Thursday, July 11, 2013

pathways

Life feels nuts and wonderfully delightful. Summer camps and circles of women and tarot readings and reiki and thoughts about when and where we will be in our life. My vision board keeps catching my eye. "WHERE TO LIVE NOW," it screams at me.

I just don't know, Vision Board.

There are pictures of dirt in our hands and our feet, mindfulness, and uncluttered wisdom, no credit card debt, and a nice little nest egg. We think we have a state we'd like to move, something we have fleshed out through years of discussions and passionate arguing about it. Truth is I need a community who will be open to my particular brand of kookiness, and hikes of spectacular beauty, and a place we can build a huge garden to feed us, maybe some chickens. I welcome the change, and I love my home, my feet in this mud here. My community of drunks and kooks keep me sane. But things are a-changing. No moss on this old croney stone. And, amazingly, the changes feel deeply true. Finally.

I have finished all my coursework for my Crystal Healing Certification through Hibiscus Moon. Laying on of stones, and whatnot, and who's it. The work is so peaceful, so right. Reiki and crystal healing and tarot readings. I am working on developing the offerings of my practice. I followed this path laid out before me, just followed it. It unwinded, unfurled, like a fiddlehead become a fern. I doubted the moisture was good for me, but I walked still. I feared walking too far from what was familiar, but I kept walking. One foot in front of the other--taking classes, signing up for weekends, reading books about things that seemed so esoteric as to be nearly useless in suburban New Jersey.

When I quit drinking, it wasn't easy. I craved a drink nearly every day for eight months with the kind of craving that makes you cry and shake and wish you were someone else. IT was another refrain in my head, "Bourbon. But no bourbon. Bourbon. But no bourbon..." I was afraid to drink and afraid to not drink. I hadn't felt anything but anger and fear in a long long time. I didn't drink, instead I listened to someone with more sobriety than me. I did everything she said, and she told me to do all kinds of crazy things--pray. Meditate. Make my bed. Go to church basements. Call people. Stand in front of a room of drunks and tell my story.

Telling my story is part of my recovery. And sometimes my story coming out of my mouth hardly sounds like my story. It sounds like a novel I once read, a dark tome about sins and redemption. I had a baby once who died. It is only a part of my story. Until she was in my belly, I never knew true happiness. I was abstinent from alcohol then, but not sober. She was this light in my life that drew me to a holy place. I was finding my spiritual footing again, and feeling grounded, lovely, beautiful...sacred. When she died, I lost my spirituality along with my daughter. They were incinerated, and I was given a heartbreakingly tiny urn filled with something that no longer was my daughter or my God. My drinking became dark and overwhelmingly not fun. There was no illusion of social niceties, or the sophisticated sipping of wine. It was bottles of wine and bourbon. I wrote and read about death, breathed it into my lungs. I covered myself with black signs that read, MOURNING. FUCK OFF. Sloppy cries and a existence that can hardly be called existence, and I would know I had to stop drinking. It wasn't my solution anymore to the gigantic hole in me. I'd stop, but then the drink seemed like it had to be better than the pain. And this went on until I decided that I wanted another baby. And then I didn't drink, and my life got worse. My solution was gone, and I was bereft.

Grace. Amazing grace...that saved a wretch like me.

There is a path we walk that unfolds in front of us, like a palm opens in the jungle. Coiled in on itself until it is not. It is wide and broad and accepts the sun and rain in equal gratitude. I had no idea where I was going. Nothing seemed connected. I quit drinking and people told me to pray and remember that deep within me lay something Divine. In each person, they whispered, is the memory of God. And when it felt right, I did it, and when it didn't, I gracefully demurred. And suddenly, it all falls into line and makes sense. This is exactly where I am supposed to be, I realize later.I learned what I was supposed to learn. I walked the path I was supposed to walk, and for the first time in my life, I didn't fight it. I didn't fight me. I was unnerved at times, wanting to know how, when, who, where...and then it was over, and I was right where I am supposed to be, not seeing the end, not quite, but feeling settled in my own old bones.

I have completely upended my diet again. It is upside down--all meat and veggies. No grains. No sugar. No caffeine. Some nuts and berries.

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRROWL~there is something distinctly bear-like about the food I am taking in. I have gone inward, taken a hibernation of sorts. I scratch against small trees, knock them over, moan loudly at salmon. Knock down beehives for a little sugah, and never really getting any anyhow. But I feel good, not so padded and slow. The grains make me lumber, on all fours, itchy and pimply.

I have decided to go for my healing business, and what I mean by that, is not wait for things to come, and maybe I get some clients trickling in, but to go for it. Advertise. Write copy. Start a website. Try. I've also begun the process to be ordained as an Interfaith Minister, so I can do spiritual counseling. It is such a strange thing to get an email addressed to Rev. Angie. This drunk. This grieving mother. I may start a religion for grief--it is a compassionate one, where we learn to cry and pray and lean on each other. One day, I realized, after trying all the religions I encountered, that they are right. I had tried to fit myself into one Church, one path, but what if it doesn't work that way? What if that limits God and the Divine? Maybe it is all the paths. Each one is right in their way. The Prophet of Pluralism, I once wrote about myself, like a self-fulfilling title. When I began inquiring, I wrote the ordination committee, and told them about Lucia. I told them about my writing and about the other women and about sobriety and about the circles of people I have joined, the way we sit and abide and speak and make sacred. And she wrote back, "WOW, what a perfect candidate for the ministry you are!" And I sat staring at the note, thinking "Me? Yes, of course, me."


I stare at this enormous black tourmaline in matrix sitting next to my computer, absorbed all the bad juju from my computer. And I think about nourishment and healing and how full you feel when you walk the path set in front of you, lined with berries and prayers. There is a soft candle always lit around my house--it started with her, and continued on a path of its own.

3 comments:

  1. Hi Angie, it breaks my heart to know your path in the small and distant way that I have and at the same time I want to encourage you, you are perfect for ministry. You have been doing it for some time, you have ministered to me many many times, thankfully. Maybe you do not know the extent of your ministering so I wanted to tell you that you often helped to connect me with the lifeline that I needed when I was sinking. Thank you. Congrats too.

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  2. This is awesome.
    I know I've probably told you this along the way before, but if not, I have to say, that your blog and your writing was the first (and one of the only) in the early days that made me feel like I might survive my loss and somehow come out on the other side with gifts I couldn't have ever conceived of before.
    I thank you, and I look forward to seeing all the places your journey takes you while I reflect also on where my journey has taken (and continues to take) me. xoxo ~Lindsay

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  3. Angie, may the part of you that is your path stay strong, as well as the radiance of that soft light. Ordained, you shall be.

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