When I first came to CoDA, my ability to be present in my life and relationships was non-existent. From being repeatedly overpowered in my family of origin (FOO), I was like an inert object in outer space; an asteroid. Reactive and not able to act in my own best interests. I would fall into orbit around the gravitational pull of a more powerful personality, and not be able to escape the pull without creating some kind of explosion to boost me out of orbit, or, in the worst case scenario, crash into them, become fused and lose my identity.
In addition, since I was inert and had no personal power, I would sometimes get stuck in isolation - lost in space - far away from any gravitational/relational pull, and not be able to get close to anyone or anything.
Since coming to CoDA, I have gone beneath the surface of my asteroid; inside the shell of my false self. While exploring my inner space in meetings and through using the tools of the program (and my counselor, my hired power), I discovered that I was not an inert object; that I had choices and power (both personal and higher); that I was the master of my own spaceship and no one else’s.
I discovered a control panel. As I got in touch with the different parts of myself and began to have feelings, the control panel lit up. The two main controls were Yes and No. Yes got me closer to people (intimacy). No gave me distance (boundaries). If I had to say no to someone I wanted to get or stay close to, I could say no seasoned with a lot of yes:
"I would love to go to the movies with you (Yes), but I
have chosen to go to a meeting (No). Perhaps we could
go on the weekend (Yes)."
The Yes outweighs the No and the net result is we end up closer, even though No was said for this particular instance.
When I first started taking my little spaceship out for a test drive, I didn’t have a lot of power. I could use the controls, but without the power of my feelings (energy in motion = e-motions = motivation), I would not get far, would go in circles, or worse, would end up in a place completely different from the place I had intended and wonder how in *$(@ I got there. I would say Yes when I meant No, or I would set a boundary and not have the feelings to power it up. My feelings were not in accord with my intellect. Therefore, the steering (intellect) was not aligned with the power source (emotions). I was pulling in two (or more) directions, sometimes going in circles. Hardly surprising that I didn’t get anywhere.
In addition, the power source was weak. I needed to make contact with my higher power, the source of my power and direction. My emotional fuel tank was filled with the sludge of toxic shame, hardened resentments and unprocessed pain, grief and other feelings. My capacity for processing current and old feelings was small. I needed to clean out my fuel tank in order to increase my capacity for current feelings of love, joy, pain, fear - all emotions I need to power and inform my steering decisions.
How to dissolve all this "old stuff"? Love is the solution and the solvent. Affirmations and self-care are great, too, for getting things moving. Feeling the old, painful feelings clears them out, but love soothes and softens the hardened feelings, and heals the hurt of finally facing ancient feelings that keep me intellectually, spiritually
and emotionally paralyzed or chaotic.
Cleaning out my emotional fuel tank has increased my capacity to power my choices about boundaries and intimacy. Now there is a dialogue between my head and my gut feelings. There is a driver who decides whether to go with my head or my gut. There is a me, with a heart. I can use my head as a B.S. detector, for when my guts are full of s*** ("I did the same thing every time I had that gut feeling, and it ALWAYS ended badly"). I can use my gut feelings to balance and inform my head ("It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I ignored my gut feeling, and it didn’t work under the hood (reality check)").
My gut feelings and my analytical thoughts are now on my side, rather than being at war with each other. A strong self can make peace with the warring parts of myself. I can now act rather than react. They are integrated into the larger "me", which means I now have integrity. I am loyal to myself, and as the captain of my little ship, I can listen to both sides (intellect and feelings), then decide which to listen to and act on.
I have grown a heart, a ME, a pilot for my spaceship from being in this wonderful program. It is from the heart that I get the Courage to change the things I can. The French word for heart is coeur. Courage is heart-ness.
I sometimes stop steering long enough to let my emotions take me to places I didn’t know I needed to go (meditation). The source knows the way home. Even in outer space.
I am thankful for a tankful of fresh, clear emotions. Both positive and negative, they are now direct and powerful and both are what I need to navigate the inner and outer spaces of my life.