Oh, Joy

 

 

Ran four councils today. In a row. My final one was the Community Council I hold monthly. Sean came. I love so much, that he comes to these. I have never been able to share this part of my life with anyone before and it feels fucking awesome. The work I do, or this practice I bring to people, is the only time I feel like I truly know what the fuck I am doing. I don’t second-guess myself or falter. I feel confident and comfortable knowing that all will be well if I simply follow the circle’s lead and do what is next.

My prompt for tonight was, “Tell a story of a time when you felt real joy.”

A few people spoke and shared from their hearts. It always amazes me how joy can bring up so much vulnerability, that we often confuse vulnerability with pain, but it can include tremendous joy as well.

Sean spoke before me. He talked about the first time we all drove in a car home together, his son, my daughter, and me. Home from the brunch last weekend, where I met his son for the first time. How in the car, driving along a road he has driven so many times in his life, he felt for the first time in a very long time, this overwhelming joy from us all being together and how sweet it felt.

I smiled.

I was about to tell the same story. In my version, I am sitting in the back, next to my daughter. Sean is making her laugh by yelling, “unicorns” and “kittens” while I am having a conversation with his son who is sitting in the front seat. I make eye-contact with Sean in the rearview mirror and that is when I feel it, this strange warmth starts in my chest and spreads throughout my body. I do not know what this feeling is and wonder long after they drop my daughter and me off at home. Until now, until this moment, do I realize, holy shit, THAT was joy.

Days after it has been hard to connect- physically- we have had our kids and it’s been almost impossible. But we are finding an hour here and there to be together, the four of us, or dropping by, even for a quick hug and kiss and that feels sustainable to me. I need physical closeness to feel connected. I need and crave intimacy with my partner. He said he knows that one day we will all live together in a house big enough for all of us. That made my heart sing. When he speaks of the future – like wondering out loud what it will be like when we are old together- it is the best aphrodisiac on the planet. And I told him so.

Had a very special adventure day hiking through Elyria Canyon yesterday with Pony.

I am in paralyzing financial fear about spousal support running out in six months.

I am praying to stay present and co-create a future that is financially, emotionally, and spiritually sustainable. Being sober again certainly helps all of that.

I want to create a sober woman’s retreat at La Casa de Maria! Weaving yoga, council, meditation, and writing. Hmmm…….super nurturing and womby.

Let’s do this!!

Stories are Not Dogma

Yesterday I went from blonde to almost black. Then I spent eight hours getting my body tattooed by the incredible Justine Serebrin, owner of Earth Altar Studio in Eagle Rock. She sat with me and discussed what was going on in my life. What I wanted to “call in.” Where I was at. Then I took off my clothes and she freestyled on the right side of my body. From my ribs to my calf. I took one look in the mirror, gasped, and said, “Holy shit that is beautiful. Let’s do it.” We blessed the ink. I held a rose quartz. We played yoga music. And I sat. She tattooed. We bonded. It feels like a rite of passage into a whole new way of being. I hope this means something. Something big.

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I went to an AA meeting with Sean this morning. I wanted so badly to correct share. People were confusing the spiritual malady with alcoholism. I kept telling myself, ” You have one week sober, shut the fuck up and listen.” Humility is a bitch.

I met Sean’s son this afternoon, for the first time. He is fifteen. He was dropped off at a brunch we were at and eventually made his way into the house about an hour into it. He was very interesting. I enjoyed speaking with him. I didn’t push too hard but gave him his space and then came back and kept engaging. He engaged back with me, which I thought was pretty cool.

Then we all drove home together in Sean’s car and it was incredibly sweet, the four of us. The way Sean talks to Pony is super charming and sweet. It felt really really good, us all being together like that. I invited his son up to see our place before they left and it flowed, nicely. I guess I made a good impression on his son. Which is everything.

Then I spoke to a new possible sponsor for me, named Teresa, and had a  lovely connection with her.

She is going to take me through the steps.

Spiritual Malady.

I felt overwhelmed with gratitude after speaking with her. Just this sense of rightness, being sober, being with Sean, our kids being together, doing the steps with Teresa, hanging out with my dear sober friend Nicky and his sober crew. My sober bestie back in my life. Everything.

So.

Fucking.

Good.

I knelt at my altar and wept.

God, please set aside everything I think I know about AA, sobriety, and especially you, God, for an open mind and a new experience of AA, sobriety, and especially you, God.

 

I have a new experience with the Big Book. I don’t see it as a textbook anymore. A rigid “how to.” But more of a collection of stories. Stories. Kind of how I see the bible. Stories. I love stories. Stories make me happy. Stories make me fall in love with humanity. Stories are not dogma.

THE BETTER IT GETS

Dear Lord. Seriously. GOD HELP ME. I had a long day driving up to Santa Clarita to a Girl’s Probation Camp then to Culver City to run a workshop with kids from the projects (who knew there were projects in Culver City?) and then finally to Downy to get fingerprinted for probation. In between all of this, I was in a complete fight, flight, or freeze mode concerning Sean and my perceived lack of his attention towards me. I had waves of childhood trauma surface repeatedly. Insistently. Relentlessly. It was exhausting. I tried talking to my little girl, assuring her everything was alright. I would find respite. Brief. Then another wave. Deconstructed the feelings. Nausea. Sweaty but cold. Shaking. Respite. Brief. Another wave. Then I kept asking myself, “What is this REALLY about?” And I finally, outside of probation, got very clearly that this feeling of “fear of abandonment” of “not being important” enough, was exactly what I have been running from my whole life and there was no way out of it but through it. So I sat in it, in my car, with tears running down my face, mascara smeared, and said, “Yup, this is it. This is the machine of all my pain. This loneliness. Isolation. This has steered me into more bad decisions than I can count. More men and drugs than I want to admit. More pain and sorrow and suffering than I would wish on my worst enemy” And this time, instead of shop, or fuck, or flock my way out of it- I sat in it and did not hide. And it shifted. Surprisingly. On its own accord, the beast let up and let loose.

On the way home I was back to sanity and described to Sean everything I was processing. I let him in on the whole embarrassing crazy-making thing. And he took it, man, he listened and he heard me and he gave a shit. And he did not run for the hills. I cried again for a bit on my bed before picking myself up and going to yoga. I talked about it in Meditation class and the teacher reminded me to resource as well- which of course, I had completely forgotten.

Then this morning I flew off the handle at my ex for having his UN-girlfriend and her kid sleepover when they are not officially a “couple.” I had to look at that and make amends. Fuck. That sucked. I did not explain to him why I just apologized and moved on. It was more about me than about our daughter anyway. More about my indignation that he was doing to his girlfriend what he had done to me. Playing her along. Being abusive. Withholding. His way or the highway.

And I thought I didn’t need to do inventory on him.

Like I could skate away from a split like that one,  resentment-free.

Sean came over tonight after his meeting. I lit candles and everything.

It was incredibly powerful and passionate. I felt so deeply connected to him the entire time and afterward wanted to weep with gratitude for this man in my life.

I spent a minute resourcing the feeling. Him also telling me he loved me and that he was feeling the same things too.

His stepfather accused him today of causing his mother’s suffering before she died.

Ouch.

I am meeting Sean at his friend’s memorial tomorrow.

I am grateful I can be there for him in that way.

I am so in love with him.

Wow.

Jolie also said, and I laughed, that if they aren’t acting “obsessed” with me, I don’t think they like me and I feel abandoned. And then I start tearing them apart and finding reasons to leave. Wow.

I am so happy I did not do that.

Sean and I – the longer I hang in there- the better this thing gets.

BRAIN ON FIRE

I am so tired of my brain. In overdrive. It never stops. Especially around this new relationship. The most fertile ground for obsessive thinking. I analyze over and over again every nuance of every text. The fact that he said “Love you” instead of “I love you” – what does that mean? Without the “I” it is way more casual sounding, therefore, I assume, I am saying it too much and this is his way of telling me. I catastrophize as well. So after analyzing every single fucking interaction looking for hints of descention I automatically assume the worst and think it’s over, he doesn’t love me anymore. I especially struggle when he is with his son. Because he goes into the son vortex and I suffer, terribly. The texts are few and far between. It feels different. I panic. Especially around my period. It takes everything I have to sit in those feelings and be okay being not okay. Then, he’ll finally reach out, and everything seems okay for a bit. Before it’s not again. And I am on this rollercoaster completely independent of him. And he’s given me absolutely no indication that his feelings have radically altered in any way. This is a self perpetuating machine that locks in and does not let up until I see him in person, and then, and only then, do I seem to feel satisfied. I can not go on like this, and I fear there is not much I can do about it. I reached out to my meditation teacher to ask for some tools. I am curious what she’ll suggest. The hard part about it is that when I go through this cycle, the pain is so great that I want to run the other way and hide. I want to give up and run the other way. Be alone. So much easier. Simpler. More peaceful for me. But I am hardwired for this shit. I live for this! I want to dive in and figure it all out. I want to explore so much intimacy with him that we drown in it.

He has been telling me he loves me now, twice tonight.

What is wrong with me? How do I NOT revert back to childhood trauma every time this happens to me? HOW???

MEDITATE

WRITE

Help someone else

Be of service

Three words- I love you.

Can do so much.

 

 

 

I Love you, too much.

I woke up wondering if I say “I love you” too much. Or if he finds that me licking the almond butter off of the knife before dipping it into the honey jar is repulsive. Or if there are any other myriad ways that I could be repelling Sean. Because honestly, there must be. Because I am repugnant and unlovable. Right? No. Not true. Says my lofty brain, but my paranoia, my fear, coming from the amygdala feels quite differently. Be on the lookout! Watch out! Danger ahead! Big feelings- not safe- warning sounds-alarms!

I had the most intense dream the other night that I was working on the set of this movie as a grip or wardrobe or something and suddenly the entire crew turned against me. They picked on me and lied about things I had never done. They wanted me fired. At one point, facing them all I broke down and started sobbing. I woke up sobbing in the middle of the night. I looked over at my darling little sweet angel daughter and thought about going into the living room to really let it out, but I didn’t. I lay there next to her, wishing I could crawl into the crook of Sean’s arm and be with her at the same time.

I use AND and JUST and THAT too much in my writing.

At least I recognize it.

My older brother is in rehab, again.

He is 47 years old and has been on the merry-go-round since he was 15.

It’s exhausting for me. I can only imagine how it must be for him.

He has not seemed SOBER to me for quite some time. Always shaky and spontaneously sweating. I stopped having him babysit Pony for that reason.

Then I found out he has not only been abusing his prescribed medication but has been buying and creating his own pharmaceutical cocktails including Adderall which is just another form of speed.

But who am I to judge?

Can’t throw stones when you live in a glass house.

I think I was killed by a mob in a past life. It explains my fear of groups. Especially large ones gathered in public spaces.

I am determined to not seek any information from any psychic sources outside of myself. I truly want to trust my heart, my mind, my intuition, my inner knowing, the senses of my body and the blessings of MY spirit.

 

SOBRIETY SPIRAL

My old one was November 23rd, 2004. I was sober for 10 years. I drank and used again for 18 months. My new sobriety date is January 28th, 2017.

How about them apples?

Me and AA. Reunited and it feels so good!

How did this happen? In my relapse, I was ADAMENT t that I would NEVER step foot in Alcoholics Anonymous again. Not with all their dogmatic Judeo-Christian white privileged patriarchal bullshit.

But I was wrong.

And I think Sean and his community of fellows had something to do with it. They wear their sobriety like I used to, when newly sober many years ago, with an ease and inclusivity I lost becoming rigid and fundamentalist. There is no “one way” there is only truth, and I see it in many ways. I remember going to the exact same meeting I am going to now, many moons ago, and the speaker said that there were as many ways to work that program as there were people in AA, and I almost threw my coffee at him and stormed off. WTF?? THERE WAS ONLY ONE WAY AND IT WAS IN THE FIRST 164 PAGES OF THE BOOK, DUMBASS. YOU are the reason AA is failing, you and your watered-down-middle-of-the-road-solutions. WAKE UP! It is a textbook, meant to be followed PRECISELY. Not left up to your interpretations and creative solutions. #BigBookAwakenings.

THAT is the exact kind of thinking that leads to a relapse.

Yesterday, I attended a shamanic journeying workshop. No ayahuasca involved. Just a group of creative interesting individuals being led by a drum into their subconscious. I had a profound vision of myself laying in the center of a grove of Sequoyah trees when their roots came out of the ground and swallowed me whole, dragging me deep into the earth. There, I heard, loud and clear, that I could not, would not, be able to do the work I needed to do in this lifetime if I continued to put substances in my body. I need to be AWAKE and PRESENT for all of it.

And that was it. No bartering, negotiating, wondering. I came back from the vision and have not had a craving nor mental obsession since.

Which feels super strange because I could not stop the mental obsession for the past 18 months, on my own. I wanted to. But I was powerless. The phenomenon of craving didn’t always develop when I put alcohol in my system, so that was confusing. I had no bottom like I did in 2004, where alcohol brought me to my knees physically, mentally, and spiritually. This was a slow burn and never reached those excruciating depths. But the mental obsession was in its own way, a prison I desperately wanted out of.

 

I am open-minded and curious about how this sobriety will develop.

It doesn’t feel like I am going backwards, like I have lost those 10 years of sobriety. It feels more like a spiral. That I am constantly moving onwards and upwards even if it doesn’t look or feel like it.

 

UNEXPECTED DIRECTIONS

Spent the night with Sean last night. I love the sound of his name. Sean. I say it over and over in my head. I know, I am fucked.

But last night felt like a turning point. We had not seen each other in five days, and it felt like five hundred. I think part of the excruciating nature of it is that he lives so close to me, less than 3 miles, so not seeing him for that long but knowing how close he is feels somewhat torturous.

Regardless, we finally did see each other and it was out of this fucking world.

We made love immediately.

And if I was wondering if we really had any sexual chemistry, well, I am not wondering anymore. I think we are both really committed to trying a new way of being intimate which involves mindfulness and although I knew intellectually that could take time, I had no idea what it would begin to look and feel like.
It is mindblowing. I seriously suggest this strategy for everyone on the planet.

Sex with Sean felt deeply different last night. We were so fucking connected. Breathing the same. And both felt so radically present with each other with no set goal of achieving orgasm but just being in every single moment and seeing what that did. And it did AMAZING things! I felt waves of pleasure undulating through my body in ways I never could have imagined before. I don’t know if I had an orgasm- at least not in the traditional sense of the word- but I had many somethings that rocked my body, heart, and mind. And him too. We were like one person. I know how corny that sounds. But at one point, my head was pressing against his head, and while my body felt this relaxed pounding pleasure I closed my eyes and I felt like I went into the universe with him. I don’t know how else to explain it but I was out floating among the stars and I knew without a doubt that he was there with me. I was not alone.

It feels like he suddenly knows my body in the most intimate way.

We both said I Love You for the first time.

Afterward, we made dinner and snuggled on the couch watching a documentary.

Then we made love again.

And again.

Another incredible journey into a sensual world full of physical, mental, and emotional pleasure. I still don’t think he has had a traditional orgasm. But then again, neither have I. I just feel so fucking good with him, on so many levels.

It’s the kind of good that doesn’t come around very often. If ever.

In the morning we made love, twice.

To say that I am satiated, would be an understatement. I feel fully seen, felt, and adored. In every way.

 

Then I took my five-year-old daughter on the Woman’s March in Los Angeles. It was quite the adventure. We tried to take the trains but they were too full. So we took the bus, but by the time we got down there we had missed the march but made it to City Hall where all the marchers arrived about an hour later. I have never seen so many people in one spot in my life. We stayed on the periphery. Once we tried to enter into the eye of the storm and it proved too much for little P and I. I started crying when we left and as we were walking over a freeway pass all these cars were honking at us for marching and the amount of support, solidarity, and love was overwhelming. I felt a part of something so much bigger than I.

After we took the bus back my daughter had a playdate with her buddy and I went home to rest then run. Her playdate turned into a sleepover and I knew there was no chance I could see Sean as he had his son, but I let him know anyway. Torturous.

But he did invite me to attend the AA meeting with him tomorrow morning. And interestingly enough, I was just thinking how much I would love to have a beer tonight. But when I found out I could join him tomorrow, I decided not to.

I have been praying for God to show me the way.

This feels like some pretty clear path markers to me.

I still don’t know if I am committed to AA or not. But I am committed to Sean and going to the meeting with him tomorrow. That much I know. And because if that, I chose not to drink.

There is something there. Something powerful. Moving me in ways I do not expect.