Thursday night I said something I never dreamed I’d say after an acquaintance invited me out for a beer. I asked if we could wait until after the weekend, saying “It’s just so crazy right now with Holy Week.” I had to step back and laugh. I haven’t celebrated Holy Week as a whole since Middle School. High School is when I started to protest the hypocrisy. I’d eat meat on holy days at school in attempt to prove to myself I had a faith beyond keeping up appearances.
Yesterday I took a vacation from my phone, computer, and ipod. It was delightful. I hadn’t thought of it as “healing” until one of the nuns phrased it that way. I sat with a few sisters I don’t normally get to sit with, and they asked me about grad schools and my “book” that doesn’t really exist anymore. I explained how I scrapped the original book plan, and I’m doing a lot of explorative writing about healing. Later in the discussion, I mentioned I’d abandoned all electronics for the day, and they pointed out how healing it must be. I realized they were right. Before moving here, I can’t remember the last time I had a day to play outside. Yeah, I said “play outside.” I spent the day on this porch-style-swing that overlooks a giant drop-off with even more giant trees, wrote, climbed a tree, read, and then sat on the swing some more.
That’s the sort of day that causes many people to say they are jealous of my life. My dad once said he worried I would always think “life’s this easy.” It is true that I live my dream life here, but it took me a hell of a long time to figure that out. My mind and body are still trained to think life needs to be a struggle. Life implies struggles, yes, but it does not have to be a struggle as a whole. I wish someone would have told me that sooner. I’m also grateful to be figuring this out at 24 instead of waiting until retirement like too many people. Due to this false idea that life has to be a struggle, we create so many unnecessary struggles along the way. We numb our minds with work, alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, work, electronics, social media, and more work. God forbid we have a moment to actually contemplate life, purpose, beauty, wisdom, pain, betrayal, shame, or anything and everything in between.
It takes a good portion of my days with no electronics to finally get to a point where I can stop thinking about everything I think I should be doing, as if I’m that important. Yes, I do have some accountability and responsibilities. We all do. However, we are not as important as our egos like us to believe. We fool ourselves into feeling valued by receiving another text or voicemail. Are we really so important we can’t give a few close loved ones a warning (and a way to contact us in case of an emergency) and then take off a weekend with no electronics? If you ARE that important, then just do it for increments of a few hours. You don’t have to meditate, write, read, or do anything else that can trick you into feeling important. Just sit somewhere (preferably outside) and get lost in your head. It’s incredibly therapeutic. I plan to do it more often.
That was an unplanned rant. I wanted to explain how my “Healing” day taught me much. For example, it caused me to explore the roots of my anxiety. I participated in The Stations of the Cross ceremony, as well as the service afterward. My anxiety was through the roof during both. It had also been terrible the night before during the foot [now hand]-washing ceremony. I snapped back into my childhood body and self, feeling like the entire Church & God were both watching me and keeping score. And if I messed up, everyone would be upset. That sort of thinking is exhausting. I’d take a deep breath, and try to stay logical, but it was a battle. I’m intrigued by how much of my anxiety is based in Catholicism. It can be a rather fear-based/high-pressure religion. I’m surprised I didn’t start having panic attacks back in my alter-serving days. Although, I never had full-blown panic-attacks as an alter-server, I certainly had moments of panic. I was such an anxious kid. Wish someone could have told me to relax.