Meditation of the Week 05-08-07
I have a tendency to want to only play “nice” and hide my anger or sadness. Those ain’t pretty feelings so, therefore, they ain’t nice either. I have been called on it though, and rightfully so, in the Accelerated Learning Community. I have been instructed to bring everything I feel and experience to the group so that I am there completely.
In front of that group on Saturday I had been trying to understand what I was feeling while gently playing with one of the facilitators to move me through my experience. In the middle of the process, the other facilitator spoke up, stating that it was time to move on and literally said the words, ‘we are wasting time by going backwards with you, Angie.’
I wonder now if the facilitator wanted me to bounce up off the couch and explode. I wonder if it was an attempt to provoke my anger, to get movement that way. I would like to say that it was something like that and, yet, it is hard to believe that it was as she held up a hand in a “stop” motion, turned her face away from me and expressed her anger. There was no room for anything other than instantaneous shut down.
Inside my body, at that moment, everything screamed. It all seemed so familiar to me. I had been moving forward and through an emotion – which is what we’ve been talking about for weeks in this group – and someone came up to stop my progress. I had watched others be given the opportunity to move through and out. Yet, when it was my turn, we were wasting too much time.
I had brought on a brutal example of “Shut Up/Shut Down” in a place that I had originally deemed as safe. I felt so discombobulated and disconnected from myself and from everyone else in the room – especially the facilitator who had stopped the process. I went inside myself – deep, deep, deep inside myself – to that place that no one can reach, not even me. I closed off instantaneously and stopped. I stopped everything. There was no breath. There was no thought. There was no emotion. There was simply nothing.
And I got really scared. This place was too familiar. It is the place I go when I have maxed out and I am “done.” It is the place I go when I am fed up with life, people, emotions and what have you. It is where I go – this deathly silent place – to die. And then I cried.
I pulled myself from the depths to barely hang on to the surface and, in that space, I waded through the uncomfortable, prickly sensations of sadness laced with anger. Privately. There would be no more demonstrative processing for me that day – or, possibly, for a long time to come.
Directly after that experience, my daughter and I met my mother and sister at The Pub for lunch. I had no idea how I was going to pull off being with them and being with me at the same time. I was fraught with emotional overwhelm and full of anxiety and when I sat down at the table, they both looked at me expectantly. In their eyes I saw questions and wonderings and a waiting for explanation. I felt shaky and uncertain. And so very afraid.
“I had an intense time at ALC today,” I started.
I could hear my mother’s recent words bouncing in my head, “Why do you do this to yourself, Angie? Why do you do all these groups and classes if they make you so upset?”
So I hurried on. I don’t remember if I shared the entire experience with them. All I remember saying is, “and so I am feeling really raw and sad and angry all at the same time and I don’t know what to say or do…”
Then the miracle happened.
My little sister affectionately patted my hand and smiled gently. “That’s okay, Sister. You just sit there and be with it and you don’t have to say anything at all. Just be with it.”
My eyes filled with tears of gratitude and relief.
There, in my own little family I found a salve for my open wounds. She sagely said the words I needed to hear and lovingly taught me how to really be with someone, how to allow them to be with themselves. I felt safe. For the first time in a long time, I felt safe to be myself in my family.
My parents were good parents and I have no doubt that they loved me. They provided well. We were always fed and safe and sheltered. And, even though my family life was loving and gentle, I was trained to not have a voice. I am angry about that.
We learn all that we do throughout all our lives by that which we experience inside our families. It is our proving ground. We develop our core beliefs and our patterns of thinking and emoting through our interactions with parents and siblings. Then we go out into the world wondering why we continually find ourselves in the same relationships. We wonder why we always get dumped on or trampled across or left or whatever it is that we always get. We are trained that way.
Breaking the patterns of childhood takes guts, sometimes. It requires me to be present with who I am now and to be aware of where I am. I must know myself and be aware of my patterns so that I can begin to shift them.
And, most importantly, I must remember that, sometimes, I need to just be with it.
© Angie K. Millgate 5/8/07