Book Review. Kind of.

I am reading Radical Self Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With The Heart Of A Buddha because it was highly recommended to me, over a year ago, by someone who was very enthusiastic about it. They must have given me a heartfelt and emotional recommendation, because though I cannot recall who referred me to it, I can recall the emotion tied to the referral. I really thought it would help me.

So far I do not like it. It recommends that I get in touch with my body, my emotions, and really experience my physical and emotional self. I was not able to do this a few years ago, until I got on beta blockers and slowed down my reaction time long enough to feel. Now I can feel it, when I am triggered. Before I was so triggered that there was not a time of peace to compare it to, triggered was all I was. It was my existence. I am grateful for the space between feeling and reaction, now. But I don’t want to feel more than that, longer than that. I want to shove it all away and get on with my life.

I do not like the book because I do not want to feel my emotions. I do not want to acknowledge a thought, even a bad one. I do not want to start meditating again. I have not meditated since I was a teenager. I want to accept myself, to free myself from the shame and embarrassment that is me and my life history. Without converting to a religion.

I want to wave a magic wand over myself, instead. I don’t want to work at it. It is ridiculous, I put all this effort into my children and get them what they need, from therapies to spontaneous cakes , but I will only do the very basic necessities for my own well being. How can I take care of their emotional selves if I am condemning myself or holding myself hostage for my mistakes?

I bought a Wii Fit for the yoga. Because it is supposed to be so fantastic for PTSD. Have I done that yoga since buying it? No. I need to get with it. I am reading the book. I don’t want to. But I am reading the book and I am going to do what it advises me to do. If it has no positive result, then I will put it down.

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4 thoughts on “Book Review. Kind of.

  1. Wow, do I feel ya. In everything you are describing. I remember two years ago when my group therapist started doing some VERY basic meditation exercises with us (no more than about 5 or 6 minutes, no more complicated than “feel yourself breathing”) I thought I was going to fling myself out a window, it was so uncomfortable. I’m finally recovered enough I’m joining the ranks of People Who Feel Their Feelings As They’re Feeling Them — and it’s overwhelming. How do people do this?? Like, ALL THE TIME??!?

    Point is, I understand both the desire and the discomfort you are describing, with all these recommended strategies. And I have great faith that as you keep testing yourself — pushing, but still with gentleness and self-compassion — you will find your own path forward.

  2. See, I am currently just reading the book. I am going to get through it and then go back and do the recommended exercises, one per day, probably with the bare minimum yoga. That is the plan. Because I am afraid that if I do the exercises right now while reading, that I will just put the book down and not pick it back up. My version of pacing myself!

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