I’m going to try something different today, so I’m starting to write this at 19:30 this evening, rather than when I wake up tomorrow morning.
It’s been a bit of strange day emotionally, as I’ve maintained my calm, peaceful inner space from yesterday but also had periods of anxiety. I’ve not really been feeling anxious, it’s more connecting with the anxiety and allowing it to flow through me. It started this morning, after I had a conversation with my mother about her anxiety.
She’s never really spoken to me about it before, so I was kind of shocked to hear how badly she’s suffered from it in the past. Like me, her anxiety is mostly work related and I was upset to see that it still haunts her today, 10 years after she’s retired. I say that I was shocked to hear about her anxiety, but I’ve always known she was of a nervous disposition. It really brought it home to hear her talking about how much it affected her everyday.
Somehow hearing her speak about her anxiety has made it real for me, that this is where my anxiety originates from. In the ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families) 12 Step Fellowship, the main theme is that our dysfunction comes from our parents, who got it from their parents, who got it from their parents and so on. Our dysfunction (illness) is hereditary. We become our parents.
When I learnt of ACA, the hereditary nature of the illness came as both a relief and a source of resentment to me. On the one hand, none of us are to blame for what any of us have been through. We have all been doing the best we can with the skills that we inherited from our parents. On the other hand, why does the batten fall to me to break the cycle of behaviour. This dysfunction has been present since the dawn of time and now I’m the one who’s going to have to put a stop to it.
In all fairness, recovery is a blessing, even though it can be bloody tough at times.
So I’ve had periods where I’ve felt a bit out of sorts today, but the processing and the writing that I did yesterday, about COMPASSiON is my cure for DEPRESSiON, have really paid dividends today. Rather than dwell on the anxiety and try to resist it, or even medicate my way out of it, I’ve just let it come and go. I’ve taken the stance of the observer, just witnessing what’s going on, without judgement, so I’ve remained grounded and productive the whole day.
I spoke to a recovery buddy about it briefly earlier and I feel like I’ve got a good handle on how I’m dealing with these things, as and when they arise. It’s not about avoidance or denial, it’s about acceptance and COMPASSiON. As I was taught in meditation, what arises too shall pass. The more I resist something, the longer I’m actually holding onto it, whereas if I simply acknowledge it, it goes almost as quickly as it arises.
I love the mental visualisation of a feather on the glass. The glass is my MiND and the feather is my observation of the thought as it arises, touches my MiND and then disappears. It’s a gentle observation with an acknowledgement and then the moment moves on.
My old behaviour was to question, without answer, why I was having disturbing thoughts. It would become an internal monologue without end. Because the thoughts could be so unpleasant, I would medicate myself on work, alcohol, sex, food or anything else that I could get my hands on to alter how I was feeling or to stop me from thinking.
Understanding that this is just how the MiND works, that sometimes random thoughts just appear, has allowed me to develop a new perspective. That of the observer. That of my CONSCiOUS self.
I now understand that the EGO is a valid and vital part of the human experience. It’s function is to push back against CONSCiOUSNESS, giving me awareness of self. For years I’ve been lost within the confines of my MiND and confused by thought, believing myself to be the EGO. Now I’ve found “the gap” and I’m able to maintain distance, it’s much easier to switch in and out of “thinking” mode. I AM the invisible self, the CONSCiOUS self. I AM not my thoughts, I have thoughts. I AM not my MiND, I have a MiND.
I have found that it’s this change in perception that has created “choice”. As the observer, I have a choice and I AM no longer powerless other my thoughts, feelings or behaviours. I can either engage, retreat or surrender. Most of the time I engage a sense of curiosity, watching what arises, and sometimes I get unwittingly dragged in, but as I demonstrated to myself yesterday, I am learning to surrender much more willingly than I have done previously.