There is freedom in clearing some space to feel. All you have to do is open up a little – drop the barriers – and the feelings flow right in. The mind starts racing, and in desperation works to put them back up to block to the feelings that have just assaulted you. The feelings are too much, but they need to be felt to get unstuck. As heavy as they are, the barriers are easier to carry – they are more familiar, even if they are self-destructive…it’s insidious. Until the day you begin to see it all as a distraction from the pain you have sought to avoid or the feelings you have sought to escape – the emptiness, the past, the longing, the loneliness. Bravely, you brace yourself, clear the space and let it all in. This is freedom. This is power. That day will come.
I wrote this in 2009. I have no recollection of what I was going through specifically at the time, but I must have been struggling with something intense.
It’s taken me 7 years to clear the space and be free and powerful.
My new found freedom has me spinning. Some days I rather prefer the shackles to which I became accustomed. I think I know what it is to be a prisoner just released after years in the comforts of confinement. While exhilarating, it’s a bit unsettling.
It seems the path to removing self-destructive patterns is long and bumpy and mostly covered in brush. Without endurance, good shoes and a hacksaw, you’re screwed. But I can’t turn back.
This year, I have stopped resting inside my barrier of self-destruction. I quit cold turkey because I “hit bottom” in every way. I have now begun to feel and see everything so clearly. The clarity has been overwhelming and highly motivating. Instead of running from feelings or trying to bury them, I’m diving into them, eager for them to wash over me. I think Jane Austen was right: “none of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.” For me, the calm belied a pernicious way of life.
I’ve been gifted the willingness it took to change so that I could see. Where I used to wallow in the dark, I am now afraid of it. The pendulum has swung the other way. I trust it will level out in time.
I find myself in the process of seeking balance and truth and understanding. I’m seeing all of my flaws, of which there are so many, and their impact on myself and everyone I hold dear. I’m also seeing strengths and a resolve that I wasn’t aware of before.
Since I’ve braced myself and opened up, I’ve been energized and down, debilitated at times. But still, I persist in my pursuit to be whole.
I’m more curious than I’ve ever been, about myself and about others around me. When I question myself, it’s to heal festering wounds. I now see that I have been spending so much time – much of my life – putting on bandaids. They protect me for awhile, sometimes leaving me feeling relieved or elated even, but inevitably they fall off and I’m left exposed and vulnerable, in pain. So I reach for another one and the cycle continues.
I finally get that this is not the answer. It is insanity. The answer is to stay open and awake with a warm, compassionate heart. I believe that’s my path to thrive.