Every morning, as a part of my morning routine, I read for a little while. This last week I have been reading one of Brene Brown's books "Braving the Wilderness". It's about how we can find the courage to stand alone and true belonging. As I have sought out recovery for myself, I think the concept of true belonging has been something incredibly meaningful for me. To be honest, I have wanted to feel like I truly belonged my entire life, but I don't think it was until I got clean and made connections with other people that I really did feel like I truly belonged anywhere, and as I journey even further, I am learning that true belonging means something a lot more than just who we hang out with or what we do for a living. It is who we are. I mean deep down to the core, not just the values we say we have, but the ones that we live by every day. It is as Brene puts it that courage to stand alone if it means being true to yourself. I think that before I was just pieces of what everyone wanted me to be or who I was with at the time. I have had the opportunity over the last year to figure out what I genuinely like and don't like, what I believe in and don't and what I stand for, and with finding those things out for myself, I will not not abandon them for anyone. Some people now may not like me, and it is true I may not be as social as I used to be, but I don't ever compromise my values or what I think. If I am uncomfortable with something or someone and they aren't willing to help alleviate some of that discomfort, I just go home. I have learned that it is absolutely okay to speak up for myself and to occupy as much space as I need to in this world. In "Braving the Wilderness" Brene found some of these definitions for belonging and fitting in and I just loved them so much I thought I should share them. It is important to always pay attention to how people and situations are making you feel. Always ask yourself, am I being true to myself right now by being here and doing this? Are these people honoring and respecting me? Brene says,
"Belonging is being somewhere where you want to be, and where they want you. Fitting in is being somewhere where you want to be, but they don't care one way or the other.
Belonging is being accepted for you. Fitting in is being accepted for being like everyone else.
If I get to be me, I belong. If I have to be like you, I fit in.".
She got these definitions from asking thousands of people and spending years researching true belonging. I really think she did a great job with those definitions, and the book as a whole. One reason I really like Brene Brown is because she speaks so casually that anyone can understand what she is trying to say, and she uses her own life to share her story and research, so as you go along reading you feel more connected to her.
I promised after my first blog post that we would review three things together, my daily routine, why this was important and how I need to stay in it to be successful during the startup of this Recovery Community Organization, what I could do in the future if I ever started to feel stuck and alone, and boundaries that I would have for myself during this project and beyond to hopefully become successful and also, help as many people as possible. Today, since I shared about my reading I guess I can just finish up telling you about my morning routine and why this has become so pivotal in my life. It took me a long time to realize that I functioned better when I had even a part of my day that was routine, and over the last three years I have tried several different things to figure out which one really works for me. I'm not sure if the routine I have now will always be the same to be honest, but I do know that there are a few critical things I need daily that over time or over the course of the day determine my wellbeing. For example, every day I must take my depression and anxiety medication. It is just necessary, so a month from now I am not wallowing in the bed wondering where my life went so wrong. It has happened a time or two in my life, and it's just best for everyone if I wake up and I do that every single day. I must have caffeine, or I will be lucky just to make it until noon. Yes, I can kick the dope, but please do not take away my espresso! Every morning, I spend about 15-20 minutes in the great company of either Brene Brown or Glennon Doyle, whichever author I am reading that day, and sometimes like the earlier days I still go back to the ole Narcotics Anonymous book and spend some time in there. I feel it is important to learn something new every day, sometimes I will even just listen to a podcast while getting ready. It all depends on my mood. After that, I shower, I do some yoga (15-20 minutes), and then I get ready for my day! I pray to my higher power, literally all I say is "give me your strength and guidance to walk with grace and dignity today, afford me your love and your light". Whatever you say with your higher power should be personal to you, and if you don't do this last part you really, really should. Lastly, I list the things I am grateful for. The trick with this is to be specific. If I am grateful for my niece, that is wonderful, but it's really her laugh that brought me the most joy yesterday, so Emme's laugh is the first thing I am grateful for most days! This is just what I have been doing in the morning. It seems like a lot, but it isn't because most of the things are things that you do already. I have learned that to be more productive and happy in my life, I have had to wake up earlier some days and make room for these simple tasks. The consistency is key. I can always count on myself, my authors, and my higher power to show up, to challenge my thinking and bring me joy every day. If you don't have something you do every morning this is where I challenge you. Lets walk through this together, exchange ideas, books, let's help one another. That's all for today. Hopefully, I have brought you a little piece of me, a little joy, something good, and remember the only place you truly belong is to yourself!