Last month I was fortunate to take a real vacation. The kind where you leave work, stress and all busyness behind. My trip to Carmel by the Sea was something I looked forward to for months. It was time to be with ‘me and God’. And this particular spot is where I found my connection to Him — almost twenty five years ago.

Within an hour of arriving, my mood relaxed, my mind cleared almost becoming vacant, which is what a vacation is supposed to do — vacate, clear, heal and renew. Without a set schedule, all I knew was, I’d follow my feet for the next 12 days.
Sitting on the sand, wading in the ocean, inhaling the sea breeze, walking, reading, meeting new people, wandering through the art gallerys — this was what I needed to restore my spirit.

During one of my strolls through the quaint neighborhoods, it occurred to me I sometimes live in a jail cell… not literally, but one I create. Living in the moment is difficult. Like most people, I think about the future or relive the past. The hours spent in the “What if’s, the should-a’s, the could-a’s, the if only’s,” hit me like a wave. I need to work on being here… now. Not just in Carmel, but every day of my life.

I visualized a cell with lots of bars; in the white space between them were words that often keep me a prisoner. Fear, projection, resentment, anger, grief, pity, loneliness, could-a been; should-a been; they popped out like billboard signs. I couldn’t help but smile as I realized I don’t have to live that way. Wasn’t I given the key to freedom long ago? Doesn’t it reside within me?

Now that I’m back, the practice of what I’ve learned has begun. As a human being, I understand my focus will never be 100% in the ‘right this minute’, but if I stay conscious when I am trailing off, all I need to do is ask to be brought to the present, even for a minute. One of my good friends often says, “it depends on how free you really want to be.” So I’ve decided my end of year and new year commitment is keeping “A get out of jail free card” in my pocket at all times!

Thank you to all who support Together AZ and the Art of Recovery Expo. I look forward to continuing to provide our community with hope and inspiring others on the road to recovery. We are on one heck of a journey together and I would not have it any other way.  Happy Holidays.