I am returned.
A new woman, a changed woman, a stronger woman.
I am returned a woman more aware of her essence.
I am a returned woman full of awareness, and rawness, and understanding of the lifelong work I have before me.
I don’t quite yet know how to find the words that adequately describe what I have been through.
I can’t yet find a way to show you the recesses of my mind in a way that shows the magnitude of the experience.
But I can tell you what I learned in the three weeks that I have been away:
- I learned that every single one of us is precious and has value.
- I learned that this is not up for debate, no matter how we may feel about ourselves.
- I learned that every single human, without exception, is perfectly imperfect.
- I learned that drug addicts, alcoholics, gambling addicts, sex addicts, love addicts, overeaters and under eaters, far from being society’s version of the scourge of life, are some of the most beautiful soulful people I will ever know.
- I learned that those of us afflicted with addictions, operate from a place of pain and an excruciating fear of that pain. This is without exception.
- I learned that I need to return to Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon.
- I learned that I am Codependent, and also a Love Addict.
- I learned that Love Addiction is not anything like I imagined it to be.
- I learned that so many of my preconceptions are just stories I make up to make sense of the world around me. Most of these are based on fear.
- I learned that this is the same for all of us.
- I learned that I constantly need to question these stories to determine if indeed they are true.
- I learned that in order to question my reality, I need to check in with my body, not my head.
- I learned that this takes a lot of practice.
- I learned that the stories I tell myself are based on my reality, my experience. This will be different from your reality of the same event, and that is okay.
- I learned that I was addicted to sugar, and social media.
- I learned that I can live quite happily without both.
- I learned that I am much calmer without both.
- I learned that people really do like me.
- I learned that I am loveable.
- I learned that it is okay to LET THE LOVE LAND.
- I learned that I am courageous.
- I learned that I am a survivor.
- I learned that childhood trauma informs how we see ourselves and the world as an adult.
- I learned that this is true for everyone.
- I learned that trauma is classified as anything less than nurturing.
- I learned that pain is pain is pain; that your trauma is no less painful than mine may be, even if it may seem my trauma is more severe, or vice versa.
- I learned that pain becomes a sickness if it is not allowed to be expressed – this includes grief, sadness, hurt.
- I learned that unconditional love is possible and does exist.
- I learned that this unconditional love can heal the soul.
- I learned that it is important for me to set boundaries for myself.
- I learned that it is important for me to learn to contain myself.
- I learned that it is important for me to ask for what I need. This gives me a voice.
- I learned that setting up a routine and keeping busy is vital to my mental health.
- I learned that taking time to check in with myself and ground myself is vital.
- I learned that we are spiritual beings living a human experience.
- I learned that as an agnostic it is okay for me to not know everything.
- I learned through this willingness to not know everything, I could find a higher power.
- I learned that the most important thing to humans is to find connection.
- I learned that the more disconnected we become, the more depressed and disengaged we become. Some will even die.
- I learned that helping others is a fast track to mental wellness.
- I learned that the critic in my head, in this day an age of abundance, is not really working in my best interest.
- I learned to be grateful for the critic as it tries to save my life, and is necessary for survival.
- I named my critic Horace.
- I learned Horace’s sole purpose is to protect me, and that in order to do this, he makes me fearful, and works to get me to soothe my pain, either by drinking alcohol or isolating, or by making me so hypervigilant that I have to control everything and everyone in my life.
- I learned that not only is this exhausting, it is an impossible feat.
- I learned to thank Horace for his protection and to tell him that I am okay and that I have it from here.
- I learned that as a parent there were many times when I parented my children in a less than nurturing fashion.
- I learned to own my part as a parent in the damage I may have caused my children.
- I learned that parenting is generational – our parents were taught by their parents who were taught by their parents and so on.
- I learned that parents are doing what they can at the time.
- I learned that this does not condone behaviour, but acceptance of this fact enables me to move forward, even if I can’t forgive.
- I learned that generational harm can be interrupted by becoming aware of how the mind works, being aware of what Horace is telling me and changing my subsequent behaviours.
- I learned to forgive myself for my parenting mistakes.
- I learned that this takes practice and is an ongoing lesson.
- I learned that I have the ability to make amends and to educate my children going forward.
- I learned that it is never too late.
- I learned that I am surrounded by people who love me and who support me.
- I learned how to find gratitude in my every day life.
- I learned how to let go of the fantasy of a life I might have lived.
- I learned to accept the life that I have now.
- I learned that the life I have now is beautiful.
- I learned to sit in my day and accept myself where I am, right now, in this moment.
- I learned the power of meditation.
- I learned the power of a daily walk on the beach.
- I learned that absence truly does make the heart grow fonder.
- I learned that keeping it simple is how magnificent things are achieved.
- I learned that it is possible to find light in the darkness.
- I learned to expect a miracle.
- I learned that I am a miracle, and so are you.
Until next time,