Day 84 sober. Still feeling pretty solid on the non-drinking front.
Pema Chodron is a very inspiring buddhist monk who has been teaching me lots about how to ‘stay’ in discomfort instead of escaping. I love the idea… and I’ve done absolutely nothing to change the way I deal with discomfort. I’ve actually just been working on redesigning my escape hatches: from smoking to nicorette; from drinking to walking or eating. Eating. Such an irritating thing that I can’t 100% quit that.
So, my point (stolen directly from Pema) is that I will never live in contentment, peace and joy if I keep running from pain – even if I’m literally running laps at the gym. It’s the ‘running from’ part that leads to suffering, vs treating it.
few days before my big fight with my husband (Day 66) I had a 2-3 day bout with anxiety. My mind was RACING. I couldn’t sleep, had nightmares, and my waking hours were filled with nervous, pissed off energy. I couldn’t sit with it. I put on my headphones, fired up a new Bubble Hour podcast, and went for a hardcore 1.5 hour walk.
And guess what? I felt better. Exercise actually helped. I’m not a daily exerciser, so this was a major revelation to me. I was thrilled to have found a new escape hatch that I could tell everyone about. No shame. I walked! I even jogged a bit one of the days. It made me happy. Phew.
But… I didn’t stay. I didn’t try to live in the pain and anxiety and dive deep and through it. I didn’t “stay.” I “went.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not beating myself up for this. But I do think that food is my most fundamental habit and tool for hiding from feelings. So much so, that I still can’t explain what I was anxious about for three days. And I certainly can’t claim to have meditated through it. So if I’m clever I will just replace food (ha) with exercise and all will be well. Right? I don’t think so…
I think exercise is magical and critical to my well being, but it’s not a life practice that will serve me in all situations that may arise. Even if it were, I want more. I want to see my life and the world as something to be in. Now. Not something to run away from.
2 thoughts on “Don’t scratch the itch.”
Ingrid!!! What a phenomenal writer you are, just found your blog as I hook up with our new group, post school, and you are one strong woman. Great posts, thank you. Perhaps we will stroll down on Alki this summer, Blessings, Joanie
I love Pema Chodron’s teaching! So glad it’s helping you!