Monday, February 28, 2011

Life = Changed

Well, we did it! We made it through our silent retreat yesterday.

We had heard some testimonials from MBSR alums who said the silent retreat was the hardest thing they've ever done -- even a cop said it was worse to him than boot camp/basic training.

I don't agree. Compared to the really hard things I've experienced in my life (like taking a chance and moving away from everything I know multiple times or selling disability insurance door to door) this was a breath of fresh air! (Actually, it was a little ripe in there by the end of the day - feet and farts!)

It definitely wasn't easy. Sitting with yourself and your thoughts is difficult.

But the letting go felt so good.

Throughout the day, when faced with thoughts that normally would haunt me, I simply opened the front door to let them in and then kindly showed them out the back door. And I didn't search them out later. I just let them go.

And it felt good.

I've likened my previously uncontrolled cyclical thinking to knitting. (Stay with me here.)

It's like taking on a huge knitting project (one that is completely overwhelming in scope and skill for me) and laboriously working it from every angle. Pulling, tugging, skipping stitches, cursing myself and getting frustrated. Emotions fly and the knitting project gets substituted for something more pleasant like petting the dog or quaffing a beer. But then I just can't let the knitting thing go. I think "so what if it's a fucked up sweater that will never fit anything or anyone? I want to scrutinize it some more." Then I attack myself with the knitting. Judging and criticizing. "So and so is an idiot and they can do this! What's your problem, dumbass?" Seeking out that pile of shit over and over and over to only find the same fucked up mess over and over again with no solution in sight. And so the cycle continues, just like my shit storm of thoughts.

However, now the practices and disciplines I've learned in the MBSR clinic allow me to kindly acknowledge, without judgement, that the sweater I'm so worried about isn't really that important - it's an unsolvable problem -- let it go.

I'm learning not to lament over the past because it doesn't exist anymore, to stop worrying about the future because it hasn't happened yet and to really look at what I have in my hands to work with right now.

Because this moment is all that we have and I truly understand what that means now.

Life = Changed

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