Don’t press delete

When we try to dig into the deeper parts of ourselves to lighten our being it is easy to go along the path of least resistance. Recently I have been on a journey to discover the root cause of apathy and a lack of drive. I had thought that it might have something to do with feeling unworthy of my work role, feeling as though somehow I am not good enough. Work takes up so much time in my life that it is easy to view it as being at the core of all that feels uncomfortable. It is not.

There is a space in each of us, filled with moments from our birth until now. Filled with experiences, good and bad whose echoes linger. We have fears that we try to quiet, hiding them even from ourselves. So when something needs clearing from our psyche, it will likely manifest itself in the place we consciously have to stretch the most. Where we spend the most time. Where we have the greatest responsibility. For me that is work. It was a natural process for me to think that was where the problem lie.

I would have been satisfied with that discovery and set-to on a pointless journey of trying to ramp up my enthusiasm for my job. Except that repeatedly I catch myself buzzing with excitement when I talk about my project and the work that I am doing. I grin like an idiot when someone asks me a question about work and I have to invite them to signal when they’ve had enough because I can go on and on and on! And self-efficacy? In the throws of responding to any work related demand there is only joy, curiosity and complete focus. And when I think of my perfect job, where I can make a difference in peoples lives, have a broad spectrum of tasks from hands on with participants to writing and analysis, travel and flexible work hours- this is it! I couldn’t see where I should start my repairs. I can see now that it is not my work, or my ability to carry it out, or the space in which I undertake it that is causing my unease. It has nothing to do with my work. My work is a blessing, it is a vehicle for me to express my soul’s purpose. My discontent runs much deeper than that.

My growing levels of stress and subsequent poor health is caused by a more permanent, unavoidable terror so I just stick my head in the sand and break into a cold sweat every night pretending like I’m not scared out of my mind. It was easy for me to claim that the thing I needed to express was a feeling of inadequacy at work. Simple. The ramifications of that are that you simply work harder and problem solved. No. That was too convenient. And this is difficult for me to write.

When I realised I was wrong about where I am getting stuck I wanted to delete my last post. It simply is not true, work has nothing to do with it. It is beyond simplistic to even have thought so. It is embarrassing and makes me wrinkle my nose at myself, how could I have let myself be drawn along that line of thinking? Well, I happen to know that it was because I was highly stressed and anxious recently about doing a presentation. I got stuck on it like I have never been stuck before, but that doesn’t mean that I am not good enough for this role, it means that was a difficult presentation and nothing more. It took a great deal of reflection on being vulnerable, being okay with sharing a journey honestly that stopped me from pressing that oh-so-easy to select button. After all, I did think that it was as simple as a crisis of confidence. I hoped, because I know what to do with that. But pressing delete was only going to deny that part of this journey.

Thinking, even for a short while, that work was the sole cause of my growing angst was important. I was able to explore what work means to me, what I want from it, how it contributes to my life in good ways and bad. It was this process of trying different ideas on for size, seeing what felt right, what really rang true, that I was able to figure out that I was sniffing at the wrong tree. Well, maybe I was just exploring at a too superficial level more so that at the wrong tree. I have been conflicted about work because it takes up so much of my life. A life that is so full of promise and adventure. There is much to experience and to learn here and I can’t help but feel that we have done ourselves a disservice by designing our culture around full time (and then some) employment. By celebrating over-workers and not having enough time for ourselves or our loved ones, the days merge together, seasons speed by and the years pass without notice. Suddenly we have spent a lifetime in busyness because that is what is expected and what do we have to show for it?

What scares me most is something we just don’t like to talk about. It stops me in my tracks and makes me question everything we value in our society. It leads me to think that we shouldn’t be spending our lives engaged in the slavery of full time employ. It causes me to wonder how our moral compass can be so offline in the face of it. Our culture avoids it. Popular media devalues it constantly. It makes people uncomfortable. We focus on accruing shiny objects and filling our lives with the newest gadgets, faster cars and bigger homes so that we don’t have to face it. The end of this life. Our mortality. The fragility of life is what most frightens me. And our lack of care for each other and our natural world compound it.

The truth that I must speak to myself. The empath I wrote about was totally right. There is a truth I must speak to myself and it has everything to do with the only thing that has ever really worried me. The truth is not that I have this fear. I have always known it. The truth is that I know how to alleviate it.

 

“Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it’s dark.” ~Zen Proverb

An empath and coca cola

This last week has been a week of rest. Quiet healing in front of Battlestar Galactica because my body ran out of puff and became quite unwell. I am a big sook at the best of times when I am not well but if that particular brand of sick requires a bucket, then I am a quivering mess and you don’t want to be around.

I have had regular bouts of low level head colds on and off at peak times of stress, but these had reduced greatly when I cut out grains and sugar. Well these last couple of months I have been pretty lax in the application of self care and foods have found their way back into my unguarded diet that are inflammatory in the extreme. But when you are stressed for prolonged periods of time I guess your resistance to impulse starts to waver. Your ability to stick to your guns about what is nourishing for your body and strictly adhering to what is good for you is greatly reduced. Or at least it was for me.

So this rambly edition of bumbling through life is a part of the recovery. The fist steps back from that place and how the way was lit for me by an otherworldly lady and her advisers.

I was deep in the certainty that my doctor got it wrong and I actually must have a peptic ulcer. I mean the stress that I put myself through before going to the conference last month. The “who am I to stand in front of these people and tell them anything at all about what they are doing, or should be doing?” constantly circling in my mind, defeating me before I began, cutting me down while I tried to stand tall… Then moving house and it’s trials and tribulations. The long days of work and the long nights moving our lives piece by piece. The eating wheat filled wraps and getting the large combo with chips and vanilla coke because dammit I am hungry and tired, exhausted even and what does one matter… or two… or three?… We haven’t done a proper shop in such a long time that the only meals I eat are on the run. My well controlled, healthful and nourishing soul food way of feeding my body has become a gluten and sugar filled way to quiet my exhausted and stressed out emotions.

Of course my stomach is sore and I feel nauseous. My body isn’t getting very much that it can use for repair. It is getting a pile of stuff it doesn’t know what to do with any more. It probably never really did. And as I walked through my favourite gem stone store with my mum, trying to find the right soul support to help me pull my metaphysical socks up, a woman handed me a stone. She said “they are telling me you need to hold this. It is kyanite. Your stomach is sore and they say this will help.” I am a pretty open minded sort of creature a lot of the time and this didn’t worry me, I find talk of other realms reassuring actually. Naturally I purchased this stone. At the counter she continued “you need to speak your truth, to yourself. That is why your stomach is sore”.

That is why my stomach is sore. My truth. A truth I haven’t spoken? I was puzzled. I can’t make it fit. It just doesn’t work. So I googled chakras to remind myself what they all stand for again and what my sore stomach might represent… solar plexus- our ability to be confident and in control of our lives… I guess there could be an element of confidence, especially after the way I struggled in the lead up to that conference. But I certainly feel in control of my life. Then I googled Louise Hay and stomach pain/ peptic ulcer- a strong belief that you are not good enough. BOOM. The pieces fit.

I recognised a month ago that  I was freaking out. I had never felt stress and angst as immense as what I felt then. It was around this time I wrote crisis of confidence. Since then I have been listening to Toltec wisdom podcasts and trying to cut myself some slack. Trying to dig out the parts of me that generate that level of distress. But I realised that what I have been telling myself in the lead up to that time and since, is not that I don’t like my work. I don’t feel that I am good enough to be the person who does it.

As I reflect now on this, I know that I am perfectly capable in my role. I have all the skills that I require to perform my function well and the passion to do it with enthusiasm. This is a nasty and pervasive thought process that has weaseled it’s way into my psyche. Perhaps I have actually only uncovered it. Maybe it was always there and I just had bigger fish to fry so I didn’t hear it. Now is the time for me to tackle it head on. To see it expire to create the space for a more helpful self knowing.

To this end the tools I have at hand are the ones we all know well. Eat nourishing food, get plenty of sleep and gentle exercise. Be aware of the contents of your thoughts and when they go to those unhelpful dark places, guide them directly back to the light of how things are right in this moment. Awareness. I see you now. I’ve got this.

 “I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.”

~Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Ch ch ch ch changes!

Ah the chaos and joy of a big move. When you pick up all of your worldly posessions and shift them, wholus bolus to an entirely new location… despite your plans to do a ruthless cull of the stuff that really serves no purpose except to occupy space. Space that could be used to improve the aesthetic, increase the energetic vibration of your home, allow for a clearer energy flow, to allow space for the inhalation of all things warm and wonderful and the exhalation of all that does not serve you…

So that didn’t happen. As I foreshadowed we ran out of time to do our spacious cleanse and just needed to do our best in the hours we had free outside of work and sleep, to move our worldly belongings. Despite this and the resultant chaos and clutter at the other end, our new abode has a warm loving glow to it. I arrive home after an extended commute and our fur babies seem calm and content, a smile blooms across my face and my heart opens.

One of the very first features that went up was a feature wall of us. This is the first time we will have our own home that is not shared with even the most wonderful of housemates. And prior to now we haven’t had a printed photo up. We realised this when my mum printed a photo she took of us at Christmas and put it on her fridge. Well, before we even moved in we amended this. There is now a brightly coloured, fun and indulgent couple wall that celebrates us. It is pretty cool. The smile the erupts on my face when I walk in the door broadens when I see it. And then when my love arrives home! Well truth be told we are still moving the last pieces and so we often arrive home together, tired and ready for sleep. But just this evening, over a snippet of “whose line is it anyway” the chuckles that rolled and rolled out of him were delicious. This is home. We are home. And it is wonderful.

Home the space you can be yourself
your cave to be at peace in
enclosed in love and life vibrant
the gifts of each breath so clear

Here you know why you move through each day
here is your reason
here is the expression of your hearts desires
here is where your dreams begin

The platform from which you reach into the world
your daily charging station
where your wacky silly or pouty child
are received with understanding

Where your candles bloom with fire scented
and gardens for your tending
the music that you float or bop with
resonating through your senses

Home most blessed and nurturing
of your grandest imaginations
dreams become reality shared with those your closest with
and life is a beautiful adventure

“Home is a place not only of strong affections, but of entire unreserve; it is life’s undress rehearsal, its backroom, its dressing room.”  ~Harriet Beecher Stowe