Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Mindfulness: When your feelings are overwhelming, pause to realize the miracle you are living

I've never liked forcing myself to do stuff.

I hate planners, schedules, exercise, resolutions, etc. So even though I always heard people recommend meditation and mindfulness as good ways to cope with anxiety and depression, I never really wanted to take their advice because I didn't want to force myself to sit quietly and not think about the emotions that were constantly pulsing through me. To not acknowledge my feelings would mean I would be treating my emotions the way everyone else did -- ignoring them.

So when I was reading singer Jewel Kilcher's memoir Never Broken (which is pretty heavy and I would recommend) and she started talking about the importance of mindfulness and taking time to notice your feelings and the things around you, I got frustrated because I didn't want to take her advice, but I knew I should.

Grudgingly, I've been trying it the last couple days. Just for half a minute or so every once in a while. But I have to admit it helps.

I've been balancing feeling surprisingly numb about some things in my life at certain times and powerfully emotional about them at others. I've been continuing the process of grieving relationships where my feelings weren't reciprocated. Two were romantic interests that happened this past year, one was from a couple years ago, but the wound has never really healed properly, and I find that dealing with the rejection from the other two reopens the wound from the third one. I feel stupid that it still bothers me after all this time, but, wow, it really bothers me. I can't seem to heal and let go.

Simultaneously, I also feel exasperated with my friendships. I feel like giving up. I don't want to reach out any more and invest all this effort into things just to end up exhausted and disappointed. I feel like hardening my heart, dropping out, numbing myself to having any feelings at all towards these people because it's just taken too much out of me for so many years to almost always be the one initiating, investing, remembering the date and wishing someone good luck, asking about the guy, sending the letter, blah blah blah. I just want to curl into my hole and hibernate. I wish I could sleep all day. I wish I could just shut the world out so I can't be hurt by it.

With that, I'm starting to feel the fear reemerge that romantic relationships are too difficult, too complex, too risky, too foreign, and I should just avoid them rather than fail. Which is assuming that I even have a choice...They avoid me. I guess a better term is just give up. I feel like I should just stop getting my hopes up and say, "Fuck it. Nobody wants me, so I'm going to stop pouring myself out for people. I would just get hurt anyways, most likely." I'm scared of relationships. I've always been scared. I don't want to fail. I'm afraid of arguing. I'm afraid of making a bad choice. I'm afraid I'll be let down and disappointed. I'm afraid I won't be accepted for who I am.

With all that going through my head, including a renewed reminder of how this man who, gosh, I could have sworn it was turning into love...I can't seem to shake him and it's been six months, so isn't that love? -- well, I don't think he loves me back. In fact, I think he might be falling for someone else, though there was a little while when I talked to him the other night that I sensed something might be different...He was a little more protective, a little more sensitive to what I thought, a little more willing to praise...And tonight, the painting he posted had the caption that strangely echoed one of my one recent posts...I thought there might be a small chance there was hope, and, shit, how my heart glowed...

But, yeah, pretty sure I'm wrong...Jumping to conclusions. As usual. If he was interested, he would have said something by now. Maybe he would start a conversation. Maybe he would ask to meet. Everybody's told me as much. (But a little corner of my heart will hold out hope for a while yet, nonetheless.)

So with all that (getting back to the point), I stepped out of the shower tonight and sat down, eyes closed, deciding to try this mindfulness thing again.

First, I noticed the light, shining brighter on one side of my face than the other. Pinkish as it filtered through my eyelids.

I felt the warmth of my hands against my knees. It struck me how it signified that life was radiating through me. I am pulsing with life constantly, I just don't stop to realize it.

I placed my feet up on the tub and hugged my shins, resting my cheek on my bony knees, letting this revelation sink in:

No matter who rejects me or how little attention I get -- I am alive. I am a force to be reckoned with. It is a gift to have this life, even if it seldom feels that way these days. I often feel like it's a waste that I'm here, but in reality, it's a miracle. For some damn reason, all these cells in me are fighting and working full-time to make sure I stay alive, so I guess I should listen to that.

Something wants me to be here. And even if it's not my friends or these men or sometimes even myself...

It's my body, fighting for me to live and do whatever the hell it is I'm here for.

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