Boo hoo hee hee

When we cry tears, we feel real again. It’s a relief to reach that summit! Crying reveals the cruel thoughts that prick the tears out. It shows us there’s a vulnerable person in there with a vivid life to live 


Glum moments have a lot to tell us, if we allow ourselves to listen © Laura Eades 2010

Tears are such great fortune

My friend P reminded me of that this morning. He sent me a depiction of a tearful sensation that he described in such fabulous detail, it brought me into the present. A reminder that confession from another can counteract our inward urge to perfectionism. Our inner self asks us to find some compassion. His words reminded me that when you use your zoom lens of your senses to go into your feelings rather than trying to beat back the enemy lines, it’s a relief.

There’s a person underneath all the habits and routines

Sometimes I lose my good habits, and then the self that I’m left with is a very blue self. A not just disappointed in myself self, but a self that’s taken a sense of failure to heart. If I take away the good habits, I don’t have a ‘nothing’ space. Instead, I have the bad habits back again, with all the dark thoughts and self-beration that go with them.

It’s like there’s a space for habits, and it’s either filled with good or bad ones. I’m either depressed, or I’m winning my fight against The Urge and I’m happy. And that’s what most of the research on habits says, too: which is why you can’t just ‘eliminate’ a bad habit, you have to replace it with a good one.

It’s tiring maintaining happiness through action

Yesterday, in the foyer of McFit, I found that tears were unstoppably falling over the thought that my true self isn’t a cheerful self. That I require such constant, vigilant maintenance. I made a total exhibition of myself, I think – since I didn’t have any tissues, I was wiping my eyes, and arms – the tears were running down my hands and getting everywhere – on my already-sweaty t-shirt. Eventually a kind man brought me tissues and then discreetly retreated, and of course I was moved that anyone would be nice in such an impersonal place (it’s called McFit for a reason!), and of course I cried even more.

It was good to be defeated. To feel the sense of failure, and through crying get some perspective back on it.

Since the Urge is lurking underneath, it feels deceptively like my real self 

I’m very curious about the Urge and how to overcome it. Are you at the mercy of your self-destructive Urges? For me, it’s a big fat hairy beast of a kneejerk reaction that sends me doing hundreds of tiny things – like fingerbiting instead of putting on handcream, putting endless rounds of toast in the toaster instead of sitting down and novelling, siesta-potatoing instead of going for a walk or run in the fresh air, to name but a few things. These tiny things add up, until they’ve totally subjugated my sense of self-worth. And the self-beration makes me stressed: it’s as though I’m grading myself, and the more I fail in one area, the harder I have to work in another to regain some self-worth.

But the Urge is just the action in my life. The Urge is just destructive action, which I sometimes successfully replace with constructive action. Only in meditation, I guess, do we experience a self that’s not identifying with action. All of life is there – you are just not required to do anything about it.

The Urge isn’t my real self, and I’ve decided not to identify with it. The good habits aren’t my real self either. This whole self-view is a bit too good-and-evil/original sin/catastrophic and categorical for my liking. There is a neutral self, it just doesn’t get listened to that often.

Can I learn compassion?

I’ve decided to go underneath the Urge for a while. I’m not abandoning my lifelong quest to know it, to be one step ahead of it, to overcome it. But to know The Urge, I have to try sometimes to seeing it clearly again.

I’m aiming to put a tiny bit of Mindfulness meditation into every day (Loving-kindness is the pertinent theme of Palouse Mindfulness week 5, after all). To focus on gratitude; and on enjoying the things I enjoy, like writing, and on taking delight in my loved ones; and on keeping my senses open for what kind and strengthening affirmations my vulnerable self is aching to hear, and to send those messages in as deep as I can.

And I love this too: this lovely quote on Phil’s blogpage Hello Wakefulness. I’ve decided that fending off all the negative self-reproach that comes in when I’m not easily beating The Urge is what’s tiring. I’ve decided to play with the volume control on it. Listen to it – not so loud that it’s drowning everything else out, but to acknowledge its attempts to be helpful and keep me on track.

Just watch, and listen, gently, for a bit.