Learning to do things again is something I'm becoming very familiar with. My ego HATES it.
Yesterday I sat in my big, broken-in leather easy chair with rips on the arm. It swallows me whole, and I understand why men on sitcoms fight their TV wives to keep their ripped recliners around. I don't care if it's ugly -it is beautiful to me. Life would be harder without the recliner.
I finished up a documentary I'd been mildly interested in when I clicked on it and wildly fascinated with when the ending credits rolled. It was short -only an hour -and it was about a woman channeling healing through yoga following the death of her mother. I was amazed to find so much truth, so much of the work I do in recovery is in yoga! As I listened to them talk about finding and accessing serenity within, about honoring our innate, something hit me.
Something that felt really heavy.
I'd allowed myself to be talked out of honoring my innate. I'd second-guessed, I'd doubted, and I'd allowed others to speak to me in a way that was NOT okay.
I didn't realize it was even happening in the moment. I didn't realize it until WEEKS later.
I realized I'd spent the last few weeks in a place I'd been in before -a dark and scary place where truth and light are sparse, a snake hole... a dark tunnel, my anxiety keeping me nice and tense as I waited for an inevitable strike.
I picked up the phone and called my sponsor. After a frank conversation about my lack of REACHING OUT, she said to me, "Recognizing when our serenity is gone is one of the first pieces of the foundation of our recovery."
My shoulders fell so hard I thought they hit the floor.
Shouldn't I be BEYOND this now? I've been working the steps for almost 6 years!
My mind shot back to a few months before when I'd joined a meeting via phone and after leaving my first share there ever, someone remarked, "Alicia, I remember how hard it was for me when I was first starting out as well."
I laughed in a cry sort of way.
I took a walk with God last week. I thought I was surrendering to Him what I couldn't control, but there was so much inside of me that was EATING THROUGH me. I didn't know what to do or how to do it or where to go. I sat on the banks of my Dad's irrigation ditch and I prayed as the Arizona sun soaked into my skin.
"I'm so sick all of the time. What is the POINT? Do I have a point right now? Or is my job just to be sick? What is there to learn from sickness?"
I vented to God and tears welled up in my tired eyes. I talked to Him about marriage, how marriage is really very hard and how I didn't know it would be! I didn't expect it to be EASY but I couldn't have prepared for how HARD IT IS.
How do I manage my anxiety? Can You take it?
How do I let go of things I can't control? Will You take them?
What can I do to get better? What can I take or read or try?
I opened my eyes after a solid "amen" and they landed on the roots of a tree I've seen a million times before without every really SEEING.
I felt God communicate with me.
The trunk, branches and leaves of the tree were strong... but when I looked down, the roots were exposed. This tree is a Chinese Elm -it grew spontaneously and I know from experience how hard they are to get rid of. I truly hate them. You can cut them, you can burn them... but unless you get at their very roots, you are wasting so many valuable hours and so much precious energy on futility.
There on the ditch bank, staring up at me, were ROOTS. The water rushing by had washed the dirt away and exposed the roots. The tree is weak.
I snapped a picture of the roots and nodded at God. I have been fussing over branches again. I have been ignoring the roots again.
I have been trying to manage the symptoms that come up when I ignore the roots. Anxiety and sickness and disconnection and confusion run rampant when I choose to stay with danger... when I choose NOT to keep myself safe, chaos takes over. When I go to God with my discomfort, with my fear and then I TAKE ACTION... peace reigns.
I thought I was, but you know what big piece was missing?
The accountability piece. My sponsor didn't have to say it. I knew it. In my going to God, I was being half-heartedly accountable to Him, but I wasn't reaching out to the very precious support system in place around me. Those angels on earth, sent to lift me as I lift them! My sisters in group, my sisters in my support circles, my sponsors (neither of them), my Bishop!
I hadn't reached out for accountability.
I set some self-boundaries with my sponsor... that I wouldn't allow myself to be disrespected and that I would call her anytime I feel my serenity taken, just for the sake of REACHING OUT and getting outside of the crazy!
I thought my serenity hadn't been taken very much (at least, not enough to warrant reaching out) because I've worked recovery so long that there's naturally an added measure of serenity ALREADY HERE. And you know what? That's true. But Satan took that truth and spoke it quietly, giving me opposition in the form of reality:
You don't need to reach out because you already know what to do.
And while I pondered on that thought -that I already knew what I needed and didn't need to bug anyone else -slowly the chains of self-doubt grew around me. Pride wrapped them quietly and surely around my very busy body. My anxiety worsened, my health worsened!
It's hard on my pride, my ego, that I don't know things... that I don't know MORE. It's REALLY hard. It was hard to hear someone believe that I was in the beginning stages of recovery when in reality I'd been working solid recovery for over 5 years! It's hard to have to say the words, "I can learn to do that again."
My pride HATES it!
But I'm beginning to accept that recovery, for me, is simply a series of beginnings... and when I veer from that place of new beginnings, I'm on The Pride Road.
Why has God marked this path out for me?
I don't know. I wish He'd marked a path full of wisdom and knowledge that I can charitably give to the universe, but He didn't. My path is a path of mystery, of journeys waiting for embark! discovery! for the countless "first steps!"
It's beautiful in it's own right, and when my pride takes a back seat, I can really, truly appreciate it and feel deep and abiding gratitude for it.
Today I'm learning how to recognize when a situation is not safe for me again.
I'm learning that suffering is a beautiful, sacred gift reserved for the best-loved (hint: us all).
I'm learning that I don't know anything except that I want to live small in the world and large in the camp God has within my soul.
Speak your words and I will hold them.
Reveal your weariness and I will see it.
Present your pain, and I will validate it.
Show me your path, and I will respect it.
You are God's.
God is within you.
This humbles me and empowers me because
It means I am God's.
God is within me.
Divinity is The Great Equalizer.
Here's to Step 10 (Accountability) and to roots and beginning... and here's to God, my master, my keeper, my most intimate connection to a home beyond the ditch bank lined with rouge Chinese Elms.