Reflections

CHECK-IN WITH MY HEART - Daily Practice

Over the last 12 years, I’ve learned that I must have a daily practice to check-in with my heart, do a self-examination, and work on my spiritual growth. All of us could benefit from this. No one is exempt from the possibility of going back to old ways.

We need to look at four areas of our lives on a regular basis.

  • Check-in with your body. Ask yourself, “What is my body telling me?” Your body is a barometer of what’s happening inside of you. For example, if you have tense muscles, you probably have some stress. If you’re tired, hungry, or stressed out, those can be clues that your life has gotten out of whack and you may be headed for problems.

  • Check-in with your emotions. Make sure you’re allowing your real feelings to surface instead of pushing them down. If you try to put a cap on your emotions, the pressure will build up and you’re bound to explode. Check in using your heart by asking yourself the following questions:
    H: Am I hurting?
    E: Am I exhausted?
    A: Am I angry?

    R: Do I resent anybody?
    T: Am I tense?

  • Check-in on your relationships. Ask yourself if you’re at peace with the people in your life (current and past relationships). You may be re-living a hurt from years ago that will eventually torpedo your new way of living and thinking (recovery).

  • Check-in on your spiritual life. Are you relying on God on a moment-by-moment basis? Remember, the quickest route to a fall is to begin thinking you can handle things on your own.

Go through this process frequently. This could be a new daily practice for you.

At any time of the day, when you begin to feel the pressures build up, go through the four areas above and see if anything stands out. Then, at the end of the day, build into your life a time to acknowledge your failures and celebrate your successes. And then look more deeply and mindfully at your daily life to make sure everything is in order. If not, time to become rigorously honest with yourself and get to work. That is, if you want to think and life a different way.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in peace and serenity by living by a practice?

A practice to dig deep and get honest with yourself. I encourage those who do not have a daily practice, to create one and follow it during this spring season. Those that do have a daily practice, I challenge yourself to dig deeper to bring about more change and transformation.

The Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton

Recently I found myself sitting in the Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA.

For those that don’t know me, I love coffee, the ocean, sun, sand, fashion and movie stars! When I was young my baby sitter was often, Good Morning America, Matinee Movies, Soap Operas and Entertainment Tonight.  This hotel was filled with Starlite Movie Star energy of Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and the like.  It was spectacular and I was so excited!

It was Friday night and I was attending a conference.  I arrived early, found a row with a good view of the podium and settled into an aisle seat.  As I sat in the empty room, I followed my breath as over 500 women spilled into the cool, quiet room raising the temperature and volume.  I knew I was about to hear something I could bring to my clients, but I didn’t expect it to touch my heart as it has.

The speaker, Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild, Tiny Beautiful Things and Brave Enough to name a few, was introduced and walked on to the stage.  All these titles I own and purposefully did not read, I had no knowledge of her nor an expectation of the talk.  I was excited to meet her.

Cheryl started to share her story and within ten minutes the tears were streaming my face.  Cheryl’s share of her own recovery of the death of her mother and drug use touched me deeply and broke open my heartbroken heart.  The loud voice in my head screamed, “its been over 40 years since mom died, why is my heart breaking again?”  Today I understand why the tears streamed and why my pain was felt so deeply.  Deep love creates deep sorrow and at times I will experience this and miss her like I lost her yesterday.  I needed to write and share.

As Cheryl shared about her relationship with her mom, she asked four questions,

“How is my recovery intertwined in my Mom’s story?” (as I remember) 

“What was it like for me?” 

“How did it feel being trapped in a cycle?”

“What did it take to escape?”

I’ve been pondering and journaling about these questions for more than a week.  Struggling to revisit The Story.   Wanting to revisit the script of The Story.    Praying for the strength, words, and vulnerability to take the risk to write and share.  My intention is understand my feelings, be authentic and to move just one person the way I was moved.  Its time to re-write my story from this perspective.  That cold January night my mom died completely altered my life.  I had lived many years ruining myself because of my pain and my broken heart.  Today I choose to live my life living out every dream to honor her.  On my 39th birthday, I thought I’ve out lived her and today I think she’ll never live to half a century as I have.  I will carry this pain and loneliness and I’ve accepted to recover with intention about becoming the woman I’m intended to be.  The woman that she would be honored to have as a daughter.

 

How My Recovery is Intertwined in my Mom’s Story (as I remember) -

Mom was a loving, funny, resilient, and fearless woman.  She had many other amazing qualities, but these stand out.  During my last 11 years of recovery, these characteristics are helping me change and transform.   

Love for myself and those around me.  Unconditional God-like Love!  That love that has no judgement, just acceptance.

Humor, as my Handsome Husband Hal and I have shared several times this year “let’s throw our heads back in laughter” as we walk in our beloved Calgary and with fur baby Ollie.  Deciding not to take life so seriously, but more importantly, ourselves.

Resilience, keep putting one foot in front of the other, do the next right thing, even when I don’t feel like it.  Even when my heart was breaking.  Even when my dreams and expectations had been shattered.  Why, because I had to survive, just like that cold January night she died.  When Hal and I suffered our sixth miscarriage, I had to surrender, let go of the expectation I’d have our children.  The good (I can say that now) was in the extreme pain of our fifth miscarriage, it brought me to my last drunken alcoholic bottom.  I witnessed my Mom’s loss of children and it almost killed her as my losses almost killed me. 

Fearlessness, I say “fear, you can come along, but you can’t drive anymore.  Your seat is in the back of the car, stay there and be quiet.”  As a child I saw moments my Mom was fearless and even free to be herself.

“What was it like for me?”  and “How did it feel being trapped in a cycle?”

Looking back with a healthy perspective, she was trapped by her own pain, her own broken heart and possibly in a cycle of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.  I saw alcohol become a coping tool for her that kept her in isolation and shame.  Ironically, I did the very same thing when I couldn’t cope, turned to alcohol to numb.  Feeling shame, not enough, alone and trapped in all that heart ache and pain just as she was.

“What did it take to escape?”

A spring morning in 2007, Hal looked at me with tear filled eyes and said, “I don’t care what you do, I don’t care what happens to you, I won’t watch you do this any more, I’m done and I’m out.”

Hal’s emotional bottom was not the first, but it was the last.  I had a moment of clarity and I heard Hal with my heart.  That day was the beginning of the journey to escape the grips of my alcoholism.  To escape my isolation, my shame.  This was my deepest bottom that allowed me to touch the Power that resides deep within me.  Is was scary to risk being this vulnerable, but the truth was, I had so much relief.  In the relief, was fear but is was in the back seat and this Power had the stirring wheel.

So, when the conversation in your head says you're not enough, when the shame is unbearable and you’re full of fear, how can you remind yourself to…

Be Love

Be Humorous

Be Resilient

Be Fearless

Amy Winehouse

Finally saw the Amy Winehouse movie.  I knew her story would stay with me, it stayed with me when I read the biography and now seeing the documentary, I just knew I had to write and share.

As a person in recovery and a Recovery Addictions Life Coach, it was very obvious to me that Amy never had true support. Support that would do and say the hard things for her. Say those things from their heart that would have impacted her life.

The Celebration

What an amazing weekend full of all kinds of beautiful people.

People who were full of surprises!

People who have overcome!

People who put service first!

People who really truly see others!

People who honor others!

People celebrating their voices!

This weekend I saw firsthand how God uses people to give to other people.

It truly warms my heart and fills my eyes with tears as I watch others honor one another.

When people see and honor someone else on their insides, the heart warms and their light shines.

This week, I will really 'see' people and 'honor' them.  Would you join me?

Graduation

After many months, eleven to be exact, graduation from Recovery Addiction Coaching is upon me! Even though long, stressful, assignments, book reports, homework and a final project the journey has been amazing. I've learned so much about people, coaching, techniques, tools, core competencies, various addictions and myself. Truly have loved every minute of this training!

Below is a snippet of my final project -

My Story

My Story

Where am I?  The lights are so bright.  The bed is so hard.  Who are these strangers having a very loud and apparently humorous conversation over me?  I open and close my eyes several times trying to clear my vision, but to no avail.

I'm finally told by an EMS worker that I'm in the Rockyview Hospital and was brought in by ambulance.  Apparently, the police found me sitting in my car in the parking lot of a public park.