Letting Things Happen

Journal entries:

Friday, October 19

It’s almost 7:30. I’ve been too leisurely over my tea. I think I will wait and see when I finish my routine and that will decide whether I drive down to Keene or not. I got back from walking Mocha at 8:20, so I called Erica to say I was coming & left. I drove down very relaxed, feeling my butt on the seat, paying attention to the music and the trees.

Saturday, October 20

Yesterday was very interesting. I started unsure of whether I was going to drive to Keene or not. I chose to let the time it took to get through my routine make the decision. I didn’t hurry, but I didn’t waste time. I was ready to go at 8:20, so I left. It was like I had taken my hand off the tiller, stopped trying to control things. Lots of things went wrong — I wore my pajama top down to Keene, I didn’t have time to eat lunch before I picked up Jeanne, Dulany and I messed up on times, and none of it mattered. A day of grace.

Something else that fits this pattern is how I’ve changed the way I play solitaire.  I start by trying to free the aces, but when I get stuck, I stop looking for what will free an ace, and look for what I can actually do, even if it doesn’t seem to lead anywhere.  Most of the time, it works out.  That was a surprise.

This “letting things happen” is the opposite of pushing to make myself do what I think should be done. It’s part of the collapse that I suspect has happened because I finally feel safe.  I know I felt a very strong container when I first moved to Kendal, but then there were all kinds of bureaucratic, strategic things that needed to be done, and I found that so difficult.  It also has taken me a while to make friends, I still don’t have a lot of people I feel safe with, and I need that to feel really comfortable.  I’ve had to let go of a number of people that I found attractive when I first moved, and accept that they weren’t equally attracted to me.  That was a disappointment. 

The “very strong container” was a feeling, but also an image.  I felt held by something like a big glass bowl, made of translucent glass, with vertical sides and a flat bottom joined by a narrow curve.  It was a little like my perception of a “floor” when I first started doing Somatic Experiencing.

My exhaustion has forced me to let myself rest, to find ways to nurture myself, to pay attention to my basic needs.  Erica says that the legacy of having my mother ignore my needs because she was focussed on getting her own needs met, left me with no idea that I was a human with certain basic survival needs.  Part of the deep belief that I had to “prove that I deserve to live” before I could get basic needs met was conditioned by her neglect.

I say that I’ve “stopped trying to control things,” but what I’m really trying to control is myself.  To get myself to do what I think I “should.”  I don’t try to control other people. What I’m really trying to do is avoid getting punished for not doing something I didn’t know I was supposed to do.  I’m also trying to just keep going through a blizzard to a place where I feel safe.

I once saw myself keeping going through severe depression as someone keeping going through a blizzard.  You know you can’t lie down, but you have forgotten why.  You just keep saying “now put your right foot forward, now put your left foot forward…”

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