in my body. Not that I knew any of this at the time. My yoga mat was a place for me to cry, grieve and rage, and eventually calm myself. I hated it. I loved it. I threw myself hard into the physical practice learning how to do the “fun” things with my body like inversions and arm balances. The poses that look cool. Not because they looked cool, but because when I challenge my body in this way, there was/is no room for my mind to wander. There is no past and no future. When I am doing a physically challenging posture, I am completely in my body. Present. And it’s glorious, if only for a few breaths. Yoga taught me to love my body and eventually, myself.

It’s been a journey and the list of things that have helped me get here seems to be endless. Amazing therapists. Inner child work. Shamans. Energy Healers. Women’s Circles. Solitude. All weaving together at the exact right time. It’s all here on the blog. Somewhere. Writing. So much writing. And sharing. The sharing piece is an important part of my process. When people connect to my words and I know I am not the only one to ever feel this way, it’s powerful. And here’s the thing. I am NEVER the only one to experience whatever it is I am sharing about. We are all so much alike in so many ways. We are all so damn human. We all struggle. Some people just pretend they don’t. Some things I write just for me and some I share with the world. I have shared some of my hardest truths on this blog. Scary, yes, but oh so worth it. The “what will people think of me” question still pops up for me. But I share anyway. Because fuck it. Oh well and all of that. Which would be the perfect end to this blog, but I have to keep going because DANCING. Learning to be in my sober body through dance has been so very healing. It’s one of those things that I assumed was over because I am sober. So glad I was wrong about that. These days dancing is saving my life. When I am feeling overwhelmed by emotions, I go to the studio and blast the music that heals my soul. I move and process and cry and calm myself. Or, I just dance. Fully present in my body, with whatever I am feeling.

I no longer numb anything. Which is why I was hating on being sad last week. Nobody wants to be sad. My go to these days is to pick up my phone and look at all the plants on the internet. I mean ALL the plants. Which is a fine distraction for a bit, but I have learned that eventually, I am going to have to sit with whatever it is that I am avoiding. I am going to have to process it in some way. Some healthy way. Apparently, It takes a lot to be mentally and emotionally healthy. Also, if you need help with your plants, I am your girl. I have learned so much!

The truth is that I AM comfortable in my body today. Most days anyway. Because I love who I am today. I’m comfortable in my head and in my heart.. I have fought hard to be here. And more than that, I am comfortable with people being uncomfortable with me. That’s where the real freedom is.

Smooth Sailing. Until it’s not.

And then it happened!  I made a Covid 19 memory bigger than toilet paper!  And there was dancing!  And my heart was full!   Yesterday I hosted a social distanced parking lot dance party.  Most of you saw the pics on my FB page.  I am sure there are people who didn’t approve, and that’s ok.  I wasn’t looking for approval.  I was looking for connection.  Friday was a hard day.  Some days are.  I’ve had plenty of down days lately.  I know we all have. Friday was my worst.  I woke up that morning and went downstairs to my fortress of solitude.  I sat on my cushion to meditate, but instead I cried.   I cried a lot.  A thing to know about me is that I am not a crier.  But I couldn’t help it and I couldn’t stop it.  I’m sure it was necessary and I get that crying is good.  I love when my students cry in yoga, and I love when the women in my circles cry.  I’m just not the one to do it.    I was THIS close to jumping on the blog and writing through it, but that seemed like a stupid option.  So instead, I stayed stuck in it.  And I cried.  I haven’t cried like that since September 9th 2018.  I can’t remember why I cried, but I remember that it started at home and continued during the yoga class I went to that morning.  I was hosting a teacher from Florida in the studio and I was in her class, bawling my eyes out the entire time.  Pretty impressive that I have a timeline, right?

This is where I stop to tell on myself.   Because I live my life on social media and share so much from my heart, I was guessing there must be something posted that day to give me a clue as to what that was all about. I had to make the connection back to the date that teacher was here.  A quick search pointed out the date and down the rabbit hole of my activities log for September 2018 and BOOM.  Here it is.  Of course I was crying.  Also,  I was probably due for another good cry on Friday.  2018 was a LONG time ago.  I should cry more.  You know, if I was down to play that “should” game.  I did have a big crying episode on January 1st during sunrise meditation on the beach.  I bawled my eyes out and even pointed it out to my friend who also doesn’t cry.  I was proud of it and wanted to share it with her.  But, that was all gratitude and full heart stuff.  Quite different.  But sooooooo good.  For the record, I am down to cry gratitude tears any time.

The unhappy cry is the crying I have an aversion to.  Back to Friday where I cried for the first time in a L O N G time.  I think every emotion I have experienced over the past 6 weeks caught up to me.  It was a tough day.  After the tears came the anger.  I’m not exactly sure why I was angry, but I suspect it’s easier for me to be angry than it is for me to be sad or fearful or fully feel all the grief that we are collectively feeling.  And by I suspect, I mean that’s definitely it.  This afternoon I talked with a friend on the phone who spun her woo woo therapist magic on that situation.  She pointed out that my inner “kid” likes to get angry and rebel against…….well, she rebels against all kinds of things, but she definitely doesn’t like to cry.   So she gets angry. I knew that being angry around my family for no “real” reason wasn’t going to be helpful, so I stayed in my fortress of solitude.  My husband came down to check on me.  He NEVER comes into my fortress.  Ever.  He asked if I wanted to walk to the beach with him.  We live 15 streets away from the beach and while it’s totally doable, I didn’t want to do it.  I’m not much of a beach walker anyway.  I’m more of a sitter.  My husband isn’t a beach walker either nor is he the kind of guy that wants to walk 15 streets because it’s good for his health.  Bless him.  He wanted to fix me because all of my emotions made him uncomfortable.  He just wanted me to be ok. Because he loves me.   I eventually got past the anger and settled into a nice, comfortable funk.  I stayed there the rest of the day.  Ice cream and music in the bathtub that evening helped, but more than that, sleeping and waking up to a new day was the real trick.   Saturday was the first time I have seen real people outside of my home, not counting the grocery store, in six weeks.  I know I’m not alone in this and that we are ALL right there.  I know that for me and the women who either showed up to dance in their own (appropriately spaced out) circle, or just sit in their car and watch, it was so uplifting.  Dancing for me is ALL about connecting to that inner child.  That girl needed to let loose and have fun.  Saturday was the soulgasm I needed to carry me through another 14 day week. Who knew quarantine days were gonna be 48 hours long?  I’m really looking forward to the day that quarantine and Covid 19 doesn’t come up in my thoughts, in my blog and in every fucking conversation I have.  Today is not that day. Tomorrow is not going to be that day.  This is where we are.  Doing the best we can. Adapting and overcoming.   I had an amazing 10 am writing group Zoom meeting with fabulous women today.  I’m happy to be writing again. For now. Even if it’s just a bunch of rambling.  It feels good for me to connect in this way.  Last week quite a few new readers found my blog.   The toilet paper blog.  People who have never read my blog somehow stumbled onto that one.  I need you to read that again, slowly,  in my southern accent.  People who have never read my blog somehow stumbled onto that one.   What the hell?   I was almost embarrassed.  Almost, but not quite.  I was dealing with too many other emotions to be bothered with embarrassment.  This week is gonna be smooth sailing.  I can feel it.  Until it’s not.  LOL

She is a powerful force

I was having breakfast with my daughter recently.  We were having one of those hard conversations that ended with me telling her that hopefully, one day, she would end up on a therapist’s couch processing that.  She told me she was actually ready to do that now.  I immediately pointed across the street to the office of a local therapist that I recommend to everyone.  I asked her if she wanted me to make an appointment with her or if she preferred to go back to the one she had worked with previously.  She chose the familiar therapist.  I was so excited.  I was excited for her to have support from a professional that I know isn’t going to steer her wrong.  It doesn’t hurt that the therapist she picked is a bad ass, spiritual gangster. I wasn’t exactly sure what she needed support for, and I didn’t need to know.  I was happy that she chose a healthy way to deal with life.   The two of them connected and my daughter went to her first appointment last week.  She texted me that evening and said that she was supposed to “talk to her inner child with compassion.”  I asked her if that had been explained to her.  It had.  It all made sense to her.  Then she asked if I had any books about inner child healing.  I did.  Of course. I got the book to her right away and told her to process it with her therapist.  I was immediately excited for her.  I mean, how amazing to start the inner child healing process at 18 instead of at 40.  Wow.  Then, two minutes later, I was terrified for me.  Because sometimes I still think everything is about me. Inner child healing is all about re-parenting yourself in healthy and loving ways.  In my mind this is going to bring awareness to every mistake I ever made raising my daughter.  And there were A LOT.  My daughter was 12 when I got sober.  I wasn’t a raging alcoholic all of her life, but for a few years of it, I definitely was.  There are so many things I missed because I chose alcohol over my children.  I didn’t see it that way at the time, but today, I do.  There’s a lot of shame in that.  I can have compassion for myself, and I do, but I also realize that I wasn’t there when I should have been.  I was drunk. Then I was in treatment centers for months at a time.  I was in hospitals and psych wards.  I once jumped out of a moving car with my children in the backseat, my husband was driving.  My daughter has told me that one was the worst for her.  The worst one for me was one of the occasions when my husband had taken my liquor away.  I had a bottle hidden away at a friend’s house.  I took off walking down the street. Stomping really.  My daughter was following me and begging me to come home.  She was crying.  In that moment she was standing between me and the most important thing to me. My alcohol.  I turned around and told her to stop following me.  Then.  I told her I hated her.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  If there was just ONE thing  I could take back, that is the one.  I would do anything to have a do over on that moment.  Because there is no doubt that no matter how great our relationship is today and how sober I am, that moment will be with her forever.  We have talked about this incident so many times, and she promises me that it’s ok and that she knows I was sick, but nothing about that moment is ok.   This is how alcohol destroys families. We were fortunate to have a lot of love and support from grandparents, friends and other family members through that period. So, yeah, inner child healing work will be good for her.  I didn’t get to be that mom who broke the cycle before I had children.  I am fortunate that I do get to be that mom who shows her children what recovery is. I am truly grateful for that.  I admire my daughter so much.  She is strong and independent in a way that I never was.  I spent years projecting all of my fears onto her.  She isn’t me.  She has shown me that time and time again. She has been successfully adulting since she was 16 years old.  Hell, this child was born responsible. I’m not sure where that comes from. Of course inner child work will be good for her because she grew up so quickly.   I texted her to tell her that she will probably be mad at me and hate me for a while through this work.  She assured me that it will be fine.  I know it will.  It’s not about me anyway and I can’t allow myself to stay stuck in the space of all the things I did wrong.   She is thriving in ways I couldn’t have imagined at 18 years old.  She is on her own journey.  She has been all along.  My job is to love and support her in any way I can.  When I take myself out of her process, I am nothing but excited for her to do this work.  Maybe she gets to be that mother who breaks the cycle by doing the inner work before she has children.  She makes good decisions.  She is capable.  She is a powerful force.  She is amazing in so many ways.  I love watching her grow into all that she is and I am honored to be her mother.  I am convinced we picked each other in another time and place because we have so many lessons to learn from each other.  She teaches me so much.  ♥️

Dream World

 I published a post on Wednesday that touched a lot of people in a lot of ways.  It became clear that I am not alone in feeling lonely.  It became clear that perhaps I was throwing a little shade.  It became clear that I was blaming others for my hurt feelings.  It became clear that people have a desire to “fix” me when I am feeling less than joyful.  All of these things are fine. I’m down to do the work I need to do around my hurt feelings and shade throwing.  We all have a shadow side.  It’s not a problem unless we deny it.  I know some shit. I show up and write what’s in my heart and on my mind.  Not what I think people need to know.   I love that people read my words and FEEL.  What they do with those feelings is completely out of my control.  There is FREEDOM in that.  I am not here to hurt feelings.  Ever.  I am not here to be fixed.  This is my space.  I appreciate everyone who takes time to read my words.  What you do with that is NOT my business.  I am thrilled some of you have therapists.  I am NOT a therapist.  My therapist has reminded me of that a time or two. Or three. 🤣   I wrote my last blog right before a therapy session. The one about loneliness.  Something magical happened in that.  I named it, claimed it and tamed it. I am sure we talked about those feelings.  I don’t even remember now.   And life went the fuck on.  As it has a tendency to do.  My week was uneventful, but here I am sharing my uneventful week anyway.  Because it’s Sunday and it seems like the thing to do. I  journaled more than a 13 year old girl this week.  Most weeks really, if I’m honest. I’ve just switched up my journaling routine from morning to night. Holy Shit! It’s like another world.  Night time journaling  has opened up some portal into my dream world where a lot of serious action is taking place.   This week (in my waking hours) I spent some time trying to decide if AA is still my path.  I sit in those meetings some days and laugh at how weird it all is. Not that I am opposed to doing weird shit.  I do plenty of it.   The topic of quality vs quantity comes up from time to time in meetings.  I live in an area where most of the population is retired.  In the sober community, that means I am in meetings with people much older than me with a lot more sober time than me.  And yet some of them are still so miserable. Miserable could be a stretch, but there are a lot of them who still haven’t figured out how to be happy, joyous and FREE.  They have quantity, but are clearly lacking quality.  I am not lacking in quality.  After 5 years I am still not comfortable sitting in a meeting and sharing openly. It’s something I rarely do. Maybe if I got past that I would feel a shift in my attitude.  I don’t know.   There are lots of people I love in AA, but the meetings, not so much.  And I wonder……..  AA was a great place for me to get sober.  The 12 steps were a beautiful launch pad out into a much bigger spiritual world.  But does it still belong in my life?  My AA friends will say it absolutely does belong in my life, and perhaps I just need to switch my meetings up.  This week as I was rolling that around in my head, NOT going to meetings and night time journaling about it my dreams came at me.  Alcoholics have “drinking dreams.”  I am not sure if people who don’t have a problem with alcohol have those or not, but I am guessing not.  I dreamed that I sent my husband to the store to buy me a bottle of bourbon.  He asked if a pint would do and of course, it would not.  I would need at least a fifth.  In real life a half gallon would have been called for, but anything can happen in the dream world. He then asked why I was still going to those meetings if I am still drinking.  I wasn’t exactly sure why.  I just knew it was what I do.  He asked me if I planned to pick up a white chip.  A white chip means surrendering and choosing to live a sober life.  The start of the journey.  Basically, a white chip would mean I had to start over at day one.  I don’t do white chips. I was always one to bedazzle mine. Another story for another time. Dream me said a big Fuck NO to him about picking up a white chip because although I was drinking, I wasn’t getting drunk.  In my mind, there was no reason to pick up a white chip.  I can rationalize anything,  Even in my dreams.  Drinking dreams suck. I know this one came from all of my recent questioning. These questions aren’t really new to me.  I have spent the better part of a year wondering if I I want to continue going to meetings. I don’t have to figure it out today and chances are, I’ll be drinking coffee with old men at least one day this week.  Maybe that is the solution.  The real movement and processing that’s happened in my dream world this week has been in the form of my little sister.  Who doesn’t exist.  But she exists in my dreams and I KNOW that she is me.  Little me.  All thanks to going back and taking another stab at inner child healing.  And night time journaling.  I tend to go hard at Inner child healing (like I go hard at everything I do) but when I touch on something painful, I stop.  After seeing the group that’s working through this process in my studio, I decided to take another crack at it.  I love watching the women in the group connect and grow.  I can SEE how much this group is helping them heal. I also know  that the group in the studio wasn’t the time or place for me. But, I definitely see the value in it and KNOW it’s something I want to keep at.  I bought the book they are using and I enlisted a far away friend to work through the book with me.  We connect weekly and discuss.  I have my therapist to help me process what comes up and she has hers. (Although hers sucks and she needs  a new one)   I know it’s going to take us a little longer to get through the book, but it seems safe and comfortable to me and my inner child.   She needs that.  I won’t be blogging about those dreams, but they are powerful.  Powerful and private.  THAT is what it’s like to pay attention to my inner child. I’m learning to listen to her more and more.  When I use that term inner child, I know there are tons of them, pieces of me that I haven’t connected to yet.  But I’m getting closer every day.  Yesterday I taught my 8 am class how to chant “fuuuuuuck.”  It might have been my greatest teaching moment ever. Pretty sure that was my inner 15 year old Rebel girl. I know her well. 😂

Hiding from the world.

We are well into Janauary and this is my first blog.  I think I’m hiding from the world.  In my bathtub.  I have been avoiding the process of sitting down to write out of fear of sounding like a whiny baby.  But whatever.  I have been in a weird space since 2019 started.  I know I won’t stay stuck in it, but I have also learned to honor my now and allow myself to be where I am.  I’ll tell you where I am.  Lonely.  I am in a perpetual state of loneliness. Not sad. Not depressed. Just lonely.   I’m surrounded by a tribe of amazing people in all of my communities from home and outward into the real world as well as the virtual world.  It would seem lonely isn’t something I “should” ever feel.  See those quotations around “should?”  That’s because I do know should is a bullshit word and my feelings are valid.  So there’s that.  It seems the more connected I am, the more alone I feel.  My brain knows that I am NOT alone.  My heart is learning that not all of my relationships are real.  I am a sensitive soul and lately my feelings are getting hurt left and right.  I’m not exactly sure what that’s about, but I suspect it has a lot to do with actually paying attention to my feelings.  That’s therapy working.  As of late it’s becoming clear to me that some people want to be around me because they think I can do something for them.  Add to their status or popularity.  And it hurts my feelings.  That seems childish as I read it, but I’m also someone who is learning to tune in and pay attention to my inner child. Again, valid.  It’s not such a big deal when it comes from someone I don’t know that well, but when it comes from someone I love, it sucks.   What hurts worse is when someone who IS my friend and I know loves me blindsides me with a passive aggressive comment about my happy life.  I imagine that happens to everyone?  Jealousy?  Envy?  Those words are hard to say and sound harsh, but I can’t find any other words that seem right.  Yesterday I saw my favorite Woo Woo Witch Healer and she informed me that it hurts because it’s opening an old wound that hasn’t fully healed.  The wound of being used? Or jealous people?   I’ll have to dive into my journal on that one, but I have no doubt she’s right.  I learned from trauma informed yoga training that “if it’s hysterical, it’s historical.”  If something is triggering us today, it is coming from our past.  It seems I will never run out of “work” to do on myself.  Soul Detective work. I have put a lot of energy into building a loving and supportive community for myself.  In the early days I called this Team Shannon.  I still have my team. I have come full circle in that area and now I get to be on other people’s teams.  Cheering them on and supporting them.  I find that to be meaningful “work.”  I love to see others succeed.  Seems everyone doesn’t feel that same way.  Lately the word “discernment” has been appearing in my life on repeat.  This is the lesson I am getting hit with hard this January.  Learning how to discern my circle.  I have never been that person who needs everyone to like me.  In fact, I have been the opposite.  Quite content to push people away.  That’s the exact reason I don’t have many friends from my childhood or even my life pre-sobriety. I never learned how to build healthy relationships.  Sobriety has given me that gift.  Sobriety and a spiritual path.  I don’t need everyone’s love and friendship.  I am not for everyone and everyone is not for me.  I’m just trying to figure out who gets to sit at my table.  I also know that when I am feeling lonely, it’s the time I most need to be alone.  The Divine is present within me and I am NEVER alone. And there it is.  There’s my aha moment right there.  THAT is the connection I am seeking.  Funny how putting my thoughts down in a blog can bring me clarity that a journal can’t always bring me to. Beautiful. And now I’ll just be over here, practicing discernment, connecting with a power greater than myself and finding my way.

Allow

In 2018 I chose the word “learn” as my one word mantra.  This has been my year to learn on so many levels.  With all of that learning came a lot of leveling up.  This was my year of cacao, kirtan and dancing.  Opening my heart more, connecting to something greater than myself and being FREE.   This was my year of the inner child.  Listening to her and helping her feel safe.   This was my writing year. So.  Much. Writing.  A year of finding my voice. A work in progress, but I have made giant leaps.  This has been a year of healing old wounds. An ongoing process I am sure.  This is the year I learned that I am an artist simply because I allow the creator to create through me.  I am always creating.  This was my year of connection and community.  I have a full understanding of how important community really is.  This is the year I learned to truly get out of my own way and stop doubting myself all the time.  My year of listening to my intuition which doesn’t seem to steer me wrong.  This is the year I allowed myself to show up and be seen in my ALL of it.  This has been a powerful year full of learning and lessons simply because I was paying attention.   A year of soul growth.  The year my faith grew by leaps and bounds.  A beautiful year.  A difficult year. This is the year of learning to love some people from afar.  Boundaries.  Something I am still learning about.  Most of my big learning moments are right here on this blog and I can see the growth this year brought.  Writing has connected me to some amazing people this year who have reached out to me as they began their own “journey to wholeness.”   A testament to how powerful our stories are.  People are seeking connection and community.  I love to watch people grow.  I suspect a lot of you love to witness my growth.  People are mostly good I think.  Sometimes I think my world isn’t actually reality because it’s so magical and full of so many loving and supportive people.  Healers of all kinds and spiritual seekers.  People who always strive to be the best version of themselves.  But it IS my reality and I have worked hard to build that reality for myself.  Also, I am deserving of all the blessings that flow my way.  I’m not sure I believed that on this day last year, and it is still kind of hard to say out loud, but I believe it.   What’s even more special is that I get to share so much with so many.  That’s the true gift.  My heart is overflowing with gratitude this morning.  I will be carrying all the lessons, all the growth and all the gratitude with me into the new year.  And I will build on that.  New Years is my favorite!  I thought long and hard about what my one word would be for 2019.  Last week as I was making vision boards with a friend, it became crystal clear to me that my word is “Allow.”  Not in a passive or weak way, but as a spiritual practice.  There’s not a thing wrong with having a vision, but what I know is that when I ALLOW the creator to create through me, anything I want to manifest, create or experience will show up in my life as it is meant to.  I allow things to happen without having to control and manipulate people and situations.  When I can do this, the Universe always delivers something more amazing than I could have planned.  2019 is going to rock. 💥

Pure Joy!

I am not here to write about trauma today.  Yay! I am not here to talk about being sober even though that’s always an amazing topic.    I am here today to share what feels like some serious healing.  Three nights ago I dreamed I was getting ready to teach a writing workshop.  I was in a giant building that was obviously NOT my studio.  There were tons of people there.  There was a little kitchen where I went and made myself a cup of coffee.  In the kitchen there was a small child.  A tiny toddler who was probably 18 months old.  She was dancing and she was beautiful.  I walked over to her and put my hands out to her.  She took my hands in her tiny hands and let me dance with her.  She was looking up at me with the biggest smile on her face.   After a few minutes of dancing, I reached down and scooped her up in my arms.  She snuggled into me.  She loved me.   She was beautiful.  She had blonde curls and blue eyes.  I loved this child even though I had no idea who she was.  I carried her around for a while because I just didn’t want to put her down.  She fell asleep in my arms.  I couldn’t stop looking at her and I wasn’t about to put her down.  By this point in the dream, half the people who were there for the workshop I was teaching had left and the other half were restless because I was so late getting to it.  But I didn’t care.  The only thing that was important to me was this child.  I went into the room and taught the workshop as best I could without putting the toddler down.  She slept in my arms the entire time. I’m sure the quality of the workshop suffered, but I didn’t care.  I’ve learned that dreams have messages for me and while this one is super obvious, it took me a few hours after I woke up to understand that she was ME.  It wasn’t until I told a friend about the dream that I understood.  Saying it out loud helped me make the connection.  It felt a lot like some serious healing and it brought tears to my eyes, which doesn’t happen for me often. She was me and I loved her so much.  I could feel that love in my dream and when I woke up I still felt it.  Powerful.   My therapist refers to “the inner child” as that part of us that is untouched and unharmed by outside influences.  The part of us that is pure joy.  That’s exactly who this child was and exactly what I felt while I was holding her.  Pure love.  The exact same love that I feel when I am with my own children.  I am certain it’s the dancing that’s bringing her out.  We danced together in the dream.  I *think* I am getting ready to go a bit deeper into that journey of healing my inner child, but I know that it’s all the play time that connects me to her.  Get ready world because I am about to take a trip to Michael’s and get crafty!  My child wants to create for some reason and I am going to let her!  Should be interesting since I am the least “artistic” person I know.  But, if you know me, you already know that I will put everything I have into it. I will be the craftiest person EVER!  LOL  Get ready to see some shitty art on the internet and tell me it’s beautiful anyway! 😊

The Work is Never Done

When you are on a “journey to wholeness” the work is never done.  (Here. Listen.) That doesn’t mean that I always want to do the work.  Because, honestly, some days and weeks or months, I don’t want to.  So I don’t.  I am rolling into the third week of mentioning repressed memories that just came back to me and I still haven’t done anything about them.  My therapist really wants me to write about them to help me process them and move on, but who wants to do that?  Not me.  Not lately. Plus, I’m a busy person with a life to live, a business to run and a family to take care of.  She suggested to me that I am scared to sit down and do it.  It would be great if I just used my time with her to do it, but I can’t.  I freeze and nothing comes out.  That leaves little to work with.  And if I don’t do the work on my own, it doesn’t get done.  But I’m busy, remember?  Also, I really don’t want to.  Yesterday, I received a text from a friend.  Or, as I like to call it, a loud and clear message from the Universe.

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How funny is that?  I am surrounded by so many amazing people and I just need to remember that I am never alone in my struggle.  None of us are.  It sure feels like we are when we are going through some shit, but I have learned that if I open my mouth and speak up, I will find someone who says “Me too.”  Always.  I live in this world where it’s usually easy for people to open up and share their struggles with me because I am so open about mine.  On the internet.  If you know me in real life, “I’m fine.”  I am always OK.  It was only last night while I was journaling that I realized this.  I always throw up the I’m fine wall.  It’s probably not a secret to those who know me and my therapist will probably laugh that I am just figuring this out.  I’m OK when I know I’m not but I don’t take the time to identify what I am feeling.  I wrote myself a little “Notice That” with an asterisk in my journal.  I guess that comes from a lifetime of numbing myself out.  Whew.  Always learning.  The work is never done.  But, now that I have this new information, I can work with it.  One would think with ALL the meditation and yoga and “noticing that” I do in my life ALL DAY, EVERY DAY that I would be an expert by now.  But, it seems, “notice that” is as far as I have ever gone.  Not “identify that.”  Identify that could be a game changer for me.  I tell my therapist all the time that I may be slow, but I am oh so thorough!  And really, what’s the hurry?  As far as I can tell, this is a lifetime path.  I can be healed and still healing.  Someone once left a comment on my blog that I am a “Soul Detective” and that was my favorite thing ever.  If it was you, you should tell me so I can hug you.  😊  I am still my favorite project but you should know that if you are on this path, and lean on me for guidance and support, chances are you are my other favorite “project.”   I root for you and want to see you win.  Complete strangers root for me and it’s the coolest thing ever.  Sometimes those strangers become my friends.  Have you ever talked to or hung out with someone you know nothing about but knows everything about you?  I have and I do often and it’s weird as fuck.   At the same time it’s completely liberating to have nothing to hide.  Boom.  This is me.  And you’re still here.  It’s our humanness that connects us all.  Our “not having it all figured out.”  Our “still learning and still growing.”  Our struggle really is our strength and when we share that we open the door for powerful connections.   And suddenly I am no longer afraid to sit with my deep dark shit and sort it out on paper.  I know someone will come hold my hand or just sit with me if I need that.  I also know that I know how to take care of ME and that I will feel so much better once it’s done.  I’m not saying it will get done today, because I’m busy.  Remember? 😂 But I’ll do it.  And then I’ll burn that shit.

All the Feels

I am in that weird space of having a million things to write about and yet nothing comes up for me.  My thoughts are scattered here there and everywhere.  The “problem” is that more and more people are reading my blog and I get in my head about it. Am I oversharing?  Will my readers like this?  The truth that I need to remember is that this blog is for me.  It’s a great tool to look back and see how things are unfolding for me.  So here I go.
Yesterday was such a weird day for me emotionally.  I joked about everyone crying in yoga, and maybe they needed that, but it was me who I was really talking about.  I was on the verge of tears all day.  But they didn’t come.  I have written about repressed memories coming up for me in the past.  And I processed those the best way I could.  I really figured that was it and I was done with that.  Life is great.  Things are flowing my way effortlessly and easily. I AM connected and divinely guided.  So when more shit from my past pops up, it knocks the wind out of me.  Last week I sat on my therapist’s couch with my journal of “all the amazing things” that are going on in my life.  The amazing things are always the things I want to talk about.  When our time was almost up, I blurted out “want to do the therapy now?”  And of course she did, because that’s her job.  I told her that I have had more memories of childhood sexual abuse surfacing.  When she asked me if I could talk about it, I just looked at her and said nothing.  We both chuckled a little and she told me that “was an invitation.”  My response to her was that I obviously couldn’t talk about it.  Because nothing was coming out.  So weird because I do trust this woman so much.  I have spent some time on this and perhaps it’s the office and the couch that get me.  Like “white coat syndrome.”  Maybe I should ask her to sit on the floor with me.  I bet she would.  She’s cool like that.  Since I wouldn’t or couldn’t talk about the memories with her, she offered up some suggestions as to what I could do to move through it.  Dance it out, write it out, yoga it out.  The things she knows I am comfortable with.  The first time, back in the spring, when she suggested “dance it out” I thought she was nuts.  And now, well, we all know how that ended.  What I was looking for was a definitive answer about why this is happening again and when will it end.  The why is simple. She’s explained it before, but she explained it again.   Because I am strong and healthy and have all the support in the world.  And because I have everything I need to look at these things when they come up and then let them go.  The when will it end isn’t as simple.  I read everything I could find about this subject, but there are no concrete answers.  Unfortunately we live in a world where this is fairly common.  I reached out to a friend who I am able to be completely open with and talked to her about it.  She has her own experience with this exact thing.  Which is what I needed more than anything.  Someone who has been where I am.  Someone with personal experience.  This is what I gathered from our conversation.  Something in my present moment experience triggered these memories.  They are there to teach me something.  And I guess as the healthy adult that I am, it’s not really a big deal.  But, it feels like a big deal to me when it happens.  Talking to my friend helped more than anything. She told me there really is no specific end date.  No magic time. Healing is a lifetime process.  More than anything, just knowing that I am not alone in this experience was helpful.  The specifics aren’t important and I don’t need to share with everyone or maybe even anyone.  My plan is simply to honor the path that got me to where I am today.  I keep telling myself to write it down and burn it.  A ritual.  I love ritual.  Not that I have done it yet, but it’s coming.  The gift in this is that it never crosses my mind to hide from it.  It never crosses my mind to numb myself.  What I have done is take 1,000 baths.  Maybe I am subconsciously trying to crawl back into the womb.  Whatever.  It feels good and it soothes me.  The bathtub is where I spent all of my free time when I first got sober.  It’s still a go to when I am emotionally triggered.  And honestly, I have been super sensitive lately.  OR, maybe I AM super sensitive and I have been allowing myself to experience that. I don’t know.   What I do know is that I am human.  A human with ALL THE FEELS who doesn’t have everything figured out and probably never will.  The good news is that I am surrounded by healers and sensitive souls who will hold my hand when I need that.  The reality is that I really do have everything I need already available to me and I can handle whatever comes my way.  So I lean in to the uncomfortable until it passes because I know for sure and certain that joy is waiting for me on the other side.  I AM a warrior.
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5 Sober Years

I love when people reach out to me after reading my blog or a particular social media post that I have written.  I love when people connect to my words.  Last week I wrote THIS post full of “classic one liners” from my old therapist.  A few days later I received this text that’s too good not to share. CB067C8D-AEDE-4A4A-8A18-37C1DCD5BE24.jpeg  I saved this screenshot because it’s THAT awesome and I laugh so hard every time I read it.  It’s become a mantra for me this week.  I often tell my children when they are leaving, “make good choices.”  Well, “don’t fuck the monks” has played on repeat in my mind since I received that text.  It’s the same.  But different.  It’s “Make good choices” for grown ups.   I laugh so hard at the shit that goes through my head.  I even told my therapist “don’t fuck the monks” last week as I walked out of her office.  She loved that so much.  I mean, how could she NOT?

All that silliness aside.

I didn’t write yesterday because I was too exhausted from all of the exciting things happening in the studio and in my life.  There is always something new and exciting coming my way and some days it’s just too much and I crash.  Which is what I needed yesterday.  And I allowed myself to do that.  At the beach.

Last week was an amazing week in the life of me.  I turned 5 years sober 6 days ago.  There was no parade, but you probably saw the sparkly medallion on social media.  What a ride that’s been.  Each year I look back and each year gets better. Year one was all about not drinking.  Anything extra I learned was a bonus.  Each and every day I practiced not picking up a drink and that was enough.  Yes, I meditated and practiced yoga, but the NOT DRINKING was where all of my focus was.  Those other things were simply ways to pass the time and carry me through the day sober.  I’m sure there was plenty of growth involved, but I wasn’t feeling it.  During my second sober year, I began the journey of becoming comfortable in my skin.  I learned how to properly love and care for myself.  I had no idea how good I could feel.  During that year I learned how to fuel my body with nutritious foods.  I kicked up my yoga a notch and began to move my body in new ways.  I always assumed that since I wasn’t overweight, the whole exercise thing didn’t apply to me.  Who knew that Dr’s weren’t just being assholes by suggesting exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle.  This girl LOVES some endorphins! Early in my third year of sobriety, I completed my yoga teacher training.  Sobriety introduced me to something I was more passionate about than drinking.  I decided I needed to share that.  I found my light and my purpose.  Not that my purpose is to be the greatest yoga teacher the world has ever seen, because that is definitely NOT it.  But my purpose is absolutely to help others heal.  Teaching yoga has been a launchpad out into the world of helping others find their own light.   Year 4 was my Rebel Soul year!  The best year yet.  I opened the studio on November 6th 2017.  I spent my 4th sober year growing community and growing ME.  I entered therapy (again) last year in November.  Just a few days before I opened the studio.  This time I entered therapy as a strong, sober and healthy woman who wanted support through my journey.  And damn.  There was a lot more to work through than I ever imagined.  From what I can tell, “working through shit,” is a never ending part of life.  That weekly session has been a great resource for me. I have grown more this past year than any previous year. On EVERY level.   This is the year I learned to sing and dance and pray with my words.  That little yoga studio of mine is such a safe space for me to try ALL THE THINGS that bring about a deeper level of healing for me and my community.  So freaking amazing.   To say that I am grateful for my sober life is an understatement.  I talked to my AA sponsor on Saturday and shared with her how magical my life is and how I am in love with every minute of it.  She reminded me of a time, that first year, when she and others were just trying to convince me that things would get better if I stayed sober.  All I wanted in those days was for my life to not suck.  That was it.  I wasn’t asking for joy or magic or anything great.  I just wanted my life to not suck so bad.  Never could I ever have imagined that not only would my life not suck but that I would be happy and that I would wake up excited about life every day.  And really, it happened in such a big way and it happened so quickly.  One skillful choice after another.  In AA they call it “doing the next right thing” however, in my mind it will forever be  “not fucking the monks” one day at a time.  You’re welcome. 😂  If I can do it, anyone can.  I promise.