“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared with what lives inside us.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s the fifth formal day of my meditation practice and something new is happening. This time around, it feels like meditation is carving away parts of me, the calluses or scabs, leaving behind what I like to call it my “soft, candy center,” which is turning out to be a little overwhelming.
The world feels too loud, noisy, throbbing with calamity. It begs for my attention with cymbals and tragedy and speed, and all I want to do is turn away, curl up on my couch with a book and hide. Conversations exhaust me. My motivation is smoke in the breeze, there for just a moment and then gone.
It feels a little as though the pendulum has swung from one extreme to the other; on the other side of my busy-busy-busy life is almost its opposite, a state I’ve always been afraid of because I fear inertia. I grew up surrounded by the inertia of addiction and it left a lasting impression on me, kept me always moving forward, outward, away from that dark and sludgy lethargy. The problem is, like all good coping skills, it led me to take up a habit of keeping moving too much, as though I could outrun the feelings as well as the tendency.
I talked with my husband, who also has a meditation practice, about this feeling of sudden vulnerability last night. It was a relief to have him nod in understanding and say that he, too, experiences that at times, what he called “too much vitality” that heightens the way you move through and feel in your life.
In looking to see if this was normal, I encountered this article by Sally Kempton in Yoga Journal . “At some point, most of us are forced to reclaim our vulnerability—whether we want to our not. In other words, if you don’t choose to consciously reconnect with your vulnerability, it will eventually come around from behind and bite you in the butt.”
When I was young, for many, many years I was considered “overly sensitive.” It’s taken me years to build up the tough skin, the thick candy shell to protect that tender creature. At a different time in my life, I’d see this vulnerability as a sign to retreat to safety. But now I feel compelled to keep up with this meditation even more. I’m going to treat this vulnerability, this sensitivity as a weak muscle that needs developing, or perhaps re-training, because I had it once, a long time ago. And because the more open I am, the greater the quality of all my connections.
If you like what you’ve read, you might enjoy my novel of healing and suspense, Forged in Grace, my writing book Make a Scene, or my creativity guide with Rebecca Lawton, Write Free (purchase through one of us directly).