Ceremony, ritual sensation and right of passage. They live deep in our bones, our oldest form of memory, our DNA. This week I end and begin on that word ceremonial; award, competition, loss and win, and I hold one washed, watercolor memory for all of the ones I don’t remember. The rippling version of all the women I’ve ever been sitting in the back of my mind like the reflection of a tapestry in a mirrored black pool. The almost there picture holding them all together is soft edged and awkward. Ceremony, at first glance, in this place that I almost have, means; Do I deserve this? Why don’t I deserve this? Why does she deserve that? I don’t deserve this. In this place,I am missing the part of knowing if I am worthy of titles, ribbons, sashes, and clipboards. In this place, I am expected to cart around accessories that never belonged to me anyhow, and most importantly, in this place I am not yet realized, not yet. Something is different though, this time. I am changed.
I drape my spiritual guide pendant, mala beads, and Celtic locket over my neck and sit on my meditation pillow. This is right. These three symbolic and spiritual pieces of jewelry fit me perfectly. They match my insides and make sense for the coming year. They show that I am working in real time in sobriety as the real thing, and we all know it. They embody growth and are decorations of wisdom. I am a wiser woman. Maybe this really was my return of Saturn, my bat mitzvah in the realm of planetary alignment. Before I head out for the day, for coffee in my ornaments, I look at Michael and ask if I look like I am really someone who knows how to wear these things. I ask him if I look like I might know the correct password for wearing all of this spiritual jewelry if I am asked. Basically, I want to know if the world will find me ridiculous or not despite how wonderful I feel. He says that if anyone really asks me I should just show them my shoes, and his eyes shift down to my very yoga looking, yoga sandals. Well that settles that then, I say to him. Any notion of am I? or will they? disappears.
Growth is not measured in the way we want to measure it, and even our finest attempts at capturing this progress are never full enough. The whole truth of who and what we are, in its entirety, cannot be measured like we try so hard to do. We experience ourselves from one perspective, and we are experienced by others from their perspective. They will never experience us from our perspective. In this sense, we are all equal. We are all viewing the same sized portion of open glass from that window covered in paint. We are all responsible for listening to the portion of the picture we are experiencing because then we will all be able to remember it.
The Forgotten Song A Course in Miracles. “Not the whole song has stayed with you, but just a little wisp of melody, attached not to a person or a place or anything in particular. But you remember just from this little part, how lovely was the song, how wonderful the setting where you heard it, and how you loved those who were there and listened to you.”
Before we left Winnipeg, I accidentally found this interview on social model of disability while searching for the FRAME channel. It was one of those WOW moments. This high school teacher started talking to this blind teenager about how to change her perception of herself all throughout their previous school year. This girl really started asking herself why she was called disabled. Her teacher asked her if she was disabled at home, or if that was only something that happened when she went to school. She wondered if disabled was something that appeared with her social life and modified terms of daily activities in school. Her answer to these questions brought me to tears. She said that she did not feel like a disabled person at home: in fact, she said that she was perfectly capable of doing everything she needed to do without feeling afflicted or separate from anything. She was no longer disabled in her mind, and this mental shift would change her life. I sat on that bed in Winnipeg crying my eyes out! I watched a person cheering on this other person who decided to be okay. They showed this young woman on the camera, and I am still in disbelief that she was a blind girl. She carried herself confidently and made what seemed to be direct eye contact with the camera while showing us how she did her own hair and makeup (all things she started doing in the last year). I did not see a disabled girl.
A Course in Miracles says that “the blind become accustomed to their world by their adjustments to it.”, so they learn about life through the hard misshapen lessons that tell them how to exist. I am of course connecting this whole discussion to addiction recovery. Possibly, most likely, this is completely relatable to all humans at some point or another. We all face some doubt, or “invisible affliction” as Krishna would say, but only some of us are affected by it in the form of stigma. Social labeling defines our affliction for us, for everyone to see, by telling the world what is considered limiting or limited for us. Social labels and stigmas tell us, and everyone else, what we are, and what we are not without any input from us. Social labels and stigmas tell us that there is a normal, and we are not it.
I believed I could, and so I did… right before your eyes. ❤
Hip Sobriety Blog: “Why We Need to Do Away with Ego-Deflation and Humility in Women’s Recovery” by Holly Whitaker (click here)
You tube clip of Aimee Mullins on social model of disability. TED TALK (click here)