Value and Self Esteem

I attended a workshop this weekend that I believe may be a turning point for me spiritually, if I honor it and let it. I very much trust my mind. I trust the superego and it’s assessment that certain things must be feared. I am an Enneagram type 6, so this might be core.

Just now I was thinking a negative thought about how I’m likely being excluded by my co-workers. Two of them seem to be involved with each other, aware of things I’m not made aware of, responding to each other in the group chat, reviewing each others work, but they’re somehow excluding me. I’m ignored. This is a fear I have, a worry, and I let it affect me. I collapse when I believe it, and often I do believe this type of stories that make me collapse, isolate, and not value myself.

Yesterday I stopped letting all the worries of belonging or not belonging, and I just focused on opening my heart, breathing deeply. I was meditating and practicing, which is unlike me typically. I accepted that my mind wandering off is normal, part of the process… but at some point I noticed how negative that feels.

Instead of allowing this dilemma of my comfort in identifying and being either a liberal living in Berkeley, or a patriot that stands up for free speech regardless of what righteous justifications the anti-fascist fascists have for enacting violence against a speech. Instead of worrying about how I too might be abandoned by the patriots once they learn how liberal I am, or how I will be abandoned by the many people I admire because of my conservative values, I just stopped.

This is difficult. There is resistance. I feel it there. It’s so hard to accept the idea that just letting go is okay. But I did it, and I stayed with myself. I realized that this is so rare for me, and that what I was doing was truly paying attention to myself. This is something I feel I didn’t receive. I wasn’t attuned to, so I don’t attune to myself. I wasn’t truly cared for, so I don’t care for myself.

Don’t get me wrong. I received the motions, the verbal cues, of care and love. But it feels like I for some reason couldn’t trust it, couldn’t take it in. Was it because even my mother, the first other I relied on, couldn’t attune to me either, because she received the same.

I am clear that I’m currently at the level of the personality still. I’m very much in my head, identified with the ego, thinking that I’m using the mind to understand and see the ego, and slowly let go of it. Just letting go of it, and not holding on, seems to be a scary thing. I can sense that feeling of “but it’s dangerous”. Even as I try to put that feeling into clearer words, my mind starts to feel foggy. “If you don’t try to solve this problem, you will still be vulnerable.”.

So what? If they decide that I cannot be trusted, then so be it. It’s more important that I learn to live without a steel guarded heart.

I opened my heart, I mused about seeking value, expressing value, hiding my value. I saw how much energy we put out to try to feel value, to sense value, desperately. I felt gratitude for how shocked I was being invited to a lunch with two beautiful women that saw and valued me while I was in this state of openness. I didn’t even do anything specific that my ego would or could identify as being an expression of value in my interaction with them.

I did express a very vulnerable yet true part of myself. I laid myself out to receive the fear and shutdown of exposing myself as not believing in the social justice insanity of our culture. I received understanding, a recognition of my value by this woman who I’ve admired, like one admires a living angel that just exudes such sweetness and care for those that come into contact with her. The other woman even expressed to me how she appreciates my ability to get out of my head and at least attempt to touch some depth within me.

I didn’t feel the gratitude in the moment. But I went back to the event and we started a meditation after doing a physical practice called the 5 movements. It was during this sitting meditation that I was hit by a wave of deep gratitude and/or sadness, appreciating deeply what I had received. I had eaten a very light meal without much fat or carbohydrates, and yet I felt fine for most of the day. I felt myself later feeling more able and willing to do something that needed to be done, that would take care of me, such as taking care of a chore such as reviewing a new budget solution (YNAB) or cleaning my apartment.

I washed the dishes and I noticed how I felt a sense of intimacy for a couple moments, such as when I soaped a pan, and with presence I washed the dirty pan. I didn’t just push into it a whole bunch, but just enough. It was almost like how you would expect someone portraying how a pan is washed on a video to present it. I even wanted to bring the strong soapiness of the sponge to parts of it that needed it, and not with a specific goal of detailing it… but just enough to wash it better than I usually do. I wasn’t interested in using a steel wool pad on the bottom of it, though it could use it. There was more care. It was almost like I was caring for the pan, and thus for myself in the same action, and I felt something about it. It just happened, I didn’t try to create it, and I didn’t necessarily try to chase it either.

I could sense that I was somehow supported by this, in a way that would revolutionize my life if I could somehow keep it. Later last night I still ended up eating two bean burritos, a compromise food that I am allowing myself, partially comfort food, yet not Taco Bell which gives me headaches and makes me feel ill. After that I was still craving, so I made a flour burrito with peanut butter and strawberry preserves, with some pieces of cucumber. I can only think that this was something I still did as a routine, a response to some feeling. It wasn’t that I wasn’t completely tired, even though I’ve been allowing myself to eat before bed because “my body needs carbs to feel tired and fall asleep when I’m wired”. I wasn’t willing to sit and breathe so that I would feel tired enough and fall asleep.

I am right now saying that this is my pledge to myself. I will try to be in touch with myself, with my body, and let go of the stirrings of the mind. I will try to see myself, feel myself, and take care of myself, feel my own value, hold myself for my own value, so that I can stay here… and not collapse and die.