I have a problem, a habit that fueling resentments, bringing me done, depleting my joy and gratitude and stirring up anxiety and toxic thoughts.
Without really realizing it, I get caught in these looping negative fantasies where I play out scenes over and over practicing how I might react, of course with me saying and doing the exact right thing. The latest one has been about my boss telling me I must do some unethical thing and me refusing and quitting on the spot. Week 2 of school and I am having resignation fantasies.
Last night, when a I was trying to fall asleep I got caught in the loop, over and over playing the details, different outcomes. The thoughts agitated me, energized me and created feelings of self righteousness and scorn towards a person over something that hasn’t happened.
It’s not helpful, it’s addictive, and feels empowering at the time. I do not have good strategies yet to break the patterning. I can stop myself and try to move on, and before I know it, I’m on repeat again.
I have tried to bring my looping thoughts with people previously, basically looking for a “me too! I hate it when that happens.” And I didn’t get that, the people that I asked didn’t seem to know what I was talking about. Or in denial that they have some obsessive thinking themselves. It can’t be just an addict’s mind trick, can it?
i will use recognizing and redirecting with breath work today to see if I can some success in controlling this destructive habit.
I’m working out how to go from “hmmm interesting and so true” to actual practice with the insights that I continue to learn.
As I have intellectualized, at the root of all the “whys” of my drinking, insecurities, resentments, blaming. ALL of it stems from shame. Shame simply defined as believing I’m not worthy of [fill in the blank]. I now have a target: my shame.
So what can I do about it? I need some actions steps for deliberate practice in identifying when I’m feeling shame and reacting to it in unhealthy and unproductive ways. If I can identify my shame cycles as they are happening, I can start peel back the armoring and lashing out I do to protect myself from the perceived attack. Maybe get to the point of separating myself enough from it to say, “that’s the shame talking, and I don’t listen to her anymore.”
When I first stopped drinking my addition would talk to me and it was so helpful to see it as a separate voice in my head that I didn’t need to believe anymore.
I’m taking on shame.
It's August 11 and this reading from August 1st has on my mind but not processed through written reflection, which I know helps more than anything to help me sort myself. This reading was a kicker when I read it, another reminder from the cosmos to be gentle with my own unfolding. I was just thinking again about how with all the podcasting I'm doing, reading, yoga and not drinking and the steps and the, and the, and the... I should be further along the path of figuring it all out to have a good life. But I've been mean to myself when I'm triggered by the same sort of situations that always trigger me at work. Hard on myself when I am up against my limits in yoga. Down right nasty in my thoughts toward others in protection of my fragile ego and self-worth.
Yet, this is where I am in my unfolding. And the lessons will continue fall before me to examine and crack me open a bit more with each try.
I went jogging this morning, the first jog in the early morning of the new school year. I’m out on the street by 5:20am, it’s still mostly dark and it’s still the same night for some people I encounter.
This is morning I saw two separate really drunk people. It was just starting to rain and a woman was sitting on the sidewalk in all white resisting, with weak and halted slaps, the help of her boyfriend to get her standing up. Another was a guy on the walking path laying propped up on one elbow holding a water bottle and a puddle of something in front of him while his friends stood smoking in a half circle around him.
I don’t ever ever have to be in their shoes again. Instead I get to be in my running shoes, in a light sun-tropical rain starting my morning off right. Thank you. Thank you.
My morning routine includes listening to a meditation talk by Tara Brach when I walk the dogs. She gives me daily doses of wisdom about how to stay present in my life, to temper back the fear and anxiety and search for joy.
Her latest talk had some powerful take aways for where I am at. Largely that we live with so much FOMO (fear of missing out) that we rush around and ultimately miss out on our lives. I try to catch and change my thinking when I want to rush the school year to get to summer or finish dinner so I can get my pajamas on and wrap up the day.
Learning to enjoy the process, savoring my moments right now, moving more slowly and bowing in gratitude for all I have and experience is how I can live a longer and fuller life.
This is is what I will practice today.
I used to drink with the best of them, but I don't anymore. My life is so much better for it.
-Drinking: A Love Story by Caroline Knapp