It feels terrifying, right?! The idea that there's no escape away from what feels hard or painful.
Let's face it, we all have our ways of escape. For some, it's using a substance like alcohol, drugs or even food. For others, it might be watching television or reading. I even see it within spirituality, using self reflection as an aggressive tool to get away from what is happening. The thing is, I think we need ways to get away from ourselves in order to get perspective. That a little "escape" can actually work for us. It can give us enough space to either de-trigger or find the courage to face what is there. We need a broad set of tools and strategies - escape being one - in order to keep ourselves accountable and present in our current world. Expecting ourselves to be 100% present 100% of the time is setting us up for disappointment and shame.
And we all need to be honest about where that line is for us. In a desire to protect itself, our egos are masters at convincing us that escape is necessary and good more often than is really true. And for most of us, we err on the side of escape over presence. So we practice in order to strengthen the muscle.
Part of the learning that comes in staying present, meditation being my preferred practice, is one of acceptance. Not trying to run from what is, but staying with it. When we escape, there is usually some subconscious desire that when we check back in it will all be over. But so much healing comes when we stay with what is happening, and learn to accept what is. Not in a roll over and quit kind of way, but in an, "ok this is what is so how do I move forward?" kind of way. Denying it only brings more of the suffering.
One of the things I've been hearing so much is that the old ways of escape are no longer working. That there is a stronger call to become more present to what is. This can initially feel like total panic. As if we are backed in a corner. But what if we are? How can we use this feeling of "no exit" to work for us?
First, we need to accept. So often that softens the panic and allows us to see and feel that perhaps it is not as terrifying as we might think. And then...
Can you find some joy or laughter in the staying? Can you find the ridiculousness through the pain? Can you find a loved one who can honor your commitment, cheering you on and sending funny gifs? Can you let yourself bawl your eyes out, making a date with yourself and Steel Magnolias if you have to? Can you feel proud of yourself for doing a really hard thing?
Because friend, you are doing a really hard thing. I am cheering you on. I get the fear. I get the loneliness. I also get the perfection and learning and utter absurdity of the journey here in this meat sack. You are doing it. YOU ARE DOING IT!!! And if you need any funny gifs, just let me know.