Monday Musings on Writing and on Being

I have been writing since I was a child; I can’t remember a time I didn’t have a notebook next to my bed. I’d wake up in the middle of the night to record my dreams. I wrote plays and forced my friends to perform them (I was a very demanding director, I hear…). When I wanted to learn Spanish, I started writing short stories in Spanish. I learn by writing things down. I think in written words. Writing is who I am, or who I should be.

Why is it, then, that I stopped? I still have a notebook by my bed (albeit an empty one). I still think in words and revel at the sound of them, at the glorious way they are spelled: that two or three or four sounds come together in just such a way. I love imagining what different people understand as they hear words, and trying to fashion them in such a way as to create a replica of my image in their head, however difficult and futile an intention. When I meet new people, I create elaborate background stories about difficulties they might have faced or the unique lives they’ve led up until this point or imagine in depth characters and dream about the stories I could insert them into. Yet I never write them down anymore. I never go beyond the dreaming phase.

My father has always imagined me his child of action. He tells me I’m the business mind in our family, whereas my brother is the artist and the creative spirit (the latter is true). He tells me I’m strong and determined and can do anything I set my mind to. All of this may be true of my character, my real character, hidden deep inside. However, I haven’t actuated many of my true goals. I don’t commit 100% to anything that I do. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t even committed myself fully to my family and my life.

Don’t get me wrong; I love my children – and my husband – with the depth and breadth of my very being. I would (and do) live and die for them. But those are the easy things. They came out of my body, small, needing me, pure souls with eyes that could break right through me. The hard part is committing day to day to be there for them 100%. To get up in the morning the way (and at the time – meaning, early) that is best for them, to set my husband up for success in his day and to give all of them my full attention and being when we are together.

Of course in this modern world of mobile phones, iPads and constant news chatter, there are few that even think of being so mindful in their daily interactions. But this is where suffering comes from (at least, according to that Buddhist CD my mom gave me…). The days, even the small moments, I choose to give my all – to anything, even cleaning (without the TV on or the news or anything else), that’s where joy lives. That’s where I feel connected to my children, my husband, my friends, my neighbors and more importantly, to myself.

And in those moments, it flashes back to me. No matter what I’m doing, even if it has nothing to do with that moment, my soul whispers, “I want to write. I want to be a writer. I am a writer.”

Of course, that scares the crap out of my head and my heart and I instantly start to think about all the ways I’d do it wrong (as if that’s a thing – writing wrong?), all the ways I’d fail, all the ways people would judge what I wrote and all of the ways I’d be lacking, always lacking. Why is it that our consciousness believes that in order to protect our tender souls, it must push us away from being who we truly are? From what we truly desire?

It is a lie that one can fail. There is no such thing as failure, or success. There is only doing. There is only joy and fear.

I am always, constantly, daily tired of living in fear and I am always, constantly, daily afraid of letting go of my fear. Yet this too is because I’m afraid I’ll fail. I’m afraid I won’t let go of my fear properly. I’m afraid it will come back (it will) and that this will mean I can’t do it (it doesn’t). When in fact, I did do it, it just came back and I must do it again. Constantly. Every moment. I must do it again, until it too, just like living in fear is now, becomes habit.

“Yet,” my brain says, “how tiring it will be to be so vigilant, to constantly be aware and mindful of your thoughts. To have to stop yourself and reprogram your mind. Aren’t you tired already, just thinking about it?” However, I’m already doing that. My mind is so vigilant that even when I’m asleep, if I try to let go, it grasps ahold of me, sometimes even waking me up to make sure that I don’t let go of my anxiety and my fear. To ensure that I am always aware of it. That is tiring already. So, why does it matter if this would be tiring also? Exhausted with a purpose and all that jazz.

I have a home now. A beautiful home, surrounded by trees and covered in their fallen leaves. My children pick them up and excitedly show me the colors, in awe of what they’ve just created by their finding. In the morning, we wake up and gaze out the window to see deer wandering through the leaves, eating the grass underneath.

I have friends. I have kindred spirits who make my heart burst with happiness just to think of them. People that truly love me and want me in their lives because of the unique joy I bring.

I have a husband who loves me and chose to live his future with me, combining our lives into one family, one shared experience. Yet I doubt this. Constantly. I fight with him to make him prove how he loves me, as if our life isn’t daily proof. As if his going to work in a job he doesn’t like in order to support our family isn’t proof. As if his living in America and always making the best choices for our family isn’t proof. As if his care and love for his children isn’t somehow connected to me always and isn’t proof. I committed to him, yet I didn’t accept that commitment, either by him or by myself. I am still holding back in order not to get hurt. But were anything to happen to our relationship, to our family, to our love, I would be devastated. So it didn’t work; I haven’t protected myself at all.

Years ago, after I was hospitalized for an overdose, I made the tentative decision to choose life. I asked for help. I “got better”. Now, and ever since, I grow. I change. I better myself. I strive. I take my medication. I want to live. Yet, I never committed fully to that choice either. I chose to live, but I didn’t choose to live in joy. I didn’t chose to let go of everything that was holding me back. I’m striving and seeking to better myself blind, with my hands tied behind my back. Of course it feels hard. Of course it’s a daily struggle. If I just release my binds, my life would soar, I would soar.

A therapist I came to trust once told me it was like flipping a switch. I didn’t believe him at the time because if it were that easy, why wasn’t I already doing it? Why wasn’t everyone doing it? I don’t really know how to continue the metaphor, but I believe there is some truth to it being that easy in theory, it just must be done over and over again in every moment until it’s habit. Because my thinking now, my deliberately turning the switch off the moment any glimmer of hope creeps in, is a habit. One that is harder to break than the drugs, harder to quit than cigarettes.

“Live mindfully” has become as common an expression as any (at least in the circles I run in), but it’s rarely talked about what that actually means. Or how hard it actually is to start. Imagine how hard it is to quiet your mind the first time you try to meditate? That’s what living mindfully is like, except every second of the day. Every second you must silence the chatter that your brain is feeding you and calling your own voice. Yet you must do it without a struggle, or else it is just your brain fighting with itself, and that is not actually being mindful at all.

So, here I am. Sitting by my window with a cup of coffee on this cold, dreary, rainy Monday morning and I’m writing. I’m not thinking. I’m just writing. So, that’s a start.

Advertisements

Today is Just as Good as Tomorrow and Tomorrow is Just as Good as Monday 

 

This is not me. Nor is it a realistic portrayal of anyone actually meditating.
 
Read that title again. Bam. Mind blown, right? You’re welcome. And yes, you can quote me. 

Okay, so it didn’t really come from me and the idea isn’t completely unique, either. A friend who’s a personal trainer said it to me when we were talking about my exercise regimen. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should say that I’ve since lied to her a few times about having accomplished said regimen, when in fact, I’ve done nothing. Though I haven’t reaped the benefits as of yet, what she said really stuck with me, and though I don’t recall her exact quote, it’s turned into what I’ve written in the title: Today is just as good as tomorrow and tomorrow is just as good as Monday. 

I’m pretty sure it has something to do with not being a perfectionist. Or not putting off things that are important. Or something. 

Like I said, this hasn’t yet inspired me to start exercising (Though, I will. I’m starting Monday. I kid, I kid.), but it has inspired me. Oddly enough, that and a post I read on Elephant Journal (I’m not going to link it today because I’ve already read my 3 free articles for the day. If I remember, I’ll come back and link it. It’s definitely better reading than this post.) has inspired me to start meditating. Now. As in, I just did. For all of 5 minutes. On a Tuesday. #winning

I’m embarking on a journey that has been long overdue and that has been on my mind for some time. My soul is not at peace. And I don’t mean the sort of peace that comes with enlightenment or anything. I mean, I am not okay. Im not okay with God, with life, or with myself. I don’t handle stress well. I’m having major physical problems and lack the will power to do anything to change what’s causing the problems. I’m impatient and out-of-control. And I’m spiraling. Furthermore, if I’m really honest, I don’t know how much more I can take. I haven’t actually thought about killing myself, as the idea of leaving my children without their mother makes me want to climb into bed with each of them right now and kiss every inch of their beautiful selves, but I know that those thoughts will come if I let this go on. I’m stuck in all the horrible traps that most people in this modern age are (according to any hippie magazine, at least): addictive behaviors, inflammatory diet, wallowing in negativity, excessive self-involvement/ego and anger. I’m angry at myself, at my husband, my son and daughter, my parents, my friends, strangers I pass on the street, but most of all, I think, I’m angry at God. 

So, I’ve been slowly working my way up to doing something about it. And I really do mean slowly. But that’s okay. Because today is also as good as yesterday, I hear. Okay, I’ve never heard that and just made it up, but I’m sure it’s also true. 

So here we go. 30 days of meditating. NO EXCUSES. No judgment, no expectations and no dogma (of my own invention). 

How did the first night go, you ask? Well, I’ve already learned one thing: the bedroom of your child who has a cold is not the best location to choose. Every sniffle and cough had me opening my eyes, no matter what I told myself about letting sleeping babies lie (Or something. I’m continuing with the cliché theme.). 

Beyond that, I felt a bit silly and yet really amazing for doing it. Just the act of sitting and straightening my back into proper posture felt like the promise of relief to come. 

I tried to delve into love. I realized, if I know what I’m missing – this joyful, unconditional true love that I can almost imagine, then that means I must have felt it before. Which means it’s real. Which maybe means God is real and perhaps He hasn’t abandoned me. 

Anyway, nothing too deep to report. I basically started writing this post in my head about 30 seconds in and kept trying to bring my attention back to my breath… But I sort of wish I hadn’t because what I wrote then is waaaay better than what I’m writing now. Regardless, I shall continue. For 29 more days. 

Not Monday, but tomorrow. 

Back to Reality?

Well, my last post was a bit depressing – even to read back! However, I think it led to me really focusing my attention on my health in general, which can only be a good thing, right?

Since writing that last post, not much has changed in terms of my relationship with the hubs, but I think when focusing only on the negatives, anything can sound horrible. All of those things are true, but not necessarily all the time and more importantly, there are countless other things that are true as well. Those are the things I’m extremely grateful for and the things that I need to focus on in future. I am so fearful that if I ignore a ‘problem’, it will turn into a bigger issue. Basically, what that ultimately means is that I don’t have faith in my husband or what we have. How horrible is that? After seven years together, two (almost) children and a thousand daily reminders of how much he loves me and how committed he is to me, our family and our life together, I need to really keep things in the proper perspective.

To be honest, I think a major part of what I need to focus on is frankly a simple perspective shift. What will that take on my part? Ultimately, I think it comes down to yoga and meditation. I know that in the past, when I focus on clearing my mind with those things, well, it works! Beyond that, I need to stop anticipating problems, dwelling on negatives and being so hard on myself and my husband, in general. Again, though, I do know that yoga and meditation help with that as well.

Like most things, I don’t know how to start. I have an idea of ‘meditation’, but it’s all based on my experiences growing up in my religion. Growing up in Self Realization Fellowship, I definitely have both positives and negatives associated with meditation, God and my own spirituality in general. Unfortunately, the negatives have been weighing heavily on me for quite some time and I have felt uncomfortable with the very thought of meditation and spirituality, even so far as feeling abandoned by God and Guru.

I’ve felt this for so long that I never stopped to question whose God had abandoned me and whose beliefs I was questioning. I have always known my own heart and mind and I believe I do now as well, I’ve just been too caught up in hang-ups from the past. It’s time to let those go and focus on myself and my future, in more ways than simply my spirituality.

That, of course, leads me to this point and how to begin again.