I haven’t written anything for a week or so because of the tech meeting I hosted last week. For a first time meeting, I suppose it went as well enough. One person walked out and a number of the others seemed rather disappointed about what we did. I did what I could to engage everyone who was there and tried to get some discussion going. I suppose many were looking for me to do more teaching, but I had been clear about this being an interactive, group gathering.
Just dealing with people in general is challenging for me. Dealing with people in a more business like context is much more difficult. I’m still trying to regain my balance and achieve more of an internal equilibrium, so trying to extend myself and guide along such a group was very difficult. I made it through, but I was shaking and short of breath as the meeting went on and no one else really made much of an effort to participate. 2 people did. But for the most part, everyone else sat stone faced and silent. When I was younger, healthier and more audacious, I was better able to navigate business meetings. If nothing else, my friendliness and enthusiasm could put people at ease and even inspire them. I have an idea of how to make the next meeting more interesting and interactive. But the problem isn’t with the format of the meeting or the reaction of anyone who was there.
I’ve been in a daze since last Thursday night. The emotional pain has been intense and I’ve been disassociated for much of the time.
One interesting thing was Sunday. In the morning, I took my spouse and child with me to a (Philadelphia) Quaker meeting. I’ve been going to these meetings for more than religious reasons. While spirituality is of interest to me, I’ve also attended in order to learn how to better relate to people and work towards developing some form of a support system. I have no family or friends I can relate to or talk things over with. I have no support system and find interacting with people cumbersome at best. I’ve found Philadelphia Quakers to be inclusive and welcoming. They have no Cannon or dogma. The only belief is that all living beings have an “inner light” or “that of god within” and they (the Quakers) use this single idea to live their every day lives. I find this simplicity and openness of faith (openness to others and other ideas) very alluring. Jainism has a similar idea – basically, it’s “non-exclusiveness” of spirituality or a being open to other ideas and perspectives. People are people, so yes, many of these Quakers were quirky – just like everyone else. But in general, I’ve found this group to be more open, compassionate, empathetic and inclusive than any other religious or spiritual group I’ve ever been a part of or explored. Much to my surprise and delight, my wife and son have enjoyed going for the past 2 weeks as well.
Once we got home, my wife and son went off to go about their day. I spent the day watching tv. Nothing spectacular, but the interesting thing was that I didn’t experience any of the emotional pain or negative thinking which is always so central to my daily existence. I felt fine. I was at peace. I felt almost…normal?!
In thinking about this, it seems to me that I, myself, create, generate and maintain the negative emotions and thoughts. They originate within me and are – at this point in my life – my own creation. For this, I have to say, I’m grateful. Yes, my thyroid illness invokes anxiety. But this physical invoking of anxious emotion is nothing like the negativity and pain which CPTSD (complex post traumatic stress disorder) generates and maintains. I am able to guide and direct my thoughts. There are patterns and assumptions of thought which plague me, but, with effort, I can guide and direct them. I can also influence my emotions. This is much more difficult and is something I’m even less skilled at, but it is possible. Thought and emotion are different. You can’t use thinking to control emotion and you can’t use emotion to dictate thoughts. Many do, as I do. But using the one to dictate to the other causes problems and confusion. There is an overlap where both “communicate.” But they’re both, fundamentally, different ways of perceiving and experiencing oneself, others and the wider world. Thought must be dealt with by thinking and emotion needs to be dealt with by the it’s own ways of experiencing and expression. Once each is resolved and resonant with itself, only then can the one communicate and work with the other in a unpolluted and healthy way.
I’m still trying to heal. My experiences have left me rather anxious and a bit neurotic, but I’m still trying to heal.
Making the effort on Thursday was a big deal for me. I’m still not sure where to go from here. The people at Thursday’s meeting and the Quakers I met with on Sunday have their own eccentricities and quirks and it’s hard for me to get through my own issues to meet others where they are.
All I know is that I’m trying. All I know is that I need to find a space of peace within myself so that I can reach outside of myself and join others in the process of daily living.
I must say, thought, that the wounds of CPTSD make this a very difficult process and journey.
I just want to do the right things, for the right reasons…because it’s the right thing to do.
Wish me luck!
Be Well, My Friends