please excuse the inconsistent pronouns ~ this post
is essentially a dear-diary braindump,
which might have some insight for you if we can wade through I 🙂
How do we do psychological fitness when we’ve been woken up again at 5.30 am and:
you’re volunteering in the afternoon before an evening Zen class that finishes at 8.30 pm and these are both in the city, an hour roundtrip commute that you can’t afford ~ at least they happen to be happening in the same venue;
the last two days have been chewed up by errands and counselling (Centrelink one day, and a very difficult but enlightening Somatic Experiencing session), and today was the one day remaining for me to work on Heartwards before GP appointments tomorrow and a busy Saturday of housework;
you’ve recently deferred a 9-month business-training opportunity because the mental-health needs of you and your family are reaching crisis point ~ have been at crisis point for maybe 18 months;
you’re one month out of a six-month situation where you and your family were living with a long-term friend / tenant whose narcissistic abuse left your family ravaged by trauma symptoms;
and you found out at bedtime last night that your 14-year-old stoner son might be using needles now as well and his best mate is in hospital after attempting suicide.
I sat in meditation this morning, afraid I would not be able to contain this shit-storm in the puny teacup of my mindheart, and asked myself, “How do I do psychological fitness in these conditions?” What does psychological fitness look like during times of such ongoing crisis?
In the end I didn’t do anything ~ instead, I let go, but this didn’t feel like an active act of release, more like a spontaneous relinquishment, a kind of breaking, an allowing control to fall through the cracks.
I allowed reality to be as it is. I feel like a broken record around this letting go thing lately, but it’s becoming the only way I know how to respond when a stack of things are happening around me that are out of my control and seemingly unpleasant, destructive, unhealthy, whatever … [insert discriminating dichotomous adjective here].
I remembered Viktor Frankl’s quote:
When we can no longer change a situation, we are forced to change ourselves.
It’s not quite you that lets go, but something else that lets go of the you that was grasping, clinging, attaching itself to desires about the way reality should be.
You stop worrying that you won’t be able to concentrate on mu after the 24 hours you’ve had, and you stop resenting that you’re going out of your way to volunteer for a job that you volunteered for.
You remind yourself that you need to work with what you’ve got and that means navigating the welfare system while you re-orient yourself toward making an independent living through the provision of meaningful and creative holistic health services.
You remind yourself that providing such services begins with treating your own trauma and accomplishing the degre of psychological-fitness stability you need before you can help others.
You remember that you deferred the training opportunity precisely so you could be more available for family-health needs,
and you remember a journal entry you made last night:
Zane is a teenage drug addict and a dropout. Nikki’s CPTSD has been triggered. And I’ve got my own mental and emotional anguish coming up left right and centre even when there aren’t any triggers. It makes me anxious that there will never be time for anything else ~ even though my enlightened self understands that there is nothing else: this is life as nature made it, and our expectations that we get to do what we want (run a business, feel positive and hopeful) are what cause suffering … the expectations and the sense I am entitled to do something great instead of be there for my family, like being there for my family is not the greatest thing …
which reminds me I forgot to add to that entry something my Zen teacher says: “It doesn’t get better than this.”
We believe there is some state we will reach in the future that is better (more calm, relaxed, exciting, whatever) than our current state, but this is not true ~ the only thing you know is true is that your quality of life depends entirely (and forever) on how you interpret the present,
and that psychological fitness is (among other things) the ability to skilfully interpret the present with positivity and optimism as often as possible.
You remember and remind yourself that you learnt a lot about the neutralisation of negative karma by practising non-resistance/ahimsa when you realised you had no choice about you and your family having to live with a narcissistic abuser, and that now you live with two beautiful tenants because maybe that negative karma was burnt for good.
In remembering this, you start to remember that you can choose to feel gratitude for the good in your life, and that this cultivates a wholesome state of mind, instead of allowing the habitualised negativity bias to get the better of you … we are no longer on the savannah, but have become homo evolutis and can choose to pursue flourishing instead of remaining consumed by fear.
And you remember that your opinions about whether Zane should be sober and attending school at 14 mean nothing to karma or reality or whatever you want to call the animating force that causes spooky action. You remember that you are nothing and everything ~ that your desires for how the days should unfold mean nothing to reality … that you are but one individuated moving part within a whole much greater than your puny mind could ever perceive in its entirety so you should just let go and allow the universe to move through you, allow yourself to become a servant of the greater good by getting out of the way and learning to allow.