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“My how you’ve changed since I’ve changed.”

There have been many times throughout my life that I noticed, laughed or redirected my attention to this simple statement. Those times are nothing like the steady current of truth flowing through this theme in my life in sobriety.

Sometimes, I feel like as I uncover and peel off another layer of distorted thinking and behaviors that disordered eating or substance abuse was hiding; each day blooms with new connections. I change, and the world changes around me.

I connect, first, with myself – those neurons firing in my being as I create new pathways of thought and behavior. It’s like those time-lapse videos of cloud formations, changing, moving and transforming at a pace that is close to disconcerting. At this pace, I find it imperative to ground myself, pause and breathe. I must reflect and write in order to make wise, gentle yet strong decisions.

Releasing the poison of alcohol and substances was only the first step. It was a step that was 100% necessary for my growth. The next powerful step were the practices (yoga, journaling, study and darn good coaching) that brought me into my body and consequently gave me back my boundaries and knowledge of how to determine what is right for me in each situation.

Ah yes, the next step has been to connect with my intuition from a new place. This garden of womanly wisdom has been hiding under all those distorted things I did with food and my body. This stuff was there before, during and after the substance use. This stuff was a really, really creative way of protecting myself until I could get strong enough to begin to swim to the shore of my own voice.

So, here I am. I am cultivating a voice of my own. Yes, it can contain a conglomerate of thoughts and beliefs from others that I connect to. It holds much wisdom and learning from many sources. It’s still a young voice with more learning to come. And, it’s a voice that is uniquely my own.

This feels good.

It brings me back to the source of this writing, the connections that opening up my garden to the light is bringing into the world. I am more and more able to reach out and be a good friend. I can be a new friend. I am braver and more willing to say “yes,” to the brilliance of each step, each person on my path that is supposed to be there.  I am able to more fully work with a purpose. My guidance system, my intuition, becomes more apparent each day, leading me to the next right thing and then the next.

My voice lends itself to powerful “no’s” as well. Here, the pause, the hold, waits, breathe, redirect, now answer; now make a decision, contains the steadiness of intention.

People change. They really do. In the outward reflection; it appears that others have changed. Yet, is it them? Or, is it you? As you change and grow into your voice and uncover your own hidden garden, are you in many ways giving others the permission to be themselves? As you are more unapologetically you, others shine in your presence, and now you can “see” them for who they were all along.

I always love to hear back from my friends, students, clients and teachers. What do you think? How are you changing and growing as you invite new ways of being into your life? Is the sun shining on your personal growth garden and bringing forth new life, or are your little seeds still germinating in the dark? Are you struggling with something? Let’s have a conversation.

Layne Linebaugh

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