The Way

You’re Kind of a Great Mess

You're kind of a great mess

“You’ve been hanging around here, trying to make yourself invisible behind this fragile little fuck-up routine of yours, but you can’t. You’re anything but invisible. You’re big. And you’re kind of a great mess, like a candle burning on both ends, but it’s beautiful. No amount or booze or weed or attitude is going to hide that.” ~ Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the way we treat ourselves. Even those of us without obvious addictions. Many of my friends, beautiful, wonderfully creative and caring people, hurt themselves in so many ways. A few of us have trouble with recognizable addictions like alcohol and cigarettes, toxic relationships, unhealthy eating habits, too many hours at work, etc. For many of us, our negative habits are more internal: we put ourselves down, decry aspects of our bodies, doubt our worth, sabotage our potential and can be outright nasty when talking to own hearts. We say “I’m not good enough” far too often. We make ourselves so much smaller than we really are.

“The world beats you up on its own without you doing it to yourself.”  (The Way, 2010)

Nowadays, there is so much pressure to BE something else: more successful in business, finding the right partner, looking the right way, buying the right things, that it is no wonder so many of us think we don’t measure up to some preconceived notion of what we believe society expects us to be. By aiming to check things off on an impossible list we have forgotten how to trust our own hearts. Figuring out what are our passions, our strengths, the ways in which we can give back to the community or serve mankind. This kind of thinking is not usually encouraged and these goals are not made priorities. There’s so much pressure to become this or that, that little value is placed on just being true to ourselves.

Right now, all I want for myself and my friends (that includes you), is for us to be good to ourselves. To not make ourselves small by hiding and running away from our issues. To not hide parts of ourselves in shame. To recognize that it’s okay to have struggled and suffered and come out on the other side and to understand that it’s okay to celebrate that too. To be patient and tender and supportive if we’re still finding our way through. To honour that place inside that whispers wishes and hopes and tells us what we really want. Listen for it, underneath all the harsh words and cruel doubts. I know it’s hard to reach that place, to believe in that truth, especially if for years, we’ve been hearing something else. We ALL have good in us and deserve kindness and care, and deserve to stand up for ourselves, even if it’s to stand up to our own selves sometimes.

I get that it’s easier sometimes to be hard on ourselves, about our appearance or our progress toward our goals. But trying is what’s important. Reaching out to ask for help or to help others; doing the work to understand ourselves better; hoping, believing and trusting that we are all improving, fall backs and all, are the things that really matter.

As Spike told Buffy: “I love who you are, what you do, and how you try. You are very brave. I’ve seen your kindness and your strength and your weaknesses. I’ve seen the best and the worst of you. Everything that you are, makes you beautiful.” Okay granted, Buffy was fighting vampires and other supernatural demons but we’re fighting our own demons too aren’t we? And we make messes and cry and scream against the madness and we try. Because we try and we fight, we are all the more beautiful in my eyes.

Love and light,

Phoenix

The Way of the Sober Blogging Network

Hello MSBN (My Sober Blogging Network)!

Glad to see most of you doing fine, shadows, ashes, flames and all, and standing tall, making your mark as we wave at one another along our paths.

I’ve been quiet in this online space but don’t worry it’s been a beautiful whirlwind otherwise as I’ve been caught up with creative activities, friends and family life, and lots of introspection. Is that characteristic of the six to seven week phase?

During the last two weeks I’ve been pretty reflective and I’m happy to report that it has been in a fairly non-judgmental way. In a way it’s almost as if I’ve stepped out of my shoes for a moment and I’m holding my own hand and listening to myself. Does that make any sense? It’s as if I’m finally starting to listen to myself with kind ears.

Last night was the first time since my last post that I checked in with any of you and strangely enough I was a bit afraid to. Not entirely sure why but it may have to do with the fact that I came to fully appreciate the alone time. While I was spending a lot of physical time with friends and family and offering emotional support when needed, I exposed little of what was going on in my mind. Not because I felt I would be misunderstood or anything like that. I just needed to be. With me. It’s a sorting through process as far as I see it, in a very good way.

So I was hesitant to open the links to your worlds once more. I’m glad I did though. In short order I was chuckling and tearing up as I read what you’ve been posting over the last couple of weeks I’ve missed you all.

Have you ever seen The Way? It’s a powerful film about an ophthalmologist, Tom Avery (Martin Sheen) who goes to France following the death of his adult son, Daniel (Emilio Estevez), killed in the Pyrenees during a storm while walking the Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James), in  Spain. Tom’s purpose is initially to retrieve his son’s body. However, in a combination of grief and homage to his son, Tom decides to walk the ancient spiritual trail where his son died, taking Daniel’s ashes with him. While walking the Camino, Tom meets others from around the world, all looking for greater meaning in their lives. People walk the Camino for various reasons. Physical challenge, cultural immersion, spiritual exploration or journey to repentance, all have been reasons for people to walk the Camino for over 1000 years.

The-Way-Emilio-Estevez-and-Martin-Sheen-6

This little network we’ve formed reminds me of this film. Strangers who are each on their own journey, meet and form bonds just like that. We each have our own reasons for starting our journeys which feel very personal to us. We gingerly step onto our paths thinking that no one can understand what we feel or what we’ve gone through, and then as we walk along, by chance, we meet. We connect. We find out that there are others who can say: I understand. I can so relate. I know. I feel really lucky to have met you all and cannot express how much this network helps me. Thank you.

Okay enough mushyness. I have 17 posts and 17 drafts! What is that all about? Time to get to work. Have a beautiful day everyone!

Phoenix.