“Should” versus My Inner Knowing

From my journal for June 17, 1993
Trajectory broken again. My flight of the last couple of days ends in a crash. Once again feeling anxious and scared, wanting to hide. I retreated into typing my journals, and the first glider plane went over, grinding pain into my heart and here I am weak and shaky again. Now, how did this happen? I think I saw the cause, so trivial it seems ridiculous. I was downstairs, after washing breakfast dishes, wondering how to start my day. I thought I would begin by typing journals. As I started toward the stairs I saw through the window the geraniums and marigolds I bought a couple of days ago. “I should plant those” went through my head. Then I felt my body contract and thought, “No, my energy isn’t right, I’ll stick with typing.” But somehow just the thought, that there is something external that “ought” to be done, can drag me far enough off my center so that even though I affirm my choice to go with my own energy, I’m sitting at the computer feeling fearful and the first plane just grinds it into me, how bad I am to be making my worthless journals my top priority instead of those plants which are clearly more important than I am. Gosh! even stating it like that I still feel the fear. I feel the battle going on inside me, in my stomach, the fear when I try to stick with a choice based on my inner feelings, and then moments of strength when I can feel that it really is my choice, and then I tumble back into fear again. Gosh! the battle is engaged in earnest between a life lived according to external demands, and a life lived out from inside. At least I see enormous improvement: that the plane did not blast my psyche to bits, that I was able to see the real cause of my anxiety in the moment when I made the external demand more important than the inner need, even though I refused to obey it. That’s what has made it so hard to see: that the outer demand was still running my life even though I refused to obey it.

“glider plane”  — see Airplane Phobia

“The outer demand was still running my life even though I refused to obey it.”  Now, 25 years later, I’m still fighting the same battle.  Since 1993 I have gotten on anti-depressant medication, ended the plane phobia, discovered that I was actually dealing with PTSD, and finally got to the bottom of what I was up against when I started working with a therapist who specialized in attachment as well as trauma.  I found out what it means to be traumatized before your brain and nervous system have matured, and how unbelievably difficult it is to change the patterns that are so deep in your brain and nervous system.

November 29, 2018
I am more tired than I know how to say. I did write and send an email to the people who run Neskaya, saying that I am too tired to teach for a while.
I’m wondering if part of the tiredness, and part of the tension I feel in my body, is that I’m fighting with myself over the issue of “proving that I deserve to live.” My worry about getting ready for the deep cleaning, that I somehow had to abide by “rules,” is the old way. Trying to do everything “right” so I won’t get “sent back to Sears & Roebuck’s” versus the one who knows that Kendal will never throw me out. No matter how useless I am. No matter how many things I get wrong.

The “deep cleaning” is something that Kendal makes possible every year.
From November 28
It wasn’t as much of a big deal as I had thought.  Not much had to be moved so all my packing up and moving things was unnecessary.  I also had thought that the cleaning had to be done to their specifications instead of being entirely my choice about what was done.  How’s that for a metaphor for my life?  I do enjoy having things neater.

December 2, 2018
Noticing that I haven’t taken the calcium supplements in a while, that I’m having trouble with my feet and have to work some exercises in during the day, that I haven’t been able to do the water with a very little vinegar in it that’s supposed to help with my hiatal hernia — it feels like I could spend a lot of time & effort on keeping my body going, and why do it? At the moment, I don’t really have anything to feed my soul, since I’ve had to let go of going to Neskaya. I hate to miss Winter Solstice, it’s my favorite holiday. the most meaningful. Maybe next year. O dear that’s painful.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

I’ve been wanting to write about my mental/emotional state, hoping that if I understood it better, I could handle it with more acceptance and compassion. I feel hard and dry, possibly even a little bored. I don’t have any sense of my grief for Neskaya, but I need the company of someone who understands.

I’ve got a lot of odd music in my head. Trip the Light, American Pie, Turning Toward Morning — I know there were more…

“Trip the Light” is from Matt Dancing in 2012
American Pie” is a song written by Don McLean
Turning Toward the Morning” is a song by Gordon Bok

Unsatisfying.  That’s what my life is lately.  Don’t know: what I want, what I need, what will soften me…  Well, it’s just a bad time.  Now put your right foot forward…

“Now put your right foot forward…”  is how I kept going through severe depression.

Cup of tea.  I washed dishes while I made it (good for me!)  And I remembered to put the iodine on my hands (good for me!)  It’s true that neither of those things is an action toward world peace.  But washing dishes is an act of stewardship, and using the iodine is an action toward self-healing.

The iodine is for the tendons which are getting hard, making my third finger on my left hand unable to bend backward.  Sometimes makes it hard to type, can’t do the dog posture.

I realized what the songs are for.  The last line of American Pie is “This’ll be the day that I die.”  In Trip the Light it says “We’ll see with new eyes.”  There’s the tension between how I feel right now — that I don’t deserve to live — and my hope of disabling that belief.

I was reading Parker Palmer while I ate breakfast, and he talks about holding the tension between how things are now, and how we want them to be.  It’s the same idea as Robert Fritz’s “structural tension.”  To hold the tension between current reality and the vision.  Do not lie to yourself about what’s really going on around you and in you.  Don’t let go of the vision in spite of your discouragement.  When I’m deep in discouragement, I can recite the words of the vision: love, peace, justice, health, compassion… but I don’t believe in them.  Does that count?  Somewhere in E.G. a vicar says something like “surely the recital of the proper forms can be counted as prayer.”  I’ve been told that the intention to forgive is good enough when your heart is too hard to forgive.

Parker Palmer.  The book I am reading is “A Hidden Wholeness”
Robert Fritz

E.G. is Elizabeth Goudge, the quote is from one of the books about the Eliot family.

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