If we fall it doesn’t mean that we have failed

Sometimes I get knocked off my true course, I just let go of my anchor and completely drift miles and miles away from my inner compass. I don’t really know the specific cause but what I can see is how easy it is to happen, in today’s busy world and the constant change in being in contact with the whole entire world 24/7. 

I think the biggest part of what causes me to let go of the anchor and loose connection with myself; is my unnecessary sense of urgency and needing to feel, that feeling of busyness that oozes into every element, every nook and cranny of my life.  

What do I mean by unnecessary sense of urgency? These are urgent opportunities to do anything imaginable from studying any psychology subject instantly, trying new walks with my beloved pup Moose, try new activities with my family, communicate with anyone and everyone, anywhere at any time and the ability to know exactly what is going on at any moment in my life or in the universe I live in. 

All of the above is so seductive, when it whispers in my ears, come out, come out and play with me. And if I don’t respond I am left with this pain staking feeling that I could be missing out on something amazing that I will never have the opportunity to ever exerance again. 

BUT recently that seductive whisper has quieted down and the nagging feeling that I may be missing out has changed to a nagging feeling of what have I missed in me, what experience of being myself looking after myself have I been missing out on. Do I really know who I am anymore? 

I have been so busy with other stuff that I just hadn’t checked in myself for so long that I can’t remember the last time I did. 

I use to check in on myself daily almost like a ritual; journallying, meditating my day, ending my day on gratitude before falling asleep and reading tons of interesting books on many different subjects. 

Instead of spending some time each day looking “inwards”, I have been spending all my time living externally of me. 

Looking inside and quietly examining your mind, or just sitting and giving up the hold on your thoughts, is at the core of Buddhist mindfulness or meditative practices, it is the reason why people of all ages and at all times seek the quiet, reflective peace found during a walk alone in nature.

The Tibetan word for Buddhist is “Nangpa” or “insider.” Dharma teaches us that we can only find peace and happiness by looking inside, by examining and getting to know how our mind works, so that we can interrupt the habitual mental tendencies that lead to unhappiness.

But in today’s world, the solitude required to look inside is less and less valued. So much so it seems many of us  just can’t “do” solitude. We live in a culture that respects and encourages everything that is not solitude. It promotes constant visibility and getting yourself out there: joining teams and groups, creating bigger and bigger professional and personal networks, attracting hundreds or thousands of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn followers.

Yet, in the ultimate sense ,in terms of “things as they are”, we are alone. We came into this life alone and leave it in the same way. And, in the time in between, we do everything we can to forget our ultimate aloneness, pretending it’s not so.

Sometimes it’s not that we are purposely leaving our inner life behind, but we just forget about it!

“We get busy, and the more distant solitude becomes, the more we avoid it…. It may be a fear of coming down from the stimulation.”

by Laurie Helgoe

I confess that this helps explain what happens to me. Although I know I need to stop and disengage from “out there” … whenever I tried I was like a kid kicking and screaming, having a full on temper tantrum . My body and mind revolted. 

Solitude can be uncomfortable at first. Those of you who practice meditation are familiar with that uncomfortableness when remembering the first few times you tried to meditate.

Writing is like that too. We remember we like it, but when we try to get into again after a long absence, it feels awkward. We feel bored, not used to being stimulated from the inside-out rather than the outside-in. 

But if, like me, you stick to the “practice of solitude” your dedication will pay off. You will be reacquainted with the joy, yes, joy and energy in the treasure you left buried inside.

Stop now and sit, for 15 or 20 minutes, with a poem, or an idea for a new creative project. Immerse yourself in your own mind, in the stimulation of ideas, and like the most addictive video game or computer activity you will be hooked back into yourself after a few times of adventurously exploring your inner landscape. You may be surprised at what you find.

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