I am still going to therapy once a week. It is going well; I really like and respect my therapist. She is pretty good about knowing when to let me blather about (seemingly) nothing at all, and when to point out some Issues or Patterns. Sometimes she lets me go off on a tangent as I get all wound up about Patterns and what they mean and how they work and experience it as a Thinker, rather than a Feeler. Then she makes me go back and feel the Patterns, too. She is good like that.
She is also funny and understands that it is, indeed, possible to miss Washington, DC quite dearly.
One of the many things that resurfaces in these sessions is the issue of control. How I want it. And that control is all an illusion. I can type this and I can understand it in theory, but when anxiety and worry and the unknown are in front of me, believing the words is quite another thing.
This isn’t that surprising. Who, especially in therapy, doesn’t want to control the scary things in life? I mean, duh.
I have been meditating rather faithfully for the past couple of months. Initially I wanted to learn to practice space, that space between an emotion and a reaction. To practice acknowledging the emotion, and then determining how I wanted to react, rather than just flying into an emotional outburst. This is still a goal, but I understand it will be a lifelong pursuit and practice.
Sometimes I do a guided meditation to relax or to let go of worry. Other times I just meditate on breathing in and out, on just being. There are brief glimmers when I exist solely in the moment, in the present. They rarely last for an entire breath. They are usually chased away by my thoughts. Most often, by “Oh, holy shit! I am in the present!!” And then I am in the past, thinking about how I was in the present.
One of my favorite guided meditations is one called “Evening Inventory.” It encourages you to go through your day and recount if (and when) you felt any resentment, or fear, if there were times where you weren’t honorable or honest in your actions toward yourself or others. Usually I don’t have much trouble finding those moments of my day that were occupied by resentment and fear. Although, the more I practice this, the more I find nuanced experiences of resentment and fear, not just the obvious episodes. Going through the day and admitting dishonorable or dishonest actions is much more difficult for me. It is humbling. Embarrassing. Human.It is good. It reminds me that perfectionism is poison.
I imagine kneeling before what I visualize as God/Goddess/Universe. (To make things easy, let’s say God from now on.) I imagine my resentments and fears are heavy, earthen bricks that I am carrying on a sling across my back. They are a bit rough to the touch and a reddish brown. They are dense and heavy and their edges dig into my back. I hand these heavy bricks to God, both asking for Him/She/It to carry them for me. To ask, but also to finally accept the help already offered me by God. It is a practice of faith. Faith that replaces the fear. Of trusting God. And trusting myself. Even as I acknowledge I am fallible. It is complicated and simple and tremendously helpful and healing. I ask forgiveness for my failings and for strength to make right what I have done wrong. It is easier to ask for this when it concerns others in my life. I am learning to ask this on my behalf, as well.
I was meditating in such a manner about a week before I met with my thesis committee. I was nervous. What if they thought I was stupid? What if they regretting being on the never-fucking-ending committee? What if they felt like I couldn’t handle the material? What if they just don’t like me? And on and on.
It just clicked. I was in a place where I could just see. I cannot control what they think, how they are going to react to the work I’ve done, or what they are going to ask of me next. (Again, duh!) There is no use worrying about it. There is no use scheming and thinking of ways to manipulate their reactions , their thoughts (like I could, anyway!). I admitted to myself all these fears, ridiculous as they might be, and handed them over. They were heavy. I didn’t need to carry them.
I let go. I stood straight without the burden on my back.
I cannot tell you the difference that realization made in me. In my life, even. The meeting went very, very well. I walked in there naked and honest. I asked for help, and shared what I thought was insight. I walked out of there knowing i was going to finish my thesis. I have never, never had the faith in myself to finish.
I repeat this exercise every night. I am faithful to it. I am faithful to my mind and body and making that connection to it.
I can finally say I deserve it.
Just breathe in. And breathe out.