Digest & Release
Updated: Mar 18
I have spent the last two years very proud of all the transformation I have undergone. A month ago I was largely attributing this to the amount of time I spent processing. Using yoga and meditation for that purpose. Using time with friends and lovers with that objective. Using time alone to revisit, connect dots, get to know my inner workings intimately. But to what end ultimately?
Do we have to know why we use an outdated coping mechanism before we are able to let it go? Are these connections, based in logic and worked through the brain, serving to propel our healing forward or do they further entrap us in the cycle of suffering?
Before coming to Côte d'Ivoire, I vigorously defended the amount of time and energy I spent processing. I justified engaging in toxic relationships with the mantra that the lessons I was learning were good for my growth. I allowed things to unfold little by little, letting go of old patterns reluctantly but, again, attributing the pace to the "need for processing." Telling myself that I would not integrate if it was not done in this highly controlled way.
In Côte d'Ivoire, my heart, my perception, my attachments, have been blown wide open and ripped to shreds. Turned into confetti and magic fairy dust. I mourn them. I want to cling to them. Say "Hey, I wasn't done processing you yet!" But they are already on the way out. This IS the processing. I have done the work to bring these things into my awareness. I have clear seeing and insight around them. Now they must continue to be digested and released.
With no shame or blame I can declare that my "processing" was a Western-world indulgence. As a traveler engaging in dance for only two hours and restrictions on where I travel alone, I have more time and space than ever before to PROCESS. But the heart, Earth energy here does not seem to feed this Western mode of brain processing. I can feel hurts and joys in my body and I can feel their release there as well. And it is spontaneous and magnetic and only longer than a moment if I am resisting or seeking to hold on.
The processing here goes something like, "That happened, it is done now, let's move on." While I can see the pitfalls in this, the potential suppression of deep emotion and the glossing over of topics important to me, it is a mantra that generally holds true. It is good for survival. It is good for growth. It is good for one's health. My health.
For the first time I deeply understand mindfulness and it's benefits. Better than I did with the numerous Thich Nhat Hanh books I read, 8-week mindfulness course I took or the years of sitting meditation. Today I did not feel well and had a lot of time on my hands. My first go-to was boredom, then filling space with social media, then indulgence in self-pity and doom. After five minutes, all three passed and I was a woman, on her own for a day, with some body sensations, many positive tools for taking care, and a deep desire to be alive and present.
Footnote: The irony of passing the time with the writing process is not lost on me. I have hopes that this serves as healing for both you and I and that we may lay down our burdens and be free from the past, coming to the present moment with wonder and the energy of possibility.