Being Still

I haven’t been able to bring myself to write here for a while.

I feel this sense of responsibility to be positive and constructive when I write things online.

While my instinct has been to hide myself away, I’ve been forcing myself to try to take pleasure in things. I’ve spent time with friends, seen movies, eaten out at restaurants, walked in the winter sun, read books. Hell, I even spent two days in Brisbane for an interesting conference, and caught up with people whom I admire and whose company I really enjoy.

I’ve taken time off work which has allowed me to be free to enjoy life and take each day as it comes.

I am SO privileged to have access to opportunities and to afford to take them up, and to have such good friends. Many people would swap places with me in an instant. I lead a fortunate life and I have no right to complain.

I should be happy. I WANT to be happy.

But, as much as I genuinely try to enjoy and appreciate all I have,  I feel like an observer not fully present. I go through the motions of participation, smile, laugh take an interest. And a small part of me genuinely is smiling.. but I feel sort of hollowed out inside. There is no joy, just this big gaping pit of… I don’t even know what to call it:  pain, sadness, despair, fear, grief?

An awful ache, which I wrote about here.

My therapist has been encouraging me to practice mindfulness, and in the moments I am able to do that, it does help.

Playing piano has a soothing effect, probably because I’m not very good at it. I’m having to re-learn how to read music, to synchronise the movement of both hands across the keyboard, altering tempo and dynamics. It requires so much attention from me, that in those moments nothing else exists, and even my clumsy attempts at playing the simplest of tunes creates a form of beauty. It’s music after all.

Also, at my therapists suggestion, I’ve been using the Headspace app. Those moments of mindfulness don’t erase the pain, but it stops overwhelming me. It’s a part of me, but I’m more than that.

Some days, like this morning, meditation is hard. There was a knot of anxiety in my stomach that grew and grew. Practising mindfulness, I couldn’t run from it, or fill my mind with distractions by jumping on Twitter. I just had to sit there and feel, and it was kind of scary.

I fill my life with busyness, I work too hard and fill my spare time with projects and distractions. It’s only recently that I’ve started to understand that a lot of this is to avoid being still and present and having to face what I feel.

I think I need to carve out some space for stillness. I’d like to get to the point where it isn’t scary, but brings me peace instead.


2 thoughts on “Being Still

  1. At the risk of dispensing unsolicited advice Corinne – yoga and Kundalini yoga in particular focuses on the breath to quiet the busy mind – there are many good classes in Sydney and one in particular on Saturday morning in Leichhardt. I think it would really be a welcome addition to your repertoire of skills. DM me if you want more details. Thinking of you xxxx

    • hi Jane, there’s a yoga studio near me that I used to visit regularly, and you’re right, it is helpful. I’m always intending to go back. Thanks for suggesting The Leichhardt one – I may take you up on that 🙂

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