I feel like an animal, chased by predators all my life, and suddenly someone brought me into a sanctuary. There is peace all around but I am not used to it, so I keep looking over my shoulder anxiously. The quieter it becomes the more anxious I get.
I am reminded of this:
“Winnicott says somewhere that health is much more difficult to deal with than disease. And he’s right, I think, in the sense that everybody is dealing with how much of their own aliveness they can bear and how much they need to anesthetize themselves.” — Adam Phillips
I think about how I lived: how I rushed from moment to moment without truly understanding how I felt. It is very easy to get caught up in busyness, because doing things distracts us from feeling. Some people say we must keep ourselves busy in order to not fall into depression but I wonder if the possibility of feeling alive while being still, exists?
Today I found myself moving slowly. I rented a car to drive some of my stuff from my storage to the new apartment I co-own with my partner. I think about myself in my youth, how I used to speed across lanes trying to get ahead of every car in sight. Now I hardly move out of the slowest lane, preferring to feel a steady momentum instead of anxious competition. When I reached my apartment I rolled the trolley and unloaded my stuff as though I had all the time in the world. I am bemused as I observe myself.
I am not sure how to make of this reality, everything feels surreal to me. What does it mean for me to finally settle down after years of movement and escaping?
When I lived a life of a walking dead I was game to take a lot of risks and I was unafraid of loss. There was nothing to lose when everything felt dead to me. Aliveness has a price to pay, because aliveness for me means being keenly aware of the beauty and transience of everything. The more alive I become, the greater I notice the potential for grief. I am learning to hold space for beauty and joy in my life, yet I am also growing afraid of losing everything precious to me. Sometimes I suspect my subconscious chooses to numb myself because like Winicott said, how much aliveness can we truly bear?
It takes courage to endure a cold harsh winter, but perhaps it takes a particular quality of resilience to notice the beauty of flowers blooming knowing that autumn is around the corner.