I remember an exercise we used to do at drama school. One that was both difficult and infuriating in its simplicity. Standing in a circle facing inward with eyes closed we focussed on nothing but breathing and following the imagery in our heads of the instructions from our tutor.
Every week the instructions were the same. Every week the journey was the same. Every week it always lasted way longer than any of us would have like it to. Every week it stirred up the same feelings within me: Frustration, impatience and sometimes anger.
The instructions were to see yourself in your minds eye. There in the circle. Using what was referred to as your third eye. Your inner sight. Floating off above the rooftops, over London, out to the country and up, up into the sky, flying weightlessly seeing your physical self disappear into nothingness. What you were or at least should be in time was allowing your potential to be released and free from burden, negativity and full of openness. The truth of you. The plain truth.
Now this was an acting exercise and one born out of Stanislavski’s methodology which was to help with focussing and concentration but for me like with all acting I think you cannot be someone else if you cannot understand yourself good and bad. As I stood there invariably I would fidget, become restless, unfocused, irritable, breath shallowly and in turn would not embrace the exercise.
Now almost 18 years on I am beginning to see why I found it so hard. It was easy to dismiss it as wanky drama school crap but really I didn’t want to look at myself. I mean really look at myself because maybe, just maybe if I did I wouldn’t like it and working at allowing myself the freedom from myself the one down there on the ground was a scary prospect. It was far easier to stay down there under the invisible weight that kept the three main driving forces within me alive : frustration, impatience and anger, yet these three forces stunted my own personal growth.
Now years later I can see that I wasn’t ready to see myself. Oh I thought I did but I was not honestly addressing what was stopping me from relaxing, allowing myself to truly feel and letting myself soar. When inside I felt the pull to soar whether it be in happiness, sadness, fun or anger I complimented it with alcohol. That’s what you did wasn’t it? Emotional times = drinking. Except I did it to forget. The pity was I drank so much I even forgot the happy times because I was too drunk. Now almost 8 months dry and still feeling those same three driving forces within me I don’t feel so scared to see myself. I can’t hide away from me inside a bucket of vodka or a jug of wine.
Sometimes my third eye pops out for a look and I am starting to allow it even encourage it to honestly see who I am at that time. It’s not always a pleasant sight but it’s me. It’s my truth in that moment and maybe it’s time to face up to myself. I notice my third eye tends to pop out when it’s to look at something negative. Like when I’m sad, lost my temper or in a mood but it never seems to pop out to look at my positives. When I’m happy, achieved something good, laughing, giving or receiving love. It’s been so ingrained in me perhaps to think I should only see the negative inside and show some false positivity outside.
I feel over the past months a shift in that. I am learning to stay in the moment not only when its painful but when in happiness too. I am learning not to deny the feelings. Being sober and more clear headed is helping me be kinder to myself.
Kindness is something all of us needs to nurture and learning to be kind to yourself takes real work. It’s time to stop, look and listen to myself and to feel my happy place within me. It’s there. I can feel it. I can see it. It was always there. It just got lost in the muddle but now I’m starting to see it and it’s open and ready.
Nighty night x
Ps 227 days