I feel I should start this off by talking about the gifts of recovery. Well the most current gifts, that is. Last night I got to travel down south to the Bellarine Peninsula to visit my home away from home. A couple, I met almost a year ago, live down that way and they have been the closest thing I have to family here in Australia. I met Jules on the showjumping circuit and have visited her and her partner, Marco, monthly since November.
Each visit they invite me into their home, welcome me. We cook sensational food together. We do the most magnificent, breath taking beach riding that one could possibly hope to experience in a lifetime. We listen to great music, have flowing conversations. Oh my word, we eat until we are too full, you have to roll off of your chair and lie in front of the fire for an hour, before you are able to get up and go to bed. We play rummikub and laugh like no one is watching. It is beautiful, nurturing and free! I am so blessed and grateful. It is one true gift of staying sober.
Each time I visit, I see how far I have come in my recovery. It is like a milestone for me. Each time I realise how much more comfortable I have become in my own skin and how much lovelier, lovely people become. Also their humanness became apparent. Instead of pedestalising these ‘Gods’ who just have their shit together the whole time. I got to see the people behind the front. But for some reason I don’t think it is them who have been hiding, but rather me who was unable to see such vulnerability until such a time as I have experienced it.
Another gift, though it is hard to acknowledge it as that. Is the gift of feelings. I have been somewhat overwhelmed by what has come up for me in the last two days. In my therapy session I became aware of how I grip onto my pelvic floor as a trauma response, I thought it was only when I got nervous, but it turns out I do it all the time. I grab it when I look in the mirror, because I have this idea of how my body should look and how flat my tummy ‘should be’. I have been so body conscious after the session and have actively been working on disengaging that muscle. My sponsor suggested a way to relax it. I listened to Peter A. Levine – Healing the Sacred Wound – The first time I watched it, I tried it and burst out laughing, but I will continue to practice until it becomes a part of my routine.
Consciously releasing my pelvic floor has given me heightened (or in this case, revived) sensation in the lower half of my body. I feel like the Vagus nerve Levine talks about, has been restricted for a very long time and all of a sudden I have this awareness around sensations in parts of my body, which prior to this release, I have been totally disassociated from. It’s nuts! Makes me ashamed to proclaim body awareness as a pilates instructor. That I can teach awareness and exercise none. – The result is a depth of unprocessed emotion sitting on the floor of my pelvis, that feels overwhelming and at times a little unbearable.
I have this beautiful life, yet I sit here with this sadness and loneliness I didn’t even know was there. This is an old wound, I know. Through letting this muscle go, my guard has started to drop. That became apparent with my Bellarine family. I outreached to one of my support friends earlier and had a massive realisation. I have never been the one requiring the support, so my support network are those I can provide support to, not necessarily the people who are able to support me. I started to break down to her and she asked “where is God in this?” (A generic response) – I thought, “God is sitting right next to me, where God has always been… I am not asking where God is, rather, where are the rest of the people?”
We sat in silence for a bit, then I did what I’ve always done and turned the conversation back onto her. I listened in a broken state, generic and unauthentic. I felt deflated. My friend is a really special soul. I give her no discredit. It is me who, time and again, fails to let people in. Whether it is because I don’t want to be burdensome or if it is because I don’t feel worthy. I continue to shut the door. I put my arm out and I keep you there. Desperate to be close, but too afraid to take a step towards you. Yearning for connection, but turning to bolt when it starts to come towards me. You can have my time and everything I could possible give you, but not me…
It’s interesting. With this new found awareness, I am sure the change will come. Though bleak, the light still peers through the cracks and shines hope into my dark and lonely heart. A heart that has been locked away from the world for a very long time.