What are you recovering from?

“What are you recovering from?”, Steve asked the group of us gathered around the work table for an early morning circle discussion.  “Everyone is recovering from something.”

He wasn’t calling anyone out – really, quite the contrary – he was calling us all in.

You see, that table was half women who are in recovery from drug addiction which often accompanies the particular trauma of sexual exploitation by way of prostitution and trafficking.  And the other half of the table with people like me, who haven’t traveled that road, but who no doubt, are in recovery from many things.

Pema Chödrön, in The Places that Scare You writes: “Compassion is knowing our darkness well enough that we can sit in the dark with others. It never is a relationship between the wounded and the healed. It is a relationship between equals.”

Since my college days, when the importance of service learning was really instilled in me, I was probably given quotes like Chödrön’s and posed questions like Steve’s, but still, it took me a good long while – decades maybe – to truly get off my high horse (as my mom would say) and see myself as an equal to the people with whom I was attempting to “sit in the dark”.  I’m not being hard on myself – something I’m in recovery from for sure – but just being honest.   As a white, able-bodied, straight, college educated, and cisgender woman, I am given the benefit of the doubt a lot, things work out for me more often than not, my privilege has afforded me the opportunity to take risks and even in doing so, stay pretty darned comfortable.

So what am I in recovery from?  For me, it’s the blind spots that accompany the privileges I have.  The ways I have to work to see “isms” at work – and often, it’s not in time, so then I feel I have failed and will never ever get it.  It’s in needing to remind myself that working for equity and justice is urgent, while also taking responsibility to keep my own children safe and fed and nurtured.  It’s recovery from the perfectionism that accompanies all of it – when will I get it “right”, how can I act if I don’t quite feel ready, what if I hurt someone even while I’m trying to do what’s right.

Coaching provides a space to be honest with what we are recovering from – so that we can show up for the important people and work in our lives with integrity.  It’s a process – it takes time, but luckily, no one has to do it alone.


Women: Interested in having some time and space to sort through your “recovery” plan?  Applications open for February Fire, my coaching workshop series taking place the last three Sundays of February from 3 to 5 PM!  And what’s more…. one full scholarship for the workshop is available by applying here.  Deadline to apply for scholarship is Jan 22 – so delay no longer.

Registration for February Fire is here and due Feb 5, 2020.  Hope to see you there!

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