It was the second day of my first three-day silent retreat.
I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore.
Too much silence. Too many unwanted thoughts. Too many unwanted emotions. Too much discomfort. Too much pain.
It was time to plan my escape.
I figured I could sneak out after lunch without anyone noticing.
I was a runner...both literally and metaphorically speaking.
I’d spent my entire adult life up to that point running from, suppressing, controlling, or avoiding my experience in one way or another. It was all in attempt to avoid certain parts of my experience (unpleasant thoughts, unpleasant emotions, unpleasant states, etc.).
Some of the ways I tried to escape were so called “healthy”, but others were incredibly self-destructive. It didn't really matter to me what form it took, as long as it served to take me out of the experience I didn't want to be having.
The only problem was that it (i.e. running, avoiding, suppressing, manipulating, controlling) wasn't working for me anymore.
I had this underlying anxiety that wouldn't go away and felt like I was on the verge of a panic attack most of the time.
Which is what led me to seek out meditation.
I could leave now as things were starting to bubble to the surface and continue running, or I could go back into the meditation hall and face the skeletons in the closet.
My entire being wanted to run, but there was something equally as strong pulling me to stay.
I was at a turning point.
The thought occurred to me that if I left now, I would be getting in my car BY MYSELF to drive 2 hours back home WITH MYSELF only to spend the rest of my life running FROM MYSELF.
The insanity of what I was about to do hit me hard.
Despite my mind and body telling me otherwise, I went back into the meditation hall and sat down.
I decided to stop and stay, to the best of my ability….
for at least the rest of the weekend:).
What followed was nothing short than miraculous.
As I stayed with my experience and attempted not to interfere with it, I noticed how it naturally transformed on its own...without any effort on my part.
It was amazing!
I also found out that the experiences I had spent a lifetime avoiding weren’t as scary when I faced them head on.
It was my mind that imagined the monsters under the bed!
Once I witnessed this for myself, everything changed.
I was no longer so afraid of my experience. I could allow things to come and go without as much attachment or resistance to them.
My life got better.
My relationships improved. I experienced less anxiety. I didn’t get as worked up about things. I developed more resiliency. I experienced more moments of peace and calm. I became more patient and accepting. I could go with the flow.
Which leads me to you.
What in your experience are you running from? What could open up for you if you decided to stop running and let your experience naturally transform on its own?
Today, I offer you to consider staying with whatever is happening in your experience. Even if it is just for a moment. It might just change your life.
As always, if you need support or guidance don’t hesitate to reach out to me. It can be helpful to have a guide when navigating difficult and sticky emotions. I’m happy to be a support to you along your journey.
In Ultimate Support of You!
P.S. My biggest fear in facing certain parts of my experience was that I would have a heart attack and die in the middle of the meditation hall because of not being able to be with my thoughts and emotions. My second biggest fear was that I would have a panic attack. Neither of those things happened. In fact, my experience in staying with my experience was so transformative that I went on to do many more silent meditation retreats after this one. Who would have thought! These days it is much more uncomfortable for me to run than it is for me to stay with my experience. Even when it's really unpleasant and uncomfortable. How things change!