I love words.
For me they are little doors; behind each one lies a precious truth, or perhaps a secret. Words give us a glimpse into the soul.
Words are powerful.
We can use them as weapons of hate, to fuel jealousy, deceit, fear or resentment. One simple word spoken or written in anger can have devastating effects.
Words can also be healing; a salve to ease pain, fear, isolation or torment. Words bring community, support and comfort.
I feel like I have lost my way with words.
I am not going to write about my recovery on this blog anymore. Somewhere along the way, my awareness of audience led me astray. I lost the ability to write purely, experientially, authentically, because my ego got caught up in delivering a specific message of hope or inspiration.
I lost sight of what was really going on, deep inside of me.
This is dangerous, because it pulls me away from the private, anonymous, soulful work I need to do on myself. I was looking outwards - at the impact my words have on the world - instead of inward, into my soul. I lost access to my truth.
I stopped writing for writing's sake, and began delivering a message instead. The urge to post about pain or difficulty with a hopeful flourish was irresistible. I believed in the hopeful flourish, in the message, and I was always truthful on this blog, but I found out - in the hardest way - that the danger lies in the things I wasn't saying, the truths I wasn't even allowing myself access to.
Because of this I stopped knowing how to ask for help; I put myself in a position of having my own answers. I substituted this blog for the hard face to face work of recovery, which is done in the grittiness of a circle of strangers at a meeting, or intimately, and privately, with trusted friends. This work is not meant to be shared publicly because it is impossible, I have learned, for my ego not to be aware of how it will be received.
I still believe - very strongly - in the power of voice and healing in addiction and recovery. I don't regret the words I have written here. I believe that addiction thrives in silence, and Crying Out Now - where hundreds of women come share their stories- will continue to break down those walls of silence, stigma and isolation. The women speaking out are brave, and the community forming there brings compassion and healing.
I don't want to stop writing. I want to get back to the place where writing enables me to metabolize life in a pure way. In an observational way. I don't want to be a message deliverer anymore. I can't.
Life has thrown me some curve balls lately. I have some large obstacles to climb mentally, spiritually and physically (health wise). I am going to need words, writing, to maintain curiosity, hopefulness, and gratitude, and I am going to need the comfort of the community sharing my words brings. I will also need words to have direct access to my fear, pain and uncertainty. Not in the context of recovery - mine or anyone else's - but purely and simply just as they are.
I have been thinking a lot about whether to shut down this blog or not. I talked to many trusted friends, and received lots of advice. I prayed over it. A lot. I'm struggling with the role of Ego in blogging. It is impossible to divorce Ego from any form of writing, but in the blogging world the instant response received - and the desire to be heard - is addictive, and it can be dangerous.
I have been thinking about great writers and speakers, like the Dalai Lama, who share their words, emotions and beliefs with the world without being swallowed whole by Ego. Last night I watched a teaching by the Dalai Lama, and I was amazed at the power of his words, at the healing comfort they brought. He spoke about Ego, how Ego as better-than, Ego that is used for power or grandstanding, is dangerous and toxic.
But he also said that Ego is necessary to build self-awareness, confidence, self-love and compassion. In this way Ego is important, he explained, because if we can't have compassion for ourselves, we have no hope of having compassion for others. Ego, he said, must always, always, be balanced by humility and a genuine love for all beings.
I fell asleep last night with his words ringing in my head, and I had a dream. In the dream I was at a spiritual retreat, in a open pavilion with swaying palm trees, the sound of ocean surf nearby, surrounded by colorfully dressed women from all over the world. They were laughing, sharing stories, lifting each other up with words.
One woman glanced my way, saw me cowering in the corner, silent and alone. She threw open her arms and flashed me a brilliant smile. "Come," she said. "Let me hear your story."
"I'm afraid," I said.
"If you are afraid then you are not speaking from here," she said, pointing a slim finger at my heart. "If you speak from the heart there is no reason to be afraid. But you must get this out of the way," she said, pointing to my mind.
"My child," she whispered, placing her hands on either side of my face, "words are a gift. We heal with words. We sing with words. We praise God with words. What is life but a wonderful story?"