Your Eyes Only
Gut instinct. It can be strong. There is a reason that the gut is considered a second brain.
In my case, the brain in my gut has always been smarter than the one in my head. These days I rely on it for pretty much everything, especially as I am still testing the reliability of my healthy Sherri brain in decisions regarding my physical and emotional well being.
But several years back, I had no awareness of my body, gut, or otherwise. When it tried to alert me to potential danger, I tried to shut it up. When my muscles were sore from too much exercise, I took pain relievers and pushed through. When sick, instead of resting, I ran, relying on a trip to the emergency room to slow me down. And when my gut became persistently full and distended, I took pills trying to get rid of the pressure.
“You want me to do what?” I asked Karen incredulously.
“I want you to make a regrets journal, “she said, ignoring the look of disappointment on my face, “write down everything you are afraid to say out loud. For your eyes only."
When I began going to counseling years before, I promised myself I would be an active participant. I was not going to be one of those people that thought an hour a week of blaming my parents would solve my problems, so over the years, if Karen assigned homework, I did it. (EFT for anxiety a favorite). Despite my irritation, this assignment would be no exception. Um, I already journal lady but whatevs.
I settled down that night and nestled into bed with a cup of tea. I grabbed my journal and getting ready to write, I realized something was missing. Words. I flipped through the pages trying to reorient myself to my last entry. Five months ago. Had it been that long? Writing, the thing that had gotten me through the toughest of times; Cancer, my rollercoaster marriage, and my frustration with my body, had come to a halt.
Of course, it did. If I wrote about stuff I didn’t want to deal with, I’d have to deal with it. Like my fear at failing at project ten pound, my shame at destroying my emaciated body with hours of exercise, and hardest of all, the overwhelming feelings of guilt and regret about my boys and my deep seeded belief that protecting my illness had taken priority over parenting them. I had F*%&ed up the most rewarding, important job I will ever have. Being a mom.
All things I didn’t want to face. I stuffed. Shoving them down, hoping if I ignored the feelings, they would go away. That was not working so well. So, I hunkered down and began to write. Like running through unfamiliar terrain, I was hesitant at first, but picking up speed as the familiar comfort of my pen flowing effortlessly over the paper took over and before long I was writing so fast that the words were almost illegible. Almost.
As I wrote, I felt like the cap was slowly twisting off my shaken and pressure-filled body. The thoughts, feelings and secrets I had kept bottled up for months, years, were bubbling up, and flowing over into my conscious mind, sending me a message.
Are you going to listen to me now?