That post from last week — about old selves — received an alarming number of responses. On the blog and off. And they were all mostly of concern for my well-being and state of mind. But I have to say — that wasn’t a post that came from a place of sadness or dejection.
The responses got me to thinking about what it is we deem as “sad” and what makes us so uncomfortable. Conversely, what is it about difficult, unsavoury emotions invoking the default response of avoidance, that makes us meet vulnerability with the default response of sympathy?
I’ve been writing about my state of mind and this journey of personal work I’ve been on for a few years now, and yet I have never received an outpouring of concern like I did for this post. I’m also not grudging the sympathy, the good wishes and concern I received. I’m touched and deeply appreciative. I’m just intrigued by the sequence of events.
Here’s the truth: I’ve had a contemplative few weeks since resuming therapy, with way too many thoughts than necessary, frankly. This is a natural outcome of any sort of reflective work, if done with a basic degree of honesty, willingness and allowance. And it is not an easy journey to be on because it throws up a lot of discomfiting, unpleasant, unexpected truths that reside within us. But that is precisely the purpose of therapy — to push oneself to face exactly that which we are unwilling to see in our daily lives. To go to the most uncomfortable places in our minds and see what it feels like.
So, it’s been mighty difficult, in that sense. It has been overwhelming, emotional and I’ve cried more this past month than I have all year.
And yet, that wasn’t a sad post. It came from a place of deep, internal (not merely cognitive) recognition and resonance with an underlying grief within me. Grief of not having fully processed emotions and reactions to events in my life. Grief from years of accumulated holding back. Grief of situations that have occurred as much as of grief of impending loss as a crucial and integral part of the process of evolution. Grief of having to let go of so much — so much that is comforting, comfortable, familiar to me — in order to move into a life of new possibilities. Grief of simultaneously knowing what I want to leave behind, and also being shit scared to find a new version of myself.
I’ve been welcoming the overwhelming feelings with joy and celebration, because I know without a shadow of doubt now, that to live in constant avoidance of difficult emotions and in the pursuit of happiness alone is to tread on thin ice.
So I consider that post a major milestone. If my heart is my home, this is me opening the door and letting the light in.
Despite Because of the overwhelming feelings, I had a really good week. And tomorrow I’ll write about all that made it memorable.