Month: October 2014

A Slice Of Life

*Originally published 10/16/2014

If you’ve ever made pizza from scratch, you know that the dough has a certain elasticity to it. In order to get it from a ball of dough into a pizza crust you have to stretch it out quite a bit. When you stretch it, because of said elasticity, the dough springs back. So you have to stretch it out to a bigger size than you want it to become, because it will spring back to a smaller size (although this can vary depending on the temperature of the dough, and how big you stretch it, but for the sake of the story I won’t get into that). Stretching the pizza dough just a little bit will result in pizza dough that is bigger than it originally started out as, but still not the size you are trying to achieve. In order to really get it to the size of a pizza you have to keep stretching and keep stretching further and bigger until you stretch it out enough for it to bounce back to the size you want.

Do you see where I’m going with this? Life.

Progress and growth can be a lot like that pizza dough. What I’m talking about is what Sigmund Frued defined as one of the ten defense mechanisms we use to “provide a refuge from a situation with which one cannot currently cope.” Regression.

Regression occurs (in adults and children) when a new mode of being is currently “unacceptable” on some level, and one falls back to an earlier stage of development seen as “less demanding and safer.”

For children, this might mean wetting the bed even though the child has far outgrown that stage of development. But for adults this can show up in many ways. We can see/experience it when we make major changes in our lives. Like let’s say we’re trying to lose weight. After the initial challenges, we find ourselves on quite a roll, gaining good momentum with this new lifestyle and habits, loving the way we look and feel. But once we reach a stride, we might find ourselves reaching for the chocolate cake, even though we know it’s not really what we want. Even though it might even make us sick and set us back on all the progress we’ve been making.

This has been happening to me lately. I’ve found myself in quite the strange regression (that’d be a great name for a song!). I haven’t been trying to lose weight (although I might need to soon because I have certainly been reaching for chocolate cake).  What I have been doing is making all kinds of huge leaps forward over the past few months, moving through life-long fears, and diving into the uncertainty which usually causes me immense anxiety. Because of that, my life has been progressing at rapid speeds. And it’s been amazing!

I’ve experienced my fears dissipating, and my anxieties have settled. I tapped into a wonderful energy that, instead of catapulting me into high states of being, from which I eventually come down from, have just continually projected me forward, with my feet on the ground and a marvelous sense of self-assuredness. And that assuredness has moved beyond just the self (which is incredibly important), and has turned into a great trust, in all that is and all that will be.

Then the regression hit. Actually, it’s more like it slowly crept in the back door when I was sleeping and I didn’t notice it was there, or rather, pretended not to notice it there, until I found that it had tied me up and… stuffed my face full of chocolate cake.

I love health. Physical, emotional, spiritual, thriving-life-health. Health comes from an Old English word meaning “wholeness, or being whole.” I devote my life to this.

But lately, as I hit a lovely stride with all of the immense progress I’ve been making, I have found myself in some of the unhealthiest physical habits I have had in a really long time. Eating terribly, not getting any exercise, forgetting to take my vitamins (which I thrive on) and even my morning stretches, which have always been the bare minimum of my health habits, have been totally half-assed.

It hit me hard today, and I realize- it’s time. I’ve had a lovely little trip down junk-food-couch-potato lane, but it’s time to get back on the right track.

The good thing is, like the pizza dough, even though I’ve regressed, I’m still stretched so far beyond where I began. I just need to keep stretching and keep expanding into Who I Want To Be.

And maybe next time I’ll choose a metaphor that doesn’t involve pizza.

~Maktub~

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Call Me.

*Originally published 10/2/2014

There is an energy that exists within all of us. Call it what you will- chi/qi, intuition, instinct, life, love- whatever name you give it, it is the breath that breathes us, the life-force that lives through us, the energy that calls us towards what feels right, and away from what feels wrong. It was what called animals to higher ground before tsunamis, what birds use to navigate their flights south in the winter, what guides butterfly migrations, and draws animals towards food and water.

Most of us ignore this subtle, delicate energy. It’s easy to. Especially with all of the distractions we have in our lives these days. Jobs, social lives, technology! We’ve strayed so far from our animal nature that we forget that we are, in fact, animals. And that we do, in fact, have this energy within us.

I’ve felt, in extraordinary ways lately, so tapped into this energy. A big part of that has to do with the fact that I have been doing a lot of things that scare me lately. I’ve been learning so much about my fears and how to move through them. Because unless our lives are in immediate danger, fear is just a contrived idea. And when we let these contrived ideas hold us hostage, we are denying ourselves the experience of actually living our lives, and knowing what it feels like to let that energy guide us.

It is an indescribable feeling, but an incredible one.

Acting in spite of my fears has helped me to eliminate fears in areas where I was once debilitated by them.

I speak of the animals because when I see the cat get up and walk across the yard and stop to look around, or notice the southbound geese in the sky, I realize that these animals don’t think about what they are doing. They don’t make “logical decisions”. They don’t make decisions at all! The cat didn’t come up with a plan of how and why it was going to get up and walk across the yard. It wasn’t strategizing on anything as it stopped to look around. It just moved where it felt pulled… by this energy. Just as the birds and the butterflies and the elephants and the orangutans. They just follow this flow of energy that guides them to where they need to go. They have full trust in this, so much so that they don’t have to do anything to have this trust, they just live in it.

We humans have to work so hard to find this trust in ourselves. And the funny things is, we already have it all within us. We just have to get out of our own ways. It’s not about obtaining this energy or trust. It’s about eliminating all of our shit in order to access it where it already dwells inside.

I have learned recently, that the key to “achieving” this is to move through fear. Joseph Campbell famously said, “the cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”

I’ve seen and heard that quote hundreds of times, and it always strikes a “Yeah! Right on!” kind of reaction. We all know there’s truth to that statement, but most of us are looking at that truth from afar rather than experiencing it. And my god- I am really experiencing that first hand these days. Entering the caves I fear, some of which I have feared my entire life, feels so. fucking. Right.

And now that I have been taking so many of these leaps, towards unknown places- in the direction I feel pulled, and entering scary caves in which I feel drawn, I settle into this space of trust- in myself and in the Universe. I’m finding all sorts of treasures and treasure maps that lead me onward, towards grand adventures and curious odysseys- my own migration, where I may spread my wings and fly.

I let this energy guide me. I slowly, gently tune into its flow. It’s what calls me to write, when I feel the words being pulled from me, to the page. It’s what calls me to quit my job when I know it’s no longer right for me. It’s what calls me to speak my truth when I know I need to. It’s what calls me to send messages of hope and love and inspiration, so that each message may reach who it needs to when it needs to. It’s what calls me.

~Maktub~