[Edit] I’m SEVEN! And I’m editing this to share the 2 most significant insights I’ve gained over the past 2 years since writing about 5 insights from 5 years sober.
I didn’t consciously realize it but my heart was afraid to love. It didn’t feel safe to open. And now at 7 years sober I KNOW it’s safe to love.
What I know now is that it is safe to open my heart. It’s safe because I can handle my feelings. And nothing is worth closing my heart – my life force – for.
So my practice is keeping my heart open as much as possible. And now I feel love all the time : )
My god this past year has been the year of feeling. It is clear to me now that when we try to avoid our feelings, whether it’s with television, sex, food, the internet, or in my case alcohol, the feelings do not go away.
Our pushed down feelings get stored in our bodies and can later be expressed as injury, disease, reactive behavior or an insatiable need to prove that we are good enough or lovable. So in order to live an authentic life, we must feel all that we have tried not to feel.
Authenticity requires grieving all that we’ve allowed to block our heart.
After 5 years sober & a long spiritual adventure, an ocean of unfelt emotions surfaced – mainly grief, shame, sadness and anger. I went through a several month process of radically accepting everything, giving it the full space it needed to be released [read about it here].
Now I feel lighter & more loving. I feel free.
Last night I made it two steps out of the massage place in Bangkok before I started balling. Sure the Thai massage was intense, getting elbows & feet jabbed deep into my body could have released some old emotions. She was bending me like a yogi pretzel & was even walking on my back at one point!
But the tears were of deep gratitude for my life. And they were pouring out hard for like 15 minutes.
Today I am celebrating 5 years of waking up.
Five years is a solid chunk of time to be doing anything, especially personal growth. And I tend to reflect on my life a lot around sobriety anniversaries. So today I am sharing with you 5 significant insights from these past 5 years sober:
Thank God! It was such hard work trying to be perfect. And it turns out that being flawed is perfect because it’s real.
Authenticity is perfection.
The more conscious I become, the more flaws I become aware of. And with this, the more compassion I gain for myself & for others.
Five years ago I had generalized anxiety disorder & was agoraphobic. Since then I’ve learned to be present with my fear, to drop my attention out of my thinking & down into my body when I feel anxious.
I’ve learned about the nature of emotions. Turns out that if I stop thinking about it, the fear passes through me like a storm cloud passing through town. Of course, this took some practice.
And because I am willing to feel fear now, I can live out my dreams.
I can step out of my comfort zone and breath through the fear while taking action in alignment with my heart.
Walking through fear is courage.
Avoidance of fear no longer dictates my life.
What a relief. I’ve learned that I am creating & participating in everything that happens in my life.
Life is not happening to me.
I used to use my mind to direct my body. Now I have a mind body connection.
I’ve come to find that listening to my body is a part of self-love. If I’m tired, I sleep. If I’m hurt, I rest.
I trust my gut.
If something doesn’t feel right, it’s not. End of story.
My view is limited; I am unable to see the bigger picture.
I have example after example of things I thought I really wanted that later became so grateful that I never received. Or things I didn’t want that I became incredibly grateful for.
This includes giving up alcohol, which turned out to be the best thing that could have happened.
God’s plans are better.
When I remember this, life becomes much more enjoyable. I can let go and get in the perspective of life being an adventure with Divine guidance.
Besides, surrendering continually brings me experiences better than I could have imagined.
There’s a solid gold Golden Buddha at Wat Traimit in Bangkok worth over $250 million USD. It had stucco plastered over it for at least 200 years to hide its value & prevent it from being stolen. Then a crack in 1955 revealed the gold underneath.
That’s what can happen in sobriety & in personal growth, a crack in the ego can reveal the hidden gem that’s been underneath all along.
I’d love to hear from you, please share your thoughts or some of your best life lessons in the comments below.