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Have you told her how you feel that this robs you of your own experiencing and processing or how it can create a sense of responsibility for her emotions or eventually close you off?

 

We've talked about it, yes. Lots of understanding and patience in those conversations. Encouraging.

 

We both seem fairly open to examining some of our older habits...doing so in a collaborative sort of way.

 

I keep thinking about the current situation in terms of logistics. Time to shift that though. Because there is more important stuff a little further down that is more illuminating.

 

Thanks for your thoughts, quirky! Love that these familiar souls are still out there

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man...communicating is haaaaaard!! mad respect for those who have it dialed...who find a way through the often foggy realm of emotion and can stick with it. stay. listen.

 

i've wanted to run from this so many times in my life. the discomfort. i can handle so many forms of discomfort...can be there with it and let it touch me. but with other people...relationships...it's a whole different story. i wanna get the hell outta there when it starts getting real. it's not a simple thing. because people hear what they want to hear. hear what they think they hear. hear what they've heard before...or what they didn't hear before. they don't actually hear what you say. they hear the words...but they don't understand. i hear the words...and i don't understand. we all do this.

 

there is sense to made though if two people care enough to get to the bottom of it. patience. kindness. love.

 

my dear...i'm sorry you've felt this for such a long time. i'm sorry we didn't get to the bottom of it sooner. i wonder if maybe it's too late. too much sadness. too much feeling of hurt.

 

i can express a feeling...and it's just that...a feeling. it's not an indictment. it's not a fact. it doesn't point to actions or outcomes. it's just a feeling. its expression wishes only to be understood. for the sake of clarity.

 

i've been more worried about being honest than i think i've acknowledged. honest emotionally. i'll share something...but it's often not the real root for me. i avoid it. sometimes i try...but most of my experience hasn't been all that good when i do it. the responses. things break down. sometimes to the point where it's impossible to continue a dialogue. that's part of the reason it's easier to write sometimes. this kind of exchange leaves a bit of an opening. takes something out of the equation.

 

there's also a fear. this has become less of the equation though. i'm more willing to go beyond the fear of what could happen if i express something. so maybe that will help. emotions can't be helped in many situations. knowing to expect them...that knowledge goes a long way.

 

this is challenging. but i feel lucky to be sharing this particular experience with someone who is so patient. who wants to learn. wants to find some sort of resolution. wants to be present for some genuine human connection. something real.

 

thank you...

 

i friggin' love you...

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i can express a feeling...and it's just that...a feeling. it's not an indictment. it's not a fact. it doesn't point to actions or outcomes. it's just a feeling. its expression wishes only to be understood. for the sake of clarity.

 

Right. When expressed, it is information shared. Understanding by others isn't a given, though. We all filter through our personal experience and understandings and definitions. (What I mean by love may not be what the other person means by love, but we can't really fully know that.) Still, sharing information, that can be good.

 

Feelings expressed, communication shared, doesn't necessarily overshadow this:

 

patience. kindness. love.

 

Being human. Not always a smooth ride, but What A Ride!

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  • 2 months later...

hmm..

 

feeling distressed by the role of sexuality in this world. all the conversation (read: monologue) about sexual abuse, harassment, exploitation. so much finger-wagging...and appeals to victimization. so polarized.

 

there's a lot wrong with the current system. there are a lot of men exploiting positions of authority. exploiting the patriarchy. can't/won't deny that. there are many victims. too many. a lot of pain. a lot of trauma. a lot of people who have been emotionally scarred.

 

a lot of men who have been wrongly accused. school teachers who have been accused of child exploitation. lives ruined.

 

men and women who perpetuate these highly sexualized roles.

 

guh.

 

i have a close female friend who has recently been offered a new car by a much older male friend. they are friends. definitely. and there has been this discussion about what the exchange means. it's been described to me as a fatherly gesture. i know her. i know the man a little (although in a very limited capacity). no strings attached. he doesn't want anything in return. only to help someone who could use a hand. yes...money is a bit tight. circumstances are a little tough. a safe, reliable vehicle would be a pretty great opportunity to pass on. he has a lot of money. she doesn't.

 

i feel some physical discomfort when i think about it. ill actually. it's a heavy gut feeling. trying to figure out why. where it comes from. am i jealous? of his ability to provide? envious of her ability to gain this kind of favour so easily? angry because something that other people have to work for is being handed to her? i question whether she's used her sexuality to her advantage. and what that means. is she taking advantage of this man? regardless of whether or not he wants to be taken advantage of. does she even know it, if that's the case?

 

i saw her today before she left to go look at vehicles. wearing mascara. second time since i've known her that she's worn makeup. strange.

 

ultimately, it's not really any of my business.

 

i've been thinking a lot about the dynamics of sexuality. of how women are often just a culpable as men when it comes to perpetuating this continued sexual power-struggle (and beyond. the whole patriarchal system). some say, why not? why not use the assets i have as a woman to play a game that is pretty dominated by masculinity. others wonder how this serves women as a whole. how does playing the game set the stage for the generations to come.

 

i think it's unfavourable. so sticky. maybe a woman feels the only assets she has are the sexual cards. and she does herself a disservice by not playing them. and yet by playing them, she's saying that it's okay to engage in that game.

 

it's not actually a game. but it sure feels that way. the way people talk about it.

 

i feel gross.

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  • 2 weeks later...

feeling a bit sticky this morning...

unrelated to the season. this is something i haven't engaged with for years.

 

the car thing came up again...feeling some resentment cropping up for this person.

 

relationship questions also. really on the fence. so many swirling thoughts and feelings have been surfacing lately. more than lately, really...it's been months of this. and it's not what i'd consider ''bad''. there is still this uncanny degree of space for talking things through. all that kindness and patience. but i still feel weary about it. trying to figure out if what i've been feeling is much of my own baggage being triggered. a lot of it seems to do with people for me. other people. other friends. other connections. if i'm really honest, i've been feeling resentment towards her also. like there will always be more space for the rest of life. that the other people will always come first. that she'll choose that, again and again. she chooses me too. but it feels different.

 

one of those things that i feel uncomfortable expressing...because it gets to the root of need. what it means to need another person...and to feel needed. what is the point where healthy need becomes unhealthy? i think i've often avoided this altogether in my relationships, because i've viewed all need as neediness. so, now i'm grappling with that. thinking that i actually want to need and be needed. in a healthy way. but not really having the experience to know what that feels like. or what it looks like. i want to be relied on. and rely on someone. i want there to always be space to talk about what's going on. i want all of it. the good stuff, and the ugly stuff.

i feel like running again. flight is kind of my go to when it comes to discomfort. but here i am...sitting with it again. feeling so over chasing the good stuff...and only the good stuff.

 

realizing that mostly what we talk about is us. when things are tough...it's the ''us'' in our lives that is tough. i go a bit further with my own stuff (which feels endlessly ironic to me...me being the one that is sharing more). for her...everything else is great. it's just ''us'' that is challenging. and this is completely false. i know this. there are so many challenging aspects to her life. we just don't really talk about them. her daughter...there's little bits of conversation about that...but often i get the line ''we don't have to talk about that.'' makes sense to a degree. we bunged that one up. made a mistake. jumped in way too soon. and some damage has been done. so perhaps there's a reluctance to share there.

 

feels like a bit of a stalemate. we're both quite open in so many ways. expressive. willing to share and to listen. but we've also been stuck in the stickier aspects of relating. me feeling like there is always time for other people...and seldom time for me. is this a REAL need for me? more time with the primary person in my life? or have i built it up to unhealthy levels of reliance? am i relying too much on one person?

 

wondering if proximity will change anything. i'll be much, much closer in january. consistently closer. i still wonder if anything will change. if there will be more time. or if it'll all get swallowed up by other priorities.

 

i feel conflicted. having a hard time trusting my gut. it says...let her go. but i'm wondering how much of that is my ''flight instinct'' telling me to run from this discomfort.

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You sound very vulnerable and having to adjust to where exactly you fit in her life. This is all new territory for you. Dating a mother of a young child is challenging.

No matter how you slice it , if she's a good mother her child comes first. You wouldn't want it any other way. But how does that play out for you?

Time will tell. The fact that the challenging issues seem to be taken off the table is somewhat a red flag though.

No wonder you seem unsettled. It's the proverbial elephant in the room. Again, time will tell.

 

I will share with you that in the past I've had these challenging relationships. Not saying they weren't good or they weren't worth the struggle.

But there is something to be said to find yourself with someone where (most) everything is easy. . and it just makes sense.

They are however, few and far between.

In the meantime . . . .

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You sound very vulnerable and having to adjust to where exactly you fit in her life. This is all new territory for you. Dating a mother of a young child is challenging.

No matter how you slice it , if she's a good mother her child comes first. You wouldn't want it any other way. But how does that play out for you?

Time will tell. The fact that the challenging issues seem to be taken off the table is somewhat a red flag though.

No wonder you seem unsettled. It's the proverbial elephant in the room. Again, time will tell.

 

I will share with you that in the past I've had these challenging relationships. Not saying they weren't good or they weren't worth the struggle.

But there is something to be said to find yourself with someone where (most) everything is easy. . and it just makes sense.

They are however, few and far between.

In the meantime . . . .

 

thanks for such a thoughtful reply. you've sniffed out my vulnerability. and there is definitely some wondering in terms of where i fit in..

 

challenges.

 

funny what you say about ease though. there is so much ease in our interactions. when we're actually together.

 

i'm oscillating between just giving it time...and letting it go. it's a strange place to be. asked for a bit of space this week. she's off enjoying some old connections...so it feels like a good time for me to process a bit.

 

will be searching for some quiet places to feel it all out...

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  • 1 month later...

shift...

 

feel it. know it. heart it.

feel it. know it. heart it.

 

shift...

 

start again...

 

there's a tree. it looks like one of those trees of life that the earth muffins are always on about. it's the tree that yoga teacher talks about up in the loft...in the heart of gentrification...with leg warmers and lulu lemons...and $5 coffees...deep in the house that privilege built.

 

maybe it's my house too. privilege.

 

gratitude...

 

shift...

 

the tree...there's a taproot. it's thirsty for...nourishment. the ground is fertile. the earth...she gives. freely. willingly. that's one of the roots. love freely given. love received...another...

 

shift...

 

self-acceptance. what does it mean? where does it come from? what makes this form of acceptance possible for us? choice? time? gratitude? love?

 

there are branches also. a magnificent crown. drawing energy from the sun...the cosmos maybe. self-acceptance...

 

autonomy is a branch...

 

emotional competence...

 

gratitude...

 

love...

 

creativity...

 

intuition. oh...

yes...and...

subtle guidance on this journey. recognition. intuition. more than...a feeling. a knowing...without knowing.

 

yes. intuition.

 

i'm not sure what kind of tree it is. can't decide if it's coniferous...or deciduous. it's in my head though...so maybe it's both. maybe it's tropical...and boreal. maybe it's capable of thriving in so many different environments.

 

what else?

 

shift...

 

health. the gut. that old second brain. balance.

 

homeostasis. equilibrium.

stress comes. stress goes. the body regains its equilibrium.

 

ease. flow.

 

emotional competence. pain. anger. frustration. adequate avenues. a process. an expression.

 

homeostasis.

 

sleep. rest. regeneration. dreams. energy..

 

energy...

 

there's joy. joy in others. true compassion. a conspicuous absence of judgment. recognition.

 

shift.

 

recognize...

 

feel...

 

 

imbalance is normal. and necessary. prolonged imbalance is a manifestation of threat. it's stress. this kind of imbalance...it stifles the organism.

 

 

self-awareness...

autonomy...

intuition...

emotional competence...

creativity...

physical health...

love...

 

 

here...

right here...

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what IS self-acceptance?

i mean...what is it, really...

 

and how does a person get there? it feels a bit like happiness. it's not something one finds. more something one learns to recognize as being accessible at all times. not that it's all-pervasive. just that it's accessible when we need it to be.

 

i'm exceptionally skilled at convincing myself of self-acceptance. perhaps in a way where i reframe things with a positive spin. or minimize the things that don't feel so good. not universally true. i'm also great at sinking into the things that don't feel good. the real ''traumas'' of life. the times when i've felt broken. and those periods have been marked by intense periods of catharsis. could be those were moments where i had no way to escape the feelings, so i was able to just be, and accept.

 

although, in periods of relative non-crisis -- as i'm currently experiencing -- my old habits are a little easier to allow. minimizing negative emotions. i've noticed lately that despite my real aversion to the idea of business and an almost constant plea to others to be less busy, i've been operating in a state of almost constant business for years. i think it has to do with justifying some of my bad habits. being lazy sometimes (with little acceptance)...wasting time (when i'm honest with myself, i often feel like i could be spending my time in ''better'' ways)...not being ambitious enough. and i'm minimizing how that makes me feel...pawning it off as being less distract-able. maybe why i'm so hungry to judge people that can't sit still! part of me feels guilty and/or anxious when i'm not being productive. and i judge myself for that.

 

i'm becoming really curious about this.

 

i sat vipassana some years ago. and i've been coming back to it recently. and i've been becoming more aware of an almost constant feeling of anxiety. long i've suspected that i live with a degree of anxiety -- ''low-level anxiety'' i've always called it. and i've attributed a specific sleep disturbance to this anxiety. my REM sleep is disturbed. i often experience this stage of sleep without the normal atonia...or paralysis (that is, frequent episodes of ''acting out'' dreams. leaving the bed. performing complex tasks...etc). interesting. this particular ''disorder'' is actually a precursor for parkinson's disease (neurodegenerative). and it's often ''treated'' with a certain benzodiazapine (clonazepam). something to do with cell receptors (i'd like to learn more about the science behind this). interesting that benzos are often used as ''treatment'' for panic disorders. so, what do i have in common with people who experience panic?

 

oh...the rabbit hole...

 

my sleep is intriguing me lately. no coincidence that i've also been exploring this notion of self-acceptance with a lot more honesty. it's all related, of that i feel a lot of certainty. sleep hygiene is one thing, but even when i have a lot of structure there, i still have these disturbances. there's always been a missing link.

 

it has a lot to do with anxiety...maybe entirely to do with anxiety. and what anxiety represents.

 

i keep seeing the tree. the tree with the taproot. self-acceptance.

 

i come from a long line of anxious people. perfectionist tendencies. depressions. social anxieties. repression of negative emotion. inability to express other emotions. useful to see these patterns in those that i learned from...and how i've adopted certain behaviours and coping strategies to help me survive.

 

survival. the brain has a hard time distinguishing between real vs perceived threat. it responds the same for either. so, if the body is in a perceived state of threat (as could be indicated by a sustained ''low level anxiety'' -- read STRESS) it will be responding accordingly. hormone secretions. immune response. psychoneuroimmunology. bam...

 

i find it so intriguing. and it's helped open me to some exploration. less denial. more honesty.

 

self-acceptance.

 

intention.

 

start again...

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...

day 2615...

 

haha.

 

that's a ridiculous number...of days...

 

7 years worth of days...plus a few extras...

 

new problems...new concerns. the old worries have burned away, and from the fertile ashes have sprouted a fresh supply of anxieties.

 

i read the first few entries of my journal today. a me seven years younger. some say the body is born anew every seven years. that the sum of the body's cells replaces itself over the course of this cycle. maybe it's true. but i doubt the new cells are free from the imprint of memory...

 

so today's worries are yesterday's worries are tomorrow's worries. they aren't replaced...or created. they seem to exist simultaneously...as one. integral to each other. interdependent.

 

i've been breathing a lot more consciously of late. walking. sitting. typing.

 

and meditating...semi-regularly. there are a few groups here. i enjoy the group environment.

 

and H...she feels propelled towards sitting sometimes...especially if i suggest it.

 

self-judgment. i'm like a retired person right now. a homeless, unemployed retired person...a choice, for the sake of exploring my most deeply rooted anxiety. i feel guilty about it. but i really shouldn't. this isn't MY guilt. it's something that i've inherited from a culture that doesn't know how to stop. a culture that endorses the addiction of work and productivity. a culture that feeds an insatiable compulsion for more. always more. this isn't merely about things...and stuff. MORE is an invasive species. MORE affects all of our systems. MORE defines our habits. MORE dictates our relationships. MORE puts us to sleep. MORE leaves us unsatisfied and depressed. MORE is the true mental health culprit. we're not bipolar, depressed, or narcissistic. we're suffocating in a culture of MORE. encoded within the disease of MORE is an implicit disregard for the natural abundance of life. today i have nourishment. today i have basic human goodness. today i have connection around me. i can't see it if i need/want/crave MORE.

 

depression can't breathe when there's ''enough''. it thrives on the idea of MORE. more implies a comparison. more implies not enough.

 

but MORE is never enough. if i need more in this moment...i will crave more in the next moment.

 

more doesn't end when the itch is scratched.

 

it's a reminder to myself. for gratitude. i have enough. every single day i have enough. there has never been a day in my life where i didn't have enough. i have -- in fact -- been spoiled by enough. a life of privilege. yes.

 

i've been programmed to believe that i will always need more. and my surroundings are endorsing this way of life. it's why i wake up feeling guilty when i'm not participating the way i should be.

 

i've discovered the reason i feel ambivalent about having children. i'd love to explore that journey. i even feel like i'd have a lot of valuable contributions as a parent.... kindness. compassion. budding emotional competence. tolerance. respect. determination. this culture though...this societal structure...i don't want it. i don't want to subscribe to it. i don't want to have children only to have them raised by a society that doesn't care for them. a society that values consumption and economical progress above all else. a society that castrates truth and pollutes our creative channels of expression. a society that endorses mental illness...but isn't equipped to guide them on the healing journey when this way of life becomes unbearable.

 

more accountability from me. maybe then it'll be possible.

 

a blip of clarity.

 

i'll go back to work next week. it's been four months. i've rejected half a dozen job offers...and haven't had a place to live in as many months.

 

the anxiety of ''stopping'' was much more evident than i'd imagined it'd be. there have been a lot of feelings of being without direction. and guilt. so much guilt! difficult to move through those feelings and savour some moments of downtime. to appreciate. to literally just BE. it's opened up a few doors for me. avenues for exploration. i seem to do well with purpose-driven tasks. i get a lot of enjoyment from tinkering. and...no amount of ''research'' can ever prepare me for the process of actually doing something. and, the more quickly i recognize that the more i'm able to find satisfaction without senseless anxiety. there are many things i can do. it's not a requirement to know how to do it before i do it. interesting to have had the time to nurture this little nugget of realization. good feedback on that from a few reliable sources too. people that have always been there that act as mirrors for my own tendencies. easy to miss how far i've come sometimes. i'm more ''ambitious'' than i give myself credit for. there's been some navigating through tendencies of paralysis...and blockages in the creative problem solving process. and...through that process has awakened a deeper well of confidence.

 

of course...i slip back an forth between the little planes of awareness...

 

that's okay...

 

each day that i notice the runaway train of obsessive and distractive diatribe of NOT ENOUGH, i come a little closer to ENOUGH. the world can only tell me for so long that i don't have enough before i begin to question the source. disconnection has happened on so many levels. it's not apathy...it's preservation of my basic human spirit. adieu...

 

stream of consciousness...blam!!

 

grooving to some funky youtubes. :D

 

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I've always enjoyed the way you write.

Good luck with new job. Back to civilization. . .

 

Thanks for the feedback! :)

 

I miss writing as an outlet. It used to be more of a thing for me....

 

Civilization. Hmm. Dunno about that. But, I have shifted my focus a bit over the last few months, and I've got a much clearer idea about why I'm going back to work. Focus. Intent. A plan, you might call it. I've never had well-formulated goals for this aspect of my life. Always seemed like there was only one way. Work. Mortgage. Work. Maybe retire. Blah. Felt like a cog. It never felt good to me...on any level.

 

There's a freedom in having realized another way. Gives new substance to a working life....

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hmmmm...

 

awareness. i dunno if i'm experiencing more anxiety in life...in general. or, perhaps i'm just noticing it more...and not fleeing it automatically. maybe it's not even anxiety. and maybe...just maybe...it's not actually a big deal. sweet jesus...it's not a problem?

 

what a concept...

 

little frustrations. feelings of stuck-ness at times. H...she's stuck in life (or in a way that feels all-encompassing at time...because it's infiltrated some of the freedoms she -- and i -- are accustomed to in this life. freedom to make choices for oneself. and much of it isn't her choice at the moment. there's someone else out there who gets to cause grief. regardless of his reasons...it's tricky business. so much space for acceptance...surrender. and it's probably not going to play out as poorly as either of us may choose to assume; although, it could also turn out worse.

 

seems though, when one opportunity is missed...another presents itself. we're never destitute for one missed opportunity in life.

 

i find myself considering the possibility of letting go of some very old ideas of what happiness means for me...because on a different level, there is just so much awesomeness. the human foundation.

 

so, there's an absence of freedom. and, as difficult as that is for her, it's also difficult for me. there's a feeling of needing to allow myself a degree of surrender there. just let it be what it is. the ideal of perfection doesn't exist. for someone who has gradually become accustomed to doing things on his own terms, acknowledging that isn't always easy. but the package, as it is, is lovely combination of the stuff i find most important in others. there's an abundance of challenge also...but i feel drawn to the possibility of exploring those challenges for the sake of all the rest.

 

tough to swallow for an idealist. :-k

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  • 1 month later...

feeling a bit engulfed this morning.

 

it's been five years since i had something resembling a ''9-5''. can't say i love it. can't say i love any of the stuff that goes along with it either. it seems to revolve around this nexus of pop culture...and social norms. it's rooted in consumerism. and sharing laughs at the expense of others. seems overly concerned with keeping people asleep to the greater world around. stuck.

 

maybe it's not the 9-5...could just be the industry i'm a part of...or the current group that i find myself working next to. or...it could just be me.

 

people can be great mirrors. sometimes they show us our own inner workings. sometimes they remind us of the things we value by displaying so clearly the things we don't.

 

i don't know how people live this way. maybe it's because i've seen and experienced something so different...but all of this feels off to me.

 

had an urge to ''escape'' today. why am i doing any of this? it doesn't matter...any of it. temporary sacrifice for the short term...

 

trudging along doesn't feel good. so, why do we do it? is there really such an absence of alternatives out there that we're all ''content'' to meander through a meaningless existence because it's been set up for us? is it just...easier?

 

it feels gross.

 

treating people well matters. treating myself well matters.

 

chasing the highs and fleeing the lows...this is the tragic loop of modern existence. none of these things matter...and yet they've been sold to us as tonics for our afflictions in this world. and yet...the tonics leave us impotent. defeated.

 

rinse. repeat. start the loop again...

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people can be great mirrors. sometimes they show us our own inner workings. sometimes they remind us of the things we value by displaying so clearly the things we don't.

 

I hear you, 90. The above is true, and looking at it can help create clarity. I sometimes include these things in my gratitude practice and it helps to shift my perspective.

 

When I've been in a situation similar to yours it creates an inner tension that serves a purpose. It builds slowly until it's so great that I have to make a change, and it propels me on to a big change. I liken it to a spring under tension, or a rubber band being stretched. However unpleasant the trudge may feel, it is sometimes what I've needed to realize important changes.

 

"chasing the highs and fleeing the lows...this is the tragic loop of modern existence"...I would change "modern" to "human". I think this is a very human tendency.

 

"none of these things matter...and yet they've been sold to us as tonics for our afflictions in this world"... Maybe they've been sold to us because we look for something to buy into. But we don't have to buy into that. We find our own paths and our own meanings in the world. The value of recognizing the path that doesn't fit is that it helps us choose differently. "treating people well matters. treating myself well matters." Absolutely!

 

One of my favorite quotes is from Joseph Campbell "If the path before you is clear, you're probably on someone else's." Who knows, maybe this step is the right path at the moment because it allows the next step to take shape, a step that differs from those around you. The contrast of where you are now and where you want to be (internally) can help guide the next step. The stability and financial support of the current 9-to-5 can be in service of that move. In that way, it is a win, not a defeat. Hang in there.

 

The group may need you. Who knows, those around you "rooted in consumerism. and sharing laughs at the expense of others" may need your presence. Outwardly, you may not see any difference, but under the surface, or someday down the road, your having been there may have a positive affect or some or all.

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  • 2 weeks later...
I hear you, 90. The above is true, and looking at it can help create clarity. I sometimes include these things in my gratitude practice and it helps to shift my perspective.

 

When I've been in a situation similar to yours it creates an inner tension that serves a purpose. It builds slowly until it's so great that I have to make a change, and it propels me on to a big change. I liken it to a spring under tension, or a rubber band being stretched. However unpleasant the trudge may feel, it is sometimes what I've needed to realize important changes.

 

"chasing the highs and fleeing the lows...this is the tragic loop of modern existence"...I would change "modern" to "human". I think this is a very human tendency.

 

"none of these things matter...and yet they've been sold to us as tonics for our afflictions in this world"... Maybe they've been sold to us because we look for something to buy into. But we don't have to buy into that. We find our own paths and our own meanings in the world. The value of recognizing the path that doesn't fit is that it helps us choose differently. "treating people well matters. treating myself well matters." Absolutely!

 

One of my favorite quotes is from Joseph Campbell "If the path before you is clear, you're probably on someone else's." Who knows, maybe this step is the right path at the moment because it allows the next step to take shape, a step that differs from those around you. The contrast of where you are now and where you want to be (internally) can help guide the next step. The stability and financial support of the current 9-to-5 can be in service of that move. In that way, it is a win, not a defeat. Hang in there.

 

The group may need you. Who knows, those around you "rooted in consumerism. and sharing laughs at the expense of others" may need your presence. Outwardly, you may not see any difference, but under the surface, or someday down the road, your having been there may have a positive affect or some or all.

 

This was a lovely surprise, JN. So much to chomp on.

 

"When I've been in a situation similar to yours it creates an inner tension that serves a purpose. It builds slowly until it's so great that I have to make a change, and it propels me on to a big change. I liken it to a spring under tension, or a rubber band being stretched. However unpleasant the trudge may feel, it is sometimes what I've needed to realize important changes."

 

I know some truth in this...based on past experience. Any difficult situation creates all these little avenues of opportunity...potential. Ha...I have this image of the rubber band snapping. I wonder how that fits into the metaphor? There can be all that energy in the stretch, just waiting to be released...but there are different ways that it can be released. Both happen quickly, but with somewhat different results. Perhaps it's akin to the uncertainty we all face with just about everything in this life. It could go either way. I get a bit excited considering the possibility of big change...especially right now because I feel relatively ''stable'' in my life. Much more equipped to roll with things as they come along. I can acknowledge the challenge or the difficulty in newness, but realize little shifts in the momentum of my confidence as I navigate those challenges. Tough to see sometimes when in the thick of it all.

 

Joseph Campbell! I wonder how often he felt clarity in his own life (is he still alive?). There's some comfort in those words...and it makes me feel a little wary. Not that I don't appreciate the thought...just that there's a pause. I think that's what resonates with the quote though. It's stimulating. There's comfort there, but there's also a little tinge of unease for me.

 

Thanks for your encouragement on the 9-5 front. There's been a bit of a shift since my last little journal purge. It's feeling a little less grindy...and there's a bit more comradery with the group. I don't necessarily value the same things on a superficial level...but there's a greater sense of humanity that comes out when you spend enough time with people. I tend to be a bit of shoulder for people too. We call it ''couch time'' at work. Bit of a joke. I think people appreciate a listening ear in stressful environments. There's some appreciation in the mix there.

 

Curious what the next big shift in life will be for me. I have more focus lately...

 

That's enough for now. Just wanted to express some gratitude for your presence here. It feels nice for me.

 

 

 

Hi 90! 0XXX

 

Hi Silver... ;)

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Ha...I have this image of the rubber band snapping. I wonder how that fits into the metaphor?

 

Yes! Maybe that image is telling you something? Things can break under tension. Health can break down (with chronic or acute health issues). Relationships can break down. Situations can break down. Sometimes unforeseen outside forces appear to create the break. (Natural disasters, accidents...) The result is change, and sometimes in a bigger way than if we'd chosen a change earlier in the process.

 

I'm reminded of a couple I read about who reflected upon their lives a year after they lost their home and belongings in a fire. They loved their new life, and losing the old stuff turned out to be a gift of freedom that they'd been craving. They could have weeded out their things, sold the house, and simplified their lives before the fire, but for whatever reasons, they hadn't been able to.

 

Joseph Campbell! I wonder how often he felt clarity in his own life (is he still alive?). There's some comfort in those words...and it makes me feel a little wary. Not that I don't appreciate the thought...just that there's a pause. I think that's what resonates with the quote though. It's stimulating. There's comfort there, but there's also a little tinge of unease for me.

 

Good question. (He is no longer alive.) Maybe clarity in life is different than seeing a clear path ahead. Clarity in the present moment seems like mindfulness to me. (And mindfulness comes after a pause.) Seeing a clear path seems like following expectations. At least for me. In my life, when I've tried to lay out a clear path to follow, it hasn't worked, I've ended up quitting or dropping the ball. I've found my way to a life that works by meandering, choosing my path step by step. Some steps feel better than others. At times I've been frustrated by "not knowing". (Buddhism, and insight meditation, allows for this "not knowing"...and it becomes a gift. https://jackkornfield.com/practice-dont-know-mind/ ) Maybe the key is to listen to that beginner's mind rather than looking outward to what we think the world around us (or "society") is telling us. The world around us is offering us choices to test our inner self with. Could it be that we interpret the choices that feel right, that fit with our inner self, as ours, and the ones that don't fit we interpret as "society" telling us what to do? They are all simply options in a world of choices we can explore and create our personal reality.

 

Just wanted to express some gratitude for your presence here. It feels nice for me.

 

Thanks, 90. Ditto. :-)

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