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  • Writer's pictureAnnelisa MacBean

Slow Your Roll

In a moment of activation—for example, when someone doesn’t respond to me in the way I’d like, criticizes or ignores me, or doesn’t mirror back to me the way I long to be seen—instead of running self-destructive thoughts, dramatically characterizing the other’s response as clear evidence of my lack of worth and shamefulness, blaming myself for being such a loser and then transitioning into blaming them for being unaware, incompetent losers, shifting from self-attacking behaviors to lashing out at the other . . . I am noticing that I can catch myself; pause; slow my roll.

My body is telling me that I am caught. The heat in my face, the tension in my jaw, the rigidity in my solar plexus . . . and I can use the awareness of these physical manifestations to curb the the momentum of self-abandonment. I realize that old pain has been activated and I have a choice to make. I do sometimes see the choice, but still follow the thoughts and feelings down the familiar groove of denial, dissociation, or acting out. I can’t get myself out of it. The psychic or spiritual musculature isn’t quite strong enough yet to pull me out. At least the intention is there and the awareness is growing so that more often now, as I practice and get stronger, I can choose a new way; pausing, breathing, relaxing, I find myself bringing curiosity, presence, and even some compassion to the charged thoughts and bodily-based feelings. As the practice deepens, as I aspire and long for deeper connection to the truth and purpose of being in this life, engaging these latter pathways becomes less effortful, I don’t have to work so hard to pull in the reins. It gets easier to perceive the activation not as an enemy coming from the outside, but as an ally of meaning and depth, an ambassador of the body’s perpetual movement toward the truth I long for . . . toward love, toward home.

I smile at myself sometimes when I realize that I have been pretending there is something more than love that matters. Have I been playing hide and seek with the beloved in its infinite forms? How silly I have been in my forgetfulness. Yet, thankfully, I see again and again, I have not been forgotten. Love rolls along, regardless.

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