I have brought it up in past blogs and conversations, I am re-reading "The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times" by Pema Chodron. This is my second go round at it and I have to say I'm internalizing it more the second time. I know this because I am in quite a fear inducing circumstance and (unlike me) I didn't highlight much the first time. I opened this book again and I could have mistaken it for new.
Over the last month I have highlighted, bolded, noted, and underlined so many passages that I understand more now with maturity. Today, I had one chapter hit me like the brick that it was. I'm nearly in completion of this read and there it was....staring at me. It was exactly what I am going through and an explanation for it. It read, in the chapter titled "Heightened Neurosis":
"Moving in the direction of nothing to hold onto is daring. We will not initially experience it as a thrilling, alive, wonderful way to be. How many of us feel ready to interrupt our habitual patterns, our almost instinctual ways of getting comfortable?
We might assume that as we train in bodhichitta, our habitual patterns will start to unwind- that day by day, month by month, we'll be more open minded, more flexible, more of a warrior. But what actually happens with ongoing practice is that our patterns intensify. In vajrayana Buddhism this is called "heightened neurosis". It's not something we do on purpose. It just happens. We catch the scent of groundlessness and despite our wishes to remain steady, open, and flexible, we hold on tight in very habitual ways.
This is the experience of anyone who ever set out on the path of awakening. All those smiling enlightened people you see in pictures or in person had to go through the process of encountering their full-blown neurosis, their methods of looking for ground. When we start to interrupt our ordinary ways of calling ourselves names and patting ourselves on the back, we are doing something extremely brave. Slowly we edge toward the open state, but let's face it, we are moving toward a place of no hand-holds, no footholds, no mindholds. This may be called liberation, but for a long time it feels like insecurity.
There it is, the "I" word. Two points I want to make.
1- The beginning of this passage touches on why I may not seem ultra enthused about Japan when people constantly ask me about it. It's because this shit it hard. Taking yourself by the balls, squeezing, and trying to put a smile on your face for the spectators is hard to do, if not impossible. It's hard when your coping mechanisms that you've been using your whole life start to falter.
2- I pride myself on keeping it honest with my readers, so I will stay true to form. For awhile now (I'd say since early May), I have been dealing with the issue of insecurity. More recently it's gotten to the point where it's affecting my actions. Strong Evita, has had the ground shifted from under her and is in the process of rebuilding her foundation. I want attention more. I seek it more. I yearn to hear that I am beautiful, sexy, smart, capable, and remembered. I need reassurance that I am, in fact, wanted and lusted for. I feel clingy and out of control. I am jumping to conclusions. I am not "me". Honestly. What I found in this passage was an understanding as to why I am going through this now. I knew the situation was compounded, but reading the philosophy behind it gave me a bit of strength in knowing that I am not losing it here. Everyone knows me as strong, independent, brave, etc...Evita. When for the last month, I have felt not a bit of any of it. I have felt fearful, insecure, anxious, and secluded.