Thursday, March 26, 2015

The same old fears, part 347

Year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
What have we found?
The same old fears.

Wish you were here, Pink Floyd

Last night, I went to a Margaret Atwood lecture at my alma mater. The event was part of a lecture series called the Tanner Lecture on Human Values. There were so many things about the evening that I loved - being with my sister, driving my old route to the university past my first apartment, enjoying the beautiful spring light as I made my way into town, listening to Margaret Atwood talk about the necessity of the arts in society and how they are part of our most basic selves, remembering all the time I spent on that campus when I was young, and attending something that was out of my regular routine and being 100% comfortable with it. It was a great time, a much needed bright spot. Plus, Margaret Atwood is wickedly funny and smart and thought-provoking. And, did I mention, time with my sister? Love.

I've been in a mental rut for a few months. I could blame it on other people and their choices and struggles, but really, it's not their fault. They were the catalyst that set me on this path, but I can only blame myself for the way that things played out. It put me into a tailspin of emotions and guilt. It's complicated, but I think I complicated it more than necessary because I slipped back into old habits that don't serve me or those around me well at all.

I was looking through my journal the other night. I found entries from two years ago when I was desperately trying to dig myself out of the funk of our decision to not have another baby. Later, I found entries of when I was in Italy having both the time of my life and a different kind of emotional revolution. Over and over, I read my own words of the hope I had to finally be a grown-up, to pull my shit together, and stop allowing others to steal my zen.

I keep figuring out the same damn thing about myself, over and over, "running over the same old ground" just using different people or situations or trials. As a result of it all, I have the same "revelation" and try to set the same goals to "fix" myself, which I promptly forget when the crisis abates, to then do it all over again a few years later.

Maybe everyone does this. (Please, please say that other people do this!) But I think I'm really here this time. I think that I'm finally figuring out who I am and what makes me fall into the same self-defeating patterns.

I'm participating in a meditation series hosted by Deepak Chopra. These meditations come around every few months; the most significant time that I have participated, other than this year, was in 2013 when I was trying to get over my back injury. Meditation got me out of a very dark place then and allowed me to stop punishing my body for its injury. This time, I am learning about success. Not the success that comes from being wealthy or fabulous, but the success that comes from making choices that are healthy, from understanding what successful thought patterns and effective emotions look like, and ways to quiet my inner critic and fears.

At church, the young women say a theme each week that begins this way: "We are daughters of our heavenly father, who loves us, and we love him." I was thinking about that statement during a meditation. Every week, I say those words, but I don't know if I believe the first part, that God loves me. If I don't know that, are there people in my life whose love I distrust? I started replacing "we," "daughter," and "heavenly father" with other names and relationships. "I am Thomas and Ben's mom, who love me, and I love them." "I am Don and Sue's daughter, who love me, and I love them."There are people in my life that I am secure in saying that phrase about because I know our love is mutual. There are others whom I know I love, but who I shy away from authentically believing their love for me. I think it's important for me to accept that they love me, even if I don't relate to their mode of love. I'm going work on that.

You know how when you learn a new word, you hear that word constantly for a few days afterward? Between the meditations, talks with my husband and my sister and other good friends, a few books on aging and anxiety and dealing with the inner critic, a writing session from a place in my heart that showed me some of my oldest and most irrational, childish fears and motivators, and last night's lecture from Ms. Atwood, I'm starting to hear what the universe is screaming at me.It wants me to grow up. It wants me to be the same on the outside as I am on the inside. It is showing me who I am with certain people and why and how I can stop being that person (if I am brave and self-aware enough.)

I think I'm ready to make some true internal changes in my world view that will last longer than a family party, a blog post, a few weeks, or a month. Wish me luck.


Stacey Sykes said...

Great post Becky!