I do my best to write 1000 words, so at 1400 I knew I needed to post in two parts.
I am convinced that for me, all of life is a message. I am also convinced that my body knows what it needs, it expresses itself through my hands (where I put my attention), and that if I follow it when well grounded; life improves. I am determined to heal myself with the help that comes my way. My guiding principle the last year has been to pay attention to what I am actually doing. Not what I think I am doing, not what I lie to myself and say I am doing, not what I am outwardly pretending I am doing; but what I am doing for my body.
I am basing this post on the physiological consequences of growing up in a dysfunctional home. In homes where there is intentional/unintentional neglect, abuse, inadequacies, and/or extreme stressors; the pain felt by the child remains in the child. Trauma lives inside me, always. My struggle to function with my pals of dysthymia, generalized anxiety, PTSD, narcolopsy, and suicidal ideation; are also accompanied by fabulous survival skills, decent intelligence, massive curiosity, quirky creativity, and an innate ability to heal myself. I want to think this is how all living things are created. I have already survived many things. I can do this. I also plan to write it down.
So, what I mean by asking myself what I am actually doing, is this: Physiologically, what is happening inside myself? What am I physically doing for my own self’s survival (this includes comfort, rest, defense, and energy)? What is my body trying to say by what I am actively doing? How is my behavior keeping me alive? How is it maintaining what I know? (To see this, stop doing something you “have” to do, then check in with your feelings about yourself or your body’s sensations.) If you begin to freak out, then maybe you aren’t doing what you think you are doing. I just went through this at work this week. It was a real eye opener! In the name of behavior modification, I am assuming ALL my behaviors are there for survival in some way.
Let’s take something easy to start. There are reasons for the coffee break. I love coffee. I live coffee. Pretty sure coffee runs through my veins. It’s an addiction. When I am jonesing for coffee, if I don’t let myself have that coffee because of money, time, availability, or weaning; ALL I think about is coffee. Why? Because coffee for me is comfort. I need comfort just like anyone else. It is liquid calm. It is a moment of happiness. It is love in a cup. But mostly, sitting down with a cup of HOT coffee, especially at work, means to me, that I deserve a moment of rest, peace, and comfort. I get seriously bent if I can’t have just 3 minutes of quiet with coffee. If my hands are searching for coffee, I am stressing and need to ground or I need to rest and gear up again.
Today I had a bunch of tasks on my mind. All these pressures, outside interests looking at me, actual needs to meet for my next few days to run well. But I was slowly moving from one small household annoyance to another. I was fussing over planning accomplishing things that required me to leave my studio. I have noticed that what my hands do generally bring me feelings of satisfaction, calm, comfort, and control. What my hands are up to usually give me a sense of self, self-worth, meaning, and place in the world. For today, I think I was slow because I needed to slow myself down. I needed to resolve annoyances and restore control in my environment. Fussiness is resistance. I wanted to stay home to empty my mind into my blog so that I could track my progress, and know I’ve gotten somewhere before adding more.
In my previous post I wrote that while in the bathroom it occurred to me that I didn’t want to do anything. For myself, checking in on what is normal and what is questionable mental health worries, requires constant surveillance. Okay, I am not depressed, I am not completely broke, it is not -10 outside, and I was not alone in the world today.
Enter conversation with myself:
So what’s with the not wanting? I just don’t. I’m pooped.
What’s this not “do” about? Be, not do, I want.
Okay then, Yoda.
The decision was made to let go. Don’t just do something, sit there. I am a fan of this kind of Mindfulness (Sylvia Boorstein). However, at times, I am still stressed either way. If I give in to my body’s need to rest and write (hopefully posting); then I am a bum for letting other things go. If I tell myself no, that I have a gym membership to utilize, I need quarters, I have a camera to finish, and that good weather and momentum are good for me; then I am not sticking to my “program” on my wall.
Today, after cleaning the floors, shoes, and counter space, I only took out the trash. As the sun moved across my south windows into my “livingroom” I moved with it. I bit the frustration bullet and started up my IT. As my laptop booted up, complained, poked my cellphone, complained more, and my router blinked unsteadily; I brewed my own coffee, lit candles, and organized my work space. I had nine days of hard work to share.
The mess I need to clean up is the mess in my mind.