The act or state of removing oneself……. from life, day to day activities, from particular past times or usual patterns/ways of behaviour, from expected interaction, from communication and intimacy from social media, from relationships and connection to others and ourselves and integration in social groups.
I am and have been in a very acute state of withdrawal, I have very much tried to withdraw from myself particularly in a very perverse and contradictory way, I have felt by removing myself from my “life” I would come “within” myself more. Why would I want to do this?
Life is happening at an alarming rate, it is bringing to me rich, thick and dense experiences, experiences I have never had before and are perhaps this is where a level of struggle and overwhelm is settling. New, heavy, unfamiliar and very, very uncomfortable aspects of life, emotion and humanity which are rattling, prodding and shaking me – testing me, forcing me to navigate that uncharted water. In my time on this earth walk, I have had a plethora of unusual, bizarre and sometimes unimaginably ridiculous experiences which have made up my story, but quite some time has passed since I was thrown curve balls of this magnitude and this may contribute to the extent of disruption that I have felt as a result. In many ways, the mechanics and details of the experiences I am having are entirely and completely irrelevant, because they are just part of a tale to occupy my thinking mind; details and facets that would have my logic and learned responses entangled in their insignificance, feasting for seconds, minutes, hours and years to come. What actually matters is how this story is unfolding for me on my emotional landscape, for it is here that effect of the story really begins to take route, to fester and impact my subconscious thoughts, behaviours and activities in every faction of my being, locking into my cellular activity and influencing too my physical experience. These experiences are happening in my outer, physical world and as they do so, the simplicity of their facts also create an enormous, complicated and intricate emotional subtext, a set of feelings that may not be overtly displayed for all to see, but that are running their own highly evolved and elaborate script that feed off and inform the development of the plot. If I were detaching from my emotions and not feeling where I was at this moment, I am certain it would be very easy for me to engage in some of my favourite pastimes to assist my apathy – becoming insanely busy with many irrelevant and insignificant tasks - keeping myself running in an unending and inconsequential loop, talking and talking and talking incessantly to any and every one but not saying anything that mattered, mindlessly browsing the internet, getting involved in a box set and whiling away hours or eating food without even realising it. What I have allowed myself to do instead is to sit with the mountain of expectation, confusion, pain, sorrow, grief, fear, panic, disappointment, disdain, disillusionment, anguish, anger, guilt and on and on…… which has lead to me clear and very urgent need to withdraw, to remove myself, to be away.
The sensations I have consequently experienced in my withdrawal, range from a stuckness- feeling rooted to the spot, unable to move, or do, or participate and the deep desire to not want to engage in any way because for the time being, the object of the exercise is to border on the edges, to be on the outside. Being outside has made me feel as though I am in a bubble, adjacent to life, hearing the familiar soundtrack humming close by causing me to stare at the passing tableau but still feeling no wish to connect. I have fundamentally needed this time to be able to be human. I find more and more that the way society wants me to join in the ever-increasing tempo that has been set is, for me not normal, not fun or enjoyable and most of all it makes it impossible to experience presence and actively participate. How can I truly be in this momement, savouring the colour, texture and sounds of the experience if I have a list of 10 other things that I need to show up for today all of which require that I be on my best form – firing on all cylinders, performing at my peak? Followed by an expectation that this is to continue day in day out almost as though the futuristic concept of robots becoming a part of the human experience is already here, without the need to substantially introduce automatons because as a species we are in fact mutating into machines. In my wild need to be mortal and feel and be instead of constant doing I moved away.
I love my breath practice, it is the thing that keeps me held, connected and present in my humanity – the good bad and the ugly. During these past weeks of being a conscious outlier, it has been my practice that has contained me, it has allowed me to be with the difficulties that I have been feeling and surrender to them. I have not needed to hide from how I have felt or have to try and do anything because I have felt this way and that way. Rather, I have been given permission to be me at this time and cherish the newness of this period of self-growth for another extraordinary benefit of embracing my breathwork has been the acute establishment in a clear and tangible sense that ‘that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger’ Friedrich Nietzsche. It is a great quote to cling to in the tough times, and we know there is much truth in it when we have come out of the other side of our trials, but what my breath has really allowed me to do, is to really live in the strengthening and growth aspects of my tribulations. Life is an infinite spectrum of feelings, energies and experiences that contain such lavish and expansive potential in every direction, and yet we get used to and wish to cap our exposure to life. We create such fixed ideas about what is good for us to feel, as though somehow when we are in the contrast of the best feeling emotions and energies we are somehow failing at life. I believe and understand the exact opposite to be true, as human beings, being in the thick of all life, feelings and energies is where the power and abundance of our experience is to be found. How do we truly appreciate our happy and joyous times if we have not been with sadness and melancholy? How do we know the power of love and togetherness if we have not experienced moments of aloneness? How do we know and cherish progress if we have not known and sat with feeling frozen and stuck?
I have great love for my time in withdrawal; my vacant, disconnected, unproductive sense of vacuous, aimless drifting has brought me the closest to clear, focused and connected productivity than I have felt in a while. It has given me permission to stagnate and not care, so my capacity and propensity to be caring has increased tenfold. It has been my patient and unrelenting teacher which in tandem with my beautiful, safe and supporting access to life through my breath has now brought me back. If I have not been connecting to you as you would have thought I would, I apologise, I was on an unexpected trip through my emotions, I am however back for business as usual 😉