It’s Yom Kippur on Monday and this year I haven’t bothered to torture myself with the prospect of attending services. Each year I agonize and yell at my self in my head and try to force it to happen. Many times it works…a few times it doesn’t. This year I had a very important gig to do on Rosh Hashanah….so I let the yelling in my head do it’s thing…I actually didn’t fight it like I normally do…The fighting is a combination of justifying back to it or yelling back at it or submitting to it feebly….all of which leaves me an anxious mess. This year I think the fact that I have been studying this new therapy called ACT and it is a more Zen, Eastern Philosophy type approach to well not just therapy but LIFE. So the approach basically calls for us to end the struggle with ourselves, specifically with out thinking, our thoughts, and focus more on our actions–that is acts that are in lined with what we value in our lives. So studying this and practicing it every day every moment when the MIND BUZZ takes over….well let’s say that I have definitely overall chilled out more. I am less overwhelmed by my thinking and that is usually what overwhelms me not the things in life but my thinking about the things whether they are actual changes like moving to a new house or ideas I come up with like maybe getting pregnant again….the thoughts about those things, well those thoughts usually send me right into migraines and anxiety attacks. Yeah, pretty f-ed up that my THINKING can do that but you know what….I am a Gemini and very CEREBRAL…so it makes sense that what upsets me in life the most are my thoughts.
Where did I begin with this oh yeah services so I am not going this year….here’s how my thinking has gone this year and also how my actions have gone. As I said ACT is about ACTIONS in line with VALUES…now understand the VALUES have to be YOUR OWN….not so much the values you have superimposed upon yourself because of your fear of what society will say. I mean there are basic values and stuff we all, as a free society, have to adhere to like anything that’s a LAW or even regular societal norms about marriage and fidelity and stuff. But beyond that we dictate what we value we are in control so that means since Religion is a CHOICE in this country (despite what the RIGHT WING NUT BAGS think) I get to choose where this fits into my values.
ACT asks us to examine what we TRULY value and then advises us to GO TOWARDS IT. So you find yourself in these moments where you have to make a choice or decision–the small stuff and the big– asking yourself what am I doing this in the service of and if it is not in the service of a value ACT suggests that we may not need to do anything and that what may be going on is MIND BUZZ or ANXIETY RADIO playing in our heads.
SO like today as I was folding laundry as Chelsea was napping I found myself putting away my stuff and carefully folding Chelsea’s stuff but Mike’s stuff I kind of had in a pile, just folded. I almost didn’t put his stuff away…..then I thought hmmmm that’s weird his drawer is right here why aren’t I ….oh, wait, what’s this in the service of? Expressing some kind of icky feeling I have about him, like annoyance or anger? Uh oh….do I value that? Do I value passive aggressive behavior? Of course not…so against the MIND which said hey this might piss him off and get his attention I picked up his stuff and MADE myself put it in the proper drawer. Why? Because I value clear communication and doing what I almost did is against that. Small stuff…..
Big stuff….Yom Kippur services…underneath all the yelling and mind buzz I asked myself, “Going to services, to temple would be in the service of what value?” At first glance you might think I would reply “the value of religion…” However, truth be told, I don’t know how much I value religion. See I think I value my heritage and the Jewish culture and faith but temple? Not really. Well no that’s not true. I love the temple I belong to and the Rabbi and the community….I however do not like services. Well, I like small ones not the big long ones I feel lost I feel overwhelmed and you know what my value about religion has little to do with attending services and more to do with getting in touch with my spirit and my understanding of God which I find through exercise, yoga, writing, walks outside and being with my family. To me God is love…..love is where I feel connected and I never feel connected at services.
So…I asked my self if you decided to go to services what would that action be in the service of…the answer is so obvious…GUILT. I would be doing it in the service of GUILT. The problem with doing that is it reinforces this idea that I cannot be trusted and that my real value with regard to religion is WRONG. This all creates more anxiety inside me….it also is more simple if I do it this time, and I am doling it to shut up the voices in my head that make me feel terrible then I am acknowledging somehow that the voices are right. The thing is…what I truly value with religion is doing things that make me feel connected to source and that action right now today doesn’t feel like it would be in line with that.
Mind buzz comes in though and argues back with me saying but what about the value of community? Wouldn’t services go in line with that…
I know how to respond to that now. “Thank you mind…thanks for that thought…” And I will move forward even though the guilt looms and the mind buzz screams at times.
Another big thought that used to make me mental and crazy is I should have another baby now now now soon obsess over it etc. Now I allow my mind to think all about the idea of another baby. So what if I want to think about it? Thinking is thinking….I get in this stuck place where I say well than do it already…but I ask and doing it, having another baby right now would be in the service of what? In the service of shutting down my thoughts and quieting my mind. Again, like with temple, if I do things just to shut up my mind, especially things involving going against what my gut says, it doesn’t quiet the mind. If I went ahead and got pregnant or went to services, my mind would find another thing to buzz about. So for me I want to do these two things when I am doing them in the service of what I want. Right now my mind buzz is so loud about those two things that I can’t even tell what actions would be in the service of a value I have or in the service of shutting up the mind.
The thing is….it hasn’t worked for me. I have gone to services in the past only to have the guilt mind buzz about temple come back again again and even if I do anything with temple the mind buzz says not enough you are not doing enough. SO I can never satisfy the mind. Same thing with being pregnant. Mind will buzz and buzz.
Writing about this has not made me feel better but I didn’t write in the service of feeling better but more to witness my thinking.
I feel worse in a way and I am second guessing myself but the reality is it is mind buzz right now and I will walk towards the values I have about family and religion. I will and whatever those actions are I want to do them in the service of not shutting up my mind but in the service of enriching my life.
I wish I had a nice, pat conclusion to this blog entry. But maybe that’s the point. Mind buzz doesn’t have a conclusion. And neither does this.