It’s Sunday and my partner left on Thursday for a business trip. I had been having a cravey time of it and was somewhat concerned about the four days alone. I wanted to sit down and write to you all but then got busy. The cravings and general weirdness lightened up over Thursday and Friday; I managed to keep steering clear of sugar for some additional, very useful days; I stuck my head in a big painting/plastering job into Friday evening; and I’ve rolled much more contentedly out the other side. I’m reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown and listening to HOME podcast after HOME podcast. And I’ve done a lot of thinking.
- I keep realizing again and again how central self-medicating has been to my adult modus operandi. I remember the moment it started when I was 18 — I was sitting on a (stationary) school bus in northern Mexico eating lunch. Self-medicating may be common but it’s not universal (I don’t think), but for me it is a thing.
- In the same vein, I’m realizing how thoroughly resistance to myself — my own self — is engrained in me. I suppose it’s just human. But it’s not okay with me. One of the beauties of pulling away from it is that the more I give myself the right to not resist, the more I grant it to the people I run into (in my own mind).
- The challenge for me is with numbing and distracting in general, not just alcohol. Alcohol is murderously powerful — both in the moment when I would reach for it as an easy escape from jagged feelings and in what it does to a human body over the weeks, months, and years that we send the poison to each cell in the body — and for that it deserves every bit of laser focus that it gets as we pull ourselves out of its claws. But there are other, even more socially sanctioned ways of repelling from our true quiet peaceful selves, and they warrant a hell of a lot of attention, too.
- There is a world in me that is largely drowned out in daily life. Formerly by the frequent use of alcohol (daily if no one was watching) as well as then and now by other distractionary devices like sugar and email. (I still laugh when I type “email” as a major stumbling block even though I know there’s lots of awareness out there of this very 21st-century problem.)
It’s been maybe five days without sugar, and I’m starting to feel more like myself. That Myself is hard to describe. It’s as though there is a being inside of me that is peaceful and still and clear-headed, with distinct desires and observations and needs. It’s not the “ego” in the traditional sense and it’s also not pure consciousness, because of said desires and observations and needs. She’s a sweet little innocent thing who I am learning to let inhabit me and learning to respect and feed. Do we all have someone like this inside? I have no way of knowing. Do you feel this, too? They get drowned out by the noise of daily life and patterns we’ve been forming and modifying since our eyes were a baby’s eyes.
It’s in sensing, and literally hearing the words of, this inner being that I’m understanding more and more how my automatic reflex is resistance. Without alcohol and sugar I am able to start tilting my inner actions in the other direction. Toward myself. Open to myself. It could even be that this is where “absorbing peace” came from. I’ve never known. It was just the phrase that came to me that day in January 2015 when I suddenly said to myself, as I lay on the living room floor wondering what to do and who to talk to on this walk away from alcohol, oh, I can start a blog of my own.
I’ve only just begun reprogramming those mental muscle habits, but the preliminary tilting is huge. (In effect, not in tilt.) Oh, that’s what it’s like to lean toward myself with curiosity or love rather than ignore her or beat her up. Oh, I can do it again two seconds later when another part of me reacts to the curiosity-or-love thing with steely fear and hostility. And again four seconds later, again. This is getting silly, I’m glad no one can see this. Who knew that this fractal reality existed, round and round we go. But okay, I’ll play your game — here’s the six-second curiosity-or-love lean in. I’m going to insist on embracing this sweet inner being and try to give her what she’s asking for. Usually, for the record, after the six-second mark the hostility has gone elsewhere and so have I.
Some day will be my last day of this life on earth. I’m going to resist my very self until that day? Wait, why is that so important? I’m losing the logic. Since no one can see the comical circles I’m going in (well, I’m telling you about it, but you can’t SEE it), I’ll just do it till the tide turns. It always turns, and embrace of self is a much warmer, richer, quieter way to live. Creation of new mental muscle memory.
May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein helped me to both see this stuff and start the mental/muscle shift. I need to go back to the beginning and do the 40 days again.
Wishing you a grounded, productive, peaceful, insightful, restful Sunday wherever you are on your journey.