So, I’m moving out of my house. It’s all for the best. And I’m actually happy I don’t have to stick around for an awkward month of 30 day noticing. Nothing is worse than having or being a lame duck roommate.
Still I feel defeated, rejected, and sad. It’s funny, because I know I did as best as could be expected. I communicated clearly and calmly 90% of the time. I was diligent in meeting others’ requests. I tried to get along and connect.
But it didn’t work out. And even though part of me knows, that it isn’t my fault. Another part of me feels like King Poo of Poo Mountain
Situations like this are hard because the mind is a blame-placing machine. And in absence of resentment, our minds tend towards depression and subtle senses of self-loathing. It’s hard to see a way forward.
The key is to observe what your mind is doing without judgment. Just this observation alone can reveal what you need. Often the observation itself is a great source of healing.
I engaged in this practice of observation over the past few days. And here are 5 phases I notices my own mind go through during this time.
Phase 1: Total Recall
In this phase, you replay all the key interactions with the person or group of people you’re in conflict with. In each replay, you recast yourself as the diplomat or the sassy bitch.
Though each replay is compelling, nothing changes except your mood and your ability to let the interaction go. You can’t change the past.
Phase 2: Indecision
The mind seeks for a solution to the conflict. It charts how various approaches might play out. You contemplate deep heart felt confessions, strong confrontations, or manipulative subterfuge.
Then you find yourself standing at the top of stairs listening to see if your roommates are in the kitchen. Or maybe staring at a phone trying to decide whether or not to hit send.
No matter what choice you make you will never know whether it’s the right one.
It’s terrifying and you start to realize there might not be a perfect solution after all.
Phase 3: Distraction, Reaction, and Compaction
In this phase, you avoid your feelings by any means possible. This phase is ripe with the seeking of pleasure or sloth.
It involves excessive TV watching, the seeking of sexual satisfaction, engagement in meaningless and repetitive activity, and a dispersed sense of generalized dissatisfaction.
This usually arises because you are unwilling to feel the depth of whatever emotion is arising. On some level, you know you have to deal with what you’re feeling. But on another level, you’re not yet ready.
Phase 4: Sadness, Loneliness, and Dramatic Disenchantment with All Human Existence.
The words that run through your mind are confusing and unconnected. In this stage, you feel a dull ache in your stomach and a hole in the center of your heart. This is a deep and transcendent feeling.
You feel the tension between your deep faith in humanity and the current state of affairs.
You fear you will feel like this forever.
Phase 5: Remission
During this phase, the strength of your feelings and emotions mostly vanish. It may result from absorption in a compelling activity, the presence of someone you feel safe around, or the opening of a new possibility.
The challenge of this state is the mind wants to believe there is nothing left to process and deal with. But often the heart has more to feel even when the mind has moved on.
So, while this phase may be pleasant, it’s important to not try to hold onto it.
The Salvation of Observation
Now here’s the hard part. Other than noticing these states there is nothing else you need to do. As these states shift and change the main practice is to notice and accept.
We watch each state to arise, exist for some time, and then allow it to disappear. Just the act and willingness to observe has amazing healing powers.
Even though I am still caught in this cycle myself, I know my ability to observe my own heart/mind has helped me work through these feelings.
I don’t think it’s going to repair my relationships or be the solution to all my problems. But it will teach me more about myself and what it means to be human.
My hope is that I can use this knowledge to connect, heal, and support others. I believe that even suffering endured with proper attention and intention; can serve my heart and the hearts of others.
How do you deal with setbacks in your life?
Let me know by commenting below.
One thought on “Life’s a Be Eye Tee Cee . . . – The 5 Phases of the Suffering Mind”
I’ve been in that situation too. It just helps to remove yourself and let feelings cool down. Then, look at it again, and ask yourself: did I react or respond from my heart? I’ve realized sometimes, the situation and people just don’t match, in that case it’s just smartest to move on, accepting it wasn’t anybody’s fault. It takes two to tango, if one stays neutral and tries hard but the other part continues the negativity, it’s better to remove yourself…..otherwise some of that negativity gets to you too.
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