This is not an easy journey. I continue to struggle with accepting that there is no destination. No "fixedness"--no check list--no final exam--no finish line---yadda yadda yadda--you get the point.
In "the Gift of Imperfection", Brene Brown describes it as "..like walking toward a star in the sky. We never really arrive, but we certainly know that we're heading in the right direction."
I do see some light. I do feel like I am heading in the right direction. I just have to see it as the journey of my life --and not "The Breakdown of 2012-2013".
"The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who you Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are" by Brene Brown is the next step on my journey. What makes her work so relevant is not the fact that she is a writer and research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social work but that she suffered her own "unraveling"-- a "time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you're 'supposed' to live." and what better person to describe how to manage this is someone who has been there.
When I read her very personal account of what led to her breakdown --- it was like flashing back to week two of the adult day treatment program for me. We had discussed anger, perfectionism, shame, anxiety, isolation, criticism, running yourself ragged--and I felt like each one was a rock someone had piled on my back to carry. My posture changed. Elbows on the table supported the heavy load on my back. Sometimes at break time my head actually went down on the table for a rest. I only got out of my seat between classes if we changed rooms---otherwise the weight of how 'broken' I was held me down.
I remember that big "Ka-POW" moment of holy crap I am screwed and I have NO IDEA what to do.
Her "Ka-POW" moment came after years of research looking for patterns to identify what makes people feel "Wholehearted" and what doesn't. She expected to find that Wholehearted people worked hard, followed the rules, persevered until things were right, continuing to know themselves better, raising their kids by the book... What happened however, was that she found herself writing her name at the top of the list of things that so not embrace Wholehearted living.
Wholehearted people valued worthiness, rest, play, trust, faith, intuition, hope, authenticity, love, belonging, joy, and creativity. Her name topped the list of things that worked against a wholehearted life and included perfectionism, numbing, certainty, exhaustion, self-sufficiency, being cool, fitting in, judgement, and scarcity. It snuck up on her and smacked her in the face---and she packed her work away and worked with a therapist for therapists for a year, taking a look at the rocks that just got dumped on her back.
Her big Ka-POW"?
"How much we know and understand ourselves is critically
important, but there is something that is even more essential to living a
Wholehearted life: loving ourselves."
Her book is broken down into fifteen chapters including an introduction section, ten "guideposts" and some final thoughts. The entire book is about 130 pages so each section will be the perfect size for me to grasp during this point of my recovery. Some of it may feel like repetition---but you don't get good at things without practice.
I am basically trying to rewire my brain--without a license--so I will take it slow. No need for a short or an electrical fire....I hear those commercials on the radio. I do have experts in my life to help with the heavy lifting ----I can't say that any of the rocks have vanished from my back, but each time I take one down to look at it, I chip away at it and the load gets easier to manage. Ideally I would like to get them down to the size where I can slip them in my pocket...keep them there to roll around in my fingers as a reminder when things start to feel heavy again.
And I think I will start a new collection for the other pocket---one with feathers inscribed with love, peace, joy, vulnerability, authenticity, compassion and acceptance.