Several weeks ago I became interested in Buddhism. Long story short, all the various types of meditations and mindfulness practices my counselor had spoken with me about months ago seemed more appealing to me now. One of them, walking meditation, I continued to do on a fairly regular basis. So I was kind of looking online for “other tips” or other practices when I somehow stumbled upon a review of the book “The Buddha & The Borderline” here. This led me to purchase an online course to learn about Mahayana Buddhism from The Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT). It is a two year program that is meant to be a way of life, not to study academically.
It is just what I needed and falls in line with what my counselor and I were discussing in our last episode. I may not be able to make this internal chaos go away but I can recognize it and make it bearable. Recognizing it is what I am currently attempting to do in therapy and meditation and contemplation…”looking within” as she once told me is one way to achieve that.
Strange that Buddha means to be fully awake. Made me think of a song by Katy Perry, so I added below. The song can be interpreted many different ways. But as for being awake, I have just realized that I am asleep. And so here is to my journey…
A few months ago, my counselor asked how I can prepare myself for when she is no longer available. She assured me this does not mean she is leaving right now. I have seen enough county mental health counselors to know, they all leave eventually. They move on to other jobs…to other cities or states. And I have difficulty dealing with what I call “being abandoned” especially if it is a favorite person. My mind interprets it as “they are no longer available” but my emotions interpret it as “they have abandoned me”.
When my mother died in November 2017, I didn’t feel abandoned. Although, to be honest, I still don’t know how I feel about it. When my father died in November 2018, I imagined that this must be what it feels like to be an orphan. Although I suppose an adult can not be orphaned, emotionally I think I am still six.
In any case, below is the list of “how to prepare yourself when a favorite person abandons you” that I came up with December 2018.
Don’t take it personal.
It may open the door to meet another favorite person in the future.
It is okay to allow yourself to cry about it.
Realize and believe you are not helpless or worthless on your own.
You do not have to blame or punish yourself.
It does not mean you are unlovable.
Pray you don’t come apart at the seams.
Then, this month I came up with this: O, good grief! Stop being so dramatic! It is not the end of the world. Change is the only thing that is assured.
Numbers 3-7 from the December list comes from a place of emotion. Numbers 1, 2 and the January 2019 comes from a place of rationalization. I hope when the time arrives I do not engage in what historically, I seem to automatically do…ignore the emotions. In the past, I have handled them by telling “self”: “What are you doing here? Go away, I am busy and have more important matters to attend.” They go away only in the sense I can no longer recognize them. If I can not figure it out through reason and logic, it is discounted as unreliable.
Time will tell how I will respond when the moment arrives and I will see if this preparation has been worth it.
Several years ago, I began a correspondence with a pen pal via email. I was pretending from the very beginning…wearing one of those masks that I mentioned before. Early on I think I became more attached that I should have. But that is what I do, right? Idealize only to devalue later. I shared some of the most intimate details about my life with her. Some of it was even true but intertwined with so many lies it is hard to tell what is what now. For a long time she was my best friend…my only friend. But now that has changed. Lately, I have felt dismissed by her. Ignored. Unimportant. I don’t know what I was expecting really since she lives more than 12 hours away. I am even uncertain of what I wanted or needed. And so now it is time for me to do what I do when my “relationships” with others become uncomfortable or too difficult to maintain…or if I think they are getting too close. I must disappear. And this decision comes at just the right time. A time when I am moving to another town without leaving a forwarding address. So any snail correspondence she sends will not reach me. Only time will tell if I will feel guilt over this matter. -Shadow