I hadn’t noticed that my mind is an adversarial place until earlier today as I was doing my morning routine. I avoid conflict, tuck it away and hold imaginary arguments in my head instead. I found myself repeating this pattern this morning and was like lol what am I doing I should just chill out and led my attention elsewhere: the sunlight and angel white snow and how green my matcha latte looked. The disturbing realization was that my stream of consciousness is predominantly combative. I fight myself internally almost all the time but avoid arguing with real people.
My dad once said there are two types of people: those who avoid pain and those who pursue pleasure. People who run away and people who run towards something. I think I avoid conflict because communicating my thoughts under pressure is energetically taxing and I don’t think the payoff is usually worth it. I value harmony, so I’m more passive and agreeable at home. I can tolerate much more disagreement and value misalignment with other people just cuz I don’t live with them. But since I spend most of my time at home I often retreat into my mind and idly chew on my thoughts over and over as I go about my day.
In January I noticed that this torments me. I brooded over my life more obsessively than I ever have before, that I couldn’t recognize myself. Usually I can self-soothe back to emotional stability. I’m familiar with the heart of meditation: accept thoughts instead of resisting them, lest they stick more tightly. But oddly this month I just thought thoughts so much.
Writing as exhalation. Zadie Smith in this interview: [Early work] always feels quite distant, partly because when you’re writing it’s such an obsessive thing, and then when you’re done it’s like pushing something out of your body you don’t want to be involved with anymore. My problems (often recurring thought patterns) evaporated after I published some of my previous posts. I moved through the past month heavy with thoughts. So I wrote down as many as I could, everyday, and felt that I could breathe. I had to write down everything, especially the thoughts I flinched from most. Line by line, I could make my mind someplace I felt safe to inhabit again.
We must not wish for the disappearances of our troubles but for the grace to transform them.
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