Tapping into my emotional power plant

All of mankind’s neuroses are borne of its inability to be alone with itself in a dark room.

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As a father of seven, it is often difficult to find time to be alone. Even with the knowledge of how important it is to my soul and personal wellness, I can make excuses and resist the call to “dive deep” at the beginning and at the end of my day.

I admit that occasionally I experience a powerful, internal resistance to creating the necessary space in my day for solitude and physical stillness. This need for space runs counter to the joyful distraction that I experience when in the company of others, especially my wife, children and close friends who love and affirm me. Further complicating my enduring desire to dive deep is the fact that I am an extrovert and as such, I more naturally process my thoughts through conversation and verbal connection with others. Being around those whom I love also gives me instant and sustained energy, allowing me the emotional space to communicate feelings and process the variety of events that occur throughout the course of any given day. This is a part of my nature and it is how my personality has developed over time.

I am now more aware that being so outwardly focused is NOT the discipline that I intend to nurture during the balance of my life. I have a sense that my current emotional approach will not sustain me for the remaining length of my race.  I need to achieve a more solid, internal foundation on which to build my emotional power plant.  I liken the energy that comes from within me to the energy that results when endorphins flood my body after a serious workout. This energy source dwarfs any that is provided by a temporary sugar or caffeine rush.

What I am nurturing more and more is my desire and discipline to be alone; to cultivate an appreciation for some serious, unplugged silence and to build more self-awareness. This discipline will be measured and balanced for sure, but it will come in substantial enough doses to arrest my lingering discomfort that is caused by being alone.

In the past, silence and solitude were akin to torture for me. During my toughest times, being alone served to validate my worst fears. If I was alone, then I was unwanted; if I was unwanted, then I was unlovable and if I was unlovable, then I might be banished or forced into the equivalent of emotional exile. With the benefit of hindsight, I know that these irrational conclusions were based on lies, but these lies had obviously taken deep root inside of me.

I’m finding that the most powerful lies are the ones that I tell to myself.  They are built on half truths and often manifest themselves like the pesky raccoon that has nested in my attic. They are difficult to coax and when approached, they get nasty and try to defend their turf.  These lies distort and stake an illegitimate claim within my psyche.  Unfortunately, they don’t take leave voluntarily.

Eighteen months ago, I lost my close friend, Eric to pancreatic cancer. Three months before he died, he relayed to me what he considered to be a spiritual experience that occurred in a local pizza parlor. While waiting for his hot slice of pizza to arrive at lunch, he noticed a good looking man staring at him from across the restaurant. He recalled thinking to himself that the man seemed friendly and strangely attractive; like someone he’d like to get to know and befriend. Moments later and to his own disbelief, he was overcome by his realization that the man to whom he was drawn was actually his own reflection in a mirror. He cried tears of joy in response to this acceptance and recognition of his internal homecoming and the experience calmed him, bringing a lasting peace to his soul and spiritual fuel for his final lap of life.

Later, we discerned that the experience that he had with his thinly veiled self sprung from the awareness that he had gained while completing a solitary, two week sojourn along The Camino de Santiago in Spain.

Invariably, lonesomeness and solitude create powerful contractions which give birth to gradual expansions within important areas of my life.  Exploring the depths of my soul never fails in delivering to me palpable measures of balance and focus. Trust and self-confidence are building within me as a result of the time that I have set aside to reacquaint myself with me. The peace for which I have been looking was hidden within me from the very beginning. I was born, life happened and as a result I misplaced the powerful connection that was meant to come from deep inside my soul.

Happily, most days I now greet myself along the road leading to my own front door and I am left to wonder how I ever left me in the first place.

Thomas “TD” Dierker
Live like you’re dying….cause you are!

 

 

Comments 3

  1. Jim Farrell

    I have always felt that we need more time to just THINK. The value of this has been lost in our current world where this is considered wasted and unproductive time, But how do we fill this? With television, smartphones, even the internet (where I am ironically posting this, of course).
    Introspection can get lost as TD so beautifully points out. Its value is so easily underestimated . Introspection is where we are truly naked, and only then can we be honest and thus free.
    This of course leads us to the power of prayer, where we are both introspective and naked before God. Our prayer can be simply taking our time to think and organize our experience. Then we find out what we truly believe.

    1. Post
      Author
      TD Dierker

      Trey, thanks for commenting.

      When I spend considerable time alone in prayer, solitude and reflection my life changes. When I don’t; my life changes. I get to decide how it changes–to me, this is good news.

      Thanks for reading and responding–your feedback is very valauble to me. The blog entry you sent me was great too. This is why I dont write about my faith walk per se. There is so much great stuff already out there.

      Shalom brother Trey!

      TD

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