A New Agenda

I wanted today to be a “get things done” kind of a day. Reality has other plans. Both Bri and Bryan have been sick, and apparently it is my turn. I’ve got the full-on body ache thing going and I feel tired as all get-out.

But my brain tells me that I’m not allowed to be sick. It tells me that I have to push myself anyway. I know from experience that when I do that, my emotions go completely out of whack. So, I have to find a new way of living. Today, my priority is to listen to my body and to take good care of myself.

After I write this, I’m going to go lay down and let myself sleep. When I wake up, I will stop and ask myself what would be the kindest thing to do for myself. And then I am going to do it. I am not going to relieve stress through any of my maladaptive behaviours. I will breathe. I will rest. I will heal.

Tomorrow will take care of tomorrow. I need to live in the now.

Koyaanisqatsi

Koyaanisqatsi. Life out of balance. Crazy life. A way of life that calls for another way of living.

Borderline personality disorder.

Now what? There is a Zen koan that asks “How do you step off a 100-foot flagpole?” Where do I go from here?

If you’re Ron Fricke, it’s Baraka, or Blessing. How appropriate that his new film Samsara is due out this year.

I know that I am being called to live my life a different way, to step off of my perch, to find a new way of being. Perhaps it’s that I feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin. Perhaps I know that this is my last chance to wallow in self-pity. Perhaps it’s a little from column A and a little from column B.

What I do know is that I am scared. I’m scared to take an honest look at my behaviours and be truthful with my therapists. Hell, I’m scared to acknowledge to myself how I take what is in front of me and concoct a life that is horribly painful. I don’t know how to acknowledge that truth and also the truth that it isn’t my fault. If the momma don’t teach the cub how to hunt, the cub goes hungry. Usually, cubs die. I found a way to survive and the tools that I used to accomplish that are killing me.

You’d think that all my years at the monastery would help with this. And they do—I very likely would not be alive had I not gone to live there. But the tools of monastic practice don’t work so well in my life here as a solitary practitioner. I don’t have the community of support that exists in a monastery. And I need that support right now, I can’t do this on my own.

I don’t know how to proceed. In that not knowing, there is hope, not clinging hope but the hope that not knowing opens the possibility of moving forward.

Hell, I don’t even have to worry about moving forward. I just have to be, right here, right now.

Don’t know, just be. I can do that right now.

Difficult, difficult, difficult

As my awareness and understanding of BPD grows, so too does my awareness of all the little self-harming behaviours—my “maladaptive coping mechanisms”—that I engage in daily to relieve the stress in my life. Of course, as I become aware of these thoughts and actions, several things happen:

  1. I tend to judge myself fairly harshly for their presence. My brain has it programmed in that this is all my fault and I should be punished for it.
  2. The judgments create more stress.
  3. I feel an intense amount of internal pressure not to indulge in these coping mechanisms, but I haven’t yet learned all the healthy ways to cope.
  4. I end up feeling more stressed than ever because my usual methods of self-soothing are no longer acceptable and there is not yet much in their place.

Easy, easy, easy

Breathe, be in the moment, do whatever it is I am doing and no more.

Yeah, right. It is easy, but yet so damned hard. Mostly, I just want it all to go away. I’m so frakking tired of being on this emotional roller coaster and being diagnosed with BPD just tells me that I’m never getting off. The best I can hope for is learning how to live on a roller coaster.

If I didn’t believe that experiencing her mother’s suicide would be the trigger for Brianna’s own struggle with this disease, I probably would kill myself at this point. But I will not knowingly do anything that could visit this hell on my child, so I endure.

But today I just want it all to go away.

Old poem

While decluttering paperwork, I came across a poem I wrote about 7-8 years ago. It’s a found word poem, written to celebrate the 70th birthday of Roshi Roslyn Seiun An Stone. The party goers (all Seiun’s students) gave me a list of words and I then composed the poem. Here are the words:

  • orange
  • warm
  • compassionate
  • outrageous
  • balloon
  • shy
  • chocolate
  • gratitude
  • mom

And here’s the poem:

The night weeps warm tears of gratitude
For our wise woman
Compassionate mom
Outrageous dragon of the Dharma
Venerable lover of chocolate
Free as a balloon floating in orange sunset
Solid as the Rock of Gibraltar
Nine bows to the shy Roshi
Who has given herself for 70 years

Waaaahoooooo!

May your life go well.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!