These thoughts are not true
As some of you know, I put my beloved 16 year old dog to sleep on May 28th, 2015. I cried so much so it felt like there was nothing left in me. I had basically succumbed to, and embraced myself in, the sorrow of his death.
Well, as life ‘happens’ unexpectedly, a lot of movements have happened in my life since then. I’ve moved to a new city, my husband and I decided to take a vacation in Hawaii, I had an amazing summer camp and my partner and I held our first workshop in Tokyo. In fact, in the time since I said goodbye to my baby, I’ve only gotten busier and busier. And I thought I was handling everything well, including my feelings.
Something was off…
But sometime in September I started feeling something was off. I thought this was probably a hormone issue and that my body may have been going through some natural changes due to the aging process. I told myself that “…it’s nothing. It will pass” but I started spending more time in my bed as if I was depressed. Even as I told again myself that it would pass soon, I lost interest in doing just about anything. I had no desire to write a blog or to plan another workshop. I did continue to do The Work by myself and with others, however, yet as I did I felt like something was off… like I was really not being honest with myself when I did The Work.
There were times that I noticed thoughts like “I miss my baby. I want to be with him. It is really hard for me to go on without him.” And I kept telling myself that I have The Work and I know how to handle my emotions. I told myself that these stressful thoughts were not true, and that I don’t really believe them. Yet, I kept behaving as if I was depressed.
A couple of weeks ago, I went to see a massage therapist near where I used to live. As I around the old areas where I used to walk with my dog, I started crying. I wailed in my car. It was shocking for me to experience this. I thought I was done crying about my dog!
Because of that incident, I started to wonder if I had been repressing my emotions, trying to control how I feel. Through meditation, I soon came to realize that I kept telling myself that those thoughts were not true without actually investigating them first!
When I don’t actually go through the exercise of writing down my stressful thoughts and inquiring about them, all I am doing to myself is repressing my emotions. I am trying to protect my feelings by telling myself that those thoughts are not true.
But in reality, those thoughts are true in my world! You know why? Because they ingrain themselves in my mind, which causes my body and my mood to react to them. Even as I was actively ‘telling’ myself not to believe them, I was believing them. No wonder I was feeling like I was depressed. I had inadvertently created a war within myself.
You can’t feel joy without grief…
Another thing I noticed during this experience was that when I tried to repress stressful thoughts, equivalent feelings of gratitude, happiness and joy were also suppressed. It seems that I can’t experience feelings of gratitude and joy without the existence of sadness and grief. By trying to control the stressful thoughts, I lost the balance. When I closed my heart for sadness and grief, I also closed my heart to feel joy.
So for now, I am giving myself a lot of time to sit in silence and really pay attention to what I am feeling from moment to moment. Whatever feeling shows up, I go with it. If I want to cry, I cry for a while. If I am experiencing fear, I hold myself tightly and tell myself that I am right here.