j o u r n a l o n e | lessons from the float tank |

Thursday Morning.

I woke up early and did what I always do - I drove to the coffee shop. The ritual of the drive has become my morning prayer, I play soulful music and as I drive I talk to the heavens. My morning prayer is always the same: "Dear Universe, please use me in your name, I surrender." -- something along those lines. After prayers and coffee I headed home -- the sun had still not arisen -- to tend to my amazing pooches. Then I had a smoothie, drank some water, and got ready for my morning float session at One Love Float. I headed to my car -- the sun was now up, and the daylight created total clarity and blue skies -- as I got into my car I became aware of an invisible chip that had caused my whole windshield to crack right before my eyes. 

Obsessive as my nature is, I now had a topic to become totally fixated on. I drove to the float centre pissed off, overthinking, worrying about money, wondering how this could have happened to me. A mere crack in a silly windshield had now became a full blown poor me, why me story in my head. 

I arrive at the float centre for my 10am float, knowing full well that I am floating today with the intention of blogging afterwards. I take my shoes off, head to the open tank room -- also known as 'Ed' -- take off my clothes, have a shower, put my ear plugs in, say some prayers + intentions, and get into the tank. I opted for a shorter float (60 minutes, usually I float for 90 minutes) because after my float I had another super exciting adventure to head out on; filming with The Light Cellar. I lay in the tank, and instantly gravity is kyboshed by buoyancy due 1000lbs of salt, and I become weightless. It's so good. It feels like home, the water feels warm and familiar and I think to myself, 'This is going to be a good float, I’ll wrap this 60 min quickie up with some sweet nuggets of wisdom to post for the world to see'. And then I think, 'Oh shit, no wait. No expectations kori. Just be nothing. Be one with the water, and just see what shows up". I teetered between full blown expectations of float-tank-divine-intervention, and letting go of control, expectation, and the need to have the heavens drop down the "How to do Life Superb, Excellent and Perfect" manual. I shut the lights off, the music dimmed, and I sunk into the abyss of floating. 

Dark. 

Weightless. 

Soundless. 

The water is body temperature making it hard to distinguish where self ends and water begins; hard to feel where water ends and air begins. The float tank takes away the senses, it leaves self totally immersed with… well, self. And that is the whole pain and beauty of floating; nowhere to run, nowhere to hide for wherever we go, there we are.

Floating is really similar to what I would imagine it is like to be in the womb of our Mother. It's safe, warm, and deeply nourishing. Except one thing, my mind was on overdrive. I was obsessing about whatever I could obsess about, my mind was thinking, and chattering, and revving up in speed. I thought about work, and fears, and the future. I thought about business ideas, deadlifts, and my injured shoulder. I thought about why I kept floating to one side of the tank, and why it bothered me so much when my right foot would hit the edge of the tub. I thought about contraptions float tanks ought to be equipped with to ensure that no side-touching of the float tank walls was possible, you know, to ensure the perfect float. I thought about the crack, that stupid crack. How much are windshield to fix? And then I thought how stupid it is to obsess about a windshield – I’m certainly not going to let a windshield give me a damn kanipshin. Windshields don’t matter, I mean they do on the road, but not in the float tank. I came to a self-agreement -- we would let the windshield go, we would thank the lucky stars that we had a car to drive which means we had a windshield to crack, and we would leave it at that.

I become a ‘we’ when I have to talk myself through a dilemma.

So the windshield issues are gone, now to focus on my float.

Breathe Kori, just focus on your breath,  breathe in, and exhale -- let it all go -- in the moments I held enough attention to focus on the beauty of breath, I could feel the beating of my heart, and further I could hear the echo of the thump-thump-thump in the cavity of my ribcage; these are the moments humble me. Our human body is so intelligent, so wise, and so divine. It's complex, and fluid. It's strong and soft. It regenerates it self. It heals it self. There I was, in 11 inches of water and 1000lbs of salt -- floating -- what a miracle. I'm sure some would call it science, but I choose to go with miracle. 

Ugh but that stupid crack.

No wait, we agreed, no more windshield obsession.

Just breathe, Kori.

Oh my goodness is this float ever going to end?

60 minutes, or a lifetime, who knows anymore, I’ve likely turned to a prune it feels like I’ve been in here so long trapped with my own obsessive, restless mind. Oh my god kori, get it together, you have a wise blog post waiting on the other side of this float, just ... focus. 

I thought perhaps I was forgotten in the tank, maybe the timer wasn't set, and maybe it's a cruel trick. No, Treeka wouldn't do that, she knows I have magical elixir making on film with the light cellar after this. Maybe blogging should start next week, I'm over this, I will have nothing wise to say. No wait Kori, remember that even if you don't touch the face of god in this tank, and even if you are not catapulted to the dimensions of sage wisdom to take back to the earth plane and share with the homosapiens, you are still laying in 1000lbs of salt. 

Epsom Salts is what’s used in the tank, this salt is known for it’s heavy Magnesium content. Magnesium is relaxing on the body, muscles, and nervous system. I don't have to be in a deep meditative state to reap the rewards of this medicine, in fact, one hour in a float tank is meant to be equivalent to 4 hours of deep sleep -- check my stats here people, I went memory on that one, my point is that it’s super restful.

What a waste of a float. 

And then the music came on -- that’s how the floater is signaled that the float is done -- and surprisingly, I started to weep. I lay in the tank, in the dark, totally naked, and I cried. I cried for a whole song. And then the next song came on, I turned the light on, sat up in the fetal position with my head bowed and I wept. Tears flowing for no apparent reason, but it felt good.

Then I got up feeling a little shocked at my emotions after what I had deemed as a "waste of time float", I showered slowly. My heart felt tender, my emotions were raw. I felt humbled, and still. 

I then sat on the couch, puled out the notes in my phone, and wrote. 

Here are today's lessons from the float tank:

60 min felt like a lifetime today.

Training in slowness is more painful than training for a marathon. I was itchy, unsettled, & flooded with infinite thoughts. 

I went in with no expectations and yet, I still expected great ah-ha moments, visualization, divine guidance. 

But nothing - or so it seemed - other than me, 1000 lbs of salt, a tank full of water, a dark room, and a restless chatty mind. 

But there was one thing I saw, there was a little girl who sat under some sort of a tree, maybe an olive tree, in a meadow filled with calmness and flowers. I was curious about her in the flickering moments I was able to concentrate. She was here with me last float too. I’m certain she is a part of me, a calm, foreign part of me. She was serene, unbothered by my restlessness. She didn’t even seem to notice me hovering around, trying to sniff out what her purpose was, and catch a glimmer of her face. 

She just sat there. 

Calm. 

Still. 

Content. 

The field this little person sat in was still , not even a slight breeze, and the olive tree she sat under was lifelessly motionless - except that it was filled with life. 

I thought I was forgotten in the float tank. It was like I was in there for an infinite time. Part of me wanted to quit, get up, shower and leave. But the other part of me was content in that water, happy to be in the womb of a tank - close to self, close to the infinite void. 

The little girl under the olive tree was fleeting, she made up only about .0000000001% of my float, the rest was restlessness. I thought that perhaps this would be a float I would walk away with no lessons learnt.

Then the music came back on, and I opened my eyes and started to cry. I cried weightless in the tank, only adding more salt tear by tear. I turned the dim blue light back on and I sat up, naked, in the fetal position - listening to more music - and I continued to cry. 

You see, the work is not always known to us. Sometimes it’s deeper than we can imagine. Often the work is a total act of faith. 

There is something profound to me about the waters of a float tank, actually water in general, I don’t know why it’s so healing, I’m not totally sure why I am so drawn to it; but it has been in the dark cocoon of the frustrating float tank that I have been able to touch the face of god. 

I wrapped today’s 60 minutes up weeping and speaking out loud in prayer to the heavens. 

I don’t know what goes happens on a molecular, spiritual level in those waters, but I always walk away a little more softened. 

As for that girl under the olive tree, I shall continue to get to know her - her peace is so attractive to me.

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december journal {one} 345 days, here i am.

Sobriety has been on my brain alot these past few days, it’s felt rather heavy. I like to talk about this topic, not for a pat-on-the-back, but because addiction is a topic that so many of us are struggling with, and not enough of us are talking about it.

I'm a recovering alcoholic, that's no secret. I've lived this truth out loud since the second denial let up long enough for me to see, and admit, the truth about the way I am wired.

I didn't hit "rock bottom" in the sense that I lost everything. I didn't live under a bridge, or drink from a brown paper bag, or wait for the liquor store to open each morning. Hell, I didn't even drink every day - not even close. I wasn’t the stereotype of what an “addict looks like”.

In fact, I was at a wedding last week, when asked, “You don’t drink anything? Like as in, nothing at all? .... Why??”, I responded, “I am a recovering alcoholic”, too which her response was, “No way. I don’t believe you.”

It’s sad, and humorous all at once.

What’s not to believe? If I said, “I have a diabetes”, would we – as a society – question that? Would we say, “No way? You can’t, I simply can’t believe that”. Likely not. So why then do we do this with addiction? Why have we created a “one size fits all model” for what the face of addiction looks like?

It's taken me 345 days to be able to look at the realities of my “face of addiction”. Sure, I never hit the rock bottom I described above, but I can see now with total clarity that I was bogged down in my own version of rock bottom. My life was totally unmanageable, my thoughts were trapped in darkness, and the darkness won the battle every.single.time. Not only that, but the insanity of drinking was taking a drastic grip on my soul; alcohol made me so sick. Sanity would say ‘stop’, but addiction told me to keep going. Addiction told me that this time it would be different.

It was never different.

It just got worse.

The worse it got, the deeper the shame I felt, the deeper the shame, the more I isolated, and emotionally shut down.

The cycle was insane.

My last year of drinking and using was dark. It was so dark. I could not seem to get a grip on myself; all I wanted to do was die. I had spent the previous few years in therapy working hard at my sanity, growth, and personal development. 2016 was the year that all of that work seemed to begin slipping out of my hands, it was as if I was standing atop a landslide and as my sanity slipped away, it felt there was nothing I could do about it.

I was embarrassed.

I was ashamed of myself.

I was confused.

I felt so deeply alone.

But the thing is... I was not under a bridge, I had a job, I had a marriage, and a life, and I drank good wine out of nice glasses and never alone.. well, almost never. I couldn't be an addict, I just could not believe it. I didn't fit the stereotype. 

So then, why was this happening to me?

Maybe I had just become too sensitive, yeah, that must have been it. Maybe I simply had to cut booze out like I had cut gluten, dairy, and eggs. Maybe it was just an allergy. Maybe it was so simple. But I tried to cut it out, and it didn’t work. It made me sick - I knew that much - but why couldn’t I stop? And when I did plan to drink a moderate 1-2 glasses of wine I obsessed about it all evening long. Why? How come when I controlled my drinking, it wasn’t fun. And when I didn’t control my drinking, it turned into a nightmare half the time, or maybe more.

It was hell.

I went through the entirety of 2016 battling this insane issue. I felt desperately alone, I felt like a fraud. I was loosing connections in my life, I was angry and scared, but I was hooked – I couldn’t stop, and further, I actually could not see that I had a problem. For real. I know it sounds totally crazy, and it is; that’s alcoholism – an allergy of the body and an obsession of the mind – and for those of us with this disease, denial runs deep. Real deep.

December 22, 2016 arrived, this would end up being the day that my life changed. Perhaps one day I will tell this story in detail, but for now, I will just say that on this particular night – after arriving home from family Christmas dinner with my (now ex) husband – I found myself naked, on my knees, in tears, begging life for help. This was the night that I would finally surrender; I would finally admit that something is not right at all with how my body interacts with substances.

December 22, 2016 I admitted defeat. 

January 1, 2017 was my 1st 12-step meeting.

It was single handedly the scariest thing I have ever done, and to be honest, I can not tell you why I did it - some kind of powerful force had entered my life, and somehow, for some reason, I became willing to listen. There I was, in a coffee scented room, scared shitless, unsure what was happening to me or why I was there.

There I was, barley sober, scared shitless. 

And here I am now, 345 days later. Still newly sober, still scared, but no longer "shitless scared". 

Early in sobriety I was told, “Not much will have to change… just everything”; there was enormous wisdom in that advise. At the time I did not believe that would be my fate, I figured I would quit the Kim Crawford on the weekends the same way I quit eating eggs, and march off into the sunset.

No big deal.

But it was a big deal, a really big deal as it turns out.

There was no pink cloud, there was no sunset, and there was barley any light as I moved through this painful process of cellular recalibration. There were countless meetings that I sat in surrounded by a room of strangers drinking bottomless cups of coffee, crying in my seat, wondering when this would get easier, and why it hurt so badly. I wondered why my thoughts were so itchy, and dark. I wondered when the obsession to drink would leave me. I did what I was told to do. I read my book, I went to meetings, and I got down on my knees. I became willing, I shut up and listened, I found some humility.

And then it happened, 111 days into my sobriety journey, my husband called me over the phone, and he left our marriage.

Just like that.

Gone.

The ground was ripped out from below my very feet, my foundation fell apart, and my world caught on fire. I have never felt so broken, or so betrayed in all of my life. The human who I thought was “my person” left. And it made no sense, and it was so enormous, and there was nothing I could do. Once again, I stood helpless in a world that was changing its form faster than I could comprehend, and in ways I desperately didn’t want it to change. My heart was broken. My trust was lit on fire. And I stood there, amongst the flames of my own life, naked, vulnerable, in enormous pain, and I waited there to see what would happen. I knew I could drink to ease the pain, I knew there was that option. Or, I could do what I had never done -- I could surrender --  I could fall to my knees amidst this gigantic forest fire, and I could wait and see what lays on the other side.

Perhaps the flames would burn me alive.

But then again, maybe they wouldn’t.

Day after day, moment after moment, and breath after breath, I stood in that fire and waited. I felt the scold of the heat; I felt the moments of panic when I thought the flames would burn me alive. I felt other moments where the pain in my heart was so all encompassing that I debated jumping into the fire myself. Anything to stop the pain. I went to meetings. I cried endless tears. I ate cacao, I crafted with cacao. I prayed. I ran stairs. I wrote, and wrote, and wrote. I wrote words so dark and scary, that only my journal could bare witness. I worked with my therapist, my traditional Chinese doctor, and my energy workers. I called my mum 50 times a day to ask her to remind me that I would be ok, I needed my mum as a 33 year old woman, more than I had ever needed her in all of my life. I messaged my girlfriend hundreds of times a day, I needed her to remind me over, and over, and over again to slow down and breathe. I found a home in fetal position; I carved a path in the pooch park as I took one-foot-and-then-the-next, again-and-again, day-by-day searching for gratitude. I followed my brother around all summer long – we slack lined, and danced. We bought costumes and travelled to burning man – he was my light, he was my life force.

Here I am.

345 days into the most transformative journey I have ever endured.

Here I am.

It the darkest days, I vowed to surrender to grief. I vowed to remain self-loyal. I vowed that I would be willing and teachable; I promised myself that I would stay present to the lessons that life was offering me. I promised myself to show up, I promised myself that I would be brave.

And I was.

Here I am, 345 days in.

I have learned that addiction is sneaky, and has many faces. I’ve learned that staying ‘dry’ is significantly different that engaging in quality sobriety. I have learned that this life is a great mystery, and that our human hearts can endure far more than we would ever imagine. I learnt to pray, to hand my life over to divine will. I’ve learnt that my soul is a fucking warrior, and I’m grateful I was gifted my soul – I don’t know how I have managed these past 7 years, but I have, and not only have I merely managed, I have chosen to rise.

I am not bitter.

I am not angry.

I am learning to love again. I am learning to trust this life again. I am learning to share my heart once again.

I am filled to the brim with faith, with love, with a tender heart. I can forgive it all. I can forgive myself, and I can forgive a love that turned down the unexpected pathway.

That forest fire failed to burn my soul, it failed to swallow me whole. Instead, the heat of that fire became the greatest teacher I have even known, that fire burnt my life to the ground in the most pain, magical way possible. That fire, that grief, that intense betrayal opened me; it softened me, it changed me. That fire nearly killed me, but you see, it didn’t. That’s the most important thing, it didn’t take me down, it didn’t harden me, it didn’t even make me resentful. It taught me faith, willingness, trust. That forest fire was the most beautiful thing that as happened to me.

Tonight I sat down to write a small FB post on addiction. Today I have been overwhelmed with heartache for the journey that I have been walking. Tonight, I needed to write some words to articulate some heart feelings, and as it turns out I had much more to say than I thought.

To those of you who struggle, I see you. I love you. Keep going. Be brave enough to ask for help, be humble enough to accept it. We are all human walking a strange and twisty human path, there is nothing to be ashamed of.

For those of you who are in the throws of grief, I see you. I love you. Grief is a fierce teacher, and if you can find the courage to surrender in her tight grip, she will transform you, she will open you, she will recalibrate you. Keep going. The clouds will part… I promise you.

345 days in.

Here I am.

Sobriety has been the single hardest, most transformative, best choice I have ever made. It changed me, recalibrated, me and made me new, and for that I am deeply grateful.

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november journal {two} - shellshocked

It's Sunday, I am sitting here tonight on the floor -- that's where I always sit, I love the floor, and I don't know why, but here I am on the hard floor feeling rather soft in my heart -- candles are lit, a hot reishi elixir fills my mug, and once again I am called to write, and once again, I feel rusty. 

I've been sober for 321 days, that's the 1st thing that comes to mind. The 2nd thing that comes to mind is the relapse I have just come out of. I didn't relapse on a substance, I relapsed in my 'ism's'; my obsessive, controlling, manipulative, self-centered, fear-based thinking. One day I felt good, the clouds were parting, joy was entering my soul, love was beginning to fill my heart, I was finding a home in surrender, and then it happened -- relapse. I suppose I became complacent. My "work" was shelved, it became secondary -- and I justified it all in that "I'm not really that much of an addict, I did after all escape before I hit rock bottom, before it became unmanageable". It's amazing how deep self-denial runs, how convincing the stories we tell ourselves are, even when we know they are untrue. It's all to easy to believe the bullshit that comes out of our mouths -- for me that's the case anyway. 

All was becoming smooth in my life, the forest fire had rendered me totally aware that my agenda was useless, and that life was in control. The forest fire combined with the journey into sobriety opened my eyes to the power of surrender. All was becoming smooth, I was going to my 12 step meetings, I was spending morning and night on my knees in prayer, I was reading the assigned readings, and I was busy working through the steps. That's the self-care protocol that works for me, and as I have discovered, any divination away from that prescribed way of living results in a wild and uncontrollable mind; my life ceases to operate smoothly and I find myself in a constant state of disharmony, control, worry, and obsessive fear. In other words, I find myself obsessing about... well, myself. 

I think fear is one of my greatest character defects; fear of never measuring up to my potential, fear of being unworthy, fear of lack, and scarcity, fear of success -- fear of failure, fear of money (oh my good heavens, this one I could obsess on for days and days and days), fear of being left behind -- abandoned, betrayed --  fear of people being mad at me.

It's fear, fear, fear.

It's self. self. self. 

I obsess about it, and left unchecked, I can fall quickly down a deep rabbit hole of self-pity, and darkness. I suppose this can be categorized into many character defects:

perfectionism; 

fear;

people pleasing; 

self-centeredness;  

and ... control. 

I can not handle when people are mad at me, I get stuck in a loop of worrying about the tomorrows rather than focusing on the here and the now, I find the lure of darkness almost irresistible, and before I know it, I become an emotional wreck. 

I isolate, anxiety rules my mind and heart, I can't distinguish up from down, I cancel social plans with loved ones in order to hide away because the thought of being in the world pains me to my very core. 

It's total insanity. 

Unmanageability at it’s finest. 

I have known this about myself, but I have not experienced it sober. Sober is so strange, and so beautiful, and so, so, very hard. 

This is where I have been the past 2 weeks. One day the clouds were parting and life was finally becoming smooth, and the next -- well, chaos in my mind had broken out, and I was too caught up in my own stories, dramas, and denial to find my way out. I had taken back the reigns of control in my own life, and had become obsessed with micromanaging, manipulating, and controlling life in order to fulfill my own agenda, as if to say that I know what’s best for me. 

I don't.

If there is one thing I am learning in this shell-shocking journey of early sobriety, it is that I do not in fact know what is best for my soul. My agenda and life's agendas are different -- slowly but surely, I am learning to abide by life's cosmic plan.  

But of course there are the days (or weeks) that I forget to abide by life's plan, and control sneaks in, and off kilter I fall. Thank God for the humans in my life who know my subtle quirks, and can gently remind me that potentially a 12 step meeting, or a yoga class just might be good idea. They of course remind me at a great risk of my old knee-jerk reactions where my back get's up, my chest puffs out, and I become cold, distant and defensive. That happened over these past 2 weeks. It did, and looking back at it the next day with an emotional hangover at my unkind, and unloving response was humbling to my ego. It was painful to see with such clarity how my shadow side acts out. No wine to numb it, no vices to scratch my itch -- just raw, humbling, painful, clarity. This blessing of clarity results in self-awareness, and so I find myself constantly apologizing, owning my mistakes, and cleaning my side of the street. It's not always graceful, it's sort of messy, deeply vulnerable, and takes real, true loved ones to stand by me as I move through these growth pains. I feel like a teenager sometimes, it's new territory to navigate. I'm still a bit shell-shocked. 

I'm grateful for my people, I'm grateful for the ones that truly see me, truly 'get me', and have the patience and love to not only call me out on my shit, but offer a shoulder to cry on when I'm totally exhausted from this journey. 

It's hard on my ego when I hear my loved humans tell me to get to a meeting, it's painful to know that I'm an addict, it's a super hard pill to swallow. It's easy to look at other addicts and see that "their sobriety has to be placed as #1", that's easy to see, after all they have the disease so much worse than me. 

That's been my story. 

As of this past week, I have become aware that my story is wrong, a new veil has been lifted, and I can see a little more clear. 

It's painful. 

It's humbling. 

It's hard. 

December 22, 2016 was the day that I knew I needed help, I don't know why I knew it, but it was as if a voice came to me and said "Kor, it's time. You cannot do this on your own. This will kill you", and I listened. I don't know why I did -- I personally believe that it was the sheer Grace of God that saved me. I embarked on this journey, shaking in my boots, and really, really, really hoping that I was not an alcoholic. Maybe it was a phase, or maybe I was depressed, or maybe, just maybe it could have been anything other than alcoholism. 

It wasn't anything but alcoholism, it was just that: alcoholism. 

For 321 days now I have been totally shell-shocked. 321 days ago my life totally changed, 111 days into this sobriety journey everything I thought was stable burnt to the ground, and at about 298 days I had my 1st relapse, and it was so sneaky, and now that it is passing I can see with significant more clarity how it is that my mind works, and more importantly, what it is that I need to stay grounded, self-connected, sober, and spiritually fit. 

Like any self-care protocol, it's got to be tended to, without it the self withers, and for a human like me, that withering is fatal. I cannot become complacent. I know that I cannot eat food allergens; they make me sick. I know that I cannot drink alcohol; it makes me sick (mentally, physically, and spiritually). I cannot surround myself with drama, and dysfunction; they make me sick. I have learned that I require sleep, regular exercise, healthy food, supplements, and healing elixirs. I need a balance of alone time mixed in with social time. I need to create, I need to work with humans, and I need to focus my energy on being of service. 

I am now learning that there is another layer to my self-care ritual -- this is the layer that has been missing all of my life, the layer that sobriety has gifted me, the layer that withers quickly when ignored; this is the layer of trust, surrender, and the willingness to give up control. 

I know in my head that this is the step that my soul needs, trust me; I have overthought the life out of this step. But this is a step that cannot be thought of, manipulated, or adjusted in anyway. This is the step of pure faith. This is the step where I renounce the proposed agenda that I think "ought to come true", this is where I must practice -- day-today -- the motion of falling to my knees in abidance that, "God's Will Be Done". -- I'm not religious, but "God" is the easiest way for me to simply articulate this message, elaborating on this point would be an entire novel all to its own, so I'll keep it simple, and refer to my Higher Power as "God" -- I also like: Creator, Universe, Magical Unicorns, JC, Buddha, whatever, you get my point. Somewhere along the line, likely between dancing endless hours under Mother Earth's finest Burning Man Skies and feeling the sensation of love enter my heart, I became complacent in my work, and I began to (ever to sneakily) filter life with my agenda, and my hopeful manifestations. This was where the tightrope balance became tricky, and I tripped, and I fell. 

I can't articulate this journey too much more than sharing my stumbling blocks at this point. I'm still too shell shocked, speechless, confused, and also in awe, and reverence. 

Life is a strange journey, and I am grateful to live it. Sobriety is a ride, and I’m grateful to have a seat.

Today I know that my sobriety is #1 for me, I know that my self-care rituals keep me sane, and enable me to show up to the world. Today I know that my spiritual fitness is totally key to my wellbeing, without it, I am lost, and my life becomes unmanageable. Today -- although a bit bruised in my ego, and shell-shocked -- I am humbled in the greatest way by this enormous gift of sobriety that I have been given. 

Today I am living moment to moment, tonight the candles are beautiful, my elixir is now all gone, and I am still sitting in my floor. Tonight my heart is soft, open, and vulnerable. Today was a good day.

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november journal {one} -- one foot & then the next

It's been a long time since I have been on here, a long while since I have been able to articulate my emotions into words, & certianly it's been a long time since I have felt compelled to share too much of my journey.

It's simply been too confusing, too painful, too much... yes, too much is right; it's been way too much. 

I'm actually not sure what I want to write today -- my fingers feel rusty on this key board -- it's type.delete.type.delete. I know I want to write; I haven't wanted to write in months, so here I am -- writing.

Do I share my story? Do I dive deep into the reality that has been my life? Do I tell you how I have been to hell & back in the past 6.5 months? Do I share the love my heart is learning to feel? Should I tell about how scared I am, how fear comes close to paralyzing me on a daily basis? Do you want to know what betrayal feels like? Should I let you in on the trust issues that have now surfaced in my heart? Should I share with you how each & every single day right now is a battle to trust anything & anyone? Should I tell you that I thought life was going so well -- I had dreams & a 'plan', & it all seemed so sweet, so perfect -- but a life threw a match onto the 'plan', & when gasoline meets flame, the explosion is inevitable. Should I tell you about the explosion? Should I share with you the countless hours I spend in the fetal position on the floor whaling like wounded & helpless animal? Maybe you want to know that no matter how old we are, we need our mothers. My mother was my rock through this. I had Mum, my uncle & 3 of my closest girlfriends that held the deepest space I had ever known to be held, as I moved through this intense period of grief -- should I tell you how healing it is to have humans simply bare witness? Maybe I should share the night that I went to bed with the distress line open on my computer, & an emergency plan in place, becasue earlier that day I had planned how I wanted to end my life. I could see no other way. It was so messed up. I had come so far on my journey only to end up wanting it all to end.. again. Should I share with you what grief taught me? Do you want to know what her claws felt like? Maybe you want to know what gut wrenching heart break feels like as a newly sober person -- fucked up... that's how it felt. Should I tell you all about what happens to self-care when you can barley take in one breath at a time let alone plan how you will make it through an entire 24 hours alive. Should I share with you what it felt like to be walked out on? Do you want to know how sudden it all was, how shocking it was, how fucking confusing it was? Do you want to know what it was like to have the clouds part on the Wednesday morning at burning man when I went to get ice & preceded to have nothing but soul filled adventure for the remainder of my time on the playa? Do you want to know how healing it was for me to be truly seen & witnessed by a human I love so deeply? Do you want to know what it was like to sob at the temple at Burning Man -- too sob to the heavens that had got me there, too the heavens that somehow seemed to have proven to me that they cared about me. Do you want to know what it feels like to finally not feel alone? Do you want to know what falling on my knees in total surrender feels like? Do you think it would be interesting, or perhaps of value, to know how I am choosing to let the pain in my heart only act to further crack it open instead of shutting it down, & becoming jaded? Maybe I should tell you how fucking hard that is, how lonely it is, how more often than not I feel like life handed me more than I can chew. Maybe you want to know what 313 days of sober living feels like? Or maybe you want to know what the removal of alcohol has revealed to me -- an obsessive compulsive brain that requires super steady self-care to remain light & happy. Do you want to know what the light feels like? For so long I treaded the waters of darkness, addiction, abuse, lies, depression, drama, self-hatred, but one day it all changed, & the clouds parted, & I felt content for the 1st time in my whole life. Do you want to know how scary the light is? I feel like a vampire -- this brilliant light is so deeply uncomfortable -- joy is weird & bizarre, & it's a whole new way of living that I am trying to accustom myself to. Do you want to know what it is like to feel love from a human being that truly means it? One that walks the talk of love, one that is loyal & unconditional? Do you want to know how vulnerable that is for me? How uncomfortable & beautiful & frightening it is.

It's all so much. 

So much happened. 

I'm still digesting it all, I've only just begun to see this all for what it is. No words, no wisdom, no hindsight as of yet -- I'm still so fucking blown away. 

My life lit on fire. I felt like I was surrounded by flames, naked in the forest with no way out. The flames were hot, & fierce, & relentless. For whatever reason, as I stood in the burning fire of my life I chose to stay present, to ensure that I did not run, numb, or 'scratch the itch'. I knew that this was a turning point for me, that if I did not choose courage, & learn the teachings this life had in store for me, I would die. But the fucked up thing is that the courage it took to stay present -- sober & present -- nearly killed me too. I can not begin to describe the pain; the heart break was physical. It consumed every fibre, every cell, every molecule of my entire physical & emotional body, & it ached.

Seconds felt like years.

Weeks felt like eternity.

I could not see anyway out. 

My Aunt told me, "Kori you will feel good again. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but one day you will heal". I wanted that day to come faster, I wanted to know the agenda of grief, I wanted to find a way out. But there was no way. The only way was through. I knew this, I know the Atlas Of Darkness, I wrote a whole book on this territory; but this felt unfair to me -- I had already been to the dark, I already mapped it, why was I back there? How was this my life? Why did it hurt so bad? 

It's strange to reflect on this all, it's still all so big -- too big. It's enormous; this last chapter of my life totally recalibrate me. Life had a plan, & for some reason I was willing too cooperate this time around. I was willing, & teachable. I was ready to fall to my knees, I was ready to find faith, & humility. I was ready to let go of control & learn what "god's will" really meant. 

I learnt though this process that life's plan & my plan are dramatically different. I learnt also that life will win in her teachings. The best course of action for me became one of acceptance & surrender. I had to accept life on life's terms, & I had to find a way to let go & let this all unfold as it should. 

I still have more questions than answers. I'm mostly speechless, & deeply humbled these days. I'm not sure how I made it out alive, let alone sober. I don't know why my heart is softer now than ever before -- should this not have made me more angry? It didn't, & I don't know why.

I have come to believe that there is a great energy that rules this life, I have come to believe in the divine intelligence, & for the 1st time in my life, I have become willing to let this intelligence run my life. 

It's a very strange thing, & I wish I had more wisdom to share, but like I said -- I'm mostly just in awe. 

If there is one part of this enormous life lesson that I can put into words, it is the importance of the life motto of {one step & then the next}. 24 hours at a time; one day; one moment; one breath; one step at a time. Magical things happen when we take care of our day instead of obsessing, manipulating, & planning the bigger picture. Miracles occur when we drop our self-imposed agenda & live our life slowly & simply all the while surrendering it to an intelligence greater than our mere mortal selves.

One day I want to tell you what I have discovered about acceptance. One day I so baldy want to share with you what I learned about humility & grace. One day I want to tell you how this betrayal has not tainted my view on life, or, love, or faith, but rather, it's actually done the very opposite -- it's rendered me softer, more vulnerable, & more capable of deeper love, & meaning. One day I want to tell you all about my journey into sobriety, & what a game changing experience it has been. I want to share with you how powerful gratitude has been in my life, & how comforting it is for me to know that my soul will always find peace when my knees hit the ground & I pray. I want to express what a gift this has all been, I want to tell you how humbled I am. Why Me? I feel so lucky. So, so, so lucky. I want to tell you how deep this was, how transformative it has been, & how much I appreciate all of your prayers & support.

I want to share that, but today I don't know how. 

There are simply no words, it's just all too big. 

The enormity of gratitude my heart feels is totally indescribable. 

One day I hope I can do it justice & share it with you all.

Until then all I can do is continue to take the next best step.  

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may journal {two}

i'm 28 days into this grief, into the uprooting of my life and the burn down of what was (apparently) no longer serving me. i'm 139 days into sobriety and all i can say tonight is a giant holy fuck. life. wow. man oh man. 

so here i am. these past 28 days have rocked me to my very core in a way that i find difficult to put into words. it's sort of all a blur and yet it's also all crystal clear right down to the very 2, 419, 200 seconds that have made up these past 28 days. my life blindsided me. up until my first float on day 19, 9 days ago, i had very serious bouts of wanting to end the pain. i didn't want to scratch the itch with wine or any other vice, i wanted it to be over. i wanted to end it. this blow was simply too much for me. that is just the real hard fucking truth. i have never endured the pain in my heart as i have these past few weeks. it is all encompassing. each minute feels like a life time and there were more times that i can count where i found myself in a pile on the floor sobbing in a way i thought that the sobs would cut my air tubes off and leave me for dead. 

not one day has passed without a total heart-meltdown. no day has been easy.  

i was in panic, sheer-fucking-panic. how could this be my life? how could what i know and love so dearly not be what i thought it was? how could what i know to be true be but smoke and mirrors? how the fuck was this happening? i was sick with grief, paralyzed in panic and consumed with physical, emotional and spiritual pain. i still am. 

they say that grief comes in waves. well, for me there was no wave for the 1st 25 days, there was just a solid wall of fucking pain. there was no break, there was no chance to catch my breath. i wasn't sure i was made for this. i begged god to take it away or to take me away or to wake me or to make this different. but nothing changed. the reality remained and all there was for me to do was accept was is and find the courage to nourish my heart moment to moment.

it was torture. it still is. 

but here i am. 

a few days ago i went online and i deleted all of my words from all platforms on social media. what was the point, i thought. how much more am i going to loose by walking this path of mine? how much more can i possibly endure? i felt 'too much', too.. kori. i felt too honest, too 'type a', too busy, too plan centred, too raw, too loud, too transparent, too much. so i took it down. 

instantly upon that decision my soul screamed at me. she screamed at me the reminder of the promise i made to self years ago, that i -- no matter what -- would ever abandon self again. no matter how hard it is, i have to find the courage to be all of me, even if it is too much. these past three years of my life i have done nothing but continue to shed layer upon layer of self. i have blossomed into a fuller, more self-loving expression of kori than i ever have been. i found my voice. i found kori and i won't ever let her go, i won't ever betray her. 

i've lost alot in this process of finding me. i can not believe the destruction of this path, the pain and isolation. my heart fucking weeps for what was, it weeps for what has been lost. but the truth remains true for me: i would not do anything differently. this is my path, this is what i signed up for. healing my self and sharing it with the world is 100% my souls mission. i don't know why this mission chose me, but it did. so here i am, writing. for me this process of putting words to paper and sending them to the world feels like part of my contract, part of the reason that i am here on this planet. 

do you know how many times i have battled with wanting to exit this planet? something is fucking keeping me here and i intend to rise to the occasion. 

it's all so funny, you know, the timing of this life. right when i thought i had 'conquered the darkness' and recorded it all in a memoir/self-help book -- The Atlas of Darkness -- life rips the rug out from underneath me. she forces me back into the dark night of the soul, yet again. but this time she says "you know what your doing kori, and you have a choice here: light or dark. what's it going to be?". i was on a tightrope, darkness on one side and light on the other and with each passing moment i could feel the lure and tug of the dark. i felt her whisper in my ear and caress my hair. numbing would have felt so good. raging and shutting my heart down would have protected me from this pain. this tightrope was real for me and i had worked too hard to fall off. i was choosing love. i was choosing light and the only way i know how is through the self-care practices that i have worked on over the past 6 years. so i took every tool and every ritual i recorded in my book and i put it into practice becasue this time, for me, this was more than surrendering into the darkness, this was about choosing the light. this time i am riding this dark night of the soul without a single vice. this time i knew the map, i had the atlas, and it's working... my atlas works!

i am fucking on my knees. i am naked. i am more vulnerable than i ever have been in my life. my heart is not guarded and as i lay here bruised and shaken at the pit of this soul swamp i am expanding my capacity for faith. i am finally learning to really sit with this pain and it's transforming every cell in my body. 

i have discovered the divinity in darkness. i really have. 

its at the deepest point of sorrow, it's in the centre of the dark moments that you think you can not handle. the divinity in the darkness lays in the pain that we endure without the use of vices. it's here, but it's for the warriors who will to look deeper, it's for those who call on courage and choose with all their mite that this transformation is worth it. it's for those with faith.

this is the dark night that i have been waiting for all my life. this is the dark night that is recalibrating everything in me. this is the truest lesson in surrender that i have endured, and i am rising. i am rising to meet this excruciating pain in the eye and i am falling into her arms to let go and allow myself to be transformed. 

this is grief. 

this is the plan of the universe and one day it might make sense. today, however, it lacks all sense. i'm angry and i'm hurting more than ever before. and simultaneously i'm finding god, i'm expanding my faith and somewhere inside of me i know that this will all be ok. 

here i am, taking one step at a time, simply doing the next best thing. 

that's all i've got right now.