When I can achieve focus, it feels as if I have been stuck underwater, suffocating, panicking, and now I have finally remembered to come up for air. Its a relief, however short-lived.
Later, in bed, I notice where my imagination goes, the themes behind the scenarios playing out in my head. And then at work, as I was cutting the box tops in the stock room, the same strange self-observation comes back on again so easily.
Observing my spontaneous daydreams, I identify the underlying themes, some of which are:
– Worry regarding how others perceive me.
– Seeking to impress others.
– Manufacturing justifications for my actions or imagined actions.
– Engaging in a monologue or a dialogue, often imagined as if I were being interviewed.
I experience not only thoughts, emotions and sensations, however. Memories drift into my inner eye’s line of sight as well, though I’m not as clear regarding their meaning or purpose.
In the midst of meditation, as my mind drifted I kept seeing that park around the block from my parent’s house. The entrance, the trees, the potholes on the dirt road…
As I’m working alone in the stock room, I remember waiting in the passenger seat of a car at a gas station off a highway. Whoever is driving went inside for something. I feel gloomy, hopeless, depressed and anxious. Above the gas station and the busy, complex roads around me, the sky looks so open and exposed, the world seems so threatening. I feel older. It feels like the 70s. I’ve had this memory many times before.
It’s probably shortly after we moved into the new house in 1988. My parents and sisters aren’t home and I had heard things in the house, so I’m standing on the front lawn, summer sun warming me and the dogs beside me as I keep trying to build up the courage to go back inside.
Then, later, while cleaning fryers, I hear the song — was it on the radio or did it just erupt in my head? — “Mama Said,” by The Shirelles. At the same time, I receive another flash of memory that I have recalled before but does not seem to be from my life. It’s an upper-level apartment in some city at night. An old black man lives there. You walk through the door into a dimly-lit hallway and to your right is a closet where, at the bottom, there is a pair of brown leather shoes.
Again, I constantly wonder: are these flashes of memory random, irrelevant, or do they mean something? As for the past life ones: are they authentic or is there some other explanation? At least in the last case I identified the trigger. I’ve decided to pay more and closer attention now and see if the triggers could provide some understanding…