dictators and puppet shows: what we decide and what is decided for us

dictators-and-puppet-shows

There’s this echo I’ve been hearing that’s urging me to move on, but when I ask in what direction, it goes silent. A strange thing it is to feel a completion when you’re in the midst of something. It’s like feeling closure while you’re still in the relationship. You don’t know what the end brings, but you just know it’s time to find out what else needs to begin in its place.

That’s what I’ve been going through lately. The feeling of an end smack dab in the middle of everything I’m around. It’s something that doesn’t make much sense to a rational mind, but it makes even less sense to remain stagnant to your soul. It’s this in-between influx sensation that asks us to be patient. Mostly because it is these moments when there is the greatest risk of impulsive behaviour.

This intrinsic knowledge that we get is what leads us to change. If we don’t listen to it, we risk this sort of dissonance within ourselves. This dissonance between how we feel and what we’re doing. Sure, we can trick our minds out of it for a little while. We can convince ourselves that what we feel isn’t real, but what we’re doing is. But for how long?

There are some of us who are keen on change, some who are impulsive with it, and some who need to be dragged into it. What we tend to forget is that we’re the deciding factor. We get to choose how we go about this. Whether we listen to this quiet indication that’s pointing us to the correct path, or whether we ignore it and suffer the internal consequences until we inevitably end up where we were always meant to be.

I do believe in fate, but I also believe in free will. Both make sense because we choose how we get to the paths that were drawn out for us. We choose how to react, we choose how to speak, and we choose how to behave. What is meant for us makes space for us, but who we choose to be as we get there and who we choose to become once we have arrived is up to you and me.

We’re not merely puppets in a show, but we’re also not the dictators either. There’s an in-between to everything and if we find out where that is and what that means for us, we might just find what we were looking for all along: this sense of inner peace and joy. The kind that doesn’t fade and reappear, the one that isn’t dependant on a situation. It’s the kind that sticks. It’s the kind that brings you satisfaction in the right here and now.

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big changes, guilty feelings

big-changes-guilty-feelings

The rain here is different – warmer, kinder. Difficult to explain. I guess like most things, you’d have to feel it to understand.

I bought some candles today to warm up my space and make it feel cozier; more like home, I suppose. It’s working.

It’s officially been a little over three weeks since I’ve been in Vancouver and it feels like it has been months. People keep telling me that that’s a good thing and I think I believe them. I feel a sense of belonging here that I’ve never felt before. And everything that is new still has this sense of familiarity to it that I can’t really explain.

It feels like everyone’s been injected with some calmness drug and I’m the odd one who doesn’t know how to relax. Maybe it’ll rub off on me eventually. Here’s hoping!

One of my best and oldest friends and I have been sending letters to one another. Handwritten letters that we post at the post office. Very old school and very heart felt. I like that I have someone I can do this with. Someone who I can write to about anything and everything, kind of like what I do over here. But I always get a response back with updates and stories. Letter-writing is so personal that way. There’s this connection you get out of putting pen to paper that just isn’t the same thing as a phone call or text message. You feel more open speaking about your truth.

What I’ve been realizing more and more is that when you make a big change in your life, there’s this very high expectation that you have and also get from others, that you will be happy all the time. That you will be excited all the time. It’s true that I’ve moved into a completely new place that I am really excited for. It’s breathtaking. It’s soothing. It’s both familiar and new. It’s the kind of place I’ve always wanted to be in because some part of me must have known that this is where I’d feel home. And I do.

That being said, it doesn’t mean that you won’t experience any other emotion. That it will only be excitement and giddiness. I’m so beyond grateful for being here, but I am still the same person within this new environment, which means that I still have mental health struggles, anxiety, depression that comes and goes in waves now. It means I’ll still feel nostalgic. I’ll still feel sad and angry and lonely. But I’ll feel happy, too. Just because you’re experiencing something great, doesn’t mean that you have to feel great all the time.

I realized that when talking to friends or family, I thought I had to pretend. Even though I was excited, I was going through such a wide range of emotions all at once and it felt pretty overwhelming. But I felt like I couldn’t share that with anyone because how ungrateful would I seem? I should feel happy, I kept telling myself. Why am I crying? Why am I nostalgic? Why am I feeling anything else?

And I felt guilty for it all. For the moments I felt overwhelmed. For the times I cried. For the times I chose to stay in and read instead of going and exploring.

Thanks to the great practice of meditation and reflecting a lot, I realized that right now, my job is to feel at home here. I’ve only been here a short time but since it felt like longer, I thought I should have done more by now. So I had to hit the pause button a little, take a step back and evaluate what would make me feel sane right now. And I knew (because we always know deep down what it is that we need). And it was that I needed to really feel at home.

So I went out and bought a cozy cushion and throw blanket for my couch so I can make it a comfortable little reading nook for myself. I bought candles that smell like baked goods (because those are my favorite) and placed them around my apartment. I set a bubble bath for myself and lit a candle so that I could read for a little while. And that is exactly what I needed.

If you follow me on twitter, you know that I am an avid hiker. I love to explore more than anything, but right now, what I need is to have some days where I stay in and read, take a bubble bath, do some yoga, and write. I need to feel at home and ever since I listened to that voice of knowing, I’ve been feeling calm and good instead of frantic and anxious.

When it’s time to explore more, I’ll do that, too. But there is no rush. I’m here for a while and I needed to give myself some room to feel that.

Sometimes, we just need to listen to the voice that tells us what we already know, but rarely act on. It knows a lot more than the loud voice, I promise.

 

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the difference between blocking emotions and putting them on pause

difference-between-blocking-emotions-and-putting-them-on-pause

Yesterday morning it finally hit me. It was like an iceberg of loneliness that’s been hovering like a cloud above my head for some time now. I wanted so badly to break down but I knew that I had to leave for work soon, and now wasn’t the right time.

We can do that, you know? And sometimes, especially in our day and age, we have to. We can put a pause on our emotions momentarily, but we also have to create time to let them manifest in the way that they wanted to. I think the second half is the harder part. Finding time to let yourself feel what you should have felt earlier. Creating room for sadness, nostalgia, loneliness, anger, or even fear. It makes sense why we wouldn’t want to. I mean, those aren’t exactly the most inviting territories to dive ourselves into, but they are necessary.

In a perfect world, I would break down when I wanted to. I would feel my anger as it came. I would let emotions go through me when they want to. But that’s not the world I live in. The world I live in requires me to go to work every day. It comes with certain situations where those emotions aren’t appropriate to express. But you don’t necessarily need to express an emotion to feel it.

Sometimes we have to compartmentalize momentarily. I think, for the most part, a lot of us have that down really well. We know how to block ourselves from feeling. But what we aren’t always so good at is allowing those feelings to come through again. We just keep blocking and blocking and sooner or later find our minds scattered, our tension built up, and on the verge of completely losing it.

So though I don’t exactly cater to the idea of blocking our emotions, even though I became quite the expert at it, growing up; I do believe that sometimes we have to put them on pause. What that means is that they need to be felt again, properly. Sometimes I even find my life so overbearing that I have to schedule it in.

Example:

Yoga: 8:00am-9:00am

Shower/breakfast: 9:15am-10:00am

Reflection time/Feeling your feelings: 10:15am-11:00am

Meditate: 11:00am-11:30am

Buy groceries/vacuum/laundry OR read/write/blog : 11:30am – 1:30pm

Work: 2pm-11pm

Obviously, not every day of mine looks like that one, but sometimes we need to break it down in that way so we make it the priority that it should be. Reflecting should be a part of your self-care. It should be its own practice because we need it for the sake of our own sanity. Sometimes we won’t have a full hour to do that. Sometimes it’ll be 5 or 10 spare minutes. Other days, we might have more time than that. Some days, we won’t have any time at all. But we have to make room for it somewhere. We have to treat it like the necessity that it is.

Although yesterday, I didn’t have time to let myself feel my loneliness, I had time this morning and so I allowed myself to get back into that place so that I could let it pass. It wasn’t pretty. I didn’t like it. But it felt good afterward, like I had released it. You can’t let go of an emotion you don’t let yourself feel – something I’ve learned the hard way over the years of building up everything inside me only to explode it everywhere and on everyone around me. We can’t control how we feel, but we can control how we experience that feeling and whether we experience it at all.

 

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