What is Not Expressed

February 16th, 2007

Once again, The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo (linked to the left), has timely messages for me. This week there was a page (Feb 13th) that was already dog-eared, as I read this piece last year also. The author writes,

What is not ex-pressed is de-pressed...It seems the more we express, that is, bring out what is in, the more alive we are. The more we give voice to our pain in living, the less build-up we have between our soul and our way in the world. However, the more we depress, the more we push down and keep in, the smaller we become. The more we stuff between our heart and our daily experience, the more we have to work through to feel life directly.

I need to remember this. Part of me wants to beat myself up for not taking this to heart in the last week or so when everything from brushing my teeth to focusing on a book felt difficult. Sure there was a lot going on, my depression seemed to be weighing me down, and pms wasn't helping either. And I just let it all get me so down. I stopped taking care of myself, never a good thing. I didn't shower as much as I should, I didn't sleep regular hours or exercise, some days I didn't eat until the evening, all I wanted to do was sleep. Yes, I need to have compassion for the head-space I was in, but I wish I could have felt that compassion and then done a little more for myself. It wasn't a very long time of feeling this way, but still it was long enough.

I started doing my morning pages again after a long hiatus, in preparation for Finding Water, which starts up tomorrow. Already I feel more connected to myself. It feels like I dropped a bucket down into the well of my heart. Having not made any art since last week, I haven't been expressing what was in me and it was only depressing me further. Lesson is: just because I don't feel like talking doesn't mean I should shut off completely. I did do some blogging, which actually was helpful, but there's something about paper journaling that is essential. I'm so glad to be getting back into it. I'm at work 24/7 this week and away from my art supplies, so my art making has consisted of doodling and sketching in a sketchbook. In the meantime, the many layers that might come out in a collage are coming out in my morning pages, the layers of what has been getting me down, the pressures that are overwhelming me and the bigger picture that helps me to feel calmer.

In today's entry, Nepo writes:

If peace comes from seeing the whole, then misery stems from a loss of perspective.

And thankfully, I've finally been able to take a step back and gain some perspective. What shifted? Well, I know the reading and journaling certainly helped, the distinct mental shift that occurs when I get my period helped (bizarre but true),  and surprisingly spending time with my youngest brother who is at the wonderfully awkward age of 14 was helpful. I watch him play with the dogs, struggle to focus on his reading, play ping pong, tell me about a movie he liked, and it opens my heart just a bit more and pulls me out of the hyper focus on the negative.

So, I'll do my best not to be mad at myself for eating like crap, not taking care of myself this week and the sluggish way I feel as a result. I need to take a deep breath, let that go and move forward.

On a positive note, I've had some funny experiences with my number that loves to pop up, 17. Tomorrow is the 17th and it's my mom's 17th wedding anniversary (the reason why I'm watching my brother), today the number 17 kept popping up in the movie we were watching and the first time it was mentioned I looked up and it was 8:17. And there were other ones that I can't remember now. And another positive note, I just remembered that week one of Finding Water is called "Recovering a Sense of Optimism." Hehe. I guess I'll be working on that this week. More about the chapter as the week rolls along. In the meantime, here's a quote from the basics section of FW that I just love:

Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbons.
- Ruth Ann Schabacker

4 Responses

You know…maybe you needed to just veg out for awhile. I mean, you definately deserve to! Either way, I’m glad to hear that you are starting to feel better now. We haven’t even technically “started” Finding Water yet and, already, I’m starting to feel better about things, too. Weird, ey? I’m looking forward to whatever is to come.

i’m sending love your way!

I didn’t expect much but community from this little Finding Water excursion – yet my first sit down to morning page (and a little more) yielded amazing results…even brought out the “what I really want to do is” without my consciously thinking it before I wrote it. There is magic afoot and we are all part of it. Blessings!

I recently received Nepo’s book. I love the meditations.

I’ve been so behind in reading blogs the past couple of weeks…had something like 13 posts for you in my Bloglines. Showering…there are few things in life that give me more pleasure than a shower. I like baths, but I LOVE showers…maybe because I get my best ideas there. I’ve taken to not showering some weekends (obviously only if I don’t have any plans…and I’ve taken to not making any on weekends). And it just hit me yesterday why that feels so pleasurable to me…to be a bit slothful on the weekend. Because I’m moving SO FAST all week–trying to juggle everything–that showering becomes one more thing I *have* to do. My weekends have become a lazy orgy of sweat pants, drive-thru coffee windows (often still partly in my pajamas), take-out food, LONG (hard) naps, reading in bed and just all-around lounging with J. I used to equate some of those things with depression…it’s only recently that I’ve come to realize that under other circumstances, they’re self-care.

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