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In survival mode, whenever I felt emotionally uncomfortable, instead of dealing directly with my discomfort, I added tasks and became even busier, driving myself harder and harder. Looking back now, I can see that at that time of my life, I had a strong belief that if I could somehow just outrun my discomfort, it would go away. As a result, I kept myself as busy as possible, all the time. With some time and perspective, I can now observe that this strategy never worked out very well for me. In fact, it made me quite sick, both physically and mentally.
Now that I am at the wheel in thrive drive , whenever I have a feeling of discomfort, I stop and listen. I know any discomfort is some part of me asking me to slow down and listen; something important is calling to me and asking for me to give it some attention. Instead of running away from my emotional pain or physical discomfort, in thrive drive I do the opposite of run.
Instead, now I stop, sit still and observe. In this quiet and still place within, I allow my breath and perspective to slowly return. Rather than being the energizer bunny in perpetual motion, instead I embrace my discomfort from a different place within myself, a place of compassion, kindness and understanding.
In this place, I can sit with and embrace the very small scared child part of me and I say quietly and tenderly, “Come get some comfort here.” Then, when I feel the sense of her in my warm embrace, I say, “There. There. I am here. I will never abandon you. We will sit here together on this gratitude bench of discomfort. Together we will soothe the part of us that feels confused, worried or scared. Then, when we find our breath and our strength again, we will stand up, and carry on. Together.”
When my soul has a space to be heard, it is then that the light returns again to my body and mind. This is a light that softly illuminates where I couldn’t see clearly before. More often than not, this gentle light shows me what lost part of me that I need to reclaim, honor and integrate within myself. This is a warm, late in the day kind of light, in which I sit patiently waiting to fully accustom myself again to the Now that is always my reality. This is a light that more and more, I navigate my life by.
There are many times in all of our lives when we feel ill at ease, very frustrated or possibly quite lost. In these times of inner blindness, it feels like nothing makes sense. We don’t know who to call for help. We feel profoundly out of sorts. We don’t know what to do next. At those times, one of the things we can do while we wait for our perspective to return is to turn to poetry. One of my favorites during dark or uncertain times is “Lost” by David Wagoner.
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
~David Wagoner, from Collected Poems 1956-1976
In what area of your own world do you feel Lost? Try standing still and letting your own wisdom light find you. This is the light that will always guide you Home.
In what area of your life would you like to shed a little light on these days? Please share in the comments below and I can address your concerns in a future blog!