Article first published on Thrive Global May 2021
I used to take a lot of recreational drugs.
I wouldn’t say I was a ‘drug addict’, in the commonly understood sense of the term, but I was definitely a ‘fun addict’.
Most weekends there was some kind of debauched, hedonistic foray.
And don’t get me wrong, it was FUN. I can’t deny that, even after 10 years of severe chronic illness.
But as it is with any addiction, no matter how innocuous it sounds, it was extremely unhealthy and routed in pain.
So.. what the hell was I doing?!
Looking back, it’s become clear to me that my friends and I, were just chasing magic, as I’ve come to call it.
As young British adults with conventional upbringings, somewhere deep inside, we knew there was more to life than we’d been conditioned to believe.
Each weekend we dove into a secret, wonder filled universe, made even more delicious by the feeling that only we had the keys.
Alongside the facade of festivals, sweaty raves and lavish dinner parties, was a sense of intense connection to each other and something greater than us and a tribal sense of belonging. These parties have us the chance to express, be childlike and carefree and simply feel the magic of existence for a day or two.
Now I know more about well-being and psychology, I know that everything touched upon in the last paragraph is a fundamental human need. Certainly, in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, connection and belonging comes in at a respectable third, right after sustenance and safety.
And here I feel it’s important to point out, try as we might, we can’t get rid of our needs. They will either be met in a healthy way and cause no problems or we will unknowingly try and meet them in other ways, even if the method is unbelievably destructive.
Gabor Maté, Author and childhood development and trauma specialist says, ‘it’s impossible to understand addiction without asking what relief the addict finds, or hopes to find, in the drug or addictive behaviour.’
In short, addictions are a wonky attempt to meet a need you might not even know you have. They help us cope with a life that feels a bit off or even terrible.
During the period I was partying excessively, my life didn’t feel great. I had a very creative job but it wasn’t fulfilling me creatively in a way I found authentic.
Yes, I had amazing friends and lovely boyfriends, but I didn’t feel safe in the world, had a terrible relationship with myself and unresolved body image issues.
Even if I saw my friends, had fun and connection mid-week, I was still worrying, under eating, over exercising and generally not being very nice to myself.
No wonder come Friday I was about ready to f*ck it all off for a quick dip into carefree oblivion!
Or put in another way, I was simply looking for the magic I knew was my birth right, in the only place I knew, using the only tools I had.
I’m still chasing (and finding : ) magic, but now I have a map and FAR superior tools : )
As I consistently do the practices suggested below, I feel an ever-increasing connection and belonging to the world around me, even when I don’t see anyone and am just pootling around doing nothing.
So here are my tips, in case you fancy making a bit of home brewed, healthy magic yourself : )
My Top Magic Makers:
- Meditation Meditation Meditation! Meditation is the best way to connect to source. Simply sit without distraction and feel the stillness around you. You will be feeling awareness. You will be feeling and connecting to source : )
- Yoga means ‘union’. It will gradually release anything within you that is holding you back from becoming your true, connected self.
- Shamanic Practices - Shamanic Practices are great because they work with the natural world and will start to shift your relationship with it. I loved Shaman Durek’s easy and relatable book, ‘Spirit Hacking’
- Tantra isn’t just about sex. It’s about forming a deep connection with yourself (and maybe another!). I’m currently loving the Love, Sex & Freedom podcast as part of www.embodiedawakeningacademy.com
- Self Love Practices. Practice self love as a way of making yourself safe, so you can naturally evolve out of any painful habit pattern or situation in your life. Ali from the Perception Trainers is my all time favourite teacher and a self love master.