I really pay attention while I am in the swimming pool each morning. It is a period of each day when I slow right down and feel into my body, moments of pure luxury. I swim about 600 metres each day, sometime less if the pool is busy. I swim a relaxed breaststroke one way then a back stroke the other direction, up and down and up and down. Afterwards my body feels very relaxed and happy.
I seem to need such deep intensive relaxation therapy. I certainly benefit from it. I feel as though I am recovering from a lifetime of trauma, in my case much of it over the last 30 years self imposed.
Also patterns set up from childhood conditioning led to a habit of allowing fearful thoughts to trash my well being on an almost hourly basis. It wasn’t completely safe to be a kid in our household. Conditioning also made me attracted to people who would not love me consistently, and even bring me harm. I did not believe I was worthy of love and did not feel safe receiving it, so I made sure I chose those who were incapable of it.
That is my ‘back story’ as they say in Westworld. In Westworld they give all the robots a back story for context, and it helps them create an identity. It is important to identify our own back story and to be honest about what we have experienced, the good the bad and the ugly. It is not all negative of course and I was given some valuable tools too.
Back to the present. Up until recently I was adding a lot of fuel to the fire for myself, by creating unsafe situations, particularly in relationships and financially. I let my thoughts run rampant. I was on permanent alerted mode, and my primitive brain’s threat detection system was always on the lookout.
Now this is changing. I am having to be exceedingly patient with myself as I recalibrate. It is taking a long time to wean myself off feeling unsafe and being in hyper alert mode. At first it even felt unsafe to feel relaxed. This is why, I have focussed very much on the physical body.
I have used the physical body as a route to creating a feeling of being safe. When my body is relaxed, it communicates to my brain that all is well. Mindfulness allows an awareness of the thoughts as they arrive, and gives tools for dealing with the thoughts too. So I spend time doing activities that relax me, like swimming and walking in nature regularly and occasionally riding my bike.
And I’m wondering about extending this, how physically relaxed can you get?! So thinking about a regular massage, and also returning to the mindfulness class I used to go to. For the social side too, this path can be awfully isolating I have found. I just keep having to let go of friendship the more true to myself I get. I’m hoping it’s not an automatic inevitability of this path but more a symptom of hanging out with the wrong people.
More self compassion and more compassion and understanding for us all. May we all we well, may we all be safe, may we all be happy, amen.