I am ‘still’ me

Last week my daughter came to live with me. After almost 2 years of living in Southern California alone, I am no longer alone. She is the last piece in the first part of my journey. Her coming here marks the end of the generational toxic family pattern in our lives.

It made me realize that the past five years have been all about escaping from the clutch of toxic situations and becoming aware of them. The heavy lifting is done, and now starts the real work of healing that insecure me underneath.

I have bought 4 books in the past 2 months and haven’t read any of them. But this week I was able to read one of the books, which is appropriately entitled, ‘Stillness Speaks’ by Eckhart Tolle. This week not only did my mind learn more about that concept through reading, but my body lived it. I got food poisoning and my body was busy working on getting all the poison and toxins out of my system, so movement wasn’t important. My stomach worked on finding any last trace of anything that could harm me, as my body heated up to make it uncomfortable for unwanted organisms to live. The first night of my sickness, I could do nothing but let my body work, as my brain fogged over trying to conceal the pain from me. Just because my body wasn’t moving, doesn’t mean that it wasn’t doing anything. It was still, but it was busy.

Saturday morning I was finally able to go for a walk to the beach, something that I was too tired to do just a few days before. I had a new appreciation for my body as it carried me down to the ocean and allowed me to experience the warm sun, and the slight breeze. I sat down on the short wall on the esplanade and watched as a group of swimmers dove in the ocean and swam with abandon out to a buoy and back. I was amazed at their physical strength, and their desire to challenge themselves by diving in the cold ocean on a Saturday morning and swimming into the crashing waves. I am sure they would have been more comfortable at home in their robes having coffee, but instead they were here. It made me reflect on the physical challenges that I set up for myself. I don’t have to get up at 5AM every morning to practice yoga, and no one is forcing me to go to the yoga studio 3 evenings a week to learn poses from an instructor. From the outside looking in, people might say I would be more comfortable in my robe on the couch. But the truth is, I am not. Stillness is hard for me, I mean true stillness. It is like a giving in, and a giving up.

My ego doesn’t like stillness. Because then, who am I ? I am not the reliable employee, because I am not at work. I am not the aspiring yogi, because I am not in class. I am not the energetic athlete walking the esplanade because my legs have decided not to take me there. I am Peta, sitting on my couch. I am just me. But my ego wants me to be the best employee, the most improved yogi and the person that never misses their morning walk! But why? Who is watching? Who is keeping score of all these actions? The truth is, no one else but me.

I do all these things to make myself feel better about me. The me underneath the movement that is sitting on the couch is scared, needy, and insecure. I know that I latch on to people too quickly that show me kindness. I know that I apologize for taking up space if I am not doing something that adds value in some way. I know that I have a destructive desire to give to people that see me as a commodity. I know these things about myself, and I make myself feel better through movement and achievement. So in stillness, these insecurities seep into my consciousness and make me uncomfortable.

I have come a long way from where I was though and it doesn’t escape my consciousness that the last time I felt this sick was when I stopped drinking alcohol over five years ago. It was my rock bottom and the beginning of my journey to sobriety, divorce and moving to Southern California. As I laid immobile on my couch in Portland Oregon and my body worked on cleaning all the alcohol out of my system, it allowed me to see that the toxicity of my life was going to kill me if I allowed it. Without the alcohol clouding my mind, I started to see that some of my closest relationships were the reason I felt so bad. These people kept me trapped in a toxic pattern that I had learned in childhood that felt familiar but was completely unhealthy for me.

Last week my daughter came to live with me. After almost 2 years of living in Southern California alone, I am no longer alone. She is the last piece in the first part of my journey. Her coming here marks the end of the generational toxic family pattern in our lives. My sickness last week allowed my body to rid itself of the final toxins of my former life. It made me realize that the past five years have been all about escaping from the clutch of toxic situations and becoming aware of them. The heavy lifting is done, and now starts the real work of healing that insecure me underneath.