A former client asked me the other day how I managed to do book readings without being thrown back into trauma. “Oh no,” I answered, “I relive the scenes I read every time.”
“But,” I continued, “It’s okay, and it’s all worth it. I think I’m reaching people and making a difference (my wonderful client assured me that I certainly was making a huge difference), and it’s kicked me even deeper into the dregs of the pain I shoved down inside me and the ‘crazy’ notions I still haven’t processed and let go of. And that’s hard, but way good.”
That is my truth. In the past few months or so I have discovered that some pretty gnarly, harming, ugly beliefs still exist in my brain and psyche. Still exist and can still overtake me. The guilt and shame I feel for leaving the church and abandoning the messiah (instead of the pride and joy I can and ‘should’ feel). The fear of letting the messiah down (which I clearly did, since he banished me from his child). And more…
I will admit that it’s hard – way hard – that these beliefs are still in and of me. And I will admit that I’m learning to let even that be okay. Of course they’re there I guess. I learned them deeply. They most likely saved me in many ways. And moving past them may be liberating, but it can also be terrifying.
But I am.
I am processing these emotions and remembering/realizing that they were given to me. Forced on me by an abusive, mind-controlling cult. Of course they’re there.
As I work through to finally free myself, or to at least free myself more, my amazing therapist reminds me that I’m not a bottomless pit of despair and that I’m most likely getting quite near the bottom – which is why I’m in such muck. And that I don’t have to clear it all out now…or ever.
Then she reminds me to look up at the sky. (I’m, again, with my older child in Minneapolis, and my virtual therapy sessions are in a local park. My therapist can see the sky above me in our video sessions.) “Look at the beauty of the sky,” she says. “The wonder, spaciousness, freedom, and perfection of the sky. The boundless opportunities and possibilities.”
I look up and smile, and I feel love and hope surge inside my heart.
Our pits of despair are not bottomless. They may be even muckier and murkier near the bottom. But they’re not bottomless, and we don’t have to (ever) get all the way to the bottom.
There are endless opportunities and limitless possibilities. There is healing. There is hope. As close – and as noticeable – as the sky above me.
There is love and beauty there for the noticing and taking. There is always hope.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, and please share this post with others if it resonates with you!
Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash
Essence of Growth
Let us never fear needed change. Certainly we have to discriminate between changes for worse and changes for better. But once a need becomes clearly apparent in an individual, in a group, or in A.A. as a whole, it has long since been found out that we cannot stand still and look the other way.
The essence of all growth is a willingness to change for the better and then an unremitting willingness to shoulder whatever responsibility this entails.
~ GRAPEVINE, JULY 1965 ~
© 1967 by Alcoholics Anonymous ® World Services, Inc
Yes. Thank you Leslie. Yes. xoxo