Better Late Than Never

Fall was late this year in Vermont. We wondered if it would ever arrive or just go straight from summer to winter. The trees were parched as we had little rain. And we wondered if this would affect their color. We waited. We watched. We wondered.

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Then it came. And it was as glorious as ever. I found myself once again in awe at this amazing natural cycle and rhythm. Nature knows. Nature has patience. Nature follows her own timetable. And it was better late than never.

I am also following mine. In this journey called life I am finding I need to have patience too. For so long I have meandered. I have traveled different paths only to find they ended and I had to turn around. Others paths have led me closer to the answers this heart of mine yearns for. Yet I’m still meandering. I am still learning. And I am still growing.

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It is a beautiful thing, this journey. As I dive a little deeper into who I am and to what my purpose here is, I find surprising discoveries..

I am more present. I am feeling tremendous gratitude for the many precious gifts in my life. I am listening closer to what my heart is telling me. It’s not always perfectly clear, but I’m getting better at truly hearing what’s inside me. It’s a journey of progress. Of steps. Of surrendering. Of opening and expanding and most of all…letting go.

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After 23 plus years of sobriety, I think I’m finally figuring it all out. Better late than never.

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My Secret Garden

Someone recently told me that I have a secret garden inside of me. And when I heard this…I knew it to be true.

It is deep in my heart. Deep inside where my spirit lives. Deep inside where it has laid dormant for a very long time.

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I think I had forgotten it was there. Buried under the overgrown weeds and tangled branches. The debris and wreckage that comes from loss and heartache. Piled so thick so that no sunlight could reach it.

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Slowly though, I have pulled away the piles and the layers to uncover what has been asleep and buried. The garden of my heart.

And in this uncovering, a wondrous and amazing thing has happened. The garden has come back to life. In fact it’s bursting with buds and blooms. It’s big and bright and vibrant. It’s rich and earthy and warm. It’s full of hope and joy…

And most of all…love

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As a child, I was enchanted by the story ” The Secret Garden”. Today, as a grown woman, I am discovering my very own secret garden. And I don’t want to keep it a secret. I want to share it with the world.

Because in the words of Francis Hodgson Burnett, author of “The Secret Garden”

It blooms and blooms and every morning new miracles are revealed.

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So I am sharing this garden I’ve found with others. Please come visit it anytime:

http://www.facebook.com/thegardenofrecovery

What better time than spring, the season of rebirth, to discover your own secret garden.

Shadow Boxing

In AA, as we work Step 4, we look deeply at ourselves to illuminate those things that we need to change or work on. I’ve also heard this called “shadow boxing”. Because it is the darker parts of our hearts and souls where these things reside. In the shadows…

This process is important. For many reasons. It is shining a light on our darkest parts so that we can see them more clearly and so that we can begin to grow in new ways and new directions. Because once those shadows are in the light they have less power over us.

It is said that in the midst of great loss, failure, and struggle we move from unconsciousness to a deeper awareness and consciousness. We feel an inner freedom. We find grace. And we see rightly. From darkness to lightness. A spiritual awakening.

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Our souls grow best in the shadowlands.

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In the light, there will still be shadows. But now they can reflect truth and radiate compassion for others who also have shadows. They allow us to love and be loved. They are what make us human and ever evolving works in progress.

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Shadow boxing…another gift of sobriety.

Breathing Under Water

Every so often I read a book that is incredibly powerful and inspiring. A book that causes me to think and feel and wonder and learn.  A book that opens my mind and my heart and my spirit. A book that affects me so deeply that it moves me to tears.

“Breathing Under Water” by Richard Rohr is just such a book.

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I had no idea when I opened to the first page that it would impact me so profoundly.

But perhaps I should have realized it would after reading this poem in the introduction:

BREATHING UNDER WATER

I built my house by the sea.
Not on the sands, mind you;
not on the shifting sand.
And I built it of rock.
A strong house
by a strong sea.
And we got well acquainted, the sea and I.
Good neighbors.
Not that we spoke much.
We met in silences.
Respectful, keeping our distance,
but looking our thoughts across the fence of sand.
Always, the fence of sand our barrier,
always, the sand between.

And then one day,
– and I still don’t know how it happened –
the sea came.
Without warning.

Without welcome, even
Not sudden and swift, but a shifting across the sand like wine,

less like the flow of water than the flow of blood.
Slow, but coming.
Slow, but flowing like an open wound.
And I thought of flight and I thought of drowning and I thought of death.
And while I thought the sea crept higher, till it reached my door.
And I knew, then, there was neither flight, not death, nor drowning.
That when the sea comes calling, you stop being neighbors
Well acquainted, friendly-at-a-distance neighbours
And you give your house for a coral castle,
And you learn to breathe underwater.

(Carol Bieleck, R.S.C.J. from an unpublished work)

And I cried. Not tears of sadness but tears of awareness. Because I am learning how to breathe under water.  And my tears come from a place of gratitude. Because the sea came into my life too.

And I thought I was drowning.

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So I let myself drown.

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And it was then that I began to learn to breathe underwater.

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This book reminds me to never stop learning…

How to breathe underwater.

Because the sea will always be a part of life.

23 Years

On Thursday, I celebrated 23 years of sobriety. My son Paul, presented me with my medallion. It was a very special and magical night filled with fellowship, friendship, and love.

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This is the gift of sobriety. And while it’s important to celebrate these milestones for our own recovery, it is equally important to share it so others can see that it works. Long term sobriety is possible. And it can be beautiful. Life can be wonderful without drinking. Life is wonderful because I’m not drinking.

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This past year, my journey took me deeper into my recovery. And what I found there is nothing short of a miracle.

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I have written and spoken of my gratitude, my growth, my spirituality and my faith. I have shared the incredible gifts that come because I am sober. Gifts that I needed. Gifts that gave me back myself. Gifts that were lessons and blessings.

And I have experienced the promises. I am no longer afraid of the darkness or of feeling what needs to be felt. I embrace it all. I feel and experience it all. I cherish it all. Because I know now, no matter what crosses my path, it will be ok. I will be ok. It doesn’t stay dark forever. Light and love always shine through.

23 years.

One day at a time.

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Turning The Corner

On the road of life we sometimes come to a place where…suddenly and almost without warning… the fog lifts.

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And as you turn the corner, you can see clearly, that the path in front of you is wide open.

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The past has become the past. It is behind me now. I’m standing in the present moment. Seeing, feeling, touching, hearing, tasting.

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The future completely unknown. But not in a frightening way. An exciting way. I am finally trusting the adventure of being alive.

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It has been quite some time since I have really looked around. Really noticed this amazing life I’m living.

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And to see how important it was for me to go through the pain and sadness instead of around it. Because in doing so I came out the other side.

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And I found that I am ok. Better than ok. I am me again.

The lightness, the happiness, the joy is back.

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I’m standing on a different edge. One that’s in the here and now.

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Knowing that I have discovered something inside me through this journey of healing that won’t let me fall.  But instead it will give me the wings I need…

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to fly.

Transformation

As I watch the earth transform from autumn to winter, I know that I transforming too.

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The world around me seems to do it so effortlessly. A perfect tempo that the earth dances to as she follows her rhythm and the natural flow of change.

For me, this time of transformation has felt a little shaky and precarious. I have begun this journey of growth and of healing. The path is in front of me, waiting.

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But my pace sometimes falters and slows.

There are days where everything seems to fall into place. And life feels full of hope and possibilities.

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Yet there are other days when it feels as though I am moving through the fog. Unsure and tentative.

I wonder, why isn’t this easier by now? What keeps bringing me  back…to the past? And why do I linger there?

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When I know it is the present moment I must step into.

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And so I look to nature. I watch as she transforms. And I learn.

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“To everything there is a season. And to everything a time. A time to heal, a time to break down, and a time to build up. A time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance…”

(Ecclesiastes)

I am transforming. At my own pace. And like nature, I am following my own rhythm.

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