We begin to abolish the ghosts of pain and limitation when we stand and face them.”T. Mirikitani
I’d like to address what I’m hearing from a bunch of people who are behaving responsibly with social distancing. I’m hearing a lot of frustration with life being put into neutral. I’m hearing a lot of irritation with the lack of space in our own home because we’re sharing an abnormal about of time with our loved ones at an elevated level we’re just not used to. I’m hearing a lot of discomfort in the barrage of thoughts and feelings flooding us when the distractions we use to neutralize or avoid them are removed, against our wishes.
Let me address what I believe to be the most crucial struggle of our home confinement. This is the stream of thoughts that drop down on us when our usual barriers (i.e., work, sports, social time, hobbies) to avoid such thoughts are inaccessible. Whether we’re aware of it or not, the busy-ness of life becomes a filter that helps us avoid reconciling certain issues we’d rather not address.
It could be irritating habits of our loved ones that we don’t have to endure for such extended amounts of time when we’re all absorbed in our own daily gig. Perhaps unresolved arguments bubble up because they were never truly settled. It may be disrespectful attitude from our teens that we push aside because we’re all so busy there just never seems a good time to dissect the issue and find a healthy agreement. It could be the overwhelming fears for possible medical and financial difficulties that trigger long buried fears of our earlier years. Whatever the prompts our reactions, we no longer can hold back what we usually hold captive with our routine distractions.
When we rely on work, community or friends to balance our lack of healthy relations in our home we’re faced with the saddest revelations of all when it’s no longer available. That revelation is we’re failing to foster healthy relationships that bring more moments of happiness, security, connection, contentment, encouragement and love. I believe now is the time to face the biggest fears we gladly avoid and slowly begin the process of mending what’s broken or lacking in our relationships.
Our first step is to gather whatever enters our minds. Memories, perceptions, attitudes, self-image, assumptions, preconceptions, suspicions, opinions, beliefs, concerns, fears, desires, sadness. Collect any and every thought or feeling that comes to us. Don’t ignore. Don’t cast away. Record it.
This may sound redundant, but journaling is one of the best ways to capture what thoughts may haunt us. It can also be helpful to talk to a trusted loved one or friend who knows us best to express our thoughts and feelings but it’s very important to record them. A plain old notebook suffices.
Keep recording thoughts and feelings. Only record! Don’t try to fix anything until the flow slows down and we don’t feel as overwhelmed. At the point you no longer feel like you’re drowning in thoughts or feelings, a sense of relief can hit us. It’s like a weight has been taken off your chest. Go ahead and take a big breath calm. Nice!
Here’s where I caution you. Being on lock-down is probably not the time for working out issues with loved ones because we can’t find the necessary space that’s helpful when working through emotional repairs. It can escalate our problems by unleashing negative emotions under stressful circumstances. What is totally possible is sorting through our own mental and emotional challenges and making tiny improvements in our own attitudes and behaviors.
Be brave as you collect thoughts, memories, and emotions that are usually held back with life’s busy-ness and get comfortable with what or who in your life ignites pain, fear, anxiousness, or anger. When we dissolve the barriers that mute the emotions that live deep down within us, we reveal the areas in our life that cry to be heard so they can be healed.
Why is any of this important? It’s important because just because we typically choke the pain inside us doesn’t mean it’s not festering and creating a blockage for a more prosperous life. Allowing it to breathe gives it the opportunity for us to use the time we have right now, with social distancing, to once and for all mend the broken pieces that will continue to limit our potential for more fulfilling relationships and most importantly help foster peace from within so that we can find as much life satisfaction and contentment as possible.
I’ll blog again on what we can do with our journaled thoughts and move forward on the path of reconciliation. For now, instead of avoiding or fearing the rush of thoughts or feelings, gather them. The acknowledgment of them with this tiny first step already starts the process of healing.
Keep it Simple,
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