I have mastered my first hurdle. Getting here on time (well a little late but it didn’t even matter) and by myself. My fear of driving windy roads was on my mind in preparation for coming here. I needn’t have worried. The drive was a little narrow in parts but absolutely glorious. The sun setting over the water to my left, cute houses, beautiful cliffs and bush to my right.
I have come here alone and whilst I was happy to do so, I also did wonder if I would meet some like-minded people. This was the next and slightly greater fear than the driving – will I spend the week mostly in my own company or will I meet some nice people? Naturally a friendly and chatty person, I still wondered at this. I am hopeful that this week I might learn to be more comfortable in my own company for longer periods of time; that I might even enjoy it on my own rather than having to share it with someone and all that. I am hopeful but I am also a little skeptical. I will however settle for brief moments of own-company-enjoyment.
Essentially I am wondering am I “too much”?
This links with a more intense fear I am sitting with – how am I going to contain all my emotions in front of this group of people I have just met, when already strong emotions are stirring in me? I have already become tearful in our first meeting tonight, and although the small group I briefly chatted with in this state were very kind and supportive, I find myself wondering – will the broader group welcome me and all that I bring or will they reject me as ‘too emotional’ and find what I have to share overwhelming? Essentially I am wondering am I “too much”? (Something that clearly doesn’t relate to only this situation but that’s another story). And if I am too much will they reject me and will I have to, as I feared, have to sit alone with my own boring or painful thoughts and feelings ALL WEEK!!!…..(yes I can get carried away with the ‘disastrous’ potential of a situation).
It has just occurred to me that actually I think I am my harshest judge of my own crying. I like to project that people will think that there is something terribly/fundamentally wrong with me because that’s a belief about myself that I’ve been lugging around. In actual fact I cry easily because I feel things deeply and am open to feeling things in this way. I cry at others pain also because I am sensitive to it and moved by it. And I cry easily because it is without doubt linked to some unmet needs I have.
I am actually acutely aware of a desire to be able to tend to these needs and take care of myself better – a form of re-parenting myself per se. But there is tension for me – between wanting someone else to take care of me and knowing I actually need to learn take care of myself better. After tonight I find myself wondering if MSC might help me get closer to the latter.
Am I prepared to potentially cry all week?
I am hopeful that this MSC course will be an opportunity to be better able to accept my emotional experiences as they are and to re-parent/comfort myself a bit. I am not a big believer in instant transformation. I know there is not one thing that will magically make everything better or easier if I could just find it. Although, if I am honest part of me holds that as a slight hope in my mind, but I am ultimately skeptical too of quick fixes. I know I actually have to put in the hard yards if transformative change is to take place. It.Will.Take.Practice!! (This is me trying to convince myself to practice). I know for a fact that healthy change happens for me when I make small, realistic adjustments and persevere with them.
At this stage, after our first and brief MSC meeting, I am wondering about how open I am to change this week? How open could I be or am I prepared to be this week? Am I prepared to potentially cry all week? Or will I struggle against it and try not to let my emotions be as they are in order to save face, and in the struggle take my focus off the mindful self-compassion and ‘jump-in’ to being consumed by self-criticism instead?
After reflecting this evening, I notice I am still scared and I think I am going to take it as it comes anyway. I’ve been scared before and it didn’t always turn out well for me, but something tells me this week might be a little different. Something tells me that this MSC thing might just be worth it.