It dawns on me, after years and years of therapy, some good, some better, that not in all those years has the focus turned from what’s wrong with me to how to truly take care of myself on a moment-to-moment, radical, self-care, loving-kindness-to-myself sort of way. In fact, I think it’s one of the big pitfalls of therapy. The focus on what’s wrong, and the learning, the conditioning to see everything as the challenge that must be met or healing won’t happen, wholeness never gained. My daughter has been telling me for months that in some situations, maybe more than I realize, the healing is in the walking away. It started in the summer, when steeped in depression, I’d come out of my women’s group worse than I went in, feeling confused, beat up and bruised and in worse pain; feeling like the biggest fuck-up in the world; knowing it wasn’t working, understanding that something there was wrong; yet not trusting my intuition and knowing and going back again and again for more.
Sometimes the kindest thing to do is just be kind to oneself. This seems to be a theme for me here in the new year. And in that spirit, I’m paying closer attention, microscopic attention to how I feel when engaged in certain activities, and to the best of my ability, when there’s a choice, I will choose not to engage in any of them that don’t nurture on a real and authentic level.
More recent case in point, Facebook. Realizing a couple of weeks ago its effect on me; though subtle, it was there, this slight (and sometimes not so slight) shitty feeling I’d get about my own life when I’d log on and see all the "connections" people out there were making. And then more recently, with my photo blog, getting it that the whole “follower” thing was ripe with the opportunity to feel less than, to project “more than” onto those with bigger followings, or to feel bad if I posted a photo I really liked that didn’t get much attention.
Somewhere along the line, I don’t know exactly where, though for sure it was a long, long time ago, the external became more important than the internal. The search for identity, the yearning for approval and praise, the longing for anything that would make me feel like something became the map, the compass, the celestial star I set my direction by. If I have enough “friends,” then maybe I’m okay. If enough “followers” sign on then maybe I’m a success, and if there are enough comments, then maybe, just maybe I’m a good photographer. I know—I mean, I really do know—that these things aren’t real. I know that they mean nothing about me, yet they quietly sneak in, often when I’m just minding my own business, planting seeds of self-doubt and discontent along the way. No matter how much I’ve “worked” on it all in therapy….
It’s all about loving kindness. And tenderness. And gentleness. It’s about what nurtures, what feels good, what truly serves. In this spirit, Facebook is now history (well, for me, anyway). I will be examining my truest desire and making directional changes at Snapshots. And yeah, though months late, I did, a couple of months ago, leave the women’s group.
If it feels good, do it. Could it really be that simple? I’ll let you know…