This blog, this space, for the dozen or so years that I have been maintaining it, has been an account of my shifts, my changes, and my growth. And, in those years, I have gone through many changes, shifts, and experienced a lot of growing pains. The parts that have often felt painful to me, or those that were losses I did not expect, or outcomes that were not what I would have wanted for myself. Looking back now, even though I am grateful for all of the changes that have happened, and know that they were purposeful to bring me to this very spot, it hurt a lot.
I am now going through yet another transformation, a change that I did not see coming, yet, one that I am confidently embracing. I haven’t made a New Year’s Resolution in several years now, but when 2019 began, I resolved to be more purposeful and consistent about my awareness of the Present Moment. For me, that means becoming still more often; listening to and tuning into my breath; and remembering that the past is a memory trace and the future doesn’t exist. The book, The Power of Now by Eckart Tolle, has been one of the greatest guides for me to be where I am with presence today. And, along the way, I have created my own practice to keep strengthening my presence muscle.
However, what I have noticed as I become more aware, alert and present, is that I have still felt the need to keep myself insulated in a way; to keep a barrier between me and the rest of the world. Now, I give free hugs; I hold my arms open on the street for strangers to me, willingly, lovingly, and with great passion for it. Yet, there are many other times in my life when I would feel self conscious, diminished or ill equipped to be among my fellow humans. And, the insulation that I would wrap myself with was some type of substance to take away the discomfort. Most frequently, that has been alcohol or cannabis.
Now for those of you whom know me fairly well, and over a long period of time, I have stopped using substances in the past, due to a belief that I was dealing with an addiction, and needed to abstain for my own well being. And, over the two years that I was sober, and attending meetings, and using a sponsor, I learned a lot, about what I thought addiction was, and wasn’t, and what sobriety did to help me in that phase of my life. And, it helped me in so many brilliant ways, and introduced me to some great philosophies and amazing people. But, after two years, I wanted to try it out again, see if I could use alcohol, socially and otherwise, without it feeling like an addiction that I could not control. And, for the few years that I have resumed drinking, and using cannabis as well, I have gone through phases of feeling more, and less in control. And, have used substances for all sorts of reasons.
I still don’t know what my full opinion for myself is about addiction, but something even deeper than that started speaking to me just a few days ago about my ongoing habit and use of any kind of substance. I have started to understand that anything that I use to create a barrier between me and the world is actually working to dampen my spirit, dampen my true self. And, it also deadens my experience of the world, even if I am using it in a fully conscious way. And, although I have stopped desiring to use substances in the past, for a variety of reasons, this time, there is no guilt attached. There is no excusing, or blaming, or needing to find a deeper reason why. I just don’t want to anymore.
I want to be as present as possible, and to me, that means removing any and all obstacles that may interfere with that. In addition, I don’t have a single thought or feeling that if I were to choose to have a drink or something else at some point in the future, I don’t feel any worry or shame about that either. I know that as long as I am doing my best, that is all I can ever do.
But, it feels strange. It feels like I woke up this morning as if seeing my world around me for the first time. I feel like a newborn, fresh and alive, with new skin that seems fragile. I feel sensitive and raw. And, I feel so free, connected and pure that it seems like I am finally ready to be here, Now.
I am ready to Love in my deepest way.