I've been going through some stuff lately that I'm sorry to be cryptic about, but it's safe to say that I'm so far out of my comfort zone I don't even know where it is anymore. I feel like I'm walking around wide open and vulnerable, with my heart in my stomach and my stomach on the verge of spilling out of my mouth. It's scary and it hurts but you know what, it's also thrilling and oddly right. Because shutting down and being closed off is worse. It might feel less chaotic, you might even be more able to pass as a normal functioning member of society, but I'm not so interested in that these days. (And to those of you who've gingerly suggested that I try counselling - it's ok - I'm not gonna break if you're honest with me and it's ok, I'm already in counselling.) Plus, I'm like maybe growing and shit?
So I alternate between grinning like a fool and wanting to curl up in a ball under my duvet, or wanting to go climb a mountain (or a wall) and wanting my Mum (you know, in between changing nappies, clearing out the litter tray, making jam tarts and generally being at the beck and call of a "tiny overlord"). I'm listening to music and poetry when I can, the latter of which consoles and terrifies me in almost equal measure. Three times this week I picked up a book, read a poem and found myself in tears at the end - gut-wrenching, sobbing tears. And when a friend hinted that I too might feel grief, I became indignant, took umbrage with being patronised, ranted and then realised she'd hit a nerve. Oops. But I'm here. I'm trying not to escape, trying not to push the feelings away or bury them, which is what I usually do.
So how am I doing it? Like a wriggly worm. But here are some of my guides:
"Chaos should be regarded as extremely good news." (because it's an opportunity to wake up) - Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche
"Hold your beliefs lightly. ~ Sometimes our very human desire for meaning, can get in the way of having a good experience of the world." - Grayson Perry
(I'd go a little bit further and say that our very human desire for certainty can get in the way of having a true experience of the world, good or bad, happy or sad, painful or joyful - and it's never one or the other.)
The poems of Mary Oliver, in particular Wild Geese and In Blackwater Woods. Plus Kindness by Naomi Shihab Nye and many by Sharon Olds.
"Be grateful to everyone. ~ Others will always show you exactly where you are stuck. They say or do something and you automatically get hooked into a familiar way of reacting - shutting down, speeding up, or getting all worked up. When you react in the habitual way, with anger, greed, and so forth, it gives you a chance to see your patterns and work with them honestly and compassionately. Without others provoking you, you remain ignorant of your painful habits and cannot train in transforming them into the path of awakening." - From the teachings of Pema Chodron
"Real security is not only being able to tolerate mystery, complexity, ambiguity, but hungering for them and only trusting a situation when they are present." - Eve Ensler from Insecure at Last.
And finally, laughter. Cos you gotta have balance, even if most of the time, it feels like I'm falling off the beam.