Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Slowing down to do the work

I'm a woman in recovery, and I'm in recovery from several things. I'm a recovering alcoholic, a recovering sugar addict, a recovering cynic, a recovering academic, and I'm coming to see that I'm a recovering overachiever. I tend to do things to excess when they make me feel good. Moderation is my challenge and sometimes abstinence is the only way, paradoxical as that may seem.

Last night I had dinner with a very close friend. We had spent the later part of the afternoon together quite happily and had dinner early at a place in my neighborhood. Good food, good conversation. But after I took her home, I was restless. I turned on a new series I've been watching on Netflix and it was interesting but I was still restless. I ate an orange. I ate the rest of a bag of Cheetos. I ate two rather tasteless, low-calorie snack bars. To combat the restlessness, I stayed busy getting up and down and checking out the fridge and the drawers and the cupboards for something that would take the edge off, settle me down, sedate me. Nothing really did but finally I got full and called a halt to the behavior. It never occurred to me to sit still long enough to figure out what was really going on and let the feelings pass through me.

When I saw my spiritual director today, we talked about the need to slow down and open up space for the feelings to come through. I feel the feelings when I'm talking to her but that's once a week. If I do the work for an hour a week, it will take forever to cry all the tears and bring up all the anger. She assured me that the feelings are wanting to come out; I've had plenty of emotional and physical evidence over the last 7 weeks I've been off sugar that I'm ready to do this. But I can also see how easy it would be to just get busy--take on extra work projects in the guise of needing the money, or organize a couple of workshops to teach, or commit with my creativity group to a few new projects. They would all keep me too busy to feel.

Or I can commit to feeling my feelings. And as I mentioned in an earlier post, commitment means doing whatever it takes, even if it means doing little or nothing and just being available.
So I'm committing to being available, to slowing down to do the work.

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