Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Last Minute Emotions

Yesterday, I had an intense Hakomi therapy session. By the time I reached the evening, and I was getting ready to go out to socialize, I was frozen. I felt "ok" most of the day, and didn't see this freezing up coming. It was clear I had some processing to do, and couldn't go out. But why then? Why at the last minute?

Preparing for the appointment, all roads pointed to one place: my hips.  At the end of our previous meeting, I started to realize, then admit to my therapist, that I carry a lot of tension in my hips. Moreso, I have, over time, come to realize that my inner child seems to live there, in my hip cradle, and based in chakras and also a lot of palpable felt experience, so does my sense of safety and so does my sexuality. In other words, there's a lot going on there.

That's nothing new.

In the past, my therapist has always offered to work on that area with me, but I have always carefully avoided it. This time, entering the session, I announced that though I was terrified, I needed to go there. Gently, that's a given, but go. Between recent sciatic irritation on my bike and lots of hard work on finding the line between victimhood (as an identity/place I get lost in) versus when I am actually suffering at the hands of myself or someone else (being a victim), my hips were - are - screaming.

After the session, which was intense and careful, gentle and also very probing, I was raw. I came home and had a relatively silent lunch with Dylan (which is what I needed), then we settled down to read and relax. My plan for the day was to get a few crucial things done, so I could write the next day, but as is often the case, the part of me that needed quiet time wrestled with the get-er-done part. Dylan, who's been sick the last few days, fell asleep, and the get-er-done part was so excited to have full rein/reign that I even treated the book I was reading like a task to get done.

In other words, by the time Dylan woke from her nap mid-afternoon, I was pretty dissociated.

Dylan was out of it from napping, and I was out of it from dissociating. I bounced around, doing little puttering things, checking email, etc, and occasionally reappearing in the living room to see if she was free. When I found her on the computer, instead of saying, "Hey, let's get off our computers and connect," I just said to myself, "Well, I guess she's still busy," and went off to busy myself.  I had a commitment in the evening that I was looking forward to, a goodbye party for one of our Miksang community, but I kept dreading it. I even noted something habitual: I am dreading it because I am not making space for feeling my emotions. I am checking out and afraid I will continue to check out. But then I would look at my watch and say, "Oh, but I still have a couple more hours. I'll 'deal' with those feelings in a minute."

Finally, I ate some early dinner, and we went upstairs to our room to lay down and connect. I began to cry. My guts got cramped up and intense gas appeared. I was in pain, and my hips clenching. I was in full trigger mode: completely pulled inside, totally sensitized and I could feel, all of a sudden, all at once, all the neglecting I did all day of my own feelings and needs. I kept forgiving myself, reminding myself of what my therapist had said earlier in the day, "If you need to dissociate, too, that's ok." But it was clear I wasn't going anywhere. I canceled, feeling genuinely sorrowful about it, but being honest about what was going on, not just saying, "I'm sick," which, just as easily could have been said. I knew what was going on.

Why did it come up then?
Why right before I am going to leave the house?

This happens a lot. I can recall it happening when I was younger, in my early teens: putting off my emotions until a critical things happens - could be just going out with friends, going out on a date, but some outside stimuli saying, "Now you need to pay attention to this." The pressure of social engagement, needing to turn outwards, suddenly puts into sharp relief how much I have avoided turning inwards. I panic.

For awhile I thought this was social anxiety. I am sure on some level it is, or that's how it manifests. But I am coming to think of it as, "The moment in which I realize I need to be with myself." It is unfortunate it happens in such sharp relief with social moments. I wish, I aspire to recognize it in a more timely manner, especially when I have more time on my hands (I did yesterday, I don't often) in which to do that checking in with myself.

I am not interested in shoulda's or woulda's. But I am interested in cause and effect. I am interested in finding a better motivation, a gentler structure in which these feelings can arise and I have enough time and space to be with them AND can then show up and be with others, fully.

This is all practice. I am aware all the other ways this "procrastination" appears - in my own life as well as in others. We put things off until the last minute - the dread thing we don't want to discuss in therapy, the term paper due the next day, talking to our best friend about the fact that we don't like their to-be spouse. I know I am not alone in this. I know it is something to practice. I am starting to feel the desire to practice it - to notice, to be aware, earlier and earlier, so that I can be of most benefit to myself and others.

Finding the space inside to feel what needs to be felt, and still be able to go out and be with others.

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