Well, it happened: In my desperation to oust negativity and to rediscover centeredness, I waded into YouTube for answers.
Some background: I have previously articulated my feelings and challenges with regard to aging, and to caring for an elderly parent. I have openly discussed options and opinions with family and friends; I have even found temporary solace in recognizing that my angst under the circumstances is shared by more people than I could have imagined.
And yet, I felt unable to console myself, and instead opted for self-flagellation with every less-than-generous thought. I have rallied in the name of wellness, creating self-care practices designed to address the trials. I have not, however, been able to make anything “stick”: The dull throb of resentment continues to percolate steadily, never allowing for complete respite.
A “tough phase,” I would say: I’ll come out of it; nothing lasts forever; “rise above,” etc. And supportive loved ones have shared their feelings, often mirroring my own. Yet, I have continued to expect more from myself than I ever would of others. The empathy and encouragement I offer them without a second thought is hard won for myself; the lofty standards I have set for my intellect, for my compassion, and for my spiritual evolution are, ironically, bringing me down.
And, oh, what a difference between “down” and “grounded”: It is the difference between being buried, and being rooted. When buried, one suffocates; when rooted, there is the promise of growth. To remain grounded amidst the external fray and inner battles requires self-monitoring and the vow to release oneself from self-judgment. So, if self-investigation uncovers discomfiting or distasteful thoughts or attitudes, the challenge then becomes to allow them: “That which we resist, persists” (with thanks to Carl Jung).
As I write these words, I recognize that I have felt all of these feelings before; possibly, I have come to the same rational and feisty conclusion of self-awareness and self-love. And, in all probability, I realized that I would have to fight the same fight, again and again. For now, that seems right: The task, then, is to accept the ongoingness of it all, rather than expect it all to go away with prayer, with practice, with patience.
Instead, I call upon spiritual engagement to keep me grounded: When down, I aim to find the root, rather than succumb to burial-by-burden. And through it all, I will continue to search for help in whatever form it may arrive. Below, I share a link to the talk that inspired this writing.
And tomorrow, Silent Sundays brings a new practice, one that plants the root…