I’ve continued to practice my spiritual connection. I’m blessed to have a very patient and loving husband who greets me every morning with a cup of hot coffee. He closes the door behind him as he knows the next hour is for me. After a few sips of coffee, I take out my journal and begin to write about anything that lingered from the day before. I also make a gratitude list of five things I’m grateful for. A few simple things and I feel connected again. I feel a part of. And I’m reminded, I never have to live that life again.
Now that my story has been laid out so beautifully, I can see the details that make up the fabric of my life. I see the strength and courage it took for this little girl to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
While I generally leave the advice-giving to the professionals, I just wrote my first book, The Making of a Woman, so that qualifies me to weigh in on this topic. Within my realm, I’m qualified to share my thoughts because my experience is just that—my experience.
Growing up in a very regimented household I was allowed very little wiggle room when it came to making my own decisions. It probably made my parent’s job easier by just telling us what to do. But it did not prepare me for the world once I moved out. I didn’t know how to decide if I liked dresses or pants, boys or girls, or what my talents were. My parents made those decisions for me. So when I moved out and into the real world I didn’t have the tools necessary to acquire the answer for myself. I allowed others to make those decisions, just like when I was a kid.
I’ve read a lot of Brene’ Brown over the last few years. She is a research professor who was spent the last two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. Also being a woman in recovery, she explains clearly the topic of shame and its difference compared to guilt. Shame is a focus on self and guilt is a focus on behavior. Shame says, “I am bad.” Guilt says, “I did something bad.”
I first learned about meditation in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. Within the twelve steps of recovery, step 11 says: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for the knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. Initially, there was no way I could sit still without my body and mind getting squirrely and fidgety. My thoughts were rapid and shot in from every direction. It was terrible! And it was something I needed to learn in order to stay sober. Urgh!