The greatest achievements and accomplishments I’ve experienced have come at the cost of what felt like endless discomfort. Despite the insight I’ve gained over the years into this phenomenon, I still manage to occasionally lose sight and direction in the midst of them.
I’d been in a funk the past month. A down period. The light, the inspiration, the vibes over the holiday season slowly started to elude me as the year came to a close and I found myself feeling wistful and listless (a part of me was questioning why I was feeling this way).
The answer, as is so often in life, was simple. With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, and the months leading up, I realized I had begun to neglect my self-care. I was waking up late, forgoing a morning routine with prayer and meditation. Running/getting outside less often. Overindulging in unhealthy food. Practicing mindfulness only tangentially. Overworking myself professionally and personally. Overthinking things. Putting undue pressure on myself. Forgetting to keep God and spirituality front and center in all that I do.
All these experiences culminated in a loss of presence. A state of mind marked by a looping of what ifs and rumination. It was a return to a place I hadn’t been mentally in quite some time. It reminded me of my early experiences in recovery: incessant fruitless thinking that does nothing but wrap me up in self. My wife and friends noticed the difference in me fairly quickly and were quick to check in.
Getting checked by the people around me helped me confront myself and my line of thinking. It helped me see myself and the ways I’d let my guard down and gotten lazy, helped me remember that as a person who’s struggled so deeply in the past with mental health and addiction that my ultimate priority at any given time is making sure these spiritual and therapeutic practices are in place. They don’t have to be perfect – we don’t have to be the Dalai Lama or a monk. They just have to be there – the attempt, the effort, the contrary action. That’s how I continue to grow and learn – falling down and getting back up.
Things are back on the up and up. I got back in the groove. This wasn’t the first time I’ve fallen down and it definitely won’t be the last. What a blessing it is today, though, that I have a wealth of coping skills, insight, friends, family, and love surrounding me, so that I never have to return to my old ways again. Faltering in our human ways is a part of life. What makes all the difference is having the proper program and plan in place for when you do.
Every single day of our lives is a blessing no matter how much pain, sorrow, joy, anxiety, happiness, or tribulation we may be experiencing. Every moment is an opportunity to practice beautiful presence or start over. How easy I seem to forget – and how quickly I am reminded by the gratitude and joy of living in recovery.
Sean – In recovery