Last month I wrote Quietly Contemplating Continuation, trying to put words on the thought swirling in my mind. I had just signed up for the ekphrastic challenge – meaning interpreting art through poetry. It sounded like a fun colour splash in the dark of winter. I also thought it could teach me something.
It changed my process in regards to writing inspired by art. How I approach and look at each piece, taking notes, then let my impressions stew for a bit. For some reason it also made me stretch myself into using more complex forms I’ve previously struggled to accomplish.
This year, only the weather is as it use to be. So instead of a big fire, a walk in the twilight woods, listening to birds singing.
Content in the knowledge that I managed to achieve a goal, even if depression still rules my life. I’ve written 30 poems in 30 days during GloPoWriMo. Even though I published a bit less other pieces I’ve still managed to write way more this month than I have before.
Going forward I will set up time to rest and not write unless inspiration strikes, but will keep pushing myself to write something all other days, to keep chipping away at those ten thousand hours you need.
I see no way the world can just resume as it was, and anyhow my world where already going trough seismic changes, so I’m grateful for this push to restart positively with a months writing challenge, building my confidence, that maybe I can do this. Instead of sinking deep in all the misery around.
Midwinter, new years, without winter, the dark felt endless. Winter solstice, seasonal introspection, renewed will, intent to change. Birch Moon, lights return, energies thaw, chance to learn, to grow. Realisation dawns, emotions poured out on page, stay there, take hold, are felt by others. Lonely, yet cared for. Nearly friendless, yet surrounded by love and empathy.
February. Coldest month of year – warmest ever. If the snow hasn’t fallen now – spare us a late March one. Quickening Moon, first glimpses of spring to come. Know beating depression requires change. Self-faith. No reading have ever gotten me there. Can a compassionate conscious breath be the answer?
Writing now a habit, daily practice, to pour onto paper. Turn life, love, thoughts, ideas, to poetry, or lately, maybe even fictionalized scenes here or there. And all you who read this, have help a seed germinate. Slowly belief – I have a special way with words – are taking root.
The group this week didn’t lead anywhere new, except a clear understanding that most people can find a safe space with a little guidance, just as many people in their core know themselves worthy of love. Both things that’s foreign to me, the first I know I’ll find again. But the second I now know, where never taught to me att all. Both also seems to confound the the groups leders, a psychologist and a specialized nursed. Something I’m used to by now, it happens frequently with Swedish mental health care professionals. They just don’t know what to do with me…
My own work – meditation wise – have on the other hand lead to insights, new knowledge, an ah-moment or two. Once I even laughed out loud, because of the ways I have treated myself.
I’ve kept meditating at least 3 times a day. And challenged myself to find any little spot. On the commute, while walking somewhere, while waiting. This I found, also made me practice self-compassion on a very low, easily attainable level. Even I, can’t berate myself for losing concentration when the tube gets filled with loud kids, babies crying, barking dogs, etc.
While I do push myself, I try to do so compassionately. Meaning I accept “bad sessions”, try to not assign value, tell myself building a new habit and getting well is the goal, not achieving anything special.
I’ve also learned a some important things, and found a few false believes I held about meditating – taught to me by someone who didn’t know better I guess.
Meditation is a process you can learn and train yourself in.
Highly beneficial, and generally leading to a “happier” life, dosen’t mean it’s easy, comfortable, fun or a quick fix. It requires work! Meaning you’ll learn to accept, respect and love yourself, thereby attaining bliss – after you have worked, thought and felt trough everything within yourself.
Meditation starts with conscious breaths.
The mind won’t be quiet, it will trow up thoughts and feelings constantly. That dosen’t mean you’re doing it wrong, it just means you have to learn to catch yourself and take yourself back to just focusing on your breath. This is one of the misconceptions I had, that since my mind didn’t quiet I where doing something wrong.
For many journaling goes hand in hand with meditation and mindfulness practices.
Meditation leads to and train you in mindfulness, but they are separate things.
In one podcast I heard a claim that scientists have found that they can measure positive effects in the brain after 12 minutes of meditation. I don’t have a source, but after two weeks I can feel a definite difference between doing it for five minutes compared to fifteen, so it wouldn’t surprise me.
This week I’ve tried safe-space meditations again, to no avail. I still can’t get there. But I have started to being able to feel comfortable within the meditative mindset, trough guided self-love and self-worth meditations, added before the last relaxing sleep meditation.
And two nights ago I had a breakthrough. First I really felt a shift in consciousness. Then a mantra of;
I love you – I accept you – I respect you – I love you
Shattered me into every little piece that didn’t get the love she needed, then slowly melded with my breath and intention until I actually felt myself both meaning what I said and receiving it, feeling that the voice meant all of me.
As I slowly came back, I brought with me a feeling of contentment. Of resting safe with myself for the first time in ages. Without needing another human to help me get there. I also knew, I had to tell someone, who gives only positivity, the reason I’m so uncommunicative, is my fear of getting rejected and loosing another friend. So I wrote something to get a conversation started.
After falling asleep, for the first time, since I saw you Without a profoundly deep, black hole of loneliness I am ready to confess How much your encouragement matter to me That in fact, it’s nearly the only outer positivity my life contain So I’m terrified to lose it if I confess my need Afraid to talk to you, should you notice
So I’ve spent a week perhaps more mindful then ever before, I’ve learned and experienced new things. I dared to open up to someone, I wished it been in person, but my few friends are far flung. It’s not necessarily been easy, or without strong emotion, and I wish I had a teacher. I’m confident this could be good for me, maybe even change my life completely. But I won’t know that for a few years at least.
I see others sharing their life, journey and truth so open and honestly. You all stand as my inspiration to dare to do the same.
It would be utter joy and gratitude if my sharing helps anyone, in any way. Just as I’ve been helped by others writing.
And if not. Then it wasn’t meant to. And that’s ok too.
My way, may not be your way. We vary in a myriad ways. Each unique. Yet sharing the human condition.
So this second week of compassion focused therapy, we where encouraged to deepen our breath-work, thereby intensifying the meditation. And start doing – Safe Space – meditation exercises.
As I’ve mentioned before, meditation has always been rough for me. That happens when you ignore yourself and all your needs until past breaking point. Because quieting a busy mind and opening up, inevitably means that everything you ever refused to acknowledge will come rushing out.
So it took me years to be comfortable with even light meditation. I did breath-work because it help me stave of panic attacks. And I made myself comfortable with very calm walking meditations, never going deeper than a nice quite mind wherein I could distract myself with whatever.
Somewhere along the last handful years I’ve lost even these moments. Telling myself I would get back to better habits as soon as life permitted. Instead of owning up to the fact that I had once again involved myself with one who where supposed to love and care for me, who didn’t, wouldn’t or couldn’t. Who didn’t flinch at trampling me down if it kept them up. Who gladly helped me fall out of healthy mental and physical habits. Who knowingly gas-lighted me, until once again I started doubting my sanity.
And let me tell you – that’s a really shitty thing to do!
I’m not even surprised that this journey is in synchronicity with this new moon, her signs and symbols. Of course enough things have to coalesce to give me that start spark. Or kick in the behind.
Been meditated first thing each morning, once or twice during each day, and a longer session before sleep each night.
I’ve been going with mostly guided meditation so far. It helps me find my way back easier, helps regulate the breathing, and actually helps me to remember to not get stuck in any thought. When I look for guided meditations I search for those that suit me, you can’t relax with a for you grating voice. While also being mindful of letting fear steer my choices. Meaning, not shying away from that which feels difficult.
And boy! Do I find the safe space meditations difficult!
I know I’ve touched on having lost the feeling of safety in at least one poem. But I hadn’t realized how deep that went. Hadn’t understood that part of my sorrow depends on loss of the only inner safety I’ve ever had, one I fought tooth and claw to acquire.
So this week I’ve been crying. Rivers and floods. Whenever I try for that safe sacred space, tears start to fall. And I often find myself shaking my head. No, I don’t feel safe. No, I can’t visualize myself safe. No, not even a place that would be safe. However many times I try, the old inner safe place is in total ruin. I have no access anymore, it’s like I’m looking at reproduction in a display cabinet in a museum. I’m sure I’ll be able to build another in time. Either upon the ruins of the old or in a totally new space. But for now I seem tethered to the old ruins, until I can find out what keeps me chained.
Besides all the tears and sorrow, I’ve found all this meditation to work positively. My days feels less bleak, my inspiration seems to rise with a calmer mind, my nights are slightly less haunted.
This weeks eartweal prompt had to do with finding hope. And even though my mind keeps spinning around the subject in all its forms, nothing coalesce and really takes shape. More work required obviously, not only on the poetry, but on my inner ability to feel hope.
To distract myself I searched for hope in my previous poetry and found some insights. Hope is a recurring theme of mine, I’ve even written a hopeful mantra. And judging by the comments others find hope in my pieces.
If I’m honest, some days I feel in desperate need of the smallest spark of hope, so I put hope in my poetry precisely because that is one of the things I seek.
By now, I’m meditating and doing breath-work on a level I never have before. It’s rough, as meditation have always been for me. I’ve cried rivers every day. And one thing have become abundantly clear. The old inner safe place I actually once had is in total ruin. I have no access anymore, it’s like I’m looking at reproduction in a display cabinet in a museum.
November felt like a marathon in grey. Slogging along to survive this dark depression. Waking every day to crushing anxiety. Grateful to have dance to give some joy. Thankful for starting to find my voice as a writer.