There used to be so many feelings I couldn't handle.
As time has continued and I have focused my energy, new thought processes, and lots of practice, most have become easier to manage. To be mostly OK with and settle in to. Or, perhaps at the very least, to recognize more quickly than I used to (which, often times, was not at all).
I have to stay on top of my thoughts or else they can overtake me. Whether they revolve around self-worth, the eating disorder voice, anxieties, my penchant for obsessive thinking -- it can be any, or all, or something else entirely different. But my mind will run... and run... and run if I let it.
Even if it is with genuinely good intent: writing more, connecting, doing things around the house -- I can get so caught up in end results, what I want to accomplish, that I wind up feeling disjointed, rushed, and not present. Like I've climbed onto a lamppost to see far beyond the crowd rather than letting myself wade through it, brushing shoulders with people, stepping on popcorn, petting dogs parked under awnings waiting for their owners.
It’s not about being better – not this time – even though that is often a common theme for me. It is, for lack of a better word, tunnel vision. And I don’t think that is necessarily a "bad" thing unless you have a tendency to get 'stuck' like I do.
Since eight years ago when I started my recovery, I have worked very hard to keep myself in the moment. It is vital in helping me stay grounded, present, and not get swooped up into my mind like I so frequently can be. Sometimes I resort to sayings or platitudes to help ‘reign myself in’, but these can often be difficult for me to buy into. Especially when there are things I want, and am ready, to accomplish. Goals are not about the journey, but about the end result, aren’t they?
I wonder if this is one of many reasons why recovery can be so difficult. Because there is a place we know we want to be – we have made the choice, we have decided this is what we want to pursue and this is what we want to accomplish – and then we have to slug our way to it.
Most of the time, staying present makes sense to me. It serves many purposes that I can see and feel. But when I’m working toward something, I have discovered staying present seems less relevant. And though I have been practicing for the last eight years to bring myself back HERE, wherever I am, again and again, it is like I sometimes get so caught up in the vortex of my mind that even if I find the ground it doesn't seem like it will serve a means to this particular end.
Perhaps there is a lesson in all this. In staying present when it feels unrelated. In fighting to stay grounded even when it doesn’t make sense.
Or, perhaps, as I sit here and think, maybe what drives my determination toward more of an obsessive focus is not being satisfied with where I am currently.
But what is wrong with where I am? What is wrong with slowly finding my way to my goals? What is wrong with us being right where we are in our recovery?
There used to be so many feelings I couldn’t handle. So many I've been able to grow into. So why is moving at a pace different than what I want still one of them?
Why is it still so hard sometimes for me to sit quietly and let the grass grow by itself?