In group this week we got introduced to finding and/or meeting our inner Compassionate Self, who are signified by acceptance and kindness, non-judgment, stability and strength, warmth and wisdom. Or in other words, to find that inner archetype, open communication with that higher inner Self.
We we’re given home work to read every day for a week. I managed two times. This exercise is as hard for me as the Safe Space meditations.
Today I went back to it, putting on my bedroom wall, where seeing will become reading. So I can approach it slowly over time, instead of not doing it, because it gives a PTSD inducing, trauma connected reaction.
I also stole myself a few minutes alone, so I could talk about an insight around the reason for getting panicky when meditating, or drop down tiered after yoga. (More about that in a coming post.) It goes against open honesty within the therapy group, but since several of the participants have shown the reaction I know so well, I thought it better not to upset the pot.
I’ve mentioned journaling combined with meditation before, and as of last week I have a Meditation Journal. So far it contains some Compassion Focused Therapy theory, notes from a meditation podcast, some meditation tools, meditation inspired poetry, and most importantly I note how my practice is going, how it affects me, thoughts and insights.
I’ve kept meditating 2-3 times a day, so most mornings, a walk during the day, and going to bed at night. The last one especially have helped me. I no longer toss and turn for hours, or need to resort to sleep medication, which leaves you muddled the next day.
Once again time for my favorite picture prompt – The Sunday Muse. I look forward to each Saturday when I get to see this weeks inspiration. More then once has the picture taken my muse to new heights, as in “After the Rain”. This poem is a companion both to that one and to “Raven Key”.
This week has been spent in wondering how much to worry about pandemic, and in some state of emotionally drained after now three weeks of intense meditation and compassion focused therapy.
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.
Another piece inspired by my meditation. It haven’t escaped my attention that several of my last pieces revolve around the same theme. (That’s why I’ve given them the same image.) I have no intentions in getting caught in a loop, but there is something that wants to be told, and apparently I’m not all the way there yet.
Ever felt the need to go deep To soul-wisdom seek Peel away personas, distractions, searching, fear Find way to hear Courage to all parts of yourself meet What will you feel Who will you be After layers, peel by peel True inner self reveal
Once again I’m sleepless in Stockholm. So I gave up on tossing and turning to see what I could do with peel. And ended up with a take on “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Meaning a fair warning for those that consider going into deeper meditation. It can – temporarily – feel like hell, but there’s hope and love in the other end.
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.
Once again this photo prompt is eerie in its synchronicity. The other day I listened to a podcast that mentioned a book I haven’t thought of in years. Tried to find it, to no avail. Then this photo, that touches upon the book, my thoughts, my insights… Everything swirling around right now, due to my intense meditation schedule. So I searched for the book again. Without finding it. Tomorrow I’ll head to the attic to search some more…
Once I couldn’t breathe. Lungs felt constricted, small. Deep breaths weren’t possible. With shallow breath, came fear, panic. It could strike anytime, anywhere. Panic-attacks really can feel like dying. You can’t breathe, heart beats painfully, reality narrows down to a gauntlet of worst nightmares.
I became obsessed with avoiding. Perpetually on my watch, fearful of anything that awoke the panic. Eventually I became a nervous wreck, who couldn’t face public commuting, certain neighborhoods or going to my childhood small-town. Life dwindled.
One day, a wise woman, asked how my breath was. First the question made little sense, but eventually I realized I didn’t breathe deep, with my stomach. The way I learned as a singer. Retraining, I discovered a connection with true-self, a path to less stress. Possibility of self-love. My voice.
There are moments between heart-beats. Between breaths. Wherein lies lifes true meaning.
I’m back to turning my life into prose or poetry. Here in just 144 words, I try to tell how full fledged anxiety and/or PTSD induced panic-attacks feel, what they do to you, and what I found to help me.
This is also much on my mind since I’m back to doing breath-exercises. It seems I have more to learn in this area too. Especially relating to breathing, meditating and self-compassion.