“Reality can dawn only on an unclouded mind. It is always there to be accepted, but its acceptance depends on your willingness to have it.” – A Course in Miracles
My public transit and overall navigational skills are not as great I thought they were. I mean virtually non-existent. Notable Realization I : the things that you do not know will amaze you just as much, if not more, than the things you find you do know in sobriety. I guess now that I really think about it, Lyndsay was the one who navigated our way home from Brooklyn last year. Lyndsay was the one who got us around from train to train in her little bandana and backpack. Okay, this memory is blurry but in tact enough to review. We packed into different subway cars after walking the Brooklyn bridge and bar hopping, and yes, now I distinctly hear her telling me about it : about how she was devoting her days off that week to learning the intricacies of New York City subway systems. Oh my god, now I remember the whole thing so clearly. It was this back and forth connecting places to trains and patterns thing. She told me all about how she was making a conscious effort to learn and navigate NYC. I also remember her sharing this on our drunken subway ride home. The one where she paid for my subway card and took that unnecessary extra trip with me home to make sure that I did not get lost.
My conversations with Lyndsay are all so clear to me now as I sit on this Portland Streetcar staring completely confused at the upcoming stops. I see now what she meant about making a conscious effort to learn and navigate. Yes, this whole thing is really settling in now about NAVIGATING. Oh my god. I am on the wrong train. I am immobilized, unmotivated to fix or do anything about the situation, so I just sit waiting and waiting for Rose Quarter to streamline across that center marquee, letting all the stops stack up, continuing on with false hope. Lying. Holding onto the things that I know I do not actually believe. False hope is my response to getting lost, and as expected, Rose Quarter never comes. The street car comes to a stop, and I am the only one still on board. I am frozen. Why is this so confusing? What about Rose Quarter? Where were my streamlining letters ? This is wrong. My eyes welt with a familiar and childlike lump in my throat as the conductor stands up and says “it will be about 15 minutes”. I look at him and ask about Rose Quarter like an 8 year old with a note safety pinned to my coat. Like someone who does not speak English and does not understand what it is they are actually saying : R-OSE QU-ARTER? Like a broken doll with a broken smile sending out messages with no purpose or intention: ROSE QUARTER. My voice is fragile but oddly form fitting for my current self like this has just always been my natural state, my only state. Like I’ve never had the ability to connect thoughts from my mind through my voice out on a channel to the world. I have no idea what communication is, ROSE QUARTER. I am alarmed by the reality of now just like in the beginning of sobriety. What is happening? All problem solving skills are lost because I am lost, and then I remember an interview that talked about this feeling. This guy says to Marc Lewis, “I could never give of myself. Because I was always holding something back.” ( The Biology of Desire ).
This is what other people were doing while I was drunk. The social cradle that always let me sneak on by without learning the things that I needed to learn is showing its face again. For all of the times I could not be of help because I was drunk and incapable, there was always someone to do it for me. This is what was happening when you could not do it on your own, I think to myself: You chose to behave in a way that suggested you needed a chaperone. While you were sleeping, they were taking trains and reading maps, they were shaping themselves into who they wanted to be. They were paying bills and driving themselves home. They were driving you home. I pause and remember that the elephant in the room is not here anymore, and I am with my real sober self in reality, in real time. Breathing in and out, and it’s okay. Sometimes these moments of catch up come around like this when I realize I am hardly ahead of the class, and the horse is far before the cart. I freeze in the rising crest of all that I missed while missing out on the present, but this is not my affliction anymore. I dissolve my fear a little more. I finally find the words to ask for help and text Ali. She of course understands without hesitation and sends a Lyft to come and get me. We have another amazing afternoon in Portland.
Bask in Your Light
My Kundalini journey started with this book I found at The New Renaissance Book Shop on 23rd. Kundalini is all about awakening energy and healing for anyone, but this is especially true for those of us growing in sobriety. I scanned through the book a few times learning snippets here and there, but Kundalini requires more attention and heart than a pick-it-up-and-put-it-down situation. So one evening I surrendered myself completely to whatever this book had to teach me by preparing my version of a sacred place with candles, flowers, my special beads and books. I learned about prana and chakras : however, I was still unsure of my truth in the space because this echo of imposter syndrome was staring at me, waiting for me to believe it. Imposter syndrome stares with the same old suggestive message every single time: you should just pack up this stuff and stick to something else, and the imposter syndrome will always ask the same question, “Who do you think you are”. I decided that If I am doing this now then I am not an imposter. I am the real thing, and after about 2 hours of finding out what uncoiling the Kundalini serpent meant with this new material, I came to the mudras. Here was the treasure trove of a lifetime. This was real.
These gestures all mean something different, so when you use them, you are setting an intention for whatever it is that you need. This made complete sense to me, and so the conversation began, in the candle light, with circular breath, with my thumbs, and with my blossoming mudras interchangeably skating across all permitters of my body. I am completely real right now. I thought to myself while guiding my closed eyes and chin behind my hands. This total trust expanded out through my hands, and they began to serve as my eyes. I continued seeing with my mudras and smiling uncontrollably. Then it was crying and smiling with joy. This hybrid of Kundalini, Tai chi, contemporary choreography and the freedom of soul speech stirred a rhythm in me that unlocked joy unknown to me before. The next morning after a very sweaty vinyasa class, Margo had us chanting and meditating together, so I felt comfortable to use my different mudras and communicate my heart in that way. The joy opened even more in me and spread to connect my heart with all of the other hearts in the room. This was my first sense of community and acceptance at this level on my own. To sit and experience joy without a substance intertwined with my spirit, or without hiding behind holding someone’s hand is a reality of sobriety. We are the real thing. ❤