The Value of Zoning Out

by | Jan 15, 2021 | Blog Posts, Coaching & Teaching, Personal Experiences | 0 comments

“Are you seeing somebody for that?”

Welcome back – you made it all the way through December, and into 2021. Oh, look! We’re even halfway through the first month.  Congratu-fucking-lations! You are the strongest swimmer.

Sometimes, therapists and counsellors and healers need… well, therapists, counsellors and healers too! We are not exempt from the shit storm that everyone else must deal with. We do, however, have a knack for recognising it… IN OTHERS! But when it hits us, we often do not realise it until the wheels come off.

Oh, and did you know that there are therapists who are trained to deal with and treat other therapists? Because they can see right through another therapist’s bullshit responses.

And then, December came!

I am not gonna lie to you: I can only describe my December as a ride through hell and back. Cairo died in the first week, the night before Elford’s birthday. Fuckit, that was tragic! And the rest of the month wasn’t exactly Iced Zoo cookies and cappuccino milkshakes, either. The boring detail? Meh! I’ll spare you. That I made it through at the hand of some professional help, as well as some zoning out? THAT I will share.

You see, I suspect that my “December in retail” has been looming in my consciousness so intensely that I projected each and every possible shitty scenario into my own future. By the time we hit the last day of November, my whole mood just dropped. KABOOM! Three days later, Cairo gave up the ghost (she ‘miraculously’ contracted tick fever!) and for the first time in 20 years, I broke down and cried. Over a DOG!

We spent Elford’s birthday in a daze. From then on, it was an endless struggle to try and lift the dark clouds that I could physically feel inside me.

Fast forward: two weeks later.

In the middle of a casual conversation over coffee I made a snarky-dark comment. It was perfectly aimed as an attempt to indicate what I thought of the current conversation I “had to put up with”. It hit the mark, and the conversation died in its tracks! The next day it was suggested that I sign up for counselling for myself. Not-so-weirdly, I was quietly considering that option myself around the same time and was weighing up some options. That was when Elford suggested I contact their company’s employee counselling service as an option.

The next day I phoned and had my first session. Homework was given, suggestions were made, issues were discussed, and I could feel a weight lifting. But apart from the two counselling sessions, I also had to figure out how to get myself away from all the people in the mall and find time to ‘zone out’.

What is Zoning Out?

Zoning Out is a method I discovered a few years ago when my Mom’s husband passed away, and I had to deal with those emotions by myself.
For three days I virtually locked myself in my studio, and just doodled and created a bunch of pretty paper bookmarks with some fancy gel pens. It was AWESOME! And it pulled me through. I knew that I could use this method to get over Cairo and at the same time through all the other shit that was busy coming up for me. Unfortunately, my retail job was looming over my head and I could not see myself sitting down doing art for as long as I thought was necessary to get through (i.e., roughly 8 hours a day of reclusively hiding out). This made my situation feel worse, but my counsellor insisted that I find at least an hour a day to sit and zone out in some way or another.

Now, as a side note I have to mention that I have been meditating daily. Although meditation is a great tool to observe and become more aware of what is going on inside my mind, there is still a need to utilise other forms of processing to clear whatever trauma(s) are being processed.

So, I did as I was told! I sat down on the days that I worked an afternoon shift and spent the morning colouring in or playing with my watercolours. It took two watercolour paintings and one full page of colouring in, as well as a heart-to-heart with Elford about what I was feeling to help me through.

You see, zoning out (not meditating) is pretty necessary for our emotional survival. Few of us allow ourselves the time to do just that. It is the ultimate in self-care, because it helps you pour the feelings and emotions onto paper, canvas or whatever medium you use.

When was the last time you just sat and stared at a wall? Or when was the last doodle you created on a piece of paper with absolutely no intention of calling it art?

What is The Zone?

Zoning out can become an activity in itself. There are so many ways you can zone out, and it is very eloquently described in the movie Soul:

22: You know how when you humans are really into something, and it feels like you’re in another place? Feels like you’re in the zone, right?
Joe: Yeah.
22: Well, this is the zone. It’s the space between the physical and spiritual.

If you haven’t watched this movie yet, then I urge you to do so TODAY! It is not only great entertainment but has so many needed reminders of Who We Are.

The Zone is the place where you reconnect with your Spark – that which makes you, You. There is a lot of hype that has been made in the past few months around self-care and self-love, and I believe that when you are actively engaged with something that brings you joy – that puts you in the Zone – you will experience a deeper Love of Self.

How do I Zone out?

Taking a long bath with bubbles and candles can be one of those things you do, but make sure you do it sober. Going for a slow walk around the neighbourhood is another way of doing it. Maybe you prefer sitting down in a quiet park, watching the trees while working your way through a WHOLE pack of Iced Zoo cookies, slowly, while sipping your favourite cuppa java. Or you build small pieces of furniture, or paint tiny flowers repetitively all over your journal.

Find something. Anything. As long as you are not doing it for the approval of others, like crocheting a blanket to sell or modelling clay jewellery to give as a present. Hell, I actually want to suggest that you do it in secret! Yeah! Set that challenge: create something that NOBODY else will ever get to see. That’s it!!! Make it that personal.

If you think you don’t have time, just listen (or read, fuckit!) what I wrote earlier one: you have to. You have to sit and take at least an hour for yourself. Set it in stone. Move everything else aside. If you have kids, don’t use them as an excuse because they’ll end up being the victims if you don’t. Trust me, if you do not start doing this for yourself, the people around you are going to suffer, and it will cause you so much shame. Hurting from the inside will make you lash out and hurt others. To hurt others and put them in their place and making sure they don’t fuck with right now may feel like the right thing, that it must be done, and that you have to set boundaries, but when you look back it will be the worst thing you could have done, and you will then have to work on forgiving yourself on top of all the other shit you didn’t deal with.

How does that sound? Heh? Liking that idea? Suddenly taking time out to zone out doesn’t sound so bad, now does it?

When will you give yourself permission to start zoning out?

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