There is a dissonance that comes as we move from a highly distracted and non-present life into a life of connection and presence in the now. A shifting as we release old habits and create new ones. There is an ebb and flow to the process as we uncover the fears that are buried in our reasons for the distractions: the fears of true deep connection, the fears of being loved, the fears of being rejected, the fears of being seen as we are.
Stepping into the present moment is stepping into our vulnerability. It is a release of defenses that built the armor to distract us in the first place. By letting go of the long to-do lists and “have-tos” and “shoulds”; by letting go of expectations and worries; by letting go of distractions and numbing, we are allowing ourselves, our true selves, to be present and to shine through now.
This is some scary shit.
The dissonance comes into play as the space between—the space where we have started to release the old disconnecting habits and haven’t yet fully integrated the new connecting ones—comes into being. Our anxiety can actually increase in this in-between place: we know where we were and that it is not where we want to be, yet we aren’t quite fully living as we wish to live; neither space (distraction or connection) feels like home in this in-between place. This in-between place is a very uncomfortable place to be.
I’ve been feeling this dissonance lately as I shed even more distracting habits and focus in on deepening my connections with my world. I have been focused on releasing lately: releasing anger, frustration, fear, old stories, distractions. This release is creating some amazing amounts of space both inside me and in my daily life. As I’m releasing and this space is opening the dissonance comes: I feel off, odd, strange. I’m not used to having this space opened within me or in my days and I’m not quite sure what to do with it nor have I grown accustomed to having it. I am practicing breathing, meditation and of course, body-centered mindfulness to help me settle into this new open space, to find my comfort within it.
I honestly am a bit nervous about this process. I understand that releasing happens in layers and I am apprehensively curious how much more dissonance and discomfort I will feel as the layers continue to shed. I look at some of my old habits of isolation and distraction and on the rare moments I try to turn to them now, they don’t feel right, they only add to my “off” feeling. Yet as I practice settling deeper into connection (to myself, to my loved ones, to my world) some of those newly forming habits don’t feel quite like home yet either: while they feel new and strange they also feel like they could be home, once I allow myself the space to settle in.
So I continue this journey. I sit in this uncomfortable place as I give my body, mind and soul time to settle in, to find that “sweet spot” of being. I allow the discomfort to be and while practicing soothing exercises like deep breathing, repeating mantras, meditation, yoga, mindfulness, and play, I am being very mindful of not numbing and to allow myself to be where I am.
Being in this place of dissonance isn’t an easy place to be. It’s understandable to want to hurry up the process and get to the other side already. Yet this in-between place is important. Giving it space to be, giving yourself space to be, is vital to continuing on the path of savoring the present moment and finding those deep connections we all crave and need to thrive in this life.
Here’s to the dissonance. Here’s to this beautiful reminder that we are actively stepping out of our numbing habits and moving towards becoming even more fully present and finding those deep connections. I offer a prayer of gratitude to this dissonance, to its presence as I embrace it and where I am in this moment, knowing that this too shall pass, in its own time.