Saturday, November 1, 2008

Things That Haven't Happened...Yet?

I totally lost it yesterday. No costume, no make up, no candy (okay, I did eat one 'fun pack' of M and M's) and no parties. I got myself worked up in such a state that I spent much of the evening in tears and sent A to party alone. Alone at home with Chibo, I didn't even answer the door when our outside lights turned back on (on timer) and we got some late Trick-or-Treaters.

What the heck? Why? What was so upsetting? I don't know, but I know it started much earlier in the day as I could feel anxiety rising while I was still about my business before I even headed home to get dressed. I was speaking to a friend in the car on the way home and I told her that I was aware that I was manifesting this bad time with all the dread I was feeling. She pointed out that I was upset about things that haven't even happened yet. That is interesting.

I was upset about things that haven't even happened yet.

Not only had they not happened, but it was possible they wouldn't happen. It was entirely possible that the things I had envisioned or thought of either consciously or unconsciously would not ever happen, let alone having not even happened yet. But I was just as upset, sad, angry and anxious as if they had already happened. I already felt berated, beat up, left out, less than, ugly, unwitty and taken for granted when in fact, I had every reason to feel supported, cherished, included, valued, respected and fun.

By staying home, I certainly prevented the worst of my projected unpleasantness, the things that hadn't happened yet, from happening. If I lived alone and had no partner, this wouldn't have been a problem for anyone else - maybe friends would miss me, but when I saw them again as my normal contented self, they would be none the wiser and no feelings would have been hurt by my responding to things that haven't happened yet. But I live with A and he was hoping to spend a fun evening together. Though I'm sure he had fun, he was very disappointed that I didn't go and then he started wondering about things that haven't happened yet, such as my future refusals to go to parties, because of the various reasons I gave to try to explain my disquiet.

This, I think, is the gift of Buddhist practice - being in the moment, you don't hold on to the past or project the future. Things that haven't happened yet have no bearing on the moment. I need practice with this, because every day my decisions and emotions are influenced by things that haven't happened yet. The more I consider this, the clearer it becomes that these things have a strong influence in my life - I can become a weeping mess over the death of a loved one that hasn't happened yet within moments, I prepare for confrontations that I imagine happening that never materialize and I get myself in these anxious states because of imagined slights, attacks, disrespects and situations that leave me feeling powerless.

Besides practicing being in the moment, I think an important next step is to examine the pieces of these imagined things that haven't happened yet and see why they would be so upsetting to me and how I could develop myself so that they aren't. That sounds a bit like preparing myself for confrontations that never materialize, a practice I'm already more than familiar enough with, but what I mean is something different. What I mean is to figure out what I feel that allows me to project these imagined scenarios, such as feeling powerless or disrespected, and determine if there are social skills to develop or conversations to have to ensure I'm feeling in control of my own destiny or respected in the present moment. Because these imagined scenarios can really only reflect the reality going on right now.

And right now, I'm feeling determined to be more clear about why I do or do not want to do things, to respect my own desires to be in certain environments and to allow myself the freedom of entering situations without manifesting my own pre-meditated resentments and negativities.

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