Posted by: Marie | March 20, 2013

(808) The Good Stuff – Part 1 of 4

Post #808
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

Today was therapy session day . . .

A couple of weeks ago, I emailed to Edward the audio files from my conversation with a pine tree. He said he would try to listen to them – all 31 minutes of them – before today’s session. However, he was concerned he would have time to get that done. And, as he feared, he was not able to listen to them before today.

I wanted very much to share the audio recordings with him so he could better appreciate how powerful the experience had been for me. So, I decided to use a good chunk of our session time to listen to them together.

I realized the recordings would be confusing for Edward without a verbal preface. So, before I started playing the recordings, I brought him up-to-date on Luke’s book-signing, how my mom and I had looked over Luke’s book and DVD, how the mountains in the DVD called to me . . . and how I ditched the networking meeting so I could go into the mountains . . . how that turned into a conversation with a pine tree . . . how I sat in the snow then sat in my car . . . how I allowed myself to express my rage towards my dad . . .

Then, against that backdrop, I played the recordings:

Pine Tree audio file #1
Pine Tree audio file #2
Pine Tree audio file #3
Pine Tree audio file #4

Edward listened very intently, taking a few notes, asking a few questions when the recorded monologue traveled in circles . . .

I became emotional – teary-eyed – when we got to the part where I was talking about giving myself permission to express who I am already . . . that it is not about becoming something or someone different or better in the future . . . but rather it is about investing in who I am already . . . and how it seems wise to me to follow my intuition and to allow my behavior to be guided by what feels consistent with who I already am . . . the real me . . .

158)  Title Unknown

Photo by Martin Chen

That part was close to the end of the recordings . . . I was still a bit weepy when we finished listening few minutes later . . . and Edward asked me about my tears . . .

—————

Me: I guess my tears are about how powerful of an experience it is to finally have space – to give myself space – to show up as the “real me”. For so long, I lived in fear that showing up authentically was going to destroy any chance I have of having meaningful relationships in my life. And, now, I’m feeling brave enough to show up authentically regardless what it might cost me . . . because I’m starting to believe showing up authentically will better my chances of having what I really want to have . . .

Edward: Which is . . . ??

Me: Meaningful relationships that honor who I really am.

Edward: Yes . . . relationships in which you can be fully seen and heard.

Me: Yeah.

Edward: (After a respectful pause) Can you tell me what emotion are you experiencing around that?

Me: Hmmmm . . . I don’t know . . . I’m not familiar with this emotion so I don’t know what to call it . . .

Maybe relief . . . ?? Joy . . . ?? But . . . it is more than that . . . it is a sense of freedom . . . a sense that finally I matter . . . that it is safe for me to come out of hiding . . . a sense that I’m being seen and heard for the first time in my life . . .

I guess mainly it is a sense that I matter . . .

Edward: Yes . . . you do matter! You deserve to be seen and heard . . . you deserve to have space to show up authentically.

Me: (Nodding my head) Yes, that is true. I’m starting to really believe that.

(A few moments of silence)

Me: My conversation with the pine tree was really powerful . . . it has brought about a significant shift in my state of being.

Edward: I can feel the shift in your energy. It is palatable.

Me: That shift is so dramatic that I wonder if it looks like . . . oh . . . like maybe a manic state to other people . . . but, it doesn’t feel like a manic state to me.

Edward: Oh, no . . . I don’t get the sense it is a manic state at all . . . I get the sense it is a true shift of your core energy . . . to me, it feels like there has been significant healing on a spiritual level.

Me: Yeah . . . that’s what it feels like to me.

Edward: Are you worried about moving into a manic state?

Me: The thought has crossed my mind . . . I’ve been depressed for so long . . . it’s all I’ve really known . . . then, all the sudden, I feel so much better . . . the shift was so sudden . . . I went up the mountain in one state and, an hour later, I came back down the mountain in a totally different state . . . it was just so sudden . . . I have been concerned that it is just a temporary manic state and that I’m going to crash back down again. I just don’t trust its permanence.

But, it’s been two weeks and I’m still in the better state . . . and, I’ve had moments of disappointment and stress . . . I still feel lonely every evening . . . so, I’ve had some less pleasant emotions mixed in there, also . . .

The difference is that I’ve been able to tolerate the down times easier . . . I brace myself to get through them, then, a few hours later, I’ve worked through those emotions and I effortlessly return to a higher baseline . . .

I guess my emotional set point has shifted to a higher point . . . for many years, I was hanging out at around a three or four on a scale of one to ten . . . those are the times I wanted to die . . .

Then, I moved to a place where I was ambivalent about living or dying . . . I guess I would label that as a five . . .

Right now, I would say that my baseline emotional state is around an eight . . . I’m actually excited about living . . . most moments I want to stick around and see what life brings . . . it is easy for me to get out of bed in the mornings . . . it is easy to get my “to do” list for the day done each day . . .

Even when I have down moments, they feel temporary for me . . . I can imagine that they will pass and that I will feel better . . . for most of my life, the depressed state has felt permanent . . . because it was permanent . . .

In the past year, I’ve been feeling better than I did like five years ago . . . but, in this past year, I’d have joyful moments during the day as I teach . . . I would experience hours of joy with my teaching, then I’d go home and be hit with the loneliness waiting for me there . . . and the depression I experienced when I wasn’t teaching was far worse than then handful of hours of joy I would have each day teaching.

So, this is very different . . . it is a new way of being and of feeling . . . the joy is staying with me into the evening hours. It’s like my baseline has inversed . . . instead of wanting to die most of the time with a few hours of joy, I’m feeling joy most of the time and wanting to die only a few passing moments during the week.

I’m concerned that it is going to go away . . . I hope not . . . I like feeling this way.

Edward: I hear you are concerned that this positive experience is not going to last . . . and, your concern is realistic . . . it is true that it may not last. However, my sense is that your assessment that your emotional baseline has shifted is accurate. I would imagine that, even if you do roll back into a less joyful state, you will find it easier to move back into the more joyful state after a period of time . . . and, I imagine that, the more you are in the elevated state, the easier it will be to return there, if and when you depart from it, and to stay there once you return to it . . . in other words, I don’t think it would be devastating to you if you do go back to the less joyful state for a time.

Me: Yes, I think you are correct.

[Continued in the next post . . . ]

Quotes 718


Responses

  1. One way to sort out if it is manic is that mania is dissociation. If you are making good contact with students, and especially Edward, then it is unlikely to be that you are being manic.

    The elation may pass a little. This gets tricky because we get used to feeling good. So it may be worth keeping a record, while you remember, of what you did when you were feeling at 3 or 4. Things that are easily compared like what you did when you got home, how you related to particular tasks or people. That way it can be easier to be clear about how much you’ve changed.

    • Hey, Evan –

      Thanks for that nugget of knowledge . . . I wasn’t aware that mania is dissociation . . . that is very helpful to know! Thanks!

      – Marie


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