I took a picture of the dirt all over the sidewalk because it reminded me of the relationship between suffering and happiness which Thich Nhat Hanh explained to Oprah on Super Soul Sunday. Happiness and suffering support each other. The two "inter-are" meaning you can't have one without the other like left and right, or heads and tails. Thich Nhat Hanh used mud and a lotus flower as an example. You need mud to grow a lotus because a lotus cannot grow on marble.
From the dirt, a beautiful flower can bloom.
Mess and dirt is necessary. Gunk and wreckage is part of the whole.
I had to regroup and reflect on this inter-are concept this morning because last night at about 10:30pm, I experienced a mudslide of emotions, and it spiraled out of control. I lost my way, fell back into unawareness, and resorted to an old self-medicating habit. I was a hot mess!
My day one walk was a frustrating experience but I still felt hopeful. The rest of the day went fine, and I got a good amount of work done. At about 10pm, I re-watched the Thich Nhat Hanh and Oprah interview because I forgot some stuff about the "inter-are" concept. Watching the show a second time, I saw new things I didn't remember from before or perhaps fell asleep (in consciousness) during those parts the first time.
What prompted the flood of emotions is when Thich Nhat Hanh started talking about the four mantras and love. When he said, "To be loved means to be recognized as existing," I sat frozen and stared at the TV and in an instant a mudslide of grief and pain engulfed me. The anxiety swelled. I got jittery. I wanted to leap out of my skin.
I absolutely hated the feelings I was experiencing and wanted the suffering to disappear instantly.
Resorting to old self-defeating habits
So, in desperation without thinking, I did what I usually do to self-medicate. I started eating sweets. I ate a donut. I ate cookies. I drank a whole can of soda. I ate honey roasted peanuts. I started looking for whatever sweet thing I could eat in the house. I was trying desperately to stuff the suffering feelings with sweet pleasurable tastes.
I used to have self-medicating sweet food binges like this all the time, but over the years, I've worked on recognizing my triggers so that these episodes happen less. I haven't had one in months, and I had one last night. The meditation opened up a portal and brought me to that place. That place around the subject of love, apparently I have been burying.
My inner Judge Judy started in on me with the guilt and reprimand. My higher self thankfully chimed in and reminded me that mess happens. I'm human, slip happens.
I couldn't sleep because my mind would not stop analyzing what happened, and insomnia kicked in. I was awake until 4am. One of the other things I wanted to do with this walking meditation challenge is work on my sleep and wake up earlier in the day like 8am because I get into these habits of going to sleep at 3-5am and waking up at noon. That schedule throws off my day. Since it was 4am, I threw out the idea of getting up at 8am. The ironic thing is that I woke up at exactly 8am, and I didn't feel tired. I just woke up. It was weird.
I laid in bed for a bit and thought about today's walk, day 2. Instead of beating myself up about last night, I did a post mortem, and said, "What can I learn from this?" First thing that came to mind, I completely underestimated the power of walking meditation. How hard could walking slowly be? I thought I could just go from running 27 miles last week into mindful walking at a monk's pace. I only thought about the physical parts of this challenge, and not the emotional or spiritual aspects.
Last night's reaction was like the time I tried to go cold turkey from sugar. I tried to go from eating 100g+ of sugar a day to eating none, and holey hell was that gruesome. The cold turkey approach for me no matter what kind of change it is has been historically disastorus and painful!
I was reminded of one of my own sayings, "Wean versus leap into change." There is no reason for me to suffer. A challenge is supposed to push you and expand you, and yes be uncomfortable and have some level of pain, but there is no need to suffer. So, I decided to make a compromise for day 2.
I decided that I could run 2-3.11miles (5K) without music, and then do walking meditation for the latter part. The run is about half of what I normally do, and running without music would be a challenge beause I always run with music. I would only have the sound of myself and my surroundings.
During the first mile of my run, both my ankles started to hurt. This pain was unusual so I knew something emotional was behind it. Channeling Louise Hay, I remembered that anything to do with feet or legs has to do with fears of moving forward, or not wanting to budge. I asked myself, "Where in your life do you not want to budge?" Immediately, the word "love" came up. A part of me does not want to move forward with love or budge on my beliefs about love.
Again, a tsunami of pain quickly swelled. My chest physically hurt and I started crying. I was cry running, and then I was gasping for air, and yet I couldn't stop running. I could not stop to be with my pain. It then hit me that perhaps I have been using running as another way to avoid pain, to symbolically run away from my feelings. And yeah, more tears came because of that realization...and yet I kept on running. I could not, or more honestly, I did not want to stop running.
I ran 3.30miles in 36 minutes and made myself stop. I went over the 3.11 agreement and wanted to run more, but I wanted to honor my word. This is about learning discipline. I walked .49miles for 14 more minutes, and yes that wasn't meditative pace, but I tried to go as slow as I could. My heart was still racing from the run, and hurting from the realization that I have been my own barrier to love, and my beloved.
Overall feeling: Overwhelmed but the short run made me feel physically better than yesterday.