Getting in My Own Way

Sometimes I have plans to sit quietly at home in the evening and enjoy a meal without television, internet or a book.  I usually am completely unsuccessful in these attempts.  At one point I thought I was avoiding the loneliness of eating alone again, and maybe that was a small part of it, but there’s more to it.  I have a hard time sitting still.

As I begin to study more about spirituality (in tremendous contrast to religion) I find that I avoid, run from, am maybe even a little afraid of that which I seek after the most.  I want to connect to that which is bigger than I.  I want to know my own soul and hear its truth and its direction.  I want answers I know I already possess, but I’m afraid to sit and listen.  I am afraid to be still and know that I am God.  (Typing that last sentence freaked me out because, as a partial quote from the Bible, my use of it will surely be interpreted as blasphemous by many. )  But it’s true– the thought of sitting and contemplating my power and my connection to everything, the thought of quieting my thoughts to find what exists beyond them entices and scares me at the same time.

I don’t feel trepidation or anything.  I’m not shaking in my boots when I think about meditating or praying or just being still and quiet – but I avoid it.  Even this weekend, as quiet and peaceful as it was, I had my books.  My mind had to remain constantly engaged.  You may have read the list in the previous post.  I am addicted.  I thirst for knowledge and am addicted to ideas.  I am beginning to realize that my addiction to ideas is impeding true knowledge—the knowledge that only comes from going within.  I sound like some freaky mystic, but I know that what I say is true.  I am avoiding myself.  I’m afraid that I am more than I ever could have imagined and I’m not sure how I’ll handle that knowledge.

I want to hear from folks who have taken the journey within.  Share your stories with me.  How did you get past the fear of the silence?  How did you force yourself to be still?  Is it incremental?  A daily practice?  A month long retreat?  Please share.

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From My Journal…

I decided to go back and start reading my old journals. I picked up the first one I got to and this is the first entry. I thought I’d share it. It’s nice to see that I have evolved. Sure many of the things I address here are still works in progress, but I am not the same person entirely who wrote these words. Here’s a peek in to my most intimate world, my journal…

13 April 2006

Today and all this week I have been struggling against an anxiety I’m not sure I can explain. I’m not exactly certain what it is connected to — but I know I have avoided this process– my process–journaling–for working these things out.

On the pages of my journals I am forced to see myself — to hear myself in a way that has proven far superior to the muffled meandering thoughts clamoring about inside of me. Getting them out of me helps — and has helped — yet, I’ve avoided it. I’ve been afraid to see.

Part of it is self-censorship. I am afraid of my journals being subpoenaed by ******’s attorney potentially should we ever seem to make it to court. This fear has held me captive. I’ve been blogging a few thoughts — but on my blog I write for an audience. My journal is for an audience of one –and often I have an invited guest with whom I share my thoughts upon these pages. I’m feeling like I’m doing something detrimental to myself by censoring what has proven so therapeutic and what has gotten me to this point in my healing and personal growth.

Yesterday I had unquestionably one of the best days I’ve had in a long time. The sun was shining. I was in a great mood. I had even decided to lay aside some of my cynicism concerning marriage — realizing that it has never protected me before and it won’t protect me now (from going back) or in the future (from making the same miserable mistake of marrying a jerk). I was at least open again to the possibility (no matter how remote) that perhaps, one day I might marry again. I felt good. It was a good day.

Today started out well, I went to a WOCN meeting and in a room of 6 black women I felt somewhat insignificant and fat. They were both horrible feelings. I felt like I didn’t measure up somehow, like the world didn’t love me and yet, I sat in it. I noticed that I didn’t become chatty and try to prove myself or overpower the conversation. I contributed at times and asked more questions than anything. It was different for me.

I felt like I usually do around black women — like my hair was wrong, my clothes were wrong, my stance on certain issues was wrong. I felt like I was on the fringes, like I didn’t fit. It was a familiar feeling.

And yet, on the way home I was – or back to work, rather — I was listening to Michael Baisden’s show about Stolen Innocence: Rape and Molestation. I listened to 2 stores of child sexual abuse from black women and connected deeply. I knew their story and their pain. I fit. I fit too much. It ached and I didn’t want to listen anymore.

I’m tired of being able to connect with women because of my pain. I hate that being a victim of child sexual abuse is what I most often feel I have in common with other black women. This hurts — I didn’t know this is what I’d be writing about.

I feel like my interests are not always appreciated or understood and like I just don’t fit. What DOES it mean to be a black woman in 2006 and is that even how I want or need to be identified?

What is this I’m going through with my hair? Do I really want to be natural or do I just think I should want to be? I never realized how confused I was about my identity as a black woman —

–and then, I shouldn’t be surprised when I’m in the process of trying to unearth identity from beneath the rubble of victimization.

I feel the limbo. I feel the tension, the longing, waiting to see who shall emerge from these ashes.

I long for eyes to see — even if only in small glimpse — who I am, what makes me unique. I’d love to know what others see — not to puff me up. I don’t want to be lied to anymore. I want to know what/who people see when they see me. I long to know my NAME!!!

I went to an interpreting class today and I didn’t get a chance to interpret. I was disappointed. I wanted to be seen. I wanted the affirmation. That’s probably not good. Or is it? I don’t know.

I got an email from ***** today that said just that he was in a meeting and thinking about me. I felt like a million bucks. Is there a day and a time when we are completely convinced of our worth? Does our level of persuasion increase with time?

I believe some good things about myself and that some of the things others have said are true –but I wonder about me sometimes. Things like — why do I read my blog posts over and over again? I am enamored, it seems, of my own voice. Is that narcissistic or am I relishing in the novelty of hearing my own voice? I like to hear my voice in my writing. It somehow makes me seem more real to myself. I become somehow when I hear my own words, my own voice.

I guess in many ways I have been voiceless for a long time. I was without a voice with regard to what I wanted out of life — where my life was going. In my marriage I was doing what ****** wanted — i.e., the church. I would have packed that shit up a long time ago. I was there. I spoke. I believe echoes of my voice came through as I spoke, but I felt stifled — confined. I couldn’t really say what was screaming in my soul. Now I can and I’ve been quite reckless at times, I think. I’ve been really angry — but I’m glad about that. No one really let me be angry about my marriage. God! I kept so much inside. It’s a wonder I’m not ill.

I had not my own voice — but an expected voice in the family. I had a role I was supposed to play and a script to go with it. I was supposed to be obnoxious and cynical to make people laugh. I was supposed to pretend to say what everyone else was thinking — only what we were pretending to think. What a farce. To even feign the unspoken. Wow, truth doubly suppressed.

It’s my new instrument, my voice. I’m enjoying playing with it, tuning it, seeing all it can do. I’m enjoying the feedback. It’s been good for me. Healing. Refreshing.

I like having people respond to me — to Lexi, as she is, where she is at the moment. I want courage to be even freer and not to hold back and self edit as much as I do. I want to say what I really want to say much more often than I have.

I feel the tension leaving my body with every stroke of my pen. I am relaxing. I’m less anxious. I’m writing. It’s healing –it’s me. I’ve never thought of myself as a writer. I guess I never thought I was any good. But which matters most? To be good or to be heard?

Why does it matter that I’m not the best writer ever? I just want my voice to be heard. I don’t need to be the best writer, I am the best instrument to sound my song. No one can play my tune but me. I have a song, it’s mine. It’s mine to sing.

This may prove to be quite a worthwhile exercise after all.