Thursday, November 29, 2012

Remaining like a log

I finally had the opportunity to sit down with Little Buddha today. I can not express how valuable she is, with her experiences, understanding and wisdom.  Little Buddha validated that what I'm going through has nothing to do with the Lexapro or depression, it is standard holiday emotions post-divorce. She said all the right things are being done: awareness of the negative thoughts, attempt to change perception. I know my thinking hasn’t been right but a lot of this is just knowing ‘it is what it is’. Instead I’ve been judging and fighting against my feelings.  

I wanted to tell The Runner what has been going on. I’ve been missing my joie de vivre and I don’t know if he can sense it, but he shares his experiences with me and I haven’t been able to communicate the same to him. So I decided to write it out - if I wrote the letter below to myself to tell me what’s been going on, it doesn’t make me as panicky. Or make me judge myself for feeling down. It makes me think it’s a rough time, then it will get better.  It takes away some of the overwhelming feelings.

Email to myself (and the Runner):
Just a heads up - the holidays are super hard for me, so I've been feeling pretty down lately. This is when I became a single mom. The first month was December and I couldn't even leave my house. Last year I did the bare minimum and shut everything else out.  This year I have some holiday spirit back and am starting to indulge in Christmas cheer -- but it's been a rough few weeks and I'm overwhelmed and running on empty.

I've been consumed with so much guilt lately. About Grace - not doing enough with her, being exhausted by her, missing her when she's not there, being relieved when she's not there.  Guilt about not reaching the too high standards I set for myself - essentially that I should be perfect in every area.  Overwhelmed about the lack of job stability. The falling apart house (every time I get it to where things are in working order, it breaks again!)

Between the guilt that's been eating at me and constantly giving everything to a 2 year old who gives very little in return, I'm running on empty. I'm missing my joie de vivre!

So if I seem a little off kilter or strung out, I really just need a hug.

There are so many thoughts jumbled in my head right now that it was easier to write this out. I appreciate when you share about what's going on with you life, so I wanted to share with you too, so ya know what's up.

- Diana

Now that I’ve been able to sort through many jumbly thoughts, judgements and guilt, the question of how to survive the next month looms large. And as it always seems to happen, Pema Chodron’s thought of the week has impeccable timing:

The practice of “remaining like a log” is based on refraining, not repressing. When you realize you’re thinking, just acknowledge that. Then turn your attention to your breath flowing in and out, to your body, to the immediacy of your experience. Doing this allows you to be present and alert, and thoughts have a chance to calm down.

With this practice, it can be helpful to gently breathe in and out with the restlessness of the energy. This is a major support for learning to stay present. Basic wakefulness is right here, if we can just relax. Our situation is fundamentally fluid, unbiased, and free, and we can tune into this at any time. When we practice “remaining like a log,” we allow for this opportunity.

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