I take pride in being the calm, well-mannered guy when I’m working or when I’m just hanging out with friends. I keep myself together and help others cultivate the same inner peace that I strive for on a daily basis.
The last couple weeks, though, have been filled with inner turmoil and anger.
I had something stir up inside of me that got me so upset at a friend that I came very close to destroying that relationship for selfish reasons. I was so angry that I had trouble getting to sleep at night, and I am usually able to sleep anytime, anywhere. I would wake up in the mornings and immediately start ruminating on what was upsetting me, and plotting out how to express my feelings in a way that would invite my friend to join me in this emotional upset. Misery loves company, right?
My conscious mind would remind me that this is not the best way to handle the situation, and that I needed to find a way to communicate without being so judgmental, but my energy was being worn down by these overwhelming emotions. I wasn’t getting quality rest. My mind was in a dark place, and the stress was causing me to clench my jaw at night resulting in headaches during the day. I wasn’t my happy-go-lucky self when I would go give Reiki treatments to the guests at the cancer non-profits, and although I was keeping myself together through the eyes of the outside world, I was struggling inside.
I finally hit my bottom, and I lashed out. It was not pretty.
I spent one morning at a café going through my thoughts and constructing an email that I would send out to my friend expressing all of the things that upset me. I would prefer to do it in person, but that was out of the question for logistical reasons. A phone call wouldn’t work either. It was not the best option, but it was all I had.
I wrote several journal entries about it prior to this trying to clear it up to no avail. I typed up all of my thoughts and read them back to myself. I did my best to not get too mean with my words, but I’ll admit some of those feelings got through. I read it and reread it. I edited it, and read it again. I sat with that message for 30 minutes or longer going back and forth. With all of the healing practices, self-help techniques, and positive thinking that I have learned and use on a regular basis, I could not make this a clear-headed and open-hearted letter to a friend about my concerns. It was an attack, and I sat there with my finger on the send button for minutes with a sunken feeling in my gut.
And then I heard the **swoosh** of my email being sent.
There was nothing to do now but wait for the response. I didn’t feel any better sending the message and expressing myself for I knew that sending it in that frame of mind was nothing to be celebrated and was definitely not going to result in flowers blooming and birds chirping.
Even with all of those thoughts swirling around in my head, I knew that I had to send it. The conversation needed to be started, and even if it wasn’t pretty, it was going to happen. And that was the challenge of the ordeal up to that point. I knew I might damage a friendship, yet I knew that I had to speak my mind. I had to consider what was more important to me, speaking up about something that was upsetting me in an effort to find inner peace or keeping it all to myself and continue suffering because of my inability to express myself with tact. It was a real “rock and a hard place” moment, and in order to grow as a person, I had to move forward into discomfort rather than cower back in fear.
The response came, and as I expected, my message inflicted emotional pain. After reading through it again and preparing my follow up response, I gained an insight about the situation and myself that I was not expecting to see.
What I thought I was initially upset about wasn’t it at all.
My original complaint was merely a symptom of a deeper seeded insecurity that I had about myself, and it was pulling a smoke and mirrors trick on me so that I wouldn’t completely understand what was happening in my psyche.
As I was writing my response I noticed that everything that was coming up had to do with my insecurity as a musician and bass player, and had nothing to do with the original complaint I had. My insecurity was disguising itself as a different complaint so that I wouldn’t see it because if I didn’t see it, I wouldn’t have to address it and take responsibility for my thoughts and actions. Now that I am aware of this insecurity I can see that it’s been a part of me for a long time, and I’ve been covering it up and hiding it from myself.
Thanks to the Inner Child Work I learned how to do from Marla Mervis-Hartmann in her Living Light Reiki Classes and for the tools I gained from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way in nurturing my Inner Artist, I know these insecurities I have are from younger aspects of myself and will need time and a lot of self-care to heal and restore a sense of acceptance and eventually confidence in myself and my skills as a musician.
Being able to express the insecure feelings I had toward myself with my friend has helped mend the disruption caused from my initial angry email that I sent. I still have more to explain and work through, but the healing between the two of us has started.
As for me, I see the path of healing on which I will be walking for the next who-knows-how-long. I’m in no hurry, and I will not put a time limit on this. Throughout this whole breakdown, and every morning, in fact, before I give myself Reiki, I ask that the “great bright light” shine through me and light the path for myself and everyone around me so that we know the direction in which to travel for our highest good. I don’t know exactly where the path will lead or when it will end, but I do know where the first step is. And onto that step is where I’m heading.
Anyone know a good bass teacher? ;-)
May peace be restored to my life and to all of those I come in contact with.