When you have a nervous system trained and primed to be on the alert for unexpected danger then the idea of contentment is foreign and foolish at best and terrifying at worst. But the evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of relaxing into contentment. Life is demonstrating day after day, that here, right now, it is safe. And It keeps on being safe, in the present. All sense of danger comes from imagination – fabricated potential scenarios of the mind.
Right now I have Everything. No unwanted obligations, nobody to answer to or have to compromise around, there’s plentiful warmth, safety, food, health, comfort, beauty, quiet, nature, good neighbours, books, music, freedom….what’s not to like. Gratitude for all of this, thank you.
This greedy grabby ego is learning to adjust and it’s urgent admonisions to make something happen, (anything at all rather than this stability), it wants people, gossip, problems, drama, romance, entertainment….are subsiding, with a spike or two most days. It wants something other than what is happening right now. Anything other than stillness and silence, which is the new land being entered.
So contentment yes. It has taken a long while to get to know you, and our relationship is still developing. I look forward to developing my trust in you as this relationship grows. After spending much of life in a restless frenzy, there is adjusting to do. I am being compassionate and patient with this situation. There is a nervous system here that requires soothing like a baby, yes reparenting it is no less. This apartment is an intensive care ward. The soothing and nurturing actions taken daily are small steps towards the reprogramming that seem to be having a cumulative effect.
This in turn is allowing me to feel safe enough to dig deeper, and look at what I have been avoiding, looking squarely at hatred and separation and fear of humour, intimacy and vulnerability. All wrapped up they are I think.
Yes, it’s like exercising an unused muscle for the fist time in a long time, requires consistent perseverance, a little practice every day. But I find this a real pleasure, like giving a long lost part of myself a welcome back.
Thanks Susan, I read the article, and yes, it’s good. It’s what happens when the thought that the zebra’s alertness is how it escaped the lion, becomes an existential alertness. Inability to raise oneself to compassion because there was a lack of love in one’s childhood so build according to the instructions, not something that clicks into place straight away. Also something to do with the stoic Scottish attitude, I’m from the North East, I notice there are some of your pictures that look familiar…
Thanks. I wonder if being on shaky ground is just the human condition. The more I dig under the surface I see that most people are often afraid and uncertain. We have these primitive bit of our brain to deal with! I find that Paul Gilbert’s model shone some light on this and enabled me to feel more compassion for our predicament.
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So good to read, a dialogue with myself using the apartment as an intensive care unit. For me it’s a great encouragement because I feel I’m on shaky ground nearly all the time but your strategies of self nurturing are completely right. I’m grateful for your way of addressing the reader as if it were her or him and it’s you, or it’s us. The universality of ‘suffering’ or ‘self’ management…
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