I’m reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, and as usual his message resonates with me. My mental and emotional state is in turmoil right now. Maybe it’s a bipolar episode, or a seasonal thing. When I become stressed like this, it used to freak me out. Now I give myself the time and space to heal and rest.
There’s a cycle that takes place. Expectations create pressure to act. Action leads to judgment. Judgment results in emotional states. Emotions are held up to expectations. More expectations are created, so on and so forth.
My mind gets tied up in knots. The more I think, the tighter the knots get. I panic, feel desperate, anxiety kicks in. This low lying panic is a usual thing for me. I’m mostly in a state of fight or flight. It wears me out.
I feel stretched thin and brittle. The sense of who I am is fragmented. This is my ego; my thoughts about myself. This isn’t the average person’s ego.
It used to freak me out when I realized I was “different”. After reading Eckhart Tolle, I realized most of the stress came from the labels we put on our experience. He talks about how we’ve become possessed by our thoughts, which is how I feel when I’m caught up in a bipolar episode.
In the middle of an emotional storm, what I do is consciously breathe. I notice my emotional state fluctuating. My emotions have a rhythm like my breathing. Anxiety feels like lightning. Although we tend to focus on each one individually, there is both pain and pleasure. Where there’s pain, there’s also an end to that pain. Pain and pleasure has a pattern. I notice my senses; sight, smell, sound, touch, taste. I feel the energy within me. Not anxiety, depression, thoughts, or emotions. Energy. This is what it’s like to be alive. I am alive. This is life. This is energy. This is creativity at work and play. No labels or words are needed.
Think of what I wrote as a kind of mindfulness meditation you can do when you feel overwhelmed.
I don’t look at what I’m going through as some sort of affliction. Painful, yes, but there’s also pleasure. There are people who have it “worse” than me, but I don’t prefer to think about it that way. Rather, I see it as my purpose to express myself fully in whatever situation I’m in. That means I’m true to myself and this moment. There’s no better or worse. There’s only each of us doing our best to make things better.
Thanks for reading, and remember to make today a better day!
image credits: Storm clouds over James Island, La Push