We played the ‘I am…’ game at Marion’s monthly meet-up group this morning. It was new to me, so I didn’t know what to expect. We were paired and while one person closed their eyes, the other had to give them a shove while they were a) thinking about something horrid b) thinking about something neutral and then c) Silently saying an ‘I am…’ statement. Mine was ‘I am still’ as that is the feeling I craved.
Each time my diminutive partner nudged me, I moved. A little more the second time and even more when I said ‘I am still’ silently in my head. Was the infinite intelligence entering me? Was I finally become a little more spiritual?
It turns out, I’d got it all wrong. When you say the ‘I am…’ statement, you are supposed to be strong and rigid, so firmly rooted to the ground, you are impossible to topple and I had done the opposite. It worked with my partner. She almost keeled over the first time I shoved her, but was immovable during the ‘I am…’ statement. Really, she was like a rod of steel.
The process didn’t work on me, but I can see the value in a positive affirmation that begins with the words ‘I am….’
The problem I have, is that it is easy to say things, but harder to mean them. I can say ‘I am invincible…’ until I am blue in the face, but inside, I might feel as weak as a cup of camomile tea.
My moods are cyclical. When I am in one of my yay, I love everybody phases, it is easy to tell myself positive affirmations and feel them spark good emotions, however, when I am on a downward spiral, as I am at the moment, these words fall on deaf ears.
I’ll say ‘I am a success, I am a success, I am a success…’ but the feeling inside me, is one that shouts back ‘I am a big fat failure with two capital Fs.’ This must be what Marion calls my ‘limiting beliefs’. They are not just words, they are a tidal drag of negative emotions. Honestly, I get on my own nerves when I am like this and most of the time, I tell myself that it will pass. It always does. Sugar helps, but alas, it is one of the crutches I am supposed to be giving up.
I feel a bit confused.com about the whole affirmations, positive thinking stuff so I asked Marion to explain something. At the start of each meeting, she asks us how we feel. She urges us to welcome our emotions. They’re all invited to the party – anger, fear, grief, joy, calm, excitement etc. So, if all feelings are welcome, why are we then attempting to chase them away with positive affirmations? If you feel shit, shouldn’t you just accept it and wait for it to pass?
Her answer was, that it is okay to feel shit consciously. I hope I am right here, but I think she means that while it is advisable to acknowledge how you feel in the present moment, the right now this very minute moment, it’s not all right to cling onto the shittyness and keep the ‘story’ going, to feel shit for the rest of the day, tomorrow and half of next week.
That’s the theory. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel as if I have much control over my emotions and when they go bad, I’m always in a mahoosive hurry to escape them. I will do anything to distract myself…go for a run, eat a Crunchie, binge-watch TV, have a gin & tonic, lose myself in Facebook etc. Is this technique working for me? Clearly not, or else I wouldn’t have signed up for a year of spiritual mentoring.
Right now, if there were grades on this year-long course, I’d be skating close to an unclassified. I can’t find the inner-peace, I can’t meditate and feel about as spiritual as a night out at Stringfellows. But hey, it’s okay to have spiritual L plates, we’ve all got to start somewhere.
I am trying, I am trying, I am trying…