I was having a bath and all of a sudden bursts of tears started pouring down my cheeks. I was devastated. I felt lonely, confused, and deeply disappointed. "Why aren't I in a relationship?" More tears rushing down. "There must be something wrong with me." A deep dark ache starting in my stomach and a heavy compression weighing on my chest. It felt like it would never release me and, although dramatic sounding, like I was doomed for a loveless, lonesome future.
And then, something strange happened.
I STARTED LAUGHING
I literally burst out laughing! In the tub. By myself. Amused.
I had just realized that I was watching a movie, a mind-movie. And, I was the main character.
The movie started with obsessing over how old I was, quickly followed by all the great people my age and younger who were in happy relationships (the resulting comparison showcasing my undeniable inferiority), then all the guys with whom it never worked out with in the past (zeroing in on any touch of unrequited love), the lack of appealing men around at that time (not that it would work out if there were any, my mind so generously added), and ended in a future where I was all alone feeling entirely desolate.
IT. FELT. SO. REAL.
But alas, it was simply a movie.
I was in the bathtub, surrounded by warm water and the soft hum of gentle music. The past "me" was literally pictures in my head, the future "me" images too. The sadness? All the mental interpretations of what the pictures meant. Painful theories made up of thoughts. And what I noticed was that my relationship status wasn't a problem until the movie kicked-off and I started identifying with the script; When I started to believe the thoughts running through the mind.
As soon as I saw all the images and thoughts for what they were, images and thoughts, the trance started to somehow dispel.
LIKE BEING IN A THEATRE
I start out in the midst of anxiety wondering if the lead is going to defuse the bomb in time and then I suddenly remember that I'm here, in the theatre chair, eating popcorn. There's no conceivable reason, in reality, to feel anxious; it's a movie. And if the anxiety lingered it's not a problem as I see it's not caused by me, it's an effect of the film.
This is what I noticed in the bath as well. As soon as I saw that all the thoughts and images weren't personal, that they weren't actually "me," the sadness no longer consumed me in the same way. I related to it with curiosity rather than resistance.
With that, I was free to take any remaining sadness into my arms and hold it like I would want any lover to hold me and listen as it shares every painful theory that feels more like a fact than an assumption, and begin: is it true?
"It is easy to be swept away by some overwhelming feeling, so it’s helpful to remember that any stressful feeling is like a compassionate alarm clock that says, 'you’re caught in the dream'.”