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Shift Happens

"We are not creatures who need improvement; we are rebels who must lay down our arms.”~ C.S. Lewis

Resistance is painful, and often more than futile. It is down right paralyzing and dangerous. That is, if you really want freedom. I first learned this in analysis, when I left before I could experience breakthroughs. I was still running from discomfort and justifying it with some perfectly plausible excuse, like I have to move, or I can’t afford it. You know the drill, because we all do it. Freedom has come from facing my pain, and breaking the pattern that reinforced it. It’s about waking up, and becoming conscious. It’s never been about finding a new anything, but becoming new in the way that I see and experience what is present. For that, I rely on God and the Holy Spirit, because my vision is always limited. Thank God for unanswered prayers, because I am sure I would have played out the same old unconscious pattern, had I not tried to stay awake and healthy.

A really good friend taught me a lot about real freedom in recovery, because she lives free. I love that about her, and we always seem to find each other when one of us is slipping into despair or paralysis. It’s always a simple but profound truth that she slips into ordinary conversation that loosens the python from my stomach. Last week, as I told her some very hopeful, and very welcome good news about a project I was working on, she smiled and said,

“Well, yes. You didn’t give up.”

Part of me feels like I deserve a Nobel Prize for Peace for all the demons I’ve sat with, but didn’t strike. I’ve learned that they come back around for a survey when I’m on the brink of a shift, just to make sure I mean business. I’ve stopped thinking that I’ll ever be home free. I actually thank them, and send them on their way saying

“Oh, it’s you again, with a different angle. Sorry; been there done that.”

And I don’t give them my energy once I recognize that, and I give myself something to eat because I likely haven’t in days. Then, the real work begins, because I’ve created a vacuum. Shift happens in that space, and stuck energy now moves. What the mind could not fashion as a remedy, the body and spirit experience as relief. And, then on to new connection, and one that gives life.

I stopped fighting anyone or anything in recovery because it felt really good. It is also an axiom of recovery, and it has saved my sanity, and enabled me to know peace. What I had to learn, was how to stop fighting things that arose within myself, and listen to them. It was embarrassing to see how I had sought out distractions before to avoid this delicate and often uncomfortable process, but I wanted the disease out of me; root and branch. It is such a blessed possibility that it can happen for those of us addicted to anything; I am in awe of the mystery of this grace.

The darkness of addiction severed my heart connection and I walked the world listening only to the things I could see, or logically deduce. I shut down the connection to the world behind my eyes; the world where true and honest vision comes from. A loving world that is fashioned by God, and felt in much more subtle ways.

When something hurts or terrifies me today, I try to say just that. And, no more than that, because judgement puts me right back into the world of right and wrong that caused me so much trouble. When I have the courage to admit that I am hurt and scared, something magic happens. Something shifts, and I feel the darkness leave. It can’t abide for long where perfect love lives, and I know where that is. At least how to get back to it when I’ve wandered too far away from it.

There are many things happening at alarming speed and velocity around us. Systems are collapsing; leaders are betraying and the earth’s fury is erupting. Or, maybe you just lost something. It’s a chance for real freedom, if you are willing to see it that way. Some dependencies are natural, and healthy, but many are not. I am so very grateful to have God show me the difference, and to make the choice for freedom when I can.

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