Doing Nothing–or, in other terms, meditating–went better this week than the first. Walking meditation was my favored method of those mentioned in the book this week (i.e. repetitive motion), and, when the weather didn’t permit that, mantra, which is not mentioned in the book, but which, from past experience meditating, I know works well for me. I’m getting to that comfortable point with Nothing, wherein it’s easier for my mind to drop into stillness.
While I said easier, I didn’t say easy. (Even for many heavily-experienced meditators, getting the mind to be entirely silent is a challenge.) For the first four days I ended up doing the preliminary truth question, and leaving that day’s moment of Truth at that: Why am I avoiding stillness?
For those first four days, I was wanting to avoid stillness because I was behind in the self-paced writing course I’m taking, Juicy Journaling with SARK. (I took my 15 minutes anyway, but I procrastinated a lot.) This leads to…
Truth #1: I can be a very driven, overly-ambitious perfectionist, and this is not good for me. An example: at one point in my days in university, I was carrying two majors and a minor, with the heaviest class load my scholarship would allow, and making top marks. I was also not sleeping or eating worth a dime, having migraines often, being sick to my stomach several times a week, waking blue around the lips and nail beds from night terrors wherein I dreamed I was drowning, and, in short, coming apart at the seams from stress. I began to see every paper, test, homework assignment, and project as though it was of life and death importance. (The Truth: It wasn’t.) I eventually had to drop one of my majors to a minor to avoid being locked away in a rubber room. (I say that only half-jokingly.) And this memory came flooding back when daily life events put me behind in completing each day’s prompts for Juicy Journaling, as I was getting angry at myself because I wasn’t “applying myself” and finishing them each day. The real Truth: It’s self-paced. The prompts will still be there when I do have time. There are no grades. And SARK would not want me making myself stressed out over it, I’m sure.
After I realized that I could get behind on my self-paced e-course and not be a failure, other truths started bubbling up, though I admit that I didn’t go through the whole, drawn-out prescribed process and battery of questions outlined in the book. These were just Truths that landed on my figurative doorstep, bolts from the blue after my meditation or while messing around doing something mindless or via the ever-popular Truth vehicle of dreams.
Truth #2: No matter how many happy face stickers I try to stick over it, no matter how many swims I take in Denial, or how I try to hide it by living solely “in the moment”, that fact is: I’m not truly happy in my job or homelife, and things need to change. In fact, I had a dream after spending hours the night before trying to catch up on that e-course in which SARK showed up in my dream and asked me how much longer I was going to put up with things the way they are. Since this is a public forum, I’m not going to go into details, but it feels like I’m living in limbo, working a job that no longer challenges me or inspires me–if it ever did in the first place, of which I’m no longer sure–but does cause a whole mess of stress without even the benefit of health insurance or a reliable vacation, living with my parents to save money, and waiting to start really living the life that stars in my dreams every night rather than this much paler shadow of it. It’s not to say that I don’t have good moments, or good days, but I think I could have a good year if I changed some things.
Truth #3: I’m unsure of the timing in which to make the changes to address Truth #2, but I know things have to change, and it’s going to require a leap of faith. I have it in the back of my mind that December 31st will be my last day at my draining job. Since it doesn’t look like I’m going to get my week’s vacation this year, I will not be able to do much of what needs to be done to change my living location until after the job is done, as traveling very far afield can’t happen without taking time off work, so I am tentatively thinking I’ll take January to rest, get my head together, and get my things together to move, possibly cross-country, since there’s this one place that will not leave me alone–while awake or in dreams–and I think there must be a reason I feel so pulled there and a reason it feels so familiar though I’ve never been. (That’s a whole ‘nother post.) If all goes well, I’ll visit said place in January and, fingers crossed, lay the groundwork for my move, tentatively to happen in February. Still, I’ll be leaving the security of my paycheck and rent-free housing with my parents. That’s a bit frightening, and my more practical family–and my own Inner Critic–will bring up how illogical and ill-conceived this plan is. I hope I’m brave, strong, and faithful enough to make that leap.
Truth #4: In relation to Truths #2 and #3, if I stopped putting money into savings right now, I would have enough for a reasonable budget that would last 4 to 5 months with absolutely no money coming in, barring unforeseen major expenses of course, but I plan to add more every week until the end of the year. Therefore, I shouldn’t be so petrified about money as security. The whole point of living rent-free with my parents, and, since May, my little sister, was and is to save money to finance a move toward the big, wild, crazy dream, a better dating scene in hopes of finding that Special Someone, and–Universe willing–a more soul-nourishing occupation, or, at least, a less stressful one. I have to make that leap sometime, or there’s no point. That savings account is like a message from my Past Self (who was better at being full of hope and taking leaps) to my Future Self (who is terrified of leaps of faith, but terrified of remaining static at the same time), saying, “Go on. Jump! This is your safety net! Remember? You started weaving it years ago, and it will be fully ready to catch you soon!”
Truth #5: I need to get out of my introvert’s comfort zone. There are lots of reasons, but, chief among them being that it’s hard to make connections and show the world you care if you’re at your house or tucked away in a deserted part of the library or bookstore all the time. This is not going to be easy, and may very well be uncomfortable, but it is necessary.
Given those five truths, I can definitely relate to what Martha Beck says in the chapter on Truth:
“The practice of telling ourselves the truth is so simple and so freeing that you’d think we’d all do it constantly. The fact is, however, that most people tell themselves the truth only in selected areas, and many of us lie to ourselves and others about practically everything we experience. Why? Because living behind a pane of glass, numbing and empty though it is, also feels safe.” — Martha Beck, The Joy Diet, p. 27
I’m sure that, as I keep up the practices of Nothing and Truth and head into Desire, more Truths–risky, uncomfortable Truths–will come up. Thankfully, Risk is still a while off. Haha. I don’t think I’m entirely ready for that just yet.
All in all, Truth week has been a bumpy ride for me. I think that’s why Beck prescribes Nothing (a.k.a. meditiation) first…To help you handle Truth. Am I alone in this? I think not. Now that I have some Truths, though, I can choose what I do about them, and I can stop lying to myself while also “extending compassion to my Inner Lying Scumbag.” 😉
How was Truth week for you, my fellow Joy Dieters? Or, if you aren’t part of The Next Chapter (or not yet), what Truths are you hiding from yourself? What would happen if you weren’t hiding them?