And over the years, that love of comfort has done me some disservices. For example, when I graduated from high school at the ripe old age of 17 and my wise Dad counseled that I take a year before going to college to travel and work. I didn’t even truly consider it. “Nah,” I said, in favor of a dorm room and a meal plan. Or the college summer my roommate invited me to drive cross country and go work on an Oregon resort. “Think I’ll stay home and lifeguard,” I replied.
Here’s something I’ve come to learn: Getting out of your everyday environment is crucial for your growth. See, the people we spend the most time with may love us and want the best for us, but on some level they’re invested in us staying the same as we ever were. It’s not malicious and something they’re likely not even aware of, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. A very big percentage of us are scared of change—change in ourselves, change in the world, and change in the people we love.
“Every thought we think is creating our future. ” ― Louise L. Hay
In the photo you see here, there is a large spaceship hovering menacingly in the sky while innocent people run for their lives. That spaceship is the approximate size of the sty I developed a few weeks back. Seriously. It was BIG.
Why am I telling you about my sty, you may be wondering. Well, before I tell you, I want to remind you about my newsletter from last week, where I talked about the cost of keeping your true thoughts locked away inside your head, and how exploring and sharing your truth will always get you exactly where you need to be. Because there is a direct parallel between my monster sty and my own personal truth.
“One of the greatest moments in anybody’s developing experience is when she no longer tries to hide from herself but determines to get acquainted with herself as she really is.” — Norman Vincent Peale
Raise your hand if you’ve bitten your tongue, decided not to think about something unpleasant, or otherwise kept your true thoughts from entering your consciousness or exiting your brain in the last 24 hours.
Oy. Will you please stop doing that? Let’s take a vow together right now: No more half-truths or tight lips. You up for it?
I know it’s hard to open your mouth and say what you really think. I know you were probably raised to be nice. You probably even learned some very powerful lessons when you were a kid about how saying what was on your mind was not cool, or even unsafe. I get it. Really. (I got the same message.)
Stuck. Stymied. Spun out. Stressed. Sick. Silently (or perhaps not so silently) freaking out. We’ve all been there; we’ll all be there again. Because, sadly, personal development isn’t a tidy, linear, upward moving arrow. It’s a curlicue, a doodle. At times it loops back on itself and shoots you somewhere you never expected to be.
This is an incomplete list of what to do in those moments when you need an energy boost, stat. And you can probably already tell I’m not talking about the energy that means physical stamina or strength, or how tired you are or aren’t. I’m talking about how you view, interact with, and show up in the world. It’s your own personal frequency, and when you learn how to access the higher energy levels, that’s when the inevitable detours stop feeling so hard and avoid becoming cul de sacs.
After my second child was born, I gave up a 13-year mind-body practice cold turkey. I just didn’t have time to do one thing that wasn’t directly related to keeping those kids fed, rested, housed, and cared for. At least that was my rationale. And it felt so true.
So I stopped going to yoga class, doing yoga at home, or sitting and meditating. And that’s when my overwhelm got so much worse. That’s when I started requiring two or three glasses of wine a night to take the edge off. Which then interrupted my sleep (which was already pretty out of whack with a newborn in the house). Which then impacted my mood. Which had me snapping at my husband. Worst of all, I totally lost touch with any greater vision for myself. I am not going to lie, it was awful. A real low point.
So when my clients and potential clients and readers tell me, “I just don’t have time for any kind of self care at the moment, and I can’t handle the thought of adding something else to my to-do list,” I get it. I really get it.
My almost 3-year-old boy is Mr. No these days. “Teddy, it’s time to put on shoes.” “Nooooo!” “Teddy, it’s time to brush teeth.” “NOOOOOOO!” “Teddy, it’s time for school.” “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO,” accompanied by high-volume crying. He is resistance personified.
When my daughter, who is now 5, was in this phase, I was sure this meant that she was just a control freak who would fight us every step of the way for the rest of her life. (A little reactionary, I’ll admit, but this is truly what I thought in the midst of those epic tantrums.)
Now I’ve come to see resistance in a different light, that’s pretty much summed up by this quote:
“Your resistance is a sign that your system is reconfiguring itself toward success.”
-Todd Herman, ThePeakAthlete.com
It’s this completely annoying tendency to say we can do something we enjoy and makes us feel good after we get the ‘important’ stuff done.
You know the kind of stuff I’m talking about: The yoga session, the phone call to a girlfriend, the walk outside, the crossword puzzle, the cup of hot chocolate, the journaling, the creative project. The kind of thing that makes us feel hopeful, connected, comforted, inspired, energized, and happy.
Dinnertime used to be my least favorite part of the day, for a gazillion reasons – I wanted our meals to be as healthy and delicious as possible and so I knocked myself out to make meals that dazzled. In part because I’d worked so hard, I stressed about how much of this food actually made it in my kids’ mouths. Because my kids were small and needed to be in bed by about 7 or else they were total basket cases, I wanted the preparation and the consumption to happen in a timely manner. And then, there were the dishes. Oh, the dishes!
My husband and I had a basic understanding – whoever cooks doesn’t do dishes. Perfectly reasonable, right? The thing is, my husband is a soaker. He actually says, “I come from a long line of soakers.” Which is code for, “Sometimes I do the dishes, sometimes I just stick them in the sink.” Which means I’d emerge from putting the kids to bed and often see the kitchen in the exact same state as I had left it. This bugged me to no end.
At the end of 2012, I wrote about how I downloaded and listened to a year-end visualization by my most amazing friend and colleague, Julie Zeff. (I also know from her that 15 of you also downloaded it – way to take clarity-promoting action!)
During that visualization, the word that came to me that encapsulates my approach to 2013 is TRUST. Trusting my gut, trusting the signs I get from the universe, releasing judgments, and moving forward with confidence – or at least faith when the confidence is still building.
I spent a lot of years not really having an opinion, saying “whatever” a lot, and ducking pointed questions about what I thought about something in particular. I was trying to flexible, to go with the flow, keep the peace.
Bleh! It’s no fun, keeping yourself in the dark about how you really feel just for the sake of not ruffling any feathers.
When an old habit, pattern, or train of thought is holding you back, you’ve got to give yourself a new experience to bust out of it. And a great way to have that new experience is to do the opposite of that pattern.
So I wrote a manifesto.