Being Present

A lot of the time I feel like a mirage of a soul, in a human body. Like I’m going through the motions but I’m not feeling anything. I fear that people see me as one-sided, fleeting, like I’m not all there. Maybe I’m not.

Things that make me feel spacey:

  • Job interviews
  • Talking to cashiers
  • Drinking too much coffee
  • Walking somewhere familiar
  • Things that I feel pressured to enjoy
  • Doing anything when I’m anxious

And on a bad day, nothing feels grounded. I’ll float through every action and conversation, not taking it in or reacting accordingly.

Things that bring me back to earth:

  • Freezing cold water
  • Closing my eyes and breathing deeply
  • Snowboarding
  • Laughing with my friends
  • Yoga
  • Climbing/hiking
  • Washing dishes
  • Singing
  • Street art and street signs

I’ve talked about being present before on my Instagram and possibly in my Real Life, though only briefly. It’s a weird thing to describe. Sometimes it feels like nothing is real, sometimes it feels like it’s just me that’s transparent. Sometimes it’s in a situation that I find anxiety-inducing and it’s almost a way of coping – by removing myself mentally and sitting in a quiet panic while everything around me moves. Sometimes it is triggered by nothing at all. It’s not like when you are so focused on a task that time moves quickly but more like when you slowly fall asleep watching a movie and wake up intermittently but you’re fighting so hard to stay awake that you convince yourself you hadn’t been asleep. But when trying to recall the movie there are pieces missing. This spacey feeling is like I’m half-asleep for parts of my life, but everything continues as usual. Hopefully this makes sense to somebody out there. Or actually, I hope it makes sense to no one. Because it’s not a very nice thing to feel.

The moment that I realised I had been spacing out was the first time I did hot yoga. When the class was over the teacher asked if I’d enjoyed it and the first thing I said was, “I feel like I just woke up.” I had been particularly vacant during my trip to Halifax, and it took the pure physical focus of yoga to bring me back to the real world. I recently read Eat, Pray, Love and then watched a yoga documentary called Why We Breathe and they both reiterated the fact that yoga is supposed to ground you in your body and that is exactly how it felt. I wasn’t thinking about anything but being there in that humid room, doing what the teacher was instructing. Of course, I’d like to also feel grounded in my everyday life, but I’ll get there. If I can catch myself disconnecting, I’ll be able to take a second and breathe or something. Some days I just want to feel something, anything. But of course, if I never felt bad, I wouldn’t appreciate feeling good nearly as much as I do. Right?

I have the audio to this video saved on my computer, and it wouldn’t exist had he not felt numb at some point, and I hope to make something good from all my bad, too.

Xo, Rachel

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