Describe a time that I felt jumpy and nervous? Sheesh, which second of the day do you want me to single out, NaBloPoMo? :)
Okay. Here's one. I felt jumpy and nervous a few weeks ago when I went to a meditation group for the first time. I love meditating, but I'm having trouble doing sitting meditation much at all lately. I used to use that to begin my days, and it was such a beautiful bow to the day. These days, I meditate a little in the sauna, and in bed before I fall asleep, but it's not the same.
I am both drawn to group things and loathe them. The older I get the stronger this ambivalence about groups. The ambivalence contains wisdom - "Be careful about who you hang around with. Us humans have herd mentalities; it's our limbic way. The more fearful a people, the more they will herd together. Be careful about this; you have the same propensity in you, too. Be in the group but not of it." The ambivalence also contains crustiness - "I'm getting older, and perhaps a little more inflexible, and bending to other people is harder. And anyway, other people so often are unlikable." Ah, Susie. How Crusty, crusty, crusty you are. Loving people has nothing to do with how likable they are. I need to get out more.
And so these are some reasons why it feels more necessary than ever for me to get out in some sort of group situation, even once in a while. Because I work from home, and I can go days without seeing anybody other than my beloved, I feel that it's important to force myself to get out of the house when I'm able, and with a handful at least of people, because I feel better afterwards. Because I love communality, even if I don't always love community.
And so I went to the meditation session. But then after that one time the health shutters came down, and I haven't been able to return. Until this evening. I'm quite capable of going tonight, only I've gone cold on it. Again.
I've gone cold on it because I always feel coerced in a group even when no one is coercing me. Even if people are genuinely kind and wanting your best, they still have such a propensity to want you to do things their way. I find that most people are like this.
I sort of like the way this meditation session runs - it's very simple - but it also makes me feel a bit uncomfortable. But that's okay. I am used to feeling ambivalent about things that I know I really want to do.
The thing that is annoying me the most about returning is that I feel distracted by one of the other participants. During our meditation I could hear her every now and then in her bliss do this little sort of laugh to herself. She told me before we began the meditation that I may feel like laughing, or crying, and to not hinder it but not give myself over to it as well. Well, I feel like she is giving herself over to it. Why does she need to do it out loud like that, even if it is quiet? That laugh is distracting to me. It feels like she is using it as a display of how spiritual and wonderful she is, how deeply embedded she is in the bliss, of which it's most patently obvious to everybody that I aren't, and here, why doesn't she show me how?
That's what makes me jumpy and nervous about being around other people. The problems isn't so much that they are all trying to get me to conform (even though everybody is, in their own way). The bigger problem is that I have these defensive feelings even at such banal things. It is a defensive fence that has been there for as long as I can remember, once imposed by adults, but which is now mine to dismantle now that I am one too, board by board, removing the nails.
It takes an awful lot of decades to really grow up, methinks.