My relationship with Me

When I wake up every morning my ‘to-do’ list is there waiting for me. And I am not talking about a list written on a piece of paper, or in my planner. I am talking about my ‘to-do’ list in my mind. It is like my annoying assistant who as soon as she sees my eyes open starts talking to me; ‘You better get up now because you have to write your blog, take the dog out, do laundry and then you have dog training today. Sooo…why are you still laying there? Get up and make some coffee!’

I think I have always had this, but lately started to realize that these words of urgency aren’t really reality. Sure I need to do all these things today, but I don’t need to rush through the day checking off my completed tasks. Since I have been trying to meditate I have become more aware of these thoughts, and realized that is all they are, just thoughts!

I have decided I would like a break from these thoughts. Not permanently but I would just like some space in the morning just to ‘be’. Just to sit out on my balcony, feel the coolness of the air, see the ocean in the distance and relax. There is nothing in my life that can’t wait 1/2 an hour on the weekend, and I can get up earlier on the days that I work and have some ‘me’ time.

I crave this simple solitude to think positive thoughts, and realize how far I have come in my life. And I have come far! I left a toxic marriage a year ago, and I have been unwinding all of the hurt and confusion this last year. I really want to put all of the hurt behind me and move forward. I feel like I have already wasted so much time thinking about it all, I want to think about other things. But sometimes when I meditate past hurt comes up and I feel like I am reliving it, and so that is what keeps me from fully embracing my meditation practice.

But I guess I still have some hurt to process, otherwise it wouldn’t be coming up. So, I can either accept that, or I can have my annoying ‘to-do’ assistant chatting in my ear all day so that I can avoid my feelings. But sometimes I just want a break! I want a break from trying to move through all this. I have given up most of my distractions so I can focus on healing, and some days I want all those distractions back. I want to date someone that I know will break my heart, I want to watch silly videos that make me feel overindulged and like I have eaten too much candy, I want to run outside as fast as I can with music blasting in my ears and not worry that my back will hurt afterwards. I want to get away, and forget, and not think about the work that I still have to do.

And maybe it is the pandemic, and not having access to do things that makes the healing that I have to do more apparent. But these feelings are there, and would be there with the pandemic or not. They would just be easier to avoid if I didn’t spend so much time alone.

I know I have made progress because lately my chattering assistant stops talking and I don’t even notice. And then I realize it, and I think ‘Ok, this meditation is working, I am just here in the moment.’ It doesn’t last that long, but I am starting to get that small space between my thoughts and consciousness. I have so many layers of defense built up around my true self, and those defenses aren’t going away easily. They don’t trust me yet. They are staying put until they feel like I am strong enough to set my boundaries and respect myself. But lately they have been giving me a chance to show them that I am getting stronger, and they give me some breathing room.

I have a big ego. I always have. I used to think I was better than other people; smarter, prettier, and more ambitious. I used to think that I could do anything if I set my mind to it. That I could make anything happen if I wanted it badly enough. My ego helped me leave my abusive family of origin, it helped me go off to a college where I didn’t know anyone and make friendships and get my degree, it helped me get my own apartment in San Francisco and support myself, it helped me move to a new city and start a family. My ego pushed me sometimes at the expense of others. I liked my ego, it served me well to survive, but underneath that big ego was an insecure person filled with shame that wanted to escape from herself.

My ego wanted my family to stay together, I thought if I worked hard enough that I could make it happen. I never thought I would get a divorce. My ego was wrong. Trying to hold on to what was not meant to be led me to a break down from exhaustion. I hit bottom. In order to get healthy, I not only had to look at my current situation, but all the situations of my past where I pushed through and held on when things were not meant to be. It was hard seeing my part in creating the toxicity of my life. I had developed unhealthy coping skills that were hurting me.

So, I have become humbled. Sure, my ego is still there but I try really hard not to lead with it anymore. I don’t need to. My ego helped me cover up my shame and my feelings of worthlessness, and for that I am grateful. But it doesn’t need to do that anymore, because I am not hiding anymore. I have told my truth, and I keep telling my truth, and my shame about where I came from and some of the actions I took in order to cope are slowly fading.

And now, my body and heart are processing the emotions that I had in past events but didn’t express and tried to deny. If I had really let myself see the truth, and felt the emotions of that truth I am not sure that I could have emotionally survived it. It was too much for me to take in. It was easier to work harder and believe that I could change things. It gave the feeling of control in a situation where in reality I had no control.

I am free! I don’t have to defend myself anymore. I don’t have to rush through life so that I don’t feel anything. I don’t have to check off tasks completed to feel good about myself. I don’t need my chatty assistant in my head to distract me anymore. She can take a much needed vacation. As I write this, I know it all to be true in my thoughts, but my consciousness and my body have to catch up. They are still unsure, and I know it is going to take a lot of work on my part to convince them that all is safe now. I lied to them, I ignored their cries for help and kept putting them in hurtful situations. It takes time to build trust back.

Learning to trust again isn’t finding that perfect man who is loyal and never lies, it is about trusting myself again. It is about living in the moment, telling my truth, and honoring my instincts. All relationships take work, and right now I am working on mending my relationship with myself.