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I am Proud of my Life

I have been very blessed to discover more than one passion in life. I want to share this with you.that sometimes we feel we can’t be proud of our achievements and share them in fear of ridicule or accusation of being egotistical and showing off. I think we need to honor our achievements and be proud. I enjoyed a few years competing in Kitesurfing and Stand up Paddle achieving various results along the way. I have some great photos. I like to look at them and remember these times. I feel proud and i’m not going to hide that. I hope you enjoy my pictures too.

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Hi There

A quick catch up

Hi there.
I have been neglectful of my page of late.
Why?
Hmm…

Time got away between posts and my motivation waned.

I didn’t think anyone was reading.

I forgot why I am writing this blog.

I started this blog for freelance writing purposes. It was required of me to set up a page and start running a blog (at my own cost) in order to have a freelance article published online (Paid less than said cost) I was also required to continue my blog in order to be invited to write for this online publication again. The invite never came and that’s no biggy really. When I set up this page I wondered what I could possibly share that others might wish to read. Then it struck me. My recovery from alcohol dependence is the biggest thing in my life. I know many others struggle from addiction and so off I went. I hoped that somewhere in my words that even just one person may benefit. I also hoped that readers would enjoy my writing. Something amazing began to happen. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and it became very therapeutic for me also.

I can’t identify now where I was at personally when I stopped sharing. I didn’t write for a day or two which slipped into a week, 2, a month etc……

Up popped self, pride and ego –

No one is reading anyway why bother – Silly because I had discovered I was largely doing this for myself and if others read then great. if someone was helped FANTASTIC..

I’ve had feedback and suggestion that I am writing my blog out of ego – No. It became a simple process of enjoying what I was doing. An outlet for my struggles and emotions. A genuine desire that my words may help another.

I had other things to do – Well.. there’s always ‘other’ things to do. Sometimes I forget what is important to me and do other things that provide a quick gratification. I neglect things that have a less noticeable, slow but sustainable result.

I have a tendency to overthink things and I got into my head questioning my motives and wondering if this was a grab for attention. I have recognised that in the past I have been someone who needed attention. I’d tell you otherwise and that I hated both yet I have covered myself in attention grabbing tattoos, was competing in my sports to receive the accolades, I’d never do something small; if I going to enter a run I wouldn’t just do the 10km I’d do the marathon, I entered a 110km overnight paddle race on the Hawkesbury River when I had been paddling just 6 months (I was on a SUP and stacked it at 77km and quit. Ouch for my ego) In rehab I kept the attention on me by loosing 12kg anorexic like while most putt the weight on… Attention attention attention… So i began to wonder if this was another manifestation of that.. You know what it is not. I enjoy this and if others do too that’s great.

I’m back 🙂

Reflection
Kite for life
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Getting back to Water 🌊

Time for a change of pace here on my blog.

I have an addiction to alcohol and red wine is my poison. I chose the name for my blog as Turning Wine to Water to reflect on my passion for water sports as an integral part of my recovery process. My love of the ocean, surfing, kiteboarding and stand up paddle has been a therapeutic and at times spiritual process. When I am in the water I feel connected. Connected to myself, my inner child, to the universe and I am reminded to be grateful. Grateful just to be alive. What a beautiful journey we are on as spiritual beings, having this human experience to grow and progress our true essence.

I can recall quite clearly a conversation with a girlfriend that took place in my mid 20’s which went something like this:
Me. ‘Do you have a passion?’
Friend. ‘No’
Me. ‘Shouldn’t we have a passion? Shouldn’t everyone have a passion?’
Hmm…

Fast forward 13 years or so and I have been blessed to find passion indeed. It began 11 years ago when an opportunity to learn kitesurfing came my way and from this I have found a passionate love of the ocean, a joy and peacefulness in surfing SUP. On top of this I have discovered a love of writing. God heard my question of so long ago and manifested passion into my life and along with it came the opportunity to travel around Australia, to become involved in the exciting world of competitive kiting and stand up paddle surfing and racing, and to meet many amazing people some of whom have become beautiful, supportive lifelong friends.

Also in this 13 years my alcoholism was progressing to the point of dysfunctional hopelessness (when I drink), but if the only hardship in life I have to endure is the fact that I can not take so much as one alcoholic drink then I think I am pretty damn lucky. What a great big F you to God for endowing me with this fortunate life if I choose to forsake it all for the addiction that wants to see me ruined. When I feel like giving in I must remember to breathe, pray and head to the ocean.

Thank you G. Your will not mine be done.

Jack in a box
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Meet Jack

I’ve named my addict Jack.

Lately I have felt like a Jack in a Box. Each night I pop Jack down on his spring and push the lid shut. I go to bed relieved, grateful to get through the day. Sometimes I physically exhale a huge breath as I thank God for another sober day because I was sure I wouldn’t get through it dry. In the morning I wake and the box is there, my first thought. Most mornings I manage my prayers and begin my day but invariably somewhere throughout the day he springs and frightens the crap out of me.

I imagine my Jack as a maniac circus clown, crazy hair, big red contemptuous smile, wild open eyes, total madness behind, and the long cackling laughter of the insane. In one hand he grasps the neck of an open bottle of red, crimson liquid spilling and splashing as he boings this way and that, jesting away on his spring. In the other hand Jack holds a spliff, waving it around, smoke coiling from the glowing tip. Devil knows what he has concealed in his pockets ready to spring at me any time. And there Jack remains bouncing all day around and around in my head, trying to take control, playing his tricks and whispering in my mind.

There’s a bridge nearby and Jack has an idea. “Why not stash some booze under the bridge. Tell the folks you are going for a walk because that’s normal anyway, no suspicion there.” When I am alone on my bed he has more super ideas, “Why not Google the closest pub, bottlo or club to the house, that’s handy information to have we might just go there. I bet they have good food.” Such a clever fellow my Jack, “We’re in Qld, lets go home Mum and Dad won’t be back for a while, lots of drinking time just have to hide it from bro.” Or “There’s white in the fridge and red in the pantry, both in casks, just one of each, they won’t know.” He has countless more inventive and of course foolproof ideas but I’ll share just one more of his genius suggestions. **”Uncle Jack gave you a flask, let’s take it to a meeting and on the way back fill it with booze and no one will know, they’ll just think it’s water in there. And, Oh don’t forget Vodka doesn’t smell.”

Thankfully I have been smarter than Jack and today I am winning. Each attempt of Jack’s that I have resisted has made me stronger and tonight when I put that lid on his box I’ll glue the damn thing shut, wrap it in duct tape and throw it away. If he comes back I’ll have to call him Houdini.

I look forward to tomorrow as Jack fades from my mind and each day gets better and the insanity fades. Today my heart is filled with hope and plans for a bright future, love of my family and service to others.

I think I’ll get a new box with an angel inside… And if Jack reappears my angel has got gloves and isn’t too holy to use them!!!

Blessed 🙂

**My real Uncle Jack and a water flask not a hip flask

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The Cloak

I spent 7 1/2 months in a long term drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre in 2014. My start in the rehab was a breeze because when I entered I considered myself a human lacking feelings, and certainly I wasn’t feeling any. ‘I just have no depth of feelings’ I liked to share with my therapist and my peers in this therapeutic community. I was warned about ’emotional detox’ but didn’t think this applied to me. I didn’t cry much.

Suddenly at around the 8-9 week mark a flood of emotions assaulted me as my personal ’emotional detox’ began. I cried solidly for a couple of months and a heaviness consumed me. I wasn’t to break out of this until a few weeks before my departure on completion of the program, and for the 2 3/4 years since this darkness has not often been far away. Initially It began on waking. I opened my eyes each morning and the first feeling, before even a thought entered my waking consciousness, was dread. It felt like ‘Ugh’. I wrote ‘The Cloak’ toward the end of my stay in the rehab.

I feel I’m wearing the cloak today 😔 however this too shall pass

The Cloak

By Michelle England

Perfect unconsciousness
Black, dark, still
I wake

Ahh…

Recycled air escapes from deep
The place just outside my soul
The cloak so soft descends upon me
False comfort easy to get lost in
Sweeps me up in folds of grey
Laying me down in the hazy shadows
A simple paradox
Tenacious surrender
Secure and warm in this fragile cold place
Enticing me to stay
So soft so gentle

Stay…
Stay

Ahh…
In…Out…

My sigh resides
The place just outside my soul
Resides there in the darkness

A murmur from deep
Close your eyes little one close your eyes
I will lull you in my folds
Lay your head down in my bed of shadows
I will hold you

Stay…

A robust spark rekindles
Burning brighter warming from within
Spreading tender strength and courage
Fractures the fog of my hostage mind
A smile so tiny toys upon my lips
A solitary peaceful tear marks a path upon my cheek

Ahh

My sign surrenders
The place just outside my soul
Bringing forth with might and valour
The rainbow of my spirit

The cloak turns drab and heavy
Folds of dark foreboding cold
Deception plain, name revealed
Time to bid it go

Time to breathe
Time to rise
Time to be

Time to shed
My melancholy cloak

photo credit: spaceamoeba Golden walk via photopin (license)

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Freedom

Following my heart and being true to myself and my needs has lifted the weight of the world off my shoulders. Shedding shame and fear of others’ opinions and I feel free. My choices are mine and I’ve just made the best decision in years.

Be true. Stay true. Be free

Just float
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Just Float

My roller coaster is on the up today. After an extremely difficult day yesterday I woke to a beautiful message from my parents sending me support and love for whatever decisions I make regarding my travels and/or coming home. After a few little tears I pushed myself to get out of my bed and face the day with determination and courage. Sometimes it is tempting to stay under my blanket of self pity and sadness as depression is familiar and sometimes it feels like it is easier just to stay there. But it does not serve me or my use to the world and I recognise this trick of the mind. So I force myself to get moving and without fail I am always the better for it.

The ocean is my solace and always provides me with relief. I dive under the water and feel its smoothness on my skin and my worries and cares slip away. I love to lay under the water and look up through the surface at the sun and blue sky and it feels like I am in a different world, one where everything is OK. I slip to the surface and lay there closing my eyes and I feel like I am being held, embraced and loved. There’s nothing to think about but this knowledge and comfort that everything is exactly as it should be. When I float I feel free and reconnect to everything, the universe, myself and the truth. No matter how I am feeling it is my choice to do so and it is usually my perception, I want things to be different.

This year has been spent in countries of poverty where people have so little but with what they have got they are happy. In Cambodia I observed the men and women of 40 and above and know they have lived through the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge reign. For 4 years they slaved, starved and suffered under the evil, power driven party and a quarter of their nation lost their lives through execution, starvation and hopelessness. Some simply gave up the will to live. Just about every Cambodian would have been touched by the loss of a loved one. If they can rise up to each day and continue then definitely so can I. I look at my pictures and am reminded to be grateful for the countless blessings in my life. I’m sure they would swap places and have my problems in a jiffy, but then maybe not, they know how to be grateful.

So whenever I am feeling ungrateful and unhappy with my lot all I need to be reminded is just float.

photo credit: Marvin Chandra Kat via photopin (license)

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Universal Questions

I wonder if you are wondering????

Yes I stated earlier that I have stumbled, well maybe not stumbled it has actually been a lot of work, but let’s just say I have come to Mui Ne Vietnam and somewhere in the bustle among the pointy hats, motorbikes and colourful kites I have found Michelle and some direction. One could say that the training I have embarked on to become a kiteboarding instructor is direction as indeed it is, as is the pursuit of a freelance writing career and successful blogger. However the direction I have found is (well honestly it was so graciously pointed out to me by a mentor, an amazing woman I truly admire) the only direction that I truly need to be headed to be happy and free, is to be on the path of spiritual growth.

Sounds simple eh? One day it will be second nature and just part of who I am and how I live (I am hoping) but in the beginning it takes training. With my keen dedication I am steadily progressing. However a daily application of some simple practices is essential and certainty makes better of my day.

I am a child of the universe no less than the stars and the trees. Oh how I love the Desiderata poem. A belief in something bigger than myself and handing over the director’s hat make life a lot easier and when I stop pushing and have faith my world simply blossoms and I sense all is unfolding exactly as it should.

For this ocean lover there is another lovely string of words I have read that I can not resist quoting here, ‘When I stop struggling I float. It is the law.’

How crazy we are to hang onto behaviours that clearly don’t serve us. I can look at my behaviours and whack in an opposite and bam! On paper they look less appealing than controlling the show but here lies the deception! Now to give is to receive, love to be loved, pay service to be free.

I made a pretty fine mess of my past but not one day would I surrender to avoid some of the pain because each speed hump, mistake, non achievement, sorrow and shame is mine alone and is a mere facet of the whole diamond I am becoming today 💟