21 Mar 2023
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I feel like I'm putting out too many threads, but am reminding myself that no one has to read these, so if you've chosen to do so, please be patient with my ramblings as I attempt to articulate something that's going to be rather challenging to do.
Not so long ago, I got introduced to the art, soul and music of Ren. For those of you who are not familiar with his music, I strongly encourage you to check it out - particularly his pieces - "Hi Ren" and "Chalk Outlines"...and everything else he's done. Sorry for the plug, but his music and what he is giving to the world is what all of humanity needs right now.
One of the reasons his music and words so connected with me, is because he has spoken so directly to my own journey through mental illness, addiction, depression, anxiety, psychosis and complex PTSD...and the amazing healing journey that I have been on for well over a decade now. More than even this, is that he speaks to all of humanity's struggles and his music heals. Just reading comments from listeners on youtube is healing, because of the vulnerability and love that is being spoken to everyone. Okay, finally, here is what i want to share about a couple specific lines in the song "Chalk Outlines".
The first time I heard the lines, they haunted me for days, because they were speaking such deep truths to my journey and this present one of quitting smoking. This has been with me longer than anything else in my life, and I have quit many times since the first time in 2009. I've quit for up to 2 years, 1 year, six months and everything in between. Each time I have looped back, some new truth has been unearthed and this most recent one hit really hard.
The lines are "it's a perfect day, take one just in case"..."I'm scared of being okay, 'cause all things change."
Every time I have been free of smoking for whatever the duration, a voice arises in me saying, "You've gone too far" or "this is too far." And it always returns when I've reached a place of joy and freedom within myself - a place where I am growing and evolving even more than before. Smoking is this habit - this relationship that keeps me in my place. It keeps me from moving forward, from moving fully into the person I want to become. It's this 'safe' and familiar place - a toxic relationship - that doesn't want me to grow beyond.
Before I became ill in 2006 and went into psychosis, my life was everything I thought it was supposed to be. I had a house, a marriage and a career. Everything fell apart and I lost it all. I also lost a very dear friend of mine to death, two weeks after getting out of the psych unit, and shortly thereafter, my marriage fell apart. I didn't know who I was, because there was nothing of me left. I had compromised my core and had made myself everything I thought everyone else wanted me to be. I twisted and contorted until there was nothing left of me.
My illness saved my life and I came back fighting for it. I got clean, sober and quit smoking, and I came to know and have a relationship with myself for the first time in my life. I've been clean since 2009, but the smoking has been a continual battle. This fall is what my system - all my parts - remember so well. That as soon as things get 'too good' there is a great fall coming. Presently, I am doing very deep and challenging work with all my parts. There are no "bad parts". This is something I have learned. There are very scared parts of me, and they want so badly for me to keep on doing what I've been doing - smoking. I have also spent my life shutting these parts of me down - exiling them, when what they have longed for from the beginning, was to be heard and healed and loved...and finally belong. They too, want to grown into the potential that is inside them, but they need my loving embrace and coruage and strength to do so.
I don't want to be scared of being okay. I have seen how beautifully my life has continued to unfold over the years, and it just keeps getting better. Yoga brought me back into my body after a lifetime of wanting to be anywhere but inside it. Meditation has given me a place to ground and open my heart more and more as time goes by. Nature has been my greatest healer of all - a place to find connection and belonging and truth at any time - no matter where I am at.
But since my psychosis - a time that was filled day in and day out - every moment and hour of the day - with terror, threats, dehumanizing and humiliating and shaming voices (all screaming to heal old and burried trauma...something I would learn much later) - I have listened to very little music, because the sound of silence was so sacred. To be free of the terrorizing voices/noise in my mind, music was not something necessarily soothing. It's not that I didn't listen to music at all, but for a long time now, I have been waiting for music that spoke to the me of today - the me now. Music that spoke to my soul and would make me want to dance in my living room. And recently, that has started to happen again, and now, I have one of the greatest healing modalities that exists, back in my life - music.
My life is filled with so many beautiful things. At 47, I am doing weight training at home, continue to practice yoga and meditation daily, and have a deep and personal spiritual practice. More importantly than all of this, I have friends - relationships that are founded and grounded in love and acceptance. And even more important than all of this, is the relationship I have with myself. It's taken all my life to get here and I'm not going to stop here.
Smoking has been this place where I can just keep coming back to the shame...keep coming back into battle with myself, and keep myself small. But it is also the place where i have chosen to dig even deeper, to reclaim each and every part of myself so that they can join me on this journey to embrace the fullness of my humanity and be the person I was always meant to be. I have given thanks for this relationship (smoking), because it was the only tool I had for a long time, especially when I was very young. And it is also something I grieve the loss of, quite simply because, anything we give up needs to be grieved. If I'm not honest about all that it has meant, and what it means to give it up, I know I will find myself returning.
But I am at a place in my life's journey where it's time for me to take the drivers seat in my life, and let the other parts of me know that it's time for them to get in the back seat and enjoy the ride. "I've got this. I will care for you. I will never leave you again." This is where I am today. And at the end of this weekend, I will be bidding farewell. But I will continue to dig deeper and continue to heal, because being free of this addiction never means that the work is done.
thank you for giving me the space and place to put this out there and share it with others.
Last modified on 23 Mar 2023 20:44 by jene