|Thursday morning I woke up feeling a bit like an emotional demolition derby – all of the different emotions and thoughts were the cars and they were all ramming into each other.
and lots of crashes.
|As I sat with this cacophony, I recognized a familiar theme. The prevailing message was this:
“I am supposed to be doing more than I am doing.”
“I am supposed to be further along than I am.”
“People are counting on me and I am letting them down.”
“It’s too much”
“It’s not possible”
“I can’t do it”
Impatience, fear, guilt, overwhelm, exposure, embarrassment.
What to do?
I greeted all of these characters and I got curious about them.
On the one hand, these “Do better!!” messages sort of keep me on my toes. I don’t want to be complacent or lazy. I’ve heard this from other people too: “If I stop feeling bad about not doing more, then maybe I will stop caring, and maybe I will end up doing even less! Maybe I will descend into laziness and selfishness!”
On the other hand, these “Not enough” messages are twisted to where they are hurtful. The messages are motivating but they are also discouraging. I would prefer that my daily helping of motivation arrive without a sauce of discouragement poured over top.
Of course, I also don’t want to go in the other direction, so confident that I am always on track that I don’t listen to my intuition or my conscience and I end up blissing along in careless irrelevancy or hurtfulness.
I want a balanced place of motivation, inspiration, hope, and grace, where I remember my vision and I am able to relax into my work, knowing I am loved and being fueled by love. I want to be awake and listening for instructions, not with fear and alarm but with curiosity and determination.
So yesterday I was watching the emotional car crashes in my head and pondering all of this and I decided to listen to this very brief generic spiritual practice meditation that I recorded a couple of weeks ago. I invite you to dive in and join me, this one is only 3 minutes long.
|I found an interesting insight in the meditation.
The package of guilt, pressure and “not doing enough” is like a creepy temptation. That feeling of embarrassment and failure is so familiar, it’s like an old friend, a tattered and smelly blanket that I can wrap around me, the Blanket of Shame and Failure.
And I can wake myself up, take the blanket off, and throw it across the room, or even take it in the backyard and bury it. But it will come back. Again and again.
So I had an idea I’ve been doing a bit of work lately with energetic alchemy, changing one thing into another. For example, this recorded practice works with alchemy, changing freeze into relaxation and changing vigilant movement into joyful movement.
|So the idea is to do alchemy with the blanket. When I feel that familiar, comfortable, creepy, feeling of dread, guilt, and self-judgement, here is the practice:
Feel or imagine the sensations of a blanket wrapped around you. The blanket is warm and familiar, and it comes with some old messages, whispering them in your barely-conscious ears: “You are not doing enough, you are letting people down, you are bad, bad, bad…”
Now I invite you to feel or imagine the sensations of a different blanket. When this blanket is wrapped around you, it sings to you softly, “You are loved, you are beautiful, thank you for your courage and your effort. You are good, good good…”
Try out each of these sensations, and then go back and forth between them in your body. Memorize what it feels like to shift from the Blanket Of Shame and Failure to the Blanket of Encouragement and Hope.
What I have learned from working with the above practice on impulse to be still and impulse to move is that after awhile my body starts remembering the shift. And sometimes I notice myself automatically shifting from being tense and vigilant to relaxing. So in that spirit, I’ve tacked up a note on my wall that just says “Switch Blankets!” and I am going to do this practice several times during the coming week.
|Of course, in order to notice the Blanket Of Shame and Failure when it is descending on me, I need to be alive, breathing, and in my body. Alive, aware, awake. Compassionate, not reactive. I don’t need to yell at the Blanket of Shame and Failure or at myself. I just have to transform it into the Blanket of Encouragement and Hope.
In your body and in your day to day life, what are the practices that help you to be alive and aware, to be present in your body and awake in your life, hearing your body and your intuition? Is there a useful practice that you can add to your day today?
Here’s another one I’ve shared before; I find that it’s a good for stimulating aliveness and bringing me out of the fog.
|Much love to you in your continued quest to care for yourself and your beloveds, and to do your part in caring for the wider world in all the ways that you do!