Sober, One Month: Finding True North Amidst the Noise

Some days it's just not butterflies and rainbows. Today I want to stop dead in my tracks, keel over and sob in the most profound way. Let it out, let it allllllll out. And when I think I'm finished, I'll get distracted by some mundane task, only to feel it all pool up in my chest again, getting a little harder to breathe - where the need to cry is as natural as the need to exhale. 

How many times will I do this? Why, on some days does it feel like my entire world is crumbling - like this dream I'm building for myself is all for not? 

There are people from my past I wish to never see again and some who I'm not sure would want to see me. Some who I have no idea how I would respond to seeing and others who it might be quite nice to catch up with, but all of that I have zero control over. 

At times, I feel sick. My stomach is made heavy by thoughts of how I got here, and while I wouldn't actually want to change a thing, it doesn't make reality any easier to process or let go of.

We're all doing the best we can aren't we? We're all trying to be decent humans in a world that appears to be actively descending into a state of no return, and that's not an easy thing to do.

But it does demonstrate the resilience of the human spirit. 

That in a world of inequality and conflict, where some of the most influential leaders use their power to alienate people who are different than a world where we're so far down the rabbit hole of consumption that we have no idea how to retrace our steps and to make things better, I'd like to think that most of us are trying our best to make it a brighter place. 

We're all so heartbroken by the current state of affairs that we're not even sure what to do with ourselves, all living with the illusion that we're so powerless, that our individual actions add up to zilch, that it's so hard to believe that the things we do can ever amount to anything substantial. 

But even this little blog is proof that even a few small steps can produce change.

I'm one person. One woman living in Hamilton, Ontario who posted an honest video about my challenges with alcohol and look. It's not as though a million people are paying attention but I've received many messages from women AND men who have thanked me for my honesty, sharing with me pieces of their own stories and saying that I've helped shine some light on a little bit of darkness in their life. 

One person, one low quality cell phone video, some heartfelt writing and a deep belief in the message that we are not as powerless as we think. A conviction that if I've experienced such an exhausting relationship with alcohol than surely, others have too. A commitment to bring this message to young girls and women who need to hear it, who need to have someone who hears THEM and who can provide a different way of looking at things even if only for a moment.

ONE PERSON, one belief and people are listening. People are interested. People are responding. 

People are...

Waking up.

I am. Hell, I really am. Just like my website says, I truly was asleep at the wheel for most of my life. Things just happened. I woke up for work, spent $10.00 on a delicious salad that I couldn't afford every day, went out for drinks and bought bottles of wine that I enjoyed while watching a show that made me wish I was in that reality instead of my own...

I didn't even KNOW how powerful my own thoughts were. That I could decide even a little bit, what my future looked like. That I was capable, that I was smart, that I was beautiful enough as I was, that my mind and body was and is such a powerful resource of connection and profound knowledge...

We're all just trying to stay afloat in a world chock-full of mixed messages. 

Eat meat - no wait, don't! Drink milk, it's good for your bones - JUST KIDDING, it actually induces osteoporosis (still can't believe that lie we've been fed all our lives), one glass of wine a day is good for you - wait, it's only good if.... 

The contradiction of daily life makes it incredibly difficult to know how to live. We all WANT to make the 'right' decision but the information we are assaulted with changes shape on an hourly basis. How are we supposed to know which way to turn? How can we make sense of it all?

I promise you that the only way to know anything in this world of polar opposites and confusion is by paying close and quiet attention to the one thing you have any control over...yourself.

We are walking, talking, breathing compasses. 

The problem is, the internal compass (for the most part) is covered in a thick, calcified layer from years of forgetting its existence. It's been caked over with sediment of conflicting messages. But the good news is, underneath all of that, it still works!

It just takes time to dust it off, like an archeologist - a painstaking process that sucks more often than it rocks, but it leads us to a gold mine that we were told is 'just our imagination'.

Well, you know at least they were right about something - it is about imagination!

It takes imagination to believe in what appears to be impossible in todays circus world. But, because it appears to be impossible doesn't mean that it is. In fact, it only starts to seem impossible through the development of a learned behaviour called adult-ing, that gets in the way of the child inside all of us. The child self that is so damn certain in and more than okay with the unseen and unknown. 

Think of some of the biggest thinkers out there (both alive and dead) - who, to many people, their ideas at one point seemed impossible (and in some cases, heresy) but through hard work, determination, a deep belief and most importantly, a connection to the unseen, imagined world, these impossible concepts were brought to life time and time again. 

Encased inside each one of us is a compass that can cut through the shit of every day life and leave us with a strong understanding of who we are even amidst all the noise.

It's the thing we're all trying to get back to.

It isn't found through material acquisitions, it's not discovered through sitting on top of a pile of money, it's not at the bottom of a glass or a bag of chips.

All those things (often) just take us further and further away from that which inherently knows, deep down, what is best, what is good, what is true, what is authentic, what is pure.

From a young age many of us women are taught that to be happy, we need to be princesses with a prince and a castle, a white picket fence and a big wedding ring, but what if we can find joy and peace and calm with much less? Or, with much different? Or with some of those things and a little bit of the other, too.
OR, with all of that - but actually feel content as a result? 

What if all we really need to do is focus on slowly chiseling away at the built-up sediment that surrounds our inner compass? What if, in a world of constant noise, all we need to do is be still for at least five minutes each day, just breathing? Just remembering how unbelievably amazing it is to have a beating heart pumping blood through our veins.  Just remembering how vast and expansive the known universe is and how mesmerizing it all is, to even attempt to wrap our minds around it!

Oh, and just so we're clear, I'm not pushing sobriety on anyone. It just so happens to be a part of my journey and I don't judge you or anyone else for drinking, smoking, partying, doing whatever it is that you do. I'm just doing what I need to do, to get my hands on that compass. To remove the residue from my truest, most authentic self so I can manoeuvre my way around this crazy world in a way where I feel connected and rooted. 

I encourage you in finding your own pathway to the endless knowledge that lives inside of you. 

Whatever that looks like for you, do it. 

Whatever you need to do, to get more in tune with your own radio, I say go for it. 

Go for it knowing that it's not easy. Go for it knowing that it's actually quite uncomfortable moving against the tide. Yet, go for it knowing that it will get easier. Go for it knowing that with each passing day and month, and year, this quest becomes such a deep force that connects you with everyone and everything around you, that life will begin to become a little clearer.

You'll see and feel and hear and taste your own beauty and you'll know that you can't be stopped.

Cause even though the rain does pour, its purpose is to nourish us, so that in each shit storm we are gifted a unique learning opportunity that always leaves us with the choice in how we react.

As I write this, it's just started raining outside. The sky is dark and I'm reminded just how much I looooove storms. I'll take any excuse to go inside, be still and take a moment to reflect. And when the sun comes, I'm that much more ready to explore.

Just know - you do have influence. 

That one person can affect change.

And that inside of you is a recess from all the noise and just have to commit to the long and winding road back home - back to your very own compass, showing your very own True North.

-carissa, xoxo