With every yoga class there is an intention set in beginning moments of the class, sometimes sitting criss cross applesauce, sometimes standing like a mountain, straight and tall, firmly grounded, connected to the sky. Both ways with prayer hands at heart center. Usually it's one word to focus on when your mind starts to wander off the mat.
Last night when the teacher requested the intention be set I did that split second scramble in my mind to pick the best one for that moment, for me, then I heard her say "maybe you choose to devote your practice tonight to someone who is struggling."
As I sat there, hands at heart center the word READINESS rose up from my heart. I'd been on the phone most of the day and in contact with two mothers of children who'd relapsed, a daughter of an alcoholic father and a had an engaging and fun conversation with a treatment professional who has been in recovery, which means zero substance use, since he was 18.
(I crush so hard on the people in long term recovery. They have a secret that I wish I knew when I was younger but am fully living in now. That story of living the truly natural life is for another journal posting though.)
The mom's and the daughters were struggling to help their loved ones get well. Their loved ones were struggling too. I knew there was help to be found. I knew that the struggle could end. I knew there was hope.
So I dedicated my yoga practice to the strugglers. Those who are struggling with a loved one and those who are struggling with their own wellness. As I began to move, I prayed with my body, my spirit, my heart and my breath for their READINESS.
Readiness to take the help that was being offered. Readiness to receive healing. Readiness to admit they needed help. Readiness to accept the disease and learn how to cope, to find peace, to end the struggle on both sides. The loved one with addiction and the relative.
In each pose I pushed myself a little deeper and held those mothers and children, daughter and father in my heart, feeling READINESS with my whole being. Ready to go to an uncomfortable place in order to find release of resistance and then to open up to healing. Then I began to hold all the people struggling in addiction and their relatives/loved ones praying with my body, my heart and my spirit that they be made ready. Feel READINESS.
Ready to embark on their journey of healing and transformation.
It's a word that you hear often in the realm of treating addiction. "They (the person with addiction) have to be ready." The thing is their relatives/loved ones have to "be ready" too for recovery to work. They have to be ready to move mountains, to open up to receive help, healing and transformation. To be ready to work on their own recovery from the effects of addiction so that they can effectively help their addicted loved ones. I know that my own readiness had an strong effect on my child's readiness.
I'd begun my recovery first, I didn't know that's what was happening at the time and I didn't know how powerful it would be or how powerful over addiction I would eventually become but my healing worked miracles in my own family.
I began by sitting at the end of my bed for a little while each day, legs crossed, easy seated and close my eyes and pray and breathe and say "make me ready." My intention was to make me ready for a kind of love I hadn't experienced but felt with my soul existed. With that prayer, the barriers to that love began to rise up for healing. With that prayer I began to open up to the help that was being offered to me, to actually see that it was there. I began to accept healing, mind, body and spirit and finally go all the way into a process of transformation.
Yoga taught me how to listen, move to cues and to breathe into resistance and discomfort. It taught me how to bring peace to my body, my mind and my heart no matter what was going on externally and from that place deep inside I could move mountains, survive battles and quiet demons. From that place I also experienced joy, bliss, and contentment but first I had to find healing, learn stillness, feel calm with my body.
I was ready and willing to do whatever it took to heal myself, my child and my family. I listened to the cues, "intend, next right move, breathe, next right move, breathe, hold, deepen, release, concentrate, contemplate, meditate, rest." I did it in yoga and I did it with my life.
Then I rolled out my mat, felt the sensation of bliss as I settled into the space, and joy when my intention for READINESS rose up for those who were struggling. A big YES from my heart. I listened to the cues, accepted the love, the help, the transformative energy being shared in the studio and devoted my practice to the ones that needed just that tiny window of opportunity and connection to open their hearts accept the hope, the healing and the transformation.
The last thing I'd texted one of the moms before I walked into the yoga studio was, "Be sure and let him know that everyone is FOR him, not against him."
The most powerful thing you can do when fighting addiction or struggling with anything really is speak from your heart straight to the heart of someone who is suffering. To do that you must be calm, connected and come from a place of love. It works like magic when you tap into love.
May you be ready to receive the hope, healing and transformation and begin your walk on the path of recovery.
I promise you will only find love, peace, and joy on the other side.
From my heart to yours,
Artistic Credit: Jen Lemen
"Happy Mother's Day Mom.
Words can't express the amount love, respect & gratitude that I have for you.
You brought me in and kept me here multiple times. You've been my number one fan since August 12th 1993 and that hasn't changed since. You always said I saved you from the lifestyle you were living when you got pregnant with me and over the past two years I have come to fully believe that to be true, based off the fact that you have reciprocated that exact saving and brought me out of my lowest point and pushed me into a new life. And ever since then you've done your best to support and love me unconditionally.
I appreciate you the most. The worlds best mom I'm so lucky & proud to be able to call you MY mom. My best friend.
Thank you for being you.
Happy Mother's Day.
I love you."
I woke up to this message from my son. He's 23. He's in recovery.
His life made me a mother. The role I love the best. The thing I am happiest being. Mom to him and his sisters.
His birth changed my life as giving birth will do. Each one of them altered my way of being in the world with their unique gifts, needs and personalities. Each child brought me to a new level of loving, understanding, presence and awe. Each one continues to mirror who I am and what I've shown them by my way of being.
Being a mom of someone in active addiction is one of the greatest challenges I've ever faced. The biggest battle I've ever gone through. There were moments I thought maybe one of us was not going to survive. There are things you will never understand or comprehend if you've haven't walked the path and if you haven't, I hope you never do. It takes a level of devotion and unconditional love that you don't even know you are equipped with to overcome it. It requires superhuman strength, patience and awareness. It requires an unreasonable depth of faith. And even then with all those super powers activated, not everyone survives.
Being a mother of someone in recovery, a sober, clean child/young adult is like giving birth all over again and being given a second chance. His addiction was the catalyst for whole family healing, for whole family wellness, a lifestyle I didn't know existed until now. I feel reborn as a mother, a new kind of mother. In a strange, brutal, beautiful way addiction gave us an incredible gift. The gift of life in recovery. I often thank him for being the catalyst for the lifestyle we are living now. It came at a great cost. He's an amazing human and I am proud of the work he's put into his recovery and continues to devote to staying well, happy, peaceful and clean.
It is with such a deep and abiding sense of gratitude that I sit here in my favorite spot in my house this morning, appreciating the lives of my children and the gifts and life lessons they've brought into my life. I feel blessed by their love, their lives, their mirroring of my gifts, my love, and my beauty.
What a strange, beautiful, miraculous thing it is to be called mother, to be able to create a human with love, with your body, to feed that human with your body, to watch your creation come to life and become its own person, expressing his or her unique gifts, beauty and love in the world.
Someone without any children once asked me, "Isn't it hard having kids" I feel like he was weighing "my baggage," It was during a challenging phase in my motherhood and my personal life.
"No." I replied. "My kids are like little balls of love walking around. I'd have more if I could." I adore "my baggage." I wouldn't have it any other way.
These three children were hard earned. I prayed for them. I waited for them. Sometimes I almost lost faith that they would be here in the flesh. I suffered years of infertility. Sometimes I thought maybe I didn't deserve them, that I was being punished for choices I'd made in the past and I wasn't going to be given what I so deeply desired. I wanted a house full of children, laughter, dancing, silliness, togetherness, comfort, snuggling, wonder and love.
Sure there are challenges to bringing humans to the world. There are moments of beauty and moments of deep pain. Being a woman able to create life and nourish life with my body, with my heart, with my being is the most perfect life I can imagine. Creating an environment where love grows and flourishes is the most magnificent way to express myself, my gifts, my contribution to humanity.
I feel spectacularly blessed to be a mother today and every day.
I feel especially happy this morning to be a sober mother. Sobriety is a gift I give myself and my children. I chose to become a sober human, the day my son began his recovery. I keep choosing it. I don't see any other way as magical as this way now. I wish I'd always known this way. My wellness, wellbeing, emotional stability and true presence is what they need to grow and flourish. Being sober is part of that equation. Modeling sobriety for my girls, I hope, will instill in them a desire to live a life free of substances and not take any chances with their brain, their body or their spirit.
I feel incredibly honored to be Mitchell, Charlotte and Ella's mother and mom#2 to all the other children, young and old who have called me by that name.
I feel lucky to be surrounded by women devoted to their motherhood, honoring their own ability to create life, to the betterment of life for all children and to creating an environment where children grow and flourish in love.
This morning I say a prayer and light a candle to the mother that brought me to life to do my part in spreading love while Im here on earth. Being a daughter of someone in active addiction compounded by also being a daughter of active alcoholics is an emotionally challenging existence. Overcoming the effects of that has been a journey in itself. I appreciate the gifts that have risen from the journey and the light of my mother's love that tried ever so hard to shine through the disease. I wish I knew then what I know now. After all, I know that her soul is peaceful, free and no longer suffering and for that I am grateful. I also feel her with me most of the time. Happy Mother's day to my mother, my angel.
This morning, a deep bow to the great mother. Mother earth, who supports, feeds and nourishes us so profoundly and reminds of our true nature. May we always treat you with the respect, honor and appreciation you deserve.
Deep bow to all the mothers who love my children as their own. I appreciate you with my WHOLE BEING. You women are my super heroes.
And a deep bow and prayer of gratitude to all the mothers who came before us and helped pave the way and shared their mother wisdom so that we could be the best we could be.
Without mothers there is no life. Appreciating that truth today.
Namaste, mothers everywhere.
You are miraculous beings.
I watched the sunrise this morning, the morning of my 52nd birthday.
Yesterday I was part of a mayan ritual called a temezcal. It's a small hut meant to feel like the womb where you experience a shamanic death and rebirth, honor the four elements with prayer, drumbeat and song as well as make prayers for yourself and others while sitting in the darkened, heated, steamy womb like hut. I'll tell that whole story later but today, my birthday, I am feeling deeply appreciative of the most basic things.
This morning as the sun rose on my 52nd birthday. I was still, seated on the sand, on the beach in Puerto Morelos, Mexico.
I closed my eyes and listened to the breeze and felt the air on my skin. I breathed.
I listened to the sound of the water and felt its calm song.
I sat in the sand feeling a sense of grounding and connection.
I felt the warmth of the sun as it rose above the water line, behind the clouds and then fully into view.
I felt the love of my family, My friends as they began to send me love notes.
"The best gift you can give someone," I told my son after reading his love note to me, " is to tell them what you see and how you feel in their presence."
Today I feel seen. I feel loved. I feel appreciative of the beauty that is all around me.
Today I feel aligned, connected, present in my own life, to myself and to others.
Today I feel the effects of being reborn yesterday, out of a tiny little hut, surrounded by beautiful loving women on their own magical journey's of the soul.
Today I feel at peace.
I feel it in my bones. In my body. In my soul.
Today I feel ready for the next phase of my life. In the Mayan culture your 52nd birthday is of great significance. It is the beginning of a new cycle in life.
How fortuitous that I am here this day, my 52nd birthday, reborn.
My birthday wish rose up as I walked to the beach this morning to watch the sunrise.
I wish to live as I was designed, true to my purpose and to leave a legacy of love, of peace and of deep healing.
I used to wish for a certain kind of love, then I realized I am love. I always was. We all are.
We were born love. Nothing can change that and no one take that love away.
I am happy I was born. May you feel the love of my heart on this day and all days,
Family Recovery Activist