2022.01.06 Journal

Reflections:: It’s 8:37am now and I’ve done my yoga, meditation, and left my place to go grab a coffee. My intention was to journal at the same coffee shop that I first did it at, but they were not open. So I got a quick walk in by going somewhere else, and I’m home now. I’m doing a better and better job of giving myself positive feedback when I notice my mind wandering. I’m proud of that. Yesterday I meditated over FaceTime with a friend who reached out, and that felt really good. I felt like it’s aligned to connect with people in that manner. Something interesting was that by talking about my reflections on shame, we were able to connect on a deeper emotional level in 20 minutes of conversation that we had in the previous hundreds of hours we’d interacted with each other combined. Incredible to see such fast results from any exercise.

* At least 30 minutes of the programming tutorial. Missed yesterday. Keeping the daily goal the same though to keep it approachable
* Day Two of journaling about Guilt/Blame/Evil

* Meditation – Day 668
* Journaling – Day 11
* Yoga – Day 10

Reflections:: Having had a day to think about Guilt/Blame with a view that I and others are Evil, I’m realizing that there’s going to be a lot that comes from leaning into this one, as I’ve conditioned myself to not view the world that way or use that language. On a meta level, asking myself why I did that rather than judging myself negatively for doing so and jumping to the conclusion that doing so was wrong and I need to change it will most likely help me peel back a layer.

So, one of the issues with blaming yourself for things and feeling guilty or viewing yourself as evil, is that it’s self-indulgent and unproductive. It’s easy to get stuck in a loop where you feel bad about yourself and don’t do anything to change your circumstances. OK, so what I wrote above is clearly what I believe. Where did that belief come from? I took it as a given growing up that getting out of the neighborhood I grew up in represented progress. Where did that come from? Well, my father talked down upon the neighborhood. My mother always said she wanted to get a house somewhere else and move out. Going to a good school meant leaving the neighborhood. There was not a feeling or language of, “The Bronx is incredible! We are so fortunate to live here. Look at all the great things we have access to in this neighborhood!” It was looked at as a transitory stage – a stepping stone – before the rest of life. I can see how that would encourage someone who was raised in that environment and bought into that view from taking the time to feel self-indulgent emotions that could cause one to stay in a loop for a bit. Especially since by that view, I looked at everyone who was older than me and could act as any sort of mentor in my neighborhood as being a failure. And we went to a Catholic Church as a kid, which traffics in guilt. So I could see how I’d be motivated to avoid the paths that elders followed. Ok, so what would I need to believe now to feel comfortable leaning into this emotion? I suppose I’d need to believe that I wouldn’t get stuck feel guilt forever. That it would pass. I would need to believe that it’s ok to be self-indulgent. Actually, I’m setting the bar too low. What would I need to believe that Guilt is actively useful? That by feeling Guilt, I’ll truly unlock my potential of increasing my capacity to love? That Guilt is a natural part of me and others and that it’s about time I embrace guilt and welcome it in, rather than ignore it? OK, I’m finding that my face feels lighter after typing that, and that I’m noticing the rhythm of my breath again. Let me lean into that and start typing out some undirected train of consciousness after breaking from this one.

Guilt will pass, like all emotions, as I feel it. I feel guilty for telling my father to never contact me again when I was 12. Hmm… that’s not true. But I think I want to feel that way. On a scale of 1 – 1,000, I’m sure there must be a least a 1 there. Examining that scenario, maybe I feel guilty that I wasn’t a better “man of the house” when I was young. I tried to send money into the household from when I was young – getting my sisters clothes, computers, and things for school. Cars, tuition, etc. But I feel like I could have done more. Rationally I know that they didn’t ask me for these things and would have likely preferred I was more present and they had a better relationship with me. At the same time, I didn’t have the social and emotional skills to do those things so I flowed into what was easier. I didn’t value emotional connections when I was younger. I valued more resources and bought into the idea that money is important. Looking back on things, I can see how successful my grandmother was. She had a 30 unit apartment building in the Mt. Eden area of the Bronx where she and a number of my uncles/ aunts/ cousins lived – alongside a bunch of other people who lived there as paying tenants. There was always family drama. At the same time, she was living the dream that so many people have: to live with their family in a big compound. I feel guilty that I distanced myself from her. She would often criticize my mother and gossip about each of her kids to each other. At the time, I dealt with the pain caused by that using the only tool I had access to at the time: cutting off the source of the pain and going in another direction. I feel guilty for the actions I took when I was younger and more naive. I’m seeing now how I was the source of my own connecting-with-other-people issues via my own actions. This feels like progress into feeling guilt. I’m looking forward to exploring more.

10:45am Just had a coaching session where we talked about various subjects related to the above. I’m rushing to a meeting, and wanted to paste a link to this article about the levels of consciousness before closing the window.

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