Jumping Off

Jumping OffIf we can’t find our compassion maybe we need to start with finding our minds. By that I mean being mindful. Taking notice, observing, seeing, tasting, feeling and allowing all those senses back to enrich our lives. Often we use our senses without really noticing.

We become numb because of the pain. Some of the things we see are ugly and the feelings hurt, so we want to turn them off. After years of coping, we numb ourselves through denial. It’s human nature. Denial is the best buddy of indifference. We pay a price though. We lose our compassion.

So, if mindfulness is the opposite of being numb and acknowledgment the opposite of denial, is there a place in the middle? Obviously we’re not going to walk down the street touching and feeling everything we see. They put people in loony bins for that but on the other hand, we’re not going to continue being zombies anymore either.

When we stop the denial and thaw our hearts we begin to notice things and people we never did before. Our lives become richer because they are full of the senses and pain and wonders of the world we walk in.

It’s easy to follow the crowd, to walk on auto pilot. We begin doing and wanting what everyone else does. It’s easy to fall into but hard to break out of the crowd and our own complacency. In our routine and desire to keep everyone else satisfied, we tend to stop noticing and being mindful of what makes us happy.

When I was married, I couldn’t help but feel I was on auto pilot most of the time. Sure, there were some happy moments but…I was putting one foot in front of the other, following the path other people put before me and fulfilling expectations of the crowd. The social world that I was privileged to share with neighbors and friends dictated much of what I did and how I did it. Recipes, clothes, gifts, wine choices were all scrutinized and expected to be of a certain distinction. I was in that quagmire before I even realized it. I was on a merry go round and I didn’t know how to jump off. I was becoming a zombie, losing my mindful-ness, the thing that makes us special.

You know that feeling that you’re not quite in the right place? No matter what you do, it isn’t quite right?

There were times I tried to exert my true self. I took drawing classes and later painting. This was something I felt determined and passionate about. I still to this day, get my paints out and muck around. It was something I pursued on my own. I recall one friend joking “I don’t know if I like you bettering yourself like this.” And he laughed. He wasn’t serious but that’s how tight this social group had become. Another example, when I enrolled my children in piano lessons I was told “Piano is boring…” by get this—not my kids but one of the friends who liked to commentary on how I raised my children. I didn’t care though. I was going to give my kids that opportunity. Maybe it was old fashioned but it was an education of sorts so why not give it a try? So what if she thought it was ‘boring’.

Aside from my small glimpses of self determination and independent ideas, I continued to fulfill and do what everyone else wanted. I even got scolded, chastised for not attending certain events or not ‘allowing’ my husband to golf. That makes me laugh even today. He did and probably still does exactly what he wants, when he wants (now I do too). Nevertheless, I obviously jumped off the merry go round or I wouldn’t have written and published my book. I wouldn’t have a blog all about supporting divorcing women.

How did I do it? How did I make that jump?

The merry-go-round was moving pretty fast. When I stuck my toe down to feel the ground, it dragged and bounced back. I felt the recoil and I got scared. I was dizzy from all the turning and the sensation of solid ground made it worse, for a short time. Soon, I put my whole foot down, kicking it back as I moved forward—like I was peddling. I began to feel stronger and trust the ground. After a few more ‘go arounds’, I was ready. Before I took the leap I was mindful. My numb heart slowly began to thaw. I smelled the ocean again, I felt the solid ground that would support me, and I sensed the loss that would mean a new beginning.

I let go and jumped wide and long, determined to land on my feet. It took a while before the turning in my head stopped and caught up with my steady heart. It was the beginning. I was finding my mind even though some said I was losing it. At first, I wasn’t comfortable noticing everything and seeing in a mindful light. Some of it was ugly, some beautiful, and some painful. What was to become of all this—the thawing, the feeling, the new mindfulness? I wasn’t sure but it might be the start of something big.

It was the start of simply being and with that finding compassion. I was seeing, tasting, touching and feeling. I was becoming more mindful and appreciating that life isn’t perfect. It’s painful, ugly, messy and there will be plenty of tears. That’s where the good stuff is. That’s where the differences are made. That’s where compassion is renewed, reborn or discovered for the first time.

Did you have to jump off to find self compassion? Did you ever feel numb?

On the 20th of each month, bloggers saturate the internet with compassion with #1000VoicesSpeak. To find out more or link up your own writing to this check out InLinkz

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31 Replies to “Jumping Off”

  1. Hi Lisa,

    Wow! very profound and meaningful thoughts! ‘Denial is the best buddy of indifference.’ How TRUE! Often we try to deny the painful aspects of our life, we try to reassure ourselves that it is just our perception, we keep finding pleasure and satisfaction in the blessings of life…however scanty they may be! Jumping off the merry go round seems so challenging…all sorts of fears dissuade us, convince us that all is well.

    Only self-compassion can coax us. Only finding the true meaning of our lives can push us ahead otherwise we get caught in the quagmire of superficial and imaginative joy.

  2. Your images are really powerful! And mindfulness is so important. We got a new cat, and the way he explores his environment is kind of inspirational (even though as you say a human being would look weird doing it!). He notices every new thing that enters the house and will not rest until he has thoroughly investigated. We should all pay as much attention to what is going on in our lives.

    1. Hi Leslie, great example of mindfulness. Cats are always curious and jumping off (they land on their feet most times, too) and exploring. Thanks for stopping by!

  3. This is perfection, Lisa, and the merry-go-round metaphor is so incredibly fitting… for a lot of things in life, I think. So proud of you for taking that leap of faith when you needed to and trusting your instincts.

    Also who thinks piano is boring?! The point is that your kids are learning a new skill, it doesn’t always matter what that is. I took violin for 8 years when I was younger, and yea, I sucked to high heaven, but I’m still eternally grateful for the experience and the confidence it gave me 🙂

    Wishing you all the best for the weekend ahead, my love. XOXO

    1. Thank you, Charlotte 🙂 Right? Learning a new instrument or a first instrument is really an education. I mean, it might be boring sometimes but boring things are good. Good for you for sticking with your instrument. I bet you can still play a tune or two! Have a great weekend xoxo

  4. ***Taking notice, observing, seeing, tasting, feeling and allowing all those senses back to enrich our lives.***

    stunning, insightful sentence, darling. xxx

  5. There was so much in here that resonated with me regarding re-engaging with life and being mindful. I loved the line about not being a zombie anymore. It is indeed very easy to let yourself be carried along by others if no one else is complaining or making a fuss. It can be hard to reclaim the space for yourself to do what you believe you should while knowing others around you will see it differently.

    This was a great read – thank you!

    1. Hi Louise, I’m pleased this spoke to you. Isn’t it true, it’s easy to go with the flow, all time until we forget our own unique goals, desires, loves, passions…

  6. Compassion is something we all really need to have. My daughter has such compassion for other people, and seeing that makes me so proud of her. It’s probably the best trait someone can have.

    1. That’s awesome, Kelly. I think the young ones have a lot of it and as we age we lose some of it. I agree, it’s a wonderful trait to have compassion.

  7. “You know that feeling that you’re not quite in the right place? No matter what you do, it isn’t quite right?” – I think that’s one of the best quotes I’ve read. And I don’t even mean my marriage, which I don’t think that about, but I mean it in a general sense. I felt this to the core.

    1. Thank you, Tamara. I really don’t like that feeling and I spent a long time in that space. You almost don’t realize until you change things that you were in the wrong place. It’s kind of an intuitive thing, if that makes sense. It could be a job, a circle of friends, a relationship, a location/city even.

  8. Sometimes I feel numb, and then I have days where I feel EVERYTHING, and that is even harder.I think that dealing with pain makes you a more compassionate person. You know what it feels like to hurt, and you don’t want to see anyone else go through it. Compassion for yourself… that can be another story all together.

    1. Absolutely, Caroline. You’re right. Sometimes we would rather be numb and maybe we need that as an anesthesia. The highs and lows become pretty intense during divorce, change or any loss.

  9. Numbing has been my go-to mode for far too long, but little by little, I’m coming out of that place now that I’m on my own. It’s just plain weird to not have to devote so much energy into hubby, but my brain is gradually finding ways to exert itself into endeavors I’ve neglected for years. It feels pretty great. I am on my way to becoming a more mindful person. It’s just too bad it took such a shock to send me down that path, or maybe it’s just as well or even a good thing.

    1. Hi Jeri, well sometimes it’s the big things that give us that shock we need because we’ve been ignoring the little things (messages). What was it Oprah said? “God gives you small messages and when you ignore them he throws down some pretty big things to get you to pay attention.”—something like that. It sounds like you’re making some really positive change in spite of the difficulty. It feels great to rediscover your passion!

  10. Such an interesting post. The part on auto-pilot struck me the most: I suppose that is akin to living life going through the motions. There are some days where I don’t have much going on, and I feel that way sometimes. Usually, I tell myself each of us have a lot to be thankful for each day no matter the situation we are in. I think that helps boost self-compassion towards myself.

    Piano? Boring? How can music be boring!? 😀

    1. Hi Mabel, life certainly has its repetitive tasks, so naturally we feel like a robot but reminding ourselves of the good stuff is a great help. Thanks for that reminder! Right? Music is never boring 🙂

    1. Hi Eli, Oh, no I hate feeling like that. Time to enjoy some summer, sensory joy! That will get you out of the zombie feeling 🙂

  11. What a beautiful post, Lisa! Thank you for sharing and I’m inspired so much by your ‘jump’ off the merry-go-round. I remember what that was like–terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

    Your post is a great reminder to keep our senses alive, to listen to our instincts, listen to our inner voices. Compassion for others, compassion for ourselves, they are two sides of the same coin. <3

    1. Thank you so much, Jane! “Compassion for others, compassion for ourselves, they are two sides of the same coin.” You are so right!

  12. I get the numb. Sometimes I try to push myself intentionally. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. But I try not to beat myself up about it.

    1. Hi Liv, well I’m happy to hear you are able to find self compassion—you don’t beat yourself up and that’s key to healing. I guess we all get numb sometimes. 🙂

  13. Thoughtful post, Lisa. Sometimes when we get hurt, especially if it’s over and over again, it can be hard to have compassion for others and even ourselves.

    I had numbed myself during the most difficult times of my past. I’ve thawed out, though. Well, I may still have a few frozen patches, but I’ll get there. As we all will…as long as we jump off.

    1. Sounds about right, Chrys. I hope you’re over the rough patches and onto better, warmer times! Sometimes we have to make the leap 🙂

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