Once upon a time I was newly determined. When I first got sober in 2009, I started to live. I not only desired to live a more honest and pure life, but I felt the need to make up for lost time. I don’t think I am alone in this effort as I have talked to newly sober individuals who have felt the same. Relating to you has been such a comfort to me. I can’t thank you enough. 10 years in a malaise of blackouts made life sort of stand still as the days slid together. Time whirled by and all of a sudden I was a 23 years old with the mentality of a 13 year old girl. Those first few months of drying out felt like I was looking in a mirror at a reflection that was totally foreign. I was feeling emotions again. Drinking for me was an escape from emotions, but I was really just shoving them down. The emotions, just like damed water, go no where, they just build & build. Take the drink or drug away and the emotions come gushing out. I had a lot of support & I still do in recovery, but at the end of the day I am still left with me.
Making up for all of this “lost time” was exhausting. I was shorting hours of sleep to make early yoga classes before school. I was taking classes for college 6 days a week, staying after for honors programs and book club, and working 5 to 6 days a week. I was running 10 – 18 miles before working a 6 to 8 hour shift at a restaurant. I was driving all day and eating in my car while drinking copious amounts of caffeine to keep going. I was running around trying to be everything to everyone and yet I was struggling to keep up with my own self-care. Does this sound familiar?
The Universe will always plead with us to slow down and smell the roses. Sometimes it starts with a tap on the shoulder and if that doesn’t get our attention something louder and more palpably alerting will. It could be in the form of a cold or flu. . Did that stop me? No. I am embarrassed to admit this but I have definitely pushed the limits while sick. I didn’t rest unless I couldn’t move. Sometimes it shows up with injury. Did that stop me? Not at first. I went to work with a broken nose once after a soccer game. I thought it meant I was strong. No pain, no gain! Right? Wrong. Thankfully, yoga and meditation have taught me that strength comes through honoring my body, mind, and Spirit. For me, my big wake up call was a car accident. I was running on empty energetically. In retrospect this accident was a few years coming. I felt the exhaustion every step of the way and I still pushed the envelope. The morning of the accident I felt it in my bones that I could use a few more hours of sleep. Totally disregarding the signal my body was sending me, I pushed through it anyway. I woke up at 6am to make my way to the gym and I took a left turn when I clearly shouldn’t have, got hit on the drivers side, my head cracked against the window, car totaled, other car totaled with an injured party and we were both in that ambulance together afraid for our lives. Luckily we would both be ok, but until that moment I could not slow down. Even with a regular meditation practice and a million signs that I should, I was addicted to doing more. I was addicted to filling my day with, “Things,” just so I didn’t have to sit with me.
Laying there in my bed, recovering from the accident for a few weeks allowed for a lot of reflection. I was resting more than I had in years. I realized how precious every moment is. I stumbled upon the quote, “Life is a journey, not a destination,” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Constantly striving for more while making endless lists and running around to no end was not the answer for me. I had not truly let go. I was still calling the shots. I couldn’t believe it but I finally realized I was not truly happy because I couldn’t sit still with me. The, “Me,” who wasn’t striving for the next goal, or trying to impress you, or looking for attention. When I took away all of those masks, and sat in the presence of my own Self, I realized I had been missing out on a beautiful truth. The truth that, “I am whole without doing anything.” Mind blown. I couldn’t believe it. My first introduction into, “The art of non-doing.”
I found a solution.
1. Saying No. No is a complete sentence. As simple as that sounds, boy was it oh so ever a challenge. I was a people please to the max. I thought I had to be for you to think I had worth. Saying no didn’t always make people happy but I realized I had to take care of myself first, otherwise I was of no use to anyone!
2. Self care!! No matter what! If my mind, body, Spirit connection needs tending to, that is what comes first. I can’t help anyone until I am healthy. Getting enough sleep really helps with this. I get at least 8 a night and yes, sometimes that means I am in bed by 9pm.
3. Focusing on one thing at a time. Having this clear, I would then have a great teacher months later say to me,”Find your purpose and get to it immediately.” What was I waiting for? I ended up having a lot of down time in India just a few months after my car crash and I embarked on what I knew was my dream after my return. Teaching yoga, writing to inspire, and intuitive healing.
4. Listening to my Body. Feeling tired, weak, foggy brained, irritated, sluggish are all signs to slow down, rest more, take a break. Even if it’s retreating for a few deep breaths to become present.
5. Create Space to Restore. working with people can take a lot of energy, even just being in crowded spaces. Make a sacred space that re-fuels you. Giving myself some time to re-boot through naps, energy work, meditation, de-charging can make all of the difference. These are some great ideas for creating a sacred-space.
6. Love, Laughter, Letting- Go. As self-awareness grows with my spiritual practice of choice, I learn to become more loving & accepting of myself. When I become aware that I am falling back into old patterns of “Over-achiever, perfectionist mentality,” I have to laugh at myself, take a deep breath, let go & let Jah.
7.Giving thanks for who I am in this moment. It takes mental persuasion to bring my loosy goosey attention back to gratitude and self-love. However, the effects are astounding and my whole perspective shifts when I do this. I use positive affirmations & gratitude techniques. I commend myself for a job well done or not done. I honor karma and if I act less than perfect, I forgive myself and try better next time. When I am honoring myself in this way I can better honor you and Gaia.
I am grateful for my, “Get to it” determination today. It is a positive aspect of who I am, but just like anything if it becomes something that starts to burn me out I have to go back to the practices that bring me to the present moment and allow me to slow down. I have to let go a little or a lot. When I do, the Universe holds my intentions close and I am taken care of in more ways than I could have imagined. This has been proven to me time and time again.
So to all of my fellow acheivers out there, just for today, take a few minutes to smell the roses as you walk by them, the most vibrant and rich blooms are surrounding you and you could have missed it. Pause, take a deep breath and say, “There is nothing I have to do, be, or have because I already am.” Remember your Divine nature. You are bountifully amazing just as you are.
Until next time with love and light,