I have so much to talk about…so many emotions going through my head, I don’t even know where to start. And while I have always been resistant to having the time to self-evaluate, life has just delivered to me a week during which time I have been able to really self-evaluate who I am and where I am going.
Recently, I began a form of the 12-Step program. Not AA or NA, but one similar to them, which really focuses on being able to (one day) initiate productive, healthy relationships with other people. By having been away for the past 8 years, my life went through a bit of a cleansing process, you might say. Many of the people who I used to spend time with, who maybe joined me in walking the wrong paths in life, I was able to cut ties with.
Now I feel as though the world is bringing back to my life those who only have good intentions and with whom I might be able to continue to walk the straight path in life. As well as those who I maybe should not have reconnected with, but whom might learn some of the good habits I’ve picked up while being away.
And when I say good habits, I am not saying that I necessarily eliminated my bad habits. I am still able to throw a few back without feeling the consequences of my actions in the morning. But I no longer do it every night, as I did when I was in NYC 9 years ago. I have mixed those nights in with nights that are focused on my health…yoga, running, eating the right foods, drinking more water, spending time alone reading, walking the streets, chatting with good friends…as well as attending these meetings.
These meetings are filled with people who seem to be hung up on past relationships (sexual, family relationships, marriages, etc.) which forces them to remain in the past. And I am not saying that I have not been guilty of the same thing, especially at the end of my past few relationships. Always asking myself, how is it that I keep ending up in the same place, when the men I keep dating are so different from each other??? Yet, I keep ending up feeling overwhelmed by their problems while my problems (not problems…my needs) are no longer thought about or considered by either of us.
During our sharing session this week, I felt overwhelmed to share with the group how important it is to stop living in the past. Trust me, I could squeeze tears out of the coldest of hearts with stories about my life…how I almost died at 12, how I almost lost my mother that same year, then I did lose my grandfather (who I believed made a deal to trade his life in for mine), how at 19 I almost lost my brother to a knife fight and how at 24 I discovered that my father had been stealing from me to pay for his drinking and gambling habits. I could go on to tell the story about my mother who allowed herself to die of breast cancer, hiding the tumor she had felt in her breast for 3 and a half years until it was too late to save her from the cancer that had spread to her whole body. (Considering it to have been the punishment for not having protected me from my own father…how it was better to die then, at 68 than to imagine another 10 years with my father.)
Believe me, I have a LOT of history to talk about, any of which can bring tears to myself any time of the day. But I recently read that it is time to stop living in the past. And as hard as that might seem, it is actually easier to do than you might think. As soon as I find myself feeling strangled by any of those thoughts, I suppress them. Though not in a bad way…instead I think about how what has happened to me has made me who I am. I am a fierce warrior who is capable of surviving anything and with the many lessons that life has taught me, I know that I will continue to “survive” anything. And then I physically take a step forward…knowing that the decisions I make today, and tomorrow, are based on the knowledge I have and that if it was not for all of those things I’ve lived through, then I wouldn’t have that knowledge. But it is not important to dwell on the details of how I came by that knowledge. It is more important to dwell on the decisions I am making now.
Should I beat myself up for maybe having made impulsive, risky and all around poorly informed decisions in life? Absolutely not! Why? Because I am the one who made those decisions and I refuse to allow myself to believe that I have ever made the wrong decisions in life. Instead, all I can focus on is the next decision in life I have to make and the faither that the next decision…and the decision after that…will always be the right decision for me. And if I think that the Universe has really delivered this group to me to benefit me, then I can use the knowledge it gains me to help me to persevere through the only life I know how to live…MY OWN!