It’s been a while since my last journal entry, which has at points concerned me. In recovery, routine can be a good thing. Positive structures and routines help give life meaning, especially in the depressed state, when there is a complete absence of meaning.
Over the last year I’ve found journaling to be a hugely beneficial tool, that has considerably helped empty my head of nonsense and also helped me keep track of the positive steps and achievements that I’ve made. It’s a great way to balance the books, so that a wider perspective can be attained. I would highly recommend it to anyone recovering from mental illness. It takes some discipline, but I am in no doubt that my recovery wouldn’t be where it is today, had I not made the commitment to myself to feel worthy enough to document my life, as seen through my own eyes.
So when I realised that I hadn’t journaled for a while, I started to feel uncomfortable. I felt uncomfortable because I realised that I didn’t know what to write anymore. I also didn’t feel that I had anything worth saying. I had stopped making the effort to brain dump every day. This has actually been a good thing, because it’s given me some time for internal reflection.
Lao Tzu said:
Silence is a source of great strength.
Today that penny dropped. I’ve been meditating every day for the last 80 odd days. I do at least 20 minutes every day and some days I do considerably more. It’s great and I love it, which in itself is a huge sign of progress, as I used to see it as a necessary chore. Now I see it as an invaluable daily experience that I embrace and cherish. It’s an opportunity to have 20 minutes of real peace. Peace in an innate quality, that exists beyond the realm of mind. The mind cannot create peace, but it can witness peace in the absence of thought. I find that interesting, because who is creating the peace?
I’ve spent the last month or so really working on my internal monologue. Listening to the noise, listening to the feelings, listening to the silence. It’s been challenging, but it’s also been the most rewarding part of my recovery so far.
I’ve been working on answering the question of, ‘what is self-esteem?’ and I’m starting to find the answer. I’ve now given up pretty much everything that I considered ‘mine’ in the existential world. So the only thing that really belongs to me, is me. I even consider this physical Being as simply being on lone for a while, before I give it back to the universe and get an upgrade.
With that construct in mind, that this body is simply an empty vessel that allows the spirit (consciousness) to manifest itself in a way that it can become self aware. Within that premise, the ‘I’ takes on a whole new meaning. I, therefore, have a responsibility to this body.
I’ve turned my mind off for the past month, as I’ve been focusing on the physical aspect of my Being. It’s this that has really allowed me to learn the meaning of esteem, particularly self-esteem. When my body aches from the previous days exercise, my lazy mind can say, ‘nah, we don’t need to do that again today’. Usually there would be no apposing view, so the mind wins and normal, lazy, service is resumed. The net result being, no increase in self-esteem. For the last 6 weeks, I’ve overruled myself and it’s been working.
I remind myself of my original intention, and then let go of all the nonsense, noise and excuses that my mind tries to tell me. In effect I acknowledge that there is no choice to be made. The choice has already been made. NOW there is only the action. It’s a really simple concept, but it’s taken me 37 years to grasp. In the process, I seem to be learning new things too, such as dedication and commitment. Things that as an addict and co-dependent, I’ve been sorely lacking.
Today feels like a lot of the effort I’ve been putting in over the recent days, weeks and months has finally started to come together. That said, I thought it was about time that I picked up my journal and started to reengage my mind.
My goal at the moment is to continue to build upon the relationships and friendships that I’ve begun to make over the last few months. I will continue to practice humility, acknowledging that I need help from others and that interdependence is different from co-dependence. Independence and self reliance is healthy, whereas isolation and dependency is not.
Whilst being mindful of the above, I also intend to nurture within myself, my creative potential. I acknowledge that it is better to begin and to fail, than it is to never start and thus to automatically fail.