At the same time, though, I seemed to have been stuck in similar patterns of what I called “the good girl habit.” Although it was at least partly triggered by subpotent medication and maybe also some other hormonal changes, I landed in depression fueled by a sense of isolation. Toward the end of the year, I fully embraced a regular meditation practice, which included doing a book-based retreat. At the end of the year, I could sense that I was becoming unstuck, that I was getting ready to climb out of the box, letting radical grrl out.
This brought me to improv, Full Spectrum Improvisation to be exact, which encourages expression of the full spectrum of emotions as well as more movement than comedy improv, the usual theatrical form. I believe it is through this training that I am starting to implement the inner changes in the way I show up in the world. I don’t quite know. It’s puzzling. And a bit disorienting. I sense a lot of changes, though. I show up more openly, less restrained, more sassy (a word that bubbled up a couple months ago without me really knowing what it would mean – I’ve been exploring it ever since).
I am letting go of connections without really knowing why – just having a sense that they aren’t serving me somehow. And that after many instances of being desperately lonely. Maybe the lovingkindness phrase I say every morning – “May I feel worthy of love and belonging” – is showing up in my life as being more grounded in my sense of lovability – and with that I no longer have to prove it. I don’t know.
At the same time, I am also noticing some rough edges that I want to work on. The other night, a woman got very upset because I had shared my own story before she could share hers. She talked about how I had rudely interrupted her. I was amazed that what could have triggered my inner judgmental voices seemed to leave me unaffected. There was a sense that she was upset and that I was holding her in that. Only later did I realize how I would have preferred responding: With empathy! Something like “wow! It sounds like you’re hurt because you want people to pause and listen to your stories so you know you matter to them?”
I remembered that Marshall Rosenberg points out that part of growing into a more balanced human being is to go through an “obnoxious phase,” a time when we realize we have needs and the world better meet them, damn it! I might be in a version of that: I am leaving the box behind, spreading my wings and loving the flight – and haven’t quite yet balanced the new inner freedom with the compassion and love I also want to experience. Somehow this doesn’t bother me (again this unfamiliar absence of the inner judges!), not because I don’t care, rather because I trust that this, too, will emerge.
This all feels very exhilarating! And scary. And puzzling. My analytically (over)trained mind cannot make sense of it. Oh, well. I’ll just live it instead!