Elemental Balancing Ritual Stillness Month 6: Suffering

From wikimedia commons 3-25-15 I'm feeling depressed or maybe derailed is more accurate. I had to take a bunch of images down from my sites..a lot of work which wasn't productive and it really just hit me hard. But it's also the last month and I'm just working through some tough issues. And so on and so forth. You get derailed and it can be hard to get back on track...especially if you wonder sometimes if there's a point to even being on track. Sometimes I wonder if there is because even with everything I do there is this sense of incompleteness. It's been there all my life, likely always will be and I think I kid myself as to whether I can ever really come to any peace with it. I live with it everyday and its what drives me but its also what haunts me. I'm feeling really haunted by it right now.

3-26-15 Having a confidant in one's life is a gift. Being able to tell someone what you feel, what you need, how your hurting...its precious. I've been working on doing that more with Kat. It doesn't come easily to me, because I've had a lifetime of learning not to tell people what I'm feeling and yet I think if I'd been better at communicating earlier in my life I might have been a better partner for people I used to be with. I can't change that, but I am working on changing it with who I'm with now.

On a somewhat related note I'm reading Awakening the Sacred Body and learning the Tsa Lung exercises. In one section, the author talks about gossip and the attachment people have to it. I had a reaction of sorts, because I do believe in informing people of predators and predator behavior, but I also recognize how it could be perceived as gossip. It's a fine balancing act, because you can get caught up in bitching about someone and that's gossip as opposed to informing someone about behavior that has been harmful to other people and could be harmful to more people if its not recognized for what it is. At the same time I know why I'm having that reaction...because its very easy to complain and let that complaint govern the experience of your life...taking up valuable energy and time that could be directed toward more productive pursuits.

3-31-15 In Awakening the Sacred Body, the author writes the following: "There is one tendency of mind that is important to notice, because it can undermine the positive effects of meditation, and that is our habit of moving from problem to problem. Without realizing it, we are addicted to our to do lists or so much more familiar with our problems that we tend to dwell on them, even when we recognize that doing so doesn't solve them." I was struck by that statement because I know it applies to me. I sometimes have treated my meditation as a to do list item, the work I'm doing as something to do and also as something I end up obsessing over. Part of what made last month hard is that I realized I needed to stop thinking so much and start experiencing more of what I was feeling. Reading that passage reinforced for me how essential it is and how you can only experience a certain level of meditation if you are stuck thinking about problems, and letting that thinking occupy your space.

4-6-15 Some tough work this last week, especially as I recognize patterns repeating themselves and producing the same results for me and in how I affect other people. My work with stillness has fittingly enough brought me back to emptiness, with all of its issues, and yet with an awareness of myself I previously lacked when I worked with it and I see so clearly how my relationship with it just leads to pain if I focus on trying to fill myself up, instead of just being with it and being open about it. I find when I am open about my misery, about what I'm feeling when I feel empty, it actually does serve to provide some relief and maybe I just need to accept that there is some part of me that is just deeply miserable and allowing myself to be that way without trying to change it, might be better for me. I've never done that, but its worth trying.

4-8-15 My suffering has defined a lot of who I am and a lot of the way I've related to other people. I've caused other people to suffer because of the pain I'm in and how I've handled that pain. In Awakening the Sacred Body, the author talks about how we hold on to the pain we feel because it is familiar to us. We become attached to it because we know it. To get past that involves learning how to open yourself to being in a place where that pain isn't there. I'm doing the TSA Lung exercises and as I do them and hold space with what I'm feeling I also consider that it could be possible to let go of the suffering I've felt and my attachment to it as a form of identity.

4-9-15 It fascinates me to encounter people who I recognize have similar traits as I do when it comes to how they measure social behavior and then respond. I talked with two such people today and could recognize how they calculated situations and also recognized the same tendency in me. I approach most situations with an a recognition that studying how people act can help me determine how I should respond, dependent on what I hope the situation will result in. I don't mind admitting that because the truth is I was a socially awkward person for a long time and it took me a while to figure out how to connect and relate to people. I did and do that partially by studying behavior and it makes easier to connect on a deeper level.

4-13-15 This weekend I helped put together a lot of furniture with Kat and the kids. It was a bonding experience and I felt a comfortable sense of work as I got into putting everything together. An experience of flow, which in a way can be a form of stillness because it becomes a moment that stretches beyond the usual experience of time. I've also been reflecting on how characters in books can reflect your own journey and be teachers in their own right. Nothing new in that reflection, but a renewed appreciation of lessons that can be learned if you are willing to see yourself in the character's journey.

4-15-15 Part of my suffering occurs with my creativity. I find it harder to write now than I used to. There will be occasions where the writing just flows and on those situations I write until I can't write anymore. Most of the time writing, for me happens in stops and starts and that's hard. It wasn't always that way and obviously despite my issues with my writing I still manage to put out a lot of writing, both in terms of books and blog entries, but I think I've worked harder for this writing in the last 5 years than I used to...then again, writing came a lot easier to me before I ended up in a long term situation that was fairly traumatic for me. And although its been a while since I've been in that situation, I think part of me is still just healing, and that includes the writer in me.

4-16-15 More and more I am seeing how my suffering internally leads to suffering for other people, when I act on that suffering, specifically when I try and find some way not to be present with it, but instead distract myself. Those distractions are really focused on my desires or my needs, as opposed to really being with someone. And when I see the result...a person hurt so deeply because of how I've handled my suffering, I realize that I have traumatized that person with my damage. It's a horrible feeling that deepens the very suffering I'm feeling because I now recognize how it's extended to someone else. I know I'm not the only one who's ever acted this way, but I also know I am the one person I can take responsibility for and that includes taking responsibility for my suffering and damage in a way that doesn't harm other people or myself. Doing that involves shifting from reaction to a place of proactive awareness, where I can recognize what motivates a given action and also acknowledge the potential effects that action could have on me and other people. Then its a matter of making a decision, the right decision, as opposed to continuing to react to my suffering.

4-17-15 One of my problems is I'm impulsive. I see something I want and I go after it without weighing all the factors. This does't always occur and happens less frequently now than it used to, but its still an issue. What I need to do is step back and really examine what the possible results will be. Not easy in the heat of the moment, but I've done it before and I can do it again.

4-20-15 This weekend I finally finished writing chapter of the pop culture magic book...a chapter I started at the end of February. It doesn't escape me my attention that when I get distracted by internal conflict, my writing suffers. Beyond that though, in working with stillness, I've come to see how much it calls up all the issues in my life and forces me to face them. In being present with myself, I am also present with everything going on that I've either buried away or tried to get away from...and I know I can't get away or bury it away. At some point it catches up and gets me...What I do about that though is up to me.