When my friend started giving me books about Buddhism, I became irritated. Building on past experience, I knew that there was something there for me to learn. The stronger my irritation the more valuable the lessons were. Writings by Pema Chodrun were especially helpful.
I apologize for my absence. I have been tired for several months, I have been afraid and I have been denying that I am afraid. For a long time, I said to myself that I was only afraid of screwing up the process of posting. And while it is true that I do not enjoy the technicalities of blogging, that is a deception.
I have been afraid that being tired and having pain in my arms means that I have cancer again. Tests show that my iron is low and I will receive the result of further tests in a couple of days.
I am unclear about what I do feel. Cowardly maybe?
Anyhow. I am back.
It has taken me most of a lifetime to realize that I usually try to avoid feeling pain – by getting busy, by starting something new, by thinking of another time – by doing anything except feeling. At some point in my life I had decided that when I was feeling uncomfortable I could deal with it by distracting myself. It usually worked in the short run. My sort term distractions included drinking, driving too fast, sex, getting angry, being critical and more acceptable ones like running and working.
Now, sometimes when I begin to be aware of feelings of anxiety, I remember this poem and say it to myself over and over. I find that as I stay still, I become quieter, calmer and sometimes I slowly become aware that I am feeling and what I am feeling. I let it be. And it helps.
I am interested in how others of you deal with the pain of emotion and I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences in this blog. It is not necessary to identify yourself unless you want to.
Having had cancer is no treat, but it has helped me to know myself better.
I have had what seems to me to be an odd experience with fear as I went through the stages of diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Odd in that I did not actually feel afraid. I knew that my cancer could kill me, but I didn’t go into it. Instead, I put a lot of energy denying all of my feelings. It wasn’t until several years after my surgeries that I felt a lot of anger and by then, my PSA readings were consistently low, so I no longer had reason to be afraid that I would die.
I have come to realize that I have lived with a lot of fears that I continually, with great effort, deny. Then finally, I realize that speaking my fears out loud actually gives me relief.
I am very interested in others’ experiences – allowing feelings or not?