I was doing that incessant checking my phone thing…looking for new texts, new messages, new emails, new likes….Grasping for connection.
My mind was bouncing around like the scan setting on a radio, tuning every few seconds to a new thought.
I felt scattered. Distracted. Lost.
I didn’t know why. All I knew was that I wasn’t happy, was mildly irritated and felt restless.
It felt like I was in the wrong place. Only I didn’t know where else to be. Nothing sounded good.
I didn’t want to be with people. Although I wanted to get a million invitations.
I didn’t want to work. Even though I had a laundry list of to-dos.
I didn’t know what I wanted.
And there was this impending sense of urgency. Like I was missing some important engagement. Only I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.
I felt cabin fever. And it was broad daylight.
What was wrong with me?
In the past I never would have gotten this far.
I would have been face down in a bowl of cereal or snorting a line or picking a fight with my boyfriend or any of the others things I used to do to distract myself from my feelings.
But I had gotten free from that stuff.
And so here I was. Just stewing in angst.
And it sucked.
I had enough recovery and tools in me to recognize my pattern – the restless, irritable and unhappy mood that seemed to be my set point in between episodes of self-imposed chaos and drama.
And I knew that when I got into this “grasping for connection and feeling lost” mode, it was usually because I was avoiding a deeper feeling.
So I stopped what I was doing, got quiet, and felt what was there.
And at once I was hit with the most gripping loneliness it almost took my breath away.
This loneliness was so deep, it was all-consuming.
Like a black hole. Vacant. Gaping. And at the same time, exhibiting a force that was forever pulling me into the abyss.
I longed for something. But for what, I couldn’t remember.
This loneliness struck at the very core of my being. And it hurt. Like an archetypal wound. An ancient hemorrhage of the heart.
And so without knowing what else to do, I let the loneliness consume me.
I felt the boring hole inside expand to my belly and throat and then encompass my whole being.
I felt the cold reality of isolation make goosebumps out of my flesh.
I felt the disassociated haziness one has when waking from a deep slumber.
I barely recognized myself independent of the loneliness.
It was as if I was the loneliness.
And just when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore. Just when the pain of alienation was almost too much to bare, a voice from somewhere deep inside pierced through the veil of resigned isolation and said:
“you are lonely because you have lost yourself.
It is you who you are looking for.”
Instant tears sprang forth as the truth of this simple statement sank into each cell of my body.
like sipping from the sacred chalice of my personal Holy Grail quest, at once I knew exactly what I needed to do.
I knew what I was missing.
I needed me. I needed to be with me. To massage my tired muscles, to smell my own skin. To hear to my own heartbeat. To express my own words. To move in my own rhythm. To be with me. To immerse myself in myself.
It was so simple.
And yet I recognized how up until that point, I’d been holding myself hostage.
Locked away. Punished. Banished from life. Deemed unworthy and made to suffer.
I’d dangle the carrot of self care and nourishment only to yank it away, like the wicked stepmother in Cinderella. Shoving another task list my way that would surely keep me good and preoccupied this time…
It was a safe strategy for dodging life. And it was familiar.
But it was killing me. Slowly. Imperceptibly. From the inside.
And finally, that day, I must have reached my saturation point. The pain of my aimless apathy was too much to handle, and so I finally surrendered. Let go absolutely. And let myself get swept up in the current of feeling.
Anything was better than not feeling at all.
And somehow, in that ultimate act of powerless submission, I had passed through the eye of the needle, crossed a threshold, and emerged on the other side, an integrated whole.
Something had shifted in me. I had gone from being hole to being whole.
And I would never be the same.
I realized in that moment that my life’s purpose was to find myself. Come back home to my heart. And teach other women how to do the same.
So that things like addiction fall away, we could be at home in our skin and we would finally be ok just as we are.
In dedication of all things raw, real and recovered,