I’ve been playing with an idea I recently heard that nearly all neuroses and other types of emotional suffering are the result of our inability to simply face and accept what is.* Anxiety is fear about what might happen, with an irrational dose of hoping to keep that bad thing from occurring. Depression is our flattening out, or “depressing” our feelings instead of being able to face and then be with them. We let our minds loop obsessively instead of slowing down and getting down to the real issue; we use addictions—smoking, drinking, eating, watching T.V.—to avoid the actual experience our body is having. Alternatively, when we’re in fully in the moment, we are energetically stepping into pure creative potential.
Having just traveled to be with my partner’s family for a few days, I had the opportunity to watch my own and others’ avoidance strategies up close. I was happy to see that I’ve moved beyond my old tricks of shutting down emotionally while drinking and eating to excess. This time, I could see myself alternating between hanging out in space, breathing and accepting what was happening around me, and then drifting to wanting people around me to be different, mainly so I could be having a different experience, the one my mind thought I should be having. I could feel the pull towards wronging people just to get some internal drama going, create an adrenaline rush. Then I’d remember my commitment to being with what is. This allowed internal space to open up inside of me, with a sense of relaxing into the hugeness of potentiality.
As I watch relatives get the next big screen T.V. while sliding further into debt; as I observe cynicism and bitterness about life and the world; I wonder about how much of our collective unhappiness is the result of not facing and accepting what is. If we were all experts at breathing, moving, noticing our bodies, aligning ourselves with what we really want, how much energy would we have to put into keeping what is out of focus? What creative powers would be unleashed?
But maybe, by wondering this, this is one more example of me not just being with what is…
*Gay and Kathlyn Hendricks FACT process is a brilliant way to deal with this: FACE what hasn’t yet been faced; ACCEPT what hasn’t been fully accepted; CHOOSE an action step that will move you to what you want; and TAKE that action. To play with this process, join us at the Boulder Center for Conscious Living.