What You Resist, Do That (Seven Weeks)

I mentioned in my last blog post that I'm pulling a notecard where I categorized my first sobriety journal, in anticipation of three years of sobriety, I'm reflecting on a bit of what I wrote. Yes, I know, breaking the ODAAT rules, but I like how this exercise is forcing me to look back. My past is not where I live nor where I want to put my valuable energy, the shame that brings up throws me right back in fear jail and once again, I am stuck. But I do need to remember how fragile and precious those first days and weeks were, and how I was like a sponge, sopping up every bit of wisdom I could lay my eyes on. The one I pulled today is about resistance.

It says, "Instead of looking what you are willing to do, look at what you are unwilling to do. Look at the resistance. Because if what ever you are doing isn't working, it's time to try something different." When I reached three months of sobriety, I remember very distinctly the extent of my willingness. I felt so different after that short time, I was much more afraid of going back than I was to try something new. That started with reaching out to people I knew that were sober, telling my friends, No, it's not just for tonight, I'm NOT drinking. This was when I started thinking about a 12-step program, and I didn't dive in just yet, but I began to think it could be a possibility. I started asking myself questions like, Well, why not? Is that true? Maybe, perhaps, I could? I took out that very long list of things I'd been adding to for decades, things that I didn't do, couldn't do, wasn't willing to try, Oh-that's-just-not-me and I took a long look at it. I examined every item. I had an inch of willingness and that was all that was needed.

Will it be uncomfortable? 100% of the time. And there is a 100% chance of failure. If you are willing to jump into that ring, only everything on the other side. Don't compare your first attempts at something to someone else's that is way down the road. Instead, let that be something to aspire to. If someone has what you want, set your intention on the path to get there. Name that thing you want and if you feel contempt come up (sounds like: I could never have that, that is just not me, I've never been able to do that before why do I think I could do that now...THAT voice), that is your resistance. And that is your next bread crumb, grab it.


So those words above me there, yeah, written a month ago and sat here unpublished. The same lessons keep showing up, don't they? I could give a million excuses why I couldn't commit to this series, even though the resistance is the obvious one. I've mentioned that working in seasons really flows for me, since I do have several passions that vie for my time. Lately, I have yearned to work with my hands. Writing is such a cerebral activity and when I neglect my hands for too long, I can feel their ache. My biggest lesson (and by virtue, gift) in recovery has been living in the moment. Whatever program you choose, rigid or loose, meetings or mats, I hope it is a program for living because that is all of it, wrapped up in a pretty bow. 

Living, showing up and say Yes has afforded me friends and opportunities that I just didn't have before. Sure, I had friends and opportunities but I always had an agenda, expectations. Now my checklist is much shorter, my first question true to my intention, Will this bring my joy? If there is a check by that question, the rest seems to fall into place.

This brings me joy.

If you live in the Austin area and haven't been to one of my meetups yet, please come! This was a succulent planting party that my friend Jenn was kind enough to host at her beautiful home. My one item list was definitely checked this day. Friends, this is what living in recovery means to me.

If it takes fighting a war for us to meet, it will have been worth it. --Hamilton, the Musical

 

 

JOY

Lately, I've been suffering from a bout of catastrophic thinking. Do you do this? It is a thing and I've only known it to be a thing for few years now when I heard Maria Bamford talking about it on a WTF pod with Marc Maron. I don't know if it's been all of the celebrity deaths this year or just the general suckiness of 2016, but this week I had to drive my kids a couple of hours away to visit family and I'd decided that we would definitely have a wreck, my house would burn down and my cat would get run over. And once the thoughts start, they just cycle over and over until I'm exhausted. I thought for a minute that I was the only one plagued by this, me and Maria Bamford, but when I posed the question in a secret Facebook group, turns out I'm not the special snowflake that I always assume I am. This is something I've always done and since the monkeys are no longer sedated, the intensity has only gotten worse in sobriety.

Simultaneous to the recent feelings of dread, this word has been jumping out to surprise me from every corner. It has passed through my ears from podcasts, shown up in my tarot cards and horoscopes, and has even taken center stage from all of my recent book recommendations. Just as change and death are inevitable, so is paradox, and thank god because this word has given me a way to distract and redirect my thoughts. I decided to make it my word to focus on in the coming year. Much like my chosen word for 2016, EVOLVE, kept me focused had me saying YES to so much that I couldn't help but evolve, I'm determined to continue my quest to find what brings me joy, and do that. I'm determined to find joy in giving and receiving, find joy in community, creativity, in the bigness and the mundane. I realize that joy won't necessarily always be waiting for me in toilet cleaning and dental chairs, but if there is one key that unlocks this whole thing we call existence, it is that our thoughts create our experiences, and those include roadtrips and toilet cleaning.

Today, on January 1, I climbed 1000 feet up a giant granite rock into this big, blue beautiful sky. Even as shit may swirl around us, I will keep filling up my joy cup. Let me know if you need some. 

Enchanted Rock

Enchanted Rock

Who are The Unruffled?

So, who are the Unruffled? We are women (sorry for the slant, guys, but you're welcome as well) who have broken the shackles of whatever was holding us down. What do we want? Well, we want to be happy, right? I know, it can be such an elusive state of being, especially when we are fresh at attempting this 'life on life's terms' gig. What if we defined happiness as simply, a joy we feel when we are working towards our potential. Don't be scared by the word 'potential' either, because I believe potential can simply mean productive and we need activities to encourage that feeling. Do you know what you like to do? Okay, that's why I'm here and we're going to jump right in.

Sewing is my thing, as I've mentioned before. If you don't have a sewing machine or if you have one but it's just too scary of an undertaking right now, this is a great book to start with.

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This book is from the Alabama Chanin Studios, by Natalie Chanin. She has quite a few books and they all include patterns and are designed for hand-stitching cotton jersey. No sewing machine required and you can even recycle old tshirts from your closet.

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This particular pattern is for a corset style top and besides tees, you only need scissors, embroidery thread and an embroidery needle. And coffee maybe.

Natalie says you have to "love your thread". Seriously, what is not to love about that?

Here's a little trick if you are a recovering perfectionist. Make quarter inch slash marks on your thumb with a sharpie to space your stitches. Doesn't that make your little perfectionist heart sing?

This top has eight pieces that you put together like a puzzle. I can't tell you how satisfying this is as it comes together. You must do this.

I wanted to enjoy this as a nightly activity before getting sober, I really did. I'd set out my supplies, make a space on the couch but once the wine was popped, it never happened. Never. Ever. If my potential is making a few cute tops out of my old tshirts, then I must be happy because this activity brings much joy. Simple.