Float Down the River With Me, An Invitation
This afternoon I sat at the laundromat focusing on my breath and letting everything just be. I was aware of the heaviness in my body. I was aware of the elderly man intently watching me. I was aware of the woosh, woosh, woosh of the machines. I was aware of my breath moving in and out of my lungs. And it was all just what it was. I didn’t have to try to change it, analyze it, or relieve it. I could just let it be what it was.
I have been focusing on this theme of floating down the river. Maybe life doesn’t have to be this hard. Maybe I can start to work with life instead of against it. Maybe I can just let go and float downstream instead of using up all of my energy trying to get somewhere I’m not meant to be going anyway.
Something shifted for me today. I didn’t intend for it to happen, but today I saw myself. Like really saw myself. And today I’m not talking about the deep wounds that healing tools can lead to. Today I’m talking about something very practical: behavior.
I have a few soul connections whose true presence, unconditional love, and lack of judgement have allowed me to witness myself fully. Through being with myself and being in relationship I have been able to dig deeper to see myself more clearly. After my laundromat meditation I called one of those soul sisters and we just talked about life. I wasn’t calling my friend to vent about my feelings or to analyze myself, but as our conversation unfolded I began to realize things about my behavior.
When we allow ourselves to sit with our darkest emotions without judgement truth is revealed.
The truth is that I have behaved in ways that have hurt the people I have loved most in my life. I have also behaved in ways that have hurt people I might not have known that well. Even as someone who has been very willing to see myself for many years, I’ve been able to stay blind to the deep truth about this core issue.
What I have discovered is that there has been a part of me that has been holding onto control for a long time. I have grown tremendously over the years, but I have still been holding on.
This need for control in what can be very small circumstances has cost me so much.
It has cost me intimacy, trust, and depth. It has infused the dynamics of my relationships. And it all stems from fear.
You may be familiar with this feeling. You may suffer from anxiety and depression yourself, and the root cause of these symptoms for you might also be fear. Fear is something I have tricked myself into believing I have overcome, when in fact I’ve been unwilling to live in the gray. I haven’t fully understood the repercussions of my deepest fears until now, and I see how I have attempted to control my circumstances and my relationships in order to feel safe.
It’s not that I didn’t know these things about myself. Every time I have a profound realization about myself there is a part of me that’s saying, “Yep, sounds about right.” And it’s not that I hadn’t brushed past these qualities in myself in other conversations with friends and family and boyfriends. What makes this realization different is that I was willing to sit in the depths of it to see the ways in which I have been unconsciously acting out in my relationships.
Seeing the truth is an incredible gift. In seeing the truth we can choose what we need. I need to float down the river. I need to see it all and let go of it all. So that is what I’m doing. I’m using mindfulness as my tool for healing and growing. I am being willing to be truly present in each moment and see all of what I wasn’t willing to see before. I am being with it, noticing the sensations within my body as they arise, and then I ask myself, “What is it you’re feeling?” And I give myself so much love and compassion through the emotions.
Instead of judging myself, shaming myself, and guilt tripping myself I am choosing to honor myself.
The incredible thing is that when you choose love, the pain, the anger, and the anxiety begin to dissolve. And then a few minutes later they might pop back in, but again I choose love. I choose compassion. And when I do, those dark feelings begin to fade.
When we see our flaws, the ways we have hurt people, and the ways we have hurt ourselves, we can still choose to give ourselves love. This is the pivotal moment in our lives. So many of us take this moment and we choose to condemn ourselves. Instead, try choosing love. Try being with all of yourself in each moment (or as many moments as you can) and asking yourself what is coming up for you. Choosing fear means you act compulsively. Instead, go slowly, be gentle, and be willing to be with it instead of acting from it.
I don’t get to have regrets because I know deeply that every single moment built upon itself to bring me here and allow me to see the truth. Now I know myself even better than I ever did before, and now I have the freedom to change. I get the beautiful privilege of growing into a more sensitive person, a more loving person, and a freer person.
This is your invitation. Come float down the river with me.