Struggle between Old Ways and New

Wednesday, February 21

Feeling really sick.  Sore throat and very tired.  It felt OK to lie in bed this morning.  It may be that Erica saying I’m beyond the end of my resources gave me permission to collapse.

Session with Erica was painful and difficult.  My old way of doing things, failing to take care of myself etc., is really fighting back against the new way that I’m trying to learn.  I realize that I’ve been hating myself — not in the active sense where it feels like hate.  But in the passive way of taking care of myself so I can keep going, instead of really letting myself rest.  It’s a tightness around my heart, anger that I can’t do this better.  Just knowing is not good enough, I have to change my behavior.  I have to change myself and the old ways are so easy, automatic, feel “right.”  A battle to the death?  No.  I feel a wave of compassion for that Jenny who is having such a hard time.  She’s a good person, and she wants what’s best for everyone, and her dysfunctional behaviors were learned in a hard school.  Those behaviors really only hurt her, not anyone else.

Meditation with the group was good.  I tried to meditate by myself in the morning, but my mind was leaping all over the place.  I kept worrying about the practical stuff.  I also did a lot of puzzles.  That works the best at quieting my mind.  Actually, I realize, I am in the present when I’m working with color and shape.  Erica said something about “little tiny practices many times a day.”  My practice is really to be in the present, and I do do that many times a day.

Reading the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, I see that I actually do many of the things they talk about.  “Sympathetic joy.” Active anger in support of justice.  Refusing to hurt someone who has hurt me.  Though I think that’s as much about my default of freeze as it is about conscious choice.

“Sympathetic joy” is being able to feel good about someone else’s happiness.  I have been offered a lot of that lately, people who are so happy for me, that I have found the right place.  I’m always surprised.  I expect the sort of put down I always got from mother.

“Refusing to hurt someone who has hurt me.”  I notice how quickly I make it be my instinct, not my choice.  Instinct may aid my choice by giving me a pause, but I knew I never wanted to hurt anyone because I had already been hurt so much.  I always sided with the underdog.  My fantasies were never of revenge, but about having them see me as a valuable person, or having them understand how bad they hurt me.

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