The first few weeks at home in December were somewhat of a whirlwind - I was completely ecstatic to see my family and friends , but also in complete denial of how I was going to process and unpack all that I had been through. Christmas and a trip to Colorado were nice distractions, but there a came a point where it was painful to try and repress the mess of emotions that lingered beneath my canned responses to questions and curiosities of people who really did care. Soundbites of an extremely dense four months made the whole thing seem like it never really happened. I tried to articulate my state of mind in relation to a USB memory stick that had reached its capacity and could no longer save any more data. I was a full card. Error signal: No more pictures. No more files. At capacity. Eject now. I think I might have totally combusted without the grace and patience of my parents. I spent early January "downloading," figuratively speaking, and was eager to move back to San Diego and establish a routine and get centered.
Now it's nearing the end of February and things are finally starting to come together again. I've spent the past few weeks in the thick of it trying to come to terms with what I've gained and what I had lost after an extremely full year. It wasn't (isn't) always pretty, in fact a lot of it can be downright ugly, but hanging out in the mud is critical for growth. It doesn't happen all at once -- for a while there I didn't feel like it was happening at all, sort of like those dreams where you're trying trying trying to run and you just can't move. Sometime last week the floodgates opened up and all the mental work had accumulated to provide this "aha" moment: make the decision, decide to be free and then go out and just do it, be it.
Sometimes when it seems like there is a chink in our chain and it feels like we just can't get in our groove, we just need to lay down the hammer and say to ourselves: no, nope, I'm the boss here, and I'm going to be/feel/do x-y-z. It's different than pretending or faking, it's just giving yourself permission to wave goodbye to something dark and ugly or whatever that is holding you back from being the person you know you are and who you want to be. The days, the months, the weeks... the books, the writing, the music, the self talk all is important in massaging the soreness but sometimes you just have to stop, and visualize turning on/off the light-switch.
The process has taken me by surprise really, and even though I knew that my post-seafaring journey at home would be interesting, I never pictured it looking quite like this. Out on the open ocean, trekking across this phenomenal planet, I felt completely free and alive. No expectations, no fear of failure, no self criticism, no reason to conform, no time to hold back, just pure allowance to be. I've realized that here at home, I have a hard time feeling completely free. And it's no persons fault but my own. I stand in my own way... doubting, questioning, judging, criticizing. It's no good. I got off the boat and got stuck in that crazy stuff that we all get into sometimes, it looks different on everyone, that stuff we all carry that slows us down, prevents us from giving all of our love and light to others, the stuff that clouds our understanding and distracts us from the truth. Yikes.
I share this because I know I'm not alone in any of it. We all get on these mind tracks that we know do not serve us, that hold us back. Sometimes you see the wall so blatantly (like me) and you're just beating your head against it yelling "I don't want to be here!" while other times you can't even define it, you just feel "eh" or "off." Make the decision to forgive yourself for imperfections, let go of unrealistic expectations, eliminate unhealthy habits or relationships, forget about what you think you should be doing with your life and get out there and do what you love! I'm serious. Imagine the light switch. Sit. or stand. Preferably somewhere quiet, but heck it can be in your car in the middle of rush-hour traffic. Visualize the light switch and make the decision to "be okay." And when I say "be okay" I mean having the courage to accept wherever, whatever, whoever you are right in that present moment. I'm not saying it's easy, but we all deserve to be liberated from the box we put ourselves in. In my case, I was so frustrated with all the emotions I was experiencing after this mind blowing trip -- all the voices saying you shouldn't feel this, you shouldn't think that were getting in the way of what I was supposed to be learning along the way.
Global warming, socio-economic stratification, neocolonialism, extreme poverty, the list goes on... of all the problems of the world there are to fix, it's important to start with the work of our hearts. Make the decision to be whoever you are, do whatever it is, that you've been convinced can't just happen "like that." We're all in this together.
Here goes my pitch for meditation, the best place to access the light-switch.
Yoga Journal, John Kain:
...Meditation practice allows us, through the simple act of awareness, to disengage our long-standing belief in a fixed identity. When we follow our breath, for example, through inhalation and exhalation, we are simply breathing, nothing more. Our thoughts no longer rule the roost.
They cease to be the foundation of our identity, and our awareness expands. In this way, we begin to forget the self—that false construct of thoughts we've taken for reality for so long—and start to identify with a larger universal awareness. As we progress in our practice, we naturally have strong insights. We might get a juicy taste of clarity; we might see all of our fears disintegrate...
Read the full article: HERE