Anna Beaumont (written in 2016)
I am lying in bed on a Thursday afternoon. I feel a huge relief at this flat out surrender, however, at the same time there is this nagging feeling that, ‘I’m doing something wrong’ chatter nipping at my heels again and disturbing my much needed peace. I could feel justified with a head cold, or the flue, but this is something else that no Doctor could find a label for and I’ve long ago stopped leaning on the medical system for their ‘oh so careful diagnosis’. I’m listening to what my body has been trying to tell me for quite a while.
I am giving in to what my instinctual body knows better than I. Deep Rest. A while ago I was teaching a young student about 14 years old and he said to me, ‘I think I’m depressed.’ All I heard out of his mouth was, ‘I need DEEP-REST.’ That was my first clue that my instincts had gone through another person to get the message across to me. And, yes now that’s really what I think depression is, the need for DEEP REST, or, a DEEP RESET.
I can feel an awareness of what is needed for me. This deep reset is widening my view and softening my gaze. I realize know that I have become over-focused and vigilant and have been locking out the joyful movements and spontaneity’s of life. This feels like a tight pressure in my head and a sort of scrunching of my brain. It’s a compression of sorts, in my classes I use the image of a coffee bodum with the nob pushed all the way down into the coffee grounds.
Having taught singing for over 20 years and witnessed so many in this ’scrunching compression’, I can now recognize this in me. It’s easy to lose ‘sight’ of the ‘wide-angle lens ‘ of flow and ease of simply, Being. And it seems Advil is not the answer.
I am after all my Father’s daughter and inflicted with a need for approval and validation for my ‘look Pa no hands!’ kind of approach to life. This need to perform circus tricks and high-end puppet shows to get the love and glory.
Some would call this stress and then call it a day. I call this an opportunity to widen my view and to un-scrunch into this wide-angle lens of Being and gain more of my true, loving essence and aliveness.
When I come out of it, the compression, and move about freely again I get a lot done and my focus is sharp and full of intent. This feels great to feel accomplishment in the work that I love to do. This is of course is assuming that my focus and tasking is on something that is taking into account True vision and the big picture. It has elements of it, this big picture thinking, and because of the nature of my ‘out-of-the-box’ work that I do in expression and energy work I have always assumed my vision is there, clear and on target.
There is some true vision there yes, however because of my over-focus and narrow sightedness I have lost sight of the big picture in my life. I wonder if I ever really had it? Over-focus and a go-go-go state of mind can only trip wire me into the urch, STOP! This ‘stopping’ is necessary but even when I’m stopped I’m not really stopped, I’m spinning around beating myself up for what I’m not doing, what I should be doing. What will my next trick be?
And so I sit now, I lie, I am learning to just be. I thought I was really good at this and yes I am for sure better at this than most because of the nature of what I do for a living, but my body knows better than I. As I sit here, I can feel my Being Self taking up more space inside of me really bringing a rest to my mind and body. On the flip side my doing self is wrestling with me, fighting me every step of the way in its attempt to get back to the habit of trickery, spinning wheels and going nowhere fast.
The appearance of doing is intoxicating and it seems the world is in a giant competition of ‘who does the most wins.’ What exactly is it that we win again? Please refresh my memory, I have lost sight of the goal. Money, security? And anyway sometimes, more often than not the things that are getting done are so infected with anxiety and narrow sightedness that there can really be no satisfaction inside of it, it’s all a smoke screen to keep the ghosts away.
And what are the ghosts you ask? Trauma and abandonment and thinking that because I couldn’t control what happened, whatever THAT is, and that it was somehow my fault. I. Did. Not. Work. Hard. Enough. And so, for my whole life I will nip that painful feeling in the bud by….overworking to control that from ever happening again to me!
Of course now, this approach works for a little while, but it does nothing to chase away the reason why your working so hard in the first place. That slave driver is always there in the background waiting to jump on you again saying, ‘work harder, get it done, don’t be so lazy!’ Sound familiar?
There is nothing that I enjoy more than sitting and Being. I long for it, yearn for the nothingness of Being. As I get older the Doing ness part of me is terrified I won’t be able to retire, have enough money, be successful etc, the list goes on. As my wide-angle lens narrows I feel this Doing panic about me closing in on me tempting me to succumb to it. To be like everyone else and work hard at something they don’t enjoy and then retire. I just know too much now about that panic and what it’s trying to do for me. I won’t be dragged around anymore by this slave driver.
Let me also let the record show that I am not trying to say that Doing is not really awesome and necessary. It is for heaven sake, but, Doing is the one infected with the trauma and abandonment. Time for a reset, and, an untwisting.
I don’t think it has to be one or the other, I think it’s a fine balance and like everything trying to find balance we must allow for balance to be out of balance as well. At first the pendulum swings back and forth as each part of us, the Doing and the Being parts vi for their space within my space. I want and need them both, but need to allow for Being right now to own a little more property within me than Doing in order to let Doing know that it doesn’t have to work so hard all the time. That love, that appreciation, that recognition of Anna, of me, is here within me right now.
It’s not outside of me, Being knows this but Doing is frantically looking outside for it, this love, this appreciation, this validation, ‘look Pa no hands!’ Being is resting silently within me, looking at me with no needs or wants save for this, now, right here, breathing and connecting to Life. I can feel a beautiful calm spreading through every cell of my body offering the message ‘it’s okay to relax, it will still be there, let it go, just feel what you are afraid of feeling, let it wash through you, make space for you, for life, for love.’
People recognize me when I recognize me. People see me and accept me when I step into this role myself, first. Doing is important and I want more healthy Doing and not guilty, I should be, Doing or performing tricks. My past ‘failures’ are like ghosts circling me and threatening me with their grim punishments of ‘remember what happened’, keeping me a Doing slave. This has always been an illusion to keep me marching on, like only a good soldier does.
Don’t get me wrong, I have had many many times of this awareness over the years, I have been accruing Being, allowing for her good graces to have their way with me. The more Being, the more feeling, that’s just the way it is, so is it any wonder people don’t want to slow down and just Be, because feeling what-has-never-been-felt is waiting for them in the space of Being that is created, to wash the past away, and that for anyone is never, ever, easy.
I am so grateful for the work I have done for myself to get here and now, and to really feel the ‘here and now.’ It is not for faint of heart, this path of letting go and feeling what’s here right now. But there didn’t seem to be an option for me, it has been the only way.
So, Focus at it’s worst is a vigilant slave driver only seeing right in front of its nose giving the phrase ‘nose to the grindstone’ it’s proper due. And at best focus is in partnership with ease and flow and they dance together in perfect partnership, each respectful of the others timing, rhythm and movement, or, need for stillness.
What if we trusted that life has our best interests at heart? That there is a plan for each an every one of us that we might not be aware of? That this movement within us wants to have its way with us for the good of all. We hear the phrase ‘we are given one life and it’s what we do with this life’ etc, but I like to think that in truth we are given to Life but it’s whether we really allow this surrender to Life to happen.
As this vigilant narrow focus lets go of its grip within me I can feel a larger view beginning to grow. A sense of sky and earth, of ground and water, of what is in front of me and, what is trying to make its way known farther away, like a whisper of what is yet possible. I sense a kindness that is trying to get nearer to me, to guide me to where I’m meant to be going. In this moment I realize with great, shocking clarity that I don’t know the way, especially in my narrow sight, and that the more I rest and let go of this over-focus the greater my true vision becomes.