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Journal

Embodied Rituals for Skin + Soul

Filtering by Tag: relationships

An embodied look at addiction

Katie Gordon

The other day I was having a coffee date via Skype with a close friend who is also a soul sister/mentor/mystic. She has a knack for truth-telling in a most compassionate & loving way to which I can only aspire. We were talking about relationships, in particular the patterns and lessons you learn about yourself within each relationship. How much potential there is for growth within love and how intense, heart wrenching, and amazing it all is. And then she pointed out to me (again, very nonjudgmentally) my pattern of running in relationships. Or more accurately, running out of them. Since a large part of the work I've been diving into lately, what Bill Plotkin refers to as "Soulcraft," is recognizing old patterns in thought and behavior, relinquishing old identities, and giving up addictions, her observation struck me as something that obviously required my attention.

In his book Soulcraft, Plotkin dedicates a lot of time to the topic of patterns, why we have the ones we do, how they developed, why they were necessary at one point in our life, and why it's imperative that we untangle ourselves from them once we've accepted our journey of descent into soul. Addiction is one form of pattern, something we ALL fall into, whether it's addiction to a substance, food, shopping, sex, Facebook, checking our email 8000x a day, etc. And of course there are countless theories of WHY we develop certain addictions and how to treat them. I'm not even gonna go there today. It's Plotkin's opinion that many times, addictions are either attempts at self-initiation, because basically here in our western, non-nature-based society we no longer have cultural rites of initiation built into our education, OR an addiction is a distraction, a way we have of numbing ourselves because we feel unfulfilled, unsatisfied, trapped, claustrophobic, and we deeply know we're meant to do more in our lives than we're currently doing.

In my experience, and in my opinion, it's often a bit of both. I've distracted myself from fully feeling uncomfortable or intense feelings, from fully acknowledging that I'm feeling those uncomfortable and intense feelings, and then feeling guilty for not acknowledging or feeling those uncomfortable and intense feelings. (P.S. that's a lot of energy moving around without being released. It's best not to do it that way.)

I've also acknowledged that my journey into anorexia and bulimia was absolutely an attempt at self-initiation. Pushing my physical body to its limit, approaching that breaking point when it couldn't take anymore, allowing myself to almost physically and metaphorically disappear, diving deeply into that shadow side of my psyche that didn't feel valuable, loved, seen, or heard. Of course at the time I didn't know that's what I was trying to do, but at some level, I did know the reasons behind all of those behaviors were much deeper than body image and self-esteem issues. Something in me was seeking answers, meaning, and explanations of deeply rooted feelings and my purpose for being here on this Earth.

Anyway, back to my "running" story...

When my friend said that I realized I DO run many times a situation begins to feel out of my control or I don't see a pleasant way out. I have (had) an addiction to running. It was a deeply engrained pattern. Of course often the way out is working it THROUGH, which I also wasn't a huge fan of doing. However, being in a committed and healthy relationship now, one that I want to show up in and not run from, means having to wade through the unpleasant feelings that arise, the disagreements that occur, and the feelings that surface as a result. Not always fun, folks. Some of my ugliest shadows have shown themselves. Each time I feel like hiding, running, or otherwise pretending the discomfort and intensity isn't happening, I see that pattern in myself. I see my need for things to be comfortable and if they're not, to make them better by smoothing it over, even when it's not for the best of the relationship. I know whatever's coming up is at least partly a call to sit and feel, hear, see, and know my own soul deeper. And then it's a call to act in alignment with my soul.

"Be still and know..." - Psalm 46:10

Here's one thing I know for sure. When we can sit through all that intensity that exists within our own wounds, we see that's where our greatest opportunities for growth and brilliance lie. We can witness our own sacredness. We can act from our deepest truth rather than from an old, outgrown identity. We can allow those parts of us to die.

What are your favorite addictions? I invite you to consider seeing them as stemming from an attempt at awakening/stimulating ourselves out of what we've come to see as ordinary reality. Out of our everyday lives. Our small selves. Perhaps acknowledge them as your soul's call to initiation to a deeper level of consciousness, opening us up to a new layer of being seen, heard, or felt.

There is no such thing as a toxic relationship

Katie Gordon

ovid Let's face it...we've all had at least one relationship (and probably a lot more than one) that we've labeled as "toxic", "unhealthy", "codependent", "draining", etc.  It makes us feel better to be able to label it something so that we can push it away, leave it behind, or some how properly deal with it.  We break up with toxic boyfriends/girlfriends, we can move out of codependent family situations, and not hang out with friends that we deem as energetically draining.  But when we simply leave it behind because it doesn't feel good, we fail to grow.  And when we fail to grow, we repeat the SAME patterns OVER AND OVER AGAIN...

So here's a little bit of truth that I've picked up after spending my entire life judging and labeling my relationships...

No one is sent to me by accident.  I have something to learn from everyone I am in relationship with, whether it's a partner, friend, family member, student, boss, or coworker.  If we see that people are all lessons, there's no more need to label good, bad, healthy, unhealthy/toxic, functional, dysfunctional, codependent, etc.  They all serve a purpose.  Our souls call in the people, the teachers, and the lessons we're ready for.

When we call a relationship or a person "toxic", it creates shame and guilt around seeing that relationship as a "mistake."  We judge them and ourselves instead of really seeing the truth about experience as it is.  They're on their path and so are we.  We attract the people for which we need the lesson and the lesson is never "good" or "bad".  It just is.  And it's always necessary.  It's always exactly what we need in that time.  All those lessons, or experiences, whether big or small, fun or not so fun (and let's be honest, not too many of them feel good or fun at the time) make up our life's curriculum.  And what we do with that completely depends on us.

Do you see how none of that is about the other person?  How it's ALL an inside job?  Do you see how we have all the power the moment we decide to stop judging, labeling, and shaming ourselves and others and just start seeing what is?  What's here for us in this very moment?  That it's all so perfect, so divine, that it couldn't possibly be any other way?  Of course this is all a process, it takes practice to not judge and really SEE.  Just be gentle with yourself and watch what happens.