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Sitting with Myself

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Beth Anstandig

I’ve been in the process of Sitting with Myself since early March. I didn’t start it willingly. In fact, I spent the first four to six weeks kicking and screaming about it. Thrashing. Flailing. Protesting. Looking for things to do, projects to start, trips to take, closets to clean, barns to remodel. Just a whole lot of restless energy that didn’t have anywhere to go.

So, I sat down and stayed. I love the concept of “staying” in Buddhist tradition. Staying with the difficult sensation or emotion to see what is there. I’ve done this a few times now in the last two years. Just sat down in the dirt and stayed put. I settled into a more peaceful place with it and a lot of very important information emerged!

I discovered that staying put is quiet and often quite boring. And, I hadn’t experienced boring in a very long time. I spent 20 years in a marriage with “sudden swings” and wild shifts. Lots of highs and lows. Surges of hope then devastating blows of crisis. Deep connection and profound isolation.

Watching leaves on trees, grazing with horses, laying outside and feeling the wind. These things are glorious. Simple. Beautiful. Peaceful. And a little boring. It’s okay! In the end, staying put has also involved wandering around the house, fidgeting from chair to chair, staring at walls.

I’m discovering my own balance point, the homeostasis of my own system. On the other side of the boredom, I have been feeling a bit lost. But the more I’ve stayed with that and allowed myself to actually feel lost, I found a seemingly endless pit of sorrow, many years of pent-up sadness. Huge loss. Heartbreak.

Recently I saw this truck with its warning sign and thought: Yes. I will stay clear of sudden swings. I’m learning from this sequence:  Restless -> Staying -> Boredom -> Grief

I deeply believe this is my current work. I’m getting glimpses of EASE, moments when the grief has let up and layers of my heart are reopening. I didn’t even know I had closed them off. How could I? I was still stuck in the sudden swings.

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