PINCHED HIPS

My girl pinched my hips to see if I still exist.

~The Fugees, Ready or Not

We have emphasized willingness as being indispensable.  Are we now ready to let God remove from us all the things which we have admitted are objectionable?  Can He now take them all, every one?  If we still cling to something we will not let go, we ask God to help us be willing.

~Big Book, p. 76

I noticed that my face was hurting yesterday.  Not from any accident or dental pain, although I did recently get some cavities filled.

No, I realized that my face hurt because I was smiling so much.

Several times in the recent weeks I have thought, I am so grateful for what my life is right now.  Not living in the future or rehashing the past, I have had real moments of living in the present gratitude which is always a miracle for someone like me.  I feel like asking someone to pinch me, because I still remember all too vividly what it used to be like.

Before I got sober a little over 9 years ago I was suicidal, my only friends were my cats, & I could only exist at all if I had alcohol in my system for most of the time.

Then I miraculously found myself in an AA meeting, a big book was given to me, I got a sponsor, & I started to deal with all of the emotional baggage I had been running away from for so long.  If you’ve been to meetings you may have heard the line in one form or another:  If you were like me you would have drank too.

When I lost that both great & horrible numbing agent, alcohol, I was overwhelmed by all of the resentments & emotions I had.  Lately I’ve been going through all of this old stuff again, its been really hard to dig up past relationships, those warped ones, when I thought that I had already gotten to a good place about them around working the steps.

You hear in the rooms that as you keep reworking the steps, things get deeper, & more layers are pulled off.  Ouch, right?  Layers under layers under layers.  Too be rigorously honest, I don’t really feel like getting to deep, once the layers start getting pulled up, all sorts of weird emotions pop up.  Tears rush to my eyes while I’m doing dishes, & I don’t know why I’m sad at first.

My favorite AA saying, one of the first ones I heard when I got sober was, it takes what it takes.  It’s taken what it’s taken to get me where I am now.  It’ll probably take a little more to keep me both sober & change my emotional & spiritual state.  The question I have to ask myself is, am I ready?  Am I ready to change?

It’s a hard question as I can probably skate by for a good while in my sobriety without being so open hearted.  I will feel much safer if I keep these scary emotions locked down below all those layers.  I can isolate, not do the step work, be alone.  I can be safe or I can change.

I’m currently choosing to do the work & to feel all the feelings.  I don’t know if it will be the same tomorrow, I only can account for today.  My sponsorship group is working steps 6, were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character, & the work I did on my 4th & 5th this go around has seeped into this particular step.  Old pain I thought I had dealt with just keeps coming up.  Its interwoven into my defects.  I created survival mechanisms which just aren’t attractive to me as they used to be, although I still sometimes find them pretty attractive.

It’s kind of like the end of my drinking.  I’m not ready to let go of the bottle, but I really hate it at the same time.

My only hope is that quote at the top of this post, if I’m still not willing, I just keep asking my HP for the willingness.  And of course I can’t minimize the results.  I’m very sure the only reason I feel like I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life directly correlates to how I’m working my program right now.  That’s pretty strong incentive to keep at it.  I want those sore smile muscles!

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In yoga news, I’ve reached the end of a six week theme of working through the chakras for my classes.  It’s been uncomfortable.  Subtle body stuff has never been my strong suit when I teach, I feel much more comfortable teaching to alignment or theming classes around a body part.  Experiencing chakra work can bring up a lot of stuff too, I think that focusing on these during so much intense step work has really helped facilitate the whole onion peeling deal.

& even though I’ve been uncomfortable, there are so many facets to yoga that I feel like I do need to explore & push myself.  I go through stages where I feel like the best yoga teacher ever (!), & then others when I feel like the absolute worst & am really hard on myself.  I have a steady schedule too, the free Summer classes are 2 weeks in.

All that to say, I think I need a little break, & serendipitously I leave for Spain next Monday.  I was sharing at a meeting last night that all of the downtime, getting out of my normal schedule, is really terrifying to me.  I think it is also just what I need right now.  Next post or couple posts will probably be filled with pictures of Spain.

As I experience deeper contentment, my heart prays for all those out there still struggling.  Asking today what I can do for the (wo)man who is still sick.

& wishing so much inner contentment for you all.

~Namaste.

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TREADING WATER

Being a mother is learning about strengths you didn’t know you had, and dealing with fears you didn’t know existed.”

~Linda Wooten

I feel like the older I get & the more days I accumulate as a sober person, the less I feel I know.  The more vulnerable I feel, & also the more forgiving.  More able to forgive others because I can forgive myself.  Also, the little bit less I realize that what others think about me is really none of my business.

I was so excited for our pools to open last weekend.  H was doing really well with swim lessons, the week before he even jumped into the water for his teacher, getting his head mostly submerged.

My expectations were way too high, he behaved like he did last Summer, more comfortable sitting on the edge, splashing his toes in the water.  I picked him up once and he screamed & thrashed so I didn’t push it.

Then, surprisingly he asked to go on the paddle board shaped floatie.  We went around the pool, he on his belly, me pulling him around while holding onto his arms to make sure he didn’t topple.  He asked for his orange pool noodle, way on the other side past the 9 foot deep end.  I was very relaxed.  The sun was warm & the water was cool.  I mentally debated between getting out and walking over to get the noodle or just swimming over.  I’m a pretty strong swimmer, I can tread water for a fair amount of time.  I have decent lung capacity.

So the unwise decision of swimming over was made, he not even wearing any floaties attached to his body.  I somehow negotiated us going under a pool rope mid pool (those used to section off pools) without my feet touching.  We made it all the way to the other side & I was just reaching for the edge of the pool when he slid off the floatie.

Down I went, the only thought I had in my mind was to keep his head above water.  And I also thought about how full of people the pool was.  Someone will see us struggling, I remember thinking.  I kept kicking, fully submerged under water except for my hands which were keeping him up.  It seemed like forever.  I finally struggled up & my head reached breathable air once more.

Another mom was standing right next to the edge in front of me.  What do you need?  She said which still brings tears to my eyes.   I asked her to pick him up out of the pool & of course she did.  I saw that she had already fished my hat out of the water & had placed it on the side.

I noticed as I was lifting myself up over the edge that water was flowing out of my nose so I must have inhaled a good amount of the stuff.  It was the first time I believed that whole deal about mothers getting a rush of adrenaline in order to save their children.  It was also the first time when I was given a choice:  him or me?  It was very clearly him, I would have drowned to save him, this I know.

I thanked this lady over & over.  We made our way to the shallow end.  I still haven’t stopped processing it.  Luckily H seemed unfazed by the whole ordeal.

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Because we all make mistakes.  But there’s such a difference when the mistake only effects you as opposed to when the mistake you make effects your child.

Your sweet, innocent, & beautiful child.

Another mistake:  Back to the potty training grind.  It brought me to my knees & tears again & I don’t know why I was so surprised.  It took an hour long google session of, why won’t my three year old poop in the potty to let it all go.  Again.  Followed by days spent praying that I can change & be a better mother.

That I can let him decide for himself when he wants to poop.

That I can stop pushing.  That I can forgive myself.  That I can start over.

That I can let other people’s expectations of him (& me) go.

So all of the goddamn feels lately.  Yes, I have felt like a shitty mother a lot lately.  I have also felt like a pretty damn good one too.

Because even though I push & make the wrong decisions I will always show back up & try to be better.

This has been a pretty vulnerable post to write.  I tried two different subjects but just couldn’t shake this one.

Wishing/hoping/dreaming that all of you out there enjoy the sunshine out there wherever you are.  Wear your floaties!  Spiritual or otherwise.

~Namaste