Lost In Space



Falling in love.

Falling asleep.

Falling apart.

Falling. A moment of total release. It can be a sublime or a terrifying rush, a transcendent, floating space, or just absolute quiet. Generally, one only feels this when one is truly falling, either physically or between mental states– out of an airplane, into unconsciousness, in a dream. For me, this lightheaded disorientation comes on much more frequently– like when I ‘m standing in my kitchen, or sitting on the edge of my bed. I don’t know why it comes. Sometimes I think it’s the texture of the floor I’m standing on, or a dysfunction of the vestibular system in my inner ear. Maybe it’s brought on by allergies messing with my sinuses, or a hypersensitivity to the tiny adjustments my body makes in order to maintain balance. Maybe it’s a sensation brought on by subconscious stress. It does seem to happen more frequently when I’m facing something potentially stressful, like a weekend of auditions or a move back to the city, but I don’t feel a conscious connection. I never actually fall. In fact, when I’m executing complex dance moves, the feeling nearly always disappears.

If I let myself, I can become deeply caught up in the ‘why’s. Why does this happen? Why me? Why can’t I just feel ‘normal’?

That’s an amusing question. What, exactly, is it like to feel ‘normal’? Everybody experiences reality a little differently, from our senses of color and taste to the experiences that shape our perceptions of the world. I wish I wasn’t dizzy sometimes, yes. But other people might wish to be an airline pilot, or wish they had better vision, or wish they had the capacity to feel more deeply or to perform complex mathematical equations. We all have strengths and weaknesses that make us useful, to ourselves and to society, in different ways. Nobody can be everything to everyone.

It helps, in moments of this strange, dissociated lightness, to hear my dad’s voice in my head:

Just Be.

I didn’t used to understand him, exactly. Of course I’m being, Dad. I’m standing right here.

Now I understand: He meant for me to stop judging every moment with the shallow dichotomy of “normal” versus “abnormal[anxiety symptom]”, to experience the present moment without an immediate reaction of “this is not okay”.

I am experiencing a floaty, weird sensation. Why? Who cares? It’s happening, that’s all. Every other throughout and feeling surrounding this situation is a choice. Stop asking ‘why?’, stop feeling unsafe, and allow the mind to fully inhabit this interesting feeling. Observe it casually. Be a little intrigued.

That’s all.

I think this is part of what ‘Zen’ means. Total experience without judgement. The right brain’s triumph over the left brain’s relentless inner monologue. (To learn more about this, I highly recommend Jill Bolte Taylor’s book and TED talk, both entitled “My Stroke of Insight”).

It’s the most difficult simplicity to attain, but I’m trying every day.







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