The lights

07:08 I’ve forgotten how to journal. That is one crazy side effect of blogging. There are pros and cons to that. The pro is that if I blog, I usually get responded to, thanks to the kindness of you out there. The con is that I miss the shivers I used to get from private journalling.

Why did I get these shivers? And could I get them again, this time from blogging?

What I do now is I hit that “Write” button at the top of the WordPress editor, and I start to write (or rather, type). What I did before was go to the open blank page in my digital journal (prepared the night before, along with coffee things, a beautiful ritual passed on to me by others) and start to type. Before that it was a blank page in the back of a rarely-used, lined journal.

In any of my journals, I wrote to myself — it was all about purge pages — a.k.a. morning pages, à la Julia Cameron. A wonderful gift from a friend many years ago, The Artist’s Way. The amazing thing is Julia Cameron is a quiet sober warrior herself. It’s not expressly mentioned in that book, as far as I remember, but in the back are resources for AA and 12 step programs. Julia planted a seed in my consciousness so many years ago. It’s amazing how writers have this power to plant seeds.

There, how beautiful, I am getting the shivers… oh god, Tree, thank you, thank you… anyone who gets this is getting this and I know to the rest of you it’s like “holy cheese factory”… believe me I have been on both sides and waffle between them constantly.

My dream is that I would never have to journal anymore. It’s all too confusing. I have too many things on the go, I’d love to just narrow down and simplify. I love my other blog too, the wonderful people there, so supportive, but for whatever reason I couldn’t succeed in front of them on this matter. I did try. I set a goal for a year of this that and the other thing and setting that goal killed the urge in me and I lost my god-Tree-shivers and life felt dull and grey. And then I thought I would introduce a bit of wine to sparkle it up again. And to be like everyone else and one of the crowd (in so-called “real life”). And it was so, so very sad for me to find out that I couldn’t just let in a little. It for some damned reason had to be a lot. Or at least a lot more than I’d planned.

The damned reason is that alcohol is addictive. I knew that of course; had been noticing more and more throughout the past years that we lived in an addicted society, and the one addiction in western culture that is still perfectly acceptable is alcohol. Smoking’s not “okay” anymore (thank god, killer that it is), a lot of people are on all kinds of prescription meds but that is not “okay” either, but alcohol, if you take a bit of alcohol, it’s not only perfectly fine but it means you ARE “okay.” If you don’t take alcohol there must be something wrong with you. Right? Wrong of course. But that’s how it seems in society. It’s changing though. Thanks to beautiful smart people (à la Brené Brown) and hip people (à la Holly Glenn Whitaker from Hip Sobriety) coming out and shining proud and strong. Thank god, thank Tree, for those people… I am not that brave. I’m a huge wimp. But each time I acknowledge that I become a little braver.

I’m a big fan of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming). I studied Linguistics in university, not with any goal in mind (sadly) but because it was the one subject that came easily to me and I could get through without much studying, so that I could focus on my more serious pub-crawling schedule. I’m not going to overblow those days as being bad or awful. They were fun and delightful in many ways. But they also set me back in my true career dreams by who knows how many years.

If I had not been focussed on partying I would have focussed on getting a degree in something I’d actually want to use later — there were three possible directions for me: fashion design (I had been a hobby seamstress and fashion designer since the age of ten, thanks to my mom teaching me how to sew and do other arty things), teaching (following in my both my parents’ footsteps, and I loved children) or literature (hobby writer since I could hold a pen, thanks to my dad giving me my first diary for Christmas, when I was six). But I couldn’t focus. I have to admit this was due to a complicated mess of problems in my personality. I was indecisive and I was not goal-oriented and I always liked to go with the flow. A high school counsellor sent off an application for me to go to the nearest university and so when I got back from backpacking around Europe, that’s where I went. And just muddled my way through, taking the courses that were easiest for me. Hence linguistics which I could practically do with my eyes closed, since my mom had also passed down to me her love and flair for languages. I was such a lucky kid.

Anyway, yes, NLP. Very important for success. Damned hard to remember that, and use it though. One thing that makes it easier for me, is to remember that it IS GOOD to acknowledge the bad stuff. But we’ve always got to turn our thoughts, by the end, towards the goal. The goal the goal the goal.

I love the lighthouse metaphor. It’s one of my favourites and I use it a lot in my mind.

I am on a stormy sea at times. I’m in my little rowboat — or a lovely wide rowboat, let’s say, such as the one in that glorious book and movie The Life of Pi (the book was another gift from that same writing friend, way back when — gosh friends are good. They flicker in and out of life but the seeds they plant are growing all the while, if we let them).

Right. So I’m in my wooden boat, alone on the sea, and sometimes the weather is fine and beautiful and sometimes there is a storm. Sometimes I forget where I am. It all just seems so black and dark beneath me. There can be sunlight all around, sparkling everywhere, but beneath me, the sea feels black and like it might swallow me whole.

Those are the times when I need to remember the lighthouse. There is a lighthouse that my mind has set, upon a distant shore. I keep that lighthouse in my mind.

The lighthouse is not very specific. All I know is it’s cosy and warm inside and there are the most important people in the world to me, right there with me. People like my kids and yes, my husband, I certainly hope, and my parents, and my aunts and uncles and cousins and a few very good friends. If not physically then at least in my heart. And there are some few good things around but not many. A few good books. A few beautiful objects perhaps. Some shells and comfy places to sit and eat and sleep. Other than that there is a lot of space, a lot of nature and a view. A great view back over the sea I came across. And I will look across that sea and think of all what I did to get here as a whole and I will think “Okay, that was not too bad. I can feel happy about that.” And I can see a lot of other boats out on the sea, one by one in the distance. And I can see a lot of other lighthouses beginning to appear, or perhaps they were there all the while. And I will feel so happy in that moment.

Whenever I’m alone in my boat on that imaginary sea, feeling the blackness beneath me, I remember that lighthouse, and I think of the view from there, and then I see the other lights. The other lights are of course all of you, helping me get to this place I’ve set my sights on, by your own striving hope to do the same in your own lives. And then I feel so grateful. And I know that I’m not alone.

And then I can carry on for one more day, here on the sea, enjoying this moment.

 

 

***

sobrietytree.home.blog/sobrietytree.com

 

17 thoughts on “The lights

  1. This is so beautifully written. Here is how I felt while I was reading it: you were sitting at a grand piano in the middle of a dark stage. The spotlight popped on with a hum and glow and you began the most emotionally provoking piano solo I have ever heard.
    I don’t know if this makes any sense at all, but I felt like I could hear the keystrokes you made to type this.
    When you started explaining the lighthouse metaphor, you were no longer alone. Suddenly a dazzling orchestra was surrounding you and began playing with you.
    💖💖💖

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, I’m crying now. Your section about the lighthouse was beautifully written.

    Also, apparently we have another thing in common: fashion design. When I was still engaged with art I spent an inordinate amount of time drawing pretty or outrageous outfits. I had a hankering to be able to design my own wardrobe, and get into cinematic costume design. After marriage & children never had the mental energy to invest in learning how to sew and then translate the concepts into reality, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much…. truly means a lot, what a lovely response… and very kind of you to share it… 🙏❤︎ 💖

      The amount of synchronicities between people I encounter online are so interesting… I think we’re all wildly creative beings inside and some are so lucky to get access to the possibilities (as I was in my youth), and others don’t, and end up having to push harder to get their needs met in this way… I know that marriage changed a lot of things for me; but in some ways it’s made me stronger since there is no more coddling in this regard (though my husband is supportive in other ways)… I had to “make” the time, myself, to do these things and find the encouragement I feel I need from elsewhere (only myself, at first), as I seem to need a lot of encouragement — which I truly appreciate receiving here, from you and others. Hugs and thank you so much, again 💗

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love this post. Morning pages(MP) and Julia Cameron. YES. Yes and yes. I understand the feeling of forgetting how to journal too. My MP are always long hand with a fountain pen. I’ve been doing it for years. Lately I have been having a break from it.
    My lighthouse is shining brightly. You can row out to me anytime for a cup of tea or coffee.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “My lighthouse is shining brightly. You can row out to me anytime for a cup of tea or coffee.” Ooh I love this thank you!

      Wow long hand and fountain pen… love that too. I found I had to switch to a locked journalling app to feel free (my family read my diary when I was young; my emotional reaction to that stalled things for a while – as in nearly 20 years, except for sporadic entries). I tried once again today to journal and once again failed! I posted on my other blog instead… I’m a hopeless blog addict now. Upgrading my addictions… ;))

      Liked by 1 person

          1. It’s one journal. So it will be on a shelf when finished, at my eye line, at my desk, so I can flick through and enjoy.
            I have done sketch travel journals in the past. I am getting back my love for sketching and painting.
            I have a dream to publish/exhibit one day.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Oh lovely… there are so many people here I wouldn’t feel as free with my thoughts if I left a journal out… wouldn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings…. Sketch travel journals sound wonderful. I used to carry around a little set of water colours and a tiny sketchpad when I travelled, but just for fun. I too hope to publish something one day… as in a book. But in that case I think I must actually stop writing and start organizing. ;)) Catch-22-ish-ness… writing has now become easier for me than editing and organization… used to be the other way around. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

              Liked by 1 person

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