Tuesday, March 26, 2013

It Goes On

"Most of the craziness in the world--violence, addictions, and frenetic activity--comes from running from pain. Many of the world's biggest bullies and worst mass murderers have acted to avoid confronting their own painful feelings. The only thing worse than feeling pain is not feeling pain. Healthy people face their pain. When they are sad, they cry. When they are angry, they acknowledge they are angry. They don't pretend to have only PG-rated feelings. They don't judge their feelings. Rather, they simply observe and describe them...

"...My definition of a healthy person is one who can grow and learn from all experiences. As an old man who had lost his wife, a son, and a daughter, poet Robert Frost said that he could sum up everything he knew about life in three words, 'It goes on.' "

-Mary Pipher
from Letters to a Young Therapist

Today, I was running. From the same pain. Same frustrations. Same thoughts. Same shame.

So I literally had to grab myself, put on my robe, get under the covers, and just sit. Long enough to breathe. Long enough to acknowledge. Long enough to feel.

And as I sat, I remembered how many other times I've walked this exact same road, followed the exact same path, berated myself with the exact same attacks, and moved on solemnly broken and fragile.

So, I chose another path.

Instead, I took one that meant drinking water.
Turning on the space heater.
Writing in my journal.
And moving on.

I didn't feel remarkably better.
I didn't bounce with lightness or confidence or joy.
But I stopped the attack before it started.
I re-wrote some old self-hating tapes.

And that doesn't count for something.
That counts for everything.