Since my trip to the Gulf Coast, I’ve been noticing this…shifting inside. Other people have mentioned that they’ve noticed something in me has changed. I think something has.
I don’t know exactly what it is, but I feel like more and more, I can see things as they actually are–and they almost always aren’t nearly so bad as I had feared.
I’m also starting to realize just how much I project ill will onto others where it doesn’t exist. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have an emotionally toxic mother and a thoroughly evil husband, but it means that a lot of my paranoia, hypervigilance, suspicion and fear of others is often unfounded. it’s nothing but a defensive mechanism, part of my disorder.
In a post from a few days ago, I talked about my mother in law. I thought she hated me for a long time, but during my trip I learned from my son that she doesn’t, not at all. In fact she actually does care about me. I projected ill will onto her because she isn’t a woman who is emotionally expressive and she’s very pragmatic in her dealings with others. Being so hypervigilant and sensitive, I read that as “hate.” I can think of several other examples of this too, where I realized it was me projecting things onto others in a negative way.
It’s like my vantage point has shifted.
At the same time these blinders to myself are being removed, I feel myself beginning to embrace the moment I’m in. Not just as a mindfulness practice, but as a real way of being and feeling. Maybe it’s due to trusting others–and the world–and God– more. Maybe I’m slowly learning to trust again, the way I did when I was a child–and there’s awe and wonder there now mixed in with the tired old fear and shame. But it’s a new, more mindful kind of trust than the mindless gullibility I had as a young girl– a trust tempered with caution born of great pain.
Sometimes when I’m fully in the moment and allowing my heart to open to it, I feel this sort of melting…or shifting inside. It’s almost a physical feeling but not quite. It’s like the emotional equivalent of that warm, contented feeling that permeates through you like warm syrup after a having a glass of wine. It’s an expansive, almost loving feeling, toward life itself, and it’s delicious.
It’s not something I’m used to, and its fleetingness makes it almost hurt sometimes. I want this feeling. I want so much more of it. I miss it when it goes away again, and it always does. It doesn’t last. Right now, it’s such an elusive thing and so fragile. The fragility hurts, but it’s the kind of hurt that feels almost good, like the way a loose tooth hurt when you were a kid and you just had to keep pressing it with your tongue. That doesn’t really accurately describe it, but it’s the closest analogy I can think of.
This feeling is better than any drug. I need to feel it again…and again. I need to internalize and make it a full-time part of me.
I know these are the real feelings of my inner child, who is no longer in such a deep slumber.
She’s beginning to wake up because someone–me–is learning to love and accept her for who she is and is no longer keeping her hidden away like some sort of shameful embarrassment.
One of my readers who is also a friend, described this exact same feeling to me in an email today. In some ways I think we’re at the same stage of our healing, although other details differ.
We talked a lot about that and about me as a child. I got this warmth in my chest, and acceptance of the child. Of me. I felt this softness inside, like something broke and became fluid. I felt warmth, maybe even love, to that child that was me. It was so nice to feel like that. Soft inside. Forgiving. No anger.
Now it has turned a bit cold again. But I wan’t to feel it again.
This nails the feeling exactly, and so beautifully expressed.