Healing at Work – Day 18

Powerful Seeds. In Buddhism, seeds are all the elements found in our unconscious mind – both positive and negative. The idea is that the seeds we water become stronger, while the seeds we do not water can lose their power. By watering our positive seeds, and not feeding our negative seeds, we can gradually heal the wounds deep inside ourselves and others, inside our families and our societies.

Seeds I notice in me:
Hesitation
Avoidance
Neglect
Not choosing

What can I learn about these seeds? These are not reaction seeds, they are action seeds. That is a powerful understanding.

I take in negative energy. I feel it. Hypersensitive maybe. Soft boundaries allow it to rush in, rush in, and fill my entire body with anxiety. Avoid. Avoid. Without facing this in me, watching how it works, creating love and strength, I am left feeling vulnerable. Am I justifying what I am about to write? Maybe. But Thay (Thich Nhat Hanh) says we must know a person’s suffering deeply so that understanding will blossom. Then we will know what to do and what not to do.

Hesitation is big for me. The inner critic cautions me not to write, not to speak, because…why? What will be the outcome? Will I be safe? Will this hurt me or someone else? This may be the focus of my response. Look at this. Protectionist. Not open. Not trusting. Hesitation is uncertainty born from a scared heart. do I dare speak my truth? I hesitate. This is different from the pause that is wise to take before an angry response. That pause is good. What is the antidote to hesitation? In this moment speak up, speak out, step forward. Hesitation breeds inertia. Jill says inertia has its own energy.

Hesitation can lead to not choosing. Rooted in fear, uncertainty, the freeze response. You choose, I don’t want to think about it. I don’t know enough about it to make the choice you would make. Do I think about the choice I would make? Not so much, because my thinking is so caught up in trying to read what you want. I very much learned this response from my mom. And from a society that expected women to defer to others. Be selfless. I never did learn from my mom how to consider options for their own merit, from my own perspective, as something normal and okay to do, and then make or speak a choice without being either adamant or apologetic. It was always so clouded over.

All of this takes up so much energy that it is much easier to avoid many types of situations. Situations that put me in this position of being visible, speaking up, speaking out, taking a stand, making myself known. Just as a simple, everyday thing to do. My self, I always place in the background. Or apologize for.

Avoiding. Avoiding. All of this internal machination of freezing and then backing away leads to avoidance. Avoiding people, situations. And avoiding ultimately leads to neglect. Something is triggered in writing that word. I neglect the people I love. I neglect the dog. I neglect work. Neglect, because inertia says just stay frozen right here. Even though the guilt of non-action piles up. I don’t do anything.

Then the guilt, guilt, guilt says do Something. Any action to make me feel better. Make lists, do lists, buy the book but don’t necessarily read the book. This action is not mindless. There is a lot going on in this action. I can be satisfied for a full day’s work because I have accomplished many tasks.

Sometimes I feel good because I have faced a difficulty. Sometimes I just feel relief because I am getting out of there, have avoided difficulty or just plain made it through.

But then anxiety arises because I didn’t really face the difficulty. Didn’t cope with it. Will I avoid it tomorrow? Will I be forced to face it? How can I keep myself safe? Ruminations begin. Judging, fear, inadequacy.

Vicious cycle. Where do I step out of it? And all the while, caught up in it, I am neglecting myself.

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