Letters with My Son, Part Three.
Good morning Logan!
Ok, I am finally able to answer your last question: “Are there any coping skills that work for you?”
Yes. Many, but the best one I have ever deployed is practicing the pause. Waiting when I want to say something, pausing when I think I have to act. Whenever I think or feel that I MUST do something right this very minute, I have come to know that is the most perfect time, to wait. It is horrible to actually do because every fiber of my being wants to react, jump, leap into whatever it is that my mind tells me I need to do. But I am grateful today that most of the time, I can wait. And I have only gained that skill by waiting.
Writing is another coping strategy for me. Somehow the act of emptying my heart and head at the same time onto the screen, relieves me of the pain I feel inside. It gets it out without hurting anyone else and helps me sort through the very many feelings that I have.
Exercise. Working out, hiking, going to the gym. These are all ways that I kind of bleed me off, all the “extra” I have inside me that seems to spill out everywhere. I need to get that out and then I feel like I can be a little more settled with whatever life deals me.
Meditation. Sitting still, well learning to just sit with whatever comes up has also helped immeasurably. I can be sitting on the cushion and a rather ugly thought comes, and still I sit there. I sit there and a great thought comes, and still I sit. It is all good; bad thought, ok. Good thought, ok. No big deal. It has helped me know my mind a little better and also to be still when I feel compelled into action.
Therapy. I still go. And am fine if I go for the rest of my life. It is important to me. I had a lot of trauma that went unaddressed or not well addressed for years. It is going to take me likely the rest of my life to work through all the different ways it manifests in my life. So I go there and get help.
Recovery. Being sober and participating in that community, receiving help, giving help. This is the foundation of my life today. I couldn’t do life very well without it. It has become the most important thing in my life because without it, I am not living very long, or well.
Yoga. Yoga helps heal me. All the trauma and the body image stuff that I have. There is something healing about moving through the postures. Holding them, repeating them. It feels like the only time that my body and mind are actually one. Most of the time I walk through life pretty disconnected. But when I am doing yoga, I am present with myself, in myself. And that feels pretty amazing.
There are so many tools to help us cope with life. I think the most important thing is just to remain open to them all. People will suggest things to you and you will have a reaction to them.
“Hell no! I am not going to do that!”
“Cool, I will try that!”
What I have learned is the second my mind does the first one, I have just hurt myself. I have closed myself off to an option, one that might work, or help, or something. It helps me so much to stay flexible, curious and open minded about things, most especially tools to help me get along better in this world with myself and others. I never know what will work and what will not. And while not everything that everyone suggests will work, or even be interesting to me, how can I possibly knock it, if I am not even willing to try it?
I will leave you with this:
“There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance-that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”
I have found this to be the one of the truest statements ever. The biggest obstacle, always, to my own forward progress are my own ideas to the contrary. The best coping skill I know is to endeavor to keep my heart and mind open, because when I do, great things come to pass in my life. And things that I can’t even imagine within the confines of my mind and heart, come to be. Because I do not just want to cope through life, I want to live. And coping skills are great for getting me through hard parts, but when that is all I have, life just becomes an endless struggle which sucks. When I practice all of the above, not only do I have the tools and skills to weather the hard moments, I have a foundation for living that works in all situations. And practicing the above, allows me to do so with an open and joyous heart.
I love you and am so grateful for your questions and this written format to respond. Please keep asking. And perhaps now it is my turn to ask you a few:
What are your dreams?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
What is your biggest heartbreak?
Who is your greatest teacher?
What do you love?
What is your favorite thing to do?
Do you feel ready to come home?
What scares you about coming home?
How can I support you?
I look so forward to your responses! I love you with all that I am.