My life today is quite busy, active and full. It’s a direct result of sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly but always consistently moving beyond my comfort zone. What is my comfort zone you may ask? It’s changed over the years. At one time, when I was young and foolish, it was the bathroom. I know that sounds like a strange place, but that’s where I used to lock the door, turn on the fan, stand on the toilet seat (with the lid closed, of course) and smoke weed, blowing the exhale into the fan. Before that, I think my comfort zone may have been any book I had my nose in because I read LOTS of books from a very early age. Or any television show, because I watched a lot of those from an early age too. Is anybody noticing a theme? Like say, maybe a solitary theme? As in all of those activities were done alone. Even as a teen with friends or a boyfriend, and then as a young adult with a husband and children, I would hide in the bathroom. Sometimes smoking weed and a cigarette or two with a book. As an adult in recovery, it was in my house on the couch reading a book or watching tv.
I didn’t spend my entire childhood, teen years and young adult life by myself but I had trouble feeling loved and connected with others. I’ve touched on this quite a bit, but I was so lonely inside and almost clueless about the depth of that loneliness given my tendency to either get high, drunk or latch on to people. Of course, since I was so needy, manipulative and possessive I often drove people away. Which made me feel rejected and not trust people to be there for me. Lordy, I was such a hot, contradictory mess of bravado, introvert, and insecurity. I hid behind so many masks and roles to either lose myself in or to attempt to find myself. None of them worked.
It wasn’t until I was required to attend 12 step meetings as a condition of outpatient treatment that I discovered what true connection was. That first meeting where I experienced true unconditional love, acceptance, kindness and inclusion. That was nearly 20 years ago and it was one of the singular life-changing moments for me. Yet and still, it took me years and years to TRUST what I experienced. The more I learned to trust my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, the more I was able to trust myself and others. The more I learned and knew of my God, the more I learned and knew of myself and the less I was afraid of letting others know me. The more I became willing to serve.
My life is busy, active and full because I am so connected to family, friends, co-workers and my communities. I feel the power in numbers when I’m at my highest or lowest because people are there for me, which in turn teaches me how to be there for them. I feel the strength in numbers when I am at my weakest or at my strongest when someone in my life is at their weakest. I feel safety in numbers when I am frightened or in need. My heart-centered life is really a God-centered life. One of purpose and service. For me, I’ve come to trust there is life in numbers.