Have you ever been in a conversation with your child or partner and mentally just drifted off? Found yourself in a crowd of friends, but could only focus on finding a polite way to exit? Have you ever avoided your own thoughts and feelings in moments of solitude? I have. I call it ‘numbing out’.
There are times, when I am numbed out, it feels like I am moving through warm, soggy porridge because I am that disconnected to myself. At these times, I want to curl up and go to sleep or check Facebook and watch pointless videos on Youtube.
Other times, it feels as if my mind is out to sea. Like there is something deep in my subconscious that needs to be resolved. So I meditate, or sleep to allow that process to happen. I have learned to pay attention and trust that unfolding.
And still other times, numbing out is the default mode for dealing with something overwhelming, uncomfortable or out of alignment with me.
When we numb out, usually, it is because we want to avoid the truth of our feelings. So we look for ways to fit in and disguise our discomfort. The problem with this approach is that it’s taxing and purposeless for us. How long have we been “blending in” and “keeping up appearances”?
Too long if you ask me.
Let me give you an example:
In my life, I learned to drift off, or “leave my body” when I found myself in painful or stressful situations. I concluded that it was not safe for me to be “there”, and as I could not change the situation, I went elsewhere in my consciousness.
The problem with this solution was that any situation vaguely resembling stress or pain triggered the escape button in me. We all have our survival tactics – yours might be zoning out, anticipating the needs of others, losing yourself in your work, or making people laugh.
In and of themselves, these actions are perfectly wonderful. But when they become a defensive reaction for avoiding pain, the numbing begins to settle in for good. We start to disappear from our own lives and relationships.
We know this numbing out creates pathways in our biochemistry as well as our passions. We don’t delight as much, or feel the excitement in our loins as much. Ha!
Luckily, we can choose a different course of action. We can consciously awaken ourselves (again and again), in our everyday routines that numb us out, as well as those uncomfortable situations we wish to hide from the world.
So next time you feel yourself drifting off, or sense the telltale signs of numbing out, practice pulling yourself back in. Take time to examine what you may be trying to escape. Be patient, loving, and the truth of your feelings will free you.
And then because of such choices, such little daily awakenings, we may yet get to walk this earth as powerful, self-illumined homosapiens; lusty for life, and streaming goodness for generations to come.
** Special announcement lovely friends**
If you tend to get stressed during the holidays, want a trick that will keep you gracious, kind, and prevent you from overindulging in booze and food? I have something that will keep you sane, cheerful and true to your inner voice! Look in your inbox in the next couple of days for the announcement.