I have been off the grid. In doing so I become acutely aware of how I relied on technology to distract myself from my own thoughts and noise in my head. A bad thought or feeling and I would reach for a I-something and distract myself.
I let myself do nothing, think nothing after a restless sleep. Just listening to the white quiet in my room. The distant police cars and church bells, hotel room doors slamming.
I did this as I knew I had work to do. The Work. A concept the lady I see after losing mum, introduced me to. We have done Byron Katie’s ‘work’ on a few situations in our sessions to help me work through issues or mental blocks. But we did in concept and briefly, with my homework to go away and spend time really being with the questions and answers, being truthful, no matter what.
But I never had the time. It wasn’t ‘urgent’.. Albeit important, it didn’t feature on any list – not the boys list, james’ list, house list, social list, work list or job list. It never got done.
So here I am, with a mountain of ‘stuff’, un-dealt with… So historical issues, some little, some enormous, current problems or situations, have all mounded up over time. Some maybe have been chipped away a little, but never really gone or just hidden under the pile of new ‘stuff’…
And me, in the middle of this mountain, continually climbing on a moving target to stay at the top, able to breathe. I have an image in my mind – i am in a sand timer. The sand, the little daily issues, flowing through a funnel from above, infinite quantities of sand and me, consistently striving to stay on top, stay alive, stay positive, upbeat, able to breathe out of the way of the sand.
Yesterday, the time bomb went off. An explosion deep in the mountain and everything including me came tumbling down. I don’t know which grain of sand or Boulder ‘went off’. Or if it was one little spark that then started a chain reaction to create a devastating blow.
Yesterday and this morning, I just lay at the bottom of the rubble looking at the work I had to do to clear out a way to get back on top.
At lunch time, I got to work.
The Work is a series of 6 questions and then a further 4 to dig into and investigate further. And a final declaration.
The first question to ascertain was – who was I angry at? Sad with? Frustrated by? Disappointed with?
There was a long list.
But the one at the top was me.
I answered all the questions, in handwritten notes over many sheets of a4, the back of letters found in the car.
Question 5 was interesting. ‘What do you think of them (me) in this situation. Make a list. Remember to be petty and judgemental’. When returning to the answer to go through the investigation to answer the question ‘how do you react when you believe that thought?’.. My answer written down says ‘I feel awful. I wouldn’t say that to my best friend, even if it were true. It is so mean that I want to shrivel up and die…. If I believed the thought I would treat that person I am describing like dirt, ignore them, hate them, think they were cheap, worthless, pointless, pathetic and a waste of space’.
So that’s how I have been believing myself to be and therefore treating myself. Seeing it written down is pretty powerful.
Awareness is the first step to recovery…. First step taken.
The Work asks for each thought you write – ‘who would you be without that thought’. Who would I be? If I could banish those thoughts from my head and associated feelings from my heart? Me. Just me… Ali. A mum, a daughter, a wife, a business owner, a volunteer… If I were a corpse, a million labels hanging around my big toe ..
So if I am not a corpse, what am I? A zillion particles of energy, collected together in one being, on a big rock, hurtling through the Galaxy.. If I am that insignificant in such infinite space, the thought is nothing. It makes my head hurt trying to work that out…
I move on…
The final question asks ‘what is it about this situation that you don’t ever want to experience again’. The answer simply that I don’t ever want to feel like I need to run away again.
It then asks you to turn that around and say ‘I am willing to… Or I am looking forward to..’
I am willing to let go. Of everything… thoughts, fears, grief, emotions, hate, frustration…