Category Archives: Meditation
I’ve been in a holding pattern for months now. A holding pattern as I am exploring how to make changes to my life, how to live differently. How to change the habits both conscious and unconscious that have been holding on for decades… And I am tired.
Literally, I am tired. Because I haven’t been able to sleep restfully in any consistent way for years. For so long I have been experiencing ups and downs with this. When I began to stay away from my alcoholic ex there was relief. I could enjoy the peace and quiet for a while and sleep with some calm. But then my body and mind got restless…afraid of my tendency to invite that chaos back, afraid of my naivete, of my weakness when it comes to thinking that I am any kind of solution for HIM feeling better or doing better. The guilt is just debilitating. And my body didn’t trust that some other chaos wasn’t impending.
Spending lots of time on my own has been excruciating in some ways. But I have had the feeling for a while now that the personal solitary time is important. Important because I escape change, whether I notice myself doing it or not, by looking elsewhere for rationales and explanations for how to do things differently. I think there are answers elsewhere, from other people, but others perspectives of thinking about life and love and…everything.
That is true to a degree. I think I’ve needed to get out of my own head for a long while now. And listening to explanations about how to live differently or ways to think about relationships or other life experiences differently have been invaluable. But they are just practice. They are supposed to bring me closer to being able to explain MY own perspective on MY life, how I feel about it, and how I want to feel in the future. And THEN what I need to DO to support myself in feeling that way.
This afternoon the question is: How do I want to feel in the morning?
Usually I feel like everything is futile. When I wake up I often feel already defeated, before I barely move a muscle. And it has escaped me for the longest time, what I am supposed to do with this feeling… Yes, I need to listen to myself. Yes, I need to know that I want to feel differently… But what comes after that?
Whispers have reached me lately. About different things, but especially this morning (well, and also the going to bed feelings at night).
I need to ask myself and talk about, describe, declare, how I want to feel when I wake up in the morning. Without being afraid to declare that. Without talking down to myself or saying or thinking I am ridiculous…. hehe. I need to really sit with myself and imagine feeling this new way, imagine the moments, the minutes of waking up in the morning and what kind of expression is on my face, what kinds of feelings I have in my body, what kinds of thoughts I have and things I look forward to and habits I have in the morning that are great for me.
Then the reality is almost complete.
And then I can do the same with the night time.
See my next post for my description of how I want to feel in the morning…
Words pop feelings like balloons. Yet I must write.
This morning I was fortunate enough to awaken, and to feel the petals of awakening.
I knew it was a good feeling, even though my running self looked to run away, to look away, to explain it away, to work it away.
The incredible feeling kept on. It would be drowned out by my mind for a moment. And then I made it come back. It felt, as it always does, like if I move, get out of bed, if I even open my eyes, if I pay attention to thought, it will vanish. Like it was never there. And no one believe me that it was.
I, maybe for the first time, felt the choice. I could feel it, calm surface of spirit. I could make it stay. I asked myself…how?. And the answer…
There is a choice. And the choice feels like a trick after a life like this. Making the choice to feel accepting feels like abandoning… Guilt-ridden. Like I would choose strange things, others’ eyes. Like I would say that things don’t matter that others think do. That I would say that things matter to me that others do not think are ‘matters’ at all. I feel unprepared.
Unprepared for what? Unprepared to come out into a reactive world when I give up reactive.
Can I believe in just that? Through my Fear? When I lied before. I never showed that I found peace elsewhere. I never showed that I felt happier in the woods. I didn’t reveal me. I pretended that love came from the people who wanted credit. The rest was a secret. Only for me to know. And I therefore, I thought, invalid.
Is a feeling of rest, true rest, ok? Is the feeling that ‘I don’t have to do anything’ ok?
I am still gauging my answer to that based on whether it brings me prosperity. Instant prosperity.
My acceptance makes room for excellent things. But my acceptance is not the payment of a wager. Acceptance is. And wellbeing is too. And Love is too.
Acceptance is about seeing what I didn’t see before. And about being seen like I haven’t been seen before.
Not about getting what a didn’t have before.
Acceptance in my world. My world is still wonky. And I mistakenly think that it is acceptance that doesn’t feel right. It is, rather, the ‘wonky’ into which my acceptance tries live that feels wrong.
I am at the point in my life (my life with less drama) where I can begin to make my days my own. It is quite uncomfortable still, because I have a long history of being reactive and working my life around others. But the plain truth of it is, I am more free and able right now to create my own routine and have the freedom to keep up my routine without guilt or huge catastrophe.
Coming into one’s own routine is a real exercise though. I have been trying for ages to come to a clear realization of what I do every day that is really me, that I personally find really necessary, both the work and the play… I think that is why I began, a little while ago, keeping track of what I was doing day to day (filling in my calendar as I went, instead of only filling in my calendar and trying to stay strictly to that that ‘regimen’). I deserve to acknowledge what my activities are, haphazard or not, and pick out what my genuine needs are desires are and make sure I have those in there somewhere throughout each week so that I don’t feel like I am pushing myself too hard for too long with work, and depriving myself serially of ‘fun’.
Taking a close look at those calendar-documented days though has been super hard to do. Not wanting to really face (my perceptions of) how…disorganized, or unskilled I am at conducting my life. Once I began really dealing with my relationships and codependence issues I became also self-conscious of how inundated my life is with those feelings, thoughts, habits, actions that ooze codependence, indecision, fear, reactiveness, exasperation, victimhood, resentment, procrastination. Those things are written all over my days, weeks, months, years… Not easy to sift through.
But if I do sift through them, I find a desire to make my time my own. To break through a barrier of feeling like I am always running from time like it is a tidal wave coming up from behind, or running to finish dozens of things so that I can catch up to a moment in my life where I am supposed to be.
In my mornings I need to wak up to something nice. (This is the little poster I put beside my bed yesterday.)
In the mornings I also need to settle into my own headspace by exercising, coming into my body somehow. As a result of my childhood and of being in relationships with unsettled people and addicts my reaction to waking is usually a traumatic one. My mind races almost immediately…Maybe trying to escape something, maybe trying to anticipate something, maybe, regretting something from the day before…I don’t know. But it is not relaxing to wake up.
So, lately I have allowed myself to cater to that awareness that getting into my body with exercise is going to reduce the anxiety that is triggered through that morning mental rollercoaster ride.
Even after less than 10 minutes of yoga or stretches or walking it is like I can feel my ‘feet fall gently back to the ground’ and I get some traction for my day. Even just a little feels good.
Ideally I “Om” for 3 minutes at 8am (at the same time as some friends who also do the same wherever they are). And ideally I do a 15 minute meditation. I have had a difficult time sticking to these lately because I pressure myself mentally “You have already taken the time to be happy and exercise! How much more time do you need for yourself..!?” That is the voice of my mother, the disregard of my father, the neediness of some of my addict exes that I am still, for some reason, kind of jarred by.
Then eating is my next big, most amazing thing. I have really established an entitlement to regular breakfasts and good ones. My favorite things. Berries. Most often I have my smoothie (1/2 banana, raspberries & blueberries or strawberries or cranberries, or any berries…hehe…and peanut butter and ground flax, and sometimes greens, and maybe a date or two, and almond milk or coconut milk or cashew milk). This has gotten me through many hours of intense morning yoga training. I may or may not go onto the bigger breakfast right away, but I usually need, not long after, a bigger bite – oatmeal, or eggs, or pancakes, or granola…
Then after that comes the most challenging part of my day. If I don’t have ‘something’ scheduled, like an appointment or a class or something like that, I risk experiencing the fear of my own work.
I often have lots of errands to run, lots of admin things to do (planning and advertising yoga, etc.) and I definitely have lots of home chores to do), and I end up putting off the most me-centred, long-term productive activities until ‘later’. It is one of those things that I ‘cannot control’. Investing the time and thought in things that are going to lift me up, make me money, make me seen are the most terrifying activities.
That may be one of the reasons I began to document my days in my calendar in the first place…because I felt like I was so busy doing things all day but I always found that the most crucial things (publishing a paper, finishing a chapter, etc.) were the things that got the least of my time. And I experience so much shame.
So, making a routine of my own…I guess I have gotten somewhere. And I must say that I am further along with working on writing or planning a class when I am terrified of it. I think the thing that is key is making a routine of the things that I need to do, to eat, to feel so that I can do what I am supposed to do. One can not do the work they need to sustain themselves, do what we need to do to serve others in the world, share our knowledge and our talents without feeling good in our minds and our bodies…
So I am on the right track. Gosh, glad to be writing this. Breaking down barriers. Thank you.
Yes – this is about taking care of me, the adult, by taking care of Little Me inside.
Although we have long been ‘adults’ on paper. Not all of us (maybe not most of us) have learned to take good care of ourselves, or more importantly take care of ourselves consistently, as a non-negotiable habit over the long term. Even as you read this things will come to mind about what you’ve been “meaning to do” about your sleep, your eating, your physical fitness, your moods, your relationships, and without skipping a beat your mind will jump to the justifications and excuses for not having been doing what you mean to do right away. I feel that too. That is what we live with every day that makes us feel no better than the day before and that makes us come to accept uncomfortable states of feeling, being, acting, and interacting. Feeling not our best has become normal.
I am deciding to go at my ‘Feeling Excellent Plan’ by going back to basics.
Once I started reading Taming Your Outer Child (Anderson), I didn’t learn, I was simply reminded that I have basic needs every day that I can satisfy. I am a parent taking care of my Inner Child. Whether someone took care of your basic needs as a child or not, you knew what your basic needs were, because if they weren’t met you were upset or unhappy, or uncomfortable. Going back to thinking about satisfying the basic needs of child makes this job appear easier, because hey, who can’t take care of baby, toddler, or little kid… (Well, that is a bit of a rhetorical question…hehe).
My point is that, in order to make myself feel better, all I have to do is start with the basics! Eating, sleeping, getting outside for exercise and socialization, stimulating my mind and senses, and creating boundaries for myself when it comes to my behavior (for me and for others).
Clear boundaries, expectations, and consequences work for us adults too. If I clearly and openly establish my boundaries for, say, working too long or too late, then I know that there will be consequences (I will be grouchy, tired, and not motivated to go back to it again later or tomorrow). As adults, we can trace our patterns and behaviors and make them clear to ourselves. Reflect on the consequences of our behaviors and change our expectations from, for example, “work is going to tiring and unrewarding all afternoon!” to “work is going to be exciting and productive today!” Once we change the expectations we can do what is necessary to change our behavior to meet those expectations and avoid negative, discouraging consequences all together. We don’t even have to ‘punish’ ourselves… The negative consequences are the punishment. And we can stop those from ever happening by ‘disciplining’ ourselves – which for adults is more like being aware and mindful and changing what needs to be changed for the sake of our need to feel good.
What we needed as children, we still need as adults, especially if we find ourselves unable to give ourselves what we need to meet our own basic needs. i.e. Love, Routine, Consistency, Repetition, Praise, Discipline, Assurance. (see Jo Frost’s Book, The Toddler Rules). We just might need to work on it more intensely or for a longer time if we did not have a great experience as a child. As adults we, without argument or excuse, are to afford ourselves Time, Commitment, Energy, Patience, Persistence, and Perspective. And automatically we gain Willpower, Education/Information, Understanding, Incentive, and a greater sense of Support.
My first step (which I have been fumbling with for weeks if not months) is to give myself a certain routine. I have been looking over my calendar planning and my patterns and I am going to establish a routine for myself – specifically because I am craving security, calm, predictability. On days where I feel like I can not seem to do everything I planned or envisioned I end up flapping all over the place like a fish on a dock.
The Feeling Excellent Plan — going back to basic, simple, small moves. That child in me is alive and well. And once she is fed, napped, exercised, and cuddled, the rest of me will feel A LOT better.
Well, I’ll let you know how it goes.
It’s the feeling you get, the state of mind you’re in when you just…can’t…stop worried about something…obsessing over something…trying to change something so much that you forget where you are, you forget to breathe, you forget that you have other things going on.
Wow, I’m I learning much more what types of things Hook me like that. I don’t like to learn those things about myself. I mean, it’s shocking how much I can be at the mercy of reactivity. Even when I’m miles away from the alcoholics or triggering people in my life.
But it is definitely a huge step in the right direction. A huge leap of progress. As long as I can recognize those crazy moments I know that there is another way to experience, feel about, and respond to my own emotions and worries.
Today I got caught up, like I almost completely disappeared in thoughts that someone was lying to me, manipulating me… And also, in response to another situation, thoughts that I had screwed something up and could control someone’s response by saying or doing something (or something different.
I’ve felt the tidal wave come over me like that a couple of times in the last couple of weeks, and I sat there, for hours, just feeling like I was floundering, helpless…like the more I struggled, the deeper I sunk…and then was so tired and felt so…hopeless.
But I listened to a retreat talk this past week, and late this morning a few things rose to the surface of my consciousness… 1) notice shenpa 2) bring yourself to do something different or unrelated… It’s a state of mind.
So doing something different helps me stand back. Breathe. Helps me stand up after a tidal wave in what is really 1 foot of water, not 10 feet.
Things I Do For Approval (out of habit)
- the dishes
- the cleaning
- some of my recovery work
- school work
Things I Do For Self-Fulfillment
- walk, hike, run in the park
- writing in journal or blog
Being on my own I get to
- take time to reflect
- get to know my own emotions (not only the reactive ones but the way I feel when I am not bracing for or riding along on someone else’s ups and downs
- do things I am actually interested in
- be more productive
- have more enjoyable relationships (they suit my own personal patterns)
- become more independent
- allow the job of making other people happy to be done by those other people.
- stop apologizing for things that are not my responsibility or my fault
- stop looking elsewhere for validation.
Thanks for the list higherperspectives.com.
But these aren’t any of them:
Not knowing what’s around the next beautiful bend in the path.
If you go regularly you get to see the baby swans or the crested ducks grow up until you can’t recognize them from their parents.
All of these definitely take one’s mind off of the excuses we had for not going to the park in the first place… 🙂
I did this exercise…
I rushed through it a little, because it was intimidating… But I did it and came out of it with a result.
When I imagined looking at myself in the mirror and asked if I love myself as much as the other person, I realized that, when I got past looking, when I got past knowing that I appreciate me as a person ‘figure’… I realized that the thing that I don’t ‘love’ about myself is the way I feel.
I don’t love how I feel. About things. About others. About myself. Feelings of sadness. Fatigue. Resignation. Cynicism. Pretending to be strong and impenetrable when I am wounded. A messy emotional blob I am, walking around.
And then I also realized…Well, according to the types of things I am reading, according to the meditation practice I am following…my feelings are not who I am. These feelings are caused by my experience of the world. But I am deeper than that. I am that which is aware of this. If I am not my feelings. If I am not my sad choices, actions, interactions…then I could actually love myself for ‘being’. And accept the rest for what it is.
Thing I did today:
I got out of bed.
Purpose for getting out of bed:
So that I could feed myself, wash myself, live.
Needs I fulfilled.
Human need of hunger, nurture.
Thing I did today:
Purpose purpose for meditating:
to become better at feeling
Need(s) I fulfilled:
– for my feelings to be important.