June 13th, 2011

Unblocking

Of late, I have been experiencing anxiety to a higher degree than in much of the last decade. I trust this is due to something I have mentioned before, namely that anxiety may be an indicator of things being shaken up and reaching the surface of the unconscious. Given the last couple breathwork sessions I have had, I do feel this is likely. Much has been moving, it has seemed, and shifts have occurred, and the ego/superego in me as such may feel alarm and resistance and have shifted into “Oh shit!” mode.

Even as I’ve felt mostly aware of this, it does not mean I have not still experienced the effects of anxiety, most notably (to be discussed here anyway) in practical ways. The world continues functioning even if I feel genuine anxiety for what seem to me noble reasons of personal growth. I have especially felt challenged being in contact with people, emailing them back when they have emailed me, and the more I have not done that (despite how much I may desperately want to), the more I have felt concern and anxiety about it, which has tended to result in a cycle of avoidance. I have felt it prominently the past few weeks.

I’ve not been writing as much as I’d like. But I realize and admit that hasn’t seemed only recent. I have noticed especially lately that there are so many writers I adore and admire who seem so busy, day jobs, kids, (pregnancy!), numerous commitments besides writing who manage to write anyway (sometimes with an output that seems astonishingly prolific to me!), dedicating their time and attention to it around the numerous other things they do.

I have almost none of that. Yes, there are things that I do, but I don’t have kids, I don’t have a 9 to 5 job that demands I attend to it during certain set hours—what I have is ample time and opportunity to write. Especially when I see so many of my colleagues who don’t have that luxury but write anyway, I have been known to feel a scathing resentment directed toward myself for not taking advantage of the precious gift I have of a largely unmediated time and opportunity to write.

During a recent breathwork appointment, I saw very clearly something around this. I became aware that it is not that I need to discipline myself more, effort further, try harder to get my ass in gear and write. (Really, it’s seemed to me the superego in me has had the market close to cornered on those kinds of demands.) It is that I need to relax—what is in me is there, waiting and wanting to come out, and there is something in me blocking that flow (perhaps ironically related to said superego). I don’t need to work harder to write what I want to say. What is called for is to let go of the block and allow the writing forth.

I wasn’t particularly shocked by this, though I hadn’t received the understanding with such clarity before. However, despite this awareness, after leaving that breathwork session I have still felt frustration with myself for not, then, unblocking the block! It seems funny how something (superego) ranting at me to relax just doesn’t seem to elicit such….

Last night I was feeling this familiar frustration, and I sat with it. Rather than engaging in the loop in my head of hearing the internal accusation and tensing against it and feeling mad at myself, which intensifies both as they cycle around and around with each other, I allowed myself to simply feel the anxiety resulting from the self-accusation. I didn’t tense against it or start engaging it in my head but just let it be and sat with how it felt.

Almost immediately the frustration relaxed. And instead of tenseness and irritation and accusation, I felt something else.

Hurt.

Beyond the tension, after it relaxed, I felt the pain of not writing. While intellectually I guess I am/was not surprised by this, I’m not sure I had ever felt the raw pain beyond the self-accusatory talk of this before. That seems amazing to me, but it’s true. I felt, physically in the heart space, the pain of not writing/expressing. The direct and unmediated hurt of what wants to come out not doing so, of not taking (or getting, depending on how one looks at it) the chance to say what is in me ready/wanting to be said.

It is possible that I felt more like a “writer” that moment than I have at many other times.

Then I thought about people who experience repression, blockage, and/or anxiety around sexuality. I faced these things in myself very pointedly years ago—which is certainly not to say I have that area all figured out. Self-awareness is literally unending. There is always more to know, and we are always new. I don’t feel for a second that I have discerned and attended to all there is to know about sexuality in me and issues in me around it. What’s important to me is that I recognize that though and keep examining, exploring, facing what is there. I know, somehow, there is much to learn.

But the reason this occurred to me, I suspect, is because as I struggle with particular anxiety around blockage in me and writing and wanting to allow out what wants to come out, I’ve remembered people dealing with sexual repression and wondered how such things are/have affected them. How would it feel if they sat with it; if they didn’t engage with the historical tension cycle and faced what was there with kindness and love?

How deeply repression can hurt, and how much more to us there is than the unconscious patterns with which we often automatically engage without realizing that—that there is more. That that’s not all we are. That that’s not all we can be. That it could take just sitting, just seeing it, just allowing whatever we have tended to tense against (perhaps without even knowing it) to get to a deeper level, something new, something that may indeed be uncomfortable—but that may put us more in touch with ourselves…the real Self, that is not made up of unconscious patterns.

It may hurt. But it may also be that unconsciousness is far more painful in the long run.

This blog post, of course, is a release, a coming out of something in me that wants to be said.

Words feel (ironically) inadequate to express the exquisite gratitude within me.

Love,
Emerald

“I thought maybe I was this, I found out that I am That…I can’t promise I won’t fall, and I can’t say I’m never scared…let go, give in, give up, surrender…”
-Ben Lee “Surrender”

7 Responses “Unblocking”

  1. Danielle says:

    dear emerald,

    thank you for sharing this post and intimate subject….

    as for the writing i know how you feel…i mean..i write all day but i always feel behind..like i never write enough..or fast enough…i look for example at sommer marsden and wonder: how the heck does she does that..she writes so fast and so much and i write just this lil bit…it never feelslike it is enough…

    for the rest…i m sure you ll finde your way throught that…it wants to come out..it will come out and in the end it will leave you…

  2. Jo says:

    Ah, Emerald. I love to see your thought and emotional process o this familiar issue.

    I hope things start to settle into the right places soon. Blogging is always a good start :)

    Hug*

  3. Erobintica says:

    Em,

    I sooooo identify with this post!

    And I could have written this: “I have almost none of that. Yes, there are things that I do, but I don’t have kids, I don’t have a 9 to 5 job that demands I attend to it during certain set hours—what I have is ample time and opportunity to write. Especially when I see so many of my colleagues who don’t have that luxury but write anyway, I have been known to feel a scathing resentment directed toward myself for not taking advantage of the precious gift I have of a largely unmediated time and opportunity to write.”

    In my case I do have an idea of why I’m blocked (fear of being as honest in my writing as I need to), but that doesn’t seem to make much difference. I have tried to sit with it, but yeah – hurt.

    Oh, and the not emailing thing – the isolation – I get that too. Been doing it a bit myself lately.

    Maybe in feeling compassion for you, I can feel some compassion for myself.

    (((((Emerald))))))

  4. Erobintica says:

    well, except for the kids part. ;-) but mine are old enough now…

  5. As always, a well considered, and self-aware post, Em.

    Though I don’t suffer from it now (knock wood) I have certainly suffered from writers-vapor-lock in the past, and I know how it feels.

    And I know that the central truth is, as you said, about relaxing and letting the creativity flow. For me, the key was allowing myself to write without trying to edit what I write during the first draft.

    I found that if the editor is too strong in the first pass, sometimes the first pass never gets going, because I don’t allow myself to believe in what I’m writing.

    To my mind, the key is letting go, and allowing the creative force, the writer, to act in the here and now. You can always come back and edit later.

    I wish you the best in all things.

  6. Erobintica says:

    Craig, wow, I just realized (while reading your comment) that maybe that’s what’s going on with me – my editor is standing there looking over my shoulder – and that may be what is holding me back from “just writing.”

  7. Emerald says:

    Thank you all so much.

    Hugs, Danielle! Thank you.

    Jo—I appreciate that. Indeed, blogging had surely seemed part of the blockage, so I felt rather thrilled when this post just seemed to spill out.

    Robin said,
    “Maybe in feeling compassion for you, I can feel some compassion for myself.”

    If that happened (and I surely concur about the expansive nature of compassion), the degree of appreciation I felt for the expression of this post would expand profoundly. (((((Robin)))))

    Thanks Craig. I can certainly appreciate that offering, as I have tended to feel nervousness particularly about potential reaction or rejection to what I’m writing or might write—before I’ve even written it yet!! Sigh. Here’s to our letting that go, Robin. :)

    Thank you again all so very much for reading and commenting. Multiple hugs.

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