Receive the love that I have for you
Amongst other holiday wishes!
Not that you are counting, but the last two Sundays were the first time I slip in ~3 years of sending my Sunday emails!
If you have been around here for a while, you know that I usually can’t wait to roll up my sleeves every Sunday and take you down tumbling with me into the forests of gumption. The past two weeks, however, have rendered me incapable of writing these essays that I love doing so much. A fitting end to a year that has generally been very rough around the edges!
For those following in the past few months, I have quit a lot of the things that have been numbing my pain for years (mainly THC), been diligent with my daily meditation practice since my Vipassana retreat, and I have been enrolled in a Somatic therapy course by previous Gumpcast guest Staci Haines.
All of this has accumulated -unbeknownst to me- to a rolling snowball of shame and depression that surfaced out of the blue, and it painted my whole mood with its color of origin. Winter blues have always been a thing that hit me hard during this festive season. It’s always contentious for me because there is= my mother’s birthday on Christmas eve, then Christmas itself, followed by my birthday on January 1st.
It is always a struggle to deal with the seasonal melancholy, while trying to put a smile on my face lest I ruin everyone’s mood.
This year however, without my usual numbing techniques, and with the supercharged awareness muscles of meditation and somatic opening, a warm flood of old wounds came gushing through my veins.
It started with a lot of external frustrations with people in my life, and a lot of blaming. It is usually a good sign that something is brewing inside of me and is getting ready to come out.
Then…a strange phenomenon occurred. I was walking a dog I am taking care of back to my place and it was raining cats, dogs, turtles, lizards and frogs in an unusual San Francisco sky. As I walked, intense feelings swirled within me, and accumulated into a sob, that intensified into tears, and then grew into an uncontrollable volcanic eruption of heaving, that lasted for about 15-20 minutes!
I was still aware that I am an adult grown-ass man walking around with a dog and crying like a baby. The shame was poking at my dignity but I could not care less, for I could not control what was going on. By the time the episode was over, I found myself lying on the ground in the Twin Peaks apartment I am current dog sitting in. I lay on the floor as my breathing came back to a normal rhythm and my tears dried up along with my wet hair and clothes.
What followed was a strange lethargy for a few days. One that I had not experienced in a very long time. Long sleeping hours, unusual naps during the day, and a state of depression that is recognizable but not common for me these days. It was all quite shocking and terrifying to be honest. What is going on?
The first thing I did was reach out to my friends and my teachers and asked for help. Support came rushing in which felt extremely needed and nourishing. Suddenly, I was not alone in this anymore. Then, I met up with my Somatics teacher who listened to what I was going through and explained to me that this is bound to happen during the practice.
What she explained to me was that -basically- our bodies hold on to old things in such a way that they close off, and we may adopt a certain shape or lose sensations in a certain part of the body that holds on to trauma or difficult feelings as we go through life. Most of us do not have a way to access that.
“When in the past did you experience a similar sense of lethargy, isolation, and depression?” she asked.
My mind immediately knew the answer: My medical internship year (and an episode before that in my last year of medical school).
Old memories suddenly came rushing in like a movie reel. The insecurity about the future, the struggle to meet my financial needs as an intern, the relationship problems, the isolation, the vacation days spent entirely in bed, the movies I watched to numb the pain, and most importantly: smoking tobacco and marijuana- which I picked up during those years as a coping mechanism.
Holy shit - that is exactly how I was feeling for the past two days! It is like letting go of the coping mechanism I held on to for all these years (accelerated by my meditation and somatic exercises) brought back those deep fears I never dealt with to play whack-a-mole with me again.
It all made sense. One question...many answers. The support and affirmation of my teacher, along with the support of close friends that have been checking in to make sure I don’t isolate again, helped me get back on my…knees (still working on the feet bit).
So the past 8 days or so have been difficult ones where I could not really get myself to write a newsletter or produce the last two episodes of Season 2 (which are now in the final stages of processing - fear not!).
I have been giving myself this energy instead to recover slowly from this surreal experience, where I am in tune with a part of me that I have lost touch with a long time ago.
It is a critical part of me however, and using the skills I learned in Internal Family Systems, I am able to get in touch with him and talk to that scared and depressed medical student as though he is a friend of mine that is hanging out with me.
He is a bit estranged nonetheless, and a little disoriented to why we live in San Francisco and have long hair now.
On Saturday, I was able to get out of bed again and started feeling enough energy to cook meals for myself and find an interest in the outer world again. I took the dog up a hike on twin peaks and sat on top of San Francisco on a clear post rain day.
The sun shone with a smile that lit up my face and pierced through any remaining clouds. Then I heard a voice inside of me, a voice that held such wisdom and I knew that it was directing a message to my inner medical student that did not feel loved or cared for during that time.
The voice said : “Receive the love that I have for you.”
I found myself repeating that sentence over and over again.
Receive the love that I have for you.
Receive the love that I have for you.
Receive the love that I have for you.
It is crazy how many of us can express love to the outer world, and accept people fully, and yet lose ourselves into disowning older parts of us. These are the younger parts that require our attention. Instead of accepting them, we cast them away into the shadows of our minds.
That is where we lose our gumption. These are the internal hangups that cause us to loose our selves in the process of life. We can’t access our full energy without brining back the parts of us that we have disowned back online,
The rest is locked up in our own cells and bodies waiting to be fully expressed.
So, all of this to say, Merry Christmas, you gumptioneer!
May you receive the love I have for you today, and allow your full self to shine through into this next year.
Before all of this happened, I had been deep into planning for an exciting new year and format for Gumption and I will be announcing where this is all going on my birthday next Monday, January 1st.
Till then, please remember that you do not have to go through tough times alone, and that I am just an email away from you if you want listening ears.
*Dusts his pants, gets up again, takes a deep breath, curses heavily, and gets back to work*