Monday, 30 April 2012

Impermanence - Finding the Dialectic of Emotion

Nothing is permanent. The goodness in life passes in the same way the bad periods slithers by or sticks to our awareness. Positive emotions and experiences leaves a good taste long lingering in my mouth, but it can be rudely interrupted and all too quickly be contaminated by the next onslaught of pessimism. 

I swing widely between the poles of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ judgement, rarely receiving the respite which a balanced, middle ground provides. Take for example the last 24 hours. This time yesterday I was curled up in bed, steeped in self pity. I felt so ashamed and selfish wasting a whole day doing nothing to help make me feel better. I knew I needed to do the housework, go food shopping, have a shower, go for a walk, meet some friends, go to mass, send emails ….. the list went on and on. I was feeding my negative emotion and allowing it to gain nourishment from each moment spent lying in that bed. I was down in the depths of my emotional rating, and I honestly thought that I was the biggest failure on the planet that I should just give up on life and that nobody would care if I was gone. 

Then I wake up today, still feeling the hangover of negativity surround my aura. I dragged myself to an interview for some potential writing experience with a local newsletter. It took every morsel of energy to find the motivation. It was raining, ‘typical’ I thought. I missed the Bus; I was convinced it was a sign. I didn’t have the full address; I should just give up, it’s not going to work out anyway. It really was a miracle I got there in the end. I hadn’t even researched the organisation, certain that it would be a waste of time as I would never get the job. 

If I look back and evaluate the emotion I was experiencing, I was really nervous. Fear wanted me to run home and hide away, to avoid, sabotaging any chance at a life worth living. But being the suborn mule that I can be sometimes, and because I had told some people about the interview, I felt I must go, even if to say I went. 

I actually found the place with relative ease, and was greeted by two lovely ladies who seemed interested in me and appreciative of what I could potentially bring to the organisation. We brainstormed ideas and I felt excitement build up in my tummy. The more I talked to the two lovely ladies there, the more confident I felt in my abilities. I could really do this. They really do like my ideas. To my delight, they asked me to contribute to the June issue and gave me a deadline for submission next week. 

Walking towards the bus stop I felt elated with happiness. I felt like I had overcome the fear which stops me from doing so much in my life, like I had climbed a personal mountain. I was propelled into a heightened state of positive emotion, a world away from the foul mood I had been in only hours before. I grinned childless to the bus driver and sent a barrage of texts and emails to friends and family bombarding them with my good news. 

Now that the initial exhilaration of this morning’s achievement had subsided slightly, and I am not so ruled by my emotional instability, I can see how exhausting this yo-yoing of emotion is to my emotional stamina. If I try hard to be dialectical in my thinking about today’s events, taking into account the importance of living in the moment, I guess the middle ground might be as follows; 

I spent the day resting in bed yesterday, even though I had a lot to do. By doing this I was reminded that staying in bed all day negatively affects my mood. I do need to lie in sometimes, but next time I might only rest for the morning, and get some tasks done in the afternoon. I allowed my bad mood to continue into today. Each day is a new page in my life. I can start afresh if I do not hold onto the past. It was a great achievement to obtain the job this morning. Congratulate yourself. Now move on to concentrating on the rest of today’s tasks. 

I aim for this balanced way of thinking in all my endeavours. When I read it back I don’t feel any overwhelming emotion either positive or negative. I just want to move onto this afternoon. I have a focus group to attend which has nothing to do with the newsletter. 

Have you ever had a similar experience? How do you stay centred?


  1. Great self awareness Sister! This is where balance lives. When I am 'down', my awareness is that this too will pass, so long as I choose to not cling to my thoughts. Thru my continued awareness of my slippery slopes, I have learned that it is easier to catch myself before I start 'down the hole'. I've cultivated enough experience at it to see negative thoughts for what they are. These are only thoughts. I give them the power they have, or don't. So let them move thru my mind like clouds move across the sky! I learned this in DBT and it's been a great help. I can picture them moving on out of my head! Truth is positive thoughts move in the same way and I can choose to not 'go over the top' with these either. Accepting all thoughts for what they truly are. Thoughts are not real. Thoughts are not actual things. They are not reality. They are ego at work to have me feel like sh*t about myself. Ego at it to have me feel better than...others...perpetuating a separateness from my Sisters and Brothers..the hunam species (this is not a human race as ego like to have us believe!). When I re member that the only thing that is eternal is Love, because acts of love bring people close, and this cannot be taken back-no matter what ego tries! Love and fear are the only emotions people really have. Fear takes on many other false faces such as addiction, mental illness, hate, the seeming 'need' to fight or bully, boasting, shame, guilt etc..etc..etc.....get the idea?...anything other than the imaginary works of ego. The ego does have it's 'good' point, which I am still trying to figure out..?..and for now, I sign off..feeling that I've said a lot...not knowing how it might be received...have I gone off in a direction I did not need to?...I don't know...ramble..See, there's the ego at work to discount my love! Look forward to more sharing. Thanks. I love you and bless you on your journey <3

  2. I can relate to that.
    Not now really, but certainly in the past.
    I know my recovery the opportunities that came to me, I questioned and worried over and only in reflection did I realise I was feeling those things to sabotage myself and me moving forward.
    The fact you got up, went and actually enjoyed the experience is amazing <3

  3. Thanks, Andy. Your writings are quite wonderful, and I am glad that you are here with all of us, sometimes struggling, sometimes with a sense of mastery, sometimes with a sense of defeat and powerlessness.....but you are here and we are here...
    It has taken me decades to emerge from the chaos in my life. But that is okay, really okay. I have lived with depression and hopelessness since I was a very young child.
    It has taken me a very long time to make sense of the world. But, I find, in this last year or so, I am learning, no, I am teaching myself, many lessons about how to live.
    DBT brought me to learn about BREATHING. Simple breath in, breath out. It is a tool that we all carry with us, anywhere we are.
    When I am most anxious, most troubled, most unable to see an answer, I go to my breath.
    Also, learning, from DBT, to realize that thoughts come and go, and often I place them on "a leaf, in a pleasant stream...." and see them move on and move on. When they return, and they *will* return, I place them on the stream, again, and again.
    I am grateful for my life - for all of it, the good, the bad, the in-between.
    Blessings, All.