Where are Your 20 Minutes of Perfect?

A couple of weeks ago while running a recovery support group at The Foundation Clinic, the topic moved onto how sometimes doing the right things doesn’t always get us the immediate results that we are looking for. That we we do what’s difficult and “right” we don’t experience the instant gratification that those of us with substance abuse disorders are so partial to.

Brené Brown says that,”Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.” And for those of us that have experienced the spiritual disconnection of substance abuse, pushing against our personal values and principles is often what causes the most emotional and mental pain and anguish in addiction. So regaining integrity, rebuilding trust, practicing self-love, and overcoming guilt and shame are all part of the personal work that is required for a sustainable recovery and a life of meaning and purpose.

Of course everyone is completely different and these might sound like sweeping statements, but the longer I do the work the more I see this thread running through my life and the lives of the people I work with. Most common is the need to show up honestly and authentically in life, to be courageous and compassionate, and to move forward rather than recycling the snafus of the past over and over again.

Like anyone engaging in transformative work, getting well in recovery is challenging. Yet getting clean and sober, and becoming a wholehearted member of our tribe, probably ranks up their among the more raw and painful A huge part of the work is to learn to be accountable and responsible in life, not just around what’s come before, but also what follows from here. Learning to communicate effectively, problem solve, manage conflict, deal with emotions and not want to run screaming for the nearest line of coke or bottle of Jack, is in itself a masterful balance act of responsive thinking, adult learning and behaviour modification.

I have said it many times that the work is hard, but it’s worth it; especially if we find ourselves in the space of having to make choices. Really massive, scary choices when you gripped by substance dependence. Because there comes a point for most of us as to whether we want to choose drugs and alcohol and dysfunctional behaviour over pretty much everything else. Values are completely displaced when the individual moves into dependency, overtaking and replacing anything else we think is important; family, partnerships, children, health, spirituality, success, certainty honesty, integrity, courage…

Just like any type of change, the move to recovery and wellness does not happen overnight. There are often years of dysfunctional behaviour to address. Plenty of amends to be made. Past traumas to be overcome. Self-worth that needs special attention. The expectation that everything is going to change in a New York minute because we’ve stopped using is insane, and I mean that with love. Most individuals who are abusing or dependent on substances have used to cope with difficult situations, to escape from emotions, to reward “good” behaviour, to just check out, relax and disappear; to find some sort of oblivion in an attempt to fill the hole in their soul. The work takes time, patience, commitment and above all consistency.

And then one morning you wake up and realise that even though it’s fucking difficult to show up in life on a daily basis, we start to notice those 20-minute glimpses of perfect. In the group I mentioned at the beginning of this post, one of my clients shared a story of his morning when his young daughter, toddler son, his wife and himself simply lie in bed together before the chaos of the morning routine begins. What he was challenged to see initially was that although his life has not yet settled into the rhythm and flow of recovery, this is 20 minutes he just can’t have when he is using.

That although everything hasn’t done a 180 and miraculously fallen into place, this 20 minutes of perfect is where he gets to build from. Changing our behaviour as adults is not any easy task. We don’t learn at the rate that we did when we were kids. But if we can start small, start in 20 minute pieces of perfection, then surely there is capacity for creating these moments throughout the day. Life isn’t just difficult for those of us recovering from addiction, and we need to be conscious of that. Sure we have to learn to do things differently, but what a gift.

There is so much written these days about the mind-shifting power of gratitude, and if we just learn to slow down a bit and notice where there is change and connection, we have a very real place to restart from. When we can learn to link those moments together and spend more time in the present, rather than beating ourselves up over our tumultuous parts, and freaking ourselves out with the anxiety of the future, I believe that there is untold hope and possibility in moving forward.

I know for myself that if I just slow down and remember to be grateful for where I am in my life, there is always peace in those spaces. I’ve been very mindful of these moments in my life since that day in the group. Once of the joys of what I do is getting the opportunity to learn from the people I work with. Your days might not be perfect, you may still be grappling with the early work of abstinence and finding your feet in recovery, but if you slow down just a bit, I’m pretty sure that you’ll notice that you do have 20 minutes of perfect somewhere in your life. And I truly believe that that can be the soil in which you can start to sow the seeds of your new life.

This post is dedicated to “J” and his 20 minutes of perfect.

This is a repost of the original on my website Be the Change Coaching.

Life’s a Beach!?

foreverfragrance.com (1)Last year around this time I went on a 2-day intensive writing workshop which I thought I had loved, and oddly I have not written anything other than social media posts since then.  I found the weekend both inspiring and traumatic, and was awed by the quality of the writing, or maybe I was completely intimidated by it.  I was definitely way out of my comfort zone and recently I have found myself being in a space where I am questioning my personal and professional “why”.

Since my return to South Africa in early 2014 I have been pretty clear on what I was trying to achieve and it really feels like a lot of my goals are coming to fruition.  And that has left me with an odd emptiness.  I don’t feel like I am lost, but I am also not really sure where I am going at the moment.  It’s like I am walking along an unfamiliar beach, with the coastline on my right and the landscape on my left.  As long as I keep walking I will eventually end up somewhere, and I feel a serenity that I am not going to be walking in circles. This “vision” is extremely vivid for me at the moment and I’m taking this to mean that I am on the right path and I feel confident that I am going in the direction that my work to this stage is pointing me. I am just not overly sure on what I am hoping to find when I reach some sort of settlement.

I’m really not used to feeling like this.  The serenity is oddly unsettling, but I can still become anxious over my day-to-day professional responsibilities.  Managing a substance abuse treatment clinic is all about learning to balance the crisis, chaos and conflict that our clients bring into the environment on a daily, even hourly, basis.  Yet, I have become empowered in that space to understand that it is not my dysfunction and have started to become somewhat detached.  I do not mean that I am aloof or lack empathy, quite the opposite, but I am able to hold the space in a way that doesn’t detract from my well-being and peace.   Most of the time anyway…  There are moments when I can get quite overwhelmed and have to go back into certain relationships and own my behaviour, but that’s all part of growth as I see it.

Of course this “lull” could just be me in the eye of my (life) storm…that strange quietness that you feel when the wind suddenly dies down and there’s an eerie stillness on the streets.  Or perhaps it’s the dawn after the storm when everything is coming back to life after being beaten and bruised by the weather.  Maybe I am just connecting more with the earth through these thoughts and actually living in a more grounded, present way? It always seems easier to be the coach and assisting someone else through their process than trying to figure it out for myself.  I guess the personal work has to become embodied and unconscious at some point in our development…

I think that just sitting here and writing, the thoughts are becoming a little clearer around where I am at in my life.  I’m reflecting back to my reason for not writing and I know that ego stands arrogantly at the root of that.  Feeling “less than” or “not as good as” others who are prepared to be vulnerable and put their truth into the world.  I am reading the final chapter of “Dare to Lead” by Brene Brown at the moment, and grappling with what my two (you’re only supposed to choose two) core values are.  Picking 10 or 15 would be easy, but when narrowing it down to two, I am challenged to think about which of those I can easily identify as values are in fact my core values.   The ones that I can use to check myself in life.  And I believe that authenticity is one, and I want courage to be the other one.  Yet, when I fall prey to my inner critic around something like the writing (or lack thereof), I can hardly own up to living into my value of courage.

Maybe this blog post is about me being courageous about it and owning what I have been avoiding. I don’t think it’s only about ut the writing to be honest. I guess it’s about showing up in parts of my life that I might have been avoiding recently.  It’s about taking some time to understand myself in this new phase and reconnect with my why, from a place of self-love and -compassion.  So perhaps I am really living into my values of authenticity and courage by being able to see where I have not been very courageous recently and identifying where my egoic, inner critic is still holding court.

What I have learned in my personal recovery process is that being well is relative to the recovery capital that we build.  And at the moment I am having to work around my spirituality which I see as my connection to myself and the world around me.   This place I find myself is not one where I am driven by fear or anxiety, but rather a real curiosity as to where I am at the moment.  I know the feeling of sand between my toes, the salty taste of the coastal breeze and the reassuring rhythm of the rolling surf, I’m just not sure which beach I am walking along.  For the time being I am going the keep going and enjoy the warm touch of the sun.  I have faith that I will get to where I am supposed to be if I stay open to the experience and what I am discovering within myself.

 

 

Braving the Wilderness…

Braving the Widlerness…I have just about finished listening to Brené Brown’s new book, “Braving the Wilderness“, and it has resonated so strongly with me from the very first chapter. Listening to her talk about courage, vulnerability and authenticity never tires for me, as she talks to parts of me that I thought were mine alone. The way she covers topics like boundaries, and how to love generously without judgement, inspire me to continue contributing wholeheartedly in the work that I do.

#authenticme #bethechange2018 #livecourageously #noexcuses #sobersomething

Be the Change Coaching

26173302_1927914530556980_1642093532013202156_oI have just about finished listening to Brené Brown’s new book, “Braving the Wilderness“, and it has resonated so strongly with me from the very first chapter.  Listening to her talk about courage, vulnerability and authenticity never tires for me, as she talks to parts of me that I thought were mine alone.  The way she covers topics like boundaries, and how to love generously without judgement, inspire me to continue contributing wholeheartedly in the work that I do.

What it reminded me of is that it doesn’t matter if sometimes the lesson goes unlearned by the people in our lives, and that the most important learning is the one that we receive.  I have oftentimes felt so alone in the world, wondering if it was only me who thought I was being misunderstood, feeling too much and questioning the status quo, but listening to this…

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On Particularly Rough Days…

On Particularly Rough Days…

I am actively working on myself…and have been for some time because what I know to be true is that there is no end point to the work that I am doing. No final destination or goal that can be achieved where I get to sit back and say that I have accomplished what I set out to do in my personal work. The truth is that the more work we do, the more I realise there is to be done. Okay, maybe calling it work makes it’s sound like a required tedium. I love the process of getting to focus and experiment on myself – even when it’s difficult.

#authenticme #bethechange2018 #sobersomething #livecourageously #noexcuses

Be the Change Coaching

I am  actively working on myself…and have been for some time because what I know to be true is that there is no end point to the work that I am doing.  No final destination or goal that can be achieved where I get to sit back and say that I have accomplished what I set out to do in my personal work.  The truth is that the more work we do, the more I realise there is to be done.  Okay, maybe calling it work makes it’s sound like a required tedium.  I love the process of getting to focus and experiment on myself – even when it’s difficult.

This afternoon I was having a quiet, pensive conversation with a friend of mine who is a true inspiration to me and has been an essential part of my spiritual, emotional and mental growth over the years.  The conversation was…

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The five most important lessons I have learned…from my food addiction.

0 (1)Looking at myself in the mirror or glancing down at my legs I hardly recognise myself at times, which is a weird experience.  Sometimes when I look at my jeans I wonder how I am ever going to get into that size 12 rather than the former size 16/18 I was wearing this time last year.  And even the 12s are getting a little big!?

Sometimes when I browse through the clothes stores (no shopping at the moment) I will look at a dress or outfit and wonder if they’ll have it in my size or if I’ll fit into it…and then remember that my body has shed almost sixty 500g blocks of butter in the past year, and of course I will!  Shopping has always been a horror experience for me, taking a range of clothes to the change room only to discover that even the size 18 is a little small in some part.  Avoiding full eye contact with my reflection because I was embarrassed by my own self…thinking that I was lazy and useless to not have been able to stick to yet another diet plan and lose the weight that had crept on over the previous 12 months or so.

One of my biggest realisations over the course of my process has been that a big part of my inability to successfully complete a programme comprised of a couple of elements:

  1. The diet was restrictive and unsustainable, eliminating whole food groups which I love (insert carbs here).
  2. The expectations I placed on myself about the results I was going to achieve and the time frame I was going to achieve them in were completely unrealistic.
  3. The mindset I had around nutrition and exercise where fixed, which resulted in seeing every little slip, scale gain and  plateau as a failure and a chance to give up.
  4.  I did not know how to create accountability around my process, because if I couldn’t get it “right” that must mean I was lazy and incapable.
  5. I just didn’t love myself enough to see it through to the end!

Nothing earth shattering there! And what a load of complete and utter BS!  I have come from the school of dieting that is all about getting on a diet and sticking to a diet until you have achieved the required results.  No erring!  No mistakes!  No excuses!  If you are following the plan/programme, sticking to the instructions and eating the food you are supposed to you WILL LOSE WEIGHT.  So if I was doing all that and wasn’t getting the required outcomes then I  must have been doing something wrong.

Often after a great start of weight loss, I would quickly plateau in my scale losses.  I would become disheartened and frustrated that nothing was changing, and when I would ask the programme leader, dietitian, nurse or facilitator I was working with what was going on they’d always answer with a raised eyebrow and something about “Sticking to the programme!”  These comments and attitudes would leave me feeling uncertain and then I would start to question myself…my will power…my inability to do it right…my frustration at feeling deprived and unhappy…and sure as anything I would  be throwing in the towel and back to my old ways!

My old ways included self-deprecation for being so useless, criticising myself for not being focused and motivated enough, considering myself a loser because I just couldn’t see anything through.  And back I’d go to eating for all the wrong reasons.  The problem with any sort of dysfunctional eating behaviour, is that abstinence is not an option!  Unlike substance abuse, we can’t simply give up eating.  So, I would abuse food in the same way that I abused alcohol.

Depriving myself of anything nourishing or healthy when it came to what I put in my body.  Hiding my eating habits from my family and friends, which included chronic binges that left me feeling sick, guilty and ashamed (not unlike the way I would abuse alcohol in my twenties and early thirties).  The Friday evening shopping ritual was like a visit to the bottle store, piling my trolley with the most highly palatable food I could find and the I’d isolate over the weekends and eat, to the point of physical sickness.  I wasn’t bulimic because it didn’t happen every weekend, and like with drinking I could go for days without being dysfunctional.  But then the urge would strike!

This usually happened when I had nothing planned for the weekend, and I was feeling lonely or excluded, I had not been taking care of my stress, or I was just feeling I needed a reward for a long, hard week.  I’d get home and unpack all the food onto my kitchen counter and plan how I was going to eat it.   How I would have a little of this and one of those, maybe a small bowl of ice cream and just a few of the potato chips.  And it would start of well enough, just like the first couple of drinks in the years gone by.  But then something would happen and my brain would take over, and I would be lost in a hopeless cycle.  I would tell myself that I was only going to have one more brownie and leave the rest for tomorrow, only to end up eating the whole pack and then feeling immensely weak and out of control.  And so it would go until the food was finished or it was all in the bottom of the toilet.

This pattern of eating really got intense over the last few years leading up to when I started to identify that I was actually dealing with a cross-addiction in my life.  As a coach working in the field of addiction recovery, it was an extremely difficult realisation to own that I was abusing food in the same way I had abused alcohol years previously.  I was no longer eating for enjoyment, nourishment or reward, I was eating to punish myself, to hide away and to release negative emotions.  The similarities were difficult to ignore and the consequences were just as negative.  Feelings of self-loathing, isolation, emotions ranging from helplessness to rage, guilt, shame and a tattered self-esteem.

Ever move I made I was conscious of how I hated my body.  I was unable to walk into a room without feeling like everyone was judging me for being fat and lazy, because I was unable to control myself and stick to a diet, lose some weight and get myself into a gym.  Every week I promised myself that I was going to make changes, only to end up slipping off to the kitchen to eat slices of cheese behind the half-closed fridge door!  Not that there was anyone to see me doing it.  It all felt so dark and secretive, so damaging and yet even with a set of tools and practices, I felt powerless to do anything about it.

LEIGH 3 monthsThe challenge with certain addictions though is that the only option is moderation management.  Learning a way of reducing the harm that I was doing to my body, mind and soul through this destructive behaviour, was going to be my only way out of it.  Learning a new set of habits, skills and behaviours that were supportive of change; long-term, sustainable change.  And then I reached out…and like with any recovery that was the beginning of finding my way forward.  I didn’t get the right support for me off the bat, but I did start to make changes.  But what I did get right is that I started to get honest!  I stopped talking about the food and I started addressing my intentions and underlying motivations around the way I used food.  Making changes to my narrative was an essential part of the process, and learning to listen to the quiet, gentle inner voice rather than the angry, destructive critical one became a turning point for me.

In September 2016 I had a real breakthrough with my personal coach when I started to explore how I spoke to myself, and it was there that the real change started to happen.  I wrote about this in my blog post “How Do You Speak to Yourself?” and that was the day that I realised that the only way I was going to move forward was to do something new and different.  Something that I hadn’t tried before…  And so began my real recovery into finding and loving myself.

And after 12 months what I have learned is this:

  1. An eating plan can be as inclusive and exciting as I choose it to be, with all the food groups, and yet healthy and sustainable.  Thank you Flexible Dieting!!
  2. The expectations I place on myself are controlled by me, and need to be realistic, achievable and self-loving; only then can I expect to achieve them.
  3. That if I embrace a growth mindset in my life, then everything becomes a learning and an opportunity for growth and development, and there is no beginning or end just the process I chose to follow.
  4. I have created accountability and support through allowing myself to be vulnerable and reach out, because there is no right or wrong, just finding a way that works for me.
  5. And my biggest learning has been that I am deserving of the love and attention that I give to myself.  That the choices I make are ones that nourish and fulfill my bod, mind and soul, and I am worthy of making those choices and loving myself!

My name is Leigh-Anne and I am a recovering food addict and a flexible dieting convert…

Want a chocolate? Have a chocolate!

7d84351a5a087979f963de66e36d18fe.jpgAnd who would be surprised if I said that the biggest challenge in my recovery recently has not been relationships (although there have been a few major changes there), work (also a stressful, chaotic space at the moment), or my personal growth and development (the Enneagram work I am doing has been enormously grounding), but rather my health & fitness…AGAIN!

I was looking back through my posts and in “It’s not the substance that’s the problem…” I talk on this very issue with such hope and optimism.  At the time I was on a very extreme medically-assisted diet, and I was doing great!  I was on the pink cloud of weight loss and completely unconcerned about how I was going to sustain the drastic, low-calorie approach with daily supplements and self-administered injections…I really had no intention of thinking it through as the kilos dropped off.  Which is not unlike the same phase that many of my clients go through in early recovery.  This is great!  I feel great!  Everything’s great!  BANG!!! I just ran into a wall.  And surprise, surprise that is exactly what happened to me.

I had a bad financial run at work, the injections, weekly consultations and supplements became too expensive, I was battling with the 650 calories a day and extreme hunger and I just became plain miserable.  On top of that I was “not allowed” to exercise and I’ve never needed much encouragement to avoid the gym.  Needless to say I relapsed into old behaviours, and about 14 months later I had regained the 15 kilograms I had lost and a couple extra.  So there I was back in the same place, feeling guilt and shame, battered self-worth and considering myself a complete failure, with a cupboard full of clothes that didn’t fit properly.

And so began the process all over again…  I don’t understand the science of nutrition or what’s really going on with my metabolism, so I once again I deferred to an expert.  Motivated, willing and more than a little desperate I booked a series of appointments with a dietician.  I mean, after all, I have been on Weigh-Less, Atkins, Scarsdale, low-fat, high-protein, no-this and no-that diets, with more than a few medical diets, and a period of starvation, so I thought I’d try something new.   But at the end of the day it’s all exactly the same…a completely unsustainable approach to eating that fills my kitchen and bathroom with another set of ingredients, most of which I am not particularly enamoured by, and a stack of supplements, vitamins and concoctions that  don’t come cheap.  And after weeks of minimal weight loss, I am left feeling despondent and frustrated, with the implied narrative that if I had more willpower and discipline, I would be doing much better, “But don’t worry just try harder this week!” Try harder than what?

And of course, the determination that was there in the beginning starts to rapidly wain and I still cannot fit into my clothes (or afford to buy new ones).

By December 2016 I was so fed up with empty promises and weight-loss failures, I was more than ready to throw in the towel completely and work my way towards a size 20.  But then something amazing happened…  A client that I had  been working with offered to help me, by looking at everything food, nutrition, diet and exercise from a completely new perspective.  And instead of telling me what to do or how to do it, he simply explained that there was another way!  And then he started to work with me in an open, honest accountability partnership.  With the use of “My Fitness Pal“, weight and measurement tracking and certain targets around nutrition, we began the process.  And instead of being prescriptive and authoritative he began coaching  me around the emotional, physical and mental aspects of healthy diet and exercise.  The diet is a calorie-controlled diet, but with the use of technology the process has become remarkably simple and sustainable.

Want a chocolate?  Have a chocolate!  Just remember that it means you might have to eat smaller quantities of your other food during the day.  So it’s about sometimes being able to have that little treat, without feeling guilty about “cheating”, while at the same time starting to develop a really healthy mental and emotional relationship with food.  Instead of seeing food as good or bad, it’s simply food, with a certain amount of calories, carbs, protein & fats.  Either I have the available calories to eat it or I don’t.  It’s been a liberating few months, coupled with almost daily exercise as I am coached and educated around nutrition and exercise.  Not once have I been sent to the treadmill for an exhausting 45″ power walk, but have had the opportunity to do short(ish) workouts using weights and machines.

The results have been amazing as the centimeters have started to fall off, my clothes have been brought out of the “skinny clothes” cupboard, and I have a completely different sense of self.  I feel more intentional, self-assured and grounded as my body awareness deepens.  I am not constantly obsessed by what I can’t eat and am now working with myself from a space of compassion and self-love.

And as I go through the process, once again I see how without the right environment & resources, it’s really challenging to get well and stay well.  The right  kind of support system plays an essential role in recovery and wellness, because getting healthy is one things, staying healthy is something else entirely.  Education and understanding are proving to be invaluable tools for me, rather than simply being handed a formula and told to stick to it.  Being given a degree of flexibility and not being told to give up my daily cappuccino has been revolutionary.  There’s balance and accountability, and I am starting to see exactly how essential these are to me in most areas of my life.

So, instead of feeling stressed and deprived, I feel grounded and supported.  Rather than feeling judged and criticised I am feeling accountable and responsible.  And unlike all the other times I have felt self-loathing and shame about previous failures, I know feel understood and personally empowered.  I have been given the space to get honest about my relationship with myself around food, body image, health and fitness and it’s been a game changer.  Knowing the power of the coaching model it’s actually not that surprising really, but as with anything else that we want to change, it starts with an honest conversation and a willingness to make the necessary changes to move forward in life.  And for that I am extremely grateful to Alex.

For more information about Alex Campbell Transformation, email alexcampbelltransformation@gmail.com or visit Alex’s Facebook page.

 

ACT Collage

How do you speak to yourself…?

quiet-your-mindIf I spoke to the people in my life the way the voice in my head talks to me I would surely be friendless! It came as a real “aha” moment this morning while working with my personal coach, that I am just downright mean to myself.  I suddenly began to understand why it is that I am unable to achieve certain seemingly simple things in my life… I fail to action so that the nasty little voice in me can shame and guilt me for NOT achieving something as “easy” as going to the gym after a 12-hour working day.  It’s the same voice that chatters away to me when I am unable to resist the chocolate cake, but is oh so quiet when I do succeed in a myriad of other things during the day or the week.  It sits silently by when I receive praise, waiting to pounce at me with some derogatory afterthought as to how I could have done better.

It’s not a kind and loving voice, it’s harsh and critical, echoing failures, but never sharing triumph.  I thought about where it was born while I was working through my realisation this morning, and came to the conclusion that I may never know, but it is time to do something about it.  The most humbling part of the experience was not that the voice was there, but that I’d recognised it so often in my coaching clients, yet failed to hear it for what it was in me…Limiting in its beliefs, stagnant in its mindset and cruel in its choice of language.

It’s the part of me that never truly celebrates all the wonderful things I have achieved, but rather looks for the cracks.  It slides through my mind like volcanic lava, burning the positive thoughts to ashes and leaving nothing but destructive ideas and feelings in its path.  It’s just always been there…the never good enough in me.  It doesn’t speak up when I am feeling grounded and empowered, but waits for a moment of uncertainty when it can lash out with its vicious self-deprecations and taunts.  So although there is a certain curiosity as to where it came from, I am choosing to focus on “retraining” my voice.  Sending it out into the world of gratitudes, teaching it to be softer, kinder and more self-loving.

Because the sudden and profound awareness that it exists and the nastiness of its existence has been a dramatic shift for me today.  I suddenly feel a little more deserving of personally affirming myself.  Because after compliments do come my way, the voice shrieks…and it’s not a display of humility but an inability to be able to practice humility.  There are plenty of areas of life that I have succeeded.  The mere fact that I have been in recovery for this long surely deserves to be celebrated.  My few, but wonderful friends speak of many years of love and connection and deserve to be heard.  Living courageously is where I want to be moving forward, my own voice my biggest fan.  The one that is as fiercely loving and compassionate with me as I am with others…

I feel that through this deepened understanding of self today I have truly stepped into a new dimension of myself and it’s a place I want to slowly explore.  Building on the tools and resources learned to this point, shaping the future of my life with a gentler set of words and ideas.  Rather than the river of fire that burns and destroys, I want the recesses of my mind and soul to be a gently running stream of mindfulness and conscious awareness.  Ever present in my own set of positive beliefs and candid encouragement, I suddenly understand the real work that lies ahead of me and I feel blessed, grateful and truly grounded.  Tonight the soft whispers that drift through my mind are light and ethereal, like mischievous nymphs seeking adventure, and their gentle laughter soothes my soul.  Tonight I feel as though I have started to find my way in the world, with nothing but the truth of who I really am to guide me, and I feel at peace.

Til next time,

Sober Something