Archive for category Recovery
Graceful is not a word I’d ever use to describe myself – as a teen, a young woman or someone in the throes of midlife. Never had much style, coordination, or panache – things I once associated with grace. Am I aging gracefully? Am I embracing getting older with any decorum or style? I’m certainly embracing midlife with more authenticity than my early years. Why? I think my definition of grace has changed.
Grace is the space where I’m comfortable in my skin. The past no longer defines me. My mistakes are now experiments expanding my comfort zone. The recovery process (which I’ve mentioned in previous posts was from food addiction, perfectionism, codependency, relationship addiction, & abandonment issues) had released a grand scale of introspection and hindsight – two key elements to living in the grace that allows me to be transparent with those I work with, counsel, and in my writing. Grace is an attitude that allows others to be who they are in my life without impacting my joy and peace and allows forgiveness to be active in my relationships.
Thoughts living gracefully:
1) Know thyself. Work a program that will allow you to discover your motivation, desires, dreams and emotions.
2) Allow yourself to feel. Denying or postponing your emotions is a pathway to poor coping habits that will only hinder you on the path to creating and living a life that you enjoy.
3) Take control of distorted thinking. Understand that your negative or positive self-image is something everyone else sees no matter how hard you try to project another persona. Your self-talk influences all you do.
4) Recognize your values. Trade compromises, people pleasing actions, should haves and have to’s for actions that truly represent your cores values.
5) Take advantage of hindsight. The past remains with us for a reason. It can hold you back or take you past your comfort zone into creative pursuits you may have never imagined.
6) Be unstoppable. Realize that your opinions, your art, your work, your experiences – your voice matters and using that voice will strengthen not only yourself but others exposed to your vulnerability.
7) Be selfish. Don’t compromise on the time you take to discover you. After all, that time will result in the best version of you and everyone benefits – kids, spouses, partners, friends, the workplace.
8) Boycott ‘busy’ and ‘multi-tasking.’ Both behaviors interfere with how present you are for your life which is happening right now. You’ll experience a different quality of life when you engage fully in the person or experience in front of you.
9) Declare yourself. If you’re a writer, say so, a artist, speak it. There’s no more time for “Well, I like to _____’ or ‘I’m sort of good at _____.” At this point you either are or are not so tell the world and pursue it.
10) Risk love. Yup, I know. Take a leap for love and there could be (will be) hurt. There comes a time when you realize that there is no permanent downside to loving others when you’re living gracefully – aware of who you are and what you want in your life.
How are you living gracefully? Your sharing blesses us all!
Create joyfully today!
© 2013 Carolyn Moore
“Creativity is contagious pass it on” ~ Albert Einstein
It’s obvious I’m a Northerner. I crave the sun. The shutters are wide open, inviting the uplifting light to warm the house as well as my soul. My mind envisions sunbathing and my body longs to go running. I don’t want to miss a second of gorgeous daylight. It’s about 20 degrees too cold for the casual walker to be out. For me, anything above thirty at this point in winter is welcome respite. I’m a Jersey girl at heart though, through and through, enduring the winters, loving the spring-summer-fall transitions, needing the city-country connection. Florida humidity just isn’t my cup of tea. Yet.
I’m so happy to experience this much sun and warmth in March! I don’t mind that bursting outdoors will have to wait till I am fully spent creatively. My butt is firmly planted. Mornings are my creative time but I do have to discipline myself daily not to succumb to distraction. I struggle with maintaining a steady output of words because I love research, brainstorming, reading, and encouraging others. I could spend all day just discovering and posting encouraging quotes and articles from others to stir up my friends.
But that wouldn’t serve the words I want to share and after a several decades of life, I do realize what I have to share matters and is worth something. We all do. Our stories are important; evidence that as humans we have so much more in common than we ever could imagine. Each unique personality paints a compelling masterpiece illustrating that we are not alone in our fears, our successes and failures, and our tragedies and triumphs. People connect through story. They heal; they grow bolder; they reach out to others who need stirring up.
All we have to do is show up. Be vulnerable. Try transparency. Risk everything. Serve your calling to create. Look past the possibilities of embarrassment, failure, ridicule. Sure, all that will probably happen occasionally, but those experiences serve the greater purpose – for growth and to serve others. If you’re not committed to a set creative time each day, make a decision to do it without self-imposing restrictions that hinder – just do it (oh, so Nike, but so true!) Creativity is not about being perfect – make a leap!
What stops you from a daily creative practice? Stir up others and share!
For a little extra inspiration, try a dose of Eric Maisel, creativity expert and author of Creative Recovery. An excellent online course at en*theos Academy – Your Best Life in the Arts course, also by Maisel.
Create joyfully today!
© 2013 Carolyn Moore
It dismays me every time I see that I’ve let so much time pass since my last post. No, it doesn’t bother me to admit that because just like everyone else, my forehead is emblazoned with the words “work in progress.” Here’s what has been on my mind (and plate) lately. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the idea of uncertainty and creativity for dual reasons – I’m giving my first seminar on creativity at the end of the month and I’ve been rereading Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance by Jonathan Fields.
I do a lot of encouraging or coaching (as is might be termed by some) and I’ve noticed that handling uncertainty is an ability that a lot of artists do not possess. When faced with doubts or fears, I’ve seen artists push themselves forward to success, or self-sabotage, or choose a path that will ensure them the least amount of pain during the process of creation. In recovery, I’ve learned that this is training we should have had as children – to deal with the uncertainty of outcomes in a healthy manner. Not that I’m suggesting that all artists or writers are recovering from some ‘ism,’ but that’s always a healthy avenue to investigate if you find yourself constantly short-changing your creative process to stop the pain.
What’s this pain; this uncertainty about? Fields asserts (and I agree) that the double nature of uncertainty is the fear of what the outcome will be and how the outcome will be perceived (judged.) Like most artists, I realize the fear signals the foothold of what could be a fantastic idea – an idea worth exploring or an opportunity that shouldn’t be passed up because the experience will be invaluable. It’s what we choose to do as the pain creeps into our psyche that will determine the depth of the creative process.
Fields details an experiment where subjects were asked to choose a ball from one of two urns. Urn #1 is filled with 100 balls – 50 black and 50 white. Urn #2 also contains 100 balls but the percentage of which is black or white is unknown. The subjects had to bet $100 on a color of their choice. Then they had to choose which urn to pick from. Can you guess which most people chose? Even though neither configuration had a mathematical or logical advantage, the majority of the subjects choose the first urn.
Because pain is uncomfortable and our fight or flight instinct usually prompts us to flight, most people will choose the path of ‘constraint.’ They stop exploring, close off options and create rules, look for systems and processes to justify their choices because of their aversion to the unknown and to being judged. At that point the adapting, testing, and experimenting and evolving is over. Continuing in the uncertainty, on the other hand, can lead to heightened creativity and a level of creative options that would otherwise not have been seen.
Sounds logical, right? But as I constantly ask my therapist – what do I do with all these feelings? (now that I’m not stuffing them, eating them, and denying them.) He says – just feel them. As crappy as uncertainty, fear, and anxiety feels – feel them and keep on creating. It’s okay not to know or be able to predict exactly how things will turn out. It’s very uncomfortable at first but it’s a worthwhile pursuit because what we live out in our creative processes, we also live out in our personal lives. What benefits one will benefit the other. Push through, work through the pain, and be amazed at what you produce.
How have you dealt with uncertainty in your life and your creative process lately?
©2012 Carolyn Moore
And finally, here’s the next installment on Recovery…
… codependency (the Merriam-Webster definition) – an excessive emotional or psychological reliance on a partner, typically one with an illness or addiction. I would suggest that this definition is no longer as accurate as when coined in the AA realm decades ago. I discovered Melody Beattie’s book ‘Codependent No More’ in the late 80s, before my children were born. My partner and I saw ourselves illustrated in those pages, but due to our failure to hook up with a CODA (Codependents Anonymous) group, we never found a way out of the insanity nor did we understand from where it originated. We also did not see how we were in a codependent relationship when no illness or addictions were present. After two daughters and many personal trials, our 24 year marriage was shattered by the weight of decades of denial and lies.
At the time, I was baffled by my reaction to the breakup. I had decided to end my marriage and yet my emotional reaction to this action was the complete opposite of what one would expect. I was insanely upset that he did not want to save the relationship despite my desire to end it. My emotions were as out of control as my life’s circumstances had become (unemployment plus a bad economy.) After several months of tears and trying to figure out the ‘why,’ a friend suggested that I attend Celebrate Recovery. I did not understand why I would find any answers at CR (which I thought was simply a Christian 12 step program) but I attended until the process began to make some sense.
What I learned in those first few months, working the 12 steps & 8 principles of CR –
1) codependent relationships don’t always present just between partners who are involved in the ‘traditional’ addictions (drugs, sex, alcohol.)
2) that codependency is, in my opinion, a result of the interaction between people who have unhealthy coping mechanism for dealing with pain (present & past)
3) some addictions are not as obvious as others, nor thought of as destructive (ie. food, shopping, people pleasing, perfectionism.)
At CR, I heard people from different circumstances and situations talk about their feelings and experiences and I could empathize with those feelings though our experiences were different. It sounds ridiculous on the surface. How could I genuinely relate to a young woman who has been raising several kids for a decade with an alcoholic husband? I realized it wasn’t about where we were now, but about where we had come from and how we were taught to cope. It was not about the content of our stories at all.
Now I was faced with the reality that I did not have to act or react the way I had in the past (similarly, an addict realizes they don’t have to have the drink, but it is a habitual practice of coping with pain.) The disease itself has a root – a beginning – that is about more than becoming addicted. I became addicted to numbing the pain (past) and it was the only way I knew how to cope in my adult relationships (present.) I could simply try to retrain myself to respond differently (to have sobriety,) but there would always be a struggle between me and the addiction. I began to believe that ripping out that root and facing it, developing a new way to cope with pain, would be a more effective path to recovery. And onto the next leg of the journey…
When someone has suffered a trauma, we know they seek to recover a sense of peace and balance – the very thing they lost due to this unexpected event that crashed into their lives. When we refer to addicts & alcoholics, in terms of recovery, in the acceptable sense, we say that these individuals seek to recover their sobriety. Unfortunately what we, as a society miss completely is that sobriety is a goal but not the point. Or you might say, not the punchline. No one would deny that it is a battle to get sober whether its sex, food, smoking, alcohol, PTSD, or drugs you’re struggling to overcome. However, once the battle is won, so to speak, oftentimes families are in tatters, relationships are destroyed, people are separated from those they fought with and for, for this sobriety, floundering, wondering why life is only minimally better after the defeat of the great big ‘ism.’
Recovery it seems, to me, is like child-rearing. Everyone tells you that it’ll change your life and it’s really hard, but they never tell you how gut-wrenchingly bad it will be at times. It’s like that with the healing that accompanies sobriety. Conquering an addiction is hard. Nailing the root cause of why the addiction began is excruciating. Some people never get to this part of the process. They stick with the 12 steps and go to their meetings, they stay sober, but they never know that life can be better than just drug-less.
Finding the root cause – the ‘why did I choose this method to avoid, not feel, escape, stuff, repress, or hide, what I was feeling and experiencing. Why did I feel so angry, abandoned, powerless to control my circumstances and therefore seek to give up that control to feel whatever pleasure I could grab. This kind of introspection requires an honest most people are not capable of – we like to be liked, we like to please others and we like to look good in front of others.
Even further from this intimate recovery process are the non-addicts – the family members and friends, not because they have suffered at the hands of addictive behaviors – though that’s totally valid but because they have not acknowledged or healed from their part as enablers in the relationships. They are the people who had to deny what they were feeling, experiencing, repressing, and stuffing, keeping secrets about. Spending their time keeping the peace, accepting unacceptable behaviors, making excuses. In their attempt to control, they are as out of control as the addict himself. And codependency now enters the conversation…