It has been a rough couple of weeks for me. Due to no specific life event my brain flipped and I got really depressed for a few days, and fell off the wagon on a number of habits and projects I was working on. That in and of itself is not the end of the world, and despite how miserable I felt, wasn’t a big problem. I’m diving deep on some things that the experience brought up, shadowy corners of how I think that I don’t really want to face, so the experience was a teacher. The real problem has been making the choice to get back in the game. To choose to step purposely, to live the big life, to not shrink into the mundane, to not hide behind the things that insulate me from the vast unknown of the life of a true Impeccable Warrior.
And that has been hard.
Really, really, hard.
Even though philosophically it is one of my basic tenets.
Did I mention its been hard?
Sometimes it is easier to do things the first time, before I truly understand what it will take, and the all of the different pieces. I find this can be quite true when hiking too. The adventure of finding out what is behind the next hill, or around the next bend can overcome a lot of screaming legs, and aching feet. Do the trail again later though, and it can feel daunting, and like too much, because you know what to expect, and it is almost always worse in my memory than it really was.
The same thing happens to me in life. The second (or third, 4th, etc) time I understand more, and tend to get caught up in the details, and nuances. I also almost always have to face more of the inner dialogues and attachments I am somewhat embarrassed or ashamed by. Now step one is always to witness but not judge our reactions to things (truth not stories!)… but I’m definitely still working on that step. So committing to choices I have explored in the path feels like it has twice the perils. The unknowns of moving forward along the path, but also knowledge of the perils of the past, and even more daunting the guilt/shame/judgement around the realization of what makes up many of the “hurdles” I place in my own way.
Take for instance my recent bout with depression. In the moment it felt like I made the “best” choices I could, but in retrospect I still had all of the usual choices available to me on some level. I could have chosen to not eat, or eat in ways I know would nourish my body, instead of giving in to the bodily cry for sugar. I could have chosen to rest, and listen to what my body was screaming at me – that I had been pushing too hard, for too long – but instead I jumped straight into the mindset of, “What if this is the time I don’t get out of this. What if this is the rest of my life?” A thought cycle that set up judgement, anxiety, more stress, feeling even less capable of making good choices and a lot more like I didn’t deserve to make good choices. In essence I panicked, instead of listening, and choosing optimal actions based on my personal philosophies, I made decisions based on how I felt in the moment. Of course in this scenario this is complicated by the fact that I didn’t feel capable of making those choices at all in the moment, but that is something that I can change as time goes on.
So now I’ve got a week of eating quite sub-optimally on the books, and of not building desired habits, and of reinforcing habits that have kept me down. So how do I re-capture the warrior feeling? The desire is still there, but the feeling that I can embrace that desire is missing, as well as the feeling that I even deserve to claim the title of Warrior. Surely a Warrior would have handled that situation better!
I think it comes down to what it always comes down to. Am I willing to learn from my experience? Will I be brave enough to face the truths that were uncovered? Can I accept that I am enough, no matter what I do, but that in order to be even more “me” I need to work through these things? Most of all, am I willing to face the vast, and amazing beauty of a life well led? Because that is what I am hiding from. That is what the sugar dulls – the desire for that life, and the fears of striving for it, and of not striving for it. I am hiding in no man’s land, afraid of what I want, terrified of returning to what I had – which turns the landscape into one of fear and desolation, when in reality it is of the utmost beauty – if only I would choose to enter it freely, and drop my attachments at the door.
So how do I step back into the life I know I can have, and the one my soul cries for? An act of will, and of faith, and of choice.
I choose to embrace the fear, hurt, and exhausted feelings as teachers, and take them with me if I must until the lessons are learned, but I am not meant for hiding in the shadows of those emotions. I am meant for dancing in the sun, calling out the beauty, and rejoicing in the light and the dark as part of the wholeness of existence. In order to heal, I cannot hide.
So choices must be made, once, twice, a thousand times, and rest taken when needed, and judgement set aside.
So how do I begin? I step into the light and make true choices, no matter how difficult they feel. Then I do it again, and again. Rest when necessary, and do it again.