Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I am a Hollow Reed

 I have been absent here for a week somewhat intentionally.  In an ordinary day, I feel I am hit by waves of negativity numerous times.  Why are there so many brash, hostile, bitter, and just plain mean people out there?  I have yet to learn how to brace myself and prevent the bad vibes from penetrating me to the core.  It's exhausting.  In an attempt to learn, I am staring to read some books on meditation and, at Meg's suggestion, I have picked up a couple of Eckhart Tolle's books.  He's received so much press; I'm curious what all the hype's about (and am hoping his words will guide me to a place of clarity and peace).

In the past, I have had long periods of laid-backness and intrinsic happiness.  Recently, in my life of imbalance, I have been recalling those times and trying to determine the pieces of the puzzle that made it possible.  Three things stand out as influential factors: 

*lack of responsibility and ability to live a carefree life (I was traveling or doing work that was mindless and simply a means to pay rent, not a career path)

*surrounding myself with kind people who didn't stress, laughed a lot, and were seemingly on their way to enlightenment or just content living a simple life
*having easy access to nature and living in the mountains

*living far away from my parents and being less in touch with them

This last point deserves some explanation.  I love my parents dearly and often consider them two of my best friends.  I think they did an amazing job in parenting me and making me who I am.  That said, I know I rely far too much on their opinions and allow them to subtly (and subconsciously) impact my choices in a way that makes me wonder whose life I am living.  Even as an adult, I feel an extreme internalized force pushing me to choose what they think is best for me and questioning my role at work, what I do extra-curricularly, and with whom I spend my time.  And when I can't or don't live up to the high standards that have been set, I feel overwhelmed, anxious, and disappointed.

How can you be a grown-up when you're still your parents' child?

It's not clear how much of the pressure is coming from them and how much is actually perceived by me, but I do believe that from the time we are quite young, we are conditioned through role modeling and explicit or implicit messages to live a certain way.  I take life so seriously, feel so much pressure to achieve and succeed, and am so controlling that when something doesn't go as planned, I get bent out of shape and feel as if my head or chest will explode.  I am too tightly wound and need to remember how to relax and enjoy life.  I need to rediscover how to let go, chill out, and release the negativity and the anxiety.

I am hoping that through reading, thinking/introspecting, meditating, and visiting mountains,  I will remember to breath and live with kindness for myself and others.  I will return to the self I recognize and aspire to be.


Jocy said...

At least you recognize it. The indoctrination runs so deep that most of us don't question, or at least not deeply enough to bring about a conscious change. I relate to the parent thing. Whether actual or perceived (or a combo of both), the pressure to live up to a certain standard and our own fear of not being able to do so can paralyze. Letting go, for me, required separating "should" from the equation -- a whole lot of untangling.

Bangkok J said...

Ah! You get it! Thanks for relating and validating my angst. I'm going to take a page from your book and try to be more aware of the "should" component. Let the untangling begin/continue!

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