Okay y’all. Today is important. Well, every day is important, but last night I had a pretty gnarly experience that I want to share with you. One of those moments where I sat back in awe of the beauty of the greater plan. I was so gracefully put back in my place, and I remembered once again that the universe knows what its doing, and I do not. I have a bit of a backdrop that I need to paint for you first, so bear with me. But today I’m gonna talk about Spirit, depression, guidance, and how a little bit of footwork can go a long way.
Due to the enormous following I have gathered (ha-ha) we are going to use aliases in this story. Two people. Let’s call them Bert & Ernie. They are happily gay and married. Both have mental health issues. Both are close to me. Ernie and I haven’t spoken to in almost six months because of an altercation between us. I had set a boundary that I did not want to talk to this person until he apologized, or at least owned up to the motives behind what he did. So, naturally, I have not heard a word from him. Bert and I keep in contact on a regular basis, and he knows that I set a boundary with Ernie. Yet Bert still tries to help us reconcile, despite my many requests to leave it alone. (This has a point, I promise.)
I also have been feeling pretty mucked up lately. I’m not sure why… I think it could have something to do with the fact that I started this blog. My old sick brain wanted to keep me stuck. I could write a book about that whole concept right there… about how there’s this little tiny part of my brain that wants to doom me to failure, over and over again. There always seems to be this period of horrible self deprecation every time I’m about to embark on a new journey of some sort. (It’s so interesting to me that any part of me wants me to fail.. like, hey, we’re all in this together don’t we want to be safe and successful?) Even now, after all the work I’ve done, its hard not to listen to it. It’s hard for me to step back and realize that “Hey, this isn’t you, Em. Just stick it out and it’ll fade.” No, this particular bout lasted about a week. And each day, it got worse. I kept doubting myself and my words and thoughts kept getting harsher and harsher. By yesterday, I couldn’t even look at Blake when I came home from work. My inner dialogue had gotten so hurtful and shameful. I hadn’t felt like this in a very, very long time. So I knew I had some work to do.
I asked for the house to myself for a few hours so I could work through my stuff, to which Blake happily obliged. He kissed my forehead and off he went. (I got very lucky this way, he understands this stuff better than I do, and knew I needed my space to get this done. He never makes it about him, and that is a gift, I know.) So I started to do an inventory. I haven’t done one of these in FOREVER, so I asked him to write down exactly what the questions were. They are taken directly out of the AA text, but there is zero reason why these questions aren’t applicable to every single person out there. And I highly, highly recommend doing this. Especially on rough days. They are as follows:
- Was I resentful?
- This can be very in-depth. There are charts/columns that help you organize and find your part in each one. Please ask me if you want further instruction.
- Was I selfish?
- Was I dishonest?
- Was I afraid?
- Do I owe and amends (/apology)?
- Is there anything weighing on my mind that I need to communicate?
- Was I kind and loving to all?
- What could I have done better?
Not exactly the stuff I wanted to think about, but it was definitely what I needed to think about. (Pro tip: you’ll find that those two things rarely coexist.) So anyway, I huffed and I puffed and cried my way through it. I took up three pages, and was extremely thorough. You don’t always need to be, sometimes its a quick yes or no, but I knew I needed to process, so away flew my pen. It was hard to do, but you know what? The SECOND I finished and took a breath, I felt ten pounds lighter. I was still a little sad, but those hurtful words inside my head were gone. I didn’t hate myself anymore. I was just about to do my mediation (step 2 of 2 in this process) when my phone started to ring. It was Bert.
I really wasn’t in much of a mood to talk, and strongly considered not answering it, but I knew the universe was pushing me towards something, so I picked up and tried to muster a normal conversation. We started talking about the fires in Thousand Oaks, when he interrupted me to tell me he was putting me on speaker, so Ernie could listen in. This was after multiple attempts to make him understand why the boundary I set was so important to me. And there was this tiny part of me that just wanted to snap. But I was feeling pretty spiritual and I figured this was no accident, so I ventured on. Ernie started weaving his way into conversation, and I just decided to let go. I wasn’t going to harbor that anger anymore. So we chit-chatted for a bit, and they asked me what I was up to. I told them that I just finished an inventory, and they inquired more. I read off the questions while Ernie wrote them down. They asked a ton of questions, and I explained everything to the best of my ability. They actually got EXCITED about doing this themselves! We talked about meditation, how to do it the right way so you don’t feel like you’re losing your mind. We talked about Spirit, alcoholism, depression, the steps, my progress, the blog. We talked about real shit. For almost an hour.
After we hung up, I started my own meditation. And it didn’t take long before I had tears in my eyes. I was so grateful to the Universe for giving me that experience. I kept saying the words thank you, over and over. I got to teach something that I love, to people that I love, who really need the tools. I would have never had that experience if I would’ve done what I wanted to do. What I thought was the right thing. Had I acted out of selfish righteousness, or even continued to talk while still harboring the resentment that I had, I either wouldn’t have gotten honest and vulnerable with them, or anything I DID say would’ve come across as condescending.
Guys, when I tell you that I had done a 180, I really mean it. In two hours, I was a completely different person. TWO HOURS. Now you tell me, would you rather sit down and look at yourself for a little while, if a completely free existence was on the other side, or continue to run and hide knowing there is no end to your misery in sight? The question sounds so basic that it’s stupid when you say it like that. But it is ASTOUNDING the lengths people go to avoid feeling sad. To avoid taking responsibility, or ownership. I’ve been binging Hoarders lately and it is perfect symbolism for this. People literally hide in walls of shit to avoid themselves. People run forever, sometimes their whole lives. I know, because I did it. And partly because I was afraid, and partly because I didn’t know the way out. And let me tell you, the only way out is through. It’s the quickest too.
It took over a year of me living in the light to realize that there is literally nothing on earth more terrifying that what I chose to put myself through. Every fear I have faced has been dwarfed in comparison. And the ONLY reason I have the tools I do today is because I was a junkie and my life literally depended on me finding a better way. So I was forced into a program that I knew nothing about. I would’ve never chosen to do The 12 Steps. It’s rigorous and difficult and ugly to look at yourself. But guess what, those tools are useful for the rest of my life. And you’re (probably) not a junkie, your life (probably) doesn’t depend on it, so what? You get no tools? How is that fair? If you feel like you need some sort of guidance, or spiritual connection, or way to manage your mind.. I want to help show you how. The experience that I had last night totally reaffirmed what I am here to do. I’m here for you.