Space: The Inner Frontier
I was born at dawn eleven days before man walked on the Moon, and my mother made sure I was watching the events unfold that day on our old black and white television. Despite my early initiation into space travel, I rarely looked up at outer space. Instead, I spent most of the first 50 years of my life solidly stuck in my headspace.
Have you ever gotten stuck in your head? It won’t turn off, thoughts keep coming, ideas formulate; and then those times when it talks to you and tells you negative things about yourself? It is exhausting! There were times when I would ache to turn it off just like that old black and white. Peace and quiet from myself. As an only child living out in the country, peace and quiet in the external world was easy to find. As I grew into adulthood, both the external world and my inner world kept getting noisier.
A few years ago I decided I needed to see a therapist. At our second or third meeting, she lost her poker face and her eyes got HUGE when I showed her what was inside my head – a 2-page mind map of all the things I wanted to do and learn about. She composed herself and then suggested a guided meditation.
She never told me straight up that I needed to get out of my head, and I didn’t get the subtle message of the guided meditation. But that look on her face as her eyes about popped out of her head never left me. I wondered if I just had too much in my head. If so, what needed to go? I took the time to carefully make sure everything in my head made it onto paper – so I wouldn’t forget something.
Carrying so much in my head is why I believe I have sought out order all of my life.
I have multiple organizers, notebooks, storage solutions located in every space of my life. From the trunk of my car, to my office, to every room in my home. Martha Stewart was my “spirit animal” and I worked so hard to find a place for everything, make it beautiful, and keep putting those everythings back in their chosen spaces. But I don’t have a team of personal assistants nor do I have a money tree to make it all happen. And so my lifelong dream of penultimate organization to rival all of the ‘Marthas’ of the world has gone not only undone, but has resulted in a complete wreck of many of my home and work spaces.
When you carry a lot of things around, you need a place to put it so it doesn’t get lost. Fact is, when you have stuff – whether it be in your head or in your home – things are easily lost or forgotten. On top of that, the majority of it you don’t even need.
So why are we carrying such a heavy load around that doesn’t serve us?
I used to see it as a failure on my part that I couldn’t keep up. If I just worked hard enough, put more time and effort in, prioritized putting stuff away. And there it is - a headspace full of critique, frustration, overwhelm, coupled with an about face and a trip to the bar or refrigerator or television.
Over the past few years, after incorporating several different practices into my life, I can say that I don’t feel this way anymore. Sure, the anxiety may creep up every now and then, but now I am able to notice when it’s there and step back, breathe, and either let it go or change my situation until it’s under control. I feel as free and as light as I imagine those astronauts did when they walked on the moon half a century ago. The freedom of all that space – why would they want to come back to Earth where all the stuff and chaos awaited their return?
My practice to create space in my head has unfolded over the past 7-8 years one step at a time. It started with a Life Coach, antidepressants, and then the therapist.
Asking for help was the crucial first step toward my healing.
Antidepressants allowed me to experience a change in my brain that revealed that so much of what was in my head was chemical in nature. I could not have progressed without the assistance of medication. The meds gave me the ability to get out of bed, enjoy life again, and to start processing what served my well-being verses what was contributing to my depression and anxiety.
Shortly after that, I found my way to the yoga studio and the practices that further guided me toward finding peace and acceptance of self. Using asana, breathwork, meditation, music, mantra, podcasts, books, stillness, Soul Support, and journaling, I have come to a point in my life where today I am in tune with my body, my mind, and my intuition.
Still I falter. I let the busyness overtake me at times. I still take meds as I’m not quite ready yet to let that go. But, as Maya Angelou is credited with saying, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." My current mantra I now tell myself when something wasn’t done quite right is: now I know, so I’ll do better. And let me tell you – that alone has been an incredibly powerful tool to release any feelings of failure. Because the fact is, we don’t know what we don’t know – but we can learn. And when we take that next step and actually implement the lessons learned, we have gained experience and wisdom. That is powerful and oh-so-peaceful.
The practice isn’t easy. It is the hardest work you will ever do. And what you may need to quiet your headspace is not going to look like what I needed. We only know what is going on in our own heads. Thank goodness – one mind full of chaos is more than enough! The most important part of the work is focusing on what your intuition is telling you and to follow through on it. One small step focused inward, and one giant leap for peace of mind.
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Since leaving the church over 20 years ago, Dawn Adams has been on a pilgrimage to discover her personal spiritual truth. As a former church member, graduate of a Christian high school, and holder of both a Biology & a Bible degree, from the now defunct Tennessee Temple University, Dawn explores the unearthing of spirituality outside the traditional church building. She invites you to explore with her. / Follow Dawn and her travels on Instagram.