What are you choosing from life’s menu? Take time to enjoy the meal and the life ride. Deeper self-awareness feeds the soul. Choose YOU.
I’m always nagging the resident teenager to sit up straight, stop slouching, elbows and electronics off the dinner table, no gulping, etc. Sometimes it feels like my job is never done worrying, How am I possibly going to put this beast out into the world (I jest). Personally, I think it’s really important to pause between bites — chew your food well, savor its flavor, decide if you want more, digest and repeat. The same goes with life. So, how are your table (and life) manners? Are they serving you?
When we devour our meals or our experiences mindlessly, we miss out on absorbing their richness, of being present in the moment. It can leave us feeling unsatisfied and insatiable, perpetually going back for more. Kind of like eating a bag of potato chips (words from someone who knows).
Where are we missing the mark?
Rushing from point A to point B, getting stuck in a rut, not making time for emotional connection to ourselves and others, living life on autopilot devoid of self-care, body, mind and spirit — only begets more of the same. Oh, and what about all that baggage you may be toting around for fear of insulting or hurting another? You may have been carrying it for so long you no longer even realize it. Where’s that unicorn sparkle missing in your life?
Does any of this sound familiar?
I received an overwhelming response to my last blog about things being difficult. Now while I am beyond overjoyed to hear from others, and I am by no means a Pollyanna floating through life thinking happy thoughts 24/7 — I was startled by the numbers of those stuck in emotional pain, wishing I had a magic wand to wave around to make everything better. But I can’t fix it for you and neither can anyone else.
This is a hands-on job; your job is to get your hands on saving yourself.
Truth be told, I’ve got a lot of my own fixing to do. However, I’ve got some thoughts on the matter that I want to share with you.
Why all of this pain? How come so many of us are stuck in it and don’t know how to shift? We’ve fallen and we can’t get up. We have tools, we may have even made connections between our experiences — but more often than not, we don’t know how to implement the tools into action.
Back to my dinner table metaphor. I recognize a pattern in my life that’s evident: I go out into the world and then I retreat. I seek help, then I need to take it all in and process it. When we are so eager to have more, more, more — we often miss the key part: implementation, experiencing its effects. The point of all of this is to take the wisdom we glean from books, thought-leaders, practitioners, spiritual practice, etc., and put it into motion. Otherwise, what’s the point? It’s like taking a bottle of vitamins and not absorbing it’s nutrients.
Here’s the good news: If you know you are in pain, you’ve taken the 1st step towards getting out of it. If you’ve declared it to yourself or another, you’ve taken 2 steps. But we’ve got to keep going. Not knowing how or what to do is not a reason to stop. Unless you are happy with the status quo, you have got to keep on truckin’. Ask and you shall receive. You never know how one spark of inspiration will arrive that will suddenly help you
I’m not a therapist or coach, just a fellow traveler along this bumpy life path. I’ve hit some pretty serious potholes, downloaded some destructive thinking along the way and gotten in my way more times than I can count. God knows I have had my phases in this life. Some I would refer to as sleepwalking, while in others I’ve been more self-aware.
Ease up on yourself. We are not meant to be all-knowing. We are not meant to have all the answers or a perfect instructional map. We are meant to experience it and figure it out as we go. That said, we need to have our eyes and ears (and hearts) open. We need to build our own tool box and add regularly to the tools. We need to nurture ourselves.
Look, I get it. Life sometimes unfolds abruptly before us, knocking us off our feet. You might not like this part, but usually when that happens we can trace the tentacles of that experience back to something that we ignored along the way. Whether in a relationship with another, our professional lives or even in relationship to ourselves and our own health — the writing is on the wall. The signs are there, but we get very good at ignoring them until they can no longer be ignored.
Accountability can be a bitter pill, but when one gets accountable first and foremost with themselves — the world expands in unimaginable ways.
I’ll be honest, it used to annoy me how some traditional therapy was all about sitting on a sofa, complaining about what your parents did to you. Hmmm. Perhaps it annoyed me because I didn’t want to ‘go there’. It was the way in which I perceived it. And just as a side note, this is no slam on traditional therapy because it has saved me many times. That said, I’ve also tried lots of modalities throughout my life (I told you I was a seeker). You have to find what resonates with you at any given time. I’m all for finding a practitioner who can take you the next level of your spiritual path.
As far as the mom/dad thing is concerned, I know I don’t like to excavate things that will hurt them. Dad has been gone now 2 ½ years (which of course absolves him of his sins, he’s practically been sainted by our selective memories at this point) and Mom, well, she’s amazing — I’m extremely close to her, love her dearly and would never want to hurt her (does this ring any bells of familiarity for you?). However, what about me? What about the stuff I downloaded as a kid from each of them, what am I supposed to do with all of that? In the name of not wanting to hurt them, should I carry it around my entire life, hurting myself? Do you see the vicious cycle at play?
Why do we have to draw a line in the sand, making someone right or wrong, good or bad? What if we could release everyone from blame and not make anyone the villain here? If we reframe the script, perhaps we could find a path to healing. Again, I’m only speaking of my experience. I’m not speaking for others who may have experienced trauma on a different level.
If the whole tracing-things-back deal makes you uncomfortable, what if you could create a safe space for yourself to experience this without blaming or shaming another — and just feel it?
I’ve recently found myself at a new crossroads of emotional growth, desiring more. I’m not suffering. I’m not in deep pain. I’m more self-aware than I’ve ever been. I’ve made lots of connections to how, where and what I downloaded along the way — and how those ideas have thread throughout my life, sometimes playing out several times. But I feel like I’m ready for another level, to go further. I’ve paused between bites and now I’d like to have a second helping. Can you relate?
Is there a place in your life where you need to do the same? Could you give yourself permission to not only go there, but to experience your feelings about it without blame or concern for others? Your feelings are your feelings. If we deny them, they don’t go away. We just add them to the luggage carousel of our lives.
Our work isn’t to solve the problems of the world. Our work is to do our own work, to show up to life’s table, shoulders back, curious and hungry for more — to enjoy the ride (and the meal) or decide something’s not working for us, just doesn’t taste right. I always say, just start somewhere…one step towards feeling the feelings. Don’t deny yourself the experience of life’s fine dining. Make self-awareness and commitment your entrée. You’re worth it.
As always, I love hearing from you and sharing this human experience journey together. So, where can you create the space to show up at life’s table for yourself — to allow the next level of your emotional, spiritual and healing journey to safely emerge? Let me know in the comments below.