The Beginning of Something New

by justine

8 more weeks of 2010 and I’m at the start of something new. 2010 already has a long list of major beginnings (this blog, therapy, owning a dog, and my engagement) but here is something wonderful, something so new I am not sure what it really is yet, but I am willing to work out the articulations here with you.

The book, A New Earth, came to be as a gift via my dad (as most books do). I remember reading it during the Fall of 2008. Boyfriend had just moved to Los Angeles and after 3+ yrs of long distance, we found ourselves in the same city, the same apartment, with shiny new lives and lots of compromising to be done.

To put it simply – I was a mess. Being a control freak, I couldn’t deal with the upheavals. He was stressed with his new job, his first job. I went from living alone to living with a significant other in a new part of the city. It was all new, new, new and just plain difficult.

(This is also the period of time, I realize now, that I began putting a finger on “transitions”. Another growing pain – you live, you learn – but I’m quicker to notice upcoming transitional periods and have ways I’m able to ride them out.)

A New Earth didn’t shatter my consciousness. In fact, I don’t think I finished it, but it held a small fleck of gold that changed me. Tolle writes that the voice in our head is a mad, unending commentary of the world around us. And when we’re speaking in our heads we refer to both an “I” and a “myself”. But how can there be both? The fact that we can separate ourselves from the voice in our head was my ah-ha moment.

Tolle also extols that awareness is the beginning of healing, but until recently I didn’t have a tool to keep my awareness in practice. Clearly, my ah-ha moment wasn’t enough to propel me into enlightenment. In fact, it took another 18 months before I sought out my first tool (therapy) and here I am 7 months later, feeling better but knowing there is still work to be done.

Byron Katie’s book I Need Your Love, Is That True? found me a few weeks ago. The Work has become my tool for separating myself from my thoughts. I haven’t even gone through the detailed process of writing out my fits of rage – I just ask myself the (4) questions quickly and the turnaround usually snaps me back to reality.

The most significant shift has come from questioning my thoughts about MYSELF. The never-ending battle of “shoulds” and “have tos” is dissolving under the scrutiny.

“How do you need to know when you need to do something? When you do it. To think that you need to do something when you’re not doing it is a lie. It puts you in an uncomfortable position, full of shame, guilt and frustration. Lying in bed, you chide yourself with the thought, ‘I need to get up’ and you don’t. But the truth is that you don’t need to get up. Not until you do” (Byron Katie)

This is such.a.relief. It seems so simple, but that is the mental stress I put on myself. The other day, I was cruising along cleaning, answering emails and feeling fine, but with the nagging thought, “I really should shower”. I heard the should and assured myself that when I actually needed to shower, I would do so. Life will unfold with or without my input – why stress? I continued about my day without a shower. Sometime after 4pm, I found myself in the bathroom. I was fully present for that shower because that’s exactly where I wanted to be in that moment.

As the title of the post states, this is the beginning of something new. A step towards telling my heart. A way to stop arguing with myself and just listen. A way to start living. Looking forward to this story unfolding.