Sunday, February 04, 2007

Becoming Conscious

The early years of my life were mostly lived in an unconscious manner. Many years ago, I learned if I tucked uncomfortable information about people, places or things in the very turns and twists of the back of my mind...I could easily deny them.

Thus, I lived many years without actually living and experiencing the emotions that are a natural part of life.

But I guess we all wake up at some point...I can only say that there were many wake-up calls for me, before I actually became conscious and worked my way through them, instead of hiding and denying them.

And then, all those hidden denials wormed their way back to the surface of my mind...and suddenly, as if a light bulb switched on, I discovered if I took a few of these hurtful situations I had hidden and applied them and learned from them...Voila!

I learned wisdom, instead of denial, repression and the resultant skewed view of life that these tools for survival bring.

I believe all babies are born totally conscious of their world. Babies will let parents know immediately something is not right in their very small corner of the population. And some of us, such as Akiane,(who I found on Matt's and Lorna's blog) keep this awareness and do not let denial and repression see the light of day.

But me? I learned, at a very young age, if I didn't think about whatever incident caused me pain, I didn't have to deal with it. Don't think about it...this little sentence became my mantra.

I lived this way through a cancer scare, my first divorce, and various other life changing events...until I couldn't hide things anymore. Then I turned to alcohol, to self-medicate...to dull these thoughts that were becoming increasingly more difficult to suppress.

This worked for a few years, until I became a full-blown alcoholic...because, you see, it took more and more alcohol, eventually, to continue to hide from myself.

But this behavior didn't please others in my life. And I wanted to please, I wanted to do the best I could for my family...I just didn't know how, without facing many issues...all by myself. I was alone in this, wasn't I?

I believe the Universe has a plan for us all. Hiding from myself as hard as I was, my wake-up call happened very quickly after I started drinking to excess, in the scheme of things.

I remember, as all Alcoholics do, the very first time I walked into an AA meeting, all by myself. It is ingrained in my memory...to this day, I have never faced as much fear and shame as I did that day.

The fear and shame would continue, because I wouldn't allow myself to open up, to share my feelings. It took six months before I could concentrate on myself...I would share other people's problems around the tables, I could help others...but I hid my own hurtful situations and kept them under a very strong lock and key.

Bit by bit, I would allow tidbits to release...small nuggets of the huge mountain of pain that filled my heart. And each time I did, I would feel less shame, less fear.

And I learned an incredible amount, the more I let the darkness that resided within me to see the light of day.

I was becoming conscious. Suddenly, Problems and Pain were dealt with as they arose. I was no longer afraid of consequences. My self-confidence began to unfurl. I no longer felt alone.

And my spirit- uality, which I had also hidden, because I thought my experiences were strange and unacceptable, found a chink in the armor I had hidden it behind and burst forth and bloomed.

I discovered my beliefs were not so strange...rather they were a gift from Creator that I had spurned and ignored. There were others who explored spirituality, in the very same way I did. And many walked right beside me, making me believe that I could be open and true to myself, just as these others had.

I discovered I was never alone. I discovered there were clues all around me, if I became conscious of them and aware. These clues could be used as tools to solve the natural progression of problems that filtered into my life. I had re-discovered faith.

As a child, I would read the Bible under my bed covers with a flashlight. This little Bible had been given to us in school, and I still have it...I did not know, when I was young, why this little Book had the power to comfort. But it did.

I knew, had I allowed others in my family to know I read the Bible, there would be teasing and laughter. I could not bear this reaction to my Bible reading; hence I hid it. Much of it I didn't understand...but I knew I gained comfort from it. That was all I required then.

In the years following recovery, I explored my spiritual beliefs. I became stronger, more aware and thus, much more conscious of my own and other's behavior.

I discovered Spirit; I discovered Spirit was always with me. This realization, this epiphany, changed the direction of my life.

I found I no longer had to hide pain or what others consid- ered unaccept- able in me. Spirit knew it all anyway. Spirit accepted me just as I was, totally and without reservations. I knew this.

My world opened. I began to use my intuition, honing it and asking for guidance all the way. If I paid attention, if I became conscious of all the little bits and pieces of a situation, if I trusted myself, suddenly I could work through anything.

My faith would be tested over and over again, after I accepted my spirituality. My daughter died, and there would be another divorce. I clung to Spirit, throughout these difficult times. And as I worked through them, my consciousness became greater. Repression and denial still occur; it does not take long before I become aware of what I'm doing.

Mistakes and wrong turns on the path of life continue, for me. Spirit allows me my choices. Some are really bad, but with guidance, I can find the path that is not so difficult, leaving the torturous, twisting road I chose previously behind.

I believe I will work on conscious behavior for the rest of my life. It is still very easy for me to hide; still very easy to deny. A lifetime of solitary pursuits is difficult to overcome completely. And denial is very powerful.

Being unaware did not allow me to experience the full joys in my life, either. It works both ways. Either experience life in a fully aware manner, or live a half life, where I am living but not in a full way.

With all the trials and tribulations that occur in life, I am happy this one...this understanding of conscious behavior...is on its way to being solved.

31 comments:

  1. Such a brave, beautiful post - and the one before, about the flowers, is wonderful! I hope all your vases are full of colorful blooms the whole month long!

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  2. As I read your post, Marion, I was saying over and over to myself.......... YES! Your words I have felt in my own heart without the ability to express them so beautifully. My dealings with alcohol are from the other side, I was married to an alcoholic. The things you felt at your first AA meeting I was feeling at my first AL-ANON meeting. I continue to work the program even though I am no longer with the alcoholic. I have so much respect for you and your choice to take that path of sobriety. One day at a time! HUGSSSSSSSSSSS :-)

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  3. You sounds as though you are at peace with yourself now. You have had your fair share of trials and tribulations.

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  4. I'm sorry to hear that you have struggled with alcoholism. It was not easy writing this post, I would imagine. Blogging has a way of helping me to open up and not hold things in, too.

    You express your deepest thoughts and needs so beautifully that you help not only yourself, but all who read your posts.

    Have a GREAT day today, Marion!!!

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  5. Approaching life fearlessly takes practice. I thank you for sharing your struggle. When everything is going along with few bumps we really aren't tested. I have to say you have been tested more than many and yet you can write about it with such wisdom. I feel a connection each time I read your posts.

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  6. Beautifully written!

    Its interesting, I havent been to your blog in a week or so and I am so glad I happened onto it today to read this! I related to so much of what you said.

    Like Lorna I was on the opposit end of alcoholism. My brother was an alcoholic and took his life 18 months ago. I pretty much raised him since he was 5. My Father in Law (who was my hero) died unexpectedly 2 weeks later... and all this time my Mom was living with me on Hospice... she died of cancer 4 weeks later.

    The way I got through all that was to go numb. To not let myself feel through it... to make jokes and appear strong to the outside. I shut down for business on the inside. Once Mom died and I had to move forward I realized I was in a deep depression... and that I had done myself a huge disservice by not acknowledging my feelings and processing through the stuff. It was that time that I began blogging... it helped. I saw a shrink and got on antidepressants.. they helped... I drank too much to dull the pain of reality... but in reality it changed who I am forever more and I needed to find my way to a healthy path. I dont think I will ever be the same person. I dont know if I want to be. I think that it made me realize that I get one go around in life and I had better use it! I have so much to do and see... I want to do it ALL!!! Its just tough when you have a spouse and kids to be able to do what you really want to do! You just cant be that selfish.

    sorry for such a long winded comment! You just really touched a hot button!

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  7. What a great post, and I absolutely love the Cathedral Photo!

    Thanks for mentioning my blog and for the kind words, Marion :)

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  8. Thank you, Pauline...as I write, I have daffodils, bright yellow starburst mums, and sunflowers in my vases. They are a great foil to the dense fog outside!

    Lorna, I went to Al Anon too, for awhile. It is the greatest programme! For me, it was the perfect place, along with AA...there were a lot of coping mechanisms I learned there!

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  9. DaveM, I am at peace now, with regards to drinking, at any rate, lol! I used to keep track of the years, but haven't for a long time...I think it is now about 13 years sober.

    Thank you, DB...you have much to say on your blog, too...it opens up the mystery that is PD for me, with your own perspective. I thank you for all the information I have learned through reading your blog.

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  10. Sheila, thank you...sometimes I wonder why. Why so many tests? Guess I'll find the reason one of these days, lol!

    Kate, there are days where I am so thankful for the life experiences I have had...as you say, it has made me the person I am today.

    You have also been through a terribly emotional time...I am so glad that you came out the other side with a love of living life to the fullest! I feel honoured that you shared your experiences on my blog!

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  11. Good morning, Matt...I love pictures of churches...I have some photos of old, pioneer churches that are really close to my heart.

    Thank you for the mention of Akiane!

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  12. Beautiful post Marion! If only we knew this when we were young. Life would have been so much clearer.

    tea
    xo

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  13. The more I read you marion the more I admire your strengths and skills. May you always win your battles, I have a feeling you will.

    As always too, beautifully written.

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  14. Your words of affirmation bring hope to everyone who reads this.

    Your blog is a veritable jewel. The photography is exquisite. Is all this work yours?

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  15. Thanks for a lovely post and for sharing. Glad you're here. :)

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  16. What a wonderful honest post.

    You have certainly overcome and learnt a lot in your lifetime, best wishes, The Artist

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  17. Marion,
    you have described life for the majority of us. We have all turned to one thing or another to find the comfort that we want. We all have gone to the external souces before we find out that the real comfort is internal. We seek and we seek. Then one day the eyes in our soul sees something inside our being and it looks soothing. We try it and it brings less pain, we try it again and it brings comfort. When you put down your words in front of me it was as I was looking into a mirror. My addiction is food and my ability to find bliss did not happen until my later years. Now I have friends who share the common bond of love and I have learned that forgiveness starts with yourself.
    Thank You for you openess. May spirit continue to guide you and be with you as you continue your journey.
    Namaste

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  18. Hello, Tea...I think some beings, enlightened ones, do know all this when they are young. I have met enormous wisdom in children, teens and young adults that just blows me away!

    But if I had known it...life would indeed have been clearer, lol!

    Thank you, Sandi...I think I may be on the winning side, at least.

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  19. Carmi, the words written here are all mine, and about half of the photos...I get many images from ClipArt to illustrate my posts.

    Welcome, and thank you for your kind words! I enjoyed the chrome photo on your site this morning, and the rest of it looks extremely interesting to me.

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  20. Barbara and Artist...both of you have such expressive, evocative sites. It means a lot to me to have you visit!

    Hi, Dave! As always, you've put the problem in a nutshell. And if it isn't one thing, it's another...alcohol was the quickest way for me to achieve what I was tricked into believing was comfort...

    What I didn't realize was that you don't have to "take" anything to chase away pain...it is already there, right inside myself.

    I just had to learn that living well takes work!

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  21. Your post as Dave said explained so many of our lives, mine too.
    Mine was living in a first marriage full of emotional abuse. I also felt I lived a half live all the time and lost out on years of being truly happy. Trying to diet the whole time and be thin just to impress my husband or make him proud never worked either. Finally I had the knowledge, courage and maturity to say enough is enough and left him!
    Today I am much happier and living a fuller life! Thanks for sharing your life with us.

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  22. Marion

    Thanks for sharing so much of yourself in this post, and so eloquently. There's such hope and passion in it, a real encouragement to explore the Spirituality which is built in to each one of us.

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  23. Marion, I've come back to this post several times; I'm in awe of all you have survived and the grace you have found within. From experience, I know what doesn't kill you makes you stronger - you can rely on that strength now.

    The following from your post caught my eye:

    "I discovered I was never alone. I discovered there were clues all around me, if I became conscious of them and aware. These clues could be used as tools to solve the natural progression of problems that filtered into my life. I had re-discovered faith."

    It reminded me of the quote by Audrey Hepburn that my daughter chose for her HS yearbook- "Walk in the knowledge that you never walk alone."

    It also reminded me of something that a dear priest once told me. He said God (Spirit) is always talking to us - we just can't hear because of all the static in our lives. We need to silence the static through various means available to us in order to hear what God is trying to tell us. He mentioned prayer, fasting and charitable works as a means to inner stillness, but I'm sure other methods to increase awareness would also work.

    As a matter of fact, I think I mentioned this very thing on another blog today. Hmm - there are no coincidences. Maybe Someone is telling me I need to be still.

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  24. I have a collection of old churches as well, one of my many hobbies. Something about their architecture that I just love. :)

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  25. What a wonderful post Marion.

    It's amazing how many of us land up in AA. I too am an alcoholic and came from a home with an alcoholic Father and married and divorced an alcoholic. I didn't stay with AA long as I tried a few groups but never felt comfortable there except for one lifelong friend I met there and still communicate with regularly even though he now lives in England.

    I am at peace with myself, especially since becoming vegan. For some reason that has taken away many of the traits I didn't like about myself.

    I am still a bit lost spiritually and that is probably due to the Church I was brought up in always keeping me back from the route I wish to take even though I have been away from it for many, many years.

    I am told I am an old soul with many lives behind me so hopefully I sort things out before I pop off from this one :)

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  26. good Day, Hannalie! Living life in a full way means I have to open myself to vulnerability. It took me a long time to trust Spirit with all my heart. It took a long time to realize that hurts heal over with time and careful, healing tending. And I visualize the scar tissue that remains as wisdom.

    I am glad you did something positive about your half life...happiness shines out of your lovely face!

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  27. Alastair, I am always happy when you visit...your blog is one I read when I seek comfort. It is one that is important to me!

    Sunflower...that inner stillness gives me such calm and peace...I can't imagine not being able to access it now, and yet, for years, I just lived with the jangle of everyday life. It showed in my day to day actions, lol! It's so different now.

    There truly are no co-incidences! If you're writing about it twice, I would heed that voice! lol!

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  28. I think, Matt, some of those old photos of churches I have project such positive energy. I feel calmed when I look at them.

    Jackie, becoming Vegan is a very Spiritual path on its own! Just a thought...perhaps you are searching for Spirit...and he/she is right under your nose!

    I keep thinking that I have had so many of what are called "life experiences" because my soul skated through my previous lives, experiencing nothing. This time around,there was no putting it off! lol!

    This idea kind of fits with my personality...procrastinate until there is no more time left!

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  29. This was a great post Marion. I also believe that the Universe has a plan for us all. I think that as part of a "Master plan" we all have to experience certain things in this life. They shape us and make us into the person we are. Sounds like you have had your fair share of life's ups and downs. I hope your life is on the up and up from now on. After everything you've been through, things can only get better now.

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  30. Naomi, thank you for visiting...life is far better for me now than at any other time in my life and I am so thankful!

    There is no doubt in my mind that these extraordinary events made me who I am today...and in truth, they did make me stronger and stronger.

    There is a certain fearlessness in that.

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  31. Thank you it meant much to hear those words.

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