The warm sun shone upon me as I sat on the deck with my foot up. The morning had been “busy” relative to my schedule since bunion surgery. Crawling upstairs on my knees to shut off the alarm that mysteriously started beeping gave me an aerobic commencement to September 8th. I grabbed a blouse and eyed the space for any other treasure I might want to scootch back down with me.
Since I had the excitement of having a guest over, I felt it only right that I dig out the nest of detritus that had fallen from me in the living room. Doing dishes, taking out compost and recycling are fairly strenuous activities since my enfeeblement program 23 days ago. Now that I can put my heel down to balance myself I don’t end up throwing myself across a chair or a coffee table to break my fall. The tattoo line of bruises up the front of my legs is fading and my thoughts more frequently venture to “the other room” from where ever I am at the present time.
My divorce came in the mail and is official since stamped on September 2nd. My son and my daughter were thrilled. They congratulated me and encouraged me with a vision of a future life without the constant threat of the results of his impulsive actions.
I was, in a state between two floors. I felt sad for the failure of so much promise between us. We did work together well as a team. Very few people can keep up with the two of us intellectually and so it was wonderful fun just talking every day. But I am now secure that no further damage can be inflicted. The poisonous merry go round is at an end.
It made me feel good to have been strong enough to take that step. And to hop objects out of the living room so my surroundings don’t indicate that I should star in a segment of Hoarders. Is there a dead cat under that pile?
The visit with my friend was really fun. Emboldened, I saw that Gabor Mate was on skype, so I send him notice of my divorce and just a general update about my paralyzed and confused state.
And this is what I love about this world-famous doctor and therapist… he immediately send back to me the name of a teacher who could show me a way out. Gabor suggested that I go to to Michael Brown’s site and order some books.
Brown’s web page was like a treasure hunt. First I watched a series of ten you tube videos of Michael that were available. Next on his site, I downloaded three free textbooks that take the student through a series of practices.http://www.thepresenceportal.com/
Michael’s message is that ultimately, I need to take responsibility for the quality of the experiences in my life. He suggests that individuals learn to connect to his or her authentic core so that there is truth in personal experience. This process will lead to feeling peace and not to doing things in order to create peace.
He believes that the process is to go through the physical, mental and emotional aspects of experience. The North American work ethic cheers us on to “perfect” ourselves through effort. We are encouraged to get on with it, suck it up, exert force.
Michael believes that we don’t need to keep working. He suggests that the individual just be in the emotion and have self-compassion as you are feeling. The direction I was given was to go in and look at all of the things that I have hidden within myself so I now don’t project my pain out into the world. Feeling can contain the emotional experience so that there is no acting out.
How do you know when you are well and truly IN the experience? Because it feels as if there is no end to it. You enter the emotional state, feel it in order to process it. Michael says when people feel overwhelmed and engulfed by the emotion, “We are looking at generations of fear, anger, grief for everyone in our family.” We now feel not only our own pain but the pain that has been passed down to our parents and their parents before then. There seems to be no place in the field where there is not pain.
What is the upside of doing this deep connecting work, you may well ask. When a person feels his or her own pain he or she is more stable. We are now more able to help those around us who are in grief because it does not knock us off balance. It is the feeling that is required for us to grow up.
When we look with concern at our families, Michael suggests, we see that which we would like to fix within ourselves. It is the damage that we wish to avoid and so we choose to sedate ourselves to keep from experiencing.
The way into an authentic experience is to connect with the body. Where are you feeling the emotion in your body? He suggests we continually check in. If you allow it, the emotion will transform organically.
The last section that I listened to was particularly relevant to me at this time of my life. It was about love.”Love is always only experienced in giving.” Michael like so many other spiritual teachers, suggests that you begin with yourself. He recommends the practice of looking yourself in the eyes several times a day and saying, “I really love you. I love you when you mess up. I am here for you. I will take care of you. If you are angry, I love you because you are here.”
And finally that is what I think is the deepest lesson. Why do we love ourselves? Not because we succeed or achieve more or overcome a bad habit. We love ourselves because we are alive. We are here. And we start from that. We return to that.