Saturday, March 29, 2008

Swiftly Tilting

If I sit very still the room doesn't spin.
Last night I crashed into the wall trying to walk.
Today is a bit better.
Not sure if it's my blood pressure taking a dive
again or what.

Youngest son drove me to my AA meeting this morning.
He didn't want to risk being a passegner
considering the combination of my dizzyness, nausea
and the steering wheel.
Me neither.

But he laughed as we headed into the bank,
me weaving a little as I walked.
Normally I would have missed my meeting.
But today I was celebrating
my 20th birthday in sobriety.

So youngest son told me if anyone thought I was
walking drunk
he'd just tell them I'd been 20 years without a drink
and was celebrating.

Yesterday I learned how to use the recording
equipment for the radio documentary.
I was encouraged by the producer to play with
it over the weekend.
Dearest one plugged in the microphone to play
and proceeded to chase me around the kitchen
with the microphone.

The sound of my laughter on the disk
was very pretty music.

Gravol is my temporary new best friend.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Floating In De Nile

The recording equipment arrived today in the mail to do my radio documentary. Tomorrow I'll have to fess up to the producer that I am equipment illiterate and take it from there. Thankfully dearest one loves gadgets of any kind and I think this equipment qualifies so if all else fails he can figure it out and teach me.

My day has been full. Today was my last scheduled appointment with my after treatment counselor. I feel like I have an adequate support system in place to get me through whatever life throws my way. Seeing to my spiritual life is the first priority of the day. With that intact when life throws me for a loop I've learned to call in the posse and with their experience, strength and hope have made it through some tough moments. It's not about staying strong in the rough spots but about telling the truth about how I feel about them. My counselor remains a phone call away and I told her today that I knew I could call if necessary and also knew that by the time I actually got an appointment to see her the crisis would be over. We laughed. There was a time not too long ago when I would have made the crisis last until the appointment because I didn't know what else to do. Today I do. Deal with it.

Next I had a doctor's appointment. When he asked me how I was I started to chuckle and he told me that was the wrong answer. I told him how tempted I often am to say, "help, my body's falling apart." We laughed. He listens differently since I've been to treatment. Treats me more holistically. Today I shared with him about doing the radio documentary. About how I'm telling the story of selling a bit of the family farm - that's been in the family nearly 90 years - and how conflicted I feel about my decision. I was telling him how the radio producer had poked and prodded until the story came out that I felt safe on that land. That across the road, where my grandparents and most of the 960 acres that encompassed the family farm were, felt predictable and safe. Home was unpredictable and scary. In the midst of that conversation my doctor said to me, "Selling the land is like the last step in the healing process. You don't need the land to feel safe anymore." Somehow I don't think they teach you that kind of reading between the lines in medical school.

You see I thought the story was going to be about selling the land, about the demise of the family farm. About betrayal of generational bequeathment. About selling out. Going into it I knew there was an underlying story of abuse and recovery but I didn't think it would surface. Had had only fleeting thoughts about whether selling the land was symbolic of moving forward. So when the underlying story surfaced the producer told me that's the real story. The one I need to tell.

Telling the story will be breaking every taboo I was raised with. Especially the one where my mother said to my face, "What goes on in this house, stays in this house." And here I am preparing to tell on national radio. Someone asked me tonight if there was a way to prepare my family for the real story to be told; but how do you warn someone of something they are in denial about?

So I'm trusting that God will make clear a way to honour my journey without running roughshod over my parents. A way to honour my journey without trying to shelter them from my reality. A way to be gracious and honest.

I trust that telling my story will not smack of selling out in any way, shape or form.

And that body of mine that's falling apart?
As of today it's 47 pounds lighter since I stopped bingeing.
Not sure what parts I've lost but them there's a falling going on.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Stretching Hope

"As I sat in centering prayer this morning the image of being held, of resting in the womb of God came to me. That no matter how vigorously I stretch and push against its walls I remain safe in the womb. So struggle away, Hope, struggle away."~ journal entry March 18/08

"As I listen to the gospel for today and hear how Jesus gives John his mother and how John welcomed her into his home I sit here and wonder what it means to welcome her into my home. They ask what we want to say to Jesus as he hangs on the cross and all that comes to me is "remember me in your kingdom." Without his mercy we are without hope." ~ journal entry March 21/08

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tread Softly

It's been the most draining of days. I feel if I bent my head and looked into a pond of water I'd see tears streaming down my face even though there are none on the surface. My body is carrying it's mourning around with it. I find grief work hard. Maybe I need to simply acknowledge all the hard, hard work I've done in the past 7 months and let those healing tears flow.

I had a counseling appointment this morning. Turning in pages of homework dealing with control and losing control felt wretched. Facing my emotions around that stuff is scary. A loss of control of its very own. Every time I looked at the homework this past week I felt anxious and wanted to run screaming from the room. Eventually I did what I could and shared it with my counselor. I left with the remaining 30+ pages to read and fill out. I can do this but there are times when I wonder what the hell I've got myself into. There's this saying in AA that goes, When you know better, you do better. Well. Some days I'd like to crawl back into the hole of not knowing better if only to soothe myself into oblivion for a moment or two and then re-emerge and keep going forward. The only problem with that solution is the moment or two turns into a decade or more in a blink of an eye and I'm so not going there, God help me.

So tonight as I was headed to the pantry to make myself a bag of microwave popcorn I kept right on walking and picked up the phone and called my sponsor. Thank God for sponsors. As I shared how desperately I just wanted to self medicate the wanting to softened it's grip on me. Then I was able to breathe and do the next right thing.

This afternoon I had the phone interview with a producer about my mini radio documentary. It left me feeling so vulnerable. He is good at what he does. Which is look for the story beneath the story. He found it. Shit. To do this piece with any integrity and to own my story within it, I'm going to have to navigate through a family mine field.

I feel like beating my fists against God's chest.
And swearing.
Underpinning it all
is my belief that
I'm right where I need to be on the journey.

Today my counselor pictured the phrase
losing control
as a ring of fire
surrounding me.

It wouldn't be so bad except that my gut instinct says that walking through the mine field of don't talk and don't feel is going to bring a greater peace in the long run than any other option. I just hadn't bargained doing it on national radio.

Fighting demons
is hard work.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Compassionate Energy

It's 8 pm and I'm just getting online. What can I say, it was the Brier in Canada today and I am a fan. Did you know I'm the sports fan in our home? I always feel weird about that but that's the way it is. Dearest one grew up in a home where TV was evil and worldly so he missed early initiation rites for Hockey Night In Canada and the Grey Cup and the Brier. I didn't.

We were up early and headed into town for Passion Sunday Mass. Dearest one and youngest son have been house sitting this past week and today it's my turn. This was my first experience of Passion Sunday in a large church. It's the weirdest thing to go from a little church of perhaps 10 people on a Sunday to a church where there are over 500 people at Mass. I don't much like it. After that I went to a different AA meeting. There again going to a meeting where there were perhaps 30+ people where the regular meeting I go to usually has 5 people. How can you tell I like small and comfortable and within my safety net better than big and uncomfortable and out of comfort zone?

My pitch for the radio documentary was accepted this past week so that was definitely the highlight of my week. I jumped up and down and hurt my back a little bit in the celebrating. But it really was a good thing to express physically what I was feeling in my heart. I have 45 years of suppressing joy of any kind lest it leak out and I look like an idiot. The energizer bunny was the only one to see me jump up and down and shout. She just put her ears back and looked like she wanted to hide in a "No, I don't know this person" kind of way. This program receives 1000 pitches a year and accepts about 150 so I feel validated and honoured. And scared. I like coming up with ideas better than making them a reality so this is going to be interesting. I am confident though that I can do it. Tomorrow I have an hour long phone conversation with the producer and then the fun begins. Recording equipment will arrive somehow to my little house in the boondocks and we'll take it from there. I will let you know when this piece goes to air but only through email. The documentary will be 13 mintes at best so this will be my real live 13 minutes of fame yet I want to retain my blogger anonymity, too.

Lent is nearly over. Not sure what I've gleaned this year but it's felt like a good Lent. I simply know I'm growing but would be hard pressed to say exactly how. There's something very peaceful about operating from a core of self compassion instead of self loathing. That that is my reality feels humbling and miraculous. Thanks be to God.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Without Your Mercy

This is my 8th day in a row online. That's how well that is going. Tomorrow is another day. Another chance to walk away from the computer. Even if it's only 10 minutes online a day, it feels like a fix of some kind.

I sent off my pitch to Outfront this week. That felt good. I've been able to figure out a magazine I can pitch the same story to as well. Yesterday there was a poster at the library for a session with the writer in residence, a new venture for the library, and one that sure works for me. She'll be available for consults for 2 months and I plan on seeing her. I'm feeling ready to take another crack at writing a book. Fear of failure is really what's kept me from it thus far. Writing here has helped me gain some confidence.

I had an appointment with Fr. Charlie this week, the first one since November. Our sessions have moved from counseling to spiritual direction. It is a comfort to spend time with someone who has seen me in the gutter and kept on believing, when I couldn't, that I wouldn't always feel mired in shame. Experiencing the Sacrament of Reconciliation this week had a particular sweetness to it.

Here are bits from my journal:

"Perhaps facing my feelings and letting them stay surfaced will one day be a non issue. So far it's still a lot of work." ~March 4/08

"Last night when I came home it was a clear starry night. I looked up at the stars and said, "wow" several times. I never get tired of their beauty." ~March 6/08

"Without Your mercy we would have no hope." ~March 7/08

"During my time of centering prayer I got a picture of opening my heart to God. Then I remembered how the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at church has made me picture my chest open, my heart exosed and touching the heart of Jesus. Today I understood that opening my heart would make it possible for Jesus to envelop it." ~ March 7/08

"Yesterday's scripture reading was about Jesus at the feast of Tabernacles and how the people wanted to arrest him but couldn't lay a hand on him because his hour had not yet come. I thought about the possibility that if no one could harm Jesus because it wasn't God's will then maybe I could stop worrying that some tragedy is going to befall me and cut my life short. Trust. Do I trust God enough to rest instead of wrestle?" ~ March 8/08

The two disciplines that I'd hoped to start during Lent complement each other. The yoga has been relaxing. Working up a sweat doing yoga has come as a bit of a surprise. The discipline of centering prayer has been a good antidote for my waning affair with perfectionism. As Thomas Keating says, "the only thing you can do wrong in this prayer is to get up and walk out."

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Bits and Pieces

Yesterday I thought I knew what I'd write here today but whatever my idea was it's vanished. So I leave you with a few quotes I've read this past week and bits of journal entries of my own:

"Bravery is the being the only one who knows you are afraid." ~ Franklin P. Jones

"In God's economy nothing is wasted. Through failure, we learn a lesson in humility which is probably needed, painful though it is." ~ As Bill Sees It (AA daily book)

"To be plagued our whole life long by temptation, failure, sin and brokenness is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it can be our saving grace as human beings. In our failures we are brought to humility, and to discover our need for God. In the particular way that pain and fear has taken shape in us, we have a way of opening ourselves to human and diving love. It is through our wounds that we may be touched deeply. In our vulnerability, our lack of control, we can be open to our need for God and other people." ~ Brian C. Taylor in Spirituality, Contemplation and Transformation

"I've been reading Thomas Merton this morning. What spoke to me above all was my need to accept where I'm at as a precursor to moving forward. If I reject what is then my growth will be a work of the ego instead of the soul. Where I'm at, in the fullness of my humanity, is okay, is necessary. Gentle be." ~ journal entry Feb 26/08

"This journey is not about liking the 'new' me better but about liking the me that is at any given moment." ~ journal entry Feb 29/08

"As I was eating lunch I thought about the potato chips in the cupboard. I thought about how I wanted to feel my feelings more than I want to numb them. Which made me think of the intensity of my feelings while watching only daughter's play. I wonder if actually feeling them and not rejecting, avoiding or numbing them made a breakthrough possible. My feelings won't kill me." ~ journal entry Feb. 29/08