Dreamwork and the Unconscious (part 1)

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If you want to excelerate your personal growth and development, start working with your dreams.  The picture of the iceberg is a perfect representation of what you’re dealing with.  The top of the iceberg (the teeny little part of this big monstrosity) that is above the water is the conscious material we work with in day to day life.

And then, down below…the underwater part of the iceberg (which happens to be where the majority of the iceberg resides) that’s our unconscious material which is what motivates and drives us.

And therein lies the problem, this huge unconscious part of ourself is driving us and it’s happening on an UNconscious level, so how we react, feel, respond, think, etc is connected with this icy aspect down below.

Imagine if you were to gain access to this and use it in a proactive, creative way!  It’s very empowering to start working with dreams.

Once you look at the symbolism and find the gifts your unconscious is giving you, typically an AHA moment occurs and you can be guaranteed that a shift just occurred.  It’s that simple.  Engaging the unconscious and your dreams can ignite a powerful shift in how your life flows.

Be watching for blog posts on how to access and work with this information.

Four Years Late…but Right on Time

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I have been sober for 4.5 years.  I was told that it was recommended to start sponsoring other women in recovery when I reached 6 months sober.  I procastinated…for 4 years.  

This is quite out of character for me.  Being of the overachieving, faster-is-better mindset I would have expected myself to become someone’s sponsor about 48 hours after getting sober.  But I’ve actually waited for almost 5 years!  

Now that I’m sponsoring a fabulous, young woman, I’m very excited about our work together.  But I’ve also wondered what my resistance was.  I actually believe I was following my inner guidance (for once!). 

I have realized that I tend to be such a “know it all” sometimes, that sponsoring someone while I was still young in recovery would have taken my focus away from my own recovery.  I suspect that I would have  put so much energy into controlling her process that I would have missed the critical pieces of mine.  

As I look back, every time I would think “I know I should be sponsoring someone” a little voice would whisper, “not today.”  And I followed it.  Month after month.  Year after year.  And then one day a couple of months ago, I felt a strong calling that I should be someone’s sponsor.  I literally got up checked meeting times and saw that there was a women’s meeting that I had never been to and it was starting within an hour.  

I went to that meeting and the fabulous aforementioned young woman spoke at the end of the meeting and said if anyone was willing to be her sponsor to please talk to her after the meeting.  Well there you have it.  Listening to inner guidance really makes things flow rather easily.  I heard it’s time to be a sponsor and 2 hours later I was a sponsor.  Image

7/11…Bound to be a Lucky Day

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Today I woke up realizing it was 7/11 and imagined what a lucky day was in store for me.  And boy I was right!  

Already this morning, I woke up as the sun was rising with a clear head and clear heart.  I don’t ever want to forget the miracle of that alone.  All those mornings after having had a little bit of wine or a whole, whole lot of wine (well actually I don’t know that I ever had a little bit of wine in my entire life) but anyway, all those mornings I woke up after having had alcohol the night before were different levels of hazy and foggy.  Some mornings were just a slight haze but plenty of mornings they were excruciating, painful thick fogs.  

Now I absolutely cherish every clear headed morning.  I love being in the cycles of nature and going to bed early and waking up as the sun rises and I have this really loud bird that sits on my window sill and calls to me each morning.  That always makes me wake up with a smile.  I feel like she’s there just for my enjoyment.  

She probably has always been there but I never heard her until I started experiencing this clear head and heart thing.

Then I couldn’t believe my luck when I sat drinking my early morning cup of coffee and got to witness these two crazy squirrels chasing each other up and down the huge tree that graces my front yard.  They were cirque du soleil squirrels, flying through the air, leaping after each other’s tails.  It was enough to put another smile on my face.

My day continued to be incredibly lucky when I went to 6 AM boot camp class and while I may not keep up with the young ones, it’s pretty much a miracle what this body can do considering all the abuse I put it through for years with cigarettes, alcohol, adderall and unhealthy eating.  I’m so lucky to have such a willing, strong body.

I can’t wait to see what else this lucky day holds for me.  I have a feeling that since I’m looking for luck…I may just find it all kinds of unexpected places.  

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Don’t be Mean

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I was recently reading a post on a recovery website and then dropped down and started reading the comments.  Oh. My. God.  These people were so mean!  There were very heated arguments about the Big Book, 12 steps and different approaches to recovery.

There were statements being thrown around like, “.. step out of your ivory tower… find some humility…your comment only shows how far YOU have to go…don’t listen to this blogger…AA promotes binge drinking…it’s people like YOU who…blah blah blah”

The interesting thing is that everyone who was writing had some connection to addiction and I don’t think it would be a stretch to say they all were interested in living a fulfilling life without being controlled by drugs and alcohol.  Yet they were yelling at each other anonymously behind their little screens.

Why do we have this innate need to be “right.”   I think it’s fear based.  Especially when it comes to recovery.  I’m speculating that there is this very deeply rooted fear that addiction will kill and when each of these people found something that worked they latched hold of it addictively and now they are willing to fight to be right.  Who knows…I’m speculating about a bunch of strangers.

But what I took from this is that I will stand firmly on the ground that is working and keeping me sober and I will also be open to others’ ways of recovery.  I will be a tree.  I will be deeply rooted, yet flexible and swaying.  My intention is to never, ever blast someone because they don’t believe in my way of recovery.

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Monday Morning Hangover

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As some of you know I have been on a candida cleanse for the past 8 months.  I have been militant about not eating sugar, dairy, gluten and processed foods.   My discipline has been due to being so miserable with chronic sinus and constipation issues that I was really willing to go the full journey to be rid of it all.

AND, I was spending a butt load of money each month on supplements, herbs, colon cleansing, etc.  So it didn’t make sense to pour the wrong food in and negate all that was going right in my gut.

I have been getting great results for 8 months and was definitely feeling that the healthy gut flora (I’m picturing tulips and posies in my belly) had overtaken the nasty parasites, fungus and other creepy crawlies.

And so, when our good friend brought a heath bar cake on the 4th of July, somehow it suddenly made sense to have just a bite of it because I had been so angelic for 8 freaking months.

If you haven’t had heath bar cake, apparently it is also sprinkled with a dusting of crack cocaine…because I was immediately addicted and could not quit obsessing about the cake sitting in my fridge for the next 3 days.

I only had a few bites each day but when I did, the chilled chocolate cake, caramel, whipped topping, heath bar crumbles and dusting of crack entered my system with such a jolt I had a split second of nirvana.  Oh my goodness it was heaven.  I did the “few little bites at a time” experiment for 3 days.

During those three days I quit sleeping the luxurious, sound sleep that I’m used to.  I started having hot flashes, my digestive process slowed down (if you know what I mean), and my mood bottomed out to the point that I was snapping left and right at anyone who looked my way.  By day three I had a raging sinus headache, I was foggy, and had to ramp up my colon cleansing regime.  But I couldn’t get the crack cake out of my head.

Finally this morning I was strong.  I dumped the remaining cake in the trash.  I have been fighting my sugar hangover all day.

I now fully know how addictive the sugar/fat combo is and also how toxic it is to my entire system.  It’s just not worth it  Image

Vulnerability is the New Black

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Thanks to authors like Brene Brown and Glennon Melton, vulnerability is becoming in vogue, and I am personally thrilled.

These brave women are helping us get in touch with our true, raw, fragile selves in a shameless way.  They’re telling us it’s ok to not have it all together-all the time.  It’s ok to feel all those feelings that we really don’t want to admit (let alone actually feel).   Imagine if this really catches on and as women, we start being honest with ourselves and with each other.  “No, I’m not ok.  I’m scared as hell.  I’ve snapped at my kids for the past five nights and I can’t stand the sight of my husband and if I have to enter the grocery one more time, I may just take a baseball bat to the produce section and pull a Gallagher.”  

Maybe by admitting to ourselves and another what we’re really feeling, being witnessed and heard, it might just help it dissipate.  I’m hopeful.

I’m still working on vulnerability while it’s occurring.  I’m great at admitting my struggles after they are over and I’ve made it to the other side.  But catch me in the middle of one and you’ll see me guarded, protected and in fucking control.  One way to tell, is the veins in my temples and neck are bulging from holding it all together.  

Yes, I’m working on relaxing into vulnerability and perhaps even asking for help.  This is not something that comes easy, for many reasons.  First of all, I assume no one really has time or interest in my struggles.  Second, if I learned anything growing up it was stoicism.  Third, I don’t want to appear needy or unable to handle my own life.  And I’m sure there are a fourth, fifth, and sixth, but that’s enough.  

You can see it’s a topic that may take me a few decades to master.  In the meantime, let’s all wear as little or as much vulnerability as we can fashionably manage.  Let’s make it a classic that never goes out of style…like a pair of soft faded jeans that fit just right.

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An Easy Entry into Creativity

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My creative process began with (and continues to contain) some very basic and elementary practices.  The picture above is one of my favorite, creative meditations.  I start by scribbling without lifting my pencil and creating swirls, circles and a container for shapes.  Then I take my colored pencils and simply start filling in the space.  I don’t think or plan.  I just grab the color that most inspires me in that moment and let the pencil take control.

I love to do this when I find it difficult to sit for a close eyed meditation, or when I need an answer to something and even when I’m in a class or workshop.  There’s no right or wrong.  Just be like a child and let yourself play with color.

Don’t Sleepwalk through Life

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It’s interesting that we’ve become a culture obsessed with zombies, considering there are so many people sleepwalking through life.

Being conscious takes time, dedication and effort.  I know that when I dedicate time to doing my inner work I feel balanced and life flows more easily.  But sometimes this little internal voice says I’m self absorbed, narcissistic and spending too much time on myself.

Yet, when I don’t do the inner work, I really DO become self absorbed and narcissistic because I start thinking like a crazy person and spending way too much time in my head.

I’ve learned the hard way that it is good investment of time and energy for me to do my inner work.  And the people around me benefit from it too, because when I’m not nuts, I’m a much better resource for them.

Carl Jung says “The reason why consciousness exists, and why there is an urge to widen and deepen it, is very simple:  without consciousness things go less well.”

Don’t be a zombie.  Get out the journal.  Meditate.  Work with your dreams.  Do a little art work.  Go for a solo hike.  Just do something that acknowledges your inner life and give it a bit of attention.  We already have enough zombies in the world.Image

Moderation in Moderation

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I recently read a dialogue of Oprah interviewing Maya Angelou.  Ms. Angelou was speaking of moderation which piqued my interest.  As an active alcoholic, moderation was not something I experienced often.

However, as a recovering alcoholic, I’m becoming more familiar with it.  But, I’m also noticing that I almost have too much moderation.  I’m so afraid of getting out of control again that I’m constantly clamping down on myself about everything.  I’ve discovered that I’m very good at rules and discipline.

So, when Maya Angelou said “…even moderation in moderation” it struck a chord with me.  It informed me that I’m so terrified of getting out of control that I’ve moderated everything.  Maybe it’s time to loosen up.  Why not play around with spontaneity and put a little fire in my life.  All passion does not lead down the road of vodka.

 

 

Staying on the Pink Cloud

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I recently heard a woman share at a meeting that she had been sober for quite some time but she was depressed and losing hope.  She missed the pink cloud.

Many say we can’t stay on the pink cloud.  I personally believe we can stay on the pink cloud!  But it takes dedication to doing inner work.  That includes working the steps, going to meetings, and talking to others who have what you want.  It also takes doing deeper inner work which requires a real commitment.  It takes time, energy and the willingness to do the work.  But the reward is paramount.

Some of the ways to do deeper inner work is through meditation, creativity, dream work, journaling, creative writing, using divination tools, participating in groups, and spending quiet time in nature.  These are just a few of the hundreds of things that can be done to develop the balanced inner life that leads to peace and fulfillment.

Staying on the pink cloud doesn’t mean things don’t go wrong in life, it just means your response to it is calm and consistent.  Doing the deep inner work allows you the space to feel clarity and have a sense of empowerment…no matter what comes along in life.

I find so much more fulfillment in the time I spend on my inner process than I ever did at happy hours, GNO’s or having white wine and Ruffles in front of the TV.

I was very (VERY) committed to rewarding myself with a drink.  In the beginning of sobriety, I had to constantly challenge myself to be just as committed to doing the inner work.  Now, the inner work IS the reward.  I love the process and I love clearing out layers of muck to continue feeling lighter and lighter on my pretty pink cloud.Image