Posts Tagged ‘finish’

outside presence

July 4, 2010

This presence is not about being outdoors. My outside presence is the presence who can watch me living, responding, feeling, and acting as if I were watching me on a movie screen. Unlike the movies, though, I am still connected while observing how I am being in the world. There is no disconnect involved . . . only distance.

I learned how to do this many years ago as a guided meditation to help resolve old childhood traumas. It is an excellent method because it keeps me from reliving the drama and recreating the same old emotions. And, because I am a compassionate observer (compassion totally rules this process), it is a safe place to give my child now what she could not get back then.

Lately, I have been working to bring this process into my adulthood on a more regular basis. I am acutely aware of how my thinking process contributes so much to my emotional way of being . . . many times the thought seems instantaneous with the emotional outbreak and I miss it. All emotions are okay to experience, but I ask myself this question: is my emotional response appropriate to the circumstances given everything I know? I especially take note of my reactions when another person has done something that causes me distress.

Since I am on a quest to feel good as often as possible and other people sometimes seem to be on a quest to thwart those efforts, I have to look at the distress signals carefully. They are appropriate to times when I might be in danger, when someone might cause me harm, and when someone is not being honest with me or trying to get me to be someone for them that is not good for me. These also include times when I might be expecting others to be who I think they should be. Signals of distress are anxiety, fear, anger, impatience, resentment, and any other emotion that makes me uncomfortable and gets that hot fire burning at the top of my skull.

With the exception of immediate physical harm, when I am in distress, I have to look at how I have constructed the thoughts in my head and examine whether or not I have talked myself into being distressed. We have all been taught in our childhood to feel a certain way when certain things happen. For example, my parents taught me that I should feel unworthy and stupid when I brought home anything less than an “A” on my report card. As I experience grade anxiety in my classes at Loyola, I have to sit down with myself and give me compassion, understanding, love, and acceptance should I choose to make a “B” in a class. I am allowing myself to enjoy the experience, knowing full well that I can make an “A” should I choose to do so.

I can’t hold onto the resentment towards my parents. That is nonproductive and simply reproduces the helplessness I felt when I was a child. I am experimenting with Laurie Buchanan’s recommendation of Emotional Freedom Techniques to help free myself.

While I know I exist eternally, I believe I am here to finish with many issues including the emotional issues that block me from living as my true presence. This human existence is far too short to waste time reliving the past and carrying this emotional baggage around weighs me down. When I leave this body, I want to leave as lightly as possible.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

Finishing presence

April 30, 2010

Finishing presence feels somewhat like I imagine forgiveness feels like: the circumstances, the person, the situation, or the event no longer stirs evocative emotions in me. I feel neither this way nor that way. I am finished.

I struggle with the word “forgive” because it implies that someone or something has wronged me in some way. As a child, I was taught that the concept of “forgiveness” meant people could do anything they wanted and as long as they were sorry, God would forgive them. It did not necessarily mean that the person had to stop that behavior.

As an adult, I have to grow into a new concept and definition of forgiveness. Finishing is as close as I can get right now. To let myself off of the hook and quit feeling bad over life long past, I need to be finished and let it go. It does not mean I forget. Finishing means I remember from a new perspective.

From this distance, I can look at events that occurred in my childhood and know that I felt bad. I can even recreate the bad feelings over something that might have happened forty years ago. I am still that child feeling awful about something someone else did. I might even feel bad over something that I did. I am not finished. To be finished requires some creative work. A mindful meditative journey with that child works well for me. From my adult perspective, I can point out and create new stories about the event. As I tell myself (the child) several different stories about the event, why it occurred, what was going on with me and other people, I come to realize that I feel bad because I’ve attached meaning to the event. The meaning almost always is some derivative that I did something wrong, that I was a bad person, that I should have done something else, I should have known better, I should have (fill in the blank). I continue to suffer because I want life to be different than what it was or how it is right now.

This internal work moves at its own pace. The child in me signals readiness when the memory surfaces and I become that child again, feeling bad over things long past. My eternal presence urges me to let it go . . . not to forget the incident, but rather, to let go of carrying the emotional weight. If I stay present, being with the child in the moment, life will bring me all sorts of ways to let go: reading a sentence, drawing a picture, writing a memoir, a physical movement, witnessing life unfolding. It does not matter. There is not any one specific way except for me to trust myself, know that I am eternal, and make the choice to live joyfully.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass