Recently I noticed that I’ve been soothing myself in ways that either don’t last, don’t work, or aren’t actually soothing. I’m not judging myself for that. I appreciate my awareness of it. At some point the part of me that truly seeks deep nourishment will activate.
There are millions of opportunities each day to ignore myself and create distance from what I know to be true. So many of our toxic systems depend on our ignorance and our allegiance to distracting ourselves from the hard and painful feelings of life.
I celebrate the moments I am able to get out beyond the constant chatter all around me telling me how I should be, what I should buy, what to eat, how to love, how to heal, how to make more money, and to buy more things and more opinions. All those words have a right to exist and I have the right to turn down the volume on that track and turn up the music of myself. I can choose to notice the details of this moment in my body…my breath, my heart, my quiet contemplative experience of now.
Whether I soothe myself with tv shows, cheese, chocolate, relationship drama, yoga, meditation, plant medicine, self-healing, or self-abandonment, the escape is pretty much the same if I am escaping something. The cycle persists over and over and over when I outsource coping with what is, but I can convince myself (and maybe everyone else) that it’s the real deal as long as I hyper-focus on the many different colors and textures of The Next New Thing.
Sometimes I find myself feeling flat and subdued. I even wondered recently, “Am I dead inside?” I’ve been depressed before, but this is different. I’ve stopped working so hard and stopped trying to please people. I’m more honest with myself and with others. I’m gently letting go of what’s not working. I’m not trying to keep up with anyone, win or achieve anything specific, or prove anything to anyone. I completely burned through my capacity to care about all those things I used to care about so much.
I got so used to living on adrenaline and sustaining myself with drama that being without that feels weird and sometimes boring by contrast. It’s like looking out at an eternal desert after being on the Las Vegas strip. I was already externally calm and grounded, but now I feel that way inside sometimes too and it’s very different.
I wonder, “Is this it? Is this all there is?” Maybe so. There are infinite levels of awareness to explore whether moving inward or outward. Everything could be a contradiction or perfectly aligned or any point on the spectrum between the two. I’m deeply confused and I clearly understand. I cannot explain how all the truths are layered upon the present moment all the time, I just know it somehow. My choices are arbitrary and every tiny thing matters exponentially. There is enough nuance within us to be contemplated over many lifetimes and still not be explainable.
I can even find the false self-soothing in my fascination with the infinite nature of what is, so I let that go too and keep staring out at the nothingness that is also the new everything.
There can never be enough help given or received in trying to sustain our equilibrium in a single day of life. It’s always a miracle, the most mundane, and a devastating tragedy. Somehow we all can hold most of it most of the time as we self-soothe in the ways we choose. That is good enough.