An amazing email from a student to her group as she contemplates completing her solo internship working with autistic children in Vietnam, and returning to the U.S. to rejoin her group for their final retreat. This post demonstrates the kind of practical skills that she has learned to master difficult emotions and states of mind – as well as her heightened consciousness about completing an experience before moving on to another:
I really worked myself into quite the spot last night. I called my mother and started bawling about how out of control I felt and how I was feeling so much resistance to writing and to completion in general. She wasn’t able to talk for long and left me with these words “stop resisting the resistance”. I know Ive shared this many times before and maybe now it starts to sound repetitive, but really it came back to acceptance. So instead of continuing to spiral out of control with my thoughts, I sat down on my bed took a deep breath and said, I accept it.
All of it.
The noise, the heat, the resistance.
And then I meditated for 30 mintues or so, following my breath at first and then repeating the tara mantra (learned during the fall semester in India) because as I calmed down, I noticed the overwhelming feeling of fear that collects in my stomach. Then I lay down and started taking really deep breaths, breathing in to my fear. For several moments I felt completely overtaken by the feeling, but then it passed and I immediately felt this tingling sensation all over my body. And I realized that behind my fear there was something else. I did Reiki (learned in India) on myself and woke up this morning feeling regrounded.
I have resistance to completion, to endings and transitions. This is the point in time where I’m supposed to pack up my bags and move on to the next place without saying goodbye. Just like I did when we moved to Rhode island and then to Northampton and then every time I switched schools. I’ve always left without completion, without facing the things I’m running away from.
As far as feeling safe in the group, I also had a realization the other night. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so vulnerable, yet so safe on a group. I’ve shared parts of myself with all of you that up until this year had been locked away in a box and labeled “do not open”. That’s where I think the feeling unsafe comes from. My practice before LEAPYEAR was to interact superficially. I felt safe, but miserable. There are definitely still places where I am not quite willing to be vulnerable in the group and that’s where my concentration has been over the past week or so.
Anyways, whats my point in sharing this? I guess its just a reminder to myself and to everyone that conscious living is a constant process. I had this idea that I was going to finish LEAPYEAR completely transformed and perfected, all of my shadows left behind. The truth is we never stop transforming. Just like in meditation/Buddhist practice, there are the rare few that reach nirvana, but for the majority its a lifelong journey, in which new challenges/lessons are revealed to us everyday.
Back in Hoi An, I chose to start loving myself unconditionally. This doesn’t mean that I don’t still struggle with confidence and with self-acceptance or that I don’t have moments where I feel totally lost or frozen in anxiety. Somedays I fall off the bandwagon, but each time I do I learn something new.
So, I’m letting go of the idea that I need to show up at Maacama [LEAPNOW’s California campus] with all my ducks in a row, perfectly together. And I don’t expect any of you to show up perfectly chiseled and put together either. Just show up as yourself and I’ll try my hardest to come as me.