Not really drowning

Though I didn't notice it when I created this last night, looking at this image this morning I seem to see a person drowning, gasping for breath; a swimmer, perhaps, clutching the lane dividers in a pool as if the race had lasted too many laps and endurance has been depleted...

Which is curious, as I was feeling a bit like that at the time it was created.  I'm working on a new project, collaborating with someone whose opinion I greatly respect, and it's giving me some lovely opportunities to bump up against some inner demons that have plagued me since childhood -- issues around criticism and conflict, and authority, and claiming my truth.

The good news is I can recognize those demons now: I feel their heavy feet trampling my heart, making it hard to breathe; making breath come in anxious gasps.  I feel their all-consuming hunger rise in my stomach, and feel the longing for junk food to stuff them down.  I feel them stiffening my wrist and shoulder, trying to stop the flow of creativity; feel them twisting my mouth, making it difficult to speak up.

What interests me is that I named this image "Play through."  Which is what I'm learning to do: I notice the demons as they arise, I acknowledge them, spend a little time listening, cooperate and respond in ways I choose, in order to honor their concerns, and then firmly invite them to step aside so that I may continue my work.

It's an interesting process, and new for me; I'm not as fully conscious as I would like about noticing them.  And it takes a lot of patience and energy to create and feel the space around them that's necessary to see them clearly and stay present; old habits -- pulling my head down, shrinking into myself -- have a way of surfacing under stress.

And, my guess is, all this was exacerbated by the fact that I went to a former employee's farewell party at my old office yesterday.  I was fine while I was there: it was good to see the familiar faces after so many years, and the building itself didn't appear to awaken old patterns or concerns.  But I suspect some old anxieties deep within must have begun to twitch a bit, adding to the stress of the day...

Today, however, is a new day; the sky is blue, and I woke early enough to get a meditation in before the workmen appeared.  I feel a sense of spaciousness, and openness, and can look forward once again to the creative process.

It's all good!

PS: I just noticed -- the Rumi poem for today in Coleman Barks' A Year with Rumi is perfect:

Stingy Aloeswood

Fear and hurt are lassoes
drawing you through a door.

Lord, Lord, you say weeping.
Green herbs sprout where those tears fall.

Dawn comes: blindness drains away.
Each day is eternity.

Do not avoid your suffering.
Plunge it into the Nile.

Purify your stubbornness.
Drown it.  Burn it.

Your body is a stingy piece of aloeswood

that will not let go its healing power
until you put it in the fire.

Now Shams leans near to remind me,
That's enough sourness.  No more vinegar.


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