Blessings and Staying Okay When All Is Not Well

Driving home earlier I saw the skydivers coming down over Wollongong. For the first time ever I wanted to be one of them, but only if I could slam into the ground. That’s a bit ferocious isn’t it? It’s because I think I’d like some physical pain to distract from the emotional pain right now. But if there’s one thing I’ve felt the benefit of over the past year it’s being present to emotions and feelings, letting them arise and then usually they (eventually) go, and that is where liberation is. And so that’s the path I’m trying to sit with today. No taking to the skies, no pushing stuff down inside, just being. Through that pain will come clarity and acceptance, and why put that off?!

I have been putting it off for days and putting a smile on my face, which while it was an honest smile, it was also a mask. My uncle Mick suffered terrible depression after my parents died. He eventually moved himself from his suffering and worked hard at finding ways to support himself and others. I loved him for his faults and his gifts. He was always giving me gifts, often little sayings that you can cart along on your life journey. One of them was fake it ‘til you make it. I find it’s a good one combined with staring at the ceiling and smiling and checking your state of mind at the door. It’s not to say you shouldn’t be honest with how you’re going, but a bit of faking it seems to help shift your mood and thinking sometimes. So the smiling and laughing over recent days was both genuine and faking it, and it helped, but today I am just letting that feeling be raw.

It’s manifesting nicely! It’s got me moving on the task of tidying out the studio so I can move in here and let my sisters have my bedroom when they come to stay. It’s got me really focused on what really matters in terms of what stays and what I can continue to throw away, give away or re purpose. I’ve had this great shift over the past three months. It’s actually surprised me. Things I thought I was really, really attached to I’m finding I’m not! Dare I say it, I mean books and dvds…I’m still really attached to the records. It’s great, it means I can cull a lot harder and more readily that I would have imagined.

What I’m really attached to is not new. It’s people. And as a workaholic in recovery, I’m getting a lot more time with the people that matter in my life and boy is that so great! I can’t tell you how many times in the past I would be at a family event typing on my computer because of a deadline I’d allowed to intrude. Spending more quality time with people is part of the reshaping of me and my life. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to do this reshaping, hard as is it sometimes, what an absolute blessing it is!

And the hard days are sometimes typified by the need to take responsibility for that re-shaping and to accept the disappointments and the consequences of who I am today because of a million choices that I made or did not make, a million actions I took or did not take, and acceptance of what is not under my control – who I am tomorrow is of course all up for grabs as I continue to evolve.

One of my great mentors used to say that our life lessons repeat until we get them and that the big mack truck is coming on down through the tunnel with its headlights brightly lining me up. I think I may have been run over again…I’m feeling suitably flat!

It’s easy to say I should have realised, I shouldn’t have hoped, I shouldn’t have taken the risk, I should have listened to the man with the amazing brain who could create a mathematical formula for anything and told me my chances were pretty much zero unless I made change. Yes I need to make more change…but not much is black and white, so as for the rest of that bemoaning…it’s kind of moot. It’s not helpful. It’s the same record playing over and over.

Recognizing means consciously acknowledging, in any given moment, the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are affecting us. Like awakening from a dream, the first step out of the trance of unworthiness is simply to recognize that we are stuck, subject to painfully constricting beliefs, emotions, and physical sensations. Common signs of the trance include a critical inner voice, feelings of shame or fear, the squeeze of anxiety or the weight of depression in the body.

Read some more of Tara Brach’s RAIN approach by clicking here, she’s really great.

I’m still working on that change which is good news. So the best way forward now? Accept the disappointment, lean on my faith, trust and keep making change. And don’t languish in self judgement, it won’t change anything. But self forgiveness will. I shall work on enjoying the irony of my own naivety and hope and this big heart that always sees the best.

I can stay okay even while I allow myself to feel and accept. There are good things in this day. There is the cat sitting nearby purring. There is coffee. There is the lovely customer service from a parcel delivery company that has lost a parcel I wasn’t expecting (and hopefully when the parcel does turn up it’s something nice or interesting…the intrigue is fun while I guess what it could be). There’s the deep satisfaction that comes from release. Releasing pent up feelings, releasing stuff from my cottage. And what I gain instead? Space for change now, space for shaping my future. That’s really neat.

We each have the conditioning to live for long stretches of time imprisoned by a sense of deficiency, cut off from realizing our intrinsic intelligence, aliveness, and love. The greatest blessing we can give ourselves is to recognize the pain of this trance, and regularly offer a cleansing rain of self-compassion to our awakening hearts.

Right! Back to juggling some work and studio cleansing…hmmmm the sun has broken through the clouds…perhaps some meditation in the catio first 🙂

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