I don’t know about you, but I can go a whole week without ever checking in.
Just about every moment of the day is spent in stimulus/response. This is not a bad thing. At work it’s important to stay on task. When I’m home I need to feed myself and clean the catbox. Also, I write and talk to the girlfriend. Plus that paying the bills thing and laundry.
By the way, how is it that as a single guy I’m running the washing machine every two days? Same with the dishwasher. What happens when I get a wife and kids? Remind me not to get a wife and kids.
The checking in I reference earlier is about getting quiet and paying attention. Turning off all the outside noise and pumping in the sweet sounds and sculpturing rhythms of D.J. You know – chick stuff. Feelings.
In my weekly therapy sessions the most uncomfortable moments are when there’s lulls in the conversation. If I spent way too much time pontificating my shrink brings me back to center. I make the transition from my head to my body, and I look at her. I do my best to stay connected. This means I need to shut up. Which means I end up staring at her. It’s super uncomfortable. I can only make it maybe ten seconds before I have to avert my eyes. I look away and start to think about what I’m going to say next.
Staring at someone in their eyes without talking is terrifying. I think it’s this idea that if I’m not entertaining someone I’m somehow disappointing them. Nonsense, of course. She encourages me to sit with the discomfort and stay present.
What I’ve learned is that most of my issues come from not trusting that my body will provide me the solutions if I just shut up and pay attention.
Example – addiction. I’ve been sober now many years, but the main reason drinking doesn’t appeal to me is because I can notice when I’m getting sad, angry, or anxious and sit with the tough feeling. In the past I just tried to escape everything. By trusting that my body can handle some sadness, I learn that escaping the pain is unnecessary.
Same with food. If I just pay attention to what my body wants I don’t overeat. If I find myself gorging on something it’s a reaction to a feeling I don’t like. Normally I don’t even know what it is until I get quiet and mindful.
So, during therapy today, I was able to make it twenty seconds in silence looking at her. And during that time my friend Darrell popped into my head. I had sort of forgotten that he is in the midst of a divorce. I mean, I know he is, but I hadn’t really thought about it in a few weeks. Then I realized it would mean a lot to him if I picked up the phone and called. I also knew that it was something I wanted. There was a longing to connect with him. This all happened within a few moments.
That was all within twenty seconds of silence. I called Darrell tonight and, just as my body had suggested, it was a good idea. We had an intimate chat and I believe he appreciated it. I know I did.
So, while I can’t sit in the lotus position and burning patchuli oil is nasty, I’m not sure I’m up for formal meditation. But maybe a few minutes here and there to check in and see what’s going on inside.
Okay, I just checked in and I felt the overwhelming desire to call you up and scream the c-word. Well, I guess I have to do it! What’s your number?