Monday, September 26th, 2011

tumblingdays: Oversaturated Photo of a flower (intimate)
I had the therapy today. We talked about the concept of living with your emotions.

A friend posted a really interesting blog entry last week about mediating when she is anxious. She discussed her meditative process and anxiety. She described how at first when she meditates while anxious, her anxiety is a dark dense thing that her breath just goes around. For me, this was another reminder of something that I am slowly beginning to learn- that there is a space on the other side of my negative emotions. At their worst, my negative emotions- especially my anxiety- doesn't feel like a dense, dark thing. They feel like a swirling vortex, a black hole that sucks everything down. I am lost somewhere in them and there is no center that holds. Being able to visual my emotions as a solid mass that I can experience and then recognize that there is something beyond them is a profound epiphany.

Add to that the idea from Women Food and God that when we seek to avoid pain (and negative emotions) the pain that we are seeking to avoid is not our present pain, it is something from our past that we found intolerable but ALREADY SURVIVED. Not that there are no negative emotions related to our current lives, but our belief that we need to shut down, to avoid, to medicate away pain comes from a past time when we were, most likely, children. It comes from a time when we could not take care of ourselves.

But I am an adult and I am bigger than my emotions. I am more than my emotions. I do not "control" them in the sense that I tamp them down and force them under the crushing heel of my rational mind, but I do control them in the sense that I acknowledge them and explore them and remember that everything I feel is not all there is to reality.

My therapist is great at gently reminding me that not all feelings are current feelings. Often, a strong emotional reaction to something that should be minor is because I am not dealing with the present, but with some past event. My psyche is an untended garden, and for every surprising perennial there are any number of weeds to be recognized and pulled up.

I've been practicing a kind of "mindfulness" wherein I just sit still and figure out how I feel right now. Frankly, I expected mindfulness to be easy. After all, it just means being present in the moment. But it is a discipline and one that I have not practiced before. My mind is a slippery slope, skittish and not inclined to dwell on the here and now. It is hard work, but my mind feels fuller for it.

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