Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Release the Toxins!

Years ago, my boss sent me a few doors down in the posh, high end "Village" where we were located to enjoy a full body massage. I remember being so excited, never having experienced a professional massage, and initially, a bit intimidated and a little out of place, but once I relaxed and gave in to the moment, it was pretty fantastic! It was very intense, in totally good way, though I did have to instantly have her stop working on an area in my feet, which is linked with my back and initiated some serious discomfort, but aside from that, it was wonderfully peaceful and relaxing.

Until I left.

I was dizzy, totally nauseated, and just felt completely awful. It was explained to me that this was likely due to the toxins that were released into my body during the massage, and my boss promptly sent me home to rest for the remainder of the afternoon. Needless to say, I’ve never gone for another professional massage!

 It occurred to me today that all of this deep work that I am doing inside of myself is quite similar to that massage.

I’m working muscles I’ve not used before, or not recently, putting strain on them, and then attempting to make repairs and heal those muscles. I’m digging into thoughts and feelings that have been buried far below the surface for a very long time. I’m exposing them, bringing light and truth to them, so that I can find release and healing. (Sounds a lot like the physical aspects of that massage!)

My mind is foggy and I am feeling terrible physically. It’s just like how I felt when I walked out into the sunshine after that massage years ago. I feel drained, sick, physically ill, and just YUCK.

I see similarities in the then and now, which has given me the impression, a vision of sorts, that my process of healing and that massage really are quite alike.

 All this trauma drama that I am sifting through is literally toxic shit that has been stored inside of me for a VERY long time. As I have gently massaged, poked around, unearthed… stuff and thangs… I have opened up several “cans of worms”, emotionally, in the process; I’ve begun releasing the toxic shit. I think right now, what I am feeling, like the aftermath of that massage, is the toxins swimming around inside of me.

This is a good thing. It tells me that the process is fully in motion, and that I am actually healing mentally and physically.

I’m working on the sore spots, bringing some comfort, and easing the pain. This is causing things to relax in there, which is allowing me to begin letting go of the toxic shit. Now I’m currently in that next phase, the “feel the feelings”, walking through the feelings to get to the other side, stage. As expected, it feels really shitty here, like reeaaallly gross, but I know, I am closer than I have ever been in my life to truly accepting and letting go of all the chaos and pain that I have been carrying.

I recognize that this is the time for even more gentle self-care and patience with myself as I walk through this leg of my journey. I have a lot of absorbing and accepting to do inside, and it’s time to comfort, forgive and be truly honest with myself.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Catch and Release

I sit back with new clarity, and I can see the circumstances I have been faced with lately for what they are: more practice and testing of my skills and tools.

The same situations, people, feelings and/or behaviors continue to pop up because I haven’t learned my lessons yet, or still!! Despite the progress I have been making with loading up that cardboard box (from my containment exercise), they keep creeping out, “Hello!! Have you forgotten about me? I am still heeeere!! Pay attention to me!!"

As I type this, I realize that this, right here, is another example of my growth, my healing and recovery!
(And I am PROUD!!)

Awareness. The growing ability to “contain” them when necessary. The expanding proficiency that enables me to look them in the eyes and say “What’s up? What do you WANT? NOPE. I don’t think so! That is not true. It’s no longer allowed. SEE YA!! GET BACK IN THE BOX!!” The increasing prowess that allows me to see them clearly, walk through my feelings, reaching the other side, exhausted and weak, but of course, stronger for it.

Acceptance and letting go. That is a massive struggle. It has been the struggle as far back as I dig; I never seemed to learn to accept and let go of ANYTHING. Only the continual “What if?”, “If only…”, “It’s because they did…”, and “It’s because I did…”. I sit here carrying the tremendous weight of so many unnecessary things that weren’t even mine to carry, and I have done so for years. Things that have no relevance now, in my adult life. These things, people, behaviors were a part of who I was THEN. It doesn’t matter what that looked like, or how difficult as it might be to ACCEPT now, I must. I was who I was then. With or without the healthy skills, tools, self-awareness, acceptance, respect, and/or love, it just WAS. I can’t go back and fix or change any of it.  And that is OK.

I thought that I had already begun to heal those parts of myself. I now realize that I truly had not gotten close. I must deeply accept and own, that that person WAS me, that was my life, THEN. I have reminded myself, repeatedly, reciting Maya Angelou’s quote, “When you know better, you do better.”, and while I truly believe it to be true, my actions and self-talk have not matched up.

I haven’t fully accepted that young girl as she was then. I haven’t faced her, truly forgiven her, or completely disclosed to her any of the actual facts about anything; which would absolutely relieve her from the crushing burden of guilt and shame that she has carried. I haven’t genuinely allowed her to process, heal and move on.

It’s kind of like fishing. You’re sitting out in the boat on a calm and beautiful day, when suddenly you feel the familiar tug on your line. Without a clear vision of what is really on that hook, you begin to reel it, bringing it in for a closer look. You assume it’s going be a big one, what with the effort required as you struggle to bring it to the boat. There it is in the net. With gratitude and admiration, you inspect it, take stock, and maybe you realize that it’s not quite the fish you were hoping for, or perhaps you intended to set it free to begin with, so you then release it.

No tears. No anger. No bargaining. No guilt or shame. You just let it go.

My goal now, is doing the work to heal the Complicated Grief I have in relation to the oh so many events/situations, people, and of course, deaths that have been smothering me. I can begin to muddle through each stage in order to reach acceptance of all these things, where I will then finally let it all go.
I will finally find freedom. I will finally find peace.

The amazing and wonderful part is, I don’t have to look very hard anymore. I can see them. I can feel the cool, airy, weightlessness of liberation and serenity begin to swirl around me, tickling the hairs on my arms, and inciting a ripple of excitement, and relief.

I am doing it. I am well on my way.

It’s not a destination I seek however; the path will not end there. It is merely the doorway. The gateway to my authentic self, where my journey of discovery and growth will continue onto a bright, fresh and uplifting new chapter of opportunities.

My story is far from over.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

GET in the box!!

It has been another exceptionally difficult week. In addition to responding to the obvious stressors that currently exist, and I knowingly and willingly accept, there are a whole lot of other emotions that seem to be surfacing. Old feelings that go waaaay back are catching up with me. Core, irrational, beliefs have been bubbling over, and I am in full attack mode, facing and challenging all the $#!t that is coming up.

Over the weekend, already amidst the storm, and its intensity increasing, I was sent spiraling when my daughter presented me with a few curiosity driven, innocent and serious questions. As the massive wave washed over me, the tears began, the grip in my chest and on my heart tightened, and, in my stomach, the gnashing and gnawing began to swallow me. All the grief, hurt, pain, soooo many feelings and thoughts about situations in my life, past and present, amassed over my life time, came crashing down, sweeping my feet from beneath me, knocking the wind out of me, and slamming me to the ground.

Yesterday, I made it through a fantastic, albeit exhausting, CAB session, was treated to and enjoyed a great lunch with Teeny, and promptly went home, requiring some serious self-care, which came in the form of a planned forty-five minute rest that turned into a much needed, two hour nap.

This morning when I woke up, I knew that I needed a plan to battle back against the suffocating weight that was upon me. I could not carry on in the state that I had been.

I thought back to the containment exercises, specifically "The Container", shared with me during AADP that are used to aid in controlling the anxiety, feelings, and thoughts that accompany memories, thoughts, and triggers that are too chaotic and overwhelming to cope with in the moment. I also recalled a meditation I had tried that involved visualizing being on the shore of a beautiful beach, placing negative triggers, people, words, events, images, etc. in a boat, and sending the load far out into the ocean.

From there, I devised my method of preservation.

I visualized a simple loft like space with many rooms, and saw all the people, images, feelings, STUFF, floating around like they belonged, pretending to be tenants. I identified them instead as squatters, none of whom had paid rent in quite some time. I handed out eviction notices for non-payment of rent and began to clear them all out, tossing everything into cardboard moving boxes.

It’s been a busy day, in my minds eye; I’ve been packing and scrubbing the spaces clean. Every time a "squatter", an unhelpful/unhealthy person, thought or image, tried to make its presence known, I would sternly say “NOPE. GET in the box!!” or “BACK IN THE BOX!!”, and imagine myself tossing whatever it was into a box with a laugh. 

For the most part, I managed to make it work. This little exercise truly helped me to maintain a semblance of sanity, remain in wise mind thinking, and it truly kept me from drowning today. I felt calmer, my eye on the sun shining through the billowing sheers that adorned the open windows, as the now empty rooms begin to fill with the warm and gentle aura of clarity, peace, and hope.

Find what works, and work the $#!t out of it. 

Until? It would seem, until it all becomes second nature.

I’m doing it!! I’m working it!!

I got this.

(The tools that seem to work best for me often involve allowing my rebel side to brightly shine, the use of facetious talk with Insidious and friends, and humor. I didn’t realize until later this evening that I had been performing, in my mind, like Bob Newhart in this video all day; I sounded just like him! LOL)

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

"It's Like Taking Buckley's..."

Last week I hit the eight months mark of this healing and recovery journey of mine. Eight months without a drink, and eight months of finally looking at myself, my thoughts and behaviors, and working to make healthy and positive changes.

I’ve had the usual daily “life” stuff, raising my child, working towards getting back to work, and turning forty to deal with. Beyond that, I have also faced deeper, dysfunctional family issues, three deaths in the family, situations and emotions surrounding my ex-husband, and the break-up of a relationship.

Much to my surprise, I haven’t fallen on (too many! LOL) old behaviors, drank, or done what I previously would have assumed to be the only option; I haven’t crumbled to my knees! Well, its close some days!! LOL But in a vastly different and less threatening manner.

During these eight months, I have found it (knock on wood!!) far less difficult than I imagined it would be to get through it all without a drink. I’ve been feeling the feelings, living life on life’s terms as they say, and so far, I seem to be surviving!

I have become more aware of, focused on, and am working at healing other areas of my life, outside of the alcohol, or maybe because of the alcohol?, where my toxic, unhealthy thoughts and behaviors continue to wreak havoc.

I find myself in moments, where I can laugh (or emit a sound that slightly resembles a laugh, perhaps a snort, or maybe some other sarcastic, pfffft, like sound), recognizing what has truly come up for me, and am easily able to change it around and re-frame it into a healthier thought or action. Other times, the moments prove to be a little more difficult to accept and work through.

I’ve been consumed by the depth of some of what has come up; I have sat absorbing it with tears streaming down my face, feeling raw and worn to the bones.

I've also been filled with pride, and reminded of the strength, courage, and wisdom that already exists within me.
I keep going to my groups, CAB and Smart Recovery, counselling, talking, reading all kinds of books, writing, painting, meditating, working with my crystals, and feeling all that comes up.

I am doing it.

It sucks. It’s hard as shit. It hurts terribly.

But I am doing it.

And I AM healing.

With a smile on my face, I reflect over the words someone spoke in CAB on Friday, “It’s like taking Buckley's, all this work… Tastes and feels like shit, but it works.”

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