This morning I woke up euphoric. What combination of molecules in- and outside me made that happen?Who knows?
The tree outside my window was a flutter of spring green. I can’t think what tropical beach or secret European pathway had ever made me happier than the view of this tree and the crowded city street on which we live.
Four days ago my energy collapsed at 7 pm. A heaviness pressed my head and and my chest tightened to cry. Why?
Nothing had happened. My fixer/healer self started in: Had I eaten too much sugar? Was I harboring some lingering rage? What was I doing wrong with my life? How could I have avoided this? Why can’t I ever be happy?
Because I practice reiki, two of the "reiki precepts" took over my awareness:
Do not anger.
Do not worry.
I took a breath. I asked myself:
“My friend, what’s the matter?
“I don’t know. I’m feeling so heavy and I just need to lie down.”
If you encountered a friend that was hurting, what would you do?
1. Would you grill the friend for answers? Stomp off because they weren’t available when you’d had plans to watch a movie together? What if they went to lie down instead of finishing the dishes?
2. Or would you give them a hug and say ok I love you. I hope you feel better. Go get some sleep.
Which reaction would you choose for your friend, your Self, your body when it’s hurting?
My coaching teacher sometimes uses this funny, plain language. She'll say, “We are so mean to ourselves. Show your client how mean they have been to themselves.”
It sounds like she is speaking to children. I didn’t get it at first.
Until the day I looked at myself and thought, “Lisa, why are you being so mean?” How had I never seen this before? I was really mean to myself. Like the mean girl I had never been. I was never mean to anyone else. But to myself? I was a relentless hateful bully.
When I became aware of this, my life became shaky. All day long I endured it:
That's what you're wearing? How can you show your face in public? Why don’t you get some new concealer? Sure the ones that work for old ladies are expensive. Can you even afford concealer? Why are you such a failure. You never have enough money and you don't get along with your family. Actually, who DO you get along with? Why do you let people walk all over you?
And the worst part? None of this was odd to me. It was a regular day for me. I suddenly understood that this self-loathing was my normal. It was always there. That's why I hadn't seen it. Even as I heard other people talk about self-loathing, I had thought, "Yeah, those poor self-loathing people. What a mess, but why do they wallow in it?" Lord help me. It is harsh, this self-awareness.
So yeah, it was pretty tough. Why would I encourage you to do it. To pay close attention to your thoughts. To hear them as if you were an outsider.
Because it’s better. Because when you go through it and land on the other side, the plain leaves of a city tree in the sunlight can give you life. And when you’re tired, you’ll simply put yourself to bed. And you know it’s all just ok.
We call that inner peace. People have it on their bucket lists, but they call it different names like "living on an island" or "hiking the Camino de Santiago."
Final thought: If you stomp off or berate an outside friends like that trust me, anger is inside of you. You can never solve another person. It doesn’t matter about them. Does that sound unfair? I didn’t want to hear it about myself. I didn’t want to let the other person off the hook.
But here's the thing, when I became less angry the world became less angry. The people who hurt me faded - in importance, and in physical distance.
(Don't get me wrong. They DID hurt me. They DID do me wrong. I’m not denying it. They aren’t off the hook. I’m just not carrying their pain anymore. That shit’s not mine, though. What’s mine is to go forward in the world, supporting people to find their anger. To transmute heavy emotion. To forgive themselves.
What is yours to do?)