Like Words Together Reflections from the deep end of Practice.


Fear with Fear

This morning CK and I were walking to MAX to ride into downtown to our respective offices. We had fallen asleep the night before talking about the anxiety felt around all the changes going on. How close we are now and how there is fear that living together full time might compromise that. As we walked the topic resurfaced and CK noted that I wasn't participating.

In part I was just trying to listen, be present and open to her feelings. However, I was also very mindful of the fear I felt rising up inside of me. I was feeling unable to respond to her anxiety without the voice of my fear rising to the top. I didn't want to respond to fear with fear so I was silent.

Finally I just told CK what I was feeling. That I felt afraid of the changes hurting our relationship and was trying to keep silent until I could respond from love and compassion instead of that fear. As I spoke to her I was aware that I wasn't sure it was the best thing to say. I felt relieved at her positive response and that she appreciated knowing why I was silent.

I am sure at times my silence must feel like withdrawal and at times it is, when I pull myself around my pain and shut down to the world. At times, most times now I am just trying to run through all the routines I've developed to keep my anxiety in check, being mindful of the precepts, and trying to find words, hopefully skillful ones.

Since this mental activity is a new tool I'm trying to use for my PTSD I never gave any thought to it being worth sharing with someone what was going on inside my silence.

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