Last week I shared about living in the state of a spa day, and then this week has perfectly provided the opportunity to show the permanence of that state — including in the experience of feeling like a failure. Over the course of the week, I’ve been asked the question — is that really how it is? Is life really lovely like that all the time? Underlying which there is a hint of — I don’t believe you.
Quite rightly ‘I don’t believe you’ because we know in our hearts that it’s unnatural to float through life, absent of any emotion to what’s going on.
So this week I’m bringing an important distinction and nuance to the experience of ‘living in the state of a spa day’. The distinction between a background knowing, and a foreground experience.
This last week has been one of my toughest for a long time. It began in earnest on Monday when I meditated and saw my deepest fear. It’s expressed as a statement of fact, as though there is no doubt in it whatsoever: ‘there is something fundamentally wrong with you’.
This began a couple of weeks ago when at that point it was expressed as ‘I am not good enough — I am getting it wrong’. I thought that was the core of it, but it seems like this week’s has been that: ‘there is something fundamentally wrong with you’. I saw how these ‘statements of fact’ were overlaid with slightly flimsier thoughts: ‘Am I good enough? Am I doing it right?’ Almost as though the mind was scrambling in desperation to find evidence to counter these seeming ‘facts’.
And I saw again how my life has been one of busy and doing and getting it right (you might remember I mentioned that in last week’s post too). All in order to try and hide from, or run away from, or find the counter-evidence to these scary thoughts. An attempt to ‘do enough’ in order to prove the thoughts wrong, in order to fill the chasm between being wrong and being right, between not being good enough and being enough.
It makes alot of logical sense for this behaviour to happen, when we think we have to, and have been taught to, find enough-ness outside of ourselves. But when we begin to glimpse that enough-ness (the spa day state) is our nature already, the system begins to slow down and, what looked like logic, starts to be seen as futile.
In the relaxation into this, as our permanent, background-knowing becomes the spa-day-state of enough-ness, the foreground psychological patterns are more easily revealed, allowing the layers to evaporate and evaporate and evaporate as they’re seen and seen and seen. But as the foreground evaporation and seeing happens, it doesn’t always feel like the beautiful, calm feelings of the spa day. If anything, you’re opened to feel more. You’re invited to come out of limitation and back into fullness. The veils of denial and avoidance fall and fall, inviting you to look, and look. Look at how it really is. Look at what you’ve been running from.
And all of it made possible *because* of living in the state of a spa day.
That state — ever-present as my sure-footed ground of being — gives me the solidity and stability to hold these experiences that have looked too much or too big or too ugly or too shameful before now.
It gives me the capacity to look my deepest fear right in the eye. To see that it’s just some words that have been taken as saying something about me. To see that all I find when I look for the ‘me’ is an open, expansive, untouched space of OK-ness. To feel the feelings that accompany that fear that have wanted to come out and move and stretch their legs for ages! But which have been kept shut in a cupboard marked ‘too dangerous’.
To feel the feelings and not immediately jump into dismissal, or avoidance, or covering-over strategies ‘La la la! Nothing to see here! It’s all good!’ — has been the standard strategy in the years till now.
But the game is up. The endless chase must stop. And the only way forward is to turn around and look, instead of run.
Background vs Foreground
What this means is that this last week has had the spa day state as my background. It never leaves. It doesn’t go. It doesn’t change. But the foreground experience — boy has that changed. Frequently. It included all the ups and downs. And it has demonstrated beyond doubt that my experience is created as a result of what’s happening within me. Like large, rolling waves, I’ve been going from the depths of fear up to the heights of beauty.
These are all feelings that have — for most of my life — been kept at arm’s length. Because to let them in might prove the fears true. I really am wrong. I really am not good enough.
Now there’s this openness to them being felt.
And so I’ve been going from the depths of it feels bad, I feel bad, things look bad, ‘you’re wrong’. Seeming evidence of this popping up everywhere. Clients going, contracts ending, feeling let down, feedback telling me I’m getting it wrong. Sadness, disappointment, shame, feelings of failure and dejectedness. The world created perfectly in alignment with what was happening within me in that moment.
Then up into the heights: it feels seamless and easy. I feel fulfilled, open, and free. Beautiful, spontaneous, unsolicited feedback and gratitude given to me and received more deeply than ever before. Appearing left, right, and centre for no apparent reason. The world created perfectly in alignment with what was happening within me in that moment.
Then down into a dip again. And me and the world showing up as bad again. Unable to be looked away from. Unable to be distracted from. Like my head held steady to see it all. My body held steady to feel it all. No excuses. No avoiding. No covering it over with more doing or action to make it look like everything’s OK.
Up and down. My experience in the world oscillating in parallel with the inner.
And now, gradually reducing and reducing in height over the last day. Not because I’ve tried to reduce it. It’s just what waves do. And being in the waves, allowing them to carry me, it feels like I’m now getting closer to the shore. The waves are diminishing.
And the background spa-day-state has remained throughout.
It doesn’t go. It doesn’t leave.
And so this is where living in the state of a spa day is incredibly powerful.
As you can see from what I’ve shared here, living as this state doesn’t remove all the ups and downs of experience. It doesn’t take away all the challenges. It doesn’t lead to a neutrality with life. You’re not floating along saying ‘om’ and feeling equanimous about all that you see and experience.
What it does instead is provide you with the strong foundation in the background, within which you can then feel and experience all of the foreground. Ideas you’ve had that you have to run away from half of your experience can fall away, and you therefore no longer need to exhaust yourself or impact your relationships in the process.
Then, in moving through it, the imagined limits and dangers can never quite look the same again. I’ve obviously not tested that theory yet with this current experience, but I’ve seen it many times before.
Once you’ve seen the coiled rope is a rope, not a snake, you stop feeling scared of it.
And the veil of that fear falls away.
Revealing a clearer view and a deeper sense of the state of a spa day.
That for which we all long.
That which you already are.
With love, Helen