So yesterday was my first visit to this new age-ish counselor that I have decided to see. Joe is fully behind me and it is a good thing, as my mind frankly wants to dismiss anything this person would have to offer as being far out and a little bit kooky. I tend to gravitate pretty rapidly away from any kind of extremism. But the knowledge that I am having issues managing my grief that I have been unable to "think" my way around kept me on the path. The recognition that I have all but abandoned any kind of spirituality in regards to both myself or a higher power moved me in that direction too. I cannot help but feel there is a source of untapped power inside me somewhere. I don't think I am a Power Puff Girl or anything like that, but I do think that I have the ability in me to achieve balance and inner peace. I certainly hope so. Joe and I were talking about something yesterday. It was a pretty straight forward issue, but I began to think about it, to turn it over and over in my mind, and I wrote him an email sharing these thoughts with him. He pointed out to me how I was complicating things just by letting my brain work it like a puzzle, how it amplified it and changed the nature of it. And later on, he kissed me, drew me into his arms and softly said he hopes the new counselor can help me find some peace, that my mind being this active and anxious to think my way through things is actually its own little stressor. That touched my heart so deeply. I had not realized it really, but he is right. I do tend to steal my own peace due to a line of logic, thought and constant inner knowledge and evaluation making it difficult to just peacefully and lovingly accept that not every emotion needs to be solved or expressed (particularly the negative ones). That sometimes they just are.
This is a little bit of what Jordan (the therapist) and I discussed yesterday. He is a very deadpan, calm, accepting person. I am very used to getting kudos for my busy, quick, logical thought process and we spent a lot of time talking about the methods he uses and where it can benefit me. It was interesting as we got into a brief exercise to find that though my thoughts and inner mental workings have value, that he would acknowledge them gently and with praise for their accuracy, but encourage me not to feed them, to just let them happen and pass through.
I have always thought that the words "feelings" and "emotions" were synonymous. but by the line of thinking I am going to learn to practice, they are different. Feelings give rise to emotion, but you can have feelings without having emotion. A feeling is the physical manifestation of a series of events inside the body that then lead the brain to make a spiritual diagnosis of sorts....rapid heart rate, chest tightening, the sense of congestion behind the eyes, limbs growing heavy, a sensation of being about to cry, throat closing up....all signs for me of an emotion I feel a lot these days....fear. Or more accurately, anxiety. Basically, in learning to use conscious thought to recognize a feeling is happening, I can learn to hopefully stop having feelings I ignore, then react to without even identifying it. If I can learn to gently feel the physical aspects that signal a feeling, and then let the natural subsequent thoughts come as a result of that physical manifestation without judgement but also without indulgence, I can begin the process of reacting to things consciously and intellectually, giving credence to such things as the value of whomever is before me, the real size of the problem or issue or situation presenting itself (I tend to be very one size fits all...any upset is huge and must be worked on, worked out, reacted to, expressed) and to learn to both let more go and to be more accurate, thoughtful and effective in expressing things that should be expressed.
I am cautiously optimistic. This is definitely outside of my comfort zone. I am Sheri the Wordsmith, the student, the keeper of the crisis. Not Sheri the Inner Empath. It is new ground and I feel like I am lost, insecure and vulnerable. I don't want to turn into a hokey new aged barefoot hippie who waves her crystals around and steps into your sphere to share in your energy. I don't think that is what is happening here, but my logical, tattered, problem solving mind doesn't seem to really know how to accept there is not always something to be solved. So I will learn to solve the problem of always having to solve problems, and the problem of creating problems when there are no problems to solve because I don't know how to just be in the moment. Clear as mud?
I will say that as I waited for my appointment to start, he had a very eclectic waiting area. Sculptures of Jesus and crosses mingled with antique china, pictures of family from the 1920s, sculptures of ladies with flowing hair and upturned faces breathing in some unseen breeze, some welcome wind of change. And beside me on a tiny antique end table...there were crystals. Huh.