Letting go of the ego so the soul can flow
I need to. I have to. I should.
These are the starts of sentences that will feed the ego and trap the soul. Sometimes we are better served by allowing ourselves to be still and listen. How often do you just sit and listen to the randomness around you, such as the spinning washer, the neighbor cutting their lawn, or a plane thousands of feet above you? Or how often do you venture into nature for a walk without music, podcast, or phone?
Distractions are the ego’s way of staying in charge, and it feels normal and right.
Or does it?
This post was meant to be a quickie, but I feel like this subject is so important we may need more space.
Pink Cloud Syndrome clarity
Let me back up to my pink cloud philosophy. In my first year of abstinence, I followed traditional recovery protocols. I went to over one hundred meetings in ninety days, had a sponsor, did service work, and used the slogans like they were my second language. My life was also going up in flames. I was financially ruined, no place to live, no job, but I had oodles of hope. I was enthusiastically optimistic. I took the saying, “this too shall pass,” quite literally. But I was told time and again, and again, and again, that I was on a pink cloud, and I would soon come crashing down to reality.
A moment came where I had to decide between staying stuck in the traditional way of thinking about living sober or move forward on my “pink cloud.”
This is the first time that I can identify ego vs. soul, should vs. could, if you will. I should do what the program says. I could get on with my life and focus on what I want.
It’s been over seventeen years since I rode out of the rooms of AA on my pink cloud, and I have zero regrets.
So, was it my optimism that has kept me from turning back to my drinking habit? Hardly. It was my willingness to be wrongable. Wrongable was a term I started using in 2009 when I was learning new skills, and when we are “learning,” we are often wrong-abled. We all make mistakes, get it wrong, don’t have all the answers, but that doesn’t make us bad; it makes us human. And if we remain teachable, we can learn and grow from our mistakes instead of doubling down and creating more pain, which leads to more problems, which cause more pain, and then we drink.
This brings me to the full description of Pink Cloud Syndrome as coined by H. Tiebout. Pink Cloud syndrome is when the ego detaches, and you fly right up to your pink cloud, but everybody knows the ego will reengage, and you’ll fall off your pink cloud and thank goodness AA is there to help you learn to be sober like a real person. I am paraphrasing, but you can click on the link to read his words.
When you hear about the pink cloud syndrome in the rooms of alcoholics anonymous, it stops at “you feel euphoria and will come crashing down.” The rest of the description explains the ego detaches when you surrender and you fly up and perch on your pink cloud, but everybody knows you’ll fall off sooner or later. So, when I decided to stay on my pink cloud, I didn’t think I had it all figured out. I knew I had to continue learning and growing, and I was insanely curious about how life could be if I were intentional. I’d always lived surviving one crisis after another. In hindsight, I see most of it was of my doing, but still.
I needed more than AA to keep me sober, and the AA community I was part of felt judgemental and limiting. I knew I had to leave if I wanted to remain sober. Ego would have kept me coming back to prove something even though I felt that old familiar feeling of stuckness. Instead, I followed my soul that pined for more. It has not been a perfect streamlined journey, but I have never felt a need to shut down. Because I know I am wrongable and that allows my soul to flow.
What you can do
If you’re struggling with a resolve not to drink and playing all the shoulds, needs, and have to’s in your mind, stop it.
Instead, take some time to do some soul searching. What do you deny yourself that causes emotional, physical, mental pain?
Think forgotten dreams, disconnected in marriage, lack of spirituality, loss sense of self, hate your job, overwhelmed by monotony. Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness? Trapped? Is this all there is? I should be happy?
I know all of these feelings, thoughts, and beliefs all too well, and the answer is always available when I make myself available for it.
Get curious and start asking yourself questions like: What do I really want? Who do I want to be? How do I want to live my one and only precious life?
Your soul knows. It always knows.
Did you know the definition of a coach is “a vehicle used to get to your destination quicker?” I would be honored to support you through discovery and freedom from doldrum drinking.