I have this idea in my head that when a person is drowning there is this eventual moment of peace. They are underwater and the fight for the surface is over. The lungs are filled with water and the pain from that adjustment is dulled. There is complete and calm stillness around and inside them. They are surrendered and there is a comfort that comes from that.
I don’t know where I get this idea… maybe I drowned in a past life (I have always been afraid of large bodies of water) or maybe it’s from watching the Abyss in high school. Anyway, I kind of feel like I’m experiencing that moment of peace.
A past therapist used to describe people as having different capacities for emotional experiences: Some people have a thimble, some a trash can, others… a dumpster. And each emotional experience is equivalent to about a tablespoon of liquid so depending on the size of a person’s container they can do a lot with their feelings before they are spilling over the sides.
I have a dumpster.
|this is the dumpster behind my office. i heart it. i’d like to imagine this is what my dumpster looks like.|
My dumpster sits in the sun and as it is filled with these tablespoons of liquid the liquid evaporates creating capacity again. You can imagine what it might be like to be the person with the thimble… or a thimble in the shade no less!
I have been taking on and taking in so much lately that my dumpster is full to overflowing. I have been filling the dumpster much faster than the liquid can evaporate and not emptying it through other means.
If you’re still with me here what I’m getting at is that my dumpster is full of liquid, and the last days or weeks have been the initial struggles of drowning and today I reached the moment of peace. I am completely overwhelmed but I am done struggling with it… I am just floating in it. I am in it and it is in me and I’m surrendered to it. I’m experiencing the comfort of the calm stillness inside.
In response I am feeling the urge to retreat. I have a lot to work on and process and I’m not sure I can do that out loud here on the blog. I’m sure I’ll still share an awful lot (especially when I “figure something out”) but a lot of this material is new and I need to feel it out in private first.
For example, and like I alluded to on Wednesday, I heard something in the talk that day that really got me thinking. I have known, since my high school drama teacher told me, that everything we experience is a reflection of ourselves. Everything we like about someone else is something we see in ourselves and everything we don’t like about someone else is something we haven’t forgiven ourselves for being yet. So when this idea came up on Wednesday I was willing to listen and agree with enthusiastic head nodding.
Then Ron and Mary talked about how actual experiences are just as reflective. In particular they guided a young man to consider that whatever someone in his life was DOING that bothered him was something that he was DOING to himself. Not just the qualities of the person, but the action itself…
I went inside and asked: what I am bothered by? I am bothered that I’ve been left–again. I don’t care that the circumstances are different when I’m busy being bothered by it, I’m just bothered by it. I feel abandoned. I feel unloved. Then… wait. what?! I leave myself?! I abandon myself?! I stop loving myself?!
Holy shit. Yes, yes I do.
If all of my experiences exist in the spectrum of love or tension (light or dark, peace or anxiety, etc or etc.), which I think they do, and love and tension cannot exist at the same time in the same place then every damn time I go into tension and stay there I lose touch with the love. Even though my dad dying, a friend not returning a text message, or 38 taking time off from me doesn’t mean that I wasn’t loved… that’s how it felt, and that’s the experience I repeat over and over and over when I stopped loving myself by living in tension.
okay now what? That’s the final tablespoon that pushed my dumpster to overflowing. I called my therapist right away to make an appointment so I can ask her “how do I stop leaving myself?”, but we’re both very busy… so that will be a few weeks. I thrashed and struggled and gasped… and then I sunk, and took on the liquid, and it was in me and I was in it and now I’m just floating in it. And it’s oddly calm, serene, and comforting…
I’m just going to stay here for a while and see what happens. I’ll report back when it feels right to do so (and in the interim–tomorrow is the last day of this “month” so my next post on Monday will be a recap/data reporting post and a “what’s next” post)
Today’s Self Love:
16. I was super gentle with myself… I took everything slowly… like I was underwater
17. I left work early to beat the traffic and do my final tasks for the day at home
18. I smiled when I felt like it would help, and it did
19. I did “38” on my list of 100 ideas
20. I celebrated and sought the comfort of good friends