Distressed Not Depressed

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I woke up completely distressed Saturday and I could feel the grief and disappointment that I had not been cured so I just breathed into the feelings and let the energy flow through me. I felt gratitude for feeling the truth of my experience. As always I am so grateful I get to experience the fullness of my heart and the flow of energy and vitality within me. However, the hypervigilance I felt was painful because both anxiety and excitement bring me to a high level of physical distress.

The first thing I did that morning was to take my medication to help with the physical distress. Then I began my day as I do every day with a period of deep stillness while drinking decaf coffee so I will stay embodied throughout the silence. It is a wonderful experience to sit in darkness (around 4 am every morning) and listen to the sounds of nature while focusing on my statue of a strong woman who is holding a candle at her heart center. This is the woman I strive to be every day – a woman that lives from her heart and feels the fullness and depth of her human experience. She represents a woman that holds the pain and beauty of her life in the depths of her heart.

Each morning as I sit in the stillness, I bless all the experiences that will come in my day and I promise myself to be fully open and awake to all that life will offer me that day. After 11 years, I have become much more rooted in the truth of my experiences and life. Finally, during this stillness, I connect my life force energy to the life force energy of the universe and all sentient beings. It brings a stillness of mind and spirit and it also does reduce a great deal of the hypervigilance I experience 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Most days my stillness lasts 2 hours and then it is breakfast time.

After breakfast, I take the time to write my reflections of the last 24 hours. I realized the other day that I love to write, to express my truth and to look closely at life and how it is unfolding within and around me. It is really another form of meditation for me.

Back on Saturday, I was thinking of my existence. All the things that society says would support a reason for my existence – children, meaningful and purposeful career, financial independence, great health – have been taken away from me. In fact, I think what pushed my ambition and determination in the past was my need to feel that what I did mattered in the life of others so then I would have the right to exist. Now, I am finding that my existence matters so much just because of who I am and how I am creating a life of beauty and pain. My existence matters because I continue to learn to live with the art of self compassion. As Phillip Hellrich states, “Inner Peace is a Global Responsibility.” It is by being compassionate for my own suffering that I find it much easier to extend compassion to others.

I also had great excitement and joy in my heart because of what I started reflecting on after reading some of Anne Lamott’s book, Bird By Bird. She states that writers accept being alone quite a bit. I spend my days alone because I find it difficult to be in conversations and find it hard to be outside my house. I also find that most people do not talk about the things I want to talk about. I want to go deep and get real. In the last 11 years, I have learned to thrive in the aloneness and to find communities online that talk real and with a depth to meet this need.

Furthermore, I am a person who needs to understand herself, her deepest needs, wants, longings, desires and motives. I have to understand how I fit in the world when I must be alone a great deal of the time. My writing helps me to get at these deeper questions. It helps me to explore my unconscious and to make sense out of my jumbled and darkened experiences over the last 11 years. I am grateful I found writing. I hated writing as a kid. I could not express what was inside of me. I was full of so much pain and rage. When I became a religious sister I was asked to paint a picture of my heart. I refused to do it. I could not show all the pain, rage, fury, hate, sadness and grief deep inside of me. Now, through my writing I have learned to love all these parts of me. I even find myself grateful when I feel them because I feel so fully human, so fully alive. Maybe I will paint a picture of what is in my heart now. I never thought about expressing myself through painting although I did buy artist materials years ago because I was told it could be a cure for what ailed me. Now, I am not looking for a cure but for a way of expressing my human and complex experiences of life through writing.

 

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