innerlight


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timid child

INNOCENCE/GUILT

INNOCENCE/GUILT (Photo credit: ~fyrfli~)

timid child
so much fear i've been living with
feeling unsafe and doing it anyway
so much energy that took, for so long
trying to have courage
think positively
don't listen to the darkness
you can do anything
you're special.


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what’s your book cover

I’ve been having book covers and titles coming to me. What, if anything, I ever end up doing with them, it seems like part of my therapy to express them. What is your book cover?

IMG_2417


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what my child needed

the other thing that has been triggered is fear.

fear of repeating any part of my previous life. how safe am i? have i learned enough not to repeat? do I trust in life and my higher power not to repeat?

presenting myself professionally brings up the fear of being misunderstood, of my authentic self being unseen, denied, ignored, shunned, shamed, isolated. having to live with a secret, the secret of me.

my therapist asked me to write on three questions:

1. What did my inner child need way back when, instead of being driven and holding up the lie of success, confidence, connectedness, stability, giftedness and well-being?

2. what is the conclusion about myself that I am acting out when I freeze in social situations?

3. Where in my life have I experienced support for my authentic self?

so, last night, I wrote on the first question:


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step four: the authentic voice that called

(my post step four introduction is the context for this series of posts.)

my dorm room–another false start of balance and serenity. another false ending to the chaos. january 2011.

(undated #1)

It does not agree with me to push myself so hard. The challenge of this term is quite extreme for me. I hit a wall of exhaustion today, and had to take the night off — from studying, from work, and basically the world. I watched TV all night. I didn’t respond to my husband texting me. I just needed to escape.

I am not motivated to learn when there is this much workload and the tests are not straight forward and the scores do not reflect my learning.

 

 

statistics, final exam formula sheet.

(undated #2)

The notion that I need to own my space and my time — I responded by feeling frustrated and unsupported.

I feel blind-sided by life — smacked in the face and rolled around in the mud, holding on to the rope of my soul, enduring.

There are times when a person needs to take responsibility for the experience they are having by changing their approach and managing themselves better, and these are the majority of times; and there are times when taking responsibility means recognizing situations and people that are unhealthy, and simply exiting from them.

(undated #3 — to my now-ex husband)

I’m drawn to you for the essence of you — the way you smile at me, your sunny demeanor. I’m drawn to and compelled by your spirituality, your compassion and caring for the world, and your capacity to produce and make things happen.

I’m afraid that if I don’t want to be around the whole pot-smoking, beer-drinking crowd, I won’t want to be around you, and our friends won’t mix.

the part to remember, give thanks for, and grieve, understand and accept its demise. i remember that feeling. i remember it all, in all of life’s glory. all of life’s glory.


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step four — new year’s manifesto

my post step four introduction is the context for this series of posts.

the year began with this, written on my last day in Mexico over Christmas break:

2011 new year’s manifesto:  trusting the innate
Everyone is not my friend, but there is a gift — a gem — in every person, and one from me to them. It is innate in us. There is an exchange that is possible in every meeting that takes nothing more than being. What is innate in us is not only enough, but key to our greatest personal and worldly dreams. This year, I pledge to leave space for what is innate in me to perform all necessary action. I will seek, trust and celebrate the innate in myself and others. This will be my religion, my daily meditation, my ritual. What is innate in us is not the easy way out, but the only way in.
 


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step four introduction

I have been working on Step Four since November.

My one-sentence description of Step Four is:

A list of all the things that keep me from feeling good in the world, the core beliefs that have created them, the responses that have fortified those core beliefs, and the effect they have had on my connection with others, myself and the Universe.

CoDA’s workbook has a series of questions for each step that I worked through, which took me the majority of the time between November and now. Some of the questions evoked immense confusion and illuminated some of the deepest pain in me.

Having worked through those, a few at each meeting with my Sponsor, I then began a collection of photos, letters and journal writings that served as tangible examples of my core beliefs in action. I called this collection, “How I Betrayed Myself.” It also includes examples of aspects of me and my life that give me a sense of pride and well-being, as this is an important part of Step Four. The word ‘inventory’ implies and includes accomplishments and positive aspects, as much as the challenges we face.

I have shared this collection with my Sponsor. It has left me in a place of honoring the last year of my life before I broke — the inner voice that I was not able to respond to. Everything that brought me to that point — the responses and core beliefs I developed in childhood and how they played themselves out in my adult life. I am grieving the abandonment I created for my authentic self by not listening to her. I betrayed myself and fortified the experience of abandonment for her.

At my last meeting with my sponsor, I managed to regress myself to the feeling I had before I finally drove to the liquor store and share it with my sponsor. I grieved that I was too ashamed to ask for help. Too ashamed that I felt that way again, after everything I’d tried. I had failed again, and it felt like I’d exhausted all my friends and places to go. That has to be one of the worst feelings in the world. The difference for me now, is that now, I would know how to reach out for help by phoning the crisis line or a recovery friend, or taking myself to the hospital.

As the last part of my step 4, I’m going to post some writings from the pages of the notebook that I wrote everything I needed to write down in, during the last 6 months before my suicide attempt. Interspersed with to-do lists, and leadership notes and brainstorms on community leadership projects are random and in-congruent pages about the end of my marriage, and how my heart was really feeling — the voice I didn’t honour. So I am going to honour it here, and share it with you, in a series of posts.

The pages of this notebook are a tangible example of the sense of disparity between the two sides of me (see identity confusion / unstable sense of self). I’m wanting to validate for myself the degree and extremity of this disparity by this blogging process.

spring 2011 — texted to my husband at the time, and the representative of the leadership award. no one could tell me to walk away. no one could tell me i needed help. that has to change.

Here is a snapshot of what I looked like last year, in the last month before i put an end to it all … If anyone you know starts to look like this on any kind of regular basis, please remember me, and recognize the face of someone who may need your help. This is not a person who needs to keep thinking positively, keep faking it ’till they make it, or keep doing anything they are doing.

Thank you for reading, to all you deep and rich human beings out there. Luv Underground.


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dream

'sea of dreams' by vcrimson

'sea of dreams' by vcrimson

Monday, March 12, 2012

I was about to give some kind of a speech about a new cd and the social commentary it was making, prior to a show at the arts centre in the place I last lived. It was a new centre, and I had to pass through a café on the way to the stage, then wait in a back stage area before going on. It was a big and open space, and I passed by an old colleague, who was sitting at a table off to the side. She didn’t look up in time to say hello, but only as I was just past her.

There had been some technical issues getting my speech printed out, but I was expecting an event producer I had been working with to come through with it before I went on.

It soon became clear that this was not going to happen; that I was going to have to go on without any notes whatsoever.

No one had seen me since I had left.

It was like I was simply not capable of stressing out.

I just had to be transparent, and radically accept my predicament, instead of trying to cover it up and fake it, as I would have done in my years there. Had I done that, it would have been painfully obvious to everyone how much pressure and stress I was feeling.

I woke up and realized that my whole life there felt like that. Like I was on stage without a script, trying to hide the fact that I was unprepared, caught off guard, feeling inadequate and utterly horrified. found myself thinking about how uncomfortable people must have felt; how they would have had to forgive me for my anxiety so much. How hard I tried and how evident that must have been. How much awkwardness there was. There was always an underlying level of stress that I tried to hide — actually, I can’t even say that hiding it was a conscious effort at all. My anxiety was so buried that I was not even aware that it was there in the first place. It’s not till now that I can understand how this must have felt for others. That I couldn’t just drop into the moment and be there in its fullness, and in the fullness of who I am.

I half dreamed about how the speech went. How I joked with the audience, played a bit of the clown, made everyone laugh, said hi to (colleague), and announced him as my boss. In some versions of the dream I replayed in my half waking state, this type of demeanor went over well; in others, it was completely inappropriate, but I worked hard in the dream to make it so that it may have been inappropriate, but a welcome addition to the evening through the spontaneity and genuine presence and connection that I brought to the circumstance. Life is one big long improvisation, responding to the moment without judgement, exploring it, seeing where it leads you, channeling the Universe, as I have said recently.

I thought how this is a side of me that has emerged here, and how I simply would no longer find myself in a situation that would not allow for this. On the contrary, I seem to be drawing people and situations where this is the desired presentation – always radically present. That people would no longer expect me to be the saavy professional I once tried so transparently painstakingly to be. I was always trying so hard, and that was the ultimate sabotage of me and everything I tried to do.

Now, I have been embracing the fact that I am a creative soul who cannot be expected to be professional in that “arts event” kind of way. I don’t try to be that any more. I am farther and farther from that sense of what is “normal.”

The weight and the sadness of how many years I was not honest about who I was landed in me.

The feeling of the dream was walking into a situation I had been before, feeling a little shy to “come out” as whatever kind of authentic being I was in that moment, because I had never been authentic before. What would people think? It would cause a stir. People might expect me to be this way always, but what if this strength and calm transparency, radical acceptance is gone tomorrow, or the next day? What then? What if I find myself back in the feeling of being so small and needy? Then I will look like a liar, and people will say that haven’t really changed at all, and I will wonder if it’s true.

I realized that if there were a movie made about me, my struggles would not be so hard to understand. All this time, I thought that no one knew how much I struggled, when actually, I think most people did; they just never knew what to say or how to help me. They just stayed away. I was the elephant in the room. It’s as if I was on stage all along, but I am only realizing it now, in layers, and with each layer, I feel mortified all over again.

I just spent 7 years being the elephant in the room (actually, more like 22 years). There was an unconscious yet unbearable pressure to be what I thought people kept telling me I was – exceptional, intelligent, beautiful, talented, capable, a leader. I kept thinking, “What is wrong with me, that I can’t seem to be what is appropriate to be? I can’t let people down. I can’t let them see that I’m not what they think I am. I have to pretend that it’s not hard, pretend that I am.” I was so misguided, so off my track, so lost, and no one could do anything. What were they to do? I was the elephant and an island unto myself because I couldn’t see what was happening. I couldn’t feel it. I couldn’t feel how fake I was being, how much I was hiding, how much strain I was under.

I feel like I’ve stood naked, walked the streets naked, pretending I am clothed, as if no one can see, hoping that if I pretended hard enough, if I was strong and determined enough, if I thought positive enough, tried hard enough to overcome my fears, it would be true, and no one would ever have to know about these embarrassments of my past, and I could finally be free of my failures and forget about them.

In step four I am currently taking in my CoDA program, this is going to be a huge chunk of my “moral inventory” – an inventory of the resentments I hold, and the people and places I betrayed myself, betrayed what was in my heart (a fellow member’s definition of the word moral).