addiction + being seen

A month ago I heard a voice, “Go buy yourself some organic rolling tobacco.” I quickly said “No”. It was the first time that I could remember saying no to something I wanted in a long time. It felt sharp and harsh. I was a closet smoker for the better part of my life (most of 15 - 43 years old). I quit by telling myself, “You’re one cigarette away from being a smoker, and I don’t want to be a smoker.”

It worked and for a decade I had no desire to smoke. And then I did.

Three weeks ago I heard the call again to "Buy organic rolling tobacco and to begin work with the spirit of the plant." I gave myself the gift of trusting what I wanted. I got a little tiny bamboo mat to help my pathetic rolling capabilities and organic hemp papers. I prayed and thanked the spirits of the plants and everyone who had brought this sacred medicine to me.

I inhaled lightly and after a couple of puffs I heard the voice say, “enough.” I put it out opened the paper and mindfully placed the insides to the earth as an offering. It was so powerful and grounding. I could feel the connection to the plant in a different way than ever before. 

I did this daily. Praying. Rolling. Smoking a small amount. Offering the rest to the earth.

Two weeks ago I was awakened before dawn to a fire outside the bedroom door where I was sleeping. The flames got put out quite quickly, but the trauma multiplied when it became clear that someone had intentionally set the fire with me inside it.

I stood with a tree and cried while the arson investigator and firemen did their work. The couple of days that followed I was aware I was in shock. The tobacco was a deep gift in those moments.

Being someone who works with trauma with my clients and in my own body, I was scientifically noting the phases of this real-time unraveling. 

Third day I began to thaw and get very emotional.

Fourth day I woke up disoriented and foggy.

Fifth day I could breath a bit deeper and my physical body ached in a way I hadn’t noticed those first days.

And day by day I was using tobacco to ground and to be set free from the shame of those decades of closet smoking and intense hiding of my addiction.

One week ago I noticed I was rolling without praying and smoking more of each one and many times a day. I felt the familiar crawling feeling of being owned and at the mercy of this relationship with this little red bag. The feeling of enjoying the hiding and shame, sweet familiarity.

 I started telling the tobacco that this part of our relationship was ending soon and that I was so grateful for the way it showed up for me in the perfect moment.

I love how it connected me with people I may have missed not having it as my focus. One being a sweet, homeless man I sang with on the street while I smoked. I offered it to him when I was done with my few inhalations. I gave him $20, too, because my heart wanted to. Many magical moments of unexpected healing that the tobacco spirits orchestrated for me.

During this whole month I have been creatively (I was going to say on-fire) focused on my new website, retreats, virtual courses etc. Every morning waking to excitedly add to the beauty of what has been gathering resources for many years now.

The past three days I have been waking up and dragging. I had a few more pieces to put in place to officially launch this new site. I did what I could, but felt a heaviness, a weight.

I let myself be as I am, for the most part I don’t push. I rest when I want to rest. Create when I feel moved. Get up and dance when it's time. I give myself space to feel. One of my daily practices is to anoint myself and say., “I trust your timing.”

This morning I caught a moment of a friend’s live video. He was talking about under-earning. He said that it’s more about being seen than it is about money. This understanding went deep in as I hadn’t heard it so clearly before.

This iteration of my work is about allowing myself to become visible. Vulnerable. Seen.

I realize that my addictive behavior has been my attempt of working with the energies that arise as I come out from the shadows of hiding, yet bring the gratitude and inclusion of those behaviors with me. In the past it has been unsafe, for reasons I don’t need to fully understand, to let myself out and take up space. To be transparent, messy and powerful.

The fire came on the day that I had imagined I would launch my site and new programs. Perhaps the living through that was the gateway to my humility and willingness? 

I am living my way into my next level of expression. Doing what I feel to do. Allowing my own timing to be “right” and welcomed. This turn toward addiction was not what I had envisioned as the place my “big reveal” would come from. I wanted to be on the crest of the wave of creativity and clarity when I reached out. 

But I am letting life have its way with me. Saying yes when I feel yes. Saying no when I feel no. That’s it. So, here I am humbled and raw and grateful for the continued ride of the unknown. Please do read my last post Unleashed to feel more of me and what got me here. 

Still no leads in the arson investigation which has been a deep internal letting go all its own. One of my premises: life is happening for me, not against me. All of it is medicine.

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Valerie KausenComment