Committing to the Process

Here’s the follow-up letter, from the last one.  I certainly didn’t mean to speak as if I have it figured out, I was just speaking about the thoughts that I have swirling around in my head. 

I’m empathetic to the panic attacks.  I literally began to think I was crazy because they would hit out of nowhere.  One time I had to pull over on a bridge in Austin while driving home, because I was freaking out.  Another time, it was so intense, I passed out, like my brain hit a reset button.  I would be in bed or sitting in the middle of a restaurant and break out into a full on cry.  Not sniffles.  Straight up cry.  If I didn’t want Sarah or those around me to think I was crazy, I was doing a bad job convincing them.  

It sent me spiraling.

Nothing worked anymore.  I couldn’t pray.  In fact, I used to pray religiously.  Every morning, and read scripture.  But my prayer time had become haunting, and every time I tried to return my spiraling intensified.  I couldn’t even read scripture.  Nothing I read even made since.  I had been teaching scripture for 12 years, and now I couldn’t even make sense of it.  If I heard any sort of ‘Christian’ music, I immediately became angry.  In other words, everything I had relied on in the past as it relates to spiritual disciplines only made things worse.  

I’ve always feared that I may be revealed to be a fraud.  It seemed as if I was being exposed.  I had nothing left in the tank to keep it up.  

I was done.  I living out my greatest fear.  I was just waiting for my wife and kids to see it. 

My whole life I believed that if I followed the right patterns, engaged all things with integrity, was true to the church, that the rest would take care of itself.  I felt betrayed.  Abandoned.  Lost.  Let down.  

Call it divine intervention or the universe throwing me a bone, but at this time I ran into the idea of the apophatic.  The negation of the divine presence.  The more I studied it, the more it seemed to resonate.  It seemed God was present but present in absence. In a very subversive way, it was as if the divine had removed all power and effectiveness from my old practices.  

I needed to do something.  

I couldn’t stay in bed.  

I had a family.  I had a wife.  I had kids.  I had to face the day.  

The one thing I could do was read to redirect my mind, that’s where the torture game was being played.  This is when I kept running into the idea of resilience.  I knew by definition resilience had something to do with recovering and bouncing back, but I didn’t know much about resilience theory.  

Like you, I didn’t want to be self-absorbed in this hunt for the true-self.  I just wanted peace.  Peace to be me so that I could love and serve those out of a soul over-flowing with beauty and joy.  

One of the factors in resilience theory had to do with creating a new mental map, through creating a new rhythm.  Even if one didn’t know what that was, just creating a rhythm to form a new normal was enough to act as an anchor in the realm of sanity.   

So, that’s what I did, I created patterns, committed to a process, and let go of the outcome! 

Once again, I rambled on, but I think so much of committing to the journey of downward mobility is recognizing what is going on, allowing it to happen, and learning to commit to a process of practices through it.   

Catch you later.

Matthew