The Cutting Edge of Curiosity
Just a word before I begin. The following is my opinion. It is not a steadfast rule that I’ve read about or done research on.
I have talked, before, about sitting with your feelings curiously. It is something I’d like to talk about in a little more detail today because I believe it is at the cutting edge of digging deep into our feelings. It is cutting edge because it might be really painful. Therefore, one needs a lot of courage to go there. For this reason, I also think that answering the questions of curiosity needs to be done in a safe place, a planned excursion with yourself or someone with whom you feel comfortable. I, personally, do not want to tackle difficult anxiety while I am in the middle of the grocery store. In this arena, I want to acknowledge my anxiety, check the facts of whether there is really anything to be fearful of and then make a decision as to whether I will leave or stay. I might make a quick search of my thoughts before the anxiety had swept over me. Was someone staring at me funny or as what I perceived to be strangely? Why am I uncomfortable right now? Or, is this just an overwhelming reaction to being out in public? If I can find any ‘facts’ to support my anxious feelings, I will make note of it and plan to work through it in a safe place at a good time. I don’t need to do it right there. In this case, proven methods will work better, I believe; be curious but don’t fall headlong into the past.
Curiosity breeds questions and sometimes these questions begin to dive into the past. That’s when they can become dangerous. Some people, professionals even, don’t think going into the past is necessary for recovery, but I am not one of those people. I think it is totally necessary in order to really recover from persistent distressing feelings. Otherwise, I believe, we are merely scratching the surface with no need to come up for air. To really dig deep, one needs to nearly suffocate within the feeling and search for its roots, give the roots air and come back up ourselves for some before diving deep again. What do I mean by ‘giving roots air’? I liken the roots to deep wounds. Opening these wounds gives them air. Wounds need air to heal properly. Personally, I’m sick of always falling back into old patterns of behaviour because of past experiences. I want to air them out, tackle them and put them to rest.
There is a time and a place for all this ‘diving’. I think when we are in the depths of despair that we need some quick fixes like changing our thoughts and behaviours to change our feelings. I don’t think digging deep works very well when we are in the middle of living in pure hell. We are already deep into ourselves. We don’t need to dig deeper. But once we’re out of that hellish place, once we’re back on our feet and beginning to live life once again, I think we can begin to go back and tackle the feelings that sent us there in the first place. Some people might think, can’t I just stay where I’m feeling good for a while? Do I have to go back in there when I just dug myself out? I guess that is up to you, personally. Waiting, risks the danger of falling head first, without a life preserver, back into your darkness before you’ve had a chance to think curiously. Going in, however, life-jacket in hand, while you’re armed with assistance seems like a way to do it on your terms. I want to dig deep on ‘my’ terms. Under my own power with my own goals and plans built for success rather than failure; although, as with anything, failure is always possible. Personally, I’d rather plan my trip down under with all the tools and lessons at my disposal; all the help I need set in place before I take the dive, and do it consciously. It just makes sense to me. We all have to make our own decision eventually. Am I going to be controlled or am I going to be the controller?
Having said all that, remember that this is just my opinion and some food for thought. I wouldn’t go diving without knowing what I’m doing and sharing the experience with a trusted friend or therapist.
peace balance empathy