I'm sitting on my apartment balcony in the late afternoon sun. My cat, Sophie, frolicks around my feet and makes surprising pounces onto my lap before jumping off and running around some more. I realize I'm totally relaxed. I don't have to go anywhere, I don't have to do anything, there's nothing calling me but this moment and the warmth of the sun. It's quiet and I can hear a variety of birds singing in the background and talking to each other. There's the distant sound of car engines making the drive up the grade of Academy toward Tramway. And, shadows are starting to fall on the western slopes of the Sandias.
It takes a while to relax when you've been working non-stop for most of your life. The last time I was off work for as long as I've been off now, was many years ago. I'd gone through an emotional upheaval that was so devastating to me at the time that I couldn't work. I stayed off work for a year and a half before realizing that I had to go back. The financial consequences of that sojourn were unexpected and far-reaching in their impact, as well as being totally destructive. I needed the time emotionally, although I was not able to meet my financial responsibilities for allowing myself that time. But...after I'd been off for about a year--I didn't think I was going to script supervise again then either, but that time I was wrong--I had relaxed enough that I would sit in my living room at the end of the day and watch the light fade. Just sit there and watch the light fade. Nothing else going on, just watching and experiencing the light.
During that devastating time off, I got in touch with myself in ways that I'd not done before. I was present with my pain and gave myself a reset...in all ways. I didn't know in the beginning of that period of time that it would end up being a year and a half, that's just how long it ended up being before going back to work was something I could do; knew I had to do. I don't know now how long my period of peaceful relaxation is going to be before Life pulls me in another direction. It will be unexpected, since I have no agenda for myself at this time, and so I enjoy each precious moment of relaxation and quiet as it comes. For, the unexpected is always around the corner, and I don't want to miss or not be present with a moment of this time I have now.
I breathe and I observe the sky. I listen to the smallest sounds and find such joy in watching my cat play. I cook and I clean and I find enjoyment in domestic tasks. I read and I write and I stay present with myself. No matter what comes next, it will be informed by this gift of quiet and relaxation during which I've gotten reaquainted with myself and the things that matter. I had gotten very far afield in my quest for worldly success and financial gain. Not that I didn't have good moments in that quest, I did, but I feel like I've come back to myself again.
Knowing who I am in this life has been a difficult path for me. I'm very empathetic and have always had a hard time distinguishing what's my energy and what's someone else's. I adapt very well and sometimes feel like I've lost myself in that adaptation to situations and relationships. I think it's one of the reasons I need so much time alone. When I'm alone, I have a much better sense of myself. If I'm around other people too much I start to go a little crazy, which is why, when I was working, my weekends and days off were so important to me. I would gather myself back up and get ready for the onslaught of another week surrounded by hundreds of people again. And, it wasn't that I didn't love and enjoy those people, I did, but I hadn't developed the tools that would have protected me from taking on so much from them energetically.
I'm still working on developing the tools that will help me to stay in integrity with myself. As with everything, it's a process. But, I'm growing in awareness and in my ability to stay with myself. And, it's not that I care less about people, it's that I'm getting better at allowing everyone their journey and not feeling that I need to help or fix anything for them, or bear their pain. I can be with them, I can have compassion for them, and I can stay with myself at the same time. Boundaries have become a big part of my current journey. I've only recently realized that I didn't have any boundaries for most of my life. But now, I see how important they are for all of us. Boundaries help me stay in touch with who I am and not get drawn into someone else's energy. They give me a basis for whether I want to say "yes" or "no." They give me an internal structure that makes me feel safe, so that I'm not invaded by every stray or passing energy that's in my vicinity. It's hard to know who you are, or what you're feeling or thinking, when your energy field is constantly being impacted by everyone else's energy field who happens to be around you.
I realize that for most of my life, I've been going out to others with my energy field. My field moves out and joins with theirs in order to "grok" who they are, what they're feeling, what they want, what they think. Once I've done this, and clicked into their energy, I know who they are, and I adapt the way I am in their presence to align with that. Because of that level of adaptation, I lose myself. I only know who I am in relationship to how I am around specific people or in specific situations. It's been a journey of discovery to find out who I am, irrespective of who I happen to be around or what context I might be in. Of course, there is an essence that comprises this personality and this soul, and that has come through everything else, but my lack of boundaries has created a lot of confusion for me. It's also affected my self-confidence, because it's hard to have a lot of self-confidence when you're not sure who you are. What is there to be self-confident about, other than your ability to adapt really well to any situation or personality you come into contact with? That doesn't give you a real strong sense of self.
So, I'm getting to know myself more deeply. I'm honoring what I like...what I like to do, what I like to eat, what I think is important, who I want to be with, where I want to be. I'm paying attention to myself. I'm keeping my energy with myself and keeping my third eye focused in on myself. It's a practice, and I can still get drawn out of myself, but I'm much more aware now when I abandon myself than I used to be. I catch myself and I draw myself back in. It's a much more feminine way of being. I stay with myself and allow Life to happen and respond to it as it does. I'm not efforting to understand and grok my surroundings and the people who inhabit them, I'm allowing it all to be what it is, knowing that understanding will happen without my effort to make it so.
One of the most surprising results of this practice with boundaries and staying with myself is that I now feel safe in my body for the first time in my life. I historically had a hard time grounding into my body. When I would really "come in" I would often cry, because I was filled with fear. But now, I don't do that anymore. I'm actually able to be in my body and feel comfortable and safe. It's a revelation. I'm an adopted child and was always told that I had issues with abandonment, but it's only recently that I realize that the reason behind that was that I had abandoned myself. I was rarely "home" in my body, and there was always an inherent discomfort to that. Now, I'm able to be with myself and in my body--most of the time--which makes moot the whole abandonment issue. It's one of those things that no longer holds me in its grip.
The sun is almost gone for today and color streaks across the sky. I sit with myself in gratitude for all that my life holds. And, I'm grateful for my growing awareness of the things that matter.