….and not suffering much on other days.
I find myself curious about what makes some days harder than others in this respect. Some days thoughts that bring suffering are frequent and seem to be more insistent.
Other days, like this one, I can stand back and see them more clearly and be more in my own presence. What did I do different today? I went for my usual swim, and then had an early walk in the woods today. I took in the fresh spring air, the birdsong and newly emerging flowers, chatted with the gardeners, and sauntered around for a while. Just wandering, no destination in mind, just being there.
I also had very little alcohol last night and so did not feel any after effects this morning. It was a boozy weekend with a Friday leaving party and dinner in the pub, then dinner and a night next door in their bar, and then a superb violin concert at their church and a further party next door on Sunday. That is all fun, the chat is friendly and interesting, I meet new people and my glass is filled and filled. I then awake feeling the after effects which I really don’t enjoy. Yes, hmm, who does. I have been reluctant to give this final aspect of my social life up, as it is already quite odd being alone for such long periods.
It is so pleasant to feel normal and balanced instead. The after effects of drinking the night before I do not find conclusive to a healthy relationship with the thoughts. The thoughts seem a lot louder, especially the negative and self critical ones. I think it is more that my own strength of presence is receded, so the thoughts can run amok more easily.
So today I have been doing activities which strengthen my presence, swimming, nature walk, healthy eating, less sugar in tea and not over indulging in intoxicants.
Facebook which I frequently visit has become a source of suffering and so I made a change. I changed my FB account away from my normal personal one to an old account I have hardly used, where I have no friends or family. I find that what some friends and family post is a source of pain. There is a lot of focus on politics, and on what is wrong with the world. So lets see how I do, not having my fix of news from those I know.
Instead this new account has subscriptions to pages and groups like Adyshanti, Dzogchen and Self Compassion. I also started a Personal Growth page when I set the page up years ago and see that there are now over 120 subscribers even though I haven’t been posting. So there’s a new community.
In short —- Being kind to myself=I suffer less.
I enjoyed falling asleep to this Tara Brach talk last night – its on addiction and addiction not just to substances but to sugar, relationships, TV, internet…anything that we are driven by our ‘hungry ghosts’ to grab onto.