A Cheshire like grin pulls the corners of my mouth as I arch and stretch, first opening my eyes to the new day. I lay silent in contemplation for a while, remembering, enjoying, pondering and dreaming. I let my mind play with itself, and entertain any thoughts that float by. They are pure and playful like children. I am flooded with gratitude and filled with hope. This is where happy lives.
The intoxicating smell of dark, freshly brewed coffee fills my senses like a magic elixir. It summons my body out from the covers, its magnetism like the beckoning of a lover. Sleepy eyed, I take the over-sized blue and green striped mug from the cabinet. The handle, soft and rounded in my grip, is as familiar as the hand of an old, dear friend.
The absentminded ritual begins. Delicately tear the two little yellow paper packets across the top, tapping my finger as I watch the sweetness softly fall into the bottom of the mug. Expertly pouring the perfect splash of cream. The weight of the pot tilts my wrist, effortlessly pouring the coffee as I watch, transfixed, the cream swirl rich mahogany into beautiful caramel. Sleepily, I move the small, silver spoon in circles, letting it tap the sides like a muffled cowbell. Three taps on the edge.
I hold the mug in both hands and take a moment to let it’s warmth spread through my palms. I bring the mug closer to my mouth and inhale its deep beauty. My lips reacquaint themselves with comforting chip on the rim as I let the flavor consume me. The smile is back, and my companion stays with me all morning as I settle in to write.
Fresh morning thoughts pour out of me unscripted. I let them flow freely and my fingers are extensions of thought, conduits to the current, struggling to keep up pace with the train.
When I let go of my judgment, I realize that everything is exactly the way it is supposed to be.
It’s true that you never know what’s coming around the next corner. Pain, suffering, disillusionment and sadness were on my forefront for some time. I began to heal, to grow, I planted my own garden and made myself whole. The breakdown has become a breakthrough, and a new happiness and freedom is seeping through the cracks, and kicking down the walls.
It’s about healing, and growing. This is one of my very favorite pieces, written by Veronica A. Shoffstall in 1971;
“After awhile you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul, and you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning, and company doesn’t mean security. And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises.
And you accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes open with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans, and futures have a way of falling down mid-flight.
After awhile you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much so you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone else to bring you flowers and you learn that you really can endure…that you really do have worth and you learn and learn…with every goodbye you learn.”
Pinch me. Somebody, I forgot what it feels like to feel this good. As I’ve peeled away the layers of my onion I have come to discover a new version of myself, and by shedding those layers, I have in turn have allowed for some pretty amazing people to enter my life. There’s an old Buddhist saying, “when the student is ready, the teacher appears.”
I’ve spent the last 40 years swimming upstream against the current, I have finally begun to roll over and float. My insane desire to control outcomes has softened, allowing for an openness and willingness to live in the now, to recognize and appreciate the gifts of life as they are given to me. I realize that life will always have its share of pain, hardships and suffering, but those experiences are presented to me in order to increase my level of understanding, and ultimately joy. Those struggles will present themselves over and over, until I learn the lessons that they are there to teach. We only understand happiness by having experienced pain. One cannot exist without the other. These have become tremendous growth opportunities. On the other side of pain is pleasure, on the other side of sorrow is happiness. We simply have to walk through these emotions head on to come out the other side with newfound strength, understanding and appreciation. Life is mostly what we think of it anyway.
Good things are happening, it’s been a very long time, but I’m learning to trust that, too. I try to put away my cynicism and skepticism and just let the purity of the moments sweep me up and envelop me. I let myself be me. Me, with my flaws and my beauty intertwined. I recognize my strengths and weaknesses, hopes and fears, and I embrace them. My armor is off, I am vulnerable and open and receptive. By letting people in, or should I say, knowing myself enough to be able to let people in, there is a new depth, dimension and intensity to my connections, mentally, physically and emotionally. I am true to myself, not my ego’s version of who it thinks I should or shouldn’t be. Quite simply, I am finding myself, I am growing up, and I am able to feel settled and comfortable in my own skin.
Life is a series of precious, unique moments and emotions all woven together in a thick and fluid ribbon. This design is not for me to understand, it is not for me to direct, it is not for me to control. It is for me to ride. It is for me to learn, to suffer, to endure and to love without limits. With every decision, every tear, every laugh, every loss, every love, every touch and every breath more is revealed, and I live fully alive, as the movements and rhythms carry me around the next corner.
You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
Categories: Addiction, Recovery & Deep Thoughts