Conscious Conversations: Short stories and other musings.
I had become obsessed and hyper focused on a creative project. I could only focus on this one thing and other things were getting a little lost. At least it felt like it. I couldn’t do anything else until I figured this out. I realized I was stuck and having trouble taking a break. I realized I was caught in the grip of some strange yet familiar pressure telling me, “Figure it all out now. Take care of it all now.” Then this conversation ensued.
Small Self: I hate myself right now. Why do things that seem so simple to others feel so damn hard and overwhelming for me? Why do I have to struggle so much about things that really aren’t urgent at all? Why do those things feel so urgent and create this terrible anxiety? Why can’t I change this when the issue is so clear to me and has been for so long? I hate feeling this way. I don’t know how to fix it.
Big Self: Julie…show this side of you more especially with your close friends.
Small Self: What!! Are you crazy? Wait, that actually gives me a little relief. I could feel myself breathe more deeply. It also terrifies me. I do feel relieved though in my body. I feel like I need to write this down.
Big Self: Wait, Julie. Stay here. It is not about fixing. It is not about telling the world things. It is not always about helping others. It is not always about what would make a good blog. Sometimes it is about YOU, Julie, despite what you have learned about sacrifice and helping. It is about your presence to you. It is about giving yourself the same compassion you give when you know someone is struggling. It is about the struggle and sitting in it rather than struggling with struggle or resisting struggle. It is about what you need right now in this very moment. It is about you feeling this relief and terror at the same time and holding the paradox. It is about you having this experience and simply being in it and letting it breathe…letting you breathe. Let yourself feel the relief and terror and wait. It is for you. It isn’t for others. You don’t have to run and leave yourself so quickly. You don’t have to give yourself away. There is wisdom in this, but it requires you staying here for you first otherwise you will always be running. Give yourself some space and tenderness. The anxiety is awful to feel, and it can also carry important information.
Small Self: I know, but it can creep up and snatch me and make me forget. I forget myself. I forget that it (the anxiety) is often the thing notifying me that I need tenderness. I forget because I am too busy struggling against it or buying its lies.
Big Self: That is certainly understandable.
Small Self: It consumes me and pounds away at me until I realize what is happening and can create a separation. At first I feel like it is trying to convince me I have to get in the race NOW. I have to hurry up and share my writing. I have to prove i know things… that I am worthy, worthwhile and relevant.
Big Self: My dear, you are those things already whether you ever write another word, see another client, give another speech or teach another class in your life or not. If you write because it gives you life, then by all means write. If you are writing to hurry up and put something out there or solely to help others you are building a house on sand that so easily gets blown over by every little wind. Write because of what it does for you. If it ends up helping others then fine, and if it doesn’t that is fine too. Pay attention to what energizes you. Do what brings you life. Helping others hasn’t always brought you life. It has exhausted you at times, because you were more aware of the needs of others than your very own. Be in your own space. Be with you and let this learning take root a bit longer and a bit stronger. There will be time for the rest. You know how to engage with anxiety and create a space of tenderness. So, remember, dear Julie. Remember you.