Break up with the things in life that are dragging us down before they break us — and recognize the deeper root causes
Stop reacting. Start connecting.~ Emily Eldredge
Enough is enough!
I don’t know about you, but I have a pretty high threshold for pain…that’s not necessarily a good thing. In our fast-paced world where we are driven to produce and achieve — many of us wear our productivity and accolades like a badge of honor…at all costs.
It’s the message we’ve downloaded about what it means to be ‘successful’ and it infiltrates all aspects of our lives. We don’t get to compartmentalize parts of ourselves and think that it won’t seep into the others. Try as we may to kid ourselves, it eventually catches up to us…especially those of us who think we should know better.
Having recently read this quote from my friend Emily Eldredge, it hit a chord and made me realize, I’m probably not alone in this plight. Why are we reacting? Because, we’re not listening to the deeper stirrings of our souls, that’s why. We are not connecting to the truth within, the answers we already have, our inner wisdom. And we can get pretty adept at doing so.
Uh oh. I’ve fallen into the self-help, spiritual arrogance hole again and I can’t get up.
We can be tricky with ourselves. We can get all ‘know-it-all-ey’. We’ve read the books, taken the workshops, meditated, done the retreats, drank the green juices, etc. But sometimes we’re actually too smart for our own good and we still stroll right on by the red flags that are flailing all about in an effort to get our attention.
I tell myself I’m OK. I tell myself I know what I’m doing. I even try to convince myself that I’m practicing self-care.
Along with my pain tolerance, I’m what you call a ‘workhorse’ and probably a bit of a martyr to boot. I take on too much. Over-promise and usually over-deliver. There’s a price to pay for that, but I’m also aware of the gift of wisdom it provides — once it gets my full attention, that is.
But what happens when we ignore the cues: the alerts that tell us we’re running at full capacity and it’s not sustainable? Well, we either listen or we don’t.
The cues won’t stop coming, our needs remain unfulfilled — and the hole we have to dig out of afterwards just gets deeper.
Back to our tricky selves.
There are many areas where this can show up: our love relationships, our work, our finances and most of all ourselves; our relationship to joy and vibrancy.
Where are you ignoring the call to pay attention to something? Are you ‘muscling through’ a part of your life? Why, because you feel stuck? May I be so bold as to tell you that’s a myth?
We’re only stuck where we stay.
I’m not denouncing the realities that may surround any perceived situation. But if your spirit is crying out, you need to find a way to bust a move and pay attention. It’s screaming out to you because it knows you can handle the truth.
At the end of life, no one is going to present you with a badge of distinction for staying the course that whittled away at your joie de vivre. Look, I’m not telling you have to turn your life upside down (but by all means feel free to if you feel called), I’m merely suggesting that you hear yourself out. If you don’t know which way to turn — pray, meditate, ask for help.
For me, it’s usually a sucker punch of frustration when I finally realize that I’m not having fun, as my soul puts her hands on her hips and screams in desperation, Where’s the joy? Do you see what’s going on here? THIS is not fun!
Clearly something needs to give — and like allowing a bit of air to escape from an over-inflated balloon — you can do something with an over-extended YOU. Maybe it’s a boss, a partner, your family or worse yet, yourself — asking for more than you are capable of giving, doing.
Show up for YOU.
First comes the diagnosis — the admission that there is something calling your attention. Cease from engaging with any routine that feels like handcuffs. I know that seems obvious enough, but sometimes it actually isn’t.
The more we pretend we are OK, the further away from the truth of our needs, we go.
I recently had to sit with myself and ask, what’s wrong? What do I need to see?
For some, the answer may come like a lightning bolt. For me, it was a bit more subtle. I had to take a dose of my own best self medicine and get real. I had been forcing my way through things, keeping myself on a tightly wound thread. And by the way, the alerts will keep coming. Mine finally came in the form of a stomach ache that I could no longer ignore.
Bill, my partner, was traveling for 10 days. I was home alone and had decided that I was going to be UBER productive, take care of myself and take care of business: early to bed, early to rise, daily workouts, clean healthy diet…and lots of work. Check. Check. Check. I worked hard, worked out hard, didn’t drink wine, ate beautiful food and accomplished a lot. But guess what? I started to get crankier and crankier — and my stomach hurt and felt bloated. WHAT?
I was working so hard in all aspects of my life and feeling worse? Stop the presses, like immediately. It wasn’t until the morning Bill came home and we were debriefing in our office that I allowed the air out, I allowed the truth that I hadn’t even been acknowledging to emerge.
I wasn’t feeling joy. I wasn’t having fun. I wasn’t being silly. I didn’t want to do any of this — this way, anymore.
And you know what? Shortly after just expressing all that, I realized that my stomach had totally settled down (hello mind, body, spirit connection). It no longer hurt. Bill laughed and said, See, I healed you. The truth is, he did. I often say that in the 14 years we have been together, he didn’t save me, he saw me. That is his gift to me. In creating a safe space for me and all my truth to emerge, I could see it and begin the process of unpacking it. He didn’t ride in on his horse to save the day, he walked in to witness and remind me of my own strength.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and the problems of our world won’t be solved in one either. But telling the truth to yourself can release physical, emotional and spiritual pressure instantly, really. Once you do that, there is room to step into what comes next. And remember, I didn’t have all the answers to the problems of the world, but I had called them out. Step one, check.
For me, I had to reassess a bunch. I had to allow what I call my inner brat (who doubles as my inner sage) to emerge and have a spewing temper tantrum…it went something like this: I hate doing this___. I’m sick and tired of this___. I’m not going to do this___any more. And ultimately, THIS___ is what I want to be doing.
We’ve all got our own blanks to fill in.
I come from hardworking stock. My maternal grandmother lived and worked on a farm in rural Michigan. She never complained. She raised four kids on no money. She didn’t have manicures, self-help books, a meditation practice — or have the luxury of asking herself how she was feeling. Her DNA pulsates through my veins. Sometimes I think I need to ‘buck up’…and then I realize I owe it to her and to me to do it differently for both of us. Each step she took changed the trajectory for her daughter’s life (my Mom) as did my mom’s for me. Where we come from informs where we’re going. It’s a roadmap we needn’t follow, but it is part of us.
We’re meant to claim our own way. But that way involves declaring when enough is enough.
When something feels off — it is. When you aren’t having any fun — probe and figure out why. When you are physically ill — get underneath it and make the deeper connections. Figure out what’s out of alignment. Ask yourself why you are tolerating it.
Did you download some belief (like me) about staying the course and sticking to things?
Answers come from questions. Allow yours to emerge. There is an incredible power that comes forth when we stop dancing around who we are and what we want. We may not even know the details of what that means exactly, but your body’s wisdom will help guide the way.
Enough with the old ways that no longer serve us. Out with the old, and in with the newly attuned and aligned. Let the inner experience match the outer one. Enough of eluding the beautiful truth of who you are. Go forth and let your inner best self sing freely!
If you look closely enough, intent upon understanding those things that cause you great pain and consternation, ultimately, I promise you, you’ll find great joy and illumination. Take the bait.~ The Universe, aka Mike Dooley
As always, I love hearing from you. Where are you reacting instead of connecting to your own life? Where do you get tricky with yourself? And how do you call yourself out and reroute when you’re veering off course? Please share with us in the comments below, so we can all connect to each other and to our best selves in more ways.