Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Connection Waves

As I've studied and worked on healing from addiction, I've come to see parts of marriage that I didn't even know were there.
I watched a TED talk today -one I've seen a few times -by Amy Cuddy all about Body Language (recommended to me by Scabs).

Sister Cuddy mentions an experiment in which subjects were asked to participate in an interview where the interviewer was basically expressionless. She says:
 ...they go through a very stressful job interview. It's five minutes long. They are being recorded. They're being judged also, and the judges are trained to give no nonverbal feedback, so they look like this [still face]. Imagine this is the person interviewing you. So for five minutes, nothing, and this is worse than being heckled. People hate this. It's what Marianne LaFrance calls "standing in social quicksand."

It so telling that we would rather have a negative connection than NO connection, but really?  Connection is so very vital, something we crave because we NEED it -like air, food, water.

Danny and I are starting to get these glamorous, indulgent tastes of true, positive connection.  It makes the relationship we had 7 years ago seem surface... not always bad, but definitely surface.  It was the copper medal, and now we're touching gold.
We spend about 30% of our time together touching gold.
35% falling away from the gold.
35% crawling back toward it.
100% of our marriage deals with connection (lack of, leaning toward, enjoying...)

I'm trying to learn how to be patient when Danny is stressed about something out of his control.  My body -my smart, smart body -has retained a fancy sort of muscle memory where whenever Danny is stressed, I start protecting myself because I believe scary things inevitably follow.
This doesn't mean that Danny always acted out, but it does mean that his addict-related behaviors dominated the day, and those are very scary to me... mostly because I lose him in those moments (sometimes because I leave -figurative or literally, and sometimes because he does -figuratively, usually).
Losing Danny terrifies me.  I love Danny.

Because I haven't been feeling well these days, I've spent a lot (A LOT) of time trying to reconcile my body to it's tenant: my spirit.
As I navigate the messages they're trying to send each other, as I dance the dance of moderation, listening, control, surrender...
I find that I spend
30% of my time in a healthy place
35% of my time falling out of a healthy place
35% of my time working my way BACK to a healthy place
100% of the relationship between my body and spirit deals with CONNECTION.

The relationship they have is JUST like a marriage.  It's an intimate connection that takes work, dedication, loyalty, love, faith!
I find that my spirit left the presence of The Father to cleave to it's earthly body.

In my marriage, Danny and I both are trying -daily, and it is NOT always easy! -to keep God in the center of ourselves (first!) and our homes.
Inside of me, I am trying to keep my Spirit moving toward God and my Body moving toward God, hoping they will TOUCH GOLD.

And they do.  They do touch gold 30% of the time.
I can imagine what it would feel like if I weren't so sick these days.

Connection is key.  My body is speaking to me, and I'm learning to be patient as it works through the STUFF it's been holding for years.

As I lean into yoga poses, I feel FEAR in my body.  It is terrified to simply OPEN UP because it knows, it KNOWS about pain and how pain comes after opening up.

My yoga instructor said on Monday morning, "Try to take this stretch somewhere you've never taken it.  Maybe you're going to put more space between your head and chest.  Maybe you'll be able to take the stretch deeper.  Maybe you'll be able to feel a muscle in a way you haven't before.  I know you've done this stretch a hundred times... so let's do it differently.  We don't want to be the same as we were yesterday."
Everything Taura says sounds so deep when I'm on a mat in her Mom's backyard.

With that in mind, I adopted a new mantra to add to my list of Adopted Mantras:

Every Day a Difference

Today will be different from the day before.  I'll try something new, take in something new, learn something new!  I'll make someone else's day different.  I won't go to sleep at night knowing that I'm waking up the same as I woke up the day before.  My expectations for this mantra are enthusiastically low, but enthusiastic nonetheless.

So I'm charging out into the world toward DIFFERENCE.
Sometimes it means adding.  Sometimes it means taking away.
Mostly it means that I keep riding those percentages waves in the right direction -RIDING, mind you, not stagnating on the wave only to be squelched by the quenching water.

It's simply finding a way to progress while being patient and accepting of where I am in life: whether I'm in a GOLD day or not.

Will I ever reach a place where everyday will be gold?  Perhaps The Land of Gold lies only in those with silver hair?  I don't know.  I don't know the answer.
But what I do know is that it's okay that I don't know.  It's okay that I'm riding some waves because the waves are all CONNECTION based, and THAT... that is one sweet wave to ride, even if you're coming down.

PS: if you want to be different than you were yesterday, watch the TED talk above.  Seriously.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Up To

Sometimes I feel defeated.  It's not hard because I have a toddler.

Yesterday that defeated feeling began to turn to shame, and I took a time out.  I put the kids in front of dinner which was in front of a movie, and I took the dogs for a walk and then pulled weeds in the garden.  I hadn't done much movement yesterday, so I wanted to let my body MOVE.

It got me thinking less about what I'm NOT doing and more about what I AM doing.

I'm doing a lot of listening...
listening to my body, listening to music, listening to my Soul Needs.

...You've got so much soul...

Monday, August 17, 2015


This morning as I was exhaling to let my body go into a difficult (for me) yoga pose, the instructor said, "I find that I often treat others the way I treat myself."

She means REALLY, not SURFACELY (the operative hidden word there being FACE).  Because there have been many moments where I haven't been genuine to someone's face... given service while judging, that kind of thing.
During those times, I am more prone to judging myself.

As I've written out my amends and God has made it very clear that I and my body need to be at the tip top of that list, it's been incredible to watch the direction He's taking me.  As I love myself truly and take care of myself carefully, I am more open to loving OTHERS truly and taking care of them CAREFULLY, MINDFULLY and from a healthy place.

My 30th birthday was yesterday, and I used it as an opportunity to make amends to myself.  I bought a new pair of tennis shoes. I bought a pair of pants that fit RIGHT and that are new (as opposed to my usual purchase from a thrift store that fit "pretty good").  I bought some new underwear and a tube of the GOOD foundation I normally pass up because it costs too much and buy toxic foundation instead (cheaper!)  I stepped into a salon for the first time in two years.
I went for a walk, did some yoga.  I let myself know that I HAVE WORTH.  The money I spent will come back into my life -it's okay.  No one is going without for Mom to have shoes that aren't ripped.

My entire paycheck (granted, my paychecks are cute and tiny) went to amends, and a large portion of my next one will as well.
While Danny and I grocery shopped, I put in more greenery.  God has made it crystal clear that Alicia's body needs stuff from the dirt.

A few years ago, I had originally planned to spend my 30th in a salon all day -a ONE TIME BIG EVENT where I got a massage, a mani/pedi, a facial, a cut/color/style, brow wax, make-up... then I wanted to buy a new outfit and head out for a dinner date.
But you know what matters to me now?
NOT a once time big event, but a true, deep shift in beliefs and perspective.

So my bed has stayed made.
My room has stayed clean and peaceful.
I've purchased beautiful songs on iTunes that continue to feed and enrich my worth.
I eat better.
I move more.
I have spent time each day with my bare feet on God's earth, soaking up the purity of His lovely creation.

I talk with God, and I ask Him if the key to His Omniscience is simplicity?  He doesn't answer.  He wants me to search more.

This shift and change has been gradual, and it has STUCK.  I know it's time for these amends -they are not a one-time event that will repeat in 10 years when I realize my shoes are taking in water and the elastic on my clothing is shot.
It's just a tube on foundation.
It's just a pair of jeans that like my body.
It's just a bra.

But oh my gosh -the messages those send are priceless.

It's crazy to see how important balance is -how I could take buying things to an extreme, but how I need to smartly care properly for myself as well.

God is guiding these amends.  It's not enough to SAY "I'm sorry" to myself.  I need to change behaviors, and I find that I can not do it alone.
But He leads, He guides, He walks beside.

I have a stout pile of crap -old make-up, towels, shoes... that I'm ready to burn.  It's time to send big messages back to myself, it's time to get rid of inner chaos and ask God to replace it with clarity.
If I can see myself from a third-person perspective, if I can see and believe in my worth, light, identity, and divinity then my good choices become simple.

In turn, and in God's beautiful way, I turn that Seeing Eye onto others.

The Next Thirty Years will have their storms, and God and I are building a shelter within my being.
It is sacred ground -holy, holy, holy.

One good choice at a time, line upon line, day upon day, we are building a liberating shelter.

And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back 
So shake him off, oh woah 
 I am done with my graceless heart 
So tonight I'm gonna cut it out and then restart 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Return to Sanity

In our online group meeting this week, we read Step 2.  One of the questions that follows reads:

What does it mean to be restored to sanity?

The opposite of sanity is, in my own world, the place I go to where every other thought is the thought every spouse of an addict is familiar with:

Am I crazy?

In that place, I am blocked.  I can not hear my own gut -my put-there-by-God-and-filled-with-His-truth-and-light Intelligence -and everything begins to blur and swirl.  I short, everything feels like the way life looks when I take my contacts out and lose all sense of sight (except colors!) and depth perception.
Without the aid and help of lenses, I am legally blind my friends.

I went there this last week.  In that place, I was triggered more frequently and powerfully.  I was emotionally edgy, physically tense.  It occurred to me at one point that this state used to be my NORMALCY.
And I felt a little hope in that -as if what used to be my Standard Mode of Operations was now a sort of Lights Flashing, Sirens Blaring State of Emergency.

That's a sign of healing, right?

I know I'm in that painful place when I can not hear what I need.  I'm indecisive, scared, and anxious.

I recently finished reading a James Allen book, and I found therein a gem that has become a sort of imagery mantra for me (is that a thing?  Imagery mantra?... Something I picture in my mind when I feel like I'm crazy?)
 A return to sanity is, for me, being able to hear myself.

 It's finding and tapping into that depth Allen speaks of -it's a vibrant canyon for me, filled with everything God created to give me... in his own words from D&C 59:
18)Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;
19) Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.

Walking in that canyon at peace with God, climbing and hiking the up and the downs while the world above whirls with drama, intrigue, and dark storms of every kind.

It's my figurative happy place.  I can tap into it now and then, and I hope to someday set up camp there.

I hope to live within it eventually, as Frankl once found freedom from outer bondage within.  This life feels so binding, doesn't it?
I feel so limited in what I can do with the little knowledge I have... I feel the world beyond is filled with rich treasures of knowledge and wisdom.  This life is a life of bondage where we are called on to tap into the freedom that abides in the one place that carries heaven with it: our intelligence within.

It is our safe haven, and it can not be taken from us from any outward perpetrator unless we grant access.

Or unless we've been blessed with PTSD (or other mental illnesses) in which case, we've become victims of thievery of the absolute worst kind: Thievery of our inner selves.

The good news is we can reclaimed or be reclaimed through God.
And THAT, to me, is what a return to sanity to looks like... it's the return of what's been taken -my peace, my serenity, my voice, my worth, my ability to see myself and hear myself and honor that which manifests itself within.
I bring that manifestation going on within... WITH-OUT and THAT.  THAT is my return to sanity.

I speak up for my safety, set a boundary, remind myself that I am worthy of other people's time (a nod here to a great friend who spoke this truth to me and changed my perspective -you know who you are!) and SO REACH OUT.  I pray before, during and after.  I take any glimmer of voice coming from within and obey what it tells me: a walk, a yoga session, a few more hours without my contacts in, moving a picture in the house, taking off the pants that don't fit right, eating something that came from God's Good Earth (My Playground), taking time to put my bare feet in the grass, taking time to rehearse an affirmation:
I am confident.
I walk with my back straight.
I look others in the eye.
I am enough.
I have nothing to hide.
I do not fear my story being uncovered.
I walk with God.
I am light.
I am joy.
I am truth unfurled.

Without God, this is not possible, for it IS God who speaks to me from within.

God is my sanity, and I am his treasure.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Fields of Toil

So often trials are compared to storms -dark clouds, rain, torrent... then comes the rainbow, then comes the rest.

Sometimes He lets it rain.
Dark clouds.
Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.

A few days ago, I sat on the shores of a lake in Arizona.  I was up in the pines, camping with my family.  We were squeezing out every last drop of summer.  Danny was fishing with the kids, and I'd just finished skipping rocks. I didn't buy a fishing license because
1) It saved us some money
2) I don't know how to fish
3) I have notebooks that love being written in on the shores of lakes in the pines

My toddler and I stuck together because she didn't care about fishing either.  She climbed up rocks, throwing her hands in the air.
"Queen of the world!"
I beat my record in rock skipping: FIVE.  And for the fiftieth time that trip, God sent me a Valentine to let me know He sees and cares.
A Valentine skipping stone:
I tucked it in my purse.
My inflammation worsened -it had been flaring up, maybe because I was constantly on the move?  So I sat down next to my daughter and we threw big rocks into the water -squealing with every *SPLASH*
The water felt so good on our hot faces.
She put her feet in the lapping water and spoke to it, "Be nice, water.  Be nice to Alice."

I sat down in our red camping chair, hunkering down so the sun couldn't find me. It wasn't easy -the Arizona sun has a way of finding EV.ER.EE.THING.  Even the lakes around us were evaporating at a weirdly alarming rate, making fishing a pretty dumb idea.

I watched my daughter build a castle out of rocks and sighed in relief as the sun fell behind the ONE cloud in the sky.  My mind went back years -twenty, fifteen...

My Dad owns a farm and a small herd of cattle.  He was the living mash-up of the Oklahoma! hit, "The Farmer and The Cowman."
Oh, the Farmer and the cowman should be friends...
My Dad WAS a farmer AND a cowman.  This meant he grew his own hay which worked out well because he had 6 kids to help him grow, cut, turn, bale and pick up the hay.  After my brothers left home, he BOUGHT A MACHINE that picked up hay.  It was a betraying day for me... picking up hay was the hardest, most grueling part of the hay business and ALL THIS TIME THERE WAS A MACHINE THAT DID IT?!
But I digress.

Those hot Arizona summers picking up hay are scorched into my brain.  Some days I'd ride in the truck with Dad and watch in wonder as the boys in town would help my brothers pick up bale after bale.  Sweat would run down everyone's faces.  Their arms were sun burned and scratched... they could wear long sleeves but the length was torture... worse than scratched arms.
The hay was carefully stacked, row by row.  A special pattern had to be made to keep the hay from falling over, so one boy would stack and the others would pitch the bales onto the trailer.  The tractor or truck would pull the trailer along at a snail's pace.
I think they have a thing called Cross Fit now that gives men the bodies I saw my brothers build throwing alfalfa bales around.
When we picked up oat bales, I could help.  I couldn't pitch them to the top of the stack, but my patient older brother would help me nudge them onto the lowest part of the trailer.  As I got older -12 or so, I graduated to Driver.
I was complete bunk at it.
I was so nervous trying to do it PERFECTLY because the thought of messing up in front of the boys my Dad had hired was just unfathomable.
My first real-life crush was formed out on those fields.

I can still feel that hot sun, the sweat, the parched summer days...
As I sat on the shore and watched my daughter talk to her castle, I felt the metaphor for trials shift in me.
When trials rage in my life, it feels less like a storm and more like a hot summer day.  I'm racing against the tractor to get the bales pitched onto the trailer.  I'm the driver, the stacker, the pitcher... the sun is blazing, and sweat is rolling down my neck... my body is coated in my own perspiration.  With every bale I pluck up, one more is set down on the unending field of toil and sweat.
That is what it feels like.
No clouds, no drops of rain, no torrential storm to send me into respite.  Just sun.

We are taught that Christ is in the Sun (just read it in my scriptures, though I can't remember the reference!), and this is true for me... when I'm on that figurative field with those figurative heavy, rough bales, I am closer and nearer to God than ever.
It is HARD and it is TRYING and I want to give up and spit and lie down and I WANT TO STOP, but trials aren't like that.  Even when I physically lie down in the midst of a trial, there's still a blazing heat going on inside, ripping me apart.
The sun is a healing energy that also burns -it's made of FIRE.

My baptisms by fire has come through Christ and at NO POINT was it easy.

Coming home from those fields was the best -dunking myself into bath water, filling my body with water, eating a good meal, and sitting down.  You can't beat that feeling.  It measured up to the feeling you get after spending a day branding cattle and coming home to wash the stench of burning hide and human sweat off.
Nothing in this world has come closer to me than the way repentance feels than a long shower after a full day pitching hay or branding cattle.  Even rounding them up is less intense.

So it is with trials -after the work, the sweat, and the seemingly unending output on my part -there is living water to be had in abundance.  It's there all along, but after the trial it seems more precious.

God is in the sun and the water.  He's the most miraculous gift -the most present, the most mysterious, the most attractive.
And so we find that another sort of romance is flourishing on my Fields of Toil... I desire God, and unlike the hired hand I longingly stared at through my coke-bottle glasses, God actually knows I'm there and what's more?  DESIRES ME with a passion far deeper than any I've cooked up.

Because He desires me, He gives me Fields of Toil.
And that's where the metaphor shift is vital for me... I see the point of pain, I see a purpose -a loving purpose in pain.  Pain becomes necessary -thereby making it endurable.
My pleas to end it all, my declarations of self-weakness dissipate and I stand under the hot sun, knowing now, as I didn't five years ago, there's something great at the end of the field.

Knowledge, compassion, growth, clarity.

God has led me in the path of healing these days -physically healing.  He's led me to resources that will aid in boosting the negative ions in my life.
Negative ions are found in waterfalls and mountains, in nature -they energize and build us up.
Positive ions are found in electronics and man-made structures -they drain us.

There must be a balance.
And as I think of the rain falling, I see a gift from God, for especially in lightening there is a SURGE of negative ions, and we are uplifted thereby.

The world is my university -the sun my teacher, the rain my gift, the earth my healer.
And God is in them all.
And God is in me.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Itchy Inside

I've been working my dailies daily... just like their little name implies.  I've been doing the hard ones and the good ones and the soothing ones.
Pray -connect with God.
Read scriptures
Connect with self -yoga, journal, take a meaningful walk fraught with introspection
Eat a healthy breakfast
Stay off social media from 5pm -10pm

It's been good, it's been good FOR me. 

But these last few days, I've been crawling inside of my skin.  I've been rearranging everything and snapping at people who don't need snapping at (who DOES, actually?)...

My chi -which I've recently discovered is A REAL THING -is OFF 100%.  Where my gut usually directs my decorating and my decisions, I'm fuzzy.

Today after spending hours redecorating my kitchen -one of my favorite rooms in my little trailer -I just HATED it.  Every jot and tittle.
And guess what?  KITCHENS DON'T MATTER.  In the great scheme of eternity and THE BIG PICTURE, my kitchen is not important.
So WHY?  Why am I wringing my hands and fussing over something I usually can decorate in a flash the way I like it?

It hit me in the middle of a pile of lace and hammer and nails: I haven't written.

In all of my dailies, I haven't let my fingers feel the click-clack they hunger for, beg for!  I haven't taken time out of a rainy afternoon to let words flow.  I've journaled with my pen, but for me -I don't care what the experts say -I NEED THIS KEYBOARD.

And as that realization hit, my soul was wracked with pain and sorrow and every other diva emotion a girl can be DROWNED with because my computer is BROKEN and we can't buy a new one because my body is BROKEN, so our money is going to medical bills.
All of the money.
Except the little we are setting aside to throw a fiesta for my 30th next weekend.

I will have a new computer soon, but I don't have one now and my Step 4 was VERY clear about my patience.
*ahem* my LACK of patience.

And then, like magic, like the magic beans that Jack's mother threw down in frustration... my computer which was on but refusing to give me anything but a BLACK STARE booted up.
Apparently, my husband has a little trick that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't and today it did because

Jesus loves me.
And Danny is sick of me itching on the inside and rearranging the house.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got more typing to do on my other blog.  I've also got to move 2,000 (not exagerrating) pictures from my phone to my dying computer.

I've ALSO got to tear everything off of the walls in my kitchen.
Because my CHI IS NOT AT EASE.

Hopefully after I've typed and gotten stories out and my skin quits crawling inside of me, I'll stop caring about the kitchen walls.

Self-care is of the utmost, and here's my reminder to me:

And make sure that the next 25 paychecks go directly into savings for a new computer.

"A life with death inside and chi-wrecking walls outside is no life at all." ~Alicia Deets

It's too yellow!
Too old lady!
Not enough eclectic, like I had mapped out in my mind!

Maybe after I'm done writing, I'll embrace the COTTAGEness of it and have a hot cup of tea while I work on things that actually matter like love and family and the state of the union.