Where I Was Last Month (May) And This Week (6-24-21)

(Written in May)

Beginning to Process A Heavy Mood

I am currently processing and being with one of my heaviest moods. This emotional state I get into seems to be one of the most disconnected from my more unified sense of self. Coping skills that work brilliantly for other moods, seem to make this mood worse. There is a distrusting, aggressive, and mocking attitude it seems to possess towards what feels like “me”.

It feels like this mood descends on me quite frequently, and probably has most of my life. The mood has a teenage feel to it, and I suspect it was during my teenage years when I first started experiencing this mood. I probably lived more of life in this mood in the past. However I may have been unable to see it as clearly as I do now, since I did not have as much joy and peace to compare it too. It is the intense reappearance and struggle with this mood that led me to attend counseling again.

I don’t understand what sets it off yet. But it comes on suddenly and it feels heavy and empty. In that emotional mood I feel nothing towards people who I know I love. And that upsets me and angers me. But the mood doesn’t care, doesn’t care about anything or anyone. And definitely doesn’t care what “I” think about it. Seems to hate me. Thinks I destroyed my life. And that there is no chance of any good outcomes. It tends to urge me to seek comfort in “nature”, who “won’t judge me/who loves me”. It has self-destructive urges, that disturb and frighten me. I try to encourage it, mention how many people wound be there to help it. It has a very mocking attitude. States they will help me for a day, and then be gone. I just feel so emptied out in this mood. Only grief and guilt about the past, and hopelessness and indifference towards the future.

I am trying to be patient with this emotion. And accept it as it is, even in its mocking and anger.

The only thing so far that does seem somewhat promising with the emotion is simply to gently tell it/remind it “It’s okay, you are okay, those you love are okay. It’s okay to feel this way. You are safe. Those you love are safe. It’s okay. You’re okay.” I felt a lifting in that, and it seemed to offer me a simple path forward to show kindness and support for myself. After softly whispering that out loud over and over, I felt the desire to have a cup of tea. I felt a lifting in all that, a being present, being less overwhelmed.

I don’t know what this mood is. And I don’t know why is descends on me. But I would like to address it, process it, hear it, and help it.

A Second Stage In Processing

(I believe this comment I left to a friend on WordPress in the thick of processing the heavy mood captures a shifting in my perspective towards the mood.)

(Written in May)

“I am in such an intense place recently. Really struggling with so many overwhelming emotions. I’m feeling it physically and mentally more than I’m used to. Struggling to function. But I’m hanging in there and reminding myself this is likely part of a loving freeing, finding, listening to, and being with my true self. She’s held so much in for so long, so much suppression.But as those inner forces that have been holding the real me down are lowered, I connect more and more with her in a deeper way and unlike in the past I’m not going to criticize or push her away now. Even if the left over of my old inner system of suppression rises up, to it believes protect me, I feel I know a better way now. It’s all okay. I’m okay. Even though I fear how I feel at moments in this anxiety, grief, guilt, helplessness, emptiness, and brain fog. It feels like I’m cycling quickly through intensity and numbness.

But I will not abandon her. Because I see more clearly now, who I really am, the natural intuitive sensitive me, is kind, smart, good, and loving. I or no one else has anything to fear from her. All she wants is to live as herself. And I believe that is what is best for her and everyone else. I am worthy to live my life as myself, we all are.”

A Third Stage in Processing

(Written In June)

I am still in a haze of sorts trying to stay with and work through this complex mood. I have come to suspect my Inner Critic is very much active within me against this mood. And I am realizing my frustration and impatience towards this mood isn’t helpful by any measures. It is a case of me giving myself, what I am used to receiving from my family of origin. But I believe I have come to know better than that now. I believe what is best for me and everyone around me is for me to listen to this mood and understand what it is trying to communicate to me.

I notice when I tried to take a more loving and calm stance with this mood, accepting it as how I am feeling and being gentle with myself and my “lack of functioning” right now, I felt a release of sorts. It seemed much of the intense feelings of self-hate, weakness, feeling life was unbearable, wasn’t actually coming from the mood itself it was coming from my Inner Critic’s judgment and view of the mood.

The inner critic side of me wants to see emotional strength and productivity in my day to day life. If I struggle emotionally or with my day to day tasks, it declares I am “pathetic” and “weak”. It seems I naturally believe those verdicts, and then fall further and further into a negative state. Or maybe it’s not so much I believe these judgements of the Inner Critic, but more I am torn down by them. To be vulnerable to one’s self, and be met with harsh judgements, does nothing to help build an understanding and work through a difficult emotion or establish peace and contentment within.

There is a sense even the “self destructive” thoughts that so disturb and upset me in this mood, are actually more coming from the Inner Critic’s frustration and hate towards the mood as opposed to the mood itself. It’s more like hearing “YOU have nothing to offer anyone, something is wrong with YOU” from someone you love as opposed to actually feeling that way yourself. It’s complex, but it was a relief to realize that it wasn’t so much life I can feel the urge to escape as much as this harsh inner voice that seems to value “me” only in terms of my ” functioning”, “productivity”, and “strength” and when I falter goes on a tirade against “me”.

Maybe at some point, this style of inner self talk was deemed necessary by my mind, but it feels wholly destructive to me and ironically destructive to my smooth functioning in life. I want peace from that voice, I need peace from that voice.

When I try to reflect on what the heavy mood itself is feeling before all the inner critic’s judgements and labels rise up, it is probably something like immense helplessness, loneliness, hopelessness and grief. If I imagine any other human feeling this way, I would not be proud treating them how my inner critic treats me. Who yells and demands productivity and displays of emotional strength to a human heart that is hurting. First one must listen, and I believe if I listen well and patiently, I will come to understand this mood. And somewhat naturally I will find myself showing her love, and with that healing and release for this part of me to shift her energy into a new direction in life. But first she must be heard, she knows something, and I need to hear it.

Where I Am This Week (5-20-21)

(This post was written early May)

* I struggle a bit in this post to take how my feeling side of the mind envisions things and write it in simple terms. Emotionally everything I share in this post is true. I am only able to express this truth, right now, in a more poetic form. I hope it still has clarity.*

A Heartbreaking and Heartmending Realization

“The nuns taught us there are two ways through life, the way of Nature and the way of Grace. You have to choose which one you’ll follow. Grace doesn’t try to please itself, accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked. Accepts insults and injuries. Nature only wants to please itself. Get others to please it too. Likes to lord it over them. To have it’s own way. It finds reasons to be unhappy when all the world is shining around it. And love is smiling through all things. They taught us that no one who loves the way of Grace ever comes to a bad end. I will be true to you. Whatever comes.”

When I first saw The Tree Of Life I found the movie incredibly beautiful. It’s message struck close to my heart, I knew that, but I couldn’t understand it. Though beautiful and good, I couldn’t see how the movie’s message connected to real life.

Near the start of this journey, my mind pulled me back to things I found beautiful, and I searched for clips from this beautiful movie. When I found this clip, I understood it more clearly than I had before. A link to this clip was one of the first things I shared here on my blog. And last week this clip found it’s way back to me. I guess there was another message in it I was finally ready to hear. And it shattered me. It opened my eyes, to my deep failure.

A few days after this realization I wrote this poem. I feel it captures the experience.

Before mortality,
full of faith
in my love 
and strength.
I made a promise.
I remember that now
and my heart breaks.
I have failed you
forgotten you
at the first cutting word
or cold touch 

This shattering humbles me
and somehow
weeping and ashamed
I find a final victory
I find your arms again 

and hear your promise 
"I will be true to you. Whatever comes."

It’s hazy to me, but I do have a sense that there is a truth in this poem. I believe those final words in the Tree of Life scene hit me as a promise I made to God. A promise that I would remember Him and His love and follow His way of Grace and love in this life. A promise I quickly failed, when the “whatever comes” arrived.

After the “Whatever Comes” Arrived

I became distracted by how other’s treated me, judged me, loved me, and I lost touch with God’s love of me. I began trying to assert my will to get other’s to give me the love I believed I deserved. I didn’t consider where they were in life. I blamed them for corrupting me, for making it so I “couldn’t love”.

I walked in the world completely of my own will, seeking to be seen and loved, and hurt and outraged when I felt I didn’t receive it. In that hurt and outrage I would lash out, judge others harshly, give the cold shoulder, or criticize. I didn’t spend much time actively showing love to others, I was too busy trying to figure out whether others were being loving to me or not. And then, when I determined they weren’t being loving (which was the final verdict on pretty much everyone since I struggled to receive love), I spent the rest of my time trying to figure out what to do or say to get them to love me better.

Remembering Him

I believe this realization came crashing down because I was ready for it. And I believe I was ready for it because I have been starting to remember and have faith in God. In His love. And in knowing Him, my mind and heart finally felt safe enough to let me shatter. Deep down, though I didn’t consciously know it, I finally felt safe enough to fall into that complete guilt and shame. He would not leave me. He was the only love I ever needed.

He Knows I’m Imperfect

I imagine He knew all along, that though my heart was fully in my words when I promised “I will be true to you. Whatever comes”, that imperfect me would fail. Those words when spoken by me, are merely me expressing my hopes and dreams. To believe I could ever live up to them is delusion.

I imagine the words themselves actually first came from God, and when spoken by Him, they are said with certainty, a declaration of fact ” I will be true to you. Whatever comes”. This dynamic brings to mind the bible verse “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). It was His love and His promise I first heard, and my dream is to love like Him. But of course I never will be able too.

Yet I will never give up striving to love like Him. And I feel a huge part of that striving is remembering and experiencing God’s unconditional love for me even through all my continuous falls from showing others grace and love. If I pretend I’m mostly perfect, then it blocks that learning of unconditional love. I feel I cannot show others grace and love if I myself have not experienced that grace and love being shown to my failing self by God.

Mended – Healing And Learning

So though I felt shattered by the realization of my failure, I felt mended by it too. Humbled. More ready to receive and learn from Him instead of thinking I already had things taken care of. More ready to hand Him the reigns of my life. And mended in trusting the security of His love enough to stand before it and admit deep failure, shame, and weakness. And in admitting, allowing myself to experience His true love and grace. And in experiencing His love and grace, healing and learning.

Where I Am This Week (4-26-21)

Stepping Into My Own Reality

I am starting to step into my own reality. I am starting to trust my instincts and my feelings. I am starting to show up for myself with understanding, kindness, and support. I am feeling an increased sense of freedom and joy in life.

I believe all the steps before brought me to this place, but most recently what helped lift me to this more peaceful perspective was the support of my therapist and the kindness of my friends here on WordPress. With such support I feel I was able to take a huge step forward in my journey, and that was to consciously, within my mind, say goodbye to and stop chasing after closeness with my parents. I say within my mind because I didn’t actually say anything to my parents. It was more a process of letting my dreams for our relationship go in my mind, accepting and grieving what has been and is our relationship, and turning to focus on finding a closeness with my own self instead.

I Have Everything I Need

I found myself reflecting this week on my life and thinking, “I have everything I need, now I just have to figure out how to enjoy it”. I feel incredibly blessed and excited for the future. I feel a growing sense of being capable of handling whatever comes next. I feel a self confidence I have never felt before. A general feeling of “I am fine”.

This new found feeling of being “okay” strikes me as so odd. I have spent so much time trying to convince my parents that “I am not fine” or that our relationship is “not fine”. Yet by withdrawing from that battle for their validation, I am actually starting to finally feel I am “fine”. I feel I am starting to accept our relationship for what it is, lacking the honesty, affection, and closeness I’d like, but accepting I have done my part and now it is up to them. I am good as I am, I can have a beautiful life as things are, even if they never validate or believe my perspective and where I am. Their trying to listen and understand my perspective is crucial for our relationship to grow and deepen, but it is not crucial for me to be a good mother, or wife, or person, or for me to have a good life. I am starting to not only believe, but also to truly feel this. What a relief! And what excitement!

Easing Of Sadness and Anger

And with this growing feeling I feel hints of an easing of my anger and sadness. Could those emotions have been yearning to be witnessed and accepted by me. Picked up by me, and cared for. Were they fighting to get me to see my truth, I used to think that I needed others/my parents to see my truth. But maybe me seeing my truth and believing my truth was all I needed. Now that I am starting to listen closer to and understand my emotions better, it feels like they can ease. There is less need for my sadness and anger to rise to extremes just to be acknowledged by me, I am starting to get better at perceiving my emotions gentle nudges. They are my guides to alert me to ways I do not enjoy being treated and may need to establish boundaries, and also are my guides to alert me to ways I do not wish to treat those I love. I do not want them to feel what I have felt.

Being More Present

I found myself more present this week with my children. More natural. I let my instincts guide me, I didn’t overthink each word and each action, I didn’t judge myself against all the perfect other things I could have done, merely noting different opportunities in the future. And through these more calm and gentle eyes I noticed my kids seem to love me dearly. And in the atmosphere of lightness and presence I found myself having more silly fun with the kids, really joining their world where the moment is all that exists. That moment of making a big dino pile with dino music blaring or checking out the new buds and flowers in our yard or them hanging onto my back and pretending to be baby monkeys. I laughed more freely. I loved it and they loved it too.

As silly as I’ve been I also noticed a silence from me I am not used to. A comfortableness with silent presence. I feel as if I tend to chatter a lot, out of a sort of nervous energy. I feel I need to be doing something or my mind is running fast. In the newer moments of quiet this week I took in a lot of peace and contentment in the simple things I don’t tend to notice. Such as the quiet togetherness of helping my kids pick out their clothes and get dressed in the morning. There is so much already in that moment without words.

I also found grounding myself helpful. Literally saying in my mind, “I am at the park with the kids. It’s the afternoon.” My mind tends to wander and worry and I catch it planning everything in advance. It tends to have a lot of nervous energy. I found this week, even though I tried to keep my mind in the present moment, the “future moments” worked out to. I just figured them out when I got there. I didn’t need to plan every hour out in the morning. With focusing on where I am, I can notice beauty in my surroundings or even just the peace I feel in the present. The feeling of safety.

Points On A Journey

I know this journey has ups and downs. I am probably currently at some peak after a big realization, and I will crash again before the next step forward. But more and more I feel I am carrying forward with an understanding and new strength in this journey. I am starting to feel I am okay. I am starting to see how many loving people there are in this world and rest in feeling that kindness and goodness can be found in simple ways all around me. I am starting to feel embraced by the eternal hands of God, which have been with me all along and which always will be.

I am starting to place my sense of peace through His eyes as opposed to every individual I may encounter. For I well know, from my own past feelings, thoughts and actions, how trapped in a delusion an individual can become. How fearful of truth, how distant from the truth, how cut off from their own nature, how judgemental and fragily prideful one can become. We all benefit when those confused and hurting voices are seen for what they are – lost, confused, and hurting – as opposed to voices of intentional evil or harm. As I practice finding my peace through His eyes as opposed to every individual I meet, I hope to find the stability, faith, love, inner peace, and strength to remain in my own perspective no matter how I am seen by someone else in the moment.

Where I Am This Week (4/5)

Rapidly Shifting Moods

The days have been difficult recently. What a mix of beliefs and emotions exist within me. I find myself feeling joyful and grateful some days, and a day later I will feel broken and hopeless. My day to day life is very routine, yet the moods do not follow that day to day stability.

Last week I hit such a low emotionally that I decided I need to reach out for outside help from a therapist. At first I felt a sense of embarrassment and defeat in this I think, the desperation and hopelessness of my mood, I’m suppose to be in a better place now after all my growth right? But with a little reflection I see it as truly a good turn of events. I was able to honestly observe where I was, accept it, and seek out help for myself. I am putting in effort to learn how to take good care of myself. I am treating myself as someone I love.

The Automatic Thoughts (Maybe) Influencing the Mood Shifts

In moments I feel sure my feet have found the path to being a good enough mother for my children. A path of continual effort to learn, listen, grow, and be present with love for my children. I feel that my deepest dream, being a loving mother, is happening in reality. I have faith and hope my kids will feel a secure base with me, and that my presence will be a blessing and comfort to them. But how quickly all belief and faith in my being on a good path fall away. And I fluctuate to a certainty that I am my own mother. That this is all how she felt. That I am recreating the past, and my children will certainly feel how I feel/felt. Confused and hurt. Angry. Alone. Afraid of and distant from other people.

This roller coaster ride of beliefs (and the feelings that go with these beliefs) wears me down. I live days of security and joy, where my day to day struggles have purpose and meaning. And then days of insecurity and heartbreak, where my day to day struggles are only bringing about discomfort and inevitable heartbreak to others. Days where my love feels useless at best and harmful at worst, and I feel hopeless in the power and goodness of my love. On these days I’ll wonder, is my love really love at all?

I feel I have grown so much, yet these fears and doubts plague me. And how can I ever prove these fears untrue? How will I ever know that my ways of parenting feel like the security of love to my children? I know I do not feel loved by my parents, I believe in it like some sort of unseen and unfelt phenomenon, but it is not a lived experience. Why do I feel so unsure in their love? What caused/causes that? Was it something they did or didn’t do? I do not know with certainty. Well how then can I know I am not or will not simply repeat it? What makes love a lived experience? Am I overthinking it? My natural state around my idea of myself as a mother tends to be confusion. I have little clarity on how well I am doing.

The Rational Mind vs. The Emotional Mind

I am hopeful my weekly counseling sessions, where we will be focusing on cognitive behavioral therapy, will bring me some clarity and stability moving forward. I sometimes feel my rational mind is at peace and knows I am doing the work to be the best mother I can be for my kids, and that my effort will be enough for them. I believe I am making progress, and see such clear signs of growth and a comfortableness with closeness and affection with them that I didn’t have at first.

It seems it is my emotional mind that is lagging behind a bit. The emotional mind tends to see me as failing, and is desperate for me to make some sort of big changes that will bring a better reality. After some sort of frantic effort my emotional mind tends to turn against me and label me as the “problem”, me as the reason some sort of “harmful” thing is happening to those I love. Without much conscious thought I tend to believe these harsh labels, and then I will be pulled out of the present trying to figure out what is terribly wrong with me and my parenting and what I immediately must do to make amends. Yet I almost never can find anything disastrously and clearly wrong.

What does seem clear to me is this feeling that “there is a problem” or that “I am a problem to others” is actually pulling me away from being present in life with others. This pulling away from the present moment leads me to miss simple time spent with my kids and husband. That is an issue I do see. But that persistent thought and feeling of “something is wrong” I find hard to shake. There is the fear that maybe something is wrong, and by ignoring it, I am allowing something negative to persist.

I feel hopeful with a counsellors help I can help shape my mind to see and accept my new reality, my husband and kids love me and feel close to me. They see already that I love them and am trying my best to live that love. Those other eyes and judgements and expectations of me are in the past and irrelevant now. Those all meant little about me and were more about my parents and their own struggles carried over from their childhoods. My husband and kids see ME. And they love ME. Who I am is not an uncomfortable problem to them, they don’t need or want me to hide. Their desire towards me is my desire towards them- they want me, the real me, to be present. And I want to be present. “So why am I hiding?” my rational mind wonders. It makes no sense. Yet my emotional mind already knows the answer doesn’t it. Because I doubt myself. My words, my touch, my authentic presence, my love makes others pull back in discomfort and fear. I have seen it. But am I seeing it now, again, with my husband and children? Or are my eyes stuck staring at some sort of memory instead of seeing the present day before me.

Where I Am This Week (1/25)

The Experience of Healing

I think my rational mind is in a confused place, but my feeling self has some understanding of where I am and where I am going. I am healing, which feels like a stirred up mix of pain, love, anger, confusion, compassion, peace, insight, learning, grief, hope, and hopelessness all at once. Healing/returning to my true self is not easy for me, but it is becoming easier. There is more often a peace and acceptance, an understanding, that this is what healing feels like. I’ve been here before, I live here more now. And I am so grateful for that. Much of my life before this I feel I was stuck suffering. Maybe a more positive way to see it is – I was learning how to return back to my real self/heal myself by testing out and putting aside the many ways which would not bring me real healing.

New/Old Hobbies

In the last month or so I have picked up a few new/old hobbies and naturally that means I have been putting other hobbies aside for now. The hobbies I have been picking up and enjoying have been art (painting and drawing alongside my kids), learning to play the keyboard and studying how music works, and poetry. The hobbies I haven’t been spending as much time on are reading books and writing.

I used to read books almost daily. I spent most of my free time reading. But my pull to it has lessened. It makes me wonder was my reading often in search of some sort of emotional relief. I did often read self-help books of some form or another. Though I did occasionally read fiction, and oddly enough I do feel quite a pull to that now. Fiction feel different to my mind, an adventure, a story to follow, fun. Often my non-fiction reading was heavy. I highly doubt my days of reading non-fiction are over. I do love to learn, and books are a major source of information for me. But recently my energy seems to be pulling elsewhere, and though I observe how odd it is for me to be suddenly reading so little, I feel content following my energy where it leads.

And a hobby my energy has been leading me towards is playing the keyboard. I have been finding such a flow as I practice learning songs I love and learning to make songs of my own. I tried to learn to play the keyboard about 10 years ago, but never got far. It is the same story with drawing and painting, I have been quite into art before.

Seeing My Old Sketchbook From a New Perspective

A few weeks ago I got my old art sketchbook, from 5 or so years ago, out to get some paper from it. In the process of getting the paper I flipped through and saw my old drawings. It was an interesting experience as I felt such strong emotions. I saw my unfinished sketch of my cat, my brother as a little boy with our pet bird on his shoulder, a blue jay, etc. with such different eyes. I used to be so full of judgement towards everything, and very deeply towards my own creative expressions. But I didn’t feel that as I looked through my sketchbook, I saw my art with the eyes I look at my children’s art. A heart’s representation of the world as seen from its perspective, often the beauty it sees and the joy it feels. I felt a sense of “These are very sweet. I can see your love in these. They look wonderful.” I felt joy as I received these kind words said internally to myself. I felt my own love.

But then it arrived, the regret and sadness, for how I used to treat myself/judge myself and the consequences that judgement had. The sadness and regret of the sketchbook being largely empty. How much beauty could have been on these pages and how much joy of expression and creating I missed out on. Also, how much growth it would have brought to my art skills all those hours of practice.

Next arrived the feelings of confusion, the wondering why I had ever treated myself so harshly. Confusion often brings a sense of urgency to my mind, I feel a pressuring “I need to figure this riddle out now!”. And still mixed in was the simple remembering of how it used to feel to hear the endlessly same and repeating verdict of “It’s not good enough. This is bad. No one likes this. Everyone thinks you are embarrassing yourself.” What if I said that to my son when I set eyes on his art. My mind often becomes so lost in my own confusion, I wonder how could I have ever been so unconsciously and blindly cruel to myself? And quickly I then fearfully wonder, looking back, how cruel have I blindly been to others?

I feel my fearful mind can really run full sprint into its own confusion and drag all of me along with it and I feel a sort of undefined panic. I feel disorientedly confused, but also like I must act or figure out some answer immediately. I am starting to recognize my confusion and fears can pull me to rush into such a dark inner state. A state where I judge myself as being dangerous to others, as being bad, as being someone I hate and who is “worthy of hate” (though I don’t believe anyone is “worthy of hate”, yet somehow emotionally I seem to believe I am the exception). The fact that I do fall into such a dark place frustrates me. But I am trying to practice acceptance and patience. I am living, learning, and healing, one day at a time, one feeling at a time, one confusion at a time, right here in the present.

Where I Am This Week (12/7)

A Difficult Week

This past week was difficult. It felt as if another floor had fallen out from under me, and many painful feelings arose. I am coming to understand this falling into difficult emotions is part of the process of healing/returning back to my true self. But still the emotions, though freeing me and healing me, are painful. Exactly what floor fell out from under me this week? I’m not sure. But these were some of the thoughts and feelings I observed within me this week.

My Mother

A realization that what I believe saved me/woke me up to live life (which was my love for my children and more generally other people) does not seem to have saved my mother. And not only did it not save her in my childhood, but to this day I feel shut off from her. I feel deeply unwanted for who I am. Something about this relationship pulls me away from the present, pulls me away from my husband and children. I do not want this to happen anymore, I want to live.

As I reflected on this all, this numbed out but I suspect deep hurt I carry around my mother, a metaphor came to my mind. I imagined a heaven, a life after this one where we are all healed. All living our dreams. I saw my father there, my brother, it brought tears to my eyes. The togetherness, the joy.

But I realized I do not see her there. Why not? My heart seems to believe she does not want to be there with us. If I try to include her in this heaven with us the closest I can bring her is to the other side of our heaven’s gate. She stands behind the gate yelling over to us how she “can’t join us”, but the gate door to our side is large and wide open. I try to get her to see the gate is wide open, she needs only to walk in if she wants to join us. But she gets angry and dismissive of me. I am left feeling concerned for her, which morphs into anger within me, and also an uneasy feeling at her bizarre claims. I am confused, and afraid. Do my eyes deceive me? Heaven is ruined.

The World of My Dreams or The World of My Fears

The day after reflecting on this heaven metaphor and letting the hurt of feeling like my mother doesn’t want to be around the real me sink in, another thought arose. This was the realization that I suspect I have lived most of my life behind a haze of my own projections. I was not aware that what I was seeing, what felt so real, was being put there by me. I feel as if I sometimes now catch glimpses of the real world, the world with less projections, the world I assume I was born into and saw briefly as a child.

So what world have I been seeing most of my life? I suspect it was a version of the world I feared to be the case. But to me it looked like “the truth”/”reality”. I feel heartbroken to reflect I have played a part in helping bring more to life and perpetuate that world that is not the world from my dream but the world from my fears. I see how I have so often preemptively pushed others away because I feel they do not want to be around me, they do not care for me. When the truth is the person (my mother) who probably created this belief in me, does care, but fears me. But how many other people have feared me? Yet, it seems clear to me I have been so quick to fear others. It seems the distorted image of my mother (I was not even aware of) was the lens through which I saw and responded to many people. My heart fell into moments of hopelessness and pain as these realizations sunk in and were accepted this week.

I was left feeling like I do not understand anything anymore. So much regret and lack of faith in myself and my vision of reality. Many moments of hopelessness and a general sense of deep confusion. But in this disoriented and hopeless state, there was one thing I realized I remained confident in – and that was my dream. The image of my dream seems to keep me tied tight to this life, keeps me happily striving even through pain, regret, and uncertain odds. I will share what I dream of and what I am beginning to believe I will strive to bring about or maybe just recognize already exists and start to actually feel. I believe my peace rests in knowing that I have done what I can do for the creation of my dream. But it all becomes so complex because others are involved. What are their dreams? But I will share what I dream of.

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“I Love You. I Would Rather Die Than To Hate You”

As I found and shared these images, Martin Luther King Jr.’s words came to my mind “I love you. I would rather die than to hate you”. It is a beautiful motto of life to me. To a life, far from easy, but a life approaching my truth. I am love. Where I step outside of love, I step outside of myself, a part of me dies/loses contact with living life. I want to live as whole, I want to live in harmony. I can try to live as my heart wants to live, I can live as if my dream is already true, and maybe in time I will start to feel it is and experience it.

What I am beginning to see is that I can not live in peace with these feelings of fear and resentment in me, they destroy even the hope of the dream I love. I have so often lived some warped and fearful motto of “I love you. BUT I would rather hate you than to die”. This fearful state told me I must flee others and push others away. It morphed the world before my eyes into the very world I fear, a world where I must be cut off from others and alone. A scary, unsafe world, empty of being lovable and loving. And it did all this in the name of “protecting me”.

No, this warped motto destroys my beautiful dream. I will not willingly play a part in harming this dream of unity and love with others any longer. I fear some people in my life look at my actions and words and feel I do not want the real them around me. But that is the opposite of my dream. There is another side to this too which is I fear others do not want the real me around them. There is a part of me that feels the truth is that I should be left alone to protect others from me. That my real self is a danger to everyone I love and my dream. I seem to fear myself. But I say “Look, look, at my dream. If it is not a dream you want, that is fine. But if you fear it, why? What is the danger in my dream?”

But there is a part of me I am trying to nurture. A peaceful, happy part of me. A hopeful part of me, seeking to harmonize. A dreamer. What that part of me cares about most, longs for, is the dream I shared in those images. If I can have faith, I believe I can be a part of creating/waking up to that beautiful dream. Without faith I have seen fear will reign in me, and I will likely play a part in continuing to create/wake up to the very world I fear.

Where I Am This Week (11/29)

Learning Without Guilt

This week I visited and had a good conversation with my brother. On the drive home I observed my mind was replaying parts of the visit I was unhappy with. The way I cut him off to ask pointless questions before he had even gotten his full thoughts out. My quick dismissive “Oh yeah I know that feeling! You gotta do this instead….” which interrupted him when he was probably still searching for words to share something close to his heart in a moment of vulnerability. There were many little moments where instead of patiently listening to him, learning about him, and letting him express himself, I seemed to interrupt with my impatient assumptions. What was the rush?

My brain was noting these areas where I want to practice and grow: my listening skills, my patience in general and specifically in gathering information before I jump to a conclusion, and my ability to sit with the uncomfortableness of other people’s vulnerability and uncertainty and my own.

As my brain was running through the visit with my brother and what I wish I had done differently, I noticed there was a tension in me – an expectation of guilt. But to my surprise the pain of punishing guilt never came. It felt like my mind was instead saying “Yes, I want to do different next time. I’m going to take note of what happened and why, make intentions for how I’ll handle a situation like this next time, and move forward with my day. There is no need for guilt. I am learning, this is what learning looks like.”

After my mind was done running through areas where it noted a desire for growth and practice, my mind responded in kindness to this fear of guilt in me by shifting to praise. It noted that my brother seemed to really feel seen at points in our conversation, and maybe that is why he was opening up more than usual. I have been feeling a newer sense of calm, and freedom in my words and interactions with others. Maybe I was putting off a different energy than I normally do. How wonderful I thought, signs of positive change in how my presence feels to others.*

Observing this process play out in my mind was fascinating. It felt wonderful to both be honest about the ways in which I want to grow, but also to recognize and celebrate the ways in which I have grown! This balance seemed to free my mind from my normal long, painful, anxious, and largely unproductive turnings after a social interaction. By the time I got back to my house I was able to smoothly pick up the task at hand, living in and receptive to the present moment.

* Random Connected Thought: So often there seems, at least to me, to be an interconnectedness of others and myself. They seem to have the power to designate aspects of myself as “real” or “unreal” to me and I imagine I often have that power towards them too. I think there is some unhealthiness in this dynamic for me, but I do think there is some innate beautiful truth mixed in there somewhere. Maybe one day I will be able to see it more clearly.

Where I Am This Week (11/23)

Being There For Myself/Being There For Others

I feel myself stepping more and more into living as myself. I more often have such a peace within and such a peace with my actions and words. However living more as my real self is a change for me, and with changes come challenges.

One of these challenges for me is learning how to interact as my real self with other people and relatedly learning to see those around me for who they truly are. I try to be in touch with my real self, and when I feel I am, I trust that her instincts and intentions are best for myself and those around me. I try to live more freely now.

This past week I attempted to express this idea to my husband, this idea that I am trying to build up a trust in myself and step into living fully as myself. I expressed my confusion and fears about how this could effect our relationship. It was honest, but unsurprisingly seemed to make him feel attacked or threatened and that seemed to send me into a more fearful and negative mental space.

This dynamic confuses me. I feel the urge to reach out, discuss, and share, so I do. But often I share my fears, and my fears often involve me “hurting someone more than I am helping” or someone “holding me back from happiness/living as me” in some way. They are my fears of what reality is or will be. But it seems, as happened during this conversation with my husband, the person I’m speaking to takes it personally. My fears seem to hurt them. If I had thought about this conversation with my husband more before sharing, I would have guessed he would react negatively just as he did. Does that mean I shouldn’t bring these types of fears up with him? Does it mean the way in which I bring them up is not graceful enough?

What Would My Inner Parent Say?

When learning how to better interact with others, I can find it helpful to reflect on how my inner parent interacts with me or would interact with me in a given situation. When I do this exercise, I see how deeply hurtful it would be for my inner child to hear anything that sounds remotely like my inner parent saying they “might have to leave me“. However I do feel slight resistance to this notion that the level of “eternal thereness” for myself should be extended to my husband. I do love my husband though, isn’t that level of “eternal thereness” just what love looks like? I do not know, being there for myself and others is new to me. I am learning.

There is a relationship where this quest for “eternal thereness” feels more smooth and natural to me and that is towards my children. I feel determined to always be there for them, just as my inner parent is for me. I will never leave them. No matter how old they are, or how lost they are, no matter where they are emotionally I will be there for them and if I am not there for them I will be trying with all my strength to get there and let them know I am desperately trying. Would I ever say anything they might hear as “I might have to leave you”? Maybe, but always I would try to make it clear I feel I might have to leave because my strength, and therefore ability to be there for them, is faltering. Always it would be clear the “leaving” is temporary, is in tune with where they are too, and I will return.

Is it true I do not feel this desire for “eternal thereness” for my husband? If it is true, is that something I should strive to change? Is it a lack of extension and expression of my love? It’s a maze to my mind.

What Are My Expectations And Hopes From My Husband?

Maybe I can find some clarity about how I want to/should feel towards him by switching the roles -What are my expectations and hopes from my husband towards myself? I want him to be truly happy. I want him to flourish from within. I want him to find and step right up to the line that is the limit to his freedom to improve the world. But also I want him to have the wisdom to recognize, accept, and make peace with that line that is the true limit of his power. I want him to look back and be able to see the ups and downs, that are life, as his beautiful story. I want him, who he is inside, to be living in every moment.

Though I didn’t clearly answer the question of “What are my expectations and hopes from my husband towards myself?”, maybe I did discover a clarity from not answering the question. I suspect the resistance I have to being “eternally there” for my husband, does not indicate a lack of love for him. It indicates a lack of willingness to self destruct for him. A growing recognition that I am worthy and want to step into my life. The real me is no danger. I will step into my life. I will live my life. I feel this is healthy, and I want the same for him. I want my husband to live, not live for me.

Well, Where Do We Fit Into Each Other’s Lives Then?

I want to be a person my husband wants to be around. A person who emotionally supports him and he wants to support, a person who is interested in him and who he is interested in, who believes in him and he believes in, who brings joy to him and he wants to bring joy to too, etc. and I assume he wants to be that person to me. I believe we both share the fear that we are not that person to the other. I believe this was the fear I communicated this week to him, and me discussing it brought up that shared fear in him too.

And there is truth to that in our past. We have relived and are reliving many aspects of the dynamics from our childhoods with each other. (I suspect my fear that my real self is a danger to his real self and happiness or that he is a danger to my real self and happiness are both strongly rooted from my childhood not our relationship). But how beautiful if somehow we each can bring ourselves to the surface of life, and fully stand before each other in the present. Fearfully at first, but then receive what we have longed for all our lives. To feel seen by someone who wants us, the real us.

I sense a growing of that difficult journey to the surface of life within both of us. There is a part of me, not the fearful part of me, that has faith. That part of me believes my husband and I both lost touch with our real selves in childhood. Yet somehow it was our real selves which chose each other, and which have carried us through our dating and marriage years together. An emotion within me seems to say, “You already see him, and he already sees you. Look to see this truth, and live this truth boldly. Then you will begin to experience it, to feel it!”.

Where I Am This Week

Interacting With Myself (My Inner Child)

For as long as I can remember I ignored, criticized, judged, or rejected my feelings. That was just how I interacted internally with myself. I vaguely recognized it wasn’t healthy, but I didn’t know a different way of being. I assumed everyone else’s inner worlds looked like mine. To me that was just the reality of internal life.

Through this journey of change I am learning to feel my emotions more freely. It can be overwhelming. I feel so much. It also seems as I have been accepting and hearing my emotions more freely my emotional landscape appears different. Anger and frustration have always been common and familiar emotions within me. Maybe shortly before my journey back to self or at the start of it (it’s not clear to me when this whole process started) my anger began morphing into a type of internal chaotic rage. That period of rage was brief but scared me. But anger and frustration seemed to be my constant companions.

I noticed over the last few months however that my familiar emotion of anger has largely faded and a new emotion seems to have taken it’s place – sadness. It feels like progress to feel this sadness, because I suspect it was sadness that was the hidden fuel of the anger. Sadness is the true face behind the mask of anger I wore and saw for so long. Even though sadness has been with me all along, I find it difficult and painful to feel and manage. I am not familiar with accepting and feeling sadness. I notice it tends to make me flee inwards. I have been practicing the habit of sitting with, listening to, comforting, and offering guidance to my sadness.

A New Voice?

When I had moments to myself this week I naturally glided into the habits I have formed to give my sadness time to express itself and be heard and understood by me. I would pick up a self help book or start working on a playlist of music to capture my journey, but something inside of me seemed uninterested. There was a push back within me towards the activity. At first I interpreted this push back to be an attempt by me to resist painful but needed action. It is common for me to fearfully flee what I truly want to approach. But as this new feeling of push back continued to arise over the week, it captured my interest. I started listening more deeply to the feeling and observed it appeared to be saying “Play, let’s have fun!”.

This is a message I have almost never heard from within. It confused me. I have spent the last couple months practicing getting in touch with my heart, my inner self. Hadn’t I found my heart, and inner self to be deeply hurt and sad? I imagined it would be disrespectful to my inner self to listen to and live this playful feeling. I feared it was a compassionless abandoning command to “stop being sad and be happy please”. I worried it would re-inflect on my inner self exactly what wounded me so much as a child. But these were my fears speaking, when I observed past them I saw the situation more clearly.

This new push back feeling wasn’t a new but familiar insensitive and dismissing voice commanding me to just be happy, it was my inner self speaking in a way I had never heard before. It was my inner self feeling and sharing a less familiar emotion – joy and playfulness. It seems by letting myself feel my sadness, by sitting with it, and looking on it with compassion it freed me to start feeling more joy. My inner self now sometimes wants to listen to happy music, be silly with the kids, dance, sit and watching a TV show just for fun. It isn’t insensitive, numbing, or disrespectful to me to feel and live these joyful and playfulness moments, it would be insensitive to me to judge, criticize, or reject them and needlessly push a serious activity on myself.

Joy and Play

I am accepting these joyful and playful feelings when they arise, I am enjoying them. When I get free time now I try to listen to what I want to do right in that moment. Maybe I do want to put in hard work for a long term project, maybe I do want to do some difficult inner work, maybe I am hurting and want to work on expressing and understanding it, maybe there is a chore I want to get done, maybe I just want to have fun. This tuning into how I feel and building up a trust with myself that I will know and respect how I feel in the moment, makes even difficult and boring task more peaceful to me. I notice I have been getting more chores around the house done this week through this listening to when I am ready to do them and not forcing myself. In some ways this all doesn’t make sense to me, but I guess I am learning to respect myself and that alone makes me happier and more efficient.

I believe what I needed as a child, I am learning to give myself now. I am learning to be in touch with and responsive to myself in the moment. I am building the inner strength to love strong enough to go to wherever I am emotionally in the present moment. To sit there, to listen to myself, to comfort myself, to encourage myself, to praise myself, to guide myself. And as this happens more and more a trust and faith builds with myself. A beautiful proclamation arises from the deepest parts of my inner self: “I am never and will never be alone again!”.

Where I Am This Week

Self-Care

I find almost everything to do with self care confusing and challenging. It feels like weakness to take an hour or 2 for myself, and leave the kids with my husband. It feels like strength to never step away. But I am starting to realize no one benefits from this attitude of mine. Inevitably I burn out and break down. In that burnt out state it is almost impossible for me to be there for anyone in a positive supportive way. How many times will this cycle of work until I burnout repeat itself before it sinks in to me that it is BEST for everyone if I take breaks to recharge. It doesn’t feel like I need breaks, but I know I do. So often it seems to me that what I feel and what I know are out of step. I am going to try to be more deliberate about scheduling breaks for myself and follow through and actually take them.

Living As Myself

I struggle to know how to be around those closest to me. I have a huge amount of confusion and fear about other people. Something within me seems to want to avoid other people completely. Well maybe not other people, maybe it’s more accurate to say my family of origin. However I do not want to avoid them, I love them. What is it within me that wants to avoid them and why? I know my self care and compassion skills are poor. Is this part of me pleading for me to flee trying to protect me? If so is it wise and loving? Or is it only a fearful and confused part of me? I do not know, but I suspect the answer to all these questions is somehow yes.

I visit my parents at least once a week with my children. This is what I have observed. I look forward to going to see them. I do not have much social interaction outside of them, especially in these Covid times. It also brings a little variety to the kids and my routine. However pretty quickly after I get there I feel a heaviness. I am uncomfortable. It’s hard for me to describe, but I almost feel like I am being erased or numbed out. There is so much I can not share there. It’s as if I am on a script that is not my own, but even more on a script where I have been written by someone else to act in the way they perceive they need me to act like. I have learned, with my mother especially, it is best I do not talk about any of my feelings which are negative, any of my opinions which do not match hers, anything positive in my life which she may perceive as competing with her and therefore threatening, any sort of personal story past a sentence or 2 because that tends to remind her of her own stories which she will then interrupt me to share. I guess I feel unwelcome as who I am, and I am trying so hard to step into my true self now a days so it’s very challenging at this time to feel unwelcome. I often leave very thrown off from my center of peace and sometimes deeply sad.

But as always it seems my main emotion is confusion. Am I being unfair to her? Is she being unfair to me? I suspect it is an issue of boundaries. She has often in the past over stepped mine, and continues too. I have rarely stood up for my boundaries, and fail to do so now. Maybe that is why I feel negative emotions when I visit and after. It is a call for me to protect myself. But not with my old and harmful techniques of fleeing myself (that’s how I lost touch of myself originally I fled myself – I buried myself) or a new fleeing of her (I love her) but rather with establishing and enforcing boundaries for myself. I am learning to stay present and love myself. In order for me to stay present I must hear and respect my needs, that is how we treat someone we love. In terms of how my mother will respond to me establishing and enforcing my boundaries I do not know. But I have faith she loves me, and therefore I believe she will try her best to respect my boundaries.

It all sounds so simple, but the idea of building boundaries feels so impossible to me. I do not know my own needs. I worry asserting my needs will make me selfish and inconsiderate. My needs will hurt those I love. Ironically and sadly, I suspect it’s actually the case that because I am not aware of and respectful of my needs I often am not aware of and respectful of others needs. This topic is such a challenge for me. In trying to become aware of my own needs I find it helpful to listen and understand the needs of those around me. It seems likely many of my needs are similar to others and likely I have learning to do in terms of interacting in a way that makes others feel understood and loved.

Contentment Amidst Confusion

I often notice such peace and contentment with my actions and words now a days. I spend less time fretting about what I did or didn’t say or do. It’s not that I am perfect, but I feel I am seeing and noting my flaws more clearly now a days. I have a goal me in mind so to say and I am learning how to get closer to her. And that is me, a person with a dream of an harmonious life with others. Where I can see them for who they are and they can see me for who I am. Nobody and everything. And all we feel is love and joy together, that sometimes hides yes, but holding faith it will always rise again.