The light-bearing gift of addiction

I've been thinking a lot about addiction and recovery as I've been winding down my work in preparation for our move, and feeling all the feels about all of it. Because I'm recognizing the clear signs of withdrawal from work. From WORK for crying out loud. It's been like falling down the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland -- I keep thinking I'm going to get to the bottom but I keep falling, my past rushing by, offering me greater wisdom and healing around the gift of addiction and the call to recovery. 

I know this place. 

If you've been here for a while, you know that I freely identify myself as a woman with a body that is addiction-prone. I've not drank alcohol for fifteen years and so many other addictions have shown up for me to circle this particular pattern within myself over and over: money/over-spending, sugar, information mining, Facebook, my silly iPhone... and here we are, with work. 

I'm grateful that I recognize addiction as one of my life lessons and frankly, I believe the world might be a kinder and more intelligent place if more people would make room for addiction and recovery to be part of their story. Because it probably is, to some degree.  

Addiction is a light-bearing gift.

We live in a world addicted, for good reason. Addiction is a reasonable response to living in a dysfunctional society. Addiction is a reasonable response to living in a system that devalues and dismisses women and destroys our habitat, Earth. Addiction is a reasonable response to families and societies that were never taught to value emotions or how to meet needs in truthful, life-giving ways. Addiction is a reasonable response to wanting comfort, joy and fulfillment, but not knowing how to cultivate those qualities in meaningful ways.

So what is addiction? 

Definition of addict {Merriam Webster}

transitive verb

1:  to devote or surrender (oneself) to something habitually or obsessively was addicted to gambling

2:  to cause addiction to a substance in (a person or animal)

Origin and Etymology of addict

Latin addictus, past participle of addicere to favor, from ad- + dicere to say.

What I love about the definition and etymology of the word addiction is that the cure is written into the definition itself. To loosen the chains, our call to action is to surrender to the truth — to face ourselves and our habit: the sugar, the work, the alcohol, the endless seeking, the desire to transcend, the drugs — our habitual reliance is harming us, causing pain, or keeping us from what we truly desire. 

Addiction, no matter what form it takes, is the obsessive creation of space between a person and their life. The space between you and your light. The space between you and the discomfort of unmet needs and unseen emotions. The space between you and what you really want. The space between you and being too much. Addiction, in all it's forms, creates space through distraction, through numbness, through disconnection. 

Addiction is not a personal failing, it is an indicator of sensitive bodies and minds living in a society that requires distraction and distance in order to survive the violence and suppression that is the norm. The continued use of violence and suppression to "get over it" is not supportive of the psyche's need for safety, affirmation and great care.

The longing for a different path opens the path.

The pain that creates the addiction is deep wisdom -- a call to meet one's needs, it is a healthy instinct gone awry. As the addiction itself stops working (almost always), it brings you back to the initial pain and then some. Though it’s a place where you are suffering and you may feel broken, incapable and unworthy, the longing for a different path, opens the path.

Addiction, and the inevitable longing and urge for healing, points to the wisdom and wholeness that is alive and well within you. The indomitable human spirit KNOWS that there is something else available. You can trust your instinct to heal and the mere fact that a particular addiction has come to the end of it’s useful life is an invitation to wake up. You, me, we are made for so much more than a life of addiction, distraction and numbness.  

The light at the bottom of the rabbit hole.

In a long conversation with a friend I hadn't spoken with in three years she said to me, "You look great. Softer. There is something different about you and your energy now." I feel that, deeply. I'm grateful for that reflection. 

Seeing my own relationship with addiction and distraction presented to me as I've stopped working has been difficult, and it's been like falling into a state of full on grace. The ways I've wanted work or sugar or marriage or staying ridiculously busy or money or spiritual practice (and previously, alcohol) to support me, to protect me from my own anger or grief, or to make me feel important and relevant are astonishing and oh so human. My pull to these destructive ways of being has stemmed from a deeply rooted neural pathway that told me I was nothing without "important, relevant work" and my feelings? Well, since my anger and grief are related to unfixable circumstances, I best just bury them in sugar instead of feeling through it all. And my desire for real support: to be seen and held and treated with tenderness? I've sought those things in the solace of a spiritual practice instead of the hard work of asking for what I need from actual humans.

Let me be clear, there is nothing to fix and, nothing innately wrong with any of the above - nor are they always addictive. It is my relationship to these things that kept me hidden from myself. As I said, addiction is a reasonable response to an unreasonable world. And, that doesn't mean that it is the response that we are meant to have or that I want to live. My pain tells me there is something far better, far more real available. Despite of, or maybe because of, addiction, I am a fully functioning swirl of human and divine and I feel lucky (yes, lucky) that I knew early on that addiction would be a companion on my life's journey as it has been a constant invitation to move toward recovery -- the call to ever-increasing closeness with myself and with life in nourishing, authentic ways. 

I believe that humans are wired for devotion.

For emotion. For shining big light and walking in the dark. For intuition. For celebration. For stillness. We are wired to ride the rhythm and flow of our emotional waters. For wonder, joy and connection. I experience it more and more, and I hope beyond hope that you feel that, too. 

As I let my work as I know it unravel and fall away, my personal work continues to be taking a compassionate bow of reverence toward my desire to create space between myself and life and to say, "Not today. Today I am devoted showing up for the fullness of my being and the fullness of my life." I have come to believe that I cannot engage in the work I am meant to if I'm putting space between myself and my light, between myself and my needs, between myself and my emotions, between myself and my body and my experience -- all of it. 

Your invitation, and there is one, of course. 

If you are a woman who knows that you are putting space between yourself and your life with.... something (pick your soothing agent of choice) then honor that. Soften into it. Let me affirm that this is not a personal failing, but a reasonable response to what is happening in your life or in our collective experience. Only then are you free to choose differently, if that is what you want. I would invite you to get curious about your habitual responses and what might be available if you got just that much closer to yourself and your own experience? What light and treasure might you reveal to yourself and to the world?

With all of my love and adoration. I am fully on your side.  


Go There.

You know how it is.

Something hurts.  You feel unmotivated, unsure of your next move, you feel like people aren't hiring you when they should hire you, your kids are acting up, you aren't making enough money, your partner isn't being supportive, your parents are sick, the work of being a business owner feels like it is beyond your capacity.

Sometimes one little pain point, sometimes lots all at once.

We rail at the universe for making it so hard.  We take it personally.  We procrastinate or we work 1,000 times harder than we want to. We think maybe it's a sign that we will never, ever, get what we really want.  That if we were able to fashion a business and a life that we love, love, love it would be taken away from us, or something else bad would happen.  What I call, the other-shoe-is-going-to-drop syndrome.

Longing to make our lives a creation of our greatest vision, but secretly afraid - we are caught in an internal battle of wills, while the universe sends us the perfect experiences, that will help us wake up to our own long-held patterns and let them go.

When in pain, it's time to go there - to to the heart of the pain.

For many of us, it seems like we get a bigger share of the universe's attention in the way of challenges, which can provoke fear, anger, and resentment (me? again? really?? WHY ME???)

You are on the Universal fast track.

Take heart. You are being asked to learn a little bit faster, because you have such an important part to play in healing this precious world we live in -- so, you have to heal yourself, first. And baby, the only way through it, is through it.

If you can open up to that, can you see that the universe is really kind?  The challenges you face are a reminder from a loving universe that there is still more to let go of, more to learn, and now is the right time.  You are being asked to peel off one more layer of stuff that doesn't fit any more, to get one step closer to the truth of who you really are, at your very core: pure fucking brilliance.

This requires courage.

To get one step closer to the core of who you really are, and a full expression of that vision in the world through your business, it will require courage to go there. To look deeply and surrender the anger and resentment, or hardening, or the beliefs that keep us stuck...  When we show up 100% and say YES to the surrender, it's such a relief.  We can get on with "it".  Things start to shift and move and change in response to the opening of our minds, our hearts, our energy, and our action.

Instead of asking, "Why me??" We can ask -- and find answers to-- the important questions, "What does this moment require from me?  What is the universe showing me?"

When we go there, we release layers that no longer serve us.

When we go there, we enter into partnership with the universe, instead of feeling like we are at it's mercy. As we embrace the lessons from the universe as perfect cues for our own healing, we can create businesses and lives that are perfect, evolving expressions of our truest nature.

Go there.  It's so worth it.

Fear is not the Enemy

My truce with fear and anger was tenuous at best. 

Though I spend hours with clients, helping them ease into feeling their feelings and feel them in their bodies, it has always been with the understanding that we want to get our emotions to "go away" so we can get un-stuck and make better decisions.  That feelings must be felt (as annoying and inconvenient as that may be), but then we can move on to something better than the pesky feeling-state.

I was preparing for something that was making me really nervous and internally wobbly (trying to feel it so it would go away), and one of my wise coaches said to me, "Fear is not the enemy - it's just information.  What is your fear here to communicate to you?"

ALL of our emotions, even so-called 'negative' emotions, have powerful messages for us.

When my coach said this, I knew immediately that she was right.  And it is changing my relationship to emotions radically.

Just as important as our mind, just as important as our bodies, just as important as our spirit - our emotions, each of them, really deserve a sacred place at the table of the inner high counsel that helps guide us on our entrepreneurial and life journeys.

Our minds really can't do the job alone.

Oh, precious mind.  How quickly it can turn a thought around, how it can see the truth, how it can read, and reason and think big, juicy thoughts.  But alone?  Left to it's own devices? Running the whole show?  Disaster.  I did that for years in Corporate Accounting and ended up miserable, until I started taking some other sources of information seriously - specifically, my body and spirit.

But even then, as I willingly stepping onto the path of living my life a different way - learning to change my mind, honor my body, and listen to my spirit's deepest longing - I still treated my emotions like an unwanted, unworthy, step-child.

We need ALL of ourselves present and accounted for to create what we most long for.

Calling all of ourselves home, embracing all of who we are, is one of the most important guiding principles in my own life and business and in what I work with my clients to do.  I was astonished to realize my inadvertent focus on eliminating this essential part of our incredible wisdom.  I am grateful beyond belief to the energetic intentions, coaches, and books that conspire to continue leading me toward deeper healing, greater clarity, and a more complete acceptance and expression of ALL of who I am.

What is alive in you right now?

What stories are being spun by your mind about your ability to create a sustainable business?  What is your body helping you accomplish today?  What vision is your spirit really nudging you toward? What are your emotions telling you about the choices you are making and want to make for you, and your business?

Namasté to you, business yoginis!