Recovery Diary 01/11/19

Sometimes life takes you in its grips, twirls you around, and leaves you dazed and confused about what day, time, or month you are living in. I haven’t written consistently in two months or so, and I feel this intense loosening of my spirit. Disconnection has become a consistent friend. My legs feel as if they are walking on air, not quite grounded to the floor beneath my feet. It’s not dissociation. I tell my therapist this over and over. I know dissociation. It comes and goes like the rising and falling of the waves. I will not deny tasting its sweet numbness once or twice over the last months, but this disconnection is different. I am not disconnected from life. I am disconnected from the passage of time. Rather than checking out from my emotional experiences or denying myself the space to truly experience life, I am totally and completely in it. Each day is a day. Not a battle. Not a struggle, but a day. I haven’t fantasized about relapses, obsessively planned out my meals, or found ways to sabotage the good things in my life.

“I am simply fine,” I told my therapist.

“What do you mean by fine?” she asked.

“I finally feel like a normal person,” I answered.

Normalcy and stability are foreign concepts to me. I assumed a position of operating in a constant state of crisis. I lived off the rocky grounds in which mental illness forced me to walk. Running away from problems and numbing the positive experiences in my life became habitual. A reflex of sorts, my default or guide on how to deal with life. I lacked the capacity to hold any sort of emotion. It was too unpredictable. It threatened my semblance of control. Therefore, to have months where I float from one day to the next, unthreatened or phased by the experiences at hand, became strange. The reality is that within these last two months, I haven’t paused to question this new state of being. I was consumed in living. Between dating, dinners, parties, trips, work, art-making, and so much more, my time was filled. Who was I to stop to question the way things were unfolding?

The new year gives us the space for reflection. We are bombarded with new year’s resolutions, diet and weight loss goals as well as endless ways which people claim they are going to improve themselves. Since finding recovery, I have taken the approach of setting intentions for the new year rather than goals. As part of my healing process, I have learned to challenge these beliefs that I am not okay where I am right now, that I need to improve or better myself in certain ways. Intentions seem to offer a much more compassionate approach to the new year. For 2019, I have chosen the word JOY to meditate on. I have chosen JOY as a direct reaction to these last two months of life. As I find more and more freedom within my days to simply be, so too does my level of joyousness increase. I want to lean into this carefree spirit that I was naturally born with so that I may continue to invite JOY into my days.

Now, I don’t want to bullshit anyone. Not everything has been rainbows and sunshine. Every day has ups and downs. Let’s be real, there is no high without the occasional low. 2019 began with a cop pulling me over at 12:30am. Not even 30 minutes into the new year and I already was having to challenge my negative emotions and remind myself of my intention I had set not even an hour earlier.

“It’s a bad omen,” I said through tears the rest of the way home.

“It’s a personal challenge,” my boyfriend told me.

Life is funny that way, challenging you, giving you constant opportunities to strengthen your personal ability to succeed. Here we are now a week into the new year and my living environment has gone from neutral to hostile. One roommate has decided that screaming battles, passive aggressive actions such as slamming a loud vacuum against my door while I am sleeping, and mocking me on speaker phone are appropriate reactions to a simple confrontation about needing her to help out with the cleaning schedule. At this point, all I can do is laugh – hopefully with the universe – at how blatantly opposing these situations are to my intention of JOY.  How am I supposed to find JOY in the midst of fights and traffic tickets? The answer I have come up with is this – by being grateful that I am far enough into my recovery to handle these situations without my eating disorder. And right now, this answer is more than enough for me.

Recovery Diary 10/29/18

Stick with it. It gets better. Trust me. -Note to self

Everything is different moment by moment. Things peak and then crash each time I open my mouth to breathe. My lungs are unstable pipe bombs that vacillate between filling with fire or cotton, leaving me to either breathe out sparks or clouds. Waking up usually begins with a neutral emotional radar, one in which there is no attachment to how the day is going to pan out. But, then somewhere along the passing moments I feel my thighs rub together or my stomach crinkle into a cascade of rolls. Something, anything – a memory, a song, a smell- could set off the pipe bombs of my lungs. Then I breathe out fire and heat and rage and despair. Internally I spiral, slowly unwinding everything I knew to be truth only moments before. Everything becomes bleak and hopeless and relapse feels like my only option. I become flooded with memories and past mistakes. I am haunted by the voices of past selves whispering of my worthlessness and failures. Essentially I explode. My lungs pop, ricocheting debris and destruction through my throat and out my mouth. Through my eyes, the entire room crumbles, I melt, and everyone around sees this dramatic decline, but, in reality, it’s invisible. The whole explosion that is causing my complete emotional breakdown, only I can see. I am alone. Completely alone in a war that no one knows anything about. And that is worse than swallowing your own bombs.

I could open my mouth. Tell those who love me when I am at war. Explain to them what it feels like, how I am truly doing, what is going on inside my brain. But it feels like betrayal. Betrayal of my mind, my recovery, and most importantly their trust because bombs go off all the time. I don’t know when the bombs will be triggered. I can’t predict why, who, or what will cause the warfare. So, fear keeps me from believing that loved ones won’t be overly worried when they discover how violent my internal experience can still be. I believe that they believe that things are now calm, neutral, and stable- which they are in comparison to where I have come from. I have moved from the front lines to- I don’t know- an army base, one that is targeted regularly but not under an immediate death threat? But that’s the reality of recovery from any addiction. It’s a constant battle and I’m not sure that anyone who has not walked through the struggle could understand. It’s not hopeless. Those of us in recovery know this. It’s not always bleak and dark. But, how can you explain that war isn’t always terrible? There are moments of joy, freedom, love, community, confidence, and hope. Even soldiers find a family away from home. They eat meals together, they find the joy of the sunshine. There is a sense of accomplishment when they go to bed at night because, hey, they lived. They lived another day. Addicts, when we lie down sober from our addictive behaviors, we feel the same. We lived. We lived another day without destroying ourselves.

As the months pass and I get farther into recovery, I start to forget I am at war. I believe that one day the war will come to an end, that true freedom comes when the my flag is planted into the ground and all my demons retreat. I kill more with each passing day. I become stronger. My enemies grow more fearful. The war has been going on for so long, but I am finally on the winning side. Some demons are even converting and beginning to fight on my behalf. Even they are tired. We all just want some peace. Peace comes sometimes now. I think you innately begin to manifest the things you desire most.

Peace comes in the form of car rides with the windows down and the music up loud. Joy is when Erik and I dance through the streets at night in the rain critiquing societal standards simply by being alive. Freedom comes during midnight custard runs or pie parties with my roommates. The brick wall that kept me from life is breaking down. I am getting more and more tastes of the other side. This is why the moments where my lungs explode and fall deeply into myself through a battle of fury and rage are bearable. I take them with stride. I welcome them in the same ways I have learned to greet rejection.

One more battle with my mind brings me one step closer to total freedom in recovery.

Recovery Diary 09/24/18

Sounds of a rushing stream trickle out of my phone, trying to trick my brain into thinking I’m not actually in my bedroom on the third floor of an apartment complex in downtown Chicago. My roommate isn’t vacuuming and my downstairs neighbors aren’t blasting shitty pop music. It’s the illusion of calm- the roaring fan blowing cold air, the phone singing of rushing water, the candles flickering offering up vanilla and toasted coconut. I trick my mind into believing I’m somewhere in the forest burning incense and sleeping under the stars while my mind tricks me into believing I am fat, unwanted, and all alone. It’s a trade-off, an unwritten contract, an agreement made some time ago that neither of us can seem to let go of. It’s a habit at this point, one that I am slowly trying to break.

It’s like trying to stop biting your nails. At first, you don’t even realize you’re doing it until your thumb is between your teeth and the top part of the nail is ripped off. Awareness is the first step. I tell this to the girls I work with all the time. We don’t want to hear that because it suggests that the process standing in front of us is far more intense than we expected. But, awareness is the first step. It was and always will be my fall back point. I find myself day-dreaming about losing weight, I light the candles. I start heading towards the scale at the gym, I listen to the stream in my headphones. I lie in bed reminiscing on depressed thoughts, I turn on the fan and allow myself to fall asleep and reset.

I trick my mind to keep my mind from tricking me. I used to believe it was a trade-off, a balanced relationship, one that would always leave me on the same level as my mental illnesses. I thought recovery was just about managing symptoms and thoughts and behaviors. Take my meds, eat my food, go to therapy, wash, rinse, and repeat.

I started to lose track of the days, but somewhere through the last couple of months I have risen above the tricks of my mind. I have found ways around them. Awareness became planning and planning became actions towards fighting back. The sounds of the stream, the candles, the fan, my art, my books, my snacks, the pool, the medication in my cabinet- these aren’t tricks anymore. These things are my safety net. They make me feel safe when my mind is a battleground. I have found weapons to quiet the cannons and gunshots. I know the secret now. Sometimes I just forget I have the tools.

Recovery Diary 09/16/18

When I was in Costa Rica in February, everyone gathered on the beach with drums and ribbons to dance, howl, and sing as the sun set. There was a loud roar from the entire crowd when the sun made its final descent along the horizon. When the party slowly faded and the sky turned from pink to purple, we all packed up and started filed like little ants back into our tents in the forest before it got too dark to see anything.

When I was in Thailand in June, we sat on the beach singing mantras and strumming guitars while lying on our backs in a circle. We sang louder and howled as the sky turned pink and the sun dipped away for the night. We stayed on the beach until twilight and the mosquitoes became unbearable. Then we went back to our bungalows, made curry, and danced with our host families young daughter.

Today, I was sitting on a deck in Key Largo watching the sun set over the ocean’s horizon line while listening to Tash Sultana and laughing with my best friends. We smiled and argued over whose picture captured the sky’s beauty the best- even though the pictures were nearly the same. Then we sat in rocking chairs and talked nonsense before coming inside to prepare for tomorrow’s day full of adventures.

Nighttime tends to be the most difficult for me. It is the time when urges are heightened and nightmares come to life behind my close eyelids. It is where I lie in the dark afraid of the hurt child inside me. It is when my stomach is bloated from a day’s food and I take another sleep aid to try and calm my racing mind- which has suddenly convinced me that I am nothing but cellulite. The dark brings the demons out in me. The shadows of the night and the demons from my past are best friends. The speak to one another underneath the black sky like old lovers- embracing and precious.

Some nights are full of tender moments. Moments that make my soul smile and my heart race. Like last night when my friend and I stayed at this man’s house in Coco beach. It was just a room that he rented out for $25 a person. He was older and single. He said he gets lonely and likes meeting interesting people. There was another guy staying in the back room. We all chatted, ate rice and beans, watched Avatar, and swam in the pool. The night was peaceful. It was free of the voices in my head. But I woke up the next day to my friend telling me I kept hitting and pushing her away in my sleep. I shrugged it off, but there was a sinking in my stomach. Even on nights where I believe the peace I always pray for has finally overtaken the demons, I am reminded of those memories in my head.

“Nightmares…I have nightmares sometimes,” I explain, “I’m sorry.” Suddenly I am embarrassed and hurry to finish Charles’s dishes.

I don’t want people to know I still struggle.

I am still hesitant about breaking the illusion of perfection in recovery.

Two nights ago I was in the forest, dancing to Ben Howard at midnight in this room called the Glass Castle. As the music continued, the harder I danced. There was passion pouring out of fingers, anger expelling from my feet. I felt powerful. I felt so damn powerful. Then the music stopped. I noticed the sweat covering my legs and stomach. I noticed the dark. I laid down. I closed my eyes and listened as the next song began. I sang along, humming mainly because I didn’t know the words. A peace rushed over me. A sensation of gratitude and longing. Longing for time to bend and swallow me into this memory. Everything just felt right because while completely encapsulated by the music and night, it all made sense.

Recovery, like everyone always says, is not linear. There are ups and downs, twists and turns. Sometimes you go left when the map wanted you to take a right, but you get rerouted and everything turns out in the end- if only you keep moving. But, recovery is so much more than that.

Recovery is simply life.

The sunsets, the nightmares at Charles’s, the dancing in the forest, these were all moments that reminded me what it means to be human. You have these divine realizations of the beauty of each passing day, the celebration with communities about the coming night and the promise of the next sunrise. You have dark moments like the nightmares that keep you grounded. They remind me where I come from. They remind me of my strength, of my resilience, of my continued hope. Then there is the dancing and the freedom of my movements. The sweat, the heavy breathing, the music, the ground beneath my body, and the intensely black forest sky above my head- these are the moments of understanding. These are the moments when this crazy recovery journey I have been on, for a second, appears in my mind as a cohesive narrative.

 

 

Recovery Diary 09/12/18

It’s 8pm but it feels like 2am because I spent all of last night tapping my foot against the wall and counting the shadowy lines through the window panes. I’m in Florida, somewhere in the woods, in a cabin by a underground cave that I’ll be scuba diving tomorrow. I love it. I love the taste of adventure fresh on the tip of my tongue and the promise of the water that the next sunrise is going to bring, but I also struggle, even on vacations, even on adventures.

I forgot all of my medication in Chicago. I realized it at 11pm last night and my heart sank. Of all things, of all the damn things I could have forgotten, it had to be the medicine. The one thing that isn’t easily accessible to me when I am driving around the southern forests looking for random caves to jump in to. I had to make frantic calls and find a CVS the next morning. I felt nauseous from the lack of medication last night and my heart was racing because I didn’t take the pill that keeps the arrhythmia at bay.

I have a chill personality, but a racing mind. I have so many ideas and thoughts and plans and dreams that jump behind my eyelids with each passing moment. The tree on my left inspired a short story playing out behind my right eyelid while the song in my ear plays a modern dance piece behind my other eye. Call it the syndrome of a creative. Call it the artist’s madness. Call it whatever you want, but there are moments where I lose it. Not externally, no externally I have never been calmer, but internally I am a bucket of boiling lava that is raging a war against my intestines and throat.

I started making a list of all the things I needed to accomplish when I got home. At what point did my racing thoughts turn from creative to anxiety? I couldn’t tell you. Perhaps somewhere between arguing with the pharmacist and incessantly calling my psychiatrist hoping that she would call back. But, there was a switch and suddenly the adventures of my friend and I in the forest, scuba diving, and camping in tree houses became an obsessive search of the vaccines I never got and what diseases I am now going to die from. I don’t know why, of all things to worry about, vaccines popped into my head. Maybe because I had been dealing with doctors to try and figure out my medication? Who knows why the mind does what it does? But either way, I googled Walgreen’s clinics next to me and tried to make an appointment. I mean, might as well go in tomorrow so that I don’t worry for my entire trip right? Plus if I wait another day before being vaccinated, I could be infected tomorrow and I’d never forgive myself.

The mind is a crazy machine. It needs to be carefully watched and attuned or else it may run rampant and convince you that you should spend your time in rural Florida searching for a Walgreen’s clinic instead of diving the underwater cave 100 yards from your cabin.

Flash forward to passing out around 8:45pm and waking up to the 90 degree heat of the morning. Flash forward to a night’s rest and the magic of sleep. Sleep has a remarkable ability to reset the mind and challenge my irrational thoughts, worries, and obsessions.  I decided the mix of sleep deprivation and forgetting my medication resulted in the panic. I’m sure anyone reading this would have been able to figure that one out. But when you’re trapped in that moment, everything feels so real, so heavy, so extreme.

Yesterday was a day heightened by anxiety. Today was a day enlightened by adventure.

Diving into that cave…breathtaking.

The thrill of swimming through those smalls crevices…heart-stopping.

The beauty of the pictures….unexplainable.

The moments…cherished.

Recovery Diary 08/26/18

Classical music in the early mornings is not a foreign concept. It feels repetitive; meditative. It puts me in a trance able to ease racing thoughts and any bodily discomfort. Mornings are a time of reflection to sit and think, think, and think some more. Mornings are sacred. Mornings consist of mediation, reading, writing, and quietly staring off into the distance allowing creativity to scream loud and exciting thoughts into these commonly absent ears.

I paint a lot. I draw a lot. I write a lot. I read a lot. Does that make me an artist? Everyone is an artist is my response every time someone calls me one. I say this because I want so badly to be an artist that I am afraid of being one. Does that make sense? It is staring at the gold medal at the Olympics, afraid to take it out of the announcers hand because once it touches your fingers it is all real. Everything you worked for is real.

I had a dream last night that I was in the Olympics. I was an aerialist. They don’t have that sport in the Olympics, but behind my close eyelids the competition was very real. I was the best so naturally everyone hated me. I was ostracized from the team and forced to train on my own. Despite all odds, I won…? I actually woke up just before the results were in. I finished the dream for myself. I got the gold. All the hard work paid off. I took the medal. I touched the gold. I allowed that dream to be achievable.

I’ve always been drawn towards seemingly impossible goals. When someone says I wish I could just do ______, I automatically want to do that thing. I want to prove to them and to myself that whatever they have deemed unachievable in their mind is actually within arm’s reach. Go do it! Go do it! I always want to scream in people’s faces, but that would be rude and uncalled for and so I bite my tongue and let them vent about all the things that want to do in life but never will.

I don’t want to have any regrets. I want to do whatever is on my budget list. I want to be open to changes in my goals, to growth along the way. I never want to lose my determined spirit. I want, I want, I want… damn I want a lot of things.

Meditation helps me let go of all these racing ideas and thoughts. I need to be more present is what my therapist tells me. I’m motivated she say, which is good, but sometimes it’s okay to just be. Yesterday I tried to just be. I didn’t know what to do so I sat on my bed and listened to classical music and read. I don’t think I give myself enough credit for how present I can be. Each morning is filled with meditative and present rituals.

I like to write unconsciously, spilling all the thoughts onto paper as if to help sort them out. But, sometimes they don’t need sorting. Sometimes they are fine just the way they are.

Recovery Diary 08/14/18

My alarm went off at 7 and I didn’t wake up until 9:25. I was supposed to leave at 9. I don’t know why I am oversleeping every day this week. When I was in my eating disorder, I would be lucky if I slept past 6. I was always restless, agitated, and running around doing a million things because doing everything was far better than sitting with my own thoughts. But here I am staying up late with enough energy to talk, watch movies, read, and write. Here I am beginning to feel like a normal human- what a weird and foreign concept to someone in recovery.

I was late so I grabbed a cliff bar, granola bar, and water to eat/drink in the car. I had some coffee with cream and sugar- a new recovery phenomenon for me. At noon I was asked if I would want to go grab pizza. I panicked. I hadn’t had any food- in my disordered mind- that had any nutritional value today. I needed a smoothie, or a salad, a quinoa bowl perhaps, or one of those insta posts of a colorful plate of veggies- #recovery? This of course is a lie that my mind was telling me because all food is processed and used by our bodies. Our bodies are well oiled machines that are a whole lot smarter than the logic our disordered minds try to use to define their functioning. And guess what? Our bodies function better when we allow them to have what they truly want to have. These days even when the panic sets in around certain foods, I try my best to push past. I know that to give into those panicked thoughts would strengthen the muscles I don’t want anything to do with. I want to be toned by authenticity, normalcy, and freedom not from hours in the gym or a million Buddha bowls. I want peace. All I have ever wanted was some peace. In simpler terms, that meant I needed to get the effing pizza.

Pizza and real soda because to get diet soda would be an eating disorder win and I am not in the business of losing. I am competitive by nature. I want to win. I want to beat this disease that, for so many years, has taken over my mind. So, real soda is a must and not just any real soda, but Root Beer. This is a childhood favorite that I never was allowed to have. Now, I have it when I want. Soda is bad for you. This nagging voice, these lying thoughts trickle in forcing me to hesitate when picking out the drink.  So is self-punishment and restricting my life, I internally yell back to the voice as I grab the harmless Root Beer.  Yes. Another win. Like I said, I am not in the business of losing.

Don’t get me wrong, these decisions to get what I want are hard as hell. I have to aim, fire, and shoot at the eating disorder multiple times throughout the day. The difference now is that the eating disorder doesn’t have a chance. I am pulverizing it. Devouring its very existence. The eating disorder is dying with each passing day because I have been in enough therapy. I know too much about recovery to not fall into recovery. I can’t unlearn all the skills and coping mechanisms that I have been taught. I have, in a way, been brainwashed into recovery. I have no choice, but to choose freedom. For this very fact, I will be eternally grateful to all of the therapists, dieticians, and fellow patients that have helped brainwash me along the way. With the help of a mini army, I have been given the gift of freedom.

 

 

Diaries of a Misplaced City Diver

Diary of a Misplace City Diver Who Can’t Seem to Get Her Shit Together

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An ambulance passes by at a deafening volume leaving my ears ringing and my heart racing.  I hate the sound of sirens, now even more than before, for their suggestion of trauma and their air of panic and alarm.  I have enough fear swimming through my bones these days.  My bones, because the fear is densely solid like ice or glass and not liquid so it can’t swim through me like in the past.  It is a fear that leaves a cloud looming over my shadowy body.  Not raining, not separating to give a glimpse of the sunlight, just lingering with a taunting presence giving rise to surges of anxious energies in my chest as I am constantly anticipating the sudden downpour of acid rains to burn my sensitive skin.

The sirens shift from a wail to a distressing beeping as I gain conscious awareness into my actual surroundings.  It is 5am and the noise was not an ambulance at all but the feverous calls of another day.  Friday. 5am. The sky is still black and my room stings my exposed feet and hands in its chilling March air.  I don’t like it, I tell myself.  This uncertainty. This cloud.  This cold air. This dreary room. I retreat from the day back into my intrinsically wired mind in search of a wave of belonging. Two days ago humidity held me in the present moment.  The air’s thick cloud offered a warm embrace certain to keep my feet, who tendencies are to float away, tethered firmly to the ground while the dry chill of the city lets me slip like water through loose fingers and spill slowly across the room.

I enter periods of time where I feel like everything is a dream, like I am watching myself on a screen while sitting on a couch sipping black coffee in hopes that its bitterness will somehow transport me back into the scene existing eight feet away and protected by a million pixilated images.  My complex mind needs this space, a time to rest from my reality, recharge, and then attempt to reenter.  But also a time to disembark on a journey of wonder and fantasy, a time to create within myself a world separate from the one greeting me at 5am through a beeping clock on a dark Friday morning.

Somewhere wedged between my left and right brain I have carved out cubby and stashed away my dreams so that whenever my present moment becomes tangled I can escape here and tuck myself safely away.  It is here in my cubby, nestled like a little bird, that I fall deep deep deep into the ocean’s abyss because that is what my cubby is constructed of at the moment, a fascination and obsession with diving beneath the surface, a space where few are privileged enough to experience. That’s the recipe needed on these bleak disconnected days, a vivid imagination able to transport me from my bedroom to the space underneath the waves , carried by the water’s current, and washed clean by the saltwater’s brush.

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Recipe for functionality of a misplaced and borderline dissociated city scuba diver:

-Begin by first separating the mind from current circumstance

-Take the circumstance, open the trash, toss it inside, and leave it be

-Take the mind, run it under cool water until all the dirt is washed away, dab it dry, and leave on the counter for 10 minutes

-After ten minutes take the mind and inject inside of it three drops of blue food coloring

-Massage the food coloring into the mind while humming

-Let the mind sit for 10 minutes

-While the mind is sitting bring three cups of water to boil

-Add a jar of fish oil and salt to the boiling water

-Take the mind and place it near the pot on the stove

-Let the smell fester into the mind for 10 minutes

-Turn of the stove, let the pot simmer

-Take the mind and submerge it into the water and fish oil and salt

-Place a lid on the pot and let the it sit until the mind melts into the substance

-Take the circumstance out of the trash and place it on the counter

-Pour the liquid mind over the circumstance

-Watch as the mind eats away the circumstance and expands in size

-Let cool, serve with whipped cream and shattered mussel shells

 Diary to Recount the Magic of Cancun and Lament the Death of My Mundanity  

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Tears form glass sculptures in the corners of my eyes not out of sadness or defeat but because I feel, for a moment, the sheer complexity of this world. There are so many layers that I am unable to navigate and excavate every crevice of this existence, but somehow as I sway to the rhythm of the city’s train, I am at peace in the knowledge of my minuscule presence.

Passing a row of street lights with the smell of dope evaporating from the gentleman next to me, the moment where I surface from a drift dive, completely overwhelmed by the vastness of the endless waters extending in each direction, appears in my mind. As it does, I exhale an air of acceptance in the fact that the world is so large and therefore to expend my energies around the maddening unexplainable darkness of this life does me no good except to distract me from all the light. To focus on sickness and loss and disease and compulsion is to flood my mind with murky sewage water when God is standing across the room offering to lead me into the crystal waters of the ocean. What do I choose, the waters that are already rising around my ankles or the ocean a mile down the path?

Positivity leaks from a journey towards greatness because each step, though painful and hard wearing, is a foreshadowing into the release you are to receive on the other side. Good can only be understood within the context of bad in the same way understanding can only transform into knowledge among an admitted confusion. So may I rest easy tonight in the understanding of not understanding and in the heaviness of the darkness because I know that peace comes from my powerlessness, from my surrendering, from my ability to look out at the train tracks and city lights and say “there is just so much”.

“There is just so much”… wonder in the magic of the water.  Last Saturday as I dove into the caverns in Cenotes, the magnitude of this statement nearly plastered me permanently to the ground of the cavern’s floor.  We dove at a 45-degree angle downward, deep deep down, leaving the sunlight to fade behind our backs.  A single file line because the walls around us were to narrow to share the space.  Our lights offered the way, guiding where we were to move and where we were to swim, but it wasn’t the guidance that was necessary.  It was not the onward and upward that was relevant, but the experience.  The fact that we were suspended in waters so clear that we all looked like we were floating.  There was no reference point offering knowledge that we were underwater, no particle, no murkiness, nothing but the air bubbles expanding from our regulators to tell us that we were diving.  The stalagmites and stalactites narrowed the space.  We must be careful in our navigation, aware of our every move so as to not damage the hundreds upon thousands of years of growth surrounding our bodies.  It wasn’t the artificial light coming from the flashlight in my hand that mattered.  It was the fact that a stalagmite only grows .37 inches in a year and the one’s surrounding us were several feet long.  Growth in stability.  Growth in undisrupted spaces.

We descend at a 45-degree angle and ascended all the same into an air pocket found deep inside this underwater river system.  So we were in an underwater river, 50 plus feet underground, and we could breath?  And there in the center of this circular cavernous space with stalagmites lining the ceiling was a tree.  A tree was growing right there in the middle of this underwater river because there was an air pocket, an air pocket?  Can you imagine?  The dive master asked us as we took out our regulators and rested in the wonderment of how a tree came to grow down here, to turn off all of our lights.  Complete and utter darkness fell over everything.  But only for a moment because the natural sunlight that we had left hundreds of feet away, leaked through the water.  As it did so, the sun created a white glowing film on top the water that as we brushed our hands across the water’s surface little white lights danced across the cavern.

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So I am in an underwater river, yet I can breathe, and there is a tree growing, and the waters dance with white lights.  The experience was unreal and left me, without a doubt, certain of the existence of a creator.  How could such a magical space, a magical experience, an otherworldly existence transpires without a God resting his hands on my shoulders and allowing me to truly see these things.

The alarm is still beeping.  I haven’t even moved for the day yet and already I have recounted the spiritual highs and mundane lows of my reality right now, today, on this chilly Friday morning in March.  Madness is compelling when you are zoomed out and able to accept its thought patterns at face value.

And, with that, I get out of bed.