I am having another rough day. It’s not awful, but my focus sucks. I am clearly preoccupied and have been for a couple of days, which coincides exactly with my visit with S. My attention keeps wandering back to this feeling I have in the pit of my stomach. Yesterday I was a mix of angry and sad, and today is seems just sad. She is on sick leave and having been in her shoes (completely burned out and unable to work for an extended period of time), I have offered her my time. She seems to have little support and that is not a good place to be. I got through it, and although I learned a lot, doing it alone is painful, time consuming and often disheartening. I just don’t think anyone should have to do that. I have time, energy and experience, so I have offered that.
Anyway, since we met a number of months ago and I have become more aware of what she is dealing with, I have been wondering if I got through everything. In the last few months I have suspected that the answer is “no”. Yesterday I realized that the answer is a definitive “NO”. I have unfinished business. She talked about how I am the only person who goes out of their way, to check in and just listen. She was quite emotional and said that she does not go there on her own and that nobody sees her like that. The parallels between her experience and my own make me realize(again) that the realm of human experience is quite limited. She is angry, frustrated and lonely and I remember that too well. As she spoke to me about how she feels, I found myself angry and sad. My reaction was visceral and it stuck with me. Having a visceral reaction is quite normal for me, but that it sticks is not usual. There is clearly something I need to work out.
Over the last few months, I have been focused more on my spiritual growth, the idea of meditating (I haven’t really done much, so really just the idea) thinking about the feeling I used to have, which is one of the reasons I stopped meditating, and how similar that feeling was that I had on my trip up Pink Lake hill last summer and how much that disturbed and frightened me. And then there’s my existential crisis of last summer where I felt different parts of me waking up that I didn’t want to wake up…or maybe wasn‘t prepared to have them wake up, and how this summer I made a decision to go there, if need be. It feels like all different dimensions of the same thing. It’s a recurring feeling of heaviness that comes in varying degrees and seems to be a mixture of so many emotions that when I have it, I don’t know how I feel. There aren’t very many instances when I don’t know how I feel. I have it on my bike when I do hills, I wake up with a mild version of it sometimes, and I have it when I meditate, which leads me to believe that I have access to it when my brain shuts down; when I find a state where I am not engaged in thought. Thinking about it makes it harder to see and feel, as though it is something I can only see from my peripheral vision. And now, for the first time that I am aware of (I think), I can feel it after speaking with someone. I feel a mixture of anger and sadness which fades the more I think about it, so I am trying to just watch it. I am trying to understand it, but perhaps that is not the way to go.
I have been looking through my journals for my first experience of being completely open to everything, what I said about it and how I felt afterward. It fucked me up. As I read I am realizing that it didn’t happen that way. It wasn’t sudden; there are a lot of factors that led up to those experiences. I struggled with my sensitivity to other people and how they feel, but had a series of more subtle experiences of peace that I seemed to do pretty well with. This all happened pretty much after I stopped meditating, and somehow it seems I have been coasting on that momentum ever since. I thought that by choosing a normal concrete life I would somehow put that other side to sleep, but that has not been the case. When I realized last year that it was, indeed, not the case, I made a conscious decision to drink regularly, which worked for a while, but I am being pulled again. I am not sitting formally, but I am not sure I need to. My alcohol intake is going down, my awareness of myself is changing and I find myself more engaged in the world, my activities and the people in my life. Some days it is really intense. I feel so much love. I don’t know what to do with all of that energy. It’s very odd to have this in winter, but this winter I had lasted for quite a while. I could feel part of my brain shutting down for the season, it got hard to concentrate, I was happy to stay home, I had less energy and was happy to be alone most of the time. At the same time, I wanted to connect. I wanted to spend time with people. I wanted to go out and have fun, but I had a hard time making it happen. As a result, I accepted invitations when I could and put in as much effort as I could to make contact. For a while it was an interesting winter. I don’t know how to stop that part of my brain from shutting down, but there is a whole other part that did not shut down for quite a while - it wasn't until January I think.