How a false sense of knowing closes doors to healing, expansion and ease — and how to get out of our own way
The other morning as I sat at my desk sipping a cup of coffee keeping a promise to my self and soul, listening to the birds chirping outside my window, witnessing the sky awaken — I wrote. Yes, writing is that promise. It’s the thing that either sets me up or sets me off — fills me or depletes me. It depends upon which door I choose; write and fuel the soul coffers or get lured away by something else.
Sometimes I write blogs for you. Sometimes I write random musings for my future book. Sometimes I write for the magazine. It doesn’t matter — as long as I’m writing. And I let it take its own course. Sometimes I just sit before a blank screen and wait to see what wants to emerge. It’s the tried and true promise I’ve made, the commitment that shifts the entire trajectory of my day.
What is that thing for you? Is it prayer, meditation, journaling, exercise, reading, creating? It’s important to know what morning medicine you need.
Yet, even knowing that, do you think I do it every day? Of course not. But depending upon how long I stray, it inevitably comes knocking to remind me. Remember me?
The day before I wrote this was one of those days. I got knocked off my feet and then I spiraled into well-known territory. I felt low, really low…and therefore everything around me was viewed through that lens. It’s like gathering evidence to support your theory (a bad theory at that). Why am I sharing this? Because we all have our own version of this that plays out — and it’s actually dangerous.
But that said, don’t be frightened. Remember, you are the one in charge here with the power to shift it all.
And btw, this is where spiritual arrogance comes into play and can work against us.
For me, spiritual arrogance is thinking that you know something already. It leaves little wiggle room for anything more — new perspective, new thought, new narrative. And without this, no new expansion. It isolates us from becoming.
This is actually how we can become our own worst enemy. Let me explain.
Back to the spiral down. It started with my heading to my inbox instead of my creativity. I was lured by an email I had been waiting for — and it immediately frustrated me. It was actually about losing a battle with the airlines who have refused to refund me for 3 plane tickets to London during COVID-19. The flights were clearly cancelled, but the airline would only give me vouchers (which I didn’t want). It was a lot of money. This isn’t about the details of that situation (you could literally plug in any scenario), but rather the feelings that emerged as a result of it: anger, injustice, helplessness and ultimately, money fear. All at a time of seemingly great uncertainty.
I’m a rule follower and injustice of any kind makes me nuts.
I had already made numerous calls to the airline, wrote them, resorted to going through my credit card to reverse the charges, etc. — to no avail. How is that possible? So, I kept fighting, pushing, resisting.
Reading that email both infuriated me and deflated me…all before 6 AM! I couldn’t help it, despite feeling completely defeated, I wrote a quick, but concise complaint to the airline. I had almost zero faith at that point, but wasn’t going down without getting the last word in before walking away.
It put me in a terrible mood (code: I gave it my power) and then it weaved its way through the rest of my morning. I had opened the portal and it all came rolling in.
It was as if I held the door open and allowed a parade of my old destructive friends to waltz in — the fears, the limited-thinking, the unkind mind who points out every vulnerability, flaw and failure. The broken record played on and this orchestra came together to play their part within it all.
Emotions bubbled up. Triggers triggered. They will sneak their way into everything, despite our evolution and growth.
I know it sounds absurd as I write it, even to me. However, this is how these things play out and denying them, even within their absurdity, doesn’t help anything. This is the vicious cycle of action / reaction. Something happens, it sparks a feeling and reaction ensues.
Suddenly, the air was thick, the skies gray and I was feeling the enormity of all of it. I wanted to burst into tears or hit something. I wanted the heaviness to dissipate. But first I had to beat myself up more because these feelings and this place seemed so familiar…why was I here again? It was no longer just about airline tickets, it was about my emotional wellbeing. It held onto my ankles and pulled me down which, of course, gave me even more reasons to beat myself up — then look around for more reasons to beat myself up.
The truth is that things don’t always shift on a dime…but they can.
It’s not about the big picture problem in the moment, but rather the step you can take within it — the micro move — that can get you out of it and shake you from your funk.
But first, I had to recognize that I had allowed my spiritual arrogance to get in the way and work against me. I had bypassed everything I knew that worked for me in lieu of this pity party.
It’s also about connecting to the wisdom of your soul — knowing when to surrender, to let go, to walk away, to ask for help, to pray…
Instead of nurturing the feelings that were coming up. I beat myself up more for still feeling them. Shouldn’t you be beyond this by now? Have you not made any progress during this lifetime? Have you not evolved an iota? Over and over the same things…
Oh how God and the Universe must have chuckled at that one.
The truth is that I couldn’t shake it for most of the day. But I also didn’t really do anything to support that shift either. Ultimately, I stepped away from my desk and went for a walk. It was the only thing I knew to do in the heat of that moment. I wanted to burst into tears. But I didn’t. I held it in. Shoved it down and wouldn’t allow the purge to come forth.
When I looked back upon how I started this day, it wasn’t with things that fortified me.
It wasn’t sitting quietly at my desk in the early morning writing. It wasn’t with meditation. It wasn’t reading or listening to something that fed me. To the contrary, it was with something that stressed and oppressed me. It was with something that made me feel helpless and frustrated — and ultimately it took over my day.
Some days are like that. It held on like a teething puppy with a new chew toy. And honestly, that’s OK too. They come bearing gifts if you continue to seek them and stay open to receiving them…and to work your way through them. It’s usually when I beg, please, show me what you want me to see!
But it doesn’t have to be so hard…and you don’t have to be so hard on yourself.
Connect the dots between what’s coming up, what it’s attached to and what needs to be seen. Especially if this cycle seems to be set on repeat in your life.
After a walk outside, I came home, sat at my desk and decided to write about my feelings. I purged (more like vomited) my emotions onto my computer screen, I dropped f-bombs (several) and I got it out — all the ugly untruths about myself and the situation. Another spiritually arrogant untruth is that by getting it out we are giving it power. Nothing could be further from the truth. Get it out, see it for what it is and flush it. You can even go the extra mile and burn it. The key here is release.
And you know what? After the writing, I decided to meditate. Of course, it was what I needed — it was what I had needed at 6 AM and that could’ve helped set me up better for my day. But c’est la vie. I was here now on my meditation cushion. It calmed my entire system and saved what was left of the day. The ‘problem’ hadn’t been solved. Nothing had changed, but I distanced myself from the eye of the storm.
I had given myself the centeredness to regain perspective, calm and the ability to be less reactive. I had salvaged my day.
And a funny thing happened…in focusing on other things, I forgot about the actual event that triggered it all and unraveled me. I did explore my feelings that emerged subsequently, but I pulled my energy back from the hands of an external source (in this case the airline). I didn’t deny the fears that came up, in fact, I actually spoke more calmly about them in a more curious way, asking what I needed to see.
Later that night as I passed my desk, I caught a glimpse of another email from the airline. This time it was from a real person, not an automated system. This time my situation was acknowledged personally. She thanked me for being a frequent flier since 1985! Best yet, she apologized and informed me that my tickets were being refunded. Amen.
Why am I telling you this? Because we are surrounded by daily events and encounters that will stir the emotional pot within us. We can choose to embrace them or resist them…or perhaps a combo of the two.
Choose the path of least resistance for yourself. Listen to your gut. Know what you need. Know what you don’t. Know what you can control and what you can’t. And don’t be a spiritual know-it-all with yourself. Get out of your own way and allow the beautiful unfolding and blossoming of your Best Self — no matter how many times you trip and fall.
You’ve got this. Trust me.
Do you know what your morning medicine is? What sets you up rather than sabotages you — and what do you do when you sense yourself getting in your own way? Please share with us in the comments below.