Dear Internet,
I was gifted with a year long subscription to Headspace, a site that teaches you guided meditation in easy, bit sized chunks. In true Lisa fashion, I’m having panic attacks left and right during and after the exercises which sets off a whole slew of everything elses.
That surprised me. Aren’t you supposed to feel whole and unconflicted while doing your meditation and not a hot fucking mess? The answer is no: This is apparently a normal part of the process, as is sadness.
When I posted my experiences on Facebook, there were numerous comments from others that had similar feelings when practicing; hearing I was not alone was comforting. There are times when my own feelings seem to overrule so much of who I am, it is almost incomprehensible others may feel the same way or could fathom where these feelings themselves. Hearing related stories is helpful in addition to being comforting as it indicates no matter how much my brain tells me otherwise, I am not so alone in the world.
That is often very important bit of knowledge that I need to remember: I am not so alone in the world.
The big question Headspace asks is what do you intend to get out of the practice? I’ve been gnawing at this for the last five days as I’ve been working through my foundation pack and I realized the first thing I came up with was: I expected instant gratification and for all the emotional pain to just go away (which explains since I’m not getting instant gratification, I’m going into panic mode when I begin my session). That answer was not the direction I wanted to go in, so it helped for me to actual vocalize what and why I was thinking these thoughts so I can begin to formulate a healthier plan.
I’ve been in such an emotional free fall these last few months which has been amplified by the lack of a solid foundation that should have existed before making any big moves. I know people have got me, but I need to have myself and more often than not, I don’t.
While I find myself acting impulsively at times, mainly with money, I tend to catch myself before I’m entirely stupid. My thoughts are often racing. My verbal word retrieval, which is usually an indicator of how bad the racing thoughts are occurring, is fairly awful on most days. I often find myself attempting to panic on things that I cannot control, no matter how minute or out of my control they are or how ridiculous it would be to panic over that thing. Let’s say I need to do something in the next week. I’ll start the panic process on anything else related to that thing even if that thing is as benign on sorting items out to donate to the local Goodwill.
I have forgotten me in all of this. I have forgotten self-care.
Knowing that this feeling of panic is part of the process, that it is normal to feel this way, takes a bit of the sting out of the attack when it happens. While I’m still panicking during and after practicing, I know where the root of some of the panic comes from. I know that by bringing the focus back to the body more and less on attempting to follow my herringbone mind is totally okay and will get better with practice.
Headspace used the analogy sitting on the side of the road watching the cars go by, something I found I don’t really do at all. Often I’m so busy wanting TO BE the car I forget that I can just let the cars go by and not having to actually interact with them. Working on the meditation allows me to really see that sometimes these thoughts are really just that: thoughts and not concrete methods of decision making.
This was this week’s lesson learned: it’s okay to worry or have a panic thought, this is normal part of all the changes I’m going through. It’s okay to want to always begin with building your own foundation. Thus, for now, that’s what I want to get out of Headspace is the ability to make more mindful decisions, recognize thoughts are just thoughts, and to remind myself to be present in this world while building a solid foundation for myself as I do so.