That we close down is not a problem. In fact, to become aware of when we do so is an important part of the training. The first step in cultivating lovingkindness is to see when we are erecting barriers between ourselves and others. Unless we understand–in a non-judgmental way–that we are hardening our hearts, there is no possibility of dissolving that armor. Without dissolving the armor, the loving-kindness of bodhicitta is always held back. We are always obstructing our innate capacity to love without an agenda. ~ Pema Chodron
I totally do this. I want closeness but I push it away. I recognized it first when I was 16, about to receive my first kiss at a youth group camp retreat. The guy leaned in and I sort of leaned to the side and gave him a hug instead. I must have thought that I could delay the pleasure or somehow savor it more by waiting longer. I certainly didn’t mean to push him away for good, but I immediately saw the disappointment on his face and he didn’t try again. Rats!
Interestingly, I have the same repressive feeling about my writing (or lack thereof). I know that I don’t allow myself to write freely everyday (as I want to) because I am afraid of what would come forth. I know it would be wells of passion and expressive thought so I don’t even uncap the pen.
Could this be a right-brain/left-brain struggle? Like maybe I don’t let the creative side take over very much because I am afraid I’ll lose my sense of control? I don’t want to forget that the laundry is waiting for me, or the grocery list is right underneath the pile of bills that I am going to pay on Wednesday morning, or that I have to bring snacks next week to preschool, or to change the sprinkler schedule on the control panel. You know, all the little things. But if I never put those things down, if I am always carrying them around with me in my mind, then of course it’s just too much and the peace will not come.
Knowing that I have passion to express and so much to communicate, I am starting slowly and it’s been wonderful thus far. I am doing more of the little tasks during the day so that I am free to relax in the evenings. It can’t be all or nothing with a toddler in the picture and a work schedule like my husband’s. It must be a little here, a little there, which is what marriage is supposed to be, right?
Do any of you struggle with this type-A-ness preventing you from leaning into life? What have you found to help? (And I don’t mean putting paper by the bed or using iPhone lists, because I do that already!)