Joanna P. Basile
Living In "After"
Updated: Jul 12, 2021
Been reading alot about “After” - our personal post-pandemic observations and attitudes. New habits and hang ups. The metamorphosis that took place in most of us during the COVID-imposed confinement.
I’ve experienced many periods of after in the past few years. After I moved from LA, after my father died, after I packed Mike’s things, after the death of close friends, after the tragic loss of my brother. The unplanned and catastrophic changes that make it impossible to be the same person we were before.
My experiences in the world around me don’t always match what’s happening in my mind - because I try to create an environment in my head of which I can control. Buffering myself from reality, while my mind is struggling to find a place to land.
It seems easier to live in my thoughts, where I can manipulate things. And in this state, I’m never in the present. Never the observer. Only the complainer. The neurotic. The fixer.
We don’t know what’s going to happen next. Never have, never will. We’re not supposed to. Someone told me yesterday that “faith is living in the questions; it’s not in the search for answers.”
In searching, my mind is processing my current experiences in a manner that puts them neatly in a box, gives them a solid place to land that fits my narrative. This process embodies and supports my desires for the future and my views of the past.
Only then do I feel secure, when I’m using this defense mechanism. This form of self-preservation and protection. I temper reality in my mind because some days it’s just too real. Too hard. I am in survival mode, vulnerable in a way I don’t think I’ve ever known.
When I transcend these parts of me that are not okay, and venture into those scary places, only then do I grow. Change. Awaken. Until then I am trying. And acutely aware of my faults.
I see myself using my prickly mind to protect myself from life instead of living it. Everyone wants to feel safe. Everyone wants a place to land.
On this curious journey, there isn’t a magical place to rest. No solid ground. Sitting in the seat of consciousness is the only way. It is the only place I have found the grace I have prayed for during these times.