“Wake Up,” Said My Mind!
“Humankind is being led along an evolving course…and though we seem to be sleeping, there is an inner wakefulness that directs the dreams, and that will eventually startle us back to the truth of who we are.” Rumi.
Surprisingly, on December 31st, I found myself overwhelmed with a feeling of despair and deep sadness. I was weepy and lashing out at strangers at the supermarket. I observed myself manically speaking to a friend on the phone: neither listening to him, nor connecting to myself. After I hung up the phone, I asked myself: “who the hell was that?”
These shockingly out-of-character behaviors woke me up. I realized, for the moment, I just couldn’t be around other people. The only thing to do was go home, shut all the doors and get myself together!
I called a dear friend, and explained to him that I felt I was falling apart, and didn’t know how to put myself back together again. Very calmly and compassionately, he chuckled as he listened to my story. He suggested some cleansing rituals for letting go of the old year and welcoming in the new. But, mostly he gave me permission to be alone and reconnect with myself during a holiday commonly spent whooping it up with others.
Sometimes it takes another person to remind us what we already know: giving us permission to listen to what’s intuitive.
I lit a candle, took a bath, and began meditating. After a brief meditation, I “wrote out” the year: all that happened, all that I wished to let go of. Stream of consciousness: it wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t even legible. But it was flowing out of me. I was washing myself clean. As the words came pouring out, my sense of self returned. I felt myself re-entering my body. My despair lifted. I was able to sit calmly, stop panicking, and take a deep breath.
I sat in meditation once again, followed by writing a letter to my 2011-self. The letter was filled with loving, gentle questions and reminders: “are you getting lost?” “Have you allowed yourself to become distracted by relationships and your burning desires?” “Are you trying to be the perfect person again?” “Are you playing your ‘know-it-all’ game Nicholas?” “Are you becoming panicked about money and success?” “Don’t work too hard?” “Stop hiding!”
Finally, I stopped running. There had been so much outward focus for weeks, with the holidays, family visits, dating, gift-buying, end of the year rush. I’d lost contact with myself. I knew it the moment I heard my voice speaking on the phone and didn’t recognize it.
I spent the last night of the year reconnecting to myself. It was the nicest new year’s eve I’d ever spent. Washing myself clean. Now, I realize all those unsavory behaviors and uncomfortable feelings during the day were coming from that “inner wakefulness” Rumi speaks about. The people at the supermarket didn’t appreciate them! But thankfully, I had the good sense to shut myself up in my home and allow myself to be startled back to the truth of who I am.
I wish all of you a new year where you find yourself fully connected to that “inner truth.” If your body and mind decide to throw a fit like mine did as they startle you back to yourselves, I wish you compassion and a lot of humor. Much love, Nick.