Thursday, May 23, 2013

Opening Up

As I sit glancing at the clock, telling myself a story about how our mindfulness group's leader is completely selfish for keeping us until 7:03pm when group is supposed to be finished at 7:00pm, she tells us our homework for the week: notice and pay attention to when we find ourselves being impatient. She knows I have over an hour to drive home. She takes our money and smiles, and I am severely offended that it is now 7:04pm and she's still talking about impatience. Another student asks for a handout that she mentioned earlier in the session, and she asks if we wouldn't mind waiting for her to print a few copies. I stand up in a huff and exclaim, "I have to go! I have a long drive!" and quickly hustle out of the room as the other students quietly say, "Goodbye, Lisa!" I get into my car and the tears start to flow. Impatience. I have to laugh when I realize that I was completely caught up in a fit of impatience while she was asking us to be aware of these precise instances.

I had been keeping a pretty big secret from the group about my reasons for wanting to attend an eight-week group mindfulness course.

This week I returned to group, resolving to share. I've gotten a pretty big head about group. I'm one of the younger members, and have already been studying and practicing mindfulness for about three years. Our leader, Dr. P., occasionally turns to me and asks for my opinion when another group member needs help understanding a concept. It's just like when I was in first grade, and the teacher would ask me to come up and read to the class while she graded papers. I was very prideful. If I shared this piece of myself with my group, I knew that their opinions of me would change. They would see that I have a pretty embarrassing and immature flaw. I hadn't even let myself cry in group. In fact, I spent most of the time in group judging the older members and hoping that I have my shit together by the time I'm their ages.

Hypocrite. Open up to this. If I'm allowed to sit in silent judgment, then they have the right to see my uglies too. And judge however they choose. Their judgment will have absolutely no effect on my ability to overcome my personal obstacles. This awareness gives me a sense of guilt and also freedom.

So, I tell everyone that I am struggling. I tell them that while I appear so functional, put-together, mindful, and aware... I am crippled by fear inside. I am blanketed in attachment to the way things used to be, and feel unable to move forward and let old parts of myself fall away. I begin to cry, a lot, and I don't fight it because I remember when Andrea told me that the only time someone is ugly when they're crying, is when they're trying to stop crying. I look around. Everyone in the group is listening to me with loving, understanding eyes. A few are nodding encouragingly. Dr. P. thanks me for sharing and reveals that she carried the same youthful struggles into her adulthood. I feel warm and connected to each member, and wonder if maybe I'll hang out after session and get to know someone a little more.

But she keeps us until 7:05pm and I have such a long drive haha.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sitting Still

I'm so antsy! Ancy? Antsy. Haha.

Lisa Life is going really well lately. Yet I still find it so hard to be in the present moment. I'm currently switching between tabs to catch up on my Feedly, continuously check my Facebook messages to see if a friend has messaged me back about some free theme park tickets (that we plan to use IN JUNE), gchat the husband about my night of incredible sleep, and looking through old pictures. Oh, and I read the recap from last night's Game of Thrones episode even though we won't watch until tonight - I never read the recaps beforehand! I usually have plenty of restraint. Now I won't even be surprised at what they do to poor Theon.

But I'm antsy. I have so much energy. Not like body energy. Just awake energy. Body wants to sit its ass in this chair for the next hour and a half, and then sit its ass in the Bluick seats for the hour and fifteen minutes it will take to get home. See, look! Can't even talk about the present moment without relating it to some future moments lol.

Weekly mindfulness group counseling has been amazing. We meet for our fourth of eight sessions tomorrow. I think that attending the sessions has kind of led me to believe that I'm so on top of my mindfulness practice, that I don't have to do shit for practice the rest of the week. So I haven't been sitting. Or reading my Buddhist stuff. Or even really listening to the mindfulness bell app when it dings from my phone. It seems like I've gotten to this delusional place where I believe I have hit some kind of finish line.

The only finish line is death, and I'm definitely not there yet. I feel incredibly alive.

I'm grateful that I'm taking some moments here, now and bringing a little bit of awareness to my day. I'm grateful that I'm doing it because I just had an urge, and not because I feel on the brink of a breakdown or in the rut of depression.

I'm grateful for this antsy, distracted, anxious tummy moment.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Where Is It

I'm finding it difficult to find a voice about anything this week. That could be because there is a lot going on in life that it's best to keep my mouth shut about. I have been feeling inadequate in several areas of my life, but at the same time have been finding new levels of contentment and resting with these inadequacies.

It amazes me that while we feel the need to be constantly busy, constantly pushing ourselves to be as close to perfection as possible - it turns out that when we let go of all that business, we still get important shit done. Life doesn't stop. The world doesn't stop rotating, or get knocked off its axis. Sure, I wish my spring cleaning were coming along more quickly, and that I were closer to feeling prepared to test for my group fitness certification... but I also wish that I had more time to relax on the couch with my husband, and that I can become more comfortable with the amazing woman I already am.

I start my weekly volunteer hours this week! I'm going to do an afternoon office shift on Fridays at my county's helping organization. They manage the food bank, clothes closet, and a furniture barn - and the amount of households in the county they are serving is both shocking and exciting. It's very naive, but I was surprised when I learned that close to ten percent of homes in our county don't even have running water. I'm happy to be able to spare a few hours and support the organization.

I've attended two of eight weekly mindfulness-focused group counseling sessions. So far the information has been repetitive, but it's given me a new focus on informal mindfulness practices throughout my day. I've been reaching out with lovingkindness a bit more, too. I've been working on cultivating the habit of wishing metta to all the people around me every time I stop at a stoplight. It's a nice break from my typical commuting angst and a good reminder that I can find that peace in each moment.